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Nonviolence News: Underground Strikes & A Village of Murals

May 25th, 2019

Editor’s Note from Rivera Sun:

This week’s Nonviolence News is a stunning reminder of the extraordinary diversity of what we call “nonviolence”. In Taiwan, a man nicknamed “Rainbow Grandpa” saved a village from being bulldozed for high rise development by painting every single building with murals. In Italy, dock workers refused to load a Saudi weapons ship headed for Yemen, stating that they wouldn’t be complicit in the war. In South Africa, miners are entering day four of an underground sit-in strike for improved wages.  

These are all nonviolent actions; as is the halting of a British Columbia ferry to allow a bear to swim past. In Texas, an artist used a SandFest sculpture contest and an opportunity to make a political statement: depicting the Abraham Lincoln Memorial doing a forehead smack, the huge sculpture entitled “Liberty Crumbling” wound up winning first prize. 

In other Nonviolence News, this week’s headlines posed an editorial challenge for me: how to cover the widespread nonviolent uprisings against the recent abortion bans passed recently in several US states. You’ll see my reflections in the new Women’s Rights section below. 

Thanks for exploring the many dimensions of nonviolence with me,
Rivera Sun, Editor

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Here’s what you’ll find in this week’s Nonviolence News:
Victory! Success Stories
Recent Actions & On-Going Campaigns
Racial Justice
Peace Action
Climate Action
Women’s Rights
Creative Action
Knowledge & Reflection
Learn & Study

Nonviolence News shares recent success stories so we see and remember that nonviolent action is powerful and effective. 

Taiwan’s “Rainbow Grandpa” saves his village from being bulldozed for skyrise development by painting every single building in brilliant colors. Read more >>

Divestment win: Local group ‘Fossil Free Heidelberg” secured a win last Friday. The German city committed to never invest in coal, oil, or gas. Now the group is pressuring the university to follow suit, and developing plans to demand the local savings bank commit to not market funds that don’t comply with sustainability targets.  Read more >>

In a move to cut down on global plastic pollution, 187 countries agreed to stop plastic waste from ending up in the ocean.  Read more >>

Brazil’s highest court votes to make homophobia and transphobia a crime akin to racism and hate crimes. At least 141 LBGTQ persons in Brazil have been killed this year and mass protests have challenged the homophobia of Bolsonaro’s regime.  Read more >>

British Columbia ferry stops to let bear swim past. Editor’s Note: remember the story about the highway that closed for salamander migration crossings? This is similar. Inside a seemingly innocuous story lies a profound shift to a nonviolent worldview: we halt our human schedules, our churning modern culture, to respect the rest of the living world. We save a bear’s life by not running it over with our ferry, because let’s face it: humans need vibrant ecosystems in order to live.   Read more >>

Female Nike athletes speak out about lack of paid pregnancy leave. In response, Nike changed its policy.  Read more >>

Billionaire philanthropist pledges to pay off all student debt of 2019 Morehouse College graduating class.   Read more >>

San Francisco renames school after farmworker rights activist Dolores Huerta.  Read more >>

Social isolation is a public health issue in the United States (and other countries), leading to depression and suicide. This art museum engaged 186 senior citizens in building community and making art to counter this problem.   Read more >>

San Francisco becomes the first city to ban facial recognition technology, and other cities may follow suit. Read more >> 

100% of Washington State’s energy will come from clean energy sources by 2045, and more states are looking to do the same.   Read more >>

Around the world, people are launching nonviolent campaigns
and/or using principled nonviolence to transform their communities
and fight injustice. Here are a few recent stories. 

In 2008, Seoul reduced inequality by implementing the Shared Property Tax System. This policy reduces fiscal disparities between the city’s 25 districts by redistributing revenue equally. Read more >>

80,000 Chileans march to legalize marijuana. Read more >>

Sami youth in Finland protest proposed Arctic Railway.  Read more >>

Hundreds of Lebanese protest proposed pension cuts.Read more >>

South African miners on fourth day of underground sit-in strike.Read more >>

New Zealand fast food workers go on strike.  Read more >>

Ireland bans right-wing US Christian minister who cheered over Orlando gay club massacre.  Read more >>

Chicago gang members give peace circles a chance to stop shootings.   Read more >>

