Every week, I collect true stories of nonviolence in action. Once again, this week’s round-up is full of inspiration. Once again, I’ve collected 50+ stories. My highlights include the student climate strikes (look at the photos – wow) and the creative action section. Inequality.org reports that Marie Antoinette has apparently resurrected and is moving to Capitol Hill (of course). As always, even this round-up is not an exhaustive list. “The world is made of stories,” said Muriel Ruskeyer. And our world is full of nonviolence in action.
About Rivera Sun’s Nonviolence News: These stories reflect nonviolent action and nonviolent practices, including constructive programs, alternative institutions, and policies rooted in structural/systemic nonviolence as opposed to violence.
Victory! Recent Success Stories!
When we organize, we win. Here are a few small and large (and sometimes temporary) successes in a variety of social justice campaigns.
Water Protecters win victory against water privatization and bottling plant in Hilo, HI. http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2019/03/07/video-permit-for-hilo-water-bottling-plant-denied/
After many protests and direct action, a North Carolina Confederate statue outside a courthouse was removed. It will go to storage and then likely to the cemetery to stand on the grave of the person it represents. https://www.apnews.com/87dfba779c3e4d60a617a0afd108d11b
Coastal California Tribe gets ancestral land returned … and shares the story of how it happened. “When we danced on that property for the first time, it was probably the most powerful moment that our tribe has experienced in the last 100 years—to have the sound of our clappers and our whistles, and hear the wind through the feathers of our dancers.” https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/decolonize/how-this-tribe-got-their-coastal-california-lands-returned-20180402
California Governor Gavin Newsom halts the death penalty. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-governor-gavin-newsom-death-penalty-moratorium-20190312-story.html
San Quentin Prison execution room – a gas chamber – is being dismantled. https://www.facebook.com/joe.vazquez.3557/posts/10155864209190919
The Ilhan Omar Affair was a victory for Social Movements and Palestinian Rights: https://www.thenation.com/article/ilhan-omar-aipac-israel-lobby-congress/
Students of Color use Nonviolent Tactics to negotiate a 20-point policy shift to end racism. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/students-of-color-matter-are-protesting-at-ethical-culture-fieldston-school
Well, those #ClimateKids shook the world. Here are reports on those amazing student strikes and some other recent news.
Student climate strikes around the world draw millions of students into the streets, sending a clear message to grown-up authorities: Our future is in your hands. Adults, use your power. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2019/mar/15/climate-strikes-2019-live-latest-climate-change-global-warming
US Businesses and Local Government defy Federal Gov. to work toward Paris Agreement climate goals. https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/u-s-businesses-work-toward-paris-goals/
Norway set to divest $1 Trillion from oil and gas exploration companies. The “Norwegian govt (an oil state) is recommending that the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund fully divest from all fossil fuel. Financial Times: “this will send shockwaves through the energy sector.” https://www.ft.com/content/d32142a8-418f-11e9-b896-fe36ec32aece
40,000 People in Amsterdam Demonstrate for Climate Justice https://www.facebook.com/Redfishstream/photos/a.371605656616605/654918871618614/
Lakota Elder shares what Climate Organizers can learn from Indigenous Resistance: https://theintercept.com/2019/03/07/nick-estes-our-history-is-the-future-indigenous-resistance/
#Trashtag makes cleaning up the neighborhood a trend. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/trash-tag-challenge-plastic-waste/
Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for launching student climate strikes. https://www.ecowatch.com/greta-thunberg-nobel-peace-prize-2631637803.html
Mi’kmaw matriarchs serve eviction notice to Alton Gas for continuing pipeline construction work on unceeded territory. https://globalnews.ca/news/5044088/mikmaw-matriarchs-eviction-alton-gas/
Longtime activist Frida Berrigan writes on parenting the climate change generation. https://popularresistance.org/parenting-the-climate-change-generation/
Taos, New Mexico Water Protector scales drilling rig to protest deep aquifer water wells. The community sets up a peaceful prayer action at base as Buck Johnston straps into the top of the tower for four days. https://www.taosnews.com/stories/water-protectors,55722
Recent News and On-Going Campaigns
New stories of nonviolent resistance emerge every day. Here are a few recent events, and new surges for on-going campaigns.
