ACTIVISM, ACTIONS, RESISTANCE FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND ECOLOGY NEWSLETTER #11, October 5, 2015.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
(#2: June 23, 2011; #3 1-1-2012; #4 April 9, 2012; #5 Nov. 27, 2012; #6, March 24, 2013; #7 Sept. 15, 2013; #8 March 4, 2014; #9, June 1, 2014; #10, August 2014)
For a discussion of “activism,” OMNI, and these newsletters, see Activism Newsletter #9 (June 1, 2014).
What is the mission of OMNI?
With the Quakers (AFSC, FCNL) we seek:
a world free of war and the threat of war,
a society with equity and justice for all,
a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled,
and an earth restored.
LOOKING FOR A GUIDE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS MISSION? SEE OMNI’S ACTIVISM NEWSLETTERS.
Contents of Activism Newsletter #11 Oct. 5, 2015
Insurrection Against a Corrupt, Tyrannous Corporate State
The Dandelion Insurrection: Love and Revolution by Rivera Sun
Orange Rain by Jan Smitowicz
Ervin Staub, Good and Resistance to Evil
Allan Adam (a Giraffe)
Andy Hall (another)
Organizations, Groups, Movements
Giraffe Project (see above)
Earth First! And Earth First! The Journal of Ecological Resistance
Catholic Church, Pope Francis for Peace Education
The Catholic Worker
Dick, In These Times
Radical Brownies in Oakland
Brave New Films on a Dozen Justice Topics
Broad’s Book, Citizen Initiatives
After Ferguson, Youth in Revolt
Dick: Winston Alpha, Don’t Just Protest, Make Demands
Ann White, Food Protest Tactics during the Depression
Chris Crass, Towards Collective Liberation
Contents of #10
Blog: The War Department and Peace Heroes
The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun
"When fear is used to control; love is how we rebel!" Under a gathering storm of tyranny, Zadie Byrd Gray whirls into the life of Charlie Rider and asks him to become the voice of the Dandelion Insurrection. With the rallying cry of life, liberty, and love, Zadie and Charlie fly across America leaving a wake of revolution in their path. Passion erupts. Danger abounds. The lives of millions hang by a thin thread of courage, but in the midst of the madness, the golden soul of humanity blossoms . . . and miracles start to unfold! LEARN MORE>> http://www.riverasun.com/online-store/the-dandelion-insurrection/
From the desk of Rivera Sun comes a novel about the refusal of the human heart to submit to destructive authority.
“In a time that looms around the corner of today, in a place on the edge of our nation.”
Under a gathering storm of tyranny, Zadie Byrd Gray whirls into the life of Charlie Rider and asks him to become the voice of the Dandelion Insurrection. With the rallying cry of life, liberty, and love, Zadie and Charlie fly across America leaving a wake of revolution in their path. Passion erupts. Danger abounds. The lives of millions hang by a thin thread of courage, but in the midst of the madness, the golden soul of humanity blossoms . . . and miracles start to unfold!
Read more excerpts from The Dandelion Insurrection . . .
“The Dandelion Insurrection is as small as baking bread in your oven, and as large as bringing down dictators.”
The Dandelion Insurrection is the story of nonviolent revolution in the United States. This book offers through its story many tools and strategies developed by countless leaders throughout history, including Gandhi, Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, and Professor Gene Sharp. From marches to cazerolazo pot-and-pan protests to strikes to Victory Gardens for the People; the Dandelion Insurrection shares ideas that have changed the world. (You can see a sneak peak of the book in our gallery!)
“Be like the dandelions, spring up in intolerable soils, dare to stand up against violence, and blossom into love!”
More Praise for The Dandelion Insurrection
“This is THE handbook for the coming revolution!” -Lo Daniels, editor, Dandelion Salad
“Close your eyes and imagine the force of the people and the power of love overcoming the force of greed and the love of power. Then read The Dandelion Insurrection. In a world where despair has deep roots, The Dandelion Insurrection bursts forth with joyful abandon.” – Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of CodePink
“I predict it will be a major contributor to the change in history that WE are all being called to write together.” -Malathy Drew, founder of Whispering Energy
“This novel will not only make you want to change the world, it will remind you that you can. Let The Dandelion Insurrection take root in your heart.” – Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds, winner of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction
“I love this book! It beautifully captures the revolution of love that is sweeping the globe, told as an epic novel that will set your heart on fire. A rare gem of a book, a must read, it charts the way forward in this time of turmoil and transformation. If you loved Occupy Love, you will love the Dandelion Insurrection!” – Velcrow Ripper, director Occupy Love, Genie Award Winner
The Dandelion Insurrection
"When fear is used to control; love is how we rebel!" Under a gathering storm of tyranny, Zadie Byrd Gray whirls into the life of Charlie Rider and asks him to become the voice of the Dandelion Insurrection. With the rallying cry of life, liberty, and love, Zadie and Charlie fly across America leaving a wake of revolution in their path. Passion erupts. Danger abounds. The lives of millions hang by a thin thread of courage, but in the midst of the madness, the golden soul of humanity blossoms . . . and miracles start to unfold! LEARN MORE>>
More Quotes from Readers and Reviewers:
“Rivera Sun’s The Dandelion Insurrection takes place in a dystopia just a hop, skip and jump away from today’s society. A fundamentally political book with vivid characters and heart stopping action. It’s a must and a great read.” – Judy Rebick, activist and author of Occupy This!
