Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
Sometimes, the stories I run across are just absurd. Occasionally, its a good kind of absurdity that rises to the level of political satire, like the story about a mock funeral held to ‘bury the Monroe Doctrine’ on the 200th anniversary of its manipulative history. But there’s another kind of absurdity that happens when the forces of destructiveness double-down on their stances – and prove that the movements opposing them really do have a point.
In France, a thousands-strong campaign (pictured) has risen up to stop a highway from being built through the countryside. During attempts to evict the protesters (who had permission to be there), French police sprayed so much tear gas they set the drought-parched field on fire. It’s appalling, ironic, and absurd all at the same time. Especially if you remember that the field was dry because of the record-breaking, climate-crisis induced heat that has wracked Europe this year. But this is the kind of unbelievable-yet-true scene that is unfolding in so many places as the fossil fuel empire tries to defend its indefensible tyranny.
Another example of the absurdity is how South Africa’s oil and gas industry paid people to show up at a summit with signs that said “Oil Is Good”. Fortunately, climate activists were also there and, after some dialogue, convinced the paid protesters to walk off the job and join their climate protest. I also liked the story of how Italian climate protesters with Extinction Rebellion dressed up as the iconic Pinocchio as 100 of them scaled poles, chained themselves to the entrance of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, and locked down to each other to call out the government’s climate denialism.
((And I don’t even know where to start with the story of the Nicaraguan beauty queen who is being accused of rigging beauty pageants to get anti-government women elected. You’re going to have to read that article yourself to make sense of it. I can’t decide if the government is paranoid and repressive (which it is), or if the beauty queen actually has a very intriguing strategy of resistance going on.))
On top of those stories of climate protest, I also ran across an in-depth look at a multiyear campaign in French Guyana to stop a photovoltaic and hydrogen power plant. It’s a cautionary tale to everyone hoping for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels: the new energy sources cannot replicate the destructive habits of the old. Seizing land from Indigenous Peoples, clear-cutting forests, and threatening ecosystems for endangered and rare species is not the way to make a transition to an ecological society. It will be resisted, and must be.
In other Nonviolence News, the California State University – the largest public university system in the US – faculty have gone on strike for better pay and parental leave. In the United Kingdom, the fuel poverty group “Warm Up” held 30 actions in shopping malls, public offices, and other locations to call for an end to fuel poverty. Danish dockworkers have thrown their weight into the Tesla struggle in solidarity with Swedish postal workers, electricians, and dockworkers who have all refused to continue operations with Tesla in support of the strike of Tesla mechanics.
As the Gaza death toll crosses 17,000, racial justice groups are lifting up the connections between Palestinians struggle for survival and Black and Indigenous Peoples’ movements in the United States, Haiti, and Congo. Stop Cop City protesters in Atlanta, GA, are denouncing a long-standing program in which the Israeli military trains US cops in ‘homeland security’ tactics. A new report reveals that the NYPD has used drones to arrest 239 pro-Palestinian protesters. Other recent actions for Palestinians included a Montreal rail yard blockade, the UAW endorsing calls for a ceasefire, and pressure on museums to stop condoning Israel’s colonialism.
I also recommend perusing the fascinating articles on how Maori are revitalizing their nonviolence traditions, the history of ACT-UP in gaining AIDS treatment for LGBTQ persons, and on movement leadership and strategy. There’s a lot to explore in this week’s Nonviolence News.
