activism, Black Lives Matter, Photos

Black Lives Matter – Photos of George Floyd Protests in Bay Area

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Outstanding photos from the East Bay Times:

Oakland = Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

SF = Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

San Jose = Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area NewsGroup

Walnut Creek = Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

 

activism, Culture

Solidarity Means Face Masks

Guest blog from Norman Solomon, longtime grassroots organizer and 2016 Bernie Sanders delegate. Visit RootsAction.org and NormanSolomon.com

Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests

By Norman Solomon

The nationwide outpouring of protests during the last 10 days has provided a historic moral response to the murder of George Floyd. In one city after another, people braved tear gas, pepper spray, clubs and other weaponry — as well as mass arrests — to nonviolently challenge racist police violence. Those same people were also risking infection with the coronavirus.

Photos from around the country show that a large majority of protesters have been wearing masks, often under very difficult conditions. By doing so, they aren