Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
It’s a week of … unexpected … Nonviolence News. Many stories are distinct, unique, and have an element of the unexpected to them. One story like this is the recent acquittal of Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) animal rights activists who entered a Smithfield animal factory and rescued sick piglets. They were acquitted, achieving a significant legal landmark for the “right to rescue” sick animals from maltreatment in industrial agricultural farms.
Another interesting story highlights a powerful theatrical play performed by inmates that is credited with ending juvenile solitary confinement in California. Art is powerful! Across the world, Chinese bank depositors who had their assets seized by corrupt banks continue to protest despite being surveilled by one of the world’s most sophisticated and invasive systems. And Haitians, who have been protesting for years against gang kidnappings and government corruption are trying to insert a nuanced point into international politics: yes, there is a problem with gangs, but adding foreign military into the mix (as the Haitian president recently requested) is not going to solve it.
In other Nonviolence News, the French government ordered striking gas station workers back to the pumps. One wonders why governments couldn’t just mandate better wages and workplace conditions rather than requisitioning workers to keep cars and trucks moving uninterrupted. US railroad workers are probably wondering the same thing. Some of the US rail unions rejected the White House brokered contract proposal and may be ready to strike in November.
There’s a lot of peace news in this week’s round-up, including best practices for unarmed peacekeeping, a 20-year photographic retrospective on Nonviolent Peaceforce, a plan in Colombia to buy land from cattle ranchers to give to peasants as part of fulfilling the peace deal, and more.
The most interesting read: a new report shows that being part of a union can lead to earning 30% more than fellow workers who aren’t unionized. Over a lifetime of work, that’s something like an extra $1.3 million. Even more startlingly, a union is more likely to lead to higher earnings than a college degree. My takeaway? Your willingness to take organized, nonviolent direct action is the best “soft skill” to cultivate for your career prospects. (Also, shelling out a few bucks for a nonviolent action workshop is likely to give you an excellent return on your investment.)
Photo Credit: Demonstrators hold up signs during a protest over the freezing of deposits by some rural-based banks, outside a People’s Bank of China building in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China.
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Michigan Nurses Win Groundbreaking Contract: On Saturday, October 1, following six months of negotiations, nurses at the University of Michigan ratified a contract that restores autonomy to nurses and places the burden on management, not workers, to fix staffing issues. In a right-to-work state, it is a pathbreaking win for the health care labor movement. Read more>>
A Play So Powerful, It’s Changing Laws: ‘The Box,’ performed by former prisoners, has been credited with ending juvenile solitary confinement in California. Read more>>
Public Protest & Outrage Lead To Resignation of Racist LA City Council President: Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez has resigned after getting caught calling her fellow council member’s Black child a monkey, according to ABC 7 News. The remarks were caught on tape in a conversation between Martinez and two other council members. Martinez submitted a statement following the backlash announcing her resignation. Read more>>
Mexico’s Most Populous State Approves Same-Sex Marriage: The congress of Mexico’s most populous state, State of Mexico, on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to legally recognize same-sex marriage, becoming the 29th of Mexico’s 32 states to do so. The state is home to 17 million people. Read more>>
Far-Right Conspiracy Grifter Alex Jones Hit With Nearly $1 Billion in Damages for Sandy Hook Lies: A Connecticut jury on Wednesday ordered far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay nearly $1 billion to relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, who endured relentless threats and harassment as the Infowars owner repeatedly claimed the shooting was a hoax staged by “crisis actors.” Read more>>
Acquittal of Activists Who Saved Dying Piglets From Smithfield Sets ‘Right to Rescue’ Precedent: Opponents of factory farms and animal cruelty celebrated Saturday night when jurors acquitted two activists who were each facing up to five-and-a-half years in prison on felony burglary and theft charges stemming from the 2017 removal of a pair of sick piglets from a Smithfield Foods factory farm in Utah. The not-guilty verdict—a landmark decision establishing the legal “right to rescue” distressed animals in need of care. Read more>>