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Indigenous Advocacy Leads To Largest Dam Removal Project In US History: Four dams are being demolished along the Klamath River in northern California, as salmon populations plummet. “We fought this core American value that nature is here to serve humans at whatever cost to nature,” she said. “That was the biggest thing in our way. It wasn’t people or money or law. It was that mindset.” Read more>>
The Fall of An Arizona Border Wall: The resistance movement spread through traditional word of mouth, and thus the crowd of local activists, artists, and concerned citizens grew by the day. Eventually they came to call themselves the Border Wall Resistance (BWR). For close to four weeks, protestors stood in front of the trucks and cranes day and night, camping even as winter arrived and temperatures dropped below zero. Here’s how they stopped the wall from getting built – and got the one section under construction dismantled. Read more>>
French Lawmakers Ban Disposable E-Cigarettes To Protect Youth Drawn To Their Flavors: France’s National Assembly has unanimously approved a bill to ban single-use, disposable electronic cigarettes, in an attempt to protect young people drawn to their flavors and mitigate the environmental impacts of the disposable products known as “puffs.” Read more>>
Families Rally for Opioid Accountability as Supreme Court Hears Purdue Case: “I don’t want their money,” one woman who lost a son to the opioid crisis said of the Sackler family. “I want them in prison.” At the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, families whose loved ones are among the tens of thousands of Americans who have died of opioid use disorder each year over the past two decades rallied to push the nine justices to reject a proposed bankruptcy plan that would give the former owners of Purdue Pharma legal immunity. Read more>>
Protests Target Dozens of UK Courts Over the Erosion Jury Rights: On Monday 4 December, hundreds of people gathered at dozens of Crown Courts across England and Wales to uphold the principle of jury equity, i.e. the right of juries to determine whether a serious crime has been committed, whatever the trial judge may think or say. The reason for this is simple: the UK justice system is eroding that basic principle. Read more>>
The Nonviolent Struggle Against Extraction In French Guyana: Village Prospérité, which regroups part of the nation of Kali’na in French Guyana along the northeastern coast of South America, is nonviolently resisting the construction of the West Guyana Power Plant, a photovoltaic power plant coupled with hydrogen. The project launched in 2016 and the plant has been under construction since October 2022. Its completion is projected for 2024—unless the Kali’na nation succeeds at their objective to preserve their region from extractive-industry related degradation. Read more>>
New Blood: How Youth in Zambia Are Reclaiming Politics: A new book, written by the founders and core team of Youth4Parliament, portrays the dynamic movement that has transformed the political landscape in Zambia. In 2018, Zambia grappled with political turmoil, a stifled democratic process, and marginalized youth voices. Physical violence among youth from different political factions was a hard reality. Amid this chaos, two friends from opposing parties began the Youth4Parliament (Y4P) movement, igniting a transformation that would reshape Zambia’s political landscape. Download it for free here>>
Nicaragua’s Beauty Queen Protest Coup: Nicaraguan police said Friday they want to arrest the director of the Miss Nicaragua pageant, accusing her of intentionally rigging contests so that anti-government beauty queens would win the pageants as part of a plot to overthrow the government. But what’s really going on? Read more>>
SAG-AFTRA’s New Contract Falls Short On Protections From Artificial Intelligence: Critics fear that weak language and loopholes on AI could impact disadvantaged actors first and hardest. Read more>>
NYPD Has Used Drones to Monitor Pro-Palestine Protests, Make 239 Arrests: Since October 7, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has used drones at least 13 times to make 239 arrests at pro-Palestine protests. “This is a local police department that increasingly acts like a national intelligence agency,” one expert said. Read more>>
How Young People in Appalachia and the South Are Helping to Stop Overdoses: Increasingly, Southern and Appalachian states have begun to adopt harm reduction as a public health strategy. Differing from strategies like criminalization that seek to curtail drug use, harm reduction is a social movement built upon the principles of justice and human rights. Harm reduction recognizes that some people will continue to use drugs and that the most important thing is to minimize the social, health, and legal harm. Read more>>
70,000+ Healthcare Workers to Biden: Stop ‘Malignant Growth’ of LNG: “My medical opinion is that we should not be building nor permitting more LNG export terminals,” one health expert said. Export terminals would emit air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and fine particulate matter, which has been linked to a number of health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, and childhood cognitive problems and is responsible for 350,000 early deaths in the U.S. each year. Read more>>
Congress Urged to Reject ‘Unconscionable’ Asylum Changes in Funding Talks: “The long-term result from such short-sighted extremist policy will be further chaos at the southern border and further loss of life and human dignity,” warned one campaigner. Read more>>