“The seeds of Rivera Sun’s The Dandelion Insurrection are sure to blow across the hearts of all who read this important novel, a beautifully written book just like the dandelion plant itself, punching holes through the concert of corporate terror, and inviting all to join in the insurrection.” – Keith McHenry, co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement
“With all its twists of plot, and myriad of characters, it is not only entertaining, it offers a lot of insights as to how the citizens of the US can reclaim their country from the corporations and political stooges which have taken it over.” -Guadamour, reviewer (read full review)
“You are a great part of today’s MOVEMENT!” -Joe Hock, OWS, March Against Monsanto
“The words penetrate the mind, heart, and soul of the reader in a way that is powerful and captivating.” -Rebecca Blackwell
“A life-changing novel … that describes how we, the people, could take our rights back from the powers that be (politicians, bureaucrats, and the corporate fatcats who own them) by peaceful action.” -Karen Lane
“This book had me at hello.” – Chris Moats, reader
“Written on the winds of hope, this book presents a political prophesy showing how a people united can defeat corporate/statist tyranny through the force of their will.” Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, author of The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S.: 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel.
“Be kind, be connected, be unafraid. With this slogan of the Dandelion Insurrection, Rivera Sun beckons us to address the crises of our day with kindness, in community and from courage. With these tools, we can change the world one heart, one home, one block at a time.” – Anne Symens-Bucher, Canticle Farm
“Rivera Sun knows how to articulate what is going on in our country and the world and that’s a gift. I wish I could say this is some far away future that could never happen here but alas it’s already arrived.” Jill Dalton, actor, author
“The Dandelion Insurrection is reminiscent of George Orwell’s masterpiece “1984,” the chilling prophecy about the possible future in a totalitarian state. Rivera Sun’s new book is a wakeup call about a possible military-industrial complex take over in the United States. This opus is a well-written allegory of what could happen in the future and how only through the power of love we can make real change in the world. Like Bayard Rustin who brought the concept of non-violent change from Gandhi’s India to the civil rights movement in the 1950s, Ms. Sun has eloquently shown us how ordinary citizens can transform a repressive society through the power of nonviolence and love. This book is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet.” – Ted Zeff, Ph.D. author of “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide” and “Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son from the Violent Boy Culture.”
“It’s rare phenomenon when a writer can move a reader to tears in the beginning chapters of a fictional novel. Wherein an inconceivable swelling heart calls the Soul forward to imagine its grand mythic journey as part of a great consciousness movement that delivers a bright future. Rivera Sun paints poetry on the canvas of ‘possibility and potential’, while pressure washing the grim dirty distortions of corporate/government/military collusion to reveal humanity’s fertile common ground smothered by capitalism’s greed for profit at all costs. ‘The Dandelion Insurrection’ is a personal invitation to engage life, love, and liberty as an evolutionary revolutionary dedicated to thriving cooperatively with the natural world, and each other, for shared existence to continue blossoming … like dandelions.” – Kevin ‘StarFire’ Spitzer, ‘Conciliation Sunday’ radio host, KZSC, Santa Cruz, writer, mentor, visionary thinker.
