Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
Did you know that Czech activists occupied their coal plant for a week? Or that 718 climate rebels were arrested in the UK last month? Or that Argentina had a large, multi-day action for climate justice recently? As I scour the headlines for stories for Nonviolence News, I learn something heartening: our fellow human beings are far more courageous, determined and mobilized than we suspect. For example, climate action has been everywhere this month. In Finland, activists targeted the timber companies causing deforestation. New York activists pressured CEOs of fossil fuel financiers. Belgium held its largest act of civil disobedience with 1,000 people participating in blockading two oil refineries.
Inflation strikes also closed down trains and planes in Belgium – it’s been quite a tumultuous time for them. Their fellow workers in Greece held similar actions. (In Kenya, flights were also grounded – the pilots are on strike for higher wages.) Across the Channel, 15,000 Brits marched to say #BritainIsBroken and immediate economic justice measures are needed.
Don’t forget to check out the 10 success stories in this week’s round-up. They’re so heartening! Remember how the Ontario teachers went on strike? Well, all 55,000 of them won not only strike demands, but the protection of the right to strike. Three cheers for that!
There are 41 stories in this week’s Nonviolence News. In case you’re wondering, no one reads all of the stories (except me). It’s enough to scan the headlines and glance at the synopses. When you’re intrigued, you can follow the links to read more about that particular story. Our goal is to offer a digestible glimpse of the length, breadth, and depth of the nonviolent change happening across the globe. Enjoy the feast.
Want to know my favorite story this week? In Barcelona, kids bike to school together in little herds, accompanied through the city streets by chaperones on bicycles. It’s a beautiful sign of the future arriving (on bikes, no less) in the present.
Rivera Sun, Editor
Photo Credit: In Belgium, more than 1000 activists to blockade two oil refineries belonging to Total Energies. The action, organized by Code Rood, was one of Belgium’s largest ever acts of civil disobedience and lasted two days.
In Barcelona, Kids Bike to School in Large, Choreographed Herds: Here they come: A tightly packed, brightly dressed cluster of pedaling kids –– this is the scene every school-day morning in Barcelona. Spain’s model for letting children commute independently is as coordinated as any good transit system. It may look rambunctious, but the breathtaking ‘bicibús’ is a finely tuned system that lets children travel safely. Read more>>
Scotland Is Freezing Rent And Rail Fares: Scotland is rolling out a combined rent freeze and eviction moratorium, designed to help people through the current cost of living crisis. The Scottish government also announced a fare freeze on ScotRail public transport until at least March 2023, along with increased social support services for children, including an extended free lunch program. Read more>>
Massachusetts Educators’ Joint Strike Wins Historic Common Good Demands: Members of the Malden Education Association and the Haverhill Education Association have ratified new contracts won through a simultaneous strike last week. After one day on the picket line in Malden and four days in Haverhill, educators secured significant gains including higher wages, increased parental leave and commitments to housing justice. Students, community members, and workers came together in the hundreds to support striking educators across Massachusetts. Read more>>
Aboriginal Activists Win Abalone Harvesting Rights: The government ultimately granted a three-year lease for 40 quota units of abalone (9 tons a year) to the Land and Sea Aboriginal Corporation of Tasmania. The agreement is the first of its kind, giving commercial fishing rights to the Aboriginal community, who up until then only had rights to fishing for sustenance and practicing their customary traditions. Their success is changing the perception of Aboriginal communities from “fish thieves” to leaders in regional development. Read more>>
Celebrating Victories in Europe and South America, the Rights of Nature Movement Plots Strategy in a Time of ‘Crises’: A global alliance formed in 2010 to advance an unorthodox legal theory that ecosystems and wild animals have rights, similar to humans. Now, says one leader, those ideas are “legitimate subjects of debate.” Read more>>
