Nonviolence in the News – October 26, 2017

Click here to listen to Nonviolence in the News, recorded October 26th, 2017, or use the controls at the bottom of the page. If you are looking for nonviolence radio, click here.

Special alert: In a series of moves this week that have alarmed free speech advocates and critics of media consolidation, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) voted to abolish a rule requiring radio and television broadcasters to maintain studios near the communities they serve, and FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced further plans to end certain media ownership rules.

Our experts at KWMR are predicting that this will not change much here, however:

“At a time when broadcast conglomerates like Sinclair are gobbling up new stations and pulling media resources out of marginalized communities, we still need the main studio rule to help connect broadcasters to the local viewers and listeners they’re supposed to serve.”

—Dana Floberg, Free Press: The policy shifts are expected to significantly benefit the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group—whose reported close ties to Pai have raised concerns as the federal government reviews Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media, which would expand the broadcaster’s reach to 72 percent of the country.


Get this! The Action Network looks to be a great tool for progressive activists; “Fully featured. Award-winning. A joy to use. Empowering millions of activists every day. We’re a nonprofit dedicated to building power for the progressive movement, so we don’t have clients — we have partners, and we can mobilize your activists together. Join us!” “Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals and groups to organize for progressive causes. We encourage responsible activism, and do not support using the platform to take unlawful or other improper action. We do not control or endorse the conduct of users and make no representations of any kind about them”


College of Media, Communication and Information, UC BOULDER: offering a new Master of Arts in Media and Public Engagement (MAPE); a 2-year interdisciplinary program that spans traditional boundaries between theory and practice, offers a critical study of the history, institutions, economics and social implications of the media…


Preaching to the Choir? A new essay from Rebecca Solnit:

“The primary assumption behind the idea that we shouldn’t preach to the choir is that one’s proper audience is one’s enemies, not one’s allies.”

Solnit argues for greater solidarity among those who share vision of what is possible for nonviolent transformation. But as I have said time and again at Metta, cooperation is much harder than non-cooperation. And it’s in our nature. So what do we need? Solnit responds:

“To win politically, you don’t need to win over people who differ from you, you need to motivate your own. There are a thousand things beyond the fact of blunt agreement that you might need or want to discuss with your friends and allies. There are strategy and practical management, the finer points of a theory, values and goals both incremental and ultimate, reassessment as things change for better or worse. Effective speech in this model isn’t alchemy; it doesn’t transform what people believe. It’s electricity: it galvanizes them to act.” Find it on Harpers. 


More than protest on Climate?
They describe themselves as a “new organization dedicated to making system change inevitable, irresistible, and common sense.” Even more, they have stories about constructive approaches to facing climate change.


Hug a Nazi?
During a protest at a Richard Spenser event in Gainesville, Florida, Aaron Courtney took a different approach from all of the “Punch a Nazi” hype…he hugged someone who identifies himself as a Nazi, wearing swastikas on his clothing and tattooed on his body. Courtney began talking with Randy Fourniss, asking him questions, trying to understand him, and didn’t get an answer, and was in tears. He tried to hug him three times. On the third try, Fourniss wrapped his arms around him, and when Courtney asked him in that embrace, “Why do you hate me?” Fourniss responded, “I don’t know.” Courtney told journalists that he believed that response was honest and felt it was a break-through.


Kids sue for climate.
Seven children in Portugal have hit their crowdfunding target for a lawsuit they are mounting against are 47 member nations of the Council of Europe—which they say are not doing enough to fight climate change.

The children initially hoped to raise £20,000 (about $26,000)—a goal they reached Thursday after less than a month of crowdfunding. They’re now hoping to raise a total of £100,000.

The young plaintiffs are being represented by the Global Legal Action Network and are from the Leiria region of Portugal, where forest fires killed 62 people over the summer. Near the country’s northern border, more fires have also killed at least 44 people in Portugal and Spain over the past week.

They are ages 8-18.



Climate “Necessity Defense” in Minnesota: You may be familiar with the necessary defense argument used by peace activists doing civil disobedience against missiles, etc. The argument is that the danger posed by the missiles (or whatever) is greater than the ‘danger’ of breaking the law. It often succeeded, and this is now being used in environmental actions. It means, in this case, that “the two valve turners, and the two support people recording videos and making safety calls, will be able to present a true and honest picture to the jury of what they were doing, and why exactly they were there. And the jurors may go back to deliberate whether impending (and present) climate catastrophe is a greater harm to society than turning off the pipelines that fuel it. If they decide yes, that Emily and Annette’s actions are justified, this could be a watershed moment for climate direct action across the country. … As Bill McKibben said when he heard the news, “The whole planet will be inside a single courtroom the day this trial begins [December 11]–it’s a rare chance to explain precisely why we need to act, and act now.” The public can attend the trial, in Clearwater County, MN.