“This is a very inspiring read…I got even more fired up about what I want to create for our world at this time. My doubts and hesitations were dissolved. I am now full of courage and fire. Thank you Rivera; your words are contagious!” – Sheila Ramsey, Personal Leadership Consultant
“If you are seeking to understand our evolved world and how to unite and prosper, I urge you to read “The Dandelion Insurrection”. It reflects intelligent thinking that can revolutionize who we are as a civilization. You will read about ideas that connect with your knowing on a deep level because make perfect sense. It is great entertainment and an educational tool that can make a difference in living and understanding our world. We are all looking for ways to harmonize, unify, love and collaboration in order to create the harmony we all need and desire. “The Dandelion Insurrection” is a must read.” – Lauren Taite Vines CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) Ruts to Rainbows and author of The New Dawn on Planet Earth
“To weave reality into imperative fiction is the work of creative genius. Rivera Sun has me weeping with gratitude as she brings to character the real people who now place their bodies on the line because there is simply nothing left to do but this, to rise with courage, hearts opened wide in belief of the common thread. Rivera writes the revelation of revolution in timeless fashion. Dandelion Insurrection is a prayer seven billion hearts strong and counting.” – Megan Hollingsworth, Founder at Extinction Witness
“Honoring her name, sister Rivera Sun, nourishes us with her warm rays of kinship, waters our hearts with the story telling of courage, and composts our fears and oppressions into the soil of insurgent fearless love. Moreover, her kind-connected-unafraid means keep igniting the supernova’s aliveness of the Total (R)evolution of the human spirit one dandelion, one star, at a time to form an entire galaxy of love warriors and love magicians, coming from the North and the rest of the seven directions, now, today.” – Pancho Ramos Stierle, Occupy Oakland, Peace Activist http://www.riverasun.com/online-store/the-dandelion-insurrection/
REVENGE AGAINST MONSANTO
A legless veteran and his Vietnamese ir lfriend embark on a cross-country journey through the dark heart of mid-1980s America to exact revenge on the loathsome Monsanto Corporation, whose Agent Orange decimated both their lives.
From the illicit pharmaceutical underworld of San Francisco’s Tenderloin to the cocaine-dusted film set of amputee porn in booming Las Vegas; from the urban-industrial hideout of vegan militant black revolutionaries to a botched backyard lynching by Texas frat boys and the liberation of their chained, abused pit bull. . . Orange Rain hurtles from one stunning scene to the next, swaying between the hilarious and the hideous. Its humor is darker than the Marlboro Man’s coffee (and his lung cancer). A wildly twisted novel, but also one with undeniable heart and compassion. It is an ode to humans’ ability to endure in the face of horrific suffering. A celebration of feminine strength and spirit. You’ve likely never read anything quite like it.
“The eco-warriors next door embark o
Thanks to my wonderful, egalitarian, vegan-owned, Eco-conscious publisher Trebol Press for taking this on!
“Orange Rain is not a politically correct novel—which is why it is so appealing . . . [the main] character has a clear revenge mission he never wavers from. Revenge is exacted on more than one oppressor, including two different rapists . . . [It’s] the type of book that could never be published by a mainstream publisher, as they would be too afraid to touch the taboo subjects it contains. Jan Smitowicz’s first novel . . . is fast-moving, fun to read, and isn’t the same old tired thing we see coming from traditional publishers.” -Kimberly Steele, author of Forever Fifteen and other novels
“A compelling, fast-paced adventure through some of society’s most intriguing subcultures . . . filled with incisive political commentary. This timely and important novel is a must read for anyone concerned about the state of the planet, or simply looking for a good read.” -Camille Marino, former political prisoner, founder of and Eleventh Hour for Animals
“An exciting new author with a new voice to bring to the world of fiction. The literary world is in desperate need of more writers like him.” Veronica Rosas, playwright
Ervin Staub. The roots of goodness and resistance to evil: Inclusive caring, moral courage, altruism born of suffering, active bystandership and heroism. Oxford U P, 2015. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-roots-of-goodness-and-resistance-to-evil-9780195382037?cc=us&lang=en&
DEMOCRACY NOW, DEC. 29, 2014
Peace activist Kathy Kelly is about to begin a three-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. drone war at a military base in Missouri earlier this year. Kelly, along with ... Read More
Mother of determination. Remember her. May she be born again among us.
GIRAFFE HEROES PROJECT
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Sample news from Earth First! and the radical environmental movement; informative articles, debate, analysis.
It’s Official: 19 European Countries Say ‘No’ to GMOsearthfirstjournal.org/new…
Thousands March for the Protection of Forests and Water Sources in Matagalpa, Nicaraguaearthfirstjournal.org/new…
The Badass Beaver-Like Mammal That Outlived the Dinosaursearthfirstjournal.org/new…
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Earth First! Worldwide. Worldwide. EarthFirst.org. About · Earth First! Humboldt Croatan Earth First! Earth First! UK · Sourthwest Earth First! EF! Italy Katuah Earth
Pope Francis supports peace education in schools
2015-05-05 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Vatican Press Office Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis is an enthusiastic supporter of peace education in schools. Father Lombardi was speaking at a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday held to speak about the “Factory of Peace” project that has been launched by leading educational, political and church figures to help schoolchildren realise the importance of peace and dialogue with others. The press conference comes just days before a scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and seven thousand children in the Vatican (on May 11th) to talk about the themes of peace, love, welcome and integration.
