Editor’s Note from Rivera Sun
The year 2020 launched into nonviolent action with a bang. Chileans rang in the New Year with mass protests. Fridays for the Future and the Student Climate Strikes walked out on the first Friday of the year. After President Trump ordered a drone strike assassination of the Iranian General Soleimani, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in protest of the attack. Meanwhile, thousands of US citizens, appalled at their nation’s action, protested in over 70 cities to oppose the attacks, urging the US not to further aggravate war with Iran, and calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Will 2020 see even larger mass actions for change than 2019? What can we learn from the past year’s uprisings? How will we move forward in 2020? For that, I invite you to check out the articles in the “Knowledge” section. These pieces reflect on take-away lessons from the year, the decade, and the “good, bad, and ugly” of the global protests of 2019. Read something. Learn something. Tell someone else. Knowledge is meant to be shared.
On a lighter note, here’s my favorite protest photo from this week’s news: Parisian ballet dancers join the protests against President Macron’s pension and retirement cuts. Widespread strikes and protests across France have caused hundreds of trains to cancel routes, parts of the Paris metro have shut down, schools closed, the docks were brought to a standstill, oil refineries have been blockaded, power supplies were cut, and now even the ballet is protesting.
May 2020 see us all engaging in nonviolence,
Rivera Sun, Editor
Photo Credit: Iranians in Tehran rallied in protest against the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Major General Qasem Soleimani while his convoy was at Baghdad international airport. (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
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Reader Spotlight: Laurie Marshall
“In these dark and negative times, each story you post lifts me up. It’s easy to see acts of nonviolence as separate incidents. Your highly professional and passionate assembly of stories of nonviolent actions in one place helps me see the breadth and depth of the worldwide nonviolent movement. Your work gives me evidence for hope, inspired by the practical optimism of Nonviolence News.” – Laurie Marshall, founder of Unity Through Creativity Foundation, builds Peace through Art, inspired by Nature, by facilitating collaborative Singing Tree murals around the world.
Here are some recent successes brought about by nonviolence in action.
Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera Friday signed a decree that summons a constitutional plebiscite on April 26, 2020, which will allow Chileans to decide whether or not they want a new constitution. Read more >>
Ensuring their story is told correctly, the Sudanese start to add their recent nonviolent revolution into school curriculums.Read more >>
The first of Switzerland’s five nuclear reactors switches off as part of a plan to end nuclear power use after the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, which triggered safety concerns about nuclear power around the world. Read more >>
Golden Globes Awards go vegan to send a message about climate change. Read more >>
Here’s how people are taking action this week for a wide range of causes.
In a protest against economic injustice, electricity workers in France are reconnecting service to poor families and lowering the price of tariffs to popular sectors, while cutting off power to police stations and large companies. Read more >>
Indians continue the mass protests triggered by the discriminatory citizenship law, broadening the issues into other grievances. Read more >>
Bolivia’s Chapare region ousted the coup, sent the corrupt police forces scurrying, and is organized and preparing for the coup regime’s efforts to retake the area despite the concerns of violent repression. Read more >>
Thousands of Chileans greet the New Year with mass protests. Read more >>
An on-going trade and diplomatic feud between Japan and South Korea is having an economic impact on major corporations as the boycotts pass the six month mark. Read more >>
Protests over constant blackouts in southern Nigeria left a regional capital in darkness for a tenth day Thursday, after angry youths shut down the local electricity supplier to object to the power outages in the southern part of the country. Read more >>
The conflict over the Mauna Kea 30 Meter Telescope has reignited a century-old conflict between Native Hawaiians and colonizers. Read more >>
Venezuela’s Pobladoras fights evictions and strives for affordable housing, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The coalition of five major groups is seeking to revolutionize the housing sector and its relationship to community, city, and governance. Read more >>
United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to criminalize Boycott, Divest, Sanction for its pro-Palestinian organizing work. Read more >>
Frustrated commuters in the United Kingdom held a national day of action to protest against increased rail fares. Read more >>
Animal rights activists and rodeo fans collide in New Zealand as the rodeo season begins. Read more >>
Minnesota snow plow drivers threaten to strike if labor negotiations with the state don’t yield better contracts. Read more >>
Harvard Graduate Students return to work after a record-setting strike failed to win the hoped-for labor contract. Read more >>
Nonviolence towards the Earth is nonviolence toward humanity. Here are ways people are working to save the planet . . . and our species.
A rising anti-mining movement is challenging Portugal’s ‘White Gold’ Rush for lithium extraction. Read more >>
US cities aren’t waiting for a federal Green New Deal … they’re pushing forward all on their own. Read more >>
Welcome to 2020: the first #FridaysForTheFuture Climate Strikes take place around the globe. Read more >>
Amazon (the corporation) threatens to fire climate activists who are pressuring Jeff Bezos to increase the company’s climate action and sustainability measures. Read more >>
Four climate change activists were arrested for using scaffolding to block train in Boston, Massachusetts, headed to coal plant. 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.