For the first time ever, 40+ Jewish groups say that equating anti-semitism with criticism of Israel is wrong. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/30jewishgroupsbds/
After signing Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk’s Pledge against building AI Military Robots, tech industry worker quit her job to protest Clarifai’s killer robot program. https://popularresistance.org/i-quit-my-job-to-protest-my-companys-work-on-building-killer-robots/
After Black mother and lawmaker refuses to back down in opposing “Stand Your Ground” bill, the measure was defeated in Arkansas. “I’m the only person here of color, OK. I am a mother, too, and I have a son, and I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’alls, but my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does,” state Sen. Stephanie Flowers, a Democrat, said Wednesday during debate in the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee. “So, this debate deserves more time.”
1,600-member Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas has set up a resistance camp to protect a sacred site at a 154-year-old cemetery in San Juan, Texas, threatened by the president’s proposed border wall. https://truthout.org/articles/a-tribal-camp-in-south-texas-is-vowing-to-resist-trumps-wall/
On 50 year anniversary of historic student occupation, Sarah Lawrence Diaspora Coalition occupied the President’s Office in protest of “50 Years of Shame” and lack of racial justice. https://popularresistance.org/50yearsofshame-student-activists-occupy-the-presidents-office-at-sarah-lawrence-college/
To stop meth dealing, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe announces it will banish dealers from the tribe. https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/standing-rock-sioux-tribe-to-banish-meth-dealers-from-tribe/
8500 Walmart workers threaten to go on strike in 10 states on March 20 if the company doesn’t meet their demands for a 20% pay increase as well as other benefits and better conditions. https://popularresistance.org/winds-of-change-are-blowing-8500-walmart-employees-threaten-to-strike/
Inspired by recent teacher strikes, a new Tennessee Teacher Coalition prepares for struggle. https://popularresistance.org/teachers-are-ready-to-fight-says-new-tennessee-coalition-inspired-by-strikes-in-other-states/
Around the World
Stories of nonviolent struggle are erupting around the world. In addition to the global climate movement, here are a few other movements, campaigns, and actions from across the globe.
Algerians launch mass protests against same-old, same-old politics. Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth presidential term – despite his poor health and advanced age – is a non-starter for many Algerians. https://popularresistance.org/algeria-whats-fuelling-the-countrys-mass-protest-movement/
French Police threaten to join Yellow Jackets after government refuses to pay them for policing protests. https://popularresistance.org/french-police-to-join-yellow-vests-after-realizing-government-is-extorting-them-too/
Hundreds of people rallied in Sydney, Australia, in support of political prisoner Julian Assange. https://popularresistance.org/the-political-lessons-of-the-march-3-free-assange-rally/
400-person Matamoros Strike against Coca-cola and other corporations continues in Mexico. https://youtu.be/gVp8Q7LXRvwGroup marches in London for “Tibetan Uprising Day”. https://www.facebook.com/FreeTibetOrg/videos/2483839304965018/
“If we stop, the world stops.” Hundreds of thousands of women take to the streets in Spain for feminist strike on International Women’s Day. https://popularresistance.org/if-we-stop-the-world-stops-hundreds-of-thousands-of-spanish-women-take-to-streets-for-feminist-strike/
Colombia’s indigenous block road to Ecuador in anti-government protest.https://nvcnews.org/content/colombia%E2%80%99s-indigenous-block-road-ecuador-anti-government-protest
Cambodia: Garment factory records $1M loss since workers began protesting.https://nvcnews.org/content/cambodia-garment-factory-records-1m-loss-workers-began-protesting
Nonviolence in History
Know your history … when we better understand the length and breadth of how/where/when nonviolence has been used, we better understand how to use it in our current times.
