Popular Resistance: The People Are Ready for Action
There is no doubt that the people are rising. Today there are at least three major events taking place – the Ferguson October massive march to end police brutality and racism in St. Louis, the European-wide day of actions against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TAFTA) and the Global Frackdown. People are also protesting the World Bank meeting in Washington, DC and the Maine Walk for Peace is beginning.
This week we remembered Popular Resistance’s roots in the occupation of Freedom Plaza which began as October 2011. At that time we wondered if people were ready to take stronger actions to challenge the corrupt political and economic systems that rule and the answer in the form of hundreds of occupations and the ongoing protests that followed was a clear ‘Yes!”
That momentum continues to build through meetings, networking, actions and the creation of new systems. The culture of the movement now is ‘convergence’ and the question is: “How do we work together more effectively to change the system?” Even traditional non-governmental organizations are starting to question whether they are challenging the system or perpetuating it. This is good news. The tide is shifting.
Thousands march for justice in St. Louis
Grassroots groups in Ferguson, MO called for people to join them for a weekend of nonviolent action and thousands responded. The weekend began with a march from Clayton to the police station last night and today thousands marched in downtown St. Louis. The marches are well-organized and peaceful. The future may not be so peaceful as police are coordinating with the FBI to prepare for possible riots if the grand jury does not indict Officer Darren Wilson.
Getting justice for Mike Brown and the hundreds of others who are killed by police each year is an uphill battle. Davey D wrote about his concerns around another murder by police of an 18 year old black teen in St. Louis this past week, Vonderrick Myers. While doubts were raised about the actions of an unidentified off-duty police officer, police immediately pointed to Myers’ arrest record. But in an area that overwhelmingly arrests black males, it’s hard to escape having a record.
The roots of racism and police violence are long and deep in the United States. These issues have been bubbling at the surface for a while. Mike Brown’s murder and the clear injustices in Ferguson brought them to a boil. Now the question is how to use this energy and attention to solve these crises rather than adding to them. Here is one vision that has been put forth which suggests expanding the work beyond civil rights to a human rights framework.
The Ohio Student’s Association organized and carried out a powerful campaign this week seeking justice for John Crawford, 21 years old, who was murdered by an officer in a Walmart while carrying a toy gun. The students started by occupying the police station for 3 days asking for a meeting with the chief and when the chief did not accept their basic demands, they shut down the office by sitting-in outside of it.
We need more campaigns like this. And we need more actions like this lawyer took who saw a black man being stopped by police for no reason other than walking in a wealthy neighborhood. She confronted the police and told them to get out of the neighborhood. We need to understand our legal rights and help each other. Check out the Civil Liberties Defense Center for helpful resources. And remember that this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Free Marissa campaign is calling on Florida to drop the charges against Marissa Alexander.
The economic system that we are working to change is a form of capitalism called neo-liberalism. It’s a system that puts profit ahead of human rights and protection of the planet. It turns everything into a commodity. It privatizes our Commons and services through ‘public-private partnerships’ which are less partnership and more plundering.
The World Bank is a prime culprit in the global neo-liberal agenda and it’s time to call them out for it. Here is a new report that dispels the myths around the World Bank’s new approach to agriculture which is displacing millions of Indigenous People from their land. Another report shows that the World Bank is failing to address energy poverty. The World Bank annual meeting is in Washington, DC this weekend. Lively protests were held there yesterday featuring Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir and today. It was organized by the Our Land Our Business campaign and was part of an international day of action.
Other tools for the neoliberal agenda are global trade agreements such as the TPP and TAFTA. They give legal rights for corporations to sue governments if laws interfere with profits. Lambert Strether wrote about some of the worst ways this power has been abused. And this article describes a similar case in New Brunswick that threatens to open the area to fracking.
Today there were actions throughout Europe to protest the Atlantic agreement, TAFTA. And we are preparing for a week of actions to stop the TPP and TAFTA in November. Last year there were 35 actions in the US on the national day of action to stop the TPP. We can double that this year and send a strong message to Congress. Click here to learn more about what you can do.
Fossil Fuel Industry Forges Ahead
We must continue to escalate actions to stop the fossil fuel industry. This week, a gas pipeline that is heavily opposed by the public was approved in Vermont. A massive sit-in is being organized in Montpelier for October 27 to protest it. Join them if you can! Click here for more information.
The Federal Energy Regulation Commission recently approved the storage of methane gas in a cavern at Lake Seneca in New York and the construction of a gas export terminal in Maryland. Both of these are heavily opposed and the environmental impacts were inadequately studied. And it was revealed this week that the Cuomo administration pressured the USGS to alter a key study on the impacts of fracking.
That’s why the week of actions in Washington, DC from November 1 to 8, called Beyond Extreme Energy, couldn’t come at a better time. The FERC will be one of many targets. You can learn more and sign up here. We urge you to join the new Popular Resistance Climate Justice affinity group. We are organizing an action in DC on November 3 as part of Beyond Extreme Energy which you can join and if you can’t, we’ll keep you informed of activities around climate justice. Click here to sign up.
Stopping the War Machine
This week marked the beginning of the 14th year in Afghanistan. We marked that anniversary with a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New York City. For those of you who have followed the annual ceremony there, you will be pleased to know that the curfew was lifted and there were no arrests. This victory was bittersweet as we mourned the expansion of war and the continuing epidemic of suicides by veterans.
Once more, the Masters of War have succeeded in convincing the public to accept more wars. Jason Hirthler explains why the US is entering another quagmire. Unfortunately, endless war is the doctrine of the United States and it is embraced by both dominant political parties. Scott Tucker warns that peace activists must take on the Democratic Party if there is to be an end to war. As we did last fall, David Swanson calls for the anti-war movement to move past partisanship and work together to stop war.
And we urge you to take time this weekend to learn more about America’s first war, also called the American Holocaust. Elysse Bruce of Idle No More explains why Columbus should not be celebrated and in fact, Seattle just voted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples this Monday.
There is a lot happening and a lot to do. To learn more about the constructive actions that people are taking to create a better world, we urge you to visit the Create page on Popular Resistance. And if you are engaged in constructive work in your community, please share that with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.