Nonviolence in the News – September 15, 2017

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NOTE: You will see the mysterious letters PP, CP, or S in parentheses after some of these items. What’s up with that? We are coordinating these items with the trajectory on which our Roadmap plan is based, namely the natural progression successful movements tend to follow. It goes, roughly chronologically, from Person Power, the term we invented to shadow “People Power,” a common designation for civil society struggles to put the emphasis on the individual person and his/her empowerment, where it all has to begin, then to Constructive Programbuilding what you want without waiting for the powers that be to give it to you and thereby strengthening your resistance to the remaining pockets of injustice with, finally, satyagraha.


Want to know more about the situation in Western Sahara?
Check out Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution, authored by this weeks’ Nonviolence Radio guest, Stephen Zunes.

Is White Supremacy only a problem of the American south?
The answer is, of course, ‘no.’ Sarah Van Gelder of Yes Magazine points out that there are many ways to uproot white supremacy within one’s own community. She lists thirteen, but surely there are more. She says, “Rooting out white supremacy is not a task that belongs only to those communities with Confederate monuments, though. Every region of our country has its history of racial exclusion and white supremacy, enforced to this day by domestic terrorism, laws, regulations, and police discrimination. Every region has seen people of color, especially African Americans, forced off of land that they farmed; out of businesses, schools, voting booths; and often into poverty through menial underpaid work, overpriced slums, and policing practices that disproportionately target people of color.”

She emphasizes powerful, constructive ways of lifting up the voices for justice for all in our communities. Don’t miss her article.

Looking for more nonviolence news? Looking for community?
Join the Metta Center for Nonviolence every Weds. morning from 8:15-9:15 am for an in-depth, online discussion about nonviolence and take a look at nonviolence in the news from sources like Waging Nonviolence, and others. Contact the Metta Center for Nonviolence to get involved.

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” to take place from September 27 to November 10 … successful course participants become eligible for the ICNC grant opportunities and a certificate of completion.  Another university-movement collaboration!  Wonderful development.  And it seems that there’s a great resource from ICNC every episode. (CP) 

Truthout reports on an apparently moving and heartbreaking film, “The Last Guardians,” about indigenous struggles against the powerful combinations of  oil companies and ‘their’ government.  It’s the same the world over now; and of course there is another kind of power! (CP)

Are you prepared for emergencies? 
SF72 is a clear and calming resource that can help people to prepare for disaster. What is important about this resource is that they promote connection and community, bring your board games along. But there is another element to disaster response, and that is the inner preparation: how do we prepare ourselves ahead of time for tough situations so we can be at our best? And how does this all relate to nonviolence? (Stephanie explains)

Dolores goes to the movies… 
Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. Directed by Peter Bratt. Film opened in US theaters on September 1.

Truthout Interviews For Resistance: 
“Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same.”



A giant baby is looking at you…
French artist JR created a giant image of a toddler that peers over the US-Mexico border wall. According to Al-Jazeera, “the cut-out of the boy that stands nearly 20 metres tall and is meant to prompt discussion about immigration.” It stands at the Tecate border crossing, about 64km southeast of San Diego.

Ham Radio and Hope: 
Ham radio is a hobby to many people, but it’s a hobby that is meant to serve the community in times of crisis. In Houston, post-Hurricane Irma, ham radio operators came to the rescue of the community when all other technology failed them. One ham radio operator: Luke Calianno is tuned in to Texas from Lancaster, NY. He sends “radio-grams” to areas across the country, to those who are facing disaster.

Calianno said, “It feels really good. Because I’m in turn giving back to the community. This is what our hobby is all about.”

Syrian Refugees feed hurricane victims: 
Abeer and Nora al-Sheikh Bakri are sisters from Douma, Syria. They fled their homeland in 2012 after their country’s civil war engulfed the city. They spent four years in Egypt before being resettled in Clarkson, Georgia, in 2016 with other members of their families.

Suffice to say they know what it’s like to watch homes crumble before their eyes. So when Hurricane Irma bore its weight down on the southeastern U.S., displacing more than half a million people by Sunday, they sprung into action.

“I called my sister Nora and we got cooking,” Abeer, 28, told HuffPost on Tuesday by phone. They drove an hour to the Hamzah Islamic Center in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Sunday evening, where they said about 39 evacuees were riding out the storm.

A friend told the sisters about the storm-related evacuations on Saturday night, Abeer said, so they went grocery shopping and prepared traditional Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh and kebab.

“We were uprooted from war,” Abeer said. “We know the feeling of leaving everything behind.”

“I was so afraid when we heard about the hurricane,” Nora, 30, said. “Especially us Syrians. We’re already traumatized.”

