Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
Across Europe, airports and train routes are being disrupted by strikes, including the UK’s largest rail strike in decades. After the South Korean truckers strike won important concessions, it seems like Argentine truckers may be taking a page out of their playbook, shutting down roads to protest diesel shortages and high prices. Tunisians and Ecuadorians are both holding general strikes against austerity measures. And Belgians brought Brussels to a standstill with 70,000 people protesting the high cost of living. In the United States, the 100,000-strong Poor People’s Campaign Moral March on Washington, DC, raised the plight of the 140 million US residents who live in poverty in one of the “wealthiest” nations in the world.
People are making headway and winning by organizing with vision and courage. In Mexico, workers at an auto factory knew the union would sell them out to management. So, they formed an independent union and just won an 8.5% wage raise. In upstate New York, a local interfaith coalition turned the tide on the debate around Columbus Day, securing an unanimous vote from city council to honor Indigenous Peoples Day instead. After dramatic occupations of weapons factories, Palestine Action succeeded in getting one headquarters permanently shut down. Indonesian migrant fishers held protests and succeeded in pushing their country to expand important protections to include them.
While the US reels from the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, rapid-response protests erupted in many cities and towns. Meanwhile, women’s reproductive rights defenders are already mobilizing to help women in vulnerable regions access abortions. The combination of protest and securing alternative systems will be necessary in the struggle going forward.
My favorite story this week? I had two. Here’s the first: Anonymous – the hacker group – hacked a webcam network that senses alarms in Ukraine. Now, whenever an alarm goes off, they send siren sounds, messages, and images (the Ukrainian anthem and flag is a favorite) to a myriad of Russian web addresses. Will that serve as fuel to the Russian anti-war movement? Let’s hope.
My other favorite story was a social media post from an LGBTQ performer at a PRIDE event. When this person climbed onto the stage, a bigot with a megaphone started shouting hateful comments. After wrestling with the impulse to punch the hater, or scream back at them, the performer found the perfect, powerful, nonviolent response: they started to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. One by one, other people joined in, drowning out the words of the megaphone-wielding person. In the end, love won the day.
Photo Credit: Supporters of the threatened Tunisian Labor Union rally ahead of general strike.
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Mexican GM Workers Win an 8.5 Percent Wage Hike in First Union Contract: An independent union at General Motors in Silao, Mexico, has ratified its first contract, with an 8.5 percent wage hike and benefit improvements — outstripping recent wage increases at other Mexican auto plants. The contract comes after workers voted last year to oust an employer-friendly union affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers. The CTM has long dominated the Mexican labor movement and signed bad contracts behind workers’ backs. Learn more>>
How An Interfaith Model Helped A Local Coalition End Columbus Day: In Rochester, NY, the city council unanimously approved a resolution to end its celebration of Columbus Day and replace it with a commemoration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day each October. Indigenous and Italian community members, including faith activists, rejoiced upon the legislation’s passage, touting it as an initial step on the path of healing from centuries of historical wrongs. The measure didn’t simply come together overnight. Instead, an urban community deeply rooted in the pursuit of social justice work spent four years striving to attain it. Learn more>>
Three Oil Companies Pull Out Of Leases To Develop Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: “These exits clearly demonstrate that international companies recognize what we have known all along: drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not worth the economic risk and liability that results from development on sacred lands without the consent of Indigenous Peoples,” the Gwich’in Steering Committee said in a statement. Learn more>>
Palestine Action Permanently Shut Down Israeli Arms Firm’s London HQ: This makes 77 Kingsway the second Elbit site permanently shut down by Palestine Action, in less than 2 years of sustained direct action. Behind closed doors, war criminals have been facilitating Elbit’s British-based operations — no more! Palestine Actionists have worked tirelessly, but successfully, to shut its London site. Learn more>>
Indonesia Issues Long-Delayed Rules To Protect Migrant Fishing Workers: Indonesia has issued a much-anticipated decree to boost the protection of Indonesian deckhands working aboard foreign commercial and fishing vessels. The move comes in response to a pending lawsuit accusing the government of failing to enshrine protections that could have prevented a long history of abusive and even deadly treatment of these sailors. Learn more>>
KXL Is Officially Dead: TC Energy just announced the final nail in the coffin for the Keystone XL pipeline project. Over the years an unlikely coalition of Tribal Nations, farmers and ranchers, and nonprofit groups joined together to fight back against the threat that this project posed to our homelands, water, and people. It brought to light issues of Tribal sovereignty, free, prior, informed consent, water rights, eminent domain and set a precedent of how to fight back against big oil pipelines. Learn more>>
