To Those Who Call for Calm in Ferguson

NMOS_Elvert_Barnes
Justice for Mike Brown, National Moment of Silence in Washington, DC on August 14, 2014. Photo by Elvert Barnes/flickr

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.

Frederick Douglass, 1857

“The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies.” Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857

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Jill Stein at Forward on Climate Rally: Keystone XL is part of Obama’s “all-of-the-above” strategy

Jill Stein at the Forward on Climate Rally (Photo by @FracSandBoom)
Jill Stein at the Forward on Climate Rally (Photo by @FracSandBoom)

At the Forward on Climate Rally, Keith Wrightson interviews Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

She’s certain that Pres. Obama will allow the Keystone XL to go forward. “It’s writing on the wall,” she said. “It’s part of his all-of-the-above strategy.”

She urges people concerned about climate to exercise civil disobedience not only “in the streets,” but in the voting booth as well, quoting Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala committed civil disobedience at Hofstra University in October, when they tried to enter the site of the second presidential debate. They were handcuffed for eight hours.

Later in October Stein was again arrested while attempting to resupply protesters in Texas camping out in trees to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.

Post-election, Stein still seems determined. “It’s important that we lay down the agenda–let’s have political change instead of climate change.”

The Green Party has a “Green Deal,” which she says will address the “climate emergency and economic emergency [for] people, peace and climate.”

The plan includes rolling back military spending to year 2000 levels and halting the Wall Street bailouts, instead “baling out communities and homeowners.”

“Resurgence of grassroot activism” inspires Sierra Club leaders to adopt civil disobedience tactics

Michael Brune of Sierra Club and Bill McKibben of 350.org prepare for arrest

For the first time in its 120-year history, the environmental group Sierra Club engaged in a civil disobedience action.

Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club Board of Directors, and Executive Director Michael Brune lined up in front of the White House to be arrested for obstruction along with 46 others activists. Many of them were also leaders of fellow environmental advocacy organizations, such as Rainforest Action Network, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and 350.org.

“We have joined the ranks of visionaries of the past and present to engage in civil disobedience, knowing that the issue at hand is so critical, it compels the strongest defensible action,” said Brune.

And he believes that it has been successful. “We’re on the cusp of a clean energy revolution in the U.S.,” he said. “We have a movement of people who are fighting for clean energy, and they’re winning.”

More from interview with Michael Brune:

On global warming denial:

I think what’s behind it is fear. We have built an economy that is based on fossil fuels, and people don’t know what the world can look like when we move off of those fuels. People who deny climate change obviously haven’t looked at the science, they haven’t had a candid, honest, thoughtful conversation with someone who has studied this issue, and they fear for what a transition will mean for their lives.

So what we say to them is that the clean energy solutions that we’ve been talking are being put into place right now. Iowa gets almost 25% of its power just from wind. South Dakota the same. California will soon get 30% of its power from solar and wind.

We’re just getting started. We’ve quintupled the amount of solar energy that’s being produced in the us in just the last four years. Wind energy has doubled in the last four years. We know in our generation we’re going to build an economy based on power that’s clean and renewable, and it will put more people to work. It will increase our quality of life at the same time.

Is global warming at the point of no return?

No, I don’t think so. I think that we are on the cusp of a clean energy revolution in the United States. We’re seeing a resurgence of grassroots activism that’s stopped a 175 coal plants from being built, that is exposing the dangers of fracking, that has slowed mountain-top removal in Appalachia, that’s secured the retirement of 137 existing coal-fired power plants. So we have a movement of people who are fighting for clean energy, they’re winning, and we’re building momentum.

On President Obama’s State of the Union address:

I thought that they [his remarks] were largely pretty good. To have a president speak forcefully and candidly about the science behind climate change and connecting the extreme weather events that we saw with the opportunity for action is a powerful thing. And what we really need to see of course is for the President to follow up his Inauguration speech and the State of the Union last night with strong action to stop arctic drilling, to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, to stop mountain-top removal,
and to invest in solar and wind with all of his might and ambition instead.

 

Daryl Hannah: “We have to draw a line in the Tar Sands”

Cool Revolution interviews actor and activist Daryl Hannah just before her arrest at the White House in a civil disobedience action on February 13, 2013. She joined a group of a few dozen demonstrators, including leaders of environmental organizations, who demanded that President Obama use his executive authority to stop construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

She was glad that President Obama pressed for action on climate change in his State of the Union address, but “we don’t need to wait for further innovation and technology” before we move to clean energy.

She believes that so many people deny that global warming is happening because, she said, “Global warming denial has a history of being very well-funded.”

When asked if we’ve already reached the point of no return when it comes to climate change, she said, “It’s never too late to stop creating a problem…. If you’re going down the wrong road, it’s never too late to turn around and go the other way.”

Occupy DC: A sleepless, vigilant night for most

No police raid after all at Occupy DC last night. But there were those who slept in the open as an act of civil disobedience.

(Image by coolrevolution.net)

Cracking Down on Occupy: Arrests on felony charges

Arrest at Occupy K St on Dec. 4, 2011

Police and prosecutors are getting fed up with Occupy protests and are employing a new tactic to crack down on them. Housto, Denver and New York have recently charged protestors with felony crimes instead of misdemeanors. Authorities may hope that amping up the consequences for civil disobedience will have a chilling effect on demonstrators.

When Houston prosecutors sought felony charges for seven protestors, a judge initially dismissed them.  But this week a grand jury indicted the demonstrators for their role in blocking a Houston port exit. The indictment accuses them of using a “criminal instrument,” a PVC pipe. They bound themselves to it to delay arrest.

Act Up lists the most common charges resulting from civil disobedience as disorderly conduct and trespass, resisting arrest, and riot in the second degree. All are misdemeanors. When more than ten people are involved and an injury results, riot in the first degree, a felony, is the charge.