You are hereNonviolent Resistance
WASHINGTON -- A group of concerned citizens and George Washington University students will be engaging in a sit-in on the ground floor of the Customs and Border Patrol Headquarters this morning, calling on officials to ignore President Trump’s latest controversial and bigoted executive order targeting Muslims and immigrant communities. Several participants are willing to risk arrest.
As a group in solidarity with many other organizations and individuals, “Each Other” is committed to calling out the racist, anti-immigrant policies of this administration. The group plans on visiting these offices again as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices in the DC area. In so doing, the group also hopes to make contact with officials and agents in these offices to personally urge responsible parties to resist and oppose Trump's mandates against immigrants, Muslims and any other group targeted for religion, race or country of origin.
Each Other will be acting in conjunction with DC Justice for Muslims who will be holding a rally simultaneously outside the Reagan building, which houses CBP.
“We want to appeal to the people working at CBP and ICE not to follow these incredibly prejudiced and frankly unlawful executive orders,” said Alison Schwartz of Each Other. “It is the rich ethnic and religious diversity which gives our nation its beauty, strength, and advancement.”
When: 8:00AM, Thursday March 2, 2017
Where: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC (14th Street Entrance)
Why: Citizen outrage to the president’s revised Muslim Travel Ban
It is already clearly apparent, as many predicted, that Donald Trump's election as president of the United States would signal the start of what might be the final monumental assault on much of what is good in our world.
Whatever our collective gains to date to create a world in which peace, social justice and environmental sustainability ultimately prevail for all of Earth's inhabitants, we stand to lose it all in the catastrophic sequence of events that Trump is now initiating with those who share his delusional worldview.
I want to disagree, in part, with a recent recommendation that John Steinbeck's The Moon Is Down be used as a guide to resisting the outrages of the Trump regime. I think you could present the basic plot to an average middle school student today, and they would point out the fundamental flaw quite quickly.
Here's the plot. Nazis armed with machine guns take over a small Norwegian town that has a 12-member army, instantly killing 6, injuring 3, and sending 3 into hiding. The Nazis want all the townsfolk to cooperate, including by working in a coal mine so that coal can be shipped out to help the Nazis in the war, as well as -- of course -- generally providing food, shoveling snow, and keeping things running in the town. The townsfolk bitterly resent the occupation. Yet they generally cooperate in all ways, except when they find opportunities to kill a German soldier or two. They send to England for dynamite with which to blow up bridges. No other resistance tactics even occur to them.
Does something occur to you? Does it occur to you that a mine won't run if the miners all refuse to enter it? The fact that this occurs to a great many people today is the result of intellectual and practical progress. We know now that nonviolent tools are the most likely to succeed. We have models and plans for potential situations. This response -- unthinkable through most of human history -- has almost become common sense today.
In part, that's because of the real history of Norway. A strong case has been made that Norway avoided developing its own brand of Nazism in the 1930s by means of using strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and nonviolent occupations to democratize its society, rather than the violent approach used in some other countries. Norway also used, not just violence, but largely nonviolent resistance (as well as violence against non-living things, aka sabotage) to resist Nazi occupation.
Leaders of the Norwegian resistance were, appropriately enough, school teachers, who refused to cooperate with a puppet government, and inspired others to do the same. U.S. teachers should be, and in some cases are, leading resistance to Trump's agenda for the United States. So should local and state governments. So should prominent individuals and organizations of all sorts. I think this is what the article linked above has in mind, too, in recommending The Moon Is Down. But that tale needs updating.
Even so, The Moon Is Down, begins to get close to what's needed. It was a controversial book, and is a good book, because it depicts the Nazis occupying Norway as human beings, just as the people obeying orders to yank Muslims off airplanes in the United States today are human beings. Steinbeck depicts foreign occupations as hopeless and dreams of being welcomed with flowers and chocolates as insane -- something the United States has been in desperate need of learning these past 16 years. The Nazis fail to occupy the town in the story not because they are racists or sexists or haven't donated to the Clinton Foundation, but because there is no way to occupy someone else's town successfully, whether or not the people of the town have been "disarmed."
The Moon Is Down makes the powerful point that the victims of war do not excuse the crimes because the crimes are part of a war. After all, most of them have never attended any U.S. university, so they don't know any better. When the Nazi commander orders the mayor to order the killing of one of his citizens for the crime of murdering a German soldier, he asks if they will punish their own troops for the crime of killing six Norwegian soldiers. Murder is murder, after all, even -- I would bet Steinbeck might agree -- when a flying robot is used.