Tunisia’s Nationwide Strike: Tunisia came to a grinding halt on Thursday after the country’s largest trade union rallied its members to go on strike. Airports, public transport, ports, and government offices were closed as a result. All international flights in and out of Tunisia were canceled. Protestors carried flags and chanted slogans such as “in our life, in our blood, we are with the union.” They were protesting President Kais Saied’s plans to freeze wages and cut subsidies in order to secure a $4 billion IMF loan. Learn more>>
Azerbaijan’s Religious Prisoners Start Hunger Strike: Azerbaijan’s most prominent religious political prisoner has started a hunger strike, with several other members of his group joining in. They are protesting what they describe as police abuse and blasphemy. Learn more>>
Hospitals, Clinics To Go On Two-Day Strike To Protest Violence Against Medics: Staff at public hospitals and clinics will go on a two-day strike to protest violence against medics, the doctor’s union announced Tuesday after a doctor was attacked by a patient with a crowbar at a community clinic in central Israel. The strike was called after police earlier in the day arrested a man who allegedly attacked and wounded a doctor in Be’er Yaakov. The incident is the latest in a string of acts of violence in hospitals and clinics in recent months. Learn more>>
More Strikes At Airports In Europe: Air travel workers are continuing to strike and call for strikes over work conditions, while airports and airlines struggle to cope with demand this summer. Spain’s Ryanair cabin crew have voted to hold six days of strikes in June and July, Euronews reported, a week after air traffic controllers in Italy and workers at France’s main Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris walked off their jobs. Learn more>>
Armenian Opposition Scales Back Protests But Promises To Impeach Prime Minister: Following weeks of street protests, Armenia’s political opposition is retrenching, removing a tent camp they had set up in central Yerevan while announcing that they intend to try to impeach Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Members of parliament from the ruling party, meanwhile, have said they are looking into stripping opposition MPs of their mandates because they have missed so many sessions as they have been boycotting since the protests began. Learn more>>
Argentine Truck Drivers Block Roads At Harvest Peak, Protest Lack Of Diesel: Angry Argentine truck drivers blocked highways on Wednesday, protesting shortages and rising prices for diesel fuel, just as the country’s crucial grains harvest requires transport amid surging inflation. Learn more>>
Chilean Miners Strike At Copper Giant Codelco; Government Plays Down Impact: Workers at Chilean state-owned mining giant Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, launched a major strike on Wednesday to protest the closure of a smelter over environmental issues, though the government downplayed the impact on operations. The Federation of Copper Workers, an umbrella group of Codelco’s unions, said 50,000 workers were expected to strike, including staff and contractors after the Ventanas smelter was shuttered despite calls for investment to keep it open. Learn more>>
Brussels At Near-Standstill As Cost-Of-Living March Draws 70,000: Around 70,000 Belgian workers marched through Brussels on Monday demanding government action to tackle sharply rising living costs, as one-day strikes at Brussels Airport and on local transport networks nationwide brought public travel to a near-halt. Protesters carried flags and banners reading “More respect, higher wages” and “End excise duty”, while some set off flares. Some demanded the government do more, others said employers needed to improve pay and working conditions. Learn more>>
Indigenous Protesters Demand Action Against Rising Prices In Ecuador: Despite facing widespread repression, Indigenous protests against austerity measures in Ecuador are refusing to back down. Read more>>
‘Poverty Is Violence!’ Thousands of Demonstrators in DC Demand Economic Justice: “We are the 140 million poor and low-wealth people, standing together to declare we won’t be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign. Learn more>>
50,000 Rail Workers Launch The UK’s Biggest Strike In 30 Years: The second 24-hour national rail strike has emptied railway stations across Great Britain as commuters opted to work from home while ministers pushed ahead with controversial plans to allow agency staff to break strikes. Talks resumed between the RMT union and rail industry bosses as 40,000 union members at Network Rail and across 13 train operating companies downed tools. Read more>>
Rebels Disrupt DC Council To Demand An End To New Fossil Fuel Projects: Rebels wearing hazmat suits and gas masks disrupted a legislative session of the city council today to demand the council stops the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the city. Learn more>>
Road To Peru’s Las Bambas Copper Mine Blocked Again By Residents: A community in Peru’s Andes mountains on Wednesday blocked a highway used by MMG Ltd’s (1208.HK) Las Bambas copper mine, demanding payment for use of the road, according to a source close to the company and a protest leader. The new conflict comes just two weeks after the mining firm resumed operations following another protest that forced Las Bambas to shut down for more than 50 days, the longest in the mine’s history. Learn more>>