55,000 Ontario Educators Win Walkout & Law Repeal: Last week, over 55,000 Ontario educators walked out to protest a law passed by the Ontario parliament that would dramatically roll back their rights, including the right to strike. Now, the Ontario government has pledged to rescind the law if teachers agree to return to the classroom. The teachers union accepted the deal and said they would return to the classroom beginning on Nov 5th. Read more>>
How Decades of Hard-Earned Protections and Restoration Reversed the Collapse of California’s Treasured Mono Lake: Stream rehabilitation and limits on water diversions saved a crucial feeding stop for migratory birds. The lake is now an inspiration for efforts to heal degraded and warming ecosystems around the world. Read more>>
All-Electric Community Powered By Solar And Battery Microgrid Launches: A new collection of Energy-Smart Connected Communities — more than 200 homes powered entirely by solar energy — are being built in Menifee, California, and are the first of their kind in the Golden State. A $6.65 million grant from the Department of Energy helped fund the building of the homes. Read more>>
In ‘Huge Victory’ for Planet, Norway’s Equinor Abandons Arctic Oil Field Plans: Climate campaigners in Norway applauded Thursday as state-owned energy giant Equinor announced it would postpone plans to develop an oil field in the Arctic Ocean, as analysts suggested the proposal will likely be put aside indefinitely. Equinor said the proposed Wisting oil field, which would have been its fourth hydrocarbon project in the Arctic, has grown too expensive due to global inflation and supply chain issues—but campaigners credited sustained pressure as a factor that pushed the company to abandon the project. Read more>>
Colorado Votes to Provide Universal Free School Meals by Taxing the Wealthy: A ballot measure to create a universal free school meals program by reducing tax breaks for the wealthiest residents in Colorado has easily passed after federal lawmakers allowed a universal free lunch program to expire earlier this year. Read more>>
#BritainIsBroken – Trade Unions And Social Movements Rally: Over 15,000 people marched in London to protest the policies of the Tory government that have failed to tackle the soaring cost of living crisis and its attack on working class sections and social movements. Read more>>
Kenya Airlines Pilots Strike: Passengers were left stranded at airports as the Kenya Airlines Pilots Union went on strike. The pilots union says they are striking over a dispute on pensions contributions and settlement of deferred pay for its members. Read more>>
Gig Workers Strive For A Safer Workplace: Workers at app-based delivery companies and their families are often not compensated by their employers for injuries or deaths on the job. Several grassroots organizations and unions have been advocating for better safety measures for those workers and now, finally, are starting to see some improvements at local levels. Read more>>
Egyptian Hunger Striker Endangered: The family of jailed Egyptian-British hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah said on Tuesday they had not heard from him since he had been due to stop drinking water two days ago, and the United Nations human rights chief warned his life was in great danger. Abd el-Fattah, a prominent activist and blogger, was sentenced in December 2021 to five years on charges of spreading false news and has been on a hunger strike for 220 days, since April 2, against his detention and prison conditions. Read more>>
Dock Workers’ Strike Blocks Ivory Coast Cocoa Arrivals: Cocoa bean arrivals to San Pedro, one of Ivory Coast’s two main ports, were blocked last week after dock workers refused to offload trucks as part of an ongoing strike impacting the industry ahead of peak main crop harvests. Read more>>
Inflation Strikes Disrupt Trains, Flights In Greece, Belgium: Workers walked off the job in Greece and Belgium on Wednesday during nationwide strikes against increasing consumer prices, disrupting transportation, forcing flight cancellations and shutting down public services in the latest European protests over the rising cost of living. In Greece, where workers were holding a 24-hour general strike, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki. Brief clashes broke out at the end of demonstrations in both cities. Read more>>
The Protest Camp Where Houseless Activists Fight Luxury High Rises: Houseless protesters in Chicago occupied a parking lot and then set up a long-term camp to fight gentrification—with the support of the neighborhood. Read more>>
