Nonviolence News – July 7th, 2017

In the last episode of NONVIOLENCE in the News I cited three very hopeful trends developing partly (at least) in response to the vacuum at the top: 1) Devolution of decision making down to state and community levels – where it belonged in the first place!, 2) A political awakening among progressive religious groups  (Sarah’s interview we just heard is a superb example), and 3) “culture jamming” by the group “Subvertising.” Since then ‘devolution’ has become a knock-down, drag out fight between “conservative” states and liberal cities.  A locus to watch in the coming months.

OK… on to our standard ‘trifecta’ of resources, news, and events.


Because there is far too much to cover in a half-hour segment may I once again direct your attention to Nonviolent Conflict News (, which “aims to be a dedicated, reliable source of international media coverage on civil resistance.” While single protests generally draw the attention of most media outlets, NVCNews aims to go beyond this, providing a window into in-depth analysis of civil resistance movements, their dynamics, and the full range of nonviolent tactics that they use.

NVCNews aggregates news stories from a wide range of independent and conventional media outlets. Each story is accompanied by a summary drawn from its original text, prepared and edited by the site editors, that highlights the story’s relevance to the dynamics of civil resistance, to a specific movement or campaign, or to the larger context of such events.”  It will be interesting to compare their analyses with ours.

+From Vimala Thakar (in Awaken Weekly, a feature of comes “The force of love is the force of total revolution.”  If you agree with me that this is a great title, give it a listen.

+ FILM(s): “The Women’s March” is a documentary covering the Jan. 21 nationwide march, called the “largest one-day demonstration in US history,” with screenings listed on Eventbrite.  Of course, the limitations of one-off demonstrations and protests are becoming clear.

Another forthcoming film is on the New Story, with Charles Eisenstein, Vandana Shiva, and many others: “The End Of Normal.”

+ BOOK (& interview) Naomi Klein has written an important book: No is not enough! And there is a great interview w/ herself and Michelle Alexander in TruthOut. Stephanie?

Stephanie Van Hook: Yes, my problem with this and many other discussions today is that while they’re calling for strategy they don’t actually propose one: they give platforms, wish-lists, no concrete plans.  I also see a danger that these two, or others, might be “Sanderized:” made into leaders that are supposed to do it for us.


It’s JULY 7th! And again our loyal listeners will know that this is the day on which the UN Disarmament Commission was to – and did! – adopt the treaty that calls for, and is hopefully a key step toward, a complete ban on nuclear weapons. 

“Today, 72 years after their invention, states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. With 122 votes in favor, one vote against (the Netherlands), and one country abstaining (Singapore), the ‘Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ was adopted this morning and will open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on September 20, 2017. Civil society organizations and more than 140 states have participated throughout negotiations.”

On adoption of the treaty, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:
“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security. No one believes that indiscriminately killing millions of civilians is acceptable – no matter the circumstance – yet that is what nuclear weapons are designed to do.”

Kathy Kelly  comments (on Facebook): “Participants in the G20 summit should kiss the ground on which the negotiators have walked, this week, (at UN headquarters) revering all who’ve committed countless hours toward making this wise decision happen.”

June 25: 50,000 people formed chain 90km long to shut down aging Belgian nuclear plants.  here’s the video   Commentators think the government will have to respond. compare the 250-mile march in Turkey, from Ankara to Istanbul, scheduled to reach Istanbul by Sunday: The 250-mile, 23-day march, is “the first act of mass defiance against the ongoing purge. … the march is not about one party, but about forging a broad coalition for justice.”  (From ICNC Nonviolence News)

We might compare & contrast the great Salt March of 1930.  It had fifteen years’ preparation, and was a definite act of Civil Disobedience; this one is just a protest, unless it’s met with violent repression, as it well might be.

+ Other Victories: (from Waging Nonviolence) Shades of the Balkan wars: After a year-long student campaign against ethnic segregation, government officials in the central Bosnian town of Jajce agreed to halt the opening of a separate high school for Bosnian Muslim, or Bosniak, students.