Building Community In the Climate Movement: Community connectedness is shriveling at the very moment we need it most. At a practical level, we need friends and neighbors to pick up our kids and take in our junk mail and feed our extremely boring but modestly attractive guinea pigs. And at a climate level, we need our local community to tell us what works—for our housing stock, our weather, our municipality. Without community, an already impossible challenge becomes that much less possible. Learn more>>
Extinction Rebellion Activists Glue Themselves To European Commission HQ: A group of 10 Extinction Rebellion climate activists on Monday glued themselves to the entrance doors of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels. Around 25 activists in total, coming from Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Italy among others, were present to call on the EU to do more against environmental damage and to criminalize ecocide — the deliberate and systematic destruction of ecosystems. Learn more>>
Canada Steps Up Surveillance Of Indigenous Peoples To Push Pipelines: Canadian police and security forces have intensified their surveillance and harassment of Indigenous people in recent months in an effort to clear the way for the construction of two long-distance oil and gas pipelines in British Columbia, earning the condemnation of international human rights observers. Learn more>>
Juneteenth Reminds Us “In Between” Moments Are as Important as Uprisings: On this Juneteenth, it seems that we are living in a period of “in between” — in between the promise of liberation offered by the 2020 uprisings and the reactionary assault against antiracism, LGBTQ rights and reproductive autonomy. But remember, much of the most vital organizing work is done in between the protests, uprisings and rebellions. Learn more>>
Milestones in History Uses Superheroes to Educate, Entertain Fans on Black History: As states across the country continue their attacks on Black History with racist and ridiculous anti-CRT laws, one of the biggest publishers in comic books is using its heroes to illustrate that Black history is World history. Milestone Media and DC Comics are set to release the one-shot anthology Milestones in History. The 96-page book features eight stories chronicling the influence of Black people from the dawn of man in “Born in Africa – Mother of the World” through a celebration of Prince in “Controversy.” Learn more>>
In Abortion Safe Havens, Organizers Prepare to Assist Those Fleeing Restrictions: The end of Roe would harm millions. Abortion defenders are trying to build networks across state lines to prepare. Learn more>>
We Won’t Go Back!’ – Rapid-Response Protests Across US After Roe Reversal: People and advocacy groups across the nation rushed to voice outrage and organize rapid-response demonstrations Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority voided half a century of reproductive rights by reversing the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Demonstrators chanted slogans including “We won’t go back!” and “My body, my choice!” as they rallied against the court’s right-wing majority. Read more>>
Pride 2022 – Community Resistance: Increasing global conservatism is infringing on the LGBTQ+ community’s hard-won rights. But the community is fighting back as individuals and allies take to the streets to resist authoritarianism and oppression. Learn more>>
Interfaith Peace Delegation Travels To Ukraine: Seventeen religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith traditions made up our delegation, with six of us from the United States. We prayed, provided pastoral accompaniment and distributed humanitarian aid; we also met with local peacebuilders, religious leaders and political leaders. Our deeper purpose was to help create the conditions for protecting civilians, reducing violence, accelerating an end to the war and reinforcing the ways of just peace. Learn more>>
Anonymous Wired Ukraine’s Security Sirens To Sound the Alarm In Russia: Anonymous cracked the user list and control code for security cameras in Russia Belarus. They wrote code to play siren warnings and messages to those systems whenever air raid sirens go off in Ukraine. Now, whenever an alarm goes off, they send siren sounds, messages, and images (the Ukrainian anthem and flag is a favorite) to a myriad of Russian web addresses. Learn more>>
Georgians Sing Ode To Joy in Bid To Join the EU: Tens of thousands of Georgians gathered Monday night in Tbilisi to the thundering strains of Ode to Joy – the European anthem – as they tried to will their country against steep odds into the European Union. The crowd was as big as anyone in Tbilisi remembers. Learn more>>
PRIDE Performer Sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” To Counter A Bigot With Megaphone: It was a family-friendly, rainbow-filled PRIDE event. Just as one performer was getting ready to go on stage, a bigot with a megaphone started spewing hate speech. What this person did in response was brilliant. Read more>>
How Minecraft Brought Play To A Neglected Urban Community: The popular video game helped kids in Kyrgyzstan’s capital improve their neighborhood and become more invested in its future. Learn more>>
New Mini-Documentary Series Explores Narratives For Change: In this mini-documentary, as part of The Narrative Hub series, you’ll hear from teams in Venezuela, Hungary, Mexico, and Australia on their experiences researching narratives, imagining creative changes in their practice, and experimenting with bringing those ideas to life. Read more>>