Democratic Socialists go to work for their communities post-Harvey:
Truthout interview with Amy Zachmeyer, the co-chair for the Houston Democratic Socialists of America.

Group raised $113,000 so far and has been working in poor areas that have been devastated by hurricaine. They have a THREE POINT PLAN:

“Our first goal is to [attend to] the undocumented community, and we have been able to do some individual aid for undocumented families, as well.

Our second plan is to direct aid through supplies and even some just straight financial aid, because we know that food and water is one thing, but there are lots of other needs and each family knows their own needs and we trust them to do that.

Our third thing is doing our “muck and gut” operations, which is the largest amount of work. This is the most work I have done in my life, both physically and just as far as time goes. That is where you go into the home and you help remove all of the flood-damaged belongings, which is both a physical labor and an emotional labor, because you have a traumatized family who is watching and helping remove all of their objects.”

Arms are for Hugging? Resisting violent arms fairs creatively.
By Andrew Metheven on Waging Nonviolence: “In London, thousands of protesters have been taking direct action to shut down one of the world’s biggest arms fairs. The Defence and Security Equipment International, or DSEI, opened on Sept. 12, but the exhibition center where it is held was repeatedly blockaded during the week before it began, as activists took action to disrupt the preparations for the fair.

It appears that the sheer scale of the resistance over the last week overwhelmed the police and organizers of the event, as did the creativity and determination of the myriad of groups who were involved in the protests. Each day was organized by different groups that make up the Stop the Arms Fair coalition to allow them to plan their own actions alongside like-minded people with similar concerns.

This approach allowed groups and campaigns that have not typically worked together to find common cause in resisting the fair. Those who wanted to focus on their specific action were able to do so, confident that just as much energy was going into the other days of resistance. It also allowed people new to the movement to find a group of people they feel comfortable taking action alongside.

Statement of Solidarity with Michael Bennett:
“We, the undersigned, stand with Michael Bennett, a professional football player with the Seattle Seahawks, philanthropist and activist, following an incident of police brutality in Las Vegas. On the morning of August 27th, a reported shooting on the Vegas strip led to chaos. Michael Bennett ran for cover, as did hundreds of others. Instead of being assisted, video and photographic evidence shows that Las Vegas police targeted Bennett, put him on the ground in handcuffs while the primary officer took out a weapon and placed it near the back of his head. According to Bennett, the officer said that if Bennett moved, he would “blow [his] [sic] head off.” Bennett was then put in a police car, and after a period of time let go without charges.

We condemn this act of racial profiling and excessive force perpetrated by the Vegas police against Mr. Bennett.

An op-doc from the NYT this week: “A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders,
By David Feige. It turns out that the “frightening and high” rate of recidivism among sex offenders is a complete myth. Based on one popular article quoted out of context. The myth is 80%. The reality? Close to 3%! And of course the results for someone so classified are devastating. This appalling fact fits perfectly into the pattern of “scapegoat logic” – that some people are not people; they are dehumanized – the term we often actually hear is “monsters” and therefore to be punished and driven out of society.  The Oedipus myth is the “classic” example.  But it’s amazing how fast, and how completely, this knee jerk mythological horror has been inscribed in our “legal” system. I myself believed it until I saw this documentary.

Arcadia Power recently launched the first nationwide community solar program, giving you a way to subscribe to a remote solar farm and save on your energy bills. You subscribe to one or more panels from Arcadia’s website online (takes 2 minutes). Once the project is live, Arcadia will apply savings directly to your local utility bill each month based on the production of your panels.

The Pentagon loves Hollywood
A recent survey found that more than 1,100 TV show titles received Pentagon backing – 900 of them since 2005, from ‘Flight 93’ to ‘Ice Road Truckers’ and ‘Army Wives’ “The US government and Hollywood have always been close,” the article says, but “We can now show that the relationship between US national security and Hollywood is much deeper and more political than anyone has ever acknowledged.”  It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of this direct propaganda pipeline in shaping people’s consciousness – toward militarism.  Especially the minds of young men and women.

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act) last week. It will place a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects and move the country to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, with a focus on a rapid transition in the next ten years. The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).  As of yesterday, more than 300 groups have signed in support!  Add yours here.  (CP!)