But the idea that today Norwegian villagers occupied by German troops would be wisest to engage in assassination, as opposed to mass non-violent resistance live streamed on the internet, seems hopelessly outdated. If we want to resist strategically, if we want to transform positively, we will have to update our toolkit dramatically. Looking back at how people thought 75 years ago should serve us primarily as an inspiring reminder of how far we've come, and thereby as an indication of how much further we can go in changing the way we think and act. The permanent military state into which Trump now wants to dump 65% of discretionary spending was begun by people who basically didn't know any more about how societies can work than Aristotle knew about evolution. Perhaps we should reconsider our devotion to their manner of resistance -- which is, after all, what the Pentagon believes it is leading.
L.A. Kauffman is the author of Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism. She has spent more than 30 years immersed in radical movements, as a journalist, historian, organizer, and strategist. Her writings on grassroots activism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, the Village Voice, and many other outlets. She served as executive editor for the radical theory journal Socialist Review and as an award-winning national political columnist for SF Weekly, focusing on dissent and activism. Kauffman was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive February 15, 2003 antiwar protest in New York City. She continued in this role through the years of major antiwar protests, including those that greeted the 2004 Republican National Convention.
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Nonviolent action is extremely powerful.
Unfortunately, however, activists do not always understand why nonviolence is so powerful and they design ‘direct actions’ that are virtually powerless.
I would like to start by posing two questions. Why is nonviolent action so powerful? And why is using it strategically so transformative?
By Joy First
I was with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) in DC on January 20, one of many groups demonstrating against Trump during his inauguration. NCNR has been speaking out and acting in resistance against the crimes of our government since 2003. Though our focus has been on ending war, including drone warfare, we have recognized the intersectionality with other issues such as racial justice, social-economic justice, and the threat of ecocide resulting from the climate crisis, and have brought those issues into our work. Many of us have been arrested over and over in acts of nonviolent civil resistance during the Bush and Obama years.
We had been planning a direct action for the inauguration since last spring, but we fully expected that we would be up against Hillary Clinton With Clinton in office there was no question that the wars started by Bush and Obama would continue and even escalate, and so our work in resistance would have continued. But with Trump’s surprising win in November, everyone was left stunned. His stated views on women, racism, immigration, and on and on left so many fearful of what the future would hold. We would take action on January 20 knowing it would be a totally different atmosphere than we had expected.
By Kathy Kelly
This morning, here in Minneapolis, I’ll learn whether six jurors believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Dan Wilson and I are criminals. The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015 outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex. Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head. Several witnesses say that he was handcuffed and motionless when he was shot dead. The police officers have been cleared of all charges and are back on the job.
Dan and I are among 25 defendants charged with obstructing a Minneapolis Metro transit vehicle on April 11, the opening day of the Minnesota Twins baseball season. The Legal Rights Center lawyers working with us arranged a calendar so that small groups would be tried weekly. Earlier this month, two people were acquitted of all charges and one person has been convicted. Two days ago, Andrew Gordon and Priyanka Premo, lawyers from the Minneapolis Legal Rights Center who are representing Dan and me, began the jury selection process. Yesterday, evidence was presented and the six-person jury was asked to determine a verdict. The jury didn't arrive at a verdict last night. We felt grateful they are not rushing to judgement on what many would see as a cut and dry case. The prosecution presented, as evidence, a photo of me standing, arms linked with others, in front of a bus.
Friday, December 23, as many throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth in Palestine of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, four members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Reaper Drone Base on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt in upstate New York.
The four set up a nativity manger tableaus in the driveway entrance to the Hancock base. Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.
The MQ9 Reaper is a robotic, satellite-linked, remote assassin flying unmanned missions over Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern, African and West Asian nations. The CIA uses Reapers for its illegal lethal missions over northwest Pakistan.
According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan ,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools [downloadable], such missions are responsible in that region for the deaths of hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, and for the terrorizing of thousands more.
Bev Rice, playing Mary, noted that “If Herod had had a Reaper drone, Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have been incinerated.” John Amidon, playing Joseph, further declared, “The indiscriminate and illegal killings of so many holy families in the MiddleEast must stop!”
Today’s civil resistance action is one chapter in Upstate Drone Action’s six-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock AFB war crime. Since 2010 there have been over 170 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock. These have resulted in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and so-called “Orders of Protection”…as well as some acquittals in the De Witt Town Court.
Those arrested Friday:
~ John Amidon, Albany, NY
~ Ed Kinane, Syracuse, NY
~ Jules Orkin, Bergenfield, NJ
~ Bev Rice, New York, NY.
The pipe ends at Standing Rock.
That is also where
We Dream the end to oil.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ellen Grady 607) 279-8303 cell
28 November 2016 Ed Kinane 315) 478-451 home
FIVE DEFENDANTS TO BE TRIED BY JURY IN DEWITT TOWN COURT, 5400
BUTTERNUT DRIVE, 5 PM TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29 FOR THEIR 3/19/15
“BIG BOOKS” ANTI- WEAPONIZED DRONE ACTION AT HANCOCK AIRBASE…
PRESS CONFERENCE OUTSIDE COURT AT 4:30 PM
On March 19, 2015 on the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, seven members of Upstate Drone Action Coalition/Ground the Drone and End
The Wars were arrested at Hancock Air Base for nonviolently protesting its lethal and illegal use of MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan.
