Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
Sometimes, you can hear the cries of the people echoing like rolling thunder from one country to the next. Across the globe, human beings use nonviolent action to lift up common dreams and shared senses of outrage over injustices. Italian unions mobilized 40,000 people to protest the government plan to slash public services and social welfare. In Greece, 60,000 people marched after a deadly rail disaster caused by government mismanagement. Both Tamils (Sri Lanka) and Palestinians are holding actions on the anniversaries of massacres and displacement.
These stories connect our struggles across continents. Last week, we wrote about Mexico’s Mothers of the Disappeared protesting on Mother’s Day to stop the thousands of murders that have occurred this year. This week, we share a story about how US mothers eschewed traditional flowers on Mother’s Day to rally in cities nationwide demanding action to protect their children from gun violence. Starbucks and Amazon workers organizing against union busting tactics aren’t alone in the struggle. Over 130,000 South Korean workers rallied in 14 cities to oppose their government’s repression of union organizing.
How can these movements succeed? By learning from one another. We can share our success stories (like how Rutgers University professors won big or how three families took on a toxic paint thinner). We can reflect on widespread trends (check out the report on the rising fuel and cost-of-living protests). Or, we can be transparent about our setbacks, mistakes, and strategical choices. In the United Kingdom, Extinction Rebellion held “The Big One”, a mass demonstration intended to rattle the halls of power with the sheer number of people in the streets. More than 60,000 people attended the biodiversity march, with 100,000 demonstrating in coordinated actions throughout the weekend. While celebrating some of the gains the movement made, they’re also grappling with the hard reality that politicians can ignore people – even hundreds of thousands of them. The group is holding a participatory process to determine whether the movement should continue with big demonstrations or shift back into disruptive actions that are harder to ignore, but riskier. (Stay tuned.) These kinds of honest and transparent reports are useful to all of us as we work for change.
Here’s one pro-tip I observed this week: shifting our nonviolent tactics can keep the media, public, and our opposition from ignoring us. Choosing types of actions that make the point, put the pressure on the decision-makers, and mobilize our supporters is tricky, but worth the effort. During Teacher Appreciation Week in Wisconsin, teachers held an interesting type of strike that is called a “work-to-rule”, in which you do exactly what your contract states – and not a bit more. In this case, that meant that thousands of teachers left after work and refused to put in the unpaid “extra” hours they devote to their jobs. The action highlighted how much passion teachers pour into their work, and how undervalued and underpaid they are for it.
These stories are just some of the many fascinating articles in this week’s Nonviolence News. I also recommend checking out the stories about Colombia’s aerial dance climate protest, creative activism in Andalusia, and how Meals On Wheels is delivering climate resilience to US seniors. Grab your coffee (or tea), and offer solidarity to people like you around the globe by reading their stories. In the north, south, east, and west, humans are striving for similar visions of a better world. The sense of connection is powerful.
Photo Credit: Scientists weigh experiment results during Extinction Rebellion’s “The Big One” in London.
Thanks for pitching in this week.
Rutgers Strike Wins Big But More is Needed to Change Higher Education: The strike was the first in Rutgers’ 253-year history, and remarkable in that all instructional workers walked out, including full-time faculty, grad workers, and adjuncts. Rutgers is the oldest large public university in New Jersey with 67,000 students. The agreement includes big salary gains: 30 percent for the lowest-paid adjuncts in the first year, and 43 percent across the life of the contract, plus 33 percent raises for graduate teaching and research assistants. Read more>>
These Activists Worked to Bail Out Incarcerated Women in Time for Mother’s Day: Organizers JeNae Taylor, Nnennaya Amuchie and Samantha Master started Free Black Mamas DMV in 2017 as a self-described Black women and femme-run abolitionist campaign seeking to end the country’s current carceral system. Since that time, the group has helped more than 65 people return home from jail. The effort is part of the National Bail Out, a collective of local and national Black-led organizations that plan Mama’s Day Bail Out events around the country.Read more>>
Three Families Vowed To Stop a Killer Chemical. Here’s How They Did It: Connected by tragedy caused by deadly paint strippers, they achieved the seemingly impossible. Their advice could help you do the same. Read more>>
Amid GOP Assault on Trans People, Kansas City Declares Itself An LGBTQ+ Sanctuary: “These are some of the best protections of any city out there,” said one trans rights advocate. The resolution, approved in an 11-1 vote, states that “city personnel shall not criminally prosecute or impose administrative penalties on an individual or organization for providing, seeking, receiving, or assisting another individual who is seeking or receiving gender-affirming healthcare.” Read more>>
Costa Rica Puts Nature on the Payroll: For years, locals have protected the thriving wildlife of Osa Peninsula. When the government started paying them, a whole new conservation-based economy bloomed. Read more>>