California State University Faculty Strike for Better Pay, Parental Leave: Faculty at California State University (CSU), the largest public university system in the U.S., went on strike to demand higher pay and expanded parental leave. The faculty, represented by the California Faculty Association (CFA), are demanding a 12 percent salary raise and an increase in parental leave from six weeks to a full semester for professors, librarians and other workers. The California Faculty Association is planning a series of one-day strikes across four campuses. Read more>>
UK-Wide Actions Challenge Fuel Poverty: People have taken action UK-wide over fuel poverty – with a south London protest drawing unwanted attention. Campaign groups Fuel Poverty Action, Unite Community, and their allies held nationwide protests this weekend, carrying out ‘Warm Ups’ to demand action on fuel poverty. People occupied British Gas offices, protested outside Scottish Power, and engaged their local communities. Read more>>
Tired of Low Wages and Workplace Violence, Waffle House Workers Are Organizing: “We’re sick and tired of making poverty wages, the constant threat of in-store violence, and mandatory meal deductions. We refuse to be exploited — and so we’re getting organized.” Read more>>
Danish Dockworkers Dial Up Pro-Union Pressure on Tesla With Solidarity Strike: “We have some labor market agreements in the Nordic region, and you have to comply with them if you want to run a business here,” said the head of Denmark’s largest union. They support postal workers, electricians, and dockworkers in Sweden who have all refused to continue operations with Tesla in support of the strike of Tesla mechanics. Read more>>
French Police Ignite Fire With Tear Gas & Other Stories In The Global Extinction Rebellion Newsletter: From converting oil and gas’ paid protesters in Cape Town, South Africa, to dressing as Pinocchio to call out Italian politicians’ lies (pictured above), the Extinction Rebellion action reports from Finland, Bolivia, Morocco and beyond will give you a glimpse of what the global climate movement has been up to lately. Some of the stories – like the one about how French police sprayed a protest encampment in France with so much tear gas they set the drought-parched field on fire – show the frightening absurdity that unfolds as the fossil fuel empire tries to defend its indefensible tyranny. Read more>>
Scientists Skip COP28 To Demand Climate Action At Home: Concerned about safety at the global climate summit and wanting to make their protests count, researchers stage demonstrations elsewhere. Scientist Rebellion, an international group of researchers that uses civil disobedience to prompt climate action, has organized protests across 23 countries throughout the COP28 meeting, between 30 November and 12 December. Read more>>
XR Rebels In the United Kingdom Keep The Pressure On: Thousands of rebels and their national and local allies hit the streets across the UK on the last Saturday of November in more than 36 separate actions and events for a show of growing excitement, creativity and solidarity in the face of an accelerating climate crisis and criminal government inaction. And these 36 actions came on top of 159 XR actions in cities, towns and villages across the United Kingdom in the month of November. Read more>>
Climate Coalition Says ‘Stop Carbon Offsetting Now!’ “Carbon offset trading is reckless and irresponsible,” declared Jutta Kill of the World Rainforest Movement—part of the coalition that includes ETC Group, Focus on the Global South, GRAIN, Indigenous Environmental Network, Just Transition Alliance, and the Oakland Institute. Read more>>
The Legendary Ocean Explorer Protecting ‘Hope Spots’ Around the World: Sylvia Earle, a pioneer of both deep sea diving and ocean conservation, has made it her mission to protect the ocean’s biodiversity, one spot at a time. Read more>>
The Surprising Power of Wastewater Wetlands: Amid the growing threats of climate crisis and habitat fragmentation, constructed wetlands are gaining popularity as natural water-cleaning systems. Read more>>
Zambia Issues First Green Energy Bond: Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) will issue the southern African country’s first green bond by the end of the year, the power company said on Tuesday, with a $54 million note to be sold as part of a $200 million green bond programme. The proceeds will be used to fund solar energy generation, as part of the company’s aim to generate 200MW of renewable energy. Read more>>
In the Amazon, Indigenous Women Bring a Tiny Tribe Back From The Brink of Extinction: Until recently, the Juma people seemed destined to disappear like countless other Amazon tribes decimated by the European invasion. Today, against long odds, the Juma are making a comeback. In their territory, a two-hour boat trip from the nearest road, their village is full of life. Read more>>
Harvard Blocking Wabanaki Efforts To Rematriate Ancestors: The Wabanaki tribal nations — an alliance of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq — wanted to rebury the remains of their ancestors. But Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology said, as it had in past years, that the tribes didn’t have enough evidence to show that they could be tied, through culture or lineage, to the ancestors whose remains the museum held. Read more>>
Meet the Jazz Icon Who Was Blacklisted for Fighting Segregation: Hazel Scott was labeled a communist for her advocacy. In the face of extreme bigotry, and with everything to lose, Scott took a stand, including her refusal to play segregated shows. Read more>>
How To Be An Ally To The Palestinian Community: People across the U.S. are advocating for a complete cease-fire and humanitarian access for Gaza. How else can people in the U.S. be supportive of the Palestinian community? We asked that question as part of commemorating International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Watch this video to see what three Palestinians in the U.S. had to say. Watch here>>
