Editor’s Note from Rivera Sun
Global protests continue to shake the world this week. Colombia and Georgia have joined the ever-growing list that includes Lebanon, Iraq, Haiti, Iran, Chile, Bolivia, and others. Nine victories for people and planet should give us reason to hope. Nearly 50 other stories should give us ideas for action, including everything from giant billboards to all-female art shows to occupying offices.
While protests shake up the world, I’m also shaking things up around Nonviolence News, reworking the layout. I’ll be doing experiments each week, so feel free to reply to this newsletter and offer your feedback. This week, I’m highlighting 10 stories followed by the regular round-up. Like it? Dislike it? Looking for something else? Let me know. Thanks!
I’ve also started writing weekly articles drawn from the weekly Nonviolence News. The most recent article, featured here, explores why nonviolent action isn’t just for activists, it’s necessary survival skills for all of us.
Here are 10 stories that I think illuminate some important aspects of nonviolence in action. The first is the bold, mass actions happening in Bolivia. Just a few weeks ago, I offered a webinar on civilian-based defense. If you’ve ever wondered what mass nonviolent action against coups or invasions looks like, follow how the Indigenous-led protesters are working strategically to thwart the coup.
Bolivia continues to resist the right-wing coup that forced Evo Morales to resign and flee the country. Thousands of Indigenous protesters have marched to major cities, calling for the resignation of the self-appointed interim president, Jeanine Añez. Protesters have blocked the roads into La Paz, cutting off food and fuel deliveries as Añez announces peace talks. Protesters say only her resignation and the reinstatement of Morales will stop the widespread actions against the coup.
Efforts to stop a fracked gas plant in Rhode Island won a major and long-awaited victory this week when the company, Invenergy, finally threw in the towel and gave up. This story is a good example of the importance of persistence. Local organizers have been struggling to stop this for a number of years; often feeling like it was a lost cause and an uphill battle. As nonviolent struggle scholar Gene Sharp say, “You can’t lose if you never give up.” And they didn’t. (Image from a protest in 2016.)
This year’s Children’s Peace Prize was shared between Greta Thunberg and a 14 year old named Divina Maloum. Maloum created an organization in 10 regions of her war-torn home, Cameroon, called Children for Peace, and uses art and cartoons as a way of circumventing language barriers. She has worked with over 5,000 young people in helping them choose peace over violent extremism, despite heavy recruitment from armed groups. (Photo from an article on her work.)
Speaking of impressive teens, perhaps GenX should be renamed “Generation Resist“. Young people from 12-18 have an increasingly amazing track record of taking action. Take this first generation US-Okinawan teen, for example. Her high school documentary highlighting the struggle of Okinawans to oppose a US military base was just featured in Teen Vogue. Meanwhile, a group of Boston teens, angry about the health risks faced by themselves and their peers, succeeded in getting the Massachusetts state house to pass a bill banning flavored e-cigarettes.
Sick of struggling with homelessness under a system they say hasn’t helped them, a group of Oakland mothers, members of Moms4Housing, took matters into their own hands Monday — by taking control of a vacant West Oakland house. This tactic of occupation has a long history stretching back centuries. This group asserts that, if housing is a human right, this is one way of using that right. Many are concerned about what will happen next when the owners hear about the occupation. Stay tuned.
Fall Freedom Day coordinated a historic $2.1 million bond release campaign for detained migrants. Organized by immigrant rights group RAICES and the National Bond Network, Fall Freedom Day broke records as it mobilized people to contribute time, money, and air miles to helping detained migrants receive bail and be released from detention centers. Two hundred people in over 41 immigration jails across 21 states were freed. Organizers say that being released on bail helps migrants access legal representation, making them 5 times more likely to win their immigration cases.
Nonviolence isn’t just about taking action in the streets. Sometimes, it takes the shape of individual action. This week, US Rep. Ilhan Omar sent a letter to the judge ruling on the man who threatened her life, urging compassion. In her letter, she wrote, “We must ask: who are we as a nation if we respond to acts of political retribution with retribution ourselves? The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion.”