Symbols of the Confederacy Are Slowly Coming Down From US Military Bases: Without much fanfare, a federal panel is removing the names of Confederate generals from U.S. military bases and replacing them with names that reflect modern-day values. Read more>>
Tens Of Thousands Join Protests Against Israeli Judicial Overhaul: Tens of thousands of Israelis joined protests across the country this week against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bitterly disputed plans to tighten controls on the Supreme Court. The planned overhaul, which would give the government control over naming judges to the Supreme Court and let parliament override many rulings, was paused after opponents organized some of the biggest street protests ever seen in Israel, now in their 18th consecutive week. Read more>>
Mitsotakis Faces Greece’s Biggest Protests Since Eurozone Crisis: After a train disaster caused by government mismanagement, mass protests were organized by labor unions and student associations, while strikes halted ferries to the islands and public transport in Athens. Several cafes and stores remained closed with the sign “We are all on the train today” hung at their entrance. Read more>>
‘We Don’t Want Flowers’: Moms Protest Gun Violence With Special Mother’s Day Request: Mothers across the United States spent Mother’s Day protesting against gun violence in small towns and large cities. Read more>>
NYC Mayor Met With Boos and Turned Backs During Law School Address: Mayor Adams was greeted with boos and turned backs during a CUNY Law School commencement address — a day after City University students and professors protested against budget cuts laid out in the mayor’s most recent spending plan. The public demonstration, which was reminiscent of NYPD officers turning their backs on former Mayor Bill de Blasio, came as the current mayor was urging graduates to “get on the field and participate about improving the lives of the people of this city.” Read more>>
May Day Protests in Puerto Rico Show an Economy Still on the Brink: Protesters last week lamented shrunken pensions, the displacement of locals by foreign investors, and the challenges facing doctors and university students. Read more>>
United Pilots Picket for New Contract as Strikes Loom at Southwest and American: Following what the Air Line Pilots Association called “more than four years of empty promises,” 3,000 off-duty United Airlines pilots represented by the union protested at major airports across the U.S. on Friday, demanding the finalization of a contract with higher pay and humane scheduling practices. Read more>>
Italian Trade Unions Continue To Mobilize Against Government’s Unfair Labor Policies: Mainstream trade unions organized a major demonstration in Milan on Saturday, May 13. The unions denounced the economic policies of the right-wing government led by Giorgia Meloni, including proposed cuts to public services and social welfare programs, along with lack of investment in job creation. Read more>>
A Union Busting Chatbot? Eating Disorders Nonprofit Puts the ‘AI’ in Retaliation: Is artificial intelligence a new union-busting tool? For the leadership at the National Eating Disorders Association, it would seem the answer is yes. Read more>>
South Korean Workers Resist Government’s ‘War On Unions’: One hundred and thirty thousand South Korean workers rallied across 14 cities on May 1. Organizers estimate 80,000 took part In the country’s capital, Seoul. It was the largest turnout for a political rally in the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more>>
Madison Teachers Draw Attention To Unjust Practices By Cutting Extra Hours Of Work: Teachers in Madison have been only working contract hours this week, hoping to draw attention to deteriorating wages and working conditions during Teacher Appreciation Week. Michael Jones, the president of the Madison Teachers Union, or MTI said teachers are underpaid for the amount of work they do, which is why they have been “reclaiming their time” this week. Read more>>
Extinction Rebellion Reflects On “The Big One”, Shares Global Action News: XR shifted from disruptive action to a mass protest. Find out whether this bold tactical shift bore big enough fruit in their newsletter. You can also read about rebellions in two more cities, with rebels blockading the banks of New York and smearing the climate-criminals of Berlin. There was also a wave of inspiring Earth Day actions in South America, with 23 XR groups rising up across the continent. Rebels staged aerial dances in Colombia, called out the dangers of a nuclear disaster in Brazil, and rallied against mining laws outside Chile’s parliament. Read more>>
Indigenous Land Defenders Erect A Tipi, Forming Ox Sam Camp At PeeHee Mu’huh (Thacker Pass) Nevada: The Humboldt County Sheriff’s department issued a final warning to Indigenous land defenders at Thacker Pass. Members of law enforcement are demanding that the land defenders vacate a service road leading into the lithium mining operation. The Indigenous land defenders have erected a tipi on a proposed water line, set to feed lithium development at the rate of 500,000 gallons for every ton of lithium processed. Read more>>
Watchdog Group Launches Counter Attack on ‘Dangerous Carbon Capture Hype’: “Carbon capture and storage is a lifeline for the fossil fuel industry and a dangerous distraction from the pressing need to move off oil and gas,” said one advocate. Read more>>