. [Sounds like a high school effort similar in spirit to the Fulbright Exchange. What is the Vatican budget for the endeavor?]
THE CATHOLIC WORKER
(Oct. Nov. 2014). Includes:
Articles: “The Vision of Dorothy Day” by Cornel West; “Her Name Was Charity” by Bill Kylie-Kellerman (Charity Hicks is “the Rosa Parks of the Detroit water struggle”); Window of Hope in Afghanistan” by Carmen Trotta (who rescues “abandoned children” in Kabul); and more.
Book Reviews: Jesus Was a Migrant by Deirdre Cornell (2014), rev. by Amanda Daloisio; Pursuing the Roots of Protest: Merton, Berrigan, Yoder, and Muste at the Gethsemani Abbey. . . .by Gordon Oyer, rev. by Ted Walker; Hazard or Hardship: Crafting Global Norms on the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work by Jeffrey Hilgert, rev. by Tom Cornell. --Dick
Along with the CW, IN THESE TIMES Is One of the many magazines supporting peace, justice, and the environment. If we don’t pay for our news from independent sources like ITT, then who will pay reporters and publishers for their writings? Corporations of course. If you seek cheap news, when you can afford to pay, you are part of the problem of US information control by the plutocracy. Dick
ITT Newsletter 20 Sept 2014 http://inthesetimes.com/
TOP STORIES THIS WEEK
Naomi Klein: 'We Can't Dodge This Fight' Between Capitalism and Climate Change
The author explains what right-wing climate-change deniers understand and liberals don't.
BY MICAH UETRICHT
Christmas Comes Early for War Profiteers
It's a good time to be an arms dealer.
BY LEONARD C. GOODMAN
Naomi Klein's New Book Is a Manual for a Movement
This Changes Everything argues that only grassroots movements, not politicians or the 1%, can prevent climate disaster.
BY COLE STANGLER
A Summer of Rubble
What are we to make of the eruptions of violence around the Earth?
BY JANE MILLER
Is Obama Going Easy On Banks That Break the Law?
Credit Suisse employees have donated more than $376,000 to President Obama-is he repaying the favor?
BY DAVID SIROTA
WORKING IN THESE TIMES
Rank-and-File Rail Workers Rebel Against Single-Person Crews
Railroad workers defeat a "recipe for disaster."
BY KARI LYDERSEN
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CONNECT IN THESE TIMES Is One of the many magazines supporting peace, justice, and the environment. If we don’t pay for our news from independent sources like ITT, then who will pay reporters and publishers of their writings? Corporations of course. If you seek cheap news, and you can afford to pay, you are part of the problem of US information control by the plutocracy.
In These Times is in part sponsored by the United Auto Workers of America (UAW), the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Puffin Foundation.
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GIRL SCOUTS’BROWNIES RADICAL? NEW SOCIAL JUSTICE TROOP
Aviana Willis, “The Radical Brownies.” In These Times (March 2015). Young girls in Oakland, CA have a “social-justice focused girls’ troop” modeled upon the Girl Scouts’ Brownies but not officially affiliated. “Its mission: to “empower young girls of color so that they step into their collective power.” --Dick
Dec 30 (1 day ago)
Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy by Robin Broad
Global Backlash is the first book to move beyond the monolithic portrayal of the globalization protests that have escalated since Seattle and are not likely to abate soon. With trenchant analysis and dozens of primary documents from a variety of popular and uncommon sources, Robin Broad explores proposals and initiatives coming from the backlash to answer the question, 'But what do they want?' A range of sophisticated propositions and a vibrant debate among segments of the backlash emerge. Highly readable and analytically powerful, this book is vital to understanding the most potent protest movement of our times.
The protests that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown created a network of youth in revolt.
October 8, 2014 | This article appeared in the October 27, 2014 edition of The Nation.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
When Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, King D. Seals, age 27, was at the crime scene within the hour. He lives just a few blocks away from Canfield Green, the predominantly black apartment complex where the unarmed teenager was shot. He saw Brown’s body, which would lie on the street for an additional three hours. “It wasn’t even a protest yet,” Seals said about the gathering when he first arrived. “It was a black boy being shot in the community. It was about ten other women and men out there, and the family.” The next day, members of the community passed around a large plastic bag for donations to Brown’s family. Seals put in $100; others donated $50, $20, whatever they could. By the end of the day, the bag was filled with money. “Before it became a riot, before it became a protest, it was just the community coming together,” Seals said.