Interview with the President of Mauritania’s Anti-Slavery Movement
(The Sahrawi struggle is a clear, indeed inspiring example of creativity, courage, of sumud, but not much access to training, edu, or strategy). Mauritania outlawed slavery in 1981, but refuses to acknowledge, much less address its persistence throughout Mauritanian society.  This is a quote from Biram, a leader of the courageous nonviolent resistance: “For religious, moral and other reasons, the founding members of IRA do not believe that violence carries any benefit or utility. Violence is counterproductive to humanitarian actions. It can spiral out of control. It espouses evil, oppression and injustice, which only draw us back into violent terrains, which give the advantage to such forces. Responding to violent actors with violence only justifies the atrocities, destruction, and misery they cause. …

Our nonviolent, pacific ideology and action are part of what will continue to allow humanity to survive and prosper in peace. Nonviolent action certainly resonates with the aspirations of oppressed people, but perhaps equally as important, with the buried and dormant aspirations of violent people who belong to oppressive groups.”


Mill Valley Seniors for Peace is sponsoring a talk by myself (Michael Nagler): “Nonviolence Now: What’s Going Well, and How Can We Help?,” Monday, September 25, 3:00 -4:30 pm at the Redwoods (Retirement Community),  40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA 94941… Please RSVP to  (CP)

The Shift Network is putting on a three-day conference in Sacramento on Sept. 21-22: California Vision 2020.  Many impressive speakers, and I like the ‘doable’ focus on one state, and the most likely to respond.  Successful long-term strategies (the subject of the forthcoming issue of Nonviolence Magazine) almost always build up, or ‘escalate,’ from the doable to the not-yet-thinkable.

#NoWar2017: This hashtag takes you to an action + conference happening in Washington, D.C. on September 22-24: “War and the Environment”, preceded by a September 17th flotilla to the Pentagon.  You can sign up for either one at  We need to connect dots like this all over, and this one has a specific connection: the US military is the world’s largest polluter (and not just of the outer environment).

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) conference in Santa Rosa on December 1-2 to be followed by another in SF, “Challenging Oppression and Working for Justice from Palestine to the USA.”  Speakers, food, music, and of course networking.  Sabeel (Arabic for ‘the way’ and also ‘a channel’ or ‘spring’), which sponsored a “wave of prayer” just yesterday, is a Palestinian Christian group advocating the end of the Occupation. (S)

Reality/work tour to Palestine: the Sumud Freedom Tour, winter session. We encourage you to register for this event soon (for a big discount). If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at”  Sumud, or ‘patience, endurance,’ is one of the Arabic words for nonviolence.  Gets part of it very accurately.

Meta Peace Teams is organizing its next team to the West Bank.  MPT, which originally was local and called Michigan Peace Teams, has been going to Israel-Palestine since 1993.  Applications for this trip are due next month Go to their website for more information;. One of the growing number of peace team organizations, UCP, that are doing both cross-border and domestic interventions; a good idea, I think.  Helps emphasize that the principle (nonviolence) can be applied everywhere). 

And in India there will be a SWADESHI FESTIVAL. (This one is definitely CP.) Their motto: “Experience an Alternative Life Style of Producing Whatever that can be Produced in our own Locality should be Produced, Consumed and Distributed in our own Locality itself – the SWADESHI LIFE STYLE.”  This will be in Trivandrum, from 3 to 23 November.  It’s initiated by Gandhi Centre for Rural Development and Swadeshi Trust, and will have three parts:

TRAINING PART – Soap Making, Cake Making, Eco Farming, etc. etc.

EXHIBITION PART – More than 300 Home Made Products on Display, including naturopathic medicines.

SEMINAR PART – Seminar and Discussion Sessions on Gandhian Swadeshi Rural Development Work, the Swadeshi and Gandhian Movement, etc.  Svadeshi, or swadeshi, roughly meaning ‘localism,’ is often considered one of Gandhi’s major principles.


The 9/11 film festival and this:
Brother of 9/11 victim claims the US orchestrated the atrocity as new study shows it was impossible that the third tower collapsed from fire –Geoff Campbell’s brother refuses to accept the official line and insists there was a cover-up –Matt Campbell will protest outside BBC Broadcasting House on the anniversary | 08 Sept 2017 | Next Monday afternoon, Matt Campbell will stand outside BBC Broadcasting House in London’s Portland Place, protesting about the killing of his brother, Geoff, and 66 other Britons, in the 9/11 terror attack at the New York World Trade Centre…Matt began asking questions. He has not stopped since. He, and others who will be at the BBC protest, refuse to accept the official story about 9/11: that four U.S. airliners were hijacked by Islamist terror chief Osama Bin Laden’s pilots…As Monday’s anniversary approaches, Matt, a former City worker who is married with three children and lives in Sussex, insists that 9/11 did not happen in the way we have been told and that there has been a huge official cover-up to disguise the truth…Crucially, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska concluded this week, after two years of forensic research, that fire could not have caused the collapse of WTC7.

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