Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. As I studied the image of the Stop EACOP rally against a large oil pipeline in Uganda, I noticed something odd. What appeared to be rows of supporters demonstrating from the balconies of the buildings – a clever tactic that could be used in many places – turned out to be rows of headless mannequins selling clothing.
The image is a perfect allegory for the climate crisis.
Small groups of passionate people are taking extraordinary action on behalf of humanity. They are met with business-as-usual, impatient commuters idling fossil fuel powered vehicles, and headless mannequins who, even if they could hear our pleas, don’t have the heart to act on them.
What do we do with this reality? Keep going.
In Nonviolence News this week, you’ll find stories that show why it pays to rise up against the odds and demand the ‘impossible’. Inspired by the recent success of the UPS strike, Amazon delivery workers are rallying for wages rates everyone said were ‘impossible’. European cities are taking unprecedented action to limit tourism – and all the environmental pollution that comes along with it – flying in the face of the endless growth mentality. Tenants across the United States are winning ‘unwinnable’ campaigns against landlords in small towns, mid-sized cities, and big metropolises. The Indigenous Wari’ people in Brazil reinforced their beliefs in the beinghood of rivers with Rights of Nature laws – so contrary to colonization’s view of nature as object to exploit – and now a non-indigenous town is joining them in acknowledging the legal personhood of an endangered river.
Read the stories in this week’s Nonviolence News to stretch your mind into the framework of the world-to-come. The world that’s already on its way. A bakery is modeling neurodiverse inclusivity in the workplace using everything from music to color-coded measuring cups. An ‘odd bedfellows’ alliance of Filipino fishermen and environmentalists – once unimaginable – is joining forces to tackle the planned release of the Fukushima waters. A group of Muslims in Sweden is breaking the stalemate and stereotypes over the Quran burnings by offering chocolates and chats to police, media, and passersby, offering everyone another vision of Muslim faith.
Our job as nonviolent activists is to demand the impossible and to make – over and over again – the previously unimaginable come to life. Each week, in Nonviolence News, I see people doing just this. It’s consistently inspiring in a world that desperately needs to reimagine itself and reconstruct the architecture of reality.
The headless mannequins won’t win. Keep going.
How do we get by? With a little help from our friends …
Wage Gains At UPS Have Amazon Workers Demanding More: “Everybody’s jaw dropped” when they heard that night shift workers at the Philly UPS air hub will get an immediate raise to $24.75, Blundell said. “We (UPS) top out around $20.90 after three years, so UPS is now starting well above that—with raises for the rest of the contract.” Read more>>
Ghana Abolishes Death Penalty, With Expected Reprieve For 176 Condemned Prisoners: Ghana has become the 29th country in Africa to abolish the death penalty in a move hailed by human rights activists. The decision means that the 176 people currently on death row, including six women, are likely to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. Ghana joins growing list of African nations free of capital punishment, although execution remains for high treason. Read more>>
Extinction Rebellion Cofounder’s Charges Dropped: Trial aborted and jury discharged without a verdict in XR cofounder Gail Bradbrook’s Department for Transport case. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge of criminal damage arguing that while she did break the window, she did it as an act of conscientious protection – a concept not yet recognized in current law. Read more>>
Ohio Voters Reject GOP-Backed Proposal Restriction Reproductive Rights: Ohio voters resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution, setting up a fall campaign that will become the nation’s latest referendum on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nationwide protections last year. Read more>>
Colombia Achieves Milestone In Peace Process: The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s largest left-wing guerrilla group, on Thursday, August 3, began a 180-day bilateral ceasefire. The truce will remain in force until January 29, 2024. The historic ceasefire between the government and the ELN coincided with a fresh destabilization campaign against the Gustavo Petro Government. Read more>>
Virginia Dept. of Veteran Affairs Reaches ‘Historic’ Settlement To Reinstate, Compensate Thousands of Wrongfully Fired Feds: The settlement comes years after the American Federation of Government Employees filed a grievance against the Dept. of Veteran Affairs for carrying out mass firings in violation of the union’s collective bargaining agreement. Read more>>