On the second night, there was a protest on West Florissant Avenue, and the St. Louis County police met it with armored vehicles, M-4 rifles and riot gear. Officer Wilson remained unidentified and unarraigned, even as protesters called for his arrest. During the first week, a few demonstrators resorted to property damage to air their grievances. Seals remained on the front lines through the height of the police crackdown—and not for the first time. Last year, he protested when Cary Ball Jr. was fatally shot twenty-one times by police officers in St. Louis City. He is still in contact with Ball’s mother. Recalling the differences between last year’s demonstrations and this year’s, Seals said that the protests in the wake of Brown’s death were more effective. After Ball was killed, “we did everything positive; we did everything peaceful…I feel like [the Ball protest] is a prime example that when you do things quote-unquote ‘the right way,’ you don’t get any results.” The internal police investigation later declared the shooting of Ball justified.
The outcome of last year’s protests left Seals distrustful of community leaders like Antonio French, a Ferguson alderman, and the clergy in St. Louis, who have urged a voter-registration campaign in the wake of the recent protests. After watching politician after politician come and go without any improvement in the communities he’s grown up in, Seals is skeptical that voting will solve the many problems plaguing the area, especially the poverty and systemic racism—problems he knows all too well from mentoring local kids, “the same people out there fighting and putting their lives on the line every day [at the protests]. The same kids that are written off as thugs and criminals and nothing.”
Since the protests began, a few people have started to call him and several friends the “Ferguson Freedom Fighters.” Moving forward, Seals hopes to improve economic security for the black community in Ferguson. Although the city’s resident population is about 67 percent black, the majority of businesses there (55 percent) are white-owned. Seals plans to create a T-shirt print shop that would provide local black youth with jobs. “We don’t need leadership; we need ownership,” he said. “We need black-owned businesses in the black community. We need a whole different system; we don’t need a different person in the [existing] system.”
Seals recalls getting harassed by police ever since he was old enough to leave the house alone. “It’s like South Africa apartheid out here,” he said. “Why [are] all these white people controlling these black communities?”
* * *
The Ferguson Freedom Fighters were not the only ad hoc group to form in the crucible of the Michael Brown protests. Marching for justice during the day, and running through clouds of tear gas by night, young protesters bonded and shared ideas. Cliques formed, occasionally along the lines of common interest or social class, but more often by happenstance: the Lost Voices, the Millennial Activists United and Hands Up United. When the protests slowed, these groups stayed in touch. They held strategy meetings in churches and schools, attended training sessions by national organizations, made T-shirts and solicited donations. They have shifted the political culture in the city, and their goals, as they develop, will be crucial to its future.
This new generation of protesters represents a marked break with the older generations of black leaders in the city. They disagreed with the tactics of the civic leaders and clergy members who, for example, urged protesters to obey police curfews widely viewed by the young people as disrespectful of the community’s legitimate outrage. Most of these older leaders already had a stake in the political process in St. Louis through nonprofits or as politicians. National figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were treated with similar skepticism. Jackson was booed at a rally when he asked for donations. Resisting co-optation, the majority of St. Louis’s young protesters took matters into their own hands. As Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, assistant professor of the humanities at Harris-Stowe State University, told The Nation, the protesters “are not interested in hearing what the establishment has to say. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to go off in the other direction and listen to what the old-line…black nationalists have to say either. I suspect they’ll come up with someone quite unique, [someone] that is empowering to them in their community but still has the ability to cooperate with people who are not members of the community.”
The young activists have not, however, ruled out help from outside groups offering training and expertise. Activist icons like Harry Belafonte and Cornel West held a number of calls with them, offering counsel and encouragement. “What’s happening in Ferguson right now is young black folks deciding they have the ability within them and the power within them to change the conditions in which they live,” said Charlene Carruthers, national coordinator of the Black Youth Project 100, who traveled to Ferguson to teach St. Louis’s newly activated youth how to organize and win campaigns. Much as the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 galvanized national organizations like BYP100 and the Dream Defenders, Brown’s death awakened many of St. Louis’s youth. “In Ferguson, we’re going to continue to do that work in helping them build capacity specifically among young black people,” Carruthers said. “So making sure they have the training and also the critical analysis, [that’s] how we put those things together and turn [them] into transformation in our communities.”
METHODS, TACTICS OF PROTEST
Dick, Make Demands
White’s Book, Tactics of Food Protests in New Deal USA
Crass’s Book, Towards Collective Liberation
Don’t Just Protest, Make Demands
Winston Alpha,”The Limits of #ICan’tBreathe,” Z Magazine (Feb. 2015).