Palestinian Hunger Strikers Are Facing Harsh Retaliation Inside Israeli Prisons: Hunger strikers, including a prominent human rights attorney, demand an end to Israel’s system of arbitrary detention. In the photo above, Israeli police arrest an Israeli protesting in solidarity with hunger strikers. Read more>>
Chinese Bank Depositors Protest Despite Surveillance: The unusually prolonged and public dissent, part of a broader swell of popular anger, from mortgage strikes to COVID lockdown protests, has persisted despite a security clampdown. It offers a glimpse of the lengths some frustrated citizens will go to in taking on the world’s most powerful security state. Read more>>
France Orders Gas Station Workers Back To Ensure Supply Chain: French President Emmanuel Macron promised the situation in the country’s gas stations will soon be back to “normal” as the government started requisitioning some workers at ExxonMobil’s Esso gas stations amid an ongoing strike that is making life difficult for French drivers. Read more>>
Haitians Oppose Scheme To Bring In Outside Military: Amid a multi-pronged humanitarian crisis, thousands of people in Haiti have taken to the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince and other cities to protest the government’s recent request for foreign military assistance to curb gang-related violence. Humanitarian groups in Haiti warn that bringing in foreign troops risks intensifying the violence plaguing the country and provides no long-term solutions to the root causes of myriad ongoing crises. Read more>>
In Australia, Thousands March For Julian Assange’s Release: Thousands have marched through Melbourne’s city centre calling for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The 51-year-old Australian has been in London’s Belmarsh prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in 2019. Melbourne protesters marched through the city streets and formed a human chain across a bridge as they called on the Australian government to intervene. Similar demonstrations for Assange also occurred in Washington, DC and inLondon where 5,000 circled the Parliament. Read more>>
Major US Rail Union Rejects White House Brokered Contract: Maintenance workers voted against the tentative agreement reached last month and said without a fair contract, a work stoppage could begin as early as November 19. Read more>>
After 3 Fires, Amazon Workers Are Using Direct Action To Win Safer Workplaces: Workers are using direct action to protest dangerous conditions at Amazon warehouses. Amazon warehouses caught fire in New York and Alabama this past week, endangering hundreds of workers. In the unionized Staten Island facility, workers marched on managers and staged a sit-down in protest over Amazon’s disregard for their safety—and the company lashed back with mass suspensions. Read more>>
Alabama Paper Mill Workers Want Their Lives Back—And They’re Giving Up $30,000 To Get It: WestRock’s Mahout Mill members resoundingly rejected this contract, even though it included an unheard-of $28,000 ratification bonus—increased from an already staggering offer of $20,000, which workers already rejected on Sept. 21. Read more>>
Drum Circle for Healing in Chicago, Youth Stopping Gun Violence in Atlanta, CNV March in St. Paul/Minneapolis, 43 Peace Poles In New Zealand, and More! The Campaign Nonviolence Action Days, Sept 21-Oct2, bring issues (and people) together to build a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction. Here are some of the 4,622 actions and events that took place. Read more>>
Standing Up for Water, Land and Climate: Meet 10 Indigenous Women Fighting the Line 5 Pipeline: As Enbridge pushes ahead with its plans for the Line 5 tar sands pipeline, Indigenous women remain vigilant and organize to prevent its development. Read more>>
EarthTV Shows Are Finally Dealing With Plots on Climate Change: “Stories will feel outdated if they don’t acknowledge this is part of our world now.” Research shows that while 70% of American adults say they are “concerned or alarmed” about the climate crisis, they’re not talking about it – only about one-third reported discussing the topic with their friends or family. That creates a sense of isolation and anxiety, Joyner said. “Television and film can do a lot to assuage that because it validates the audience’s own experiences and feelings.” Read more>>
Scientists Launch Petition Urging Academic Publisher to Stop Aiding Fossil Fuel Industry: A group of scientists on Wednesday launched a petition demanding that academic publishing powerhouse Elsevier cut ties with the fossil fuel industry and abandon other “activities that are antithetical to meeting the kind of climate goals science tells us we need in order to reduce the worst impacts of climate change.” Elsevier, a Dutch firm that operates more than 2,700 scientific, technical, and medical journals in which research is peer-reviewed and disseminated claims to be committed to environmental protection. Read more>>
Climate Action Is Gaining Momentum. So Are Climate Disasters. In recent months, we’ve witnessed stunning progress on climate action—and terrifying signs of the dangers we’ve unleashed. So far we’ve only managed to slow down the rate at which we’re making climate change worse, even as we begin to see how dangerous it truly is. Read more>>
Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Mobilize Against Encroachment On Their Lands: Soy production, gold mining, and a new law theory all threaten the lands of Indigenous people in Brazil. Here’s how they’re organizing. Read more>>
My Childhood Was Stolen, Says Linda Raye Cobe, Indian Boarding School Survivor: Linda Raye Cobe discusses the growing movement of survivors seeking to heal from the “Indian boarding school” system. Read more>>
Family of Deceased Inmate Protests Lack of Answers: Lavell Lane died on Monday, Oct. 3, at the detention center. His family made a promise last week at a press conference to return to the SCDC to protest the lack of answers. The family was joined by a few residents and representatives from several civil rights groups, including the Charleston chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the National Racial Justice Network (RJN). Read more>>
What The Historic Women’s Uprising In Iran Teaches Us About Resisting Authoritarianism: Iran’s courageous women are showing the power of symbols, decentralized protest and legitimate grievances in challenging authoritarian regimes. Read more>>
From the Iranian Revolution To ‘We are all Mahsa’: Nonviolence Radio interviews Iranian scholar and peace activist Leila Zand about the radical socio-economic, cultural and religious shifts informing the current protests in Iran. Read more>>
What Afghans Want the World To Know: Afghanistan is once again the worst place in the world to be a woman. “We had a job,” one woman reported. “We had money. We had a home. We had a country. We had a family.” Now, she said, “we have nothing.” Read more>>
How Italian Activists Are Organizing For Reproductive Rights: Non Una di Meno and other feminists groups throughout Italy are fighting to guarantee the right to abortion promised by Law 194. They’re also working to counter anti-choice groups. Every day, they offer pregnant people information, and psychological and physical support. Read more>>
How Activists Are Making The Right To Housing A Reality: Backed by faith communities, the housing justice movement is racking up wins against landlords and banks profiting off of what should be a human right. Read more>>
Housing Activists Fight Gentrification In West Philadelphia: On Sept. 29, just minutes into freshman convocation, Liz Magill’s first major speech as University of Pennsylvania president was disrupted by about 100 protesters. The protesters, including students, chanted “Save UC Townhomes” and “stop Penn-trification.” After sitting briefly, Magill attempted to continue, making the disrespectful suggestion to the protesters, among whom were local residents facing eviction, that “Democracy cannot work unless people can live together, learn from one another and, paradoxically, disagree.” Read more>>
20 Years of Nonviolent Peaceforce – A Celebration In Photos: Nonviolent Peaceforce commemorated 20 years of transforming the world’s response to conflict with a photo exhibit, which is on display in Geneva and viewable online. Read more>>
Good Practices in Unarmed Civilian Protection: Check out this new report, written in collaboration with the Human Rights Lab at the University of Minnesota and Nonviolent Peaceforce, on how practitioners of unarmed civilian protection implement good practices across different regions. It also looks at the specific challenges that come with each practice. Read more>>
Black Alliance For Peace Action: Sunday, October 9 at 4pm EST in Washington, DC, leaders from 87+ Haitian-American, faith, and human rights organizations will convene at Black Lives Matter Plaza and march to the White House “to demand the Biden Administration stop propping up a corrupt regime that has plunged Haiti into chaos, and to let Haitians decide their own future, including creating a legitimate Haitian-led transition back to democracy and security” (Here’s the action report.) Read more>>
Who Deserves A Nobel Peace Prize In Ukraine? Giving the Nobel Peace Prize to organizations supporting war resisters would have been more in line with Alfred Nobel’s intention. Read more>>
Colombian Government Makes Historic Advance Towards Agrarian Reform And Peace: The government of Gustavo Petro will buy three million hectares from cattle ranchers with the aim of redistributing them to dispossessed peasants, fulfilling the first point of the peace agreement signed with the FARC. Read more>>
Iranians In Russian Condemn Russian Complicity In Crackdown On Iranian Protests: Several dozen people – all of whom had emigrated to Ukraine for different reasons – gathered to express a shared condemnation of both Iran’s supplying of Russia with Iranian-made drones, and the brutal crackdown on protests occurring across Iran as hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in what is reportedly the largest uprising against the regime since 2009. Read more>>
