From Tragedy May Spring Compassion

by KEVIN ZEESE and MARAGAET FLOWERS

This has been another eventful week of resistance in the United States. We have much to share about what happened this week and what is coming up in the near future. But first, we want to remember the bombing in Boston on Monday and show appreciation for those who gave public support.

Margaret says, “I ran the Boston Marathon in 2003. I finished around three hours and forty five minutes, around the same time that the bombs went off last Monday. My three children, ages 6, 8 and 10 at the time, greeted me at the finish line. I can’t imagine arriving at the finish line and finding that my family had been injured or killed. My heart goes out to the Boston community.”

The Boston Bombing also reminds us of the violence that the US inflicts every day in other parts of the world. We can’t imagine what it is like to hear drones overhead twenty four hours a day and know that they could strike at any moment just because you behave in a certain way. As S. Brian Willson who is a Viet Nam veteran and peace activist writes, ”We are not worth more. They are not worth less.” We hope that rather than turning to nationalism as we did in 2001, we will have a deeper understanding of what others experience at the hands of the United States. Let us take some of this sadness and use it to spur us to stop the killing at home and abroad.

On Clearing the FOG this Monday, we spoke with Noor Mir and Judy Bello about US drone attacks. April is a month of actions against drones, including this recent rally organized by the ANSWER Coalition in Washington, DC. It culminates with a weekend conference and rally in Syracuse, NY on April 26 to 28. We will be there to discuss next steps for the peace movement.

April 15 was Tax Day. In the week leading up to it, Light Brigades across the country used their many talents to expose the large corporations that evade taxes. They even created a tax evaders video game. April 15 was also a Global Day Against Military Spending to protest the use of our tax dollars to fund US Empire instead of domestic needs for housing, jobs, education and health care.

 

Strike Debt in San Francisco is organizing for mass debt resistance. They kicked this effort off with a large protest at the Federal Reserve. We wrote a series of articles that discusses how to remake the financial system for the people and the planet, and we will continue this conversation at the Public Banking Conference in June.

Strike Debt has been buying medical debt to create greater awareness that people should not have to go into debt to meet their basic needs. In Virginia, Sean Jarvis started a public thirty day fast to protest the local for-profit hospital and to save enough money to pay his medical bills which are unaffordable even though he has health insurance. Another thirty day fast is going on in DC right now. Please support Brian Eisler who is fasting in front of the American Petroleum Institute to protest their obstruction of efforts to address the climate crisis.

On a positive note, climate activist Tim DeChristopher is being released from confinement this Sunday, in time to celebrate Earth Day. Watch for an exciting announcement that day by Dr. Jill Stein.

Resistance to Tar Sands continued this week in Seattle and in Oklahoma with a brave action by two residents. In Colorado, the Balloon Bloq released black helium balloons with noisemakers attached into a Platts Oil and Gas Conference to protest fracking.  In Utah, protesters seized a tar sands field wearing HazMat suits. And last week, a single protester interrupted the Valero Golf Tournament.

The hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay Prison continues and is starting to have an effect. Solidarity protests are continuing to be held. See Witness Against Torture for updates. The New York Times printed this powerful and moving OpEd from prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel who is one of many being force fed. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pilla, is calling the prison a “clear breach of international law” and asking for its immediate closure.  Keep the pressure on!

People are rising up everywhere to oppose the rule of money and austerity. In Washington, DC, they held a “K Street 5K.” Runners wore hundred dollar bills to protest lobbyists. In Portland, OR, hundreds of community groups and members attended a public budget conference to protest cuts and offer constructive solutions to meet their needs. They have a model for organizing against austerity that others can replicate as austerity is hitting across the country.

Students in particular are rising up. College students at the University of Indiana went on strike over rising tuition and corporatization of their education. Thousands of high school students walked out in Newark, NJ to protest budget cuts despite being threatened by security guards wielding bats. And students in Detroit are taking to the streets to protest the school to prison pipeline.

Wells Fargo, one of the biggest investors in private prisons and a target of many actions, moved its annual meeting from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Utah. No problem. A coalition of organizations in Utah is planning a day of actions to protest many of Wells Fargo’s abuses.

Here are a few more upcoming actions that you can join. May 8th will be a national day of actions against Bank of America. And May 25th is a day to March Against Monsanto everywhere. This Saturday, in New York, there will be a day of training on Workplace Organizing.

We posted a number of articles that may help you in planning your next action. Here is an Organizer’s Guide to General Assemblies and Consensus. And here are some Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky and interviews with David Graeber on The Democracy Project and with Noam Chomsky on Direct Action and Social Movements.

Despite the suffering and sadness, these are times of opportunity to create the new world we want to see based on our shared values of compassion and cooperation. We can choose to be angry and close our hearts or we can choose to recognize that we are all connected and open our hearts. We hope that you will join the many wonderful efforts going on right now to create a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and on Economic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

This article is based on our weekly newsletter for ItsOurEconomy.us.

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and onEconomic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

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