Alpha visited several police violence protests and concluded they “are going nowhere” because the protesters offered slogans but no demands. He quotes Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” What is “raising awareness,” he asks. The body-camera proposal is “a joke.” He’s right that many public protests were only hot air, but he himself does not offer any suggestions as to meaningful demands! Gandhi and King can be our guides. Gandhi demanded elimination of the British salt tax and British departure from India; he persisted; and won. King demanded the end of segregated busses and lunch counters in Birmingham, persisted, and won (and then realizing those demands were only symptoms of deeper evils—such as denial of voting rights—he demanded its remedy also, and with Pres. Johnson persisted and won). An old friend of mine always sneered at protests that pursued minor goals and didn’t really intend to succeed. Since my friend himself never engaged in any social protest, he was perhaps using his sneers to cover over his apathy or indifference, but he does make a good challenge to peace, justice, and ecology organizations to protest with a purpose and serious intention. –Dick
Plowed Under: Food Policy Protests and Performance in New Deal America
Ann Folino White
PAPERBACK $30.00 EBOOK $29.99
During the Great Depression, with thousands on bread lines, farmers were instructed by the New Deal Agricultural Adjustment Act to produce less food in order to stabilize food prices and restore the market economy. Fruit was left to rot on trees, crops were plowed under, and millions of piglets and sows were slaughtered and discarded. Many Americans saw the government action as a senseless waste of food that left the hungry to starve, initiating public protests against food and farm policy. White approaches these events as performances where competing notions of morality and citizenship were acted out, often along lines marked by class, race, and gender. The actions range from the “Milk War” that pitted National Guardsmen against dairymen, who were dumping milk, to the meat boycott staged by Polish-American women in Michigan, and from the black sharecroppers’ protest to restore agricultural jobs in Missouri to the protest theater of the Federal Theater Project. White provides a riveting account of the theatrical strategies used by consumers, farmers, agricultural laborers, and the federal government to negotiate competing rights to food and the moral contradictions of capitalist society in times of economic crisis.
“The Mattole Blockade” by Onion. Earth First! The Journal of Ecological Resistance. (March-April 2015). http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/108984337/update-mattole-blockade The article focuses on a campaign to protect an old-growth forest at the Mattole watershed in California from logging. Topics include the establishment of the Headwaters Forest Reserve which resulted to the opening of other forest areas for logging, Humboldt Redwood Co. (HRC) which eventually gained ownership of the forest after Pacific Lumber (PL), and timber harvest plans for Mattole.
Imagine, if you will, a woman walks into a library or university computer lab far from her place of residence. She wears loose-fitting clothes of a style she doesn’t normally wear, purchased from a thrift store in a city she doesn’t frequent. Maybe she wears sunglasses, a bandana over her scalp; she’s removed her piercings if she has any—in short, this woman disguises her appearance from security cameras. Ones that are becoming more and more common as this culture moves ever closer to a techno-fascist police state. When she walks into the computer lab, she tilts down her head and uses care to avoid raising suspicion or interest. Her goal, in the end, is to be completely in every possible way. She’s also parked her vehicle well away from the computer lab’s location—making sure it’s a place where getting a ticket is NOT a possibility (since any paper trail that ties you to a certain place and time is potentially catastrophic—this goes for buying gas or anything else on her way to this distant-from-home location; cash, cash, everything in cash, always!). Blending in with her surroundings, she sets up a new one-time-only email account with nonsense information and password that has no connection to her life or personality whatsoever.
From there, her possibilities are limitless. Maybe she learned about a timber sale on a piece of beautiful, life-filled forest (one located distant from her area of residence); in an effort to protect that ecosystem and those trees, she sends emails to the Forest Service and logging company, claiming to’ve spiked several dozen trees with metal and non-metal spikes, encouraging them—for the safety of their workers and equipment—to cancel the sale. Or perhaps she sends out a communiqué from the “Animal Rights Militia” or “Justice Department”, saying her group contaminated an entire shipment of meat from a particular slaughterhouse. Something like this could potentially cause tens or even of thousands of dollars in damage; if the target is chosen strategically, she could theoretically force an entire slaughterhouse out of business with just ! Or a final example: perhaps this clandestine activist—tired of the woeful snail-pace of progress toward a sane/sustainable/just society, knowing the imminent calamitous threat of climate change—sends emails to an oil refinery, the Department of Transportation, and a specific railroad company (the emails for which she memorized before her little adventure, and wrote down until the moment of action); she claims that her group sabotaged a stretch of railroad tracks leading up to that oil refinery, and that the many hundreds of tankers filled with crude oil that’d normally deliver to that refinery that day could be derailed and cause a catastrophic spill if the shipment is not cancelled or delayed. Keep in mind: a medium-sized refinery processes somewhere in the neighborhood of gallons of crude oil every single day. If production is halted, even for just one day, this would likely cost the refinery hundreds of thousands of dollars. This may seem hyperbolic, but it’s anything but: the group with probably more environmental success than any other group, EVER, is the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). A few years ago, by destroying a bottlenecked/choke point oil pipeline, they were able to keep approximately 30 PERCENT of the region’s oil in the ground for a week—this one action raised the price of oil .