When we’re looking for stories of nonviolence in action, we have to look outside the “protest box”. Nonviolence can by systemic and structural, cultural and social. Gandhi called nonviolence “ahimsa”, which means “everything that does not cause harm”. That’s a long list. Think about this story of a 6,000-member double-dutch jump roping club that gives women a sense of community, freedom, and peace of mind. Is this an example of nonviolence?
Enjoy the news,
Rivera Sun, Editor
Photo Credit: Indigenous protesters surround La Paz, Bolivia, cutting off roads and supplies to pressure the right-wing coup to step down and restore President Evo Morales. Photo by unknown.
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Here’s what you’ll find in
this week’s Nonviolence News:
Victory! Success Stories
Knowledge & Reflection
Here are some recent successes brought about by nonviolence in action.
Chick-fil-A stops funding two anti-LGBTQ organizations after facing intense, years-long activist pressure. Read more >>
The Massachusetts state house passed a bill banning flavored e-cigarettes, thanks to the efforts of an unlikely pressure group: suburban Boston teens outraged at the health damage. Read more >>
Philadelphia, PA, passes a new bill of rights for domestic workers. Read more >>
Largest coal power plant in the US Southwest closed its doors for good. Read more >>
California cracks down on fracking, halting new oil and gas permits.Read more >>
Portland, ME, city council endorses youths’ climate emergency resolution. Read more >>
Jurors acquit migrant justice activist, finding him “not guilty” for leaving out bottles of water as humanitarian aid. Read more >>
Here’s how people are taking action this week for a wide range of causes.
Hundreds of thousands of Colombians join strike against right-wing president. Read more >>
After 23 Bolivians were killed in the anti-Indigenous crackdown by the right-wing coup, thousands march in protest. Read more >>
Popular resistance against Bolivian coup rises. Read more >>
Bolivians protesters surround La Paz, cutting off supplies of food and fuel, demanding that the right-wing coup’s self-appointed president resign and that Evo Morales be reinstated. Read more >>
Iraqi protesters block bridges of Baghdad as thousands join general strike to demand overhaul of government. Read more >>
Protests revived in Georgia following election reform failure; thousands took to the streets after the government backed down on a promise to reform an election system that favors the ruling party. Read more >>
Sick of struggling with homelessness under a system they say hasn’t helped them, two Oakland mothers occupied a vacant house. Read more >>
In Haiti, anger over corruption, inflation and scarcity of basic goods including fuel has led to large demonstrations that began five weeks ago and have shuttered many businesses and schools. At least 20 people have been killed and more than 200 injured. Editor’s Note: Like many of the global protests, violence has broken out in these protests, perpetrated by police in crackdowns, protesters toward police, and citizens opposing the protesters. Read more >>
This weekend the Yellow Vests celebrated their first birthday, with convivial barbecues on traffic circles all over France followed by direct actions like liberating tollbooths. Read more >>
US Rep. Ilhan Omar sends a letter to the judge ruling on the man who threatened her life, urging compassion. Read more >>
147 school districts in Indiana shut down as teachers left the classroom to protest at the state capitol for better pay and teaching conditions. Read more >>
1,000 McDonalds workers in Detroit, MI, went on strike for basic workplace dignity, a fair wage and a union. Read more >>
Greensboro, NC, residents counter Westboro Baptist Church hate demonstrations with counter-protests rooted in love. Read more >>
Tamir Rice’s mother and the ACLU create a “Know Your Rights” booklet for young people to navigate police encounters. Read more >>
Nonviolence towards the Earth is nonviolence toward humanity. Here are ways people are working to save the planet . . . and our species.
Extinction Rebellion activists go on global hunger strike. More than 300 campaigners in 26 countries will refuse food for at least a week. Read more >>
UK Labour Party promises to pass laws that would penalize any company not doing its part to address the climate crisis by delisting it from the London Stock Exchange. Read more >>
New Yorkers dramatically shut down fossil fuel power plant. Read more >>
‘Time Is Up’: campaigners occupy US Senator Pelosi’s office and launch global hunger strike for climate action. Read more >>
21 arrested occupying Oregon governor’s office to oppose fracked gas export terminal at Jordan Cove. Read more >>
Music industry increasingly works toward “green tours” and encouraging concert go-ers to take climate action. Read more >>
Climate “Elvis” scientist uses humor to teach people about climate change. Read more >>
#OptOutside campaign encourages US citizens to boycott Black Friday shopping in favor of outside time. Read more >>
As people flee war, economic injustice, and climate disasters, the struggle for migrant justice is growing. Here are some examples of recent actions.