Preventing Violence & Building Peace In North Minneapolis: Meet Will Wallace, a 25+ year veteran of youth and community work in North Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the newly named Director of Community Peace Building for Nonviolent Peaceforce U.S. Will has been a voice for engagement between police and community during times of crisis, and has changed the lives of youth who have been raised in situations of violence and trauma through the local nonprofit Emerge, and now, Nonviolent Peaceforce’s Community Peace Builders Program. Read more>>
Transit Activists Use Human Chain To Create Bike Lane: Nearly 200 transit activists formed a human bike lane along one of Portland’s busiest intersections Wednesday afternoon to demand safety upgrades to a street where a semi truck struck and killed cyclist and Portland chef Sarah Pliner the week before. Read more>>
Indigenous Rights Activists Transform Queen Isabella Statue: On Monday October 10, when the nation celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day, D.C.-based peace activists transformed a prominent statue of Queen Isabella I of Castile by dressing her in traditional indigenous garments. Read more>>
Putting On Music Shows Helps Movements: What is common to the 2011 Tahrir Square protests in Cairo, the Estonian/Baltic Singing Revolution, the anti-apartheid struggle, and the US Civil Rights Movement? If you answered that they were all large-scale nonviolent campaigns that contributed to major social and/or political change, then you get one point. And you get a bonus point here if you answered that all of these movements featured communal performative events, such as choral singing, at campaign rallies. Researchers have found that music in the movement held them grow, and thus, succeed. Read more>>
Demand Soars For Books Addressing Violence & Trauma: As the new school year swings into gear, some students carry heavier worries than keeping up with homework: Demand has been growing steadily for children’s books that address traumatic events such as school shootings. Sales of books for young readers on violence, grief, and emotions have increased for nine straight years, with nearly six million copies sold in 2021 — more than double the amount in 2012. Read more>>
Being in a Union Means You Could Make $1.3 Million More Over Your Lifetime: Workers who are never in a union were projected to earn around $2.1 million their whole careers, while those who were in unions for their whole careers were estimated to make $3.4 million, according to a Cornell University study. The study also found that being in a union had a bigger earnings impact than getting a college degree. Editor’s Note: To translate: being willing to engage in organized, nonviolent direct action is the most important thing you can do to improve your career. Read more>>
How Nonviolent Strategy And Training Won a Key Victory In The Anti-Apartheid Sports Boycott: Fifty years ago, anti-apartheid activists in New Zealand overcame internal divisions and rugby fans to maintain the sports boycott against South Africa. Read more>>
Alabama Miners Are Holding Firm On The Longest Ongoing Strike In The US: Miners in Alabama went on strike in April 2021 after the company hit them with wage and benefit cuts. A year and a half later, with the company continuing to post record profits, the miners and their families are still on strike — and still refusing to back down. Read more>>
Say No To US Wars: Stop endless wars: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, everywhere. Join us in protest during the week of Oct 15 – 22. Organize an action in your local area or join one. (Oct 15-23) Learn more>>
2-hr Intro to Kingian Nonviolence: On October 28 at 4pm ET, there will be a 2-Hour Intro to Kingian Nonviolence. Join in to meet others interested in Kingian Nonviolence, build Beloved Community, and connect with On Earth Peace’s Kingian Nonviolence Learning Action Community. (Oct 28) Read more>>
Communicating For Change: Effective communication has never felt harder or more important. Given the challenges our communities have been facing, it can be easy and almost irresistible to disengage from others, rather than talking about what’s really going on and to share a vision of where to go from here. Learning Nonviolent Communication offers one avenue for engaging deeply with ourselves and one another so we’re better equipped to keep doing the work of building a future that works for all. (Nov 3-Dec 8th) Learn more>>
From Separation to Connection – (Environ)mental Health & Youth Work: This training project explores the separation and move to re-connection, with psychological, personal, collective and practical approaches, to become healthier as a person and as a community. We’ll draw from Gestalt Therapy, Deep Ecology and Buddhism. (Nov. 5-13) Learn more>>
Leadership and Organizational Seasons: This workshop on Seasonality is about the cyclical patterns that exist in our leadership and social movement organizations. Seasons and cycles help us to understand, appreciate and protect the ebbs and flows that occur throughout our time in this work. (Nov 16) Read more>>
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