Cardiovascular ER Visits Plunged After Pittsburgh Coal Plant Shut, Study Finds: “Our analysis adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that policies implemented to regulate and reduce fossil fuel-related air pollution have real public health benefit,” said a study co-author. Read more>>
Hundreds Protest As Lebanon Marks Third Anniversary of Beirut Blast: Lebanon marked three years since one of history’s biggest non-nuclear explosions rocked Beirut with hundreds of protesters marching alongside victims’ families to demand long-awaited justice. Three years on, investigation is virtually at a standstill, leaving survivors still yearning for answers. Read more>>
Mass Rally Backs Niger’s Military Leaders As ECOWAS-Led Intervention Looms: Approximately 30,000 people gathered in Niger’s capital of Niamey on August 6, as the country faced a looming threat of military intervention led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc. However, as the deadline set by ECOWAS expired on Sunday, the regional bloc held an emergency virtual meeting with the African Union to discuss the situation in Niger. Read more>>
Workers Disrupt AWS Summit Over Israeli Apartheid Ties: Workers and allies held a powerful rally outside of the Amazon Web Services summit, while protestors interrupted the program inside to demand that Amazon cut their ties with the Israeli government and military. Read more>>
Portland 2020 Protests: Police Too Heavy-Handed, Outside Review Finds: Portland police relied too heavily on tear gas, less-lethal projectiles and hand-thrown rubber-ball explosives and other distraction devices that harmed peaceful people in the crowd during 2020′s social justice protests and riots. Read more>>
Unleashing Community Strength in Brooklyn: Local women knew they wanted to be better prepared to intervene during conflicts, but didn’t quite know who to turn to or what resources were available. Working with Nonviolent Peace Force, awareness-raising and trainings on topics like situational awareness and upstander intervention are building community safety in New York. Read more>>
Barcelona’s ‘Bold Strategy’ to Quell the Overtourism Crisis: The Catalan city is making big moves to get visitation and its impacts under control — and other European destinations are taking action, too. Read more>>
Nigerian President Meets Labour Unions During Nationwide Strike: Protesters marched through major cities at the start of the weeklong action, but businesses remaiedn open in Lagos and elsewhere. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu met union leaders on the first day of a nationwide strike called by unions to protest against a fuel subsidy removal that has led to higher pump price of petrol, the head of the main labour federation has said. Read more>>
11,000 LA City Employees Walk Off Job: Thousands of Los Angeles city employees including sanitation workers, lifeguards and traffic officers walked off the job Tuesday for a 24-hour strike demanding higher wages and alleging unfair labor practices. Picket lines went up before dawn at Los Angeles International Airport and other locations, and a large rally was held later in the morning downtown at City Hall. SEIU Local 721 said mechanics, engineers and airport custodians are among the more than 11,000 LA city workers who are striking. Read more>>
Customers, Allies Lead ‘Starbucks Solidarity’ Day to Support Workers: A New York City organizer said that “we’re out here using the visibility we have to help Starbucks customers and people that like the company know that the company is preventing the workers from fighting for better pay and working conditions.” Read more>>
An ‘Explosion’ Of Renovictions Is Hitting Quebec: More and more tenants are the victims of bad-faith maneuvers so landlords can hike up rents. A look at the rising phenomenon and its impacts on renters. Banners hang from balconies of a Montreal apartment building last year, one of many buildings in the city that have been organizing and fighting back against bad faith renovictions. With data from its 58 member groups and news reports, the Regroupement des comités logement et association locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) observed a 150 per cent increase in forced evictions in the province compared to the previous year — the highest-ever increase since they began compiling this data. Outside of Montreal and Quebec City, the increase jumped up by 508 per cent. Read more>>
Tenant Organizing In Unexpected Places: Tenant organizing is picking up everywhere. Austin and Baltimore, and even smaller cities like Louisville, Kentucky, and Portland, Maine. Increasingly, tenant organizers are not just winning battles against landlords, but changing public policy. In this webinar on July 12, four tenant activists shared their stories of direct tenant organizing and policy advocacy. Read more>>