The genius of this young woman’s email actions is that she . She merely has to make her targets she has done so. The risk she’s taking is monumentally low, especially when compared with the risk of actually physically committing these acts for real. She knows that hoaxes couldn’t and shouldn’t ever completely replace real-world actions, but a mixture of could make substantial gains with a startling amount of ease and expediency.
If you’re still skeptical about the potential efficacy of hoax-activism, how about a real-world example—one that helped win a major campaign, one that I was involved in as a grassroots protestor (and ONLY in that capacity)—would that lend credence to this tactical concept?
As it turns out, the campaign on which I cut my activist teeth benefitted immeasurably from a high-profile hoax. In 2006 through early 2007, Southern California activists were struggling hard to get the POM Wonderful juice company to stop funding experiments on mice and rabbits. We did many home demos. The vice-president of the company resigned as a result of our campaign. PETA eventually got its high-profile stature involved. And then it happened: the Animal Rights Militia (ARM) claimed to’ve contaminated nearly 500 bottles of POM Wonderful’s famous pomegranate juice at Whole Foods stores across the eastern seaboard. The supermarket chain pulled all POM products from its shelves, and announced that if POM didn’t cease its animal testing by a certain impending date, they would no longer sell their products. The next day, POM Wonderful announced that they would cease all current and future animal testing. This displayed how effective a multi-pronged approach could be; It was a triple-threat of local grassroots activism, a monolithic national group, and underground illegal action. Turns out the ARM’s announcement of juice-tampering was a hoax—but it worked. In the words of Denzel Washington from “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove!” Well, I the POM campaign how effective a hoax could be. Without a doubt, it would’ve taken us a lot longer to win that battle were it not for the Animal Rights Militia’s communiqué. Instead we were able to immediately move on to a new targeted campaign against ever-specious animal testing.
Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy. Chris Crass. 2014
Oct 2, 2014
Chris Crass is a longtime organizer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation. Throughout the 1990s, he was an organizer with Food Not Bombs, an economic justice anti-poverty group, strengthening the direct action-based anti-capitalist Left. In the 2000s, he was an organizer with the Catalyst Project, which combines political education and organizing to develop and support anti-racist politics, leadership, and organization in white communities and builds dynamic multiracial alliances locally and nationally. He has written and spoken widely about anti-racist organizing, lessons from women of color feminism, strategies to build visionary movements, and leadership for liberation. He graduated from San Francisco State University in Race, Class, Gender and Power Studies and currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his partner and their son, River. He is a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.
"We Win Everyday"
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Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy
Author: Chris Crass with Introduction by Chris Dixon and a Foreword by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Publisher: PM Press
Published March 2013
Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy is for activists engaging with dynamic questions of how to create and support effective movements for visionary systemic change. Chris Crass’s collection of essays and interviews presents us with powerful lessons for transformative organizing through offering a firsthand look at the challenges and the opportunities of anti-racist work in white communities, feminist work with men, and bringing women of color feminism into the heart of social movements. Drawing on two decades of personal activist experience and case studies of anti-racist social justice organizations, Crass insightfully explores ways of transforming divisions of race, class, and gender into catalysts for powerful vision, strategy, and movement building in the United States today.
Over the last two decades, activists in the United States have been experimenting with new politics and organizational approaches that stem from a fusion of radical political traditions and liberation struggles. Drawing inspiration from women of color feminism, justice struggles in communities of color, anarchist and socialist movements, the broad upsurges of the 1960s and '70s, and social movements in the Global South, a new generation of activists has sought to understand the past while building a movement for today’s world. Towards Collective Liberation contributes to this project by examining two primary dynamic trends in these efforts: 1) the anarchist movement of the 1990s and 2000s, through which tens of thousands of activists were introduced to radical politics, direct action organizing, democratic decision making, and the profound challenges of taking on systems of oppression, privilege, and power in society at large and in the movement itself; and 2) white anti-racist organizing efforts from the 2000s to the present as part of a larger strategy to build broad-based, effective multiracial movements in the United States.