More on the issue of issues: “Climate change is an extinction-level crisis and getting worse every day. No one is responding adequately. But together we can change the game….Today the Climate Mobilization is launching City By City: a program giving regular people the tools to lead their hometowns to negative emissions within a decade through WWII-scale climate mobilization. We want YOU to mobilize your city!”  Remember Naomi Klein’s LEAP? Incidentally, I was present when former regent of UC, Willis Harman, urged the Chancellor, his friend Michael Heyman to mount a peace program comparable in scope to Trinity. “We can’t do that,” the Chancellor said.

And more: “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory last week in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline, when a federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.”


Being a Muslim woman in public
According to Democracy Now!, protestors are defying a face veil ban in Montreal by wearing niqab (face veils) on public transportation. The law requires that people “show their faces” while accessing public services. DN refers to a statement from protestor, Sarah Brand to bring the issue home for those who may be on the fence about the potentially oppressive nature of a niqab: “Even if you believe that the niqab is oppressive in some way and that women are struggling with this, if that really is a problem, cutting them out of public transit and access to education and medical care is simply not the solution.”


Just in today from our UN-placed friend and source, Mel Duncan: Uruguay has agreed to host an Arrias Formula meeting focusing on unarmed methods for the protection of civilians for other Security Members probably 1 Dec. Senegal and the UK are co-hosting. This will be UCP’s biggest stage to date.

Under the banner of a “just recovery” for Puerto Rico, thousands have come together to design a bold and holistic plan for the island to be rebuilt as a beacon for a safe, resilient, and thriving society in the era of accelerating climate chaos, spiraling economic inequality, and rising white nationalism.

Another example of resistance groups branching out into CP, or good coming out of good (remember Occupy Sandy and Occupy Jubilee?): local Indivisible is offering help for those affected by the fire.


#DivestTheGlobe: This week, people led actions across the country (and world) in a coordinated protest of 91 of the biggest banks role in the climate crisis and abuses of Indigenous communities. Read about how Native American women are leading the fight in this interview with Jackie Fielder of Mazaska Talks / Money Talks.


In case it isn’t already obvious, gun shows lead to gun violence. In this recent study, the shows are in Nevada but the violence show up in CA. The article on it concludes, “According to the study, firearms are the leading cause of deaths in the U.S.”


Constructive program: Ways of supporting folks affected by wildfires with housing:
Courtesy of Laura Hall: Re-Posting as this is a wonderful way to help:

In Sonoma County, there have been 5,700 houses and buildings destroyed. Over 10,000 homeless in an area where housing was already essentially non-existent (affordable or not). Shelters are turning back donations. People don’t need more clothes or blankets, THEY NEED A PLACE TO PUT THEM! A friend is involved with a project that is gathering RVs to provide temporary shelter for people. People need RVs, campers, 5th wheels, yurts, and all that. We now have five RVs and need more. Each one will host a family in need. Burners without Borders is also donating. This is in coordination with the City of Santa Rosa and the Red Cross, but it is also just regular people coming up with a short-term solution. Can you please let a family in need borrow your RV? Do you know someone that might let someone use the RV that is collecting dust in their driveway? Housing is honestly the biggest need at the moment! Please don’t “like” this post. Share it. Better yet, send it directly to a friend that might be able to help. It is just for 1-3 months until a better situation is found. But these people just need a place to settle as they go back to work, as FEMA starts to kick in, and their insurance claims begin to be filed (if they’re lucky). If you’ve been thinking about how to help, take 10 minutes out of your life, and try and get a family a home. Thank you!!! Also, Petaluma Peoples Services and Sonoma Share are working on relocating people. Call 707-765-8488


The People’s Disruption: Platform Co-ops for Global Challenges, the third #platformcoop conference at The New School in New York—a celebration and strategy session for a truly democratic internet. November 10-11, all day.

Teach-in: The Revolution Will Be Sung: Music & Social Movements – Part 2 Monday, November 6 , 7-9 PM
Location: Peace and Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa
Cost: Donation

Resisting Authoritarianism: Understanding and Creating Resistance
Campaigners and strategists around the world as well as featured guests Steve Levitsky and Maria Stephan to talk through research into the growth of authoritarian governments around the world–and how organise power in the face of authoritarianism. We’ll look at the factors behind their rise; impacts on civil society and social change organising; and insights for people-powered campaigns. Took place at

Results? According to Metta volunteer Eric Martin:
New technology supplies new tools for democratic opposition in authoritarian countries however it also causes problems including stronger ways to oppressive and actually it desocializes and takes away from in person action and getting out and publicly creating and actively protesting physically.

In a study of non-violent and violent resistance when working to overthrow incumbent regimes it has been proven that non-violent resistance has been twice as effective through history.

Only way to take down dictatorships in non-violence is to break it up and drive higher-ups to defect into the resistance. You cannot take down a regime without dismantling it. Non-violence is the smarter strategic approach, coalitions should be formed to help dismantle the regime and encourage people to defect.