Healthcare Workers Picket At 50 Facilities In Fight For New Contracts: Unions representing more than 85,000 healthcare workers have held pickets at 50 facilities across California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado amid new contract negotiations as their current union contracts are set to expire on 30 September. Read more>>
Pink Boat Vs. Coal Pirates – And Other Extinction Rebellion Tales: Welsh climate activists are continuing the long struggle to shut down an open-pit coal mine. In Extinction Rebellion’s newsletter, you’ll also find action reports from Colombia, Turkey, Netherlands, Canada, Japan, USA, UK, Austria, Uganda, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Hungary, Sweden. Read more>>
The Forgotten Coal Conflicts of India: Adani coal company – often operating illegally – has been the driver of numerous conflicts with communities in India as local residents struggle to protect families, water, land, and livelihoods. Many of these struggles never make primetime news. Read more>>
Indigenous Leader Inspires An Amazon City To Grant Personhood To Endangered River: The Komi Memem, a tributary of a larger river that’s unprotected, is now the first among hundreds of rivers in the Brazilian Amazon to have a law that grants it personhood status. This is part of a new legislative approach to protect nature that has made inroads in many parts of the world, from New Zealand to Chile. Read more>>
Protecting the Pacific: Filipino Fishermen And Environmentalists Unite Against Fukushima Wastewater Plan: The Filipino fishermen voiced deep concern regarding the assertion that the nuclear wastewater had been “treated” and deemed “safe” without substantial evidence, scientific data, and transparent documentation validating its safety claims. Read more>>
US Groups to Biden Trade Chief: Ensure Deals Don’t Block Bold Climate Action: “Outdated trade rules continue being used to attack climate programs at the federal and sub-federal levels,” said an organizer with the Trade Justice Education Fund, which is pushing for a “Climate Peace Clause.” Amid key talks in Seattle, Washington, 234 U.S. environmental organizations on Tuesday pressured the Biden administration to work on ensuring that international trade deals don’t thwart efforts to combat the global climate emergency. Read more>>
Roanoke County Drops $13,000 Retaliatory Lawsuit Against Mountain Valley Pipeline Protesters: Protestors pay only a $510 towing charge after documents reveal County targeted them for their speech and billed them for bogus charges. Read more>>
“I Interrupted the White House Press Secretary Because Climate Can’t Wait”: Gen-Z for Change executive director Elise Joshi explains why the time is now for real answers from the Biden administration on climate policy. “Hands trembling, breath ragged, mind racing. I had no idea if I had the guts to do it. What would be the consequences? How would my fellow youth activists in the room react?” Read more>>
Louisville’s Black Neighborhoods Want To End Publicly-Funded Displacement: Supporters of the Historically Black Neighborhoods Ordinance believe it will help prevent further public investment from fueling displacement in their neighborhoods, and hopefully redress some of the displacement that’s already happened. Read more>>
Atlanta ‘Cop City’ Activists Confident Of Getting 70K Signatures. But Big Hurdles Remain. Over the past month, hundreds of people like them — many volunteers, some paid — have spread out across the city of about 500,000, in hopes of persuading more than 70,000 registered voters to sign on to the petition drive. The deadline had been mid-August, but the effort got a boost Thursday when a federal judge extended it to late September, though significant logistical and legal hurdles remain. Read more>>
Indigenous Resistance Challenges Ontario’s ‘Mining Boom’: As Canada’s governments hungrily scour domestic and foreign territory in search of critical minerals, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is attempting to spin demand into a provincial mining boom. Ford’s economic policies are catering to mining companies that yearn for unfettered access to these resource supplies, even as Indigenous communities organize to resist the extractivist bonanza. Read more>>
Border Protests Pushback Against Buoy: A coalition of groups that organized a protest of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star in front of the Governor’s Mansion on Friday, July 28th. Operation Lone Star is a border patrolling mission that recently came under intense scrutiny for inhumane treatment of migrants. A whistleblower came forward and revealed cruelties, gross violations of human rights, and other actions that led to deaths. The border operation had placed a buoy in the middle of the Rio Grande River and miles of concertina wire along the shore. Border guards had been ordered to push migrant children back into the river rather than allow them to reach the United States. Read more>>
The ‘Dangerous’ Feminists Behind a Lebanese Media Outlet: A popular Beirut-based media platform is tackling some of local society’s most sensitive subjects — things like sex, love, desire and gender roles — with distinctive humor. Read more>>