Amnesty International puts up giant billboards mere miles away from child detention centers in Florida that ask, “We don’t believe in locking up children. Do you?”. Read more >>
Fall Freedom Day coordinates a historic $2.1 million bond release campaign for detained migrants. Read more >>
People are striving to attain gender justice in a wide variety of ways. Here are a couple stories that came up in this week’s news.
Transgender Day of Remembrance commemorates the 311 transgender persons (so far) who have been killed. Read more >>
To remember and call attention to the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, red dresses will be hung throughout the city of Red Deer on the International Day of Eliminating Violence Toward Women. Read more >>
Around the world, people are using nonviolent action to wage peace. Here are some of this week’s stories.
Cameroon youth peace artist wins Children’s Peace Prize. Divina Maloum set up an organization called Children for Peace that tours schools, mosques and marketplaces in her native Cameroon. She draws pictures, as a way of cutting through linguistic barriers to bring across her message. Read more >>
First generation US-Okinawan teen’s high school documentary highlights the struggle of Okinawans to oppose a US military base. Read more >>
Solidarity protests for the Rojava opposing Turkey’s attacks occur worldwide. Read more >>
Nonviolence unleashes our human creativity. Here are some ways creativity and the arts merged with social action this week.
Double-dutch jump roping club in Chicago gives women a sense of community and peace of mind. Read more >>
Here’s what’s behind the push for more all-female art shows in advance of the 2020 US elections. Read more >>
U2 releases new music single called “Ahimsa” which means nonviolence in Sanskrit and talks about how nonviolence is the greatest power on earth, greater than nuclear weapons and war. Read more >>
Farm Hack UK gathers farmers to figure out agriculture’s most pressing problems; everything from compost to climate change. “Farm Hack – like most political interventions – is not the answer, but a call to arms; it prefigures a different world, but in doing so, it also shows the distance left to travel.” Read more >>
We are fortunate to live at a time when there is so much knowledge about nonviolence available to explore. Here are some articles that invite us to dig deeper.
Lessons of Uprisings Around the World: The Present Moment, and Possible Future. Read more >>
Despite uncertain future, Lebanon’s uprising remains united against political elite. Demonstrations have spread to all parts of the country and are targeting the entire political establishment. Read more >>
How Momentum grew into a movement-generating training organization. Read more >>
How a popular campaign seeks to stop the FBI from spying on social movements. Read more >>
How schools – both private and public, high school and college-level – are responding to student protest.Read more >>
Gilets jaunes: one year on, how the ‘yellow vest’ movement has changed French citizens’ lives. Read more >>
Here are a few upcoming actions inviting your participation and support.
Ecosattva Training offers knowledge in integrating your mind and spirit while working to protect people and planet. 2019-2020 cohorts are now forming. Read more >>
Join #FireDrillFridays with Jane Fonda in Washington, DC, to oppose militarism and the climate crisis. Read more >>
Boycott PUMA sportsware! Over 200 Palestinian teams and athletes are calling for a boycott of PUMA because the sportsware company is the largest sponsor of the Israeli Football Association (IFA). The IFA is in breach of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regulations which prohibit member associations from holding competitions on occupied territory without permission. Find out more and sign up for action here.
Sunrise Movement offers chance to get skills to make your next strike, rally, or sit-in visually stunning and ready to capture attention in the media. Apply to join the Sunrise Action Art Skills Training, December 13-15 in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more >>
Feb 3-7, 2020, Black Lives Matter At School Week – engage your local school in participating! Read more >>
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Nonviolence News is a sister project to Nonviolence Now. The Nonviolence Now campaign is intended to introduce and share stories of nonviolence, and to ignite the potential of principled nonviolence globally.
Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written many books and novels, including The Dandelion Insurrection and The Way Between. She is a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent movements and her essays are published in journals across the country and around the world. www.riverasun.com