Inextricably Linked: The Interwoven Liberation Struggles in Palestine, Congo, Haiti, and Atlanta: A panel of organizers examine the gendered intersections of oppression, colonization, and systemic patriarchal violence at the core of our quests for liberation. Read more>>
Atlanta Stop Cop City Activists Continue Push To Abolish GILEE Program Amid The Palestinian Genocide: Advocates who have spoken out against plans for the 85-acre police training facility in South DeKalb—known colloquially as Cop City—say the recent presence of Israel’s military in Atlanta is emblematic of a decades-long partnership between the U.S. and Israel in sharing strategies of control through violence. Activists have underscored the importance of shutting down the GILEE program for years, but at this most recent juncture of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and ongoing genocide in Gaza, the calls have reached a fever pitch. Read more>>
Students Pen Letters to Moms for Liberty Asking to Stop Anti-LGBTQ Campaigns: Students at a school in the Seattle Public School District sent a batch of letters to Moms for Liberty, encouraging the recognized hate group to end its crusade against LGBTQ people. Instead, the organization blasted the school in a social media post that included images revealing the school’s address, and falsely claimed that the letters were part of a classroom curriculum that was “indoctrinating” students. Read more>>
Menopausal Multiverse: This group is expanding the narratives around menopause. The Menopausal Multiverse comprises the wide array of marginalized menopausal experiences. It encompasses the diversity of menopausal individuals, both historically and in modern times, along with ancestral technologies, systems of care, and potential futures emancipated from systemic oppression. Read more>>
In Pursuit of Liberated Black Motherhood: Cross-cultural dialogue, especially among moms of color, can build new narratives that challenge the legacies of white supremacy and foster healing. Read more>>
Father of Slain Italian Woman Challenges Men To Be Agents of Change Against Femicide: The father of a young woman whose murder galvanized Italian outrage and mass protests against violence targeting women implored men to be agents of change to a culture that often “undervalues the lives of women.” Read more>>
Small Grants Are Helping Southern Families Access Gender-Affirming Care: Southern families with trans youth are turning to advocacy groups amid an increasingly hostile legal landscape. Read more>>
In Mexico, The Art of Living Well Passes Through Women: In the Northern Chiapas forest, Mexico, for twenty years, a group of socially-conscious businesses run by indigenous Seltales women and their families have been working for justice and the protection of their land. Read more>>
Hundreds Call Out Museums’ Role in Colonialism in March for Palestine: The American Museum of Natural History in New York closed its main entrance as protesters rallied outside the institution, which was barricaded by police. The group then marched to Times Square, a chorus of voices chanting “Israel bombs, USA pays, how many kids did you kill today?” echoing through the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. Read more>>
Greta Thunberg And Fridays for Future Sweden Speak Up For Palestinians: “We won’t stop speaking out about Gaza’s suffering – there is no climate justice without human rights.” Young climate activists haven’t ‘been radicalized’ – solidarity with marginalised people has always been at the heart of our message. Read more>>
UAW Endorses Cease-Fire, the Largest U.S. Union to Call for an Immediate End to the Violence: The announcement at a news conference where protesters have been on a hunger strike outside of the White House marks a major development for labor and the larger call for a cease-fire. “We opposed fascism in World War II, we opposed the Vietnam war, we opposed apartheid South Africa and we mobilized union resources in that fight.” Read more>>
Doctors Without Borders Tells Key UN Body to Stop ‘Absolute Horror’ in Gaza: “Israel has shown a blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities. We are watching as hospitals are turned into morgues and ruins.” Read more>>
Activists Hold Mock Funeral For Monroe Doctrine: It was 200 years ago that President James Monroe delivered a speech that would later become the framework for the Monroe Doctrine. Activists held a mock funeral for the policy on the grounds of University of Virginia. Read more>>
Montreal Railway Blockaded For Palestine: Activists in Montreal spread a large banner across several tracks of railways in Montreal, shutting down the rail line to protest the continued assault on Gaza. Read more>>
Native Water Warriors Help Delay U.S. Warship, in Solidarity with Palestinians: Indigenous protesters helped delay a United States military ship believed to be loaded with weapons for Israel on Nov. 6, with water warriors blocking the ship in canoes. The protest began before dawn at the Port of Tacoma, on the traditional homelands of the Puyallup Tribe. Around 2 p.m. the protest expanded to a water resistance, with Indigenous water warriors taking to the Puget Sound in traditional canoes in an attempt to block the boat from leaving the harbor. Read more>>
Uncovering Americans’ Long History of Hostility To Conscription: A comprehensive new book by Vietnam War draft resister Jerry Elmer documents over a century of U.S. opposition to war and the military draft. Read more>>
Meet The Māori Activist Revitalizing His Community’s Legacy of Nonviolence: Known for the famous Haka warrior dance, Māori activists are reclaiming their legacy of nonviolence in their drive for sovereignty. Tonga Karena, a Māori scholar, tribal leader, and artist based in Parihaka, New Zealand, has dedicated his life to his passion of cultural revitalization through what he calls “frameworks of peace and resistance.” Read more>>