In The Face Of Climate Change, Some Mainers Have Given Up Flying: “For me, that’s like, there’s a fire,” said Barry Dana, a former chief of the Penobscot Nation. “I feel a responsibility to my neighbor. There’s a fire going toward their house. I run over there, right? And I’ve got a bottle of gasoline, or I have a bottle of water. Which am I going to put on it?” Dana hasn’t boarded a plane in more than 20 years out of concern for the environment. Read more>>
Protecting New Mexico’s Centuries-Old Water Democracy: In dry New Mexico, the traditional shared water system known as acequias are central to the struggle over the future of the commons. Read more>>
Forced From The Grand Canyon National Park the Havasupai Tribe Embraces a Spiritual Homecoming: The tribe lobbied for years to reclaim a part of its heritage and force a historical reckoning over the treatment of Havasupai people. Tribal members are hopeful it means a new era of cooperation that will give them more access to sites in the canyon and to tell their story through their lens and language. Read more>>
Jordan Neelys Protests Rattle New York City: The killing of Jordan Neely has plunged New York City into protests that have a ferocity not seen since the protests about George Floyd’s death back in 2020. People are protesting in the streets and in the subway stations. Days ago people climbed down onto the subway tracks and stopped the trains from running. This is a sort of civil disobedience that many of us saw when Black Lives Matter marchers shut down highways. They’re stopping the gears of society from turning to show that their plea is too important to just let everyone go on. Read more>>
Al Nakba 75 Years On Remembered And Protested Across Australia: Thousands came out across Australia on May 13 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Al Nakba (the catastrophe) in 1948, when Zionist terrorist gangs began to carry out massacres, ethnic cleansing and the seizure of Palestinian land to create the state of Israel. Read more>>
Work Within the System? Plaza Tonatiuh Organizers Seek Legal Status: In 2021, Mexico Unidos created a popular open-air market and community hub in New York City. Vendors sell Mexican and other Latin American food, household items, toys, clothes, jewelry and more. A host of cultural dances and music, children’s activities and political assemblies also were also staples of the Plaza. But now, they having to try a new approach after being shut down by the NYPD. Read more>>
Before And After the Nakba – Palestinian Literature Of Resistance And Love For a Lost Homeland: When a society experiences oppression and trauma, literature helps its people by giving them a voice and reinforcing their identity. It gives the trauma those people have suffered a universal resonance. So it is for Palestinians, whose literature – particularly that of resistance – plays this role. Read more>>
Tamils Commemorate Mullivaikkal Massacre: Zebedee Parkes reports that Tamil speakers called for permanent protection for refugees, not deportations, and for the Australian government to stop supporting the Sri Lankan government at a protest in Gadi/Sydney on the same day. Read more>>
City To Relocate Migrant Emergency Shelter From Elementary School: The city will stop housing migrants in a Coney Island school gym after locals opposed sheltering asylum-seekers on the elementary school’s campus. “Our children are being used as pawns,” one parent said. “We have no issue with their people bettering themselves and their lives. We just want to know for how long, why not use a hotel, gymnasiums are not sanitary. This is also a gym designed for elementary school kids and not grown adult males.” Read more>>
Pakistani Hindu Migrants Protest Against Their Eviction From Government Land: Pakistani Hindu migrants protested against their eviction drive from government land on May 17. Several JCB cranes demolished the camps of the migrants in the area on May 16. The demolition was carried out in the presence of the police force to avoid mishaps. According to the locals, the Hindu migrants are refugees from and were harassed in Pakistan. One of the Locals said, ‘They should be allocated someplace to stay. They should be done justice. On humanity grounds, they should be given a proper place to stay.” Read more>>
Legislative Attacks on Drag Performances Lead to Cancellation of Pride Events: As LGBTQ Pride Month approaches, anti-drag bills are endangering pride events and businesses that serve LGBTQ people across the country, LGBTQ organizers have warned. “This is the goal, they want to eliminate LGBTQ people from public life,” said one LGBTQ advocate. Read more>>
‘If You Go Down, I’m Going Down Too’ – Music Stars Protest US Anti-Drag Laws: As anti-drag legislation continues to affect states across the US, stars such as Lizzo and Orville Peck have been using their stages to fight back. Read more>>
‘An Inflection Point’ – Planned Parenthood Applauded for Backing US Supreme Court Expansion: “A few short years ago, we were told court expansion was a pipe dream,” said one advocate. “With support from groups boldly advocating at the state level to leading national organizations, our movement is growing stronger every day.” Read more>>
Japanese Rally Against G7 Summit In Hiroshima: Over 200 Japanese people rallied at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in a protest against the upcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit, carrying banners reading “No War Accomplices” and “No G7.” Read more>>
Activists Blockade U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Ballistic Missile Sub Base: Activists from the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, holding banners reading “The Earth is Our Mother, Treat Her With Respect” and “Nuclear Weapons are Immoral to Use, Immoral to Have, Immoral to Make,” were serenaded by the Seattle Peace Chorus Action Ensemble as they blocked all incoming traffic at the Main Gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington as part of a May 13th Mother’s Day observance. Read more>>