“They wanted to divide us, to make us believe we are not the same, but we are more clever than them,” said 15-year-old Refik Heganović after the announcement.” Students responded on March 27 by walking out of classes and staging a protest outside their school. They were joined this time by several teachers, who risked disciplinary action for standing with the students. Many students also faced harsh consequences at home by disobeying their parents to participate. Some were ostracized by their peers, or dumped by their girlfriend or boyfriend, for their involvement in resisting the new school.  Here’s the link.

This is kind of personal for me: in the nineties by brother, a well-known Canadian folksinger, was sent by the Canadian govt. to perform at a high school in Croatia where there were Orthodox and Muslim students – who had never seen each other!  Separate entrances, classrooms, etc.  He and his band refused to give two concerts so for the first time ever the students were together.  They loved it.  The teachers were terrified.

+ Stunningly, on June 29, the House Appropriations committee overwhelmingly approved an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee to revoke the infamous AUMF — an (unconstitutional) carte blanche for the President to wage war without consulting Congress, which every President for the last sixteen hears has done.  You may remember that Rep. Lee, whom we’re very proud of, was the only Congressperson back then to vote against the Iraq war, and the AUMF.  The committee passed her measure unanimously, and broke into applause. It’s not law yet, but Democrat Tim Kaine and Republicans Jeff Flake and Rand Paul have voiced support for doing something similar on the Senate side.

+ The 2004 report of the National Research Council (NRC) on Firearms and Violence recognized that violent crime was higher in the post-passage period (relative to national crime patterns) for states adopting right-to-carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws, but because some flawed statistical processes seemed to show evidence of crime-reducing RTC laws, now they’re able to show that RTC laws increase violent crime and/or murder.  The maxim “the only thing that can defend against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is dead wrong.  My version: “the only thing that can defend against a bad guy with a gun is a guy (or gal) without a gun who doesn’t divide the world into good guys and bad guys.”

+ Writer Srecko Horvat, from Al Jazeera via Common Dreams has pointed out, in a very cogent article, that “beside disobedience we need something that we at the pan-European movement of democrats, DiEM25, call “constructive disobedience.” It is not enough to say “No” or protest. It is not enough to meet and discuss, criticise or disobey by enacting violence.  To be progressive and constructive, disobedience must be accompanied by counter-proposals fully outlining alternative policies to the ones that we disobey.”  Couldn’t agree more.

Srecko Horvat is a philosopher from Croatia. His latest books include, Subversion! and The Radicality of Love (2015) translated into more than 10 languages. He features in Al Jazeera’s documentary film “Europe’s Forbidden Colony.”

+ FARC has surrendered its weapons, essentially ending the armed phase of the longest running war in the Western hemisphere: 54 years!.  Problems remain, but this is a landmark.

+ Native peoples are talking about the need for an educational paradigm shift.  Native education – centered in Indigenous knowledge and decolonial curricula – has much to teach mainstream schools. For example, the Defenders of the Water School, founded by Alayna Eagle Shield at the Oceti Sakowin camp, created a curriculum centered on Lakota language, culture and intergenerational knowledge.  Students at the school spent their days in song, dance and prayer, as well as learned the history, math and science embedded in their surroundings – very much in line with Gandhian education. Most importantly, however, they witnessed the courageous actions taking place in defense of water and their peoples. And learned about what it means to be a good relative, to be accountable to each other as well as to the generations to come.

+ On June 20, 2017, The City of Oakland created a Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), with a Chief of Violence Prevention reporting directly to the city administration and a mandate to work directly with victims of violent crime — and those who are most likely to be future victims or perpetrators of violent crime – by pursuing a public health approach to dramatically reduce violent crime in a city where boys and men of color are 62 times more likely to be murdered than their white counterparts. (I suspect Barbara Lee again)

Thanks are in order to the East Bay community, the City Council and the Northern CA Peace Alliance/ Department of Peacebuilding supporters for attending council meetings and contacting council members.


SONOMA COUNTY CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS SUMMIT Organized by Occupy Sonoma County, Co-sponsored by 350 Sonoma
Monday, July 31, 6-9 PM, Peace & Justice Center
467 Sebastopol Ave. Santa Rosa 95401

PETALUMA PROGRESSIVES!  Aug. 6th at Walnut Park in Petaluma. With a Bharata Natyam performance and Metta will be there!

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