Can Poetry Move Us to Love in Times of Human Cruelty? San Francisco’s third poet laureate, devorah major, speaks on Palestine and how poetry can help us connect as we navigate the violence of our world. Read more>>
Queer Cinema for Palestine Pushes Back Against Israel’s “Pinkwashing”: The event, running now through December 10, first launched in 2021 as an alternative to the government-sponsored Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival. Running until December 10, the festival continues tonight, December 4, with short film screenings in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, and can also be streamed online through the Toronto Queer Film Festival website. Read more>>
Bridging the Elder Void: Human communities flourish on the diverse qualities that each age group brings and reflects for the others. Elders provide ancestral wisdom, conflict resolution, unconditional love, and a profound sense of presence that complement the attributes of adults, youth, and children. Without elders, there is a gap in the transmission of knowledge of how to thrive with the Earth, and a weakening of the intergenerational bonds that hold communities together. Read more>>
ACT UP’s Radical Activism Saved Lives During the AIDS Epidemic: ACT UP is an activist movement born out of the crisis of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the face of deep-seated homophobia and indifferent federal and state governments, its members have relied on civil disobedience and protests to win sympathy from the public and goad recalcitrant officials into action. ACT UP has gone after pharmaceutical companies, championed harm-reduction policies, and fought to repeal discriminatory policies and ordinances that target women and the LGBTQ+ community. Read more>>
Movement Organizers Need To Study Strategy: Budding movement builders can use the abolitionist movement and other diverse lineages of social change as inspiration to appreciate and synchronize the multiple, intersecting, and (ideally) reinforcing paths to societal transformation. At the same time, practical radicals can’t expect to win simply by repeating what their ancestors did – instead, they may need to remix those strategies to meet today’s challenges. Like musicians, organizers must improvise in a dialogue with inherited traditions in order to compose new freedom songs. Read more>>
Learning the Dance of Movement Leadership: It made sense to engage in activism when it was about the need to make lives better and put an end to injustice, but being an activist is really difficult—and when some members feel sidelined as a result of poor leadership, it can destroy the whole movement. Read more>>
How A California Tribe Fought For #LandBack & Won: You may have heard about the historic land back win in 2018 where Eureka, CA became the first US city to voluntarily give land back to its original stewards. But do you know about the generations of organizing by Wiyot people that secured this land return? Read about the full history of Tuluwat Island, and how the Wiyot tribe first organized to buy the land back, remediate the toxic soil, and restore the health of this sacred land. Read more>>
Send a Letter to the International Criminal Court – Israel Is Committing War Crimes: Since the start of its attack on Gaza, Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, giving the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over this case. The people of Gaza cannot bring this issue to the ICC themselves since Israel has repeatedly cut off electricity and telecommunications. Join CODEPINK in sending letters to the ICC urging prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. Take action>>
Tell Congress: No More Military Funding And Weapons For Israel, And We Still Demand A Ceasefire: Despite Israel’s blatant crimes against humanity and violations of international law—including through the intentional acts of collective punishment and deliberate targeting of civilians, this week, our government is preparing to send more than $14 billion in weapons to Israel. Take action>>
“No Way to Treat a Child” Campaign Webinar: Please join the monthly webinar from American Friends Service Committee and Defense for Children International – Palestine on advocacy for Palestinian rights. 2023 has been a devastating year for Palestinian children from Gaza to Jerusalem to Jenin. During this webinar, we’ll review human rights violations against Palestinian children in 2023 as well as advocacy efforts to hold Israeli authorities and forces accountable. (Dec 12) Take action>>
4 Things You Can Do To Support Peace With North Korea This Fall: This fall, American Friends Service Committee and partner organizations are working to build congressional support for the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act. The bill calls for a formal end to the Korean War, a review of travel restrictions to North Korea, and the establishment of liaison offices in the U.S. and North Korea. Learn how you can urge elected officials to take concrete steps toward peace in Korea. Take action>>
Facilitating Cooperation: What does it take to facilitate a meeting and be able to address the complexity and the unexpected while moving your work forward effectively? How do you set up a flow for your team to listen and adapt as a facilitator? To facilitate cooperation, you have to be able to pivot, be able to hear tensions and honor differences, and offer collective connection. Come to this free webinar to learn cooperative practices to improve your facilitation and learn more about Roundsky’s certification program. (Jan 17 – Online) Take action>>
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