Act Up was founded 32 years ago. “They changed more than the face of queer activism; they changed queer representation, the framing of the AIDS crisis, health activism, access to treatment in other countries as well as the USA,” says Rebecca Solnit https://hornet.com/stories/act-up-history/
PBS Special focuses on women, war, and peace, correcting the narrative and putting women back into the central roles they play in real life. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/
Means are ends in the making, said Gandhi. As we work for peace, nonviolence is the best means of striving for that end goal.The Afghan Peace Volunteers’ Dr. Hakim’s message on the important distinction between violent and nonviolent peace is an excellent example of this.
Love Letter from Smoky Kabul:Nonviolent vs Violent Peace in Afghanistan and the World by Dr. Hakim https://paceebene.org/blog/2019/3/16/love-letter-from-smoky-kabul
US Peace Delegation to Iran was welcomed by Foreign Minister . . . and met by the FBI upon their return. https://therealnews.com/stories/u-s-peace-delegation-to-iran-welcomed-by-foreign-minister-met-by-fbi-agents-on-return
Bus Stop counter-recruitment sign urges people not to join the military. https://www.facebook.com/RevNews/photos/a.125035117650059/1275525869267639/?type=3&theater
A global coalition of employees of the Microsoft Corporation is demanding that a contract for work with the U.S. Army be dropped. https://www.euronews.com/2019/02/23/microsoft-employees-demand-military-contract-be-dropped
Nonviolent Peaceforce shares best practices from South Sudan and Iraq in their latest field notes. https://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/images/Field_Notes_Q1_2019_final.pdf
US Senate passes War Powers Resolution Act to cut off American military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s assault on Yemen. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/03/13/historic-us-senate-passes-war-powers-resolution-end-complicity-worlds-worst
Connecticut court rules that Sandy Hook gunmakers could be liable for shootings. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/nyregion/sandy-hook-supreme-court.html
Nonviolence is brimming with humor and creativity. Here’s a couple of examples that will make you chuckle and smile.
Giant Boobs floated in Amsterdam Canal in honor of Women’s Day. https://nltimes.nl/2019/03/08/giant-boobs-floating-amsterdam-canals-celebrate-womens-day
Border Wall trumped by Art and Community. “The main goal is to have a different perspective about the wall, like it’s not there, like we don’t have a wall in between us. You can come [to Agua Prieta] to see the art, then you can see the rest.” https://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/border-wall-trumped-by-art-community-20190228
Inequality.org holds interview with Marie Antoinette impersonator to raise awareness about inequality. The bewigged queen seems to be moving to Capital Hill, USA. #LetThemEatCake https://inequality.org/research/marie-antoinette-stages-comeback-capitol-hill/
Constructive Program and Alternative Institutions
Constructive Programs and alternative institutions build the strength and resilience of the community while weakening reliance on systems of oppression. Here are a few examples that recently came up in the news.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Network offers workshops in 21 cities to build community capacity to aid in disaster relief. https://mutualaiddisasterrelief.org/madr-tour-recap-fall-2018/
Town adopts a trauma informed care approach and sees decrease in crime and suspensions. https://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/this-town-adopted-trauma-informed-care-and-saw-a-decrease-in-crime-and-suspension-rates-20170222
Nonviolent Schools Summer Institute for Teachers and Educational Professionals offers training in integrating nonviolent practices and approaches into all aspects of publics – or other – schools. Enrollment in the Summer Institute is now open. Find out more here: https://nonviolentschoolsri.org/
The movement for active nonviolence and creative resistance offers numerous resources for learning more about how to use nonviolence in action. Here are a few recommendations.
USDAC releases community organizing tool called Imaginings: A DIY Guide to Arts-Based Community Dialogue. Learn how to host a vibrant, creative, equitable, and powerful community dialogue. Download your free copy here. https://usdac.us/diy-imaginings
How Movements can bounce back from harmful media narratives: https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/blog_post/can-movements-bounce-back-harmful-media-narrative
Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written many novels including The Dandelion Insurrection and its sequel, The Roots of Resistance. She also is a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent movements. www.riverasun.com