Can Workers Overseas Provide Tips For US Labor Organizers? The worldwide spread of Covid-19 created major challenges for workers and their unions throughout the globe. Very similar pandemic disruptions provided a timely reminder of the inter-connectedness of the global economy—and the need for cross-border links that enable workers to share information about their own struggles and learn from organized labor in other countries. What are some of the “best practices” abroad that might be reproducible in the U.S. to help strengthen workplace protections here? Learn more>>
An Oral History Of A 10-Month Hospital Strike: At St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, nurses fought back against their corporate employer by organizing a strike of over 700 workers that lasted for 10 months. This is their story of protesting dangerous working conditions and staffing ratios. Learn more>>
Should We Train Movements When We Disagree With Their Goals? As Covid emerged in 2020 and altered our lifestyles, some of us who offer nonviolent movement trainings in the United States became aware of the anti-Covid vaccine, anti-health mask campaign launched across the Canadian border, in Ottawa. The campaign spread somewhat to the U.S. North, notably resulting in a trucker blockade in February 2022 at the Ambassador bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario with Detroit, Michigan.The phenomenon left many of us trainers asking ourselves thorny questions, such as “should we offering training support to them”? Learn more>>
Will a Fuel Boycott Lower Prices At The Pumps? Want lower fuel prices? Boycott filling up your fuel tank over the Independence Day weekend, says the people of social media. A nationwide boycott has filtered through social media channels, encouraging consumers to refrain from buying gasoline and diesel July 3 to 5, claiming this act will be a step towards lower fuel prices. Learn more>>
We Need To Talk About Money — Why It Pays To Be Open About Our Budgets: Being transparent about finances and budgets is key to building healthy movement culture and effective strategy. Read more>>
‘Waste No More Time’ — A Teacher’s Call To Act On Gun Violence: Educator and peace activist Francesca Po discusses the need for gun safety laws and a change in the culture of policing. Read more>>
30 Days of Nonviolence Challenge: This 30-Day Challenge will broaden your sense of possibility while encouraging you to act from a place of wisdom and will help you establish or deepen your daily practice of nonviolence. Learn more>>
Tell Local Government Leaders To Stop Building New Gas Stations! Building new gas stations simply doesn’t make any sense. Governments in California, Canada, and the E.U. mandated an end to new gas car sales by 2035, while other places went even further and implemented sales bans as soon as 2030 or even 2025. In partnership with SAFE Cities, Los Angeles and several other cities across Turtle Island (North America) just announced they’re planning to prohibit new gas stations! Ask local officials to follow in their footsteps. Learn more>>
Local Activists Call For Action On DACA Anniversary: This week, AFSC staff joined community members in Florida and Washington, D.C. to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA has provided temporary protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of people who came to the U.S. as children. But today, the program faces legal challenges—and Congress must provide permanent protections to DACA recipients and create a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants. Learn more>>
Take Action – It’s Time For Peace With North Korea: Thank you to everyone who called on Congress to build peace and humanitarian cooperation with North Korea! This week, hundreds of advocates from across the U.S. met virtually with members of Congress for our annual Korea Peace Advocacy week. Hearing from AFSC supporters like you is showing Washington that the public wants change. The U.S. must work toward a peace treaty with North Korea to officially end the Korean War. If you haven’t already, contact Congress today. Learn more>>
24-Hr Peace Wave’s Rolling Rally For Ukraine: 24-hour rolling rally live streaming from 2 p.m. in Iceland on June 25 moving west around the globe to 4 p.m. in Ukraine on June 26. Jump on! (June 25-26) Learn more>>
Poor People’s Army Political Education: Poor People’s Army HQ will be hosting a weekly education series, facilitated by veteran organizers. The Art of Organizing will take place on Monday nights 6-7:30pm EST. This series will take place at our Headquarters and be hosted on zoom. Learn more>>
#NoWar2022: Resistance & Regeneration, World BEYOND War’s virtual global conference, is coming up this July 8-10! #NoWar2022 will facilitate international solidarity by bringing together speakers and attendees from around the world. As we resist the institution of war worldwide, from crippling sanctions and military occupations to the network of military bases that encircle the globe, how can we simultaneously “regenerate,” building the alternative world that we want to see based on nonviolence and a culture of peace? (July 8-10) Learn more>>
Nonviolence Toward Earth: Acting upon the climate crisis is a growing urgency and OUR responsibility. Now, more than ever, we need to practice Nonviolence Toward Earth. This 6-week course with Merwyn De Mello and Rivera Sun will explore the many dimensions of how we can both practice nonviolence toward the Earth and join nonviolent actions on behalf of the planet. (July 12) Read more>>
Cultural Organizing 101 From Highlander Center: In this workshop, participants will share experiences and learn how to expand the role of art and culture in their organizing and advocacy efforts, activating community members to develop cultural tools that can help bring more interest and energy to issue campaigns. Register now to join us. (July 18) Learn more>>
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