The seven deployed giant (seven by four feet) replicas of four books across the main entrance to Hancock AFB, the home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard – a major hunter/killer Reaper drone hub. The books: the UN Charter; Jeremy Scahill’s “Dirty Wars”; NYU and Stanford Law School’s “Living Under Drones”; Reprieve’s human rights report “You Never Die Twice.”
Five of the seven, being tried tomorrow evening in Judge David S. Gideon’s court, are charged with trespass, disorderly conduct and obstructing Governmental Administration (a misdemeanor carrying a maximum one year sentence):
~ Daniel Burns, Ithaca, 607) 280-0369
~ Brian Hynes, the Bronx, 718)838-2636 cell
~ Ed Kinane, Syracuse, 315) 478-4571 home
~ Fr. Bill Pickard, Scranton, 570) 498-3789 cell
~ James Ricks, Ithaca, 607) 280-7794
Two other defendants, Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse and Bev Rice of New York City, will presumably be tried in 2017. The two women are also facing a contempt charge for allegedly violating an Order of Protection forbidding the women from exercising their First Amendment right to protest at Hancock.
Defendant Daniel Burns stated: “Drone warfare kills many innocents, including children. As a father of three beautiful children, I feel a moral obligation to try and stop drone warfare. Especially with Donald Trump preparing to assume the presidency, people of conscience must do everything in our power to stop such violations of human rights and international law.” ###
Wounded Knee III in the making?: It’s Cowboy Cops Cavalry against Peaceful Indians and their Anglo Supporters at Standing Rock
By Dave Lindorff
Photo Credit: Richard Bluecloud Casteneda | Greenpeace USA
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Judge Disregards Testimony of First Amendment Activists Arrested at Pentagon, Accepts Flawed Observations of Police Officer
WHO: Activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) gathered at the Pentagon on September 26, 2016, following the three–day World Beyond War conference at American University entitled “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism.” Some of the participants protested the ongoing US wars, the use of armed drones, and the increasing Pentagon budget. Twenty-one others attempted to deliver a petition listing the above grievances with a request for a meeting with a representative of Secretary of War Ashton Carter. The Pentagon police would not accept the petition or act on the request. Instead these First Amendment activists were arrested and charged with Failure to Obey a Lawful Order.
WHAT: For years, antiwar activists seeking a meeting have been sending their grievances to various branches of the government. However, government officials rarely respond to the communication or agreed to meet with activists who state, for example, that killer drone strikes violate the law. So on September 26, a group went to the Pentagon with a petition to seek a meeting. Some had their cases dismissed, and some paid a citation processing fee.
Some of the most misguided questions ever conceived by the human brain take the form of "But how do you use nonviolence against . . . ?"
For example, fill in the blank with ISIS. How do you use nonviolence against ISIS?
Now you're supposed to picture yourself with a knife at your throat trying to resist it nonviolently. Then you're supposed to burst into a fit of laughter.
But how would you resist that knife violently? A superhuman feat of martial arts seems at least as unlikely to work as speaking.
But actually possible before the knife arrives at your throat at all are such nonviolent actions as: ceasing to arm ISIS allies, ceasing to allow U.S. allies to fund ISIS, ceasing to inspire ISIS recruiting by bombing people and propping up brutal governments, ceasing to destabilize countries by overthrowing governments, negotiating an arms embargo, negotiating a cease fire, providing actual humanitarian aid on an appropriate scale, opening borders to refugees, investing in efforts to halt climate chaos, strengthening the rule of law by example, kick starting a reverse arms race, abolishing weapons of mass destruction, and -- of course -- using all the tools of nonviolence as an individual to create these policies.
Or fill in the blank with Vladimir Putin. Now you're supposed to imagine some mash up of Vladimir coming at you in a wrestling match, Russian jets flying along the border of Russia thousands of miles away from the United States, and a nuclear bomb landing on your roof. Then you're supposed to burst into a fit of patriotic singing.
But how would you resist Vladimir Putin violently? He's not really wrestling you. Attacking Russian planes might provoke an actual attack by the Russian military, and shooting at the nuke as it comes through the ceiling isn't likely to de-activate it. But actually possible steps that would help include: abolishing NATO, negotiating disarmament agreements, ending foreign wars, closing foreign bases, strengthening the rule of law by example, etc.
My favorite, however, is: "But How Do You Use Nonviolence Against a Nuke?" For this one, we don't need to invent or speculate. We can simply reply: Learn the actions of Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed, and go forth and do likewise. There are thousands of other answers as well. You can lobby for the 2017 treaty to ban nuclear weapons. You can push for divestment from nuclear weapons. You can teach history. You can write articles like this one. But a central answer should be: Do something like Walli, Rice, and Boertje-Obed are doing.