XR Global Newsletter: Climate actions are happening all over the world. (The corporate media is only covering a fraction of them.) In the above picture, fossil free activists in Goma hold up a sign that reads “Protect our common home – the Earth”. In their Action Highlights newsletter, Extinction Rebellion also reports on how Finnish rebels targeted the logging companies turning their forests into packaging, how New York rebels targeted the CEOs of the biggest fossil fuel financiers in the world, and how Australian rebels targeted loggers, financiers and more in not one but two major rebellions across the island’s south coast. Read more>>
Louisiana Boat Parade Protests Fracked Gas: At lunchtime, the boats started arriving just off the water of the Golden Nugget, the conference venue. Then more boats — there were, in the end, at least 17 vessels on the water protesting pollution and the intrusion of gas exports into communities and ecosystems. The vessels circled the water and displayed banners. There were shrimpers, oystermen and activists all on the water. Read more>>
Climate Activists Hold Week-Long Protests In New York City: Environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion and other NGOs are implementing week-long protests against climate change and inequality ahead of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Activists briefly shut down the escalators at BlackRock, the world’s largest financier of fossil fuels. Activists also interrupted an interview of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, protesting ABC News’ coverage on climate change. Read more>>
Commoning Our Way Through The Climate Crisis: Commoning is the process of creating or bringing resources into collective ownership and management. It is also the social practices, the rituals, rules, and labors of people working together as one to manage them. Across countries, collective responses to the climate crisis have flourished at local levels, particularly where there were existing networks of support and democratic enterprise. Read more>>
Hundreds of Teachers Participate In Teach Central America Week: Teaching for Change hosted the fourth annual Teach Central America Week from October 3–9, 2022. Educators from 38 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Costa Rica signed up to participate and organizations across the country endorsed the week. The curriculum particularly focused on Black, Latino/a/x, and Indigenous centered Central American culture and history. Read more>>
Activists Continue To Organize To Stop Atlanta Public Safety Training Center: Roughly 50 people packed into the community center on Oct. 25 want to stop construction of Atlanta’s controversial plan to build a $90 million public safety training center for its police and fire departments. They are part of a larger, diverse coalition that include environmentalists, activists against police brutality, residents living near the planned training center and anti-racism groups. Read more>>
Working to End Rising Anti-Asian Hate in New York: As Asian Americans continue to face discrimination and hate crimes, new funding could aid New York officials in reporting – and preventing – these incidents. The multipurpose funding, from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will be used to create grants to help community groups in New York City educate people about Asian American culture. Read more>>
Indigenous Organizers And Allies Fight For Indian Child Welfare Act: This morning Indigenous organizers and allies shut down the lobby of the Gibson Dunn law firm in Washington D.C, protesting their involvement in trying to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act for their big oil client, Energy Transfer. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Haaland v Brackeen today and will decide if they will gut ICWA in 2023, which will further weaken tribal sovereignty. Organizers entered the lobby with a drum singing prayer songs before security removed them from the building. Read more>>
Museum To Honor of the Black “Mothers of Gynecology“: Three Black women who were tortured in “medical” experiments – Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey – served as inspiration for artist Michelle Browder’s “Mothers of Gynecology” monument that now stands in Montgomery, Alabama. The exhibit serves as a response to a statue of Sims that still stands in front of the state capitol building. After unveiling the groundbreaking monument last Mother’s Day, Browder is expanding upon her work with the opening of a museum and clinic built in the three women’s honor. Read more>>
Abortion Rights Win on Midterm Ballots Across the Country: Abortion rights largely won during the midterm elections, with voters affirming access in three states and voting down an anti-abortion measure in one. The cross-country win showed the importance of abortion rights to voters in the aftermath of the reversal of Roe v. Wade. In Kentucky, California, Vermont, Michigan, and Montana, voters considered ballot questions on abortion. Read more>>