Florida Activists Aim To Put Abortion Rights on the Ballot: A Florida Supreme Court decision is expected to trigger a six-week ban passed by the Republican-led state legislature. But an effort is now underway to enshrine the right to abortion in Florida’s constitution up to the point of fetal viability. Read more>>
The Kids Online Safety Act Would Harm LGBTQ+ Youth, Restrict Access to Information and Community: A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag in front of the US Capitol in Washington. One day in mid-July, the revered fan fiction site Archive of Our Own (AO3), a bottomless repository for stories set in thousands of fictional worlds, suddenly went dark. Read more>>
Arizona Coalition Launches Push to Codify Abortion Rights in State Constitution: “The majority of Arizonans agree: People who can become pregnant deserve the freedom to decide for themselves when to become a parent or grow their families,” said one state lawmaker. “Let’s do this, Arizona.” Read more>>
Staff at Grindr, the World’s Biggest LGBTQ Dating App, Are Unionizing: Workers at Grindr, the popular and long-running LGBTQ dating app, have announced supermajority support for forming a union. Jacobin talked to two Grindr workers about their demands. Read more>>
Cutting The Ties Between Higher Education And The Military: UK peace organization DeMilitarise Education is on an unstoppable mission to steer the power of universities away from the military and toward creating a more peaceful world. Read more>>
Can Popular Resistance and Mutual Aid Stave Off Civil War in Sudan? Sudanese activist Marine Alneel discusses whether local resistance committees can revive the goals of the revolution. Read more>>
Hiroshima Mayor Calls Nuclear Deterrence ‘Folly’ As City Marks 78th Anniversary of Atomic Bombing: Hiroshima officials criticized growing support for nuclear weapons as a deterent resulting from uneasiness over Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions in the Koreas, commenting Sunday as the city remembered the atomic bombing of 78 years ago. The observance came two months after Hiroshima hosted a summit of the Group of 7 major industrial nations, at which G7 leaders visited the city’s peace park and a museum dedicated to those who died in the word’s first atomic attack. Read more>>
Hiroshima Day Rally Speaker Says: AUKUS Is The Wrong Choice: The Hiroshima Day rally on August 6, organized by the No AUKUS Coalition Victoria, started at the State Library Victoria and marched through the city. Speakers denounced the military build-up of the region. Read more>>
Survivors of Oppenheimer’s Trinity Test Are Still Fighting For Justice And Recognition: Nearly 80 years after the first atomic test in New Mexico, a consortium of “downwinders” are documenting the bomb’s impact on their community and organizing for restitution. Read more>>
Russia’s Military Wives And Mothers Are Challenging Putin’s War On Ukraine: Russia’s anti-war movement should learn from the strategy of ‘patriotic dissent’ used by women involved in the war. Read more>>
Chocolates And a Chat: A Peaceful Response To Quran Burnings In Sweden: Over the past few months, in the face of numerous Quran burnings, El Gomati and several other members of the Muslim community have taken it upon themselves to shift the lens from the agitators seeking to garner attention by burning the Quran and to instead focus on engaging in friendly dialogue with the media, bystanders and the police. Muslims present at the burnings refuse to be provoked as they hand out chocolates and seek dialogue with onlookers. Read more>>
Invictus Bakery Shows Us What an Inclusive Workplace Can Look Like: From music to color-coded measuring cups, the environment plays to the strengths of people with intellectual disabilities. Americans with intellectual disabilities can earn productive lives as everyone can. Read more>>
The Arizona City Where Kids With Autism Are More Than Welcome: For families with neurodiverse children, travel can be tough. In Mesa, locals have learned how to make it much easier. Read more>>
Pressure Congress To Support the #FossilFreeFinanceAct! We know climate impacts will only get worse if we keep investing in fossil fuels. The @NYCComptroller has made a powerful twitter action video to share. He is helping lead the movement to divest cities from fossil fuels. Learn more>>
Show Amazon That Tens of Thousands of People Stand With Their Workers and the People of Palestine: Add your name to demand that Amazon and AWS end their Project Nimbus contract and stop enabling Israeli apartheid. Learn more>>
Tell Citibank – Amazonia Is The Last Place Oil And Gas extraction Should Be Happening: We are calling on Citi to fully exit financing for Amazon oil and gas. As we enter a new era of climate chaos, it is imperative that banks stop financing oil and gas in Amazonia. Learn more>>
Thanks for making it to the end of this week’s Nonviolence News.
Invest in next week’s fascinating stories. Donate here>>