Crass’s collection begins with an overview of the anarchist tradition as it relates to contemporary activism and an in-depth look at Food Not Bombs, one of the leading anarchist groups in the revitalized radical Left in the 1990s. The second and third sections of the book combine stories and lessons from Crass’s experiences of working as an anti-racist and feminist organizer, combining insights from the Civil Rights Movement, women of color feminism, and anarchism to address questions of leadership, organization building, and revolutionary strategy. In section four, Crass discusses how contemporary organizations have responded to the need for white activists to lead anti-racist efforts in white communities and how these efforts have contributed to multiracial alliances in building a broad-based movement for collective liberation. Offering rich case studies of successful organizing, and grounded, thoughtful key lessons for movement building, Toward Collective Liberation is a must-read for anyone working for a better world.
"In his writing and organizing, Chris Crass has been at the forefront of building the grassroots, multi-racial, feminist movements for justice we need. Towards Collective Liberation takes on questions of leadership, building democratic organizations, and movement strategy, on a very personal level that invites us all to experiment and practice the way we live our values while struggling for systemic change. " —Elizabeth 'Betita' Martinez, founder of the Institute for Multiracial Justice and author of De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century
“Chris Crass goes into the grassroots to produce a political vision that will catalyze political change. These are words from the heart, overflowing onto the streets.” —Vijay Prashad, author of Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World
"A deeply important, engaged, and learned defense of anarchism, class politics, and anti-racism. Grounded in study, organizing, and struggle, Towards Collective Liberation is a significant contribution to the recent history of the U.S. left." —David Roediger, author of Wages of Whiteness
"In his activism and writing, Chris Crass has been able to articulate and practice a transformative model for social change. Guided by a vision of collective liberation that centers the experience and leadership of women of color, Chris has done groundbreaking work to realize the revolutionary potential of grassroots multiracial alliances." —Harsha Walia, co-founder of No One Is Illegal and Radical Desis
"Chris Crass offers penetrating analysis and a keen understanding of the political and cultural dynamics shaping the U.S. We can all learn from reading this." —Rev. David Billings, The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond and United Methodist Church Elder
"Part political biography, part political history and thoughtful political analysis, this book is on-time in its laying out of personally tested strategies for eliminating racism, sexism, and capitalism. The juxtaposition of feminist, anarchist, and anti-racist thinking is a great jolt to the weary practices of progressive non-profits that skim the surface of change."—Suzanne Pharr, author of In the Time of the Right: Politics for Liberation and Homophobia: a weapon of sexism
“In Towards Collective Liberation, Chris Crass has shared with us a valuable collection of thoughtful, honest and humble reflections on what it means to build the world that we are waiting for. Chris achieves the difficult task of practice driven theory—encouraging and allowing all of us to be present in our work, to lead with our hearts, and to embody the change that we seek. It is through these critical and sometimes painfully honest reflections that we as organizers, activists and social change makers are given the courage to do the same.”—Alicia Garza, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)
What others are saying...
Towards Collective Liberation: A Review
by Milan Rai. Peace News
When I’ve heard white people committed to social change start talking about racism and activism, the conversation has often veered rapidly to the question: ‘How can we get more of them to come to our meetings/activities?’ In Towards Collective Liberation, a powerful, humble and thought-provoking book that deserves the widest possible readership, white US activist Chris Crass poses very different questions: ‘How can white radicals work with other white people against racism?’ and ‘How can white radicals be trustworthy allies to people targeted by racism?’ He poses similar questions in relation to male supremacy and patriarchy.
Towards Collective Liberation: A Review
by Joshua Stephens. War Resisters League
"With Towards Collective Liberation, veteran activist and writer Chris Crass has filled a number of conspicuous voids in radical literature, seeking to render the aspirations of feminist and antiracist struggle plain, practicable, and their realization imminently possible. Through autobiographical reflections on his early years as an anarchist organizer in San Francisco, a few brief essays, and a series of interviews with key figures in contemporary horizontal organizations, he has crafted what might be the first primer on the intersection of antriracist/feminist politics and anarchism aimed squarely at a white cis-male audience..."
Contents of Activism Newsletter #10
Chris Crass, Towards Collective Liberation (DISCUSSION AT
Comissiong, Hip Hop Analysis of Injustices and Solutions
Sierra Club, Why Bees Are Dying and How to Save them
Bill Moyers Interviews Jim Hightower
Ralph Nader’s Latest Book, Unstoppable (when liberals and conservatives work together)
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox: http://cindysheehanssoapbox.bmetrack.com/c/v?e=4F9572&c=1BD0F&l=54F366F&email=zyIQaVnAGJFyNtIdU8sMaTciHg%2FVbFy1&relid=4C4A98BD
Henry Giroux, Remember Then Act, Don’t Be an Amnesiac Non-
END ACTIVISM NEWSLETTER #11 OCT. 5, 2015