In Her Own Words: Hiroshima Bomb Survivor Learns English To Tell Her Story: Yahata, who was eight when she witnessed the nuclear destruction of her hometown, started traveling the world in 2013 to tell her story through an interpreter, but felt the experience lacking. “I had this vague dream of learning English so that I would be able to communicate in my own words, in my own voice, the dreadful power of that horrific atomic bomb and bring to life my own experience of that tragic, miserable scene, and sorrow,” she said. Read more>>
Former National Security Officials Run Anti-War Ad: A group of former high-ranking national security fellows, the Eisenhower Media Network, released an open letter appearing as a full-page ad in the New York Times, calling for a diplomatic end to the Russia-Ukraine war. Read more>>
Maori Party Denounces AUKUS Military Pact: John Tamihere of Te Pāti Māori (the Maori Party) delivered a special message denouncing the AUKUS military pact between Australia, the United States and Britain. The pact involves the expenditure of at least $368 billion on nuclear submarines. Read more>>
Discovering A World Of Creative Activism In Andalusia: In an autonomous region of Spain, a vibrant mix of feminist, queer, anarchist and socialist organizing is challenging the patriarchal state. Read more>>
Meals on Wheels Delivers Food And Climate Resilience For Seniors: Meal delivery programs are uniquely positioned to keep the most vulnerable safe during climate emergencies. During a heat wave in Washington State, Meals on Wheels collected donated fans and air conditioners, which the organization’s drivers brought with them on their food-delivery routes. The team conducted wellness checks by phone and helped clients find rides to cooling centers. Read more>>
Food Bank Marries Common Items With Creative Recipe Cards: Inspired by the popularity of meal kit services, a pantry assistant in Madison, Wisconsin, created step-by-step kits that marry basic food pantry ingredients with creative recipe cards. Read more>>
To Stem The Housing Crisis, Religious Congregations Are Building Homes: Hundreds of faith groups are using their property to build homes. For cash-poor congregations that face declining revenue and member participation and rising maintenance costs, developing housing can offer a financial benefit while also expanding their social mission. Read more>>
Reverend Billy’s Revelations: “Dear Reverend Billy, You talk a lot about the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction. But you always call for non-violent protest. If things keep getting worse, shouldn’t we be ready to stop this madness by any means necessary?” Read more>>
The WGA Strike Is a Fight Against Silicon Valley’s Gigification of the Entire Economy: If the ongoing film and TV writers strike is successful, the Writers Guild of America could establish a model for how service sector, app-based gig workers can take on Silicon Valley. Read more>>
Divest, Decarbonize And Disassociate — Inside The Bold New Push To Get Fossil Fuels Off Campus: As pandemic restrictions fade, students are finding innovative ways to end higher ed’s many ties to the fossil fuel industry. Read more>>
Protests Over Food And Fuel Surged In 2022 — The Biggest Were In Europe: Researchers have defined an unprecedented global wave of more than 12,500 protests across 148 countries over food, fuel and cost of living increases in 2022. And the largest were in Western Europe. Prices of food and especially energy were pushed up first by the COVID-19 pandemic and then by the war in Ukraine. And, while food and energy shortages have hit the Global South hardest, the crisis of affordability is sending increasing numbers of people onto the streets in the richer countries of the Northern Hemisphere. Read more>>
Call For Solidarity From the #Ekoniaci Movement: Blockade At KM 16! Call for solidarity with Indigenous anti-logging blockade. In order to enforce the moratorium on logging on their territory, Nitaskinan, members of the Atikamekw of Manawan are currently setting up a new blockade. Learn more>>
Tell Hartford Insurance To Stop Funding Fossil Fuels: If the fossil fuel industry has an Achilles heel, it might just be the insurance industry. Most new fossil fuel projects require insurance. If it can’t get insurance, the project can’t be built. That’s why it’s so important that insurance companies end their support of oil and gas expansion. The Hartford is one of the biggest insurers of new oil and gas projects in the country. Send an email and tell them to stop. Learn more>>
Reimagining Peace and Security in Latin America and the Caribbean: The purpose of this webinar series is to co-create spaces for bringing in the voices and experiences of peacebuilders working, living, or studying in Central America, South America, Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean. Its goal is to elicit reflection, discussion, and action specific to promoting peace and challenging war. The webinar series will comprise five webinars, one every month from April to July 2023, followed by a final webinar in September 2023. Learn more>>
End The Era Of Fossil Fuels: We need to shock the White House and America’s ruling class out of this “all of the above” energy strategy. We need to take action on a massive, distributed, disruptive scale so that these so-called leaders understand – they need to end the era of fossil fuels. If you’re ready to take action, RSVP here to host or attend an action June 8-11 to demand President Biden end the era of fossil fuels! Learn more>>
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