Caribbean women’s stories highlight how everyday acts of resistance are the norm for women, including breaking breast-feeding barriers on stilts during Carnival, organizing for period justice for girls and women, and ending body-shaming. Read more >>
Drag Queen Activism: how drag queens are changing minds and policy for transgender, cross-dressing, and non-binary individuals. Read more >>
Pope Francis condemns violence against women in New Year’s Mass. Editor’s Note: While the Catholic Church has a long road ahead of it in terms of dealing with women’s rights and gender justice, it is laudable that Pope Francis used his billion-strong pulpit to decry violence toward women. 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.
In the United States, the Pacific Northwest turns up the heat on ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) using legislative, judicial, and activist pressure. Read more >>
In Portland, Maine, activists lit up parts of the city with a light projection message asking Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to leave. They projected on the side of the One City Center building, the location of ICE’s office, asking the management company to cancel the lease. Read more >>
A migrant in Libya revealed horrible conditions of the detention camp he was in through artwork and sketches. Read more >>
To honor the courage and commitment of migrants who have sought to support their families, city officials and dignitaries in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, unveiled a monument dedicated to the city’s migrant workers who travel between the United States and Mexico. Read more >>
Around the world, people are using nonviolent action to wage peace.
Here are some of this week’s stories.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians flooded the streets in protest of the US drone strike that assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and two Iraqi military officials. Read more >>
Protests for peace with Iran and withdrawing troops from Iraq take place in more than 70 US cities. Read more >>
Okinawans persist in resisting the United States military base that degrades the environment in an incredibly biodiverse bay. Read more >>
US activists have protested drone warfare for over a decade. Here’s why they persist. Read more >>
In 2020, the Freedom Flotilla will make its 35th attempt to sail to Gaza. Read more >>
Nonviolence unleashes our human creativity. Here are some ways creativity and the arts merged with nonviolent action this week.
Using roleplaying to imagine life under a Green New Deal, these US citizens approached the looming climate transition Dungeons & Dragons style. Instead of wizards and clerics, Iowans are envisioning roles like community planners and memory stewards, in an environmentally and economically just society. Read more >>
Brazilian singer/songwriters lead the chorus of opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing policies. Read more >>
Street artist Banksy’s new ‘Scar of Bethlehem’ nativity scene swaps star with a bomb blast made by a bullet hole through a concrete wall. Read more >>
As 2019 rolls into 2020, many journals are posting excellent review and reflection pieces. We can learn a lot from looking back at what happened in movement news. Here are a few stories that invite us all to harvest the wisdom of the successes and setbacks.
2019 proved to be a year of changing narratives across Africa, including protest movements, nonviolent revolutions, tree-planting, and more. Read more >>
South Asia’s 2019 was marked by mass protests, media censorship resistance, and struggles for environmental and gender justice. Read more >>
Two US movement organizers reflect: we are the majority. Now we have to change that into power for change. Read more >>
2019 showed that workers won big if they mobilized for big demands. Here’s what else we can learn from 2019’s incredible worker-led actions. Read more >>
Can now really be the best time to be alive? In this dialogue across generations, a worried young organizer confronts a movement elder who believes that now — in the midst of deep crisis — is our best chance to make big progressive change. Read more >>
Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza weighs in on how to prepare for 2020 when we’re already exhausted by 2019. Read more >>
Do movements change anything? This writer thinks so. Here’s the ways in which Black Lives Matter changed America. Read more >>
Rebecca Solnit discusses how a decade of disillusionment gave way to people power and how the power of nonviolent movements can no longer be ignored. Read more >>
Peace activist Medea Benjamin reminds us to take heart from the good news so we can withstand the setbacks. Here are 10 good things about 2019 from climate justice to no new wars. Read more >>
The Climate Decade: how we shifted from disempowered and disengaged to a millions-strong global movement for climate justice. Read more >>
How to start a union when you don’t have the right to organize or unionize. Read more >>
Here are a few upcoming actions inviting your participation and support.
End the US Military Draft! Bill introduced to end draft registration for all genders and halt the plan to expand the draft to everyone. Read more >>
5 ways to support Chelsea Manning in 2020. Read more >>
Movement Generation’s May 2020 Justice & Ecology Retreat in Occidental, CA. Read more >>
Apply now for the 2020 Block, Build, Be retreat and training with Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Read more >>
500 groups issue plan to pressure the next US president (whomever it may be) to take 10 steps in the next administration’s first 10 days to address the climate crisis. You can join in. Read more >>
Sign up for World Beyond War’s 6-week course starting in January, War Abolition 101: How Do We End War? Read more >>
Feb 3-7, 2020, Black Lives Matter At School Week – engage your local school in participating! Read more >>
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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. You can find out more about her at: www.riverasun.com
Nonviolence News is a sister project to Nonviolence Now. Nonviolence Now is a campaign that is intended to introduce and share stories of nonviolence, and to ignite the potential of principled nonviolence globally.