Along with US teachers, healthcare worker strikes surge in 2019.  Read more >>

Rockwool insulation factory resisters hold rally, vow to continue trying to stop the polluting plant from operating.  Read more >>

80 people – including dozens of differently-abled persons – were arrested in DC while protesting for access to community-based services.   Read more >>

After a year of shootings, Greenwood, South Carolina, forms the Coalition Advocating Nonviolence to help counter the violence.   Read more >>

In 2017, a study found that shifting 5% of your shopping purchases could make a sea change on US inequalityRead more >>

Struggles for racial justice are happening around the globe, many of them using nonviolent action to achieve changes in policing, economic justice, clean and safe environments, immigrant and migrant justice, and much more. 

First Nation hockey team wear jerseys with anti-racist slogans on them.  Read more >>

Immigrants across the country are using hunger strikes to protest inhumane detentions.Read more >>

Burlington, VT Middle-High School students walk-out in anti-racism protest.  Read more >>

An activist protesting immigrant family separation policies was arrested near Homestead Detention Center in Florida.  Read more >>

Bikers bring 30,000 meals to migrants in detention center in New Mexico. Read more >>

Editor’s Note: This is an older story, but one worth re-circulating at a time when many are searching for ways to counter hate. This Black man convinced 200 KKK members to give up their robes and end their membership in the hate group. Read more >>

Around the world, people are using nonviolent action to de-escalate conflicts, intervene in brewing wars, and wage peace. Here are some of their stories. 

Italian Dock Workers refuse to load Saudi arms ship headed to Yemen, saying “We will not be complicit.”  Read more >>

In the US, where war is permanent and on-going, activists are calling for a permanent and on-going anti-war movement.Read more >>

Activists to escalate peace action for Venezuela and Iran.Read more >>

Five Catholic Worker peace activists were arrested on Saturday, May 18 and spent the night in jail after an Armed Forces Day direct action at the Des Moines Drone Command Center.  Read more >>

Building peace across Chicagoland: Henry Cervantes and the Peace Exchange.   Read more >>

Living sustainably and protecting our planet are forms of “nonviolence toward the Earth”, which is inseparable from embodying nonviolence toward ourselves and all others. Here are recent stories of nonviolent climate action. 

Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben endorse the call for a September 20th, 2019 global general strike for climate justice.  Read more >>

Over 1600 climate strikes take place all over the world.  Read more >>

Israeli and Palestinian teens strike for the planet together. “This is bigger.”  Read more >>

Climate strikers cause traffic chaos throughout Melbourne, Australia, as they shut down streets for climate justice.  Read more >>

‘Flame over’ for gas: activists blocked the 25th annual Flame gas conference in Amsterdam, which brought together over 500 companies in the fossil gas industry. Using a range of creative tactics, activists (aka gastivists) successfully shut down the reception on the first day: “flame over” for the gas executives.   Read more >> 

Petaluma, CA declares climate emergency.Read more >>

Patagonia redirects 10 million dollar tax break to climate justice movements.Read more >>

British Petroleum headquarters blocked by Greenpeace.Read more >>

Wabanaki Water Walk starts, headed to the Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island Gathering in Maine in July, raising awareness about natural gas and the need to protect the water.  Read more >>

Yurok Nation establishes the rights of the Klamath River.Read more >>

Populist alliances of Cowboys and Indians are protecting rural lands.Read more >>

Faith leaders march in protest of Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Read more >>

Editor’s Note: This week, the headlines about the abortion bans in many US states gave me an editorial challenge. Many (including myself) feel that there’s no way to clearly categorize the abortion debate within the framework of violent or nonviolent.  One could make the argument that an abortion is an act of violence. On the other hand, protecting fetuses with abortion bans causes systemic violence to women by denying them autonomy and reproductive health rights.

My editorial take is that the uses of nonviolent action to protect women’s rights to control their own bodies are worthy of coverage. The use of state power to control a human being’s body is an act of systemic and structural violence, akin to torture, slavery, the military draft, and the death penalty.  A colleague of mine reframed the abortion debate by asking, “if it were your kidneys, and the state had passed laws mandating compulsory kidney donation, how would you feel about the law?”