Russian Feminists Help Men Avoid Draft: Ever since Moscow’s mobilization drive to shore up Russian troops in Ukraine, a Russian feminist group has been helping men to avoid conscription. It’s become a political force to reckon with. Read more>>
Young Latinas Are Using Their Quinceañeras To Get Texas Voters to the Polls This Election: A group of young Latinas donned their quince gowns on Oct. 29 and led their families and friends along the streets of San Antonio, urging them to harness their electoral voice and vote in the upcoming midterm elections. The event was part of Ride to the Polls, a national campaign from the nonprofit organization Harness that aims to encourage young BIPOC voter turnout through cultural milestone celebrations. Read more>>
Climate Clock Erected at COP27 Says Richest Nations Owe $31.8 Trillion … and Counting: As world leaders gather this week in the Egyptian city Sharm El-Sheikh for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Climate Clock team is using various displays as reminders of a looming deadline and just how much high-polluting nations owe the Global South. At the COP27 summit in Egypt, the Climate Clock tower highlights that humanity has less than seven years left to limit global heating to 1.5°C, the more ambitious Paris agreement target agreed to at COP21 in 2015. The installation also presents figures for loss and damage funding based on research from the Center for Global Development (CGD). Read more>>
Garage Schools For Georgia’s Azerbaijanis: There is an invisible barrier that keeps many minorities isolated from the rest of Georgia: the language. A new generation of ethnic Azerbaijani activists are trying to help people in their home villages improve their Georgian-language skills. Read more>>
How One Young Leader’s Group is Inspiring Change in Maguindanao: “Titayan” is a Maguindanaon word that stands for “bridge,” and the group has been very active in engaging youth in local communities, creating a bridge of participation, and promoting a culture of nonviolence. Titayan’s mission is to nurture young people to be organized and resilient. Read more>>
Enola Holmes 2 and the Real Life History of the Match Girls’ Strike: This is a story about industrial corruption and the control of workers in that time… the late 19th century was an extraordinary period for the birth of the Union Movement and of people standing up for their rights. Editor’s Note: The movie has lots of violent fight scenes, but in the end, it takes collective nonviolent action to help them achieve justice. Read more>>
They Waged the Largest Private-Sector Nurses’ Strike in U.S. History. They’re Still Waiting for Justice. Minnesota nurses made national headlines by going on strike this fall, but as contract negotiations stall, they’re fighting for a voice on the job. Read more>>
How to Show Solidarity With Railworkers: If the railroad workers lead a strike, it will have immediate implications—economically and politically—for every sector of US society, most importantly for the labor movement and for the working people within it. Read more>>
History: How Atlanta Played a Critical Role In Anti-Apartheid Organizing: In 1985, Atlanta, Georgia, was a center in U.S. opposition to apartheid in South Africa. AFSC’s Atlanta office coordinated a national boycott against Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in the city. Read more>>
Committing To Nonviolence In A Culture of Violence: Nurturing this commitment is a practice; it is not easy to cultivate a commitment to not taking life, the aspiration to not harm yourself, others, or the earth, in a society that is convinced that violence is inevitable, if not virtuous. Read more>>
10 Reasons You Should Bring a Beginners Mindset to Activism: The beginner’s mindset is about being open. It’s good for business, creativity, education — and, yes, your activism. Even if you’re already a social justice warrior/volunteering pro, you might still find it helpful to cultivate a beginner’s mindset for your activist toolkit. Read more>>
MAKE SMTHNG Week 2022: MAKE SMTHNG is an international series of fun, hands-on events that celebrate creativity and use a positive message to challenge consumerism and its impact on the climate. The flagship event, MAKE SMTHNG Week (Nov 19-27) coincides with Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping season and hacks a mega-moment for consumerism. Join the festivities now. Read more>>
Nonviolent Conflict Transformation: It is important for would-be peacemakers to explore systematically the theories, methods, dynamics, and strategies of nonviolence movements. Join Professor Mary King for this course. (Jan 16-Feb 26) Learn more>>