The actions of those three are the main focus of a new book by Dan Zak called Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age. The book reviews useful history of the development of the bomb and of resistance to it including the Catholic Worker movement, of nuclear testing and human experimentation, and of recent developments in disarmament, armament, and activism. But the book takes as its starting point the nonviolent plowshares action that Michael, Megan (pronounced MEE-gan), and Greg took part in on July 28, 2012, at the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Their action clearly has already inspired this book, as well as much other reporting, and much other activism -- with, I hope, a lot more to come.
These three activists made their way through the surrounding woods and a number of fences into the heart of the Y-12 facility undetected. They painted graffiti peace messages, spilled blood, and protested the creation of nuclear weapons. That they were elderly and one of them a nun was the overwhelming focus of the resulting media coverage. That the United States has nuclear facilities being run by utterly incompetent private companies living high off the tax dollar hog but endangering the globe was a secondary but important focus as well. The sensible guard who avoided escalating the situation was scapegoated and fired. Supposedly changes have been made now so that giant piles of bomb-ready uranium are guarded with at least some fraction of the care devoted to harassing you before you board an airplane.
Michael, Megan, and Greg were put on trial for sabotage or what the judge called a "federal crime of terrorism." They were convicted, imprisoned, and released when that verdict was later overturned. They have promised to continue their activism.
Meanwhile, the book they inspired offers a rich history of which we should all be aware.
Did you know that high school girls preparing the infernos for Hiroshima and Nagasaki were told and presumably believed that they were manufacturing ice cream?
Did you know that Oak Ridge employed over 22,000 people when FDR died and Germany surrendered, and that sheer bureaucratic momentum blocked any consideration of halting the creation of a nuclear bomb?
Zak's book includes gems from the Berrigans' and allies' poetry: "We wish also to challenge the lethal lie spun by G.E. through its motto, 'We bring good things to life.' As manufacturers of the Mark 12A re-entry vehicle, G.E. actually prepares to bring good things to death."
Only occasionally does the author's background as a Washington Post reporter (as opposed to a member of the peace movement he writes about) come through. For example, he recounts a moment when "opposition to the Vietnam war was reaching its ugly peak." He repeatedly suggests that Vladimir Putin has single-handedly restarted the Cold War without any contribution from the U.S. government or NATO. He claims that North Korea has been "led by a succession of madmen." And his reporting in six different places on the views of others as to whether the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was actually needed to end the war would have benefitted from the addition of his own voice on the matter (presuming him to know that the bombing was not needed).
Still, this is a wonderful book inspired by even more wonderful activism. We should have more of both.
This Natural Disaster Assistance Law Is Why Other States Are Policing Dakota Access Pipeline Protests
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Almost exactly 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill creating an interstate agreement for emergency management. That inconspicuous law has opened the door for the current flood of out-of-state law enforcement agents present at the continuing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.
Keywords to add to all electronic communications: As the Surveillance Expands, Best Way to Resist is to Bury the NSA in Garbage
By Dave Lindorff
Word that Yahoo! last year, at the urging of the National Security Agency, secretly developed a program that monitored the mail of all 280 million of its customers and turned over to the NSA all mail from those who used any of the agency's thousands of keywords, shows that the US has become a total police state in terms of trying to monitor every person in the country (and outside too).
As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned. When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line 'My life is my message' reflecting his lifelong struggle against violence.
Gandhi's life was dotted with many memorable quotes but one that is less well known is this: 'You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results'.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
As eyes turned to the most viewed presidential debate in U.S. history, the Obama administration meanwhile quietly auctioned off thousands of acres of land for oil and gas drilling in national forests, opened up 119 million acres for offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and delivered a blow to the Endangered Species Act.
Standing firm at Standing Rock: Discussing the Largest Political Action by Indigenous Americans since Wounded Knee in ‘73
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Photo Credit: C-SPAN
On September 9, the Obama administration revoked authorization for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on federally controlled lands and asked the pipeline's owners, led by Energy Transfer Partners, to voluntarily halt construction on adjacent areas at the center of protests by Native Americans and supporters.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
G4S, a company hiring security staff to guard the hotly contested Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), also works to guard oil and gas industry assets in war-torn Iraq, and has come under fire by the United Nations for human rights abuses allegedly committed while overseeing a BP pipeline in Colombia and elsewhere while on other assignments.
As I read of the latest coup in Brazil, once again removing a democratically elected leader from power, my anger surged. Not again! However, as I see and read about the ongoing massive protests, as well as calls by prominent community leaders to mobilize in defense of your country's democracy, I feel great hope for Brazil. Having been a nonviolent activist for many years, I would like to support Brazilian activists to develop a nonviolent strategy that will increase your chances of success.