I hope you are willing to consider this issue from many angles, and accept that it does not easily fit into the nonviolent/violent framework. So, what are the nonviolent options in the midst of these considerations? Nonviolence News contains an interesting suggestion on this note: a program in Colorado has shown that the best way to reduce abortions is with teen birth control and sex ed programs, not by banning abortions. Could it be that the way out of the abortion impasse involves solutions that both sides of the debate might agree upon?

Colorado proved that if you want to stop abortions, you should offer teen birth controlRead more >>

From Maine to Hawaii, hundreds of protests against recent abortion bans take place. Read more >>

Thousands of Handmaids take action in Canada.  Read more >>

“The Ruths” run the Breaker to Breaker Marathon in defense of women’s rights and in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Read more >>

AirCanada announces direct flights from Alabama to Toronto-area Women’s Clinics.Read more >>

Across Atlanta, Georgia (USA), District Attorneys say they will not prosecute women for seeking abortions.  Read more >>

Teen Vogue reports on how to fight back against the abortion bans.  Read more >>

Editor’s Note: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is an intersectional issue, involving the themes of Indigenous Rights, racial justice, women’s rights, colonization, and more. This week, I’m covering it in the Women’s Rights section to remind us that Women’s Rights is about far more than the abortion issue. You may also find these stories under the Racial Justice section.

A “Sea of Red” raises visibility on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.Read more >>

Ponca Nation, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes take the lead on billboard campaign for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Read more >>

Human beings are endlessly creative … and nonviolence helps that creativity shine. Here are some bold actions that tap into art and creativity to make change.

Nonviolence Now launches giant ads on a fleet of public transit buses in Rochester, NY. See the ads here >>  

Rivera Sun releases second in young adult fantasy series featuring a nonviolent youth-led movement for social and environmental justice. Find it here >>

The race is on: In Dunedin, Wellington, and five other cities, organizers staged local ‘races’ where New Zealand’s top banks competed to become the first to go fully Fossil Free. They’re urging the banks’ real-life counterparts to do the same and stop funding fossil fuels.  Read more >>   

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Big Apple bookworms are fighting to save the city’s libraries from massive budget cuts with a creative online campaign that organizes people to post virtual sticky-notes in support of the libraries.  Read more >>  

Spain builds gender justice by equality in Home Ec classes, gathering fathers and men to volunteer to teach skills such as cooking and cleaning to young men.  Read more >>   

With the US Treasury balking on putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, an artist released a 3D printable stamp of Harriet Tubman so citizens can stamp her image on the bills themselves.  Read more >>   

“Liberty Crumbling” sand statue depicting Abraham Lincoln Memorial doing a forehead smack wins 2019 Texas SandFest Sculpture Contest.  Read more >>

Here are a few recently posted articles that provide insight and reflection on the art and science of waging nonviolence. 

Vision is on the rise in US movements.   Read more >>

Humor and Nonviolent Action: Not Just a Punchline. Article explores how comedy can provide relief and promote resistance in authoritarian environments. Read more >>

The food swap movement that began sprouting a decade ago from Portland to Philadelphia, is once again popping up in new incarnations around the country.  Read more >>

High school activism is a thing. Find out some of its history here.

Here are some upcoming opportunities to learn more about organizing, nonviolent action, creative tactics, and nonviolent solutions. 

Organizing for Social Change course being offered June 3 – 7, 2019, at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.  Learn more >>

Peace In Action – Workshop with Scilla Ellsworthy at Findhorn.  Learn more >> 

How to Create Social Movements: Momentum Training hosted by East Point Peace Academy, June 21-23, Oakland, CA.  Learn more >>

Training in Restorative Justice by the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Gainesville, Florida, June 24-25.  Learn more >>

Fierce Vulnerability Seabeck Conference, June 28-July 1st, Washington State. Learn more >>

Peace Power Training in Greece, July 26th-Aug 24th. Apply by June 10th.  Learn more >>

Thank you for supporting Nonviolence News with a donation. Here’s where to do so.

Exciting News from Nonviolence Now!   Nonviolence News’ sister project Nonviolence Now has some exciting news! This week, huge ads plastering the sizes of city public transit buses launched throughout Rochester, NY. The ads will circulate from now through the end of July, delivering a strong, visible message of nonviolence to the community. Nonviolence Now is thrilled to bring its virtual and online work down to the local level.  Find out more about the many ways Nonviolence Now collects and shares true, inspiring stories of nonviolence in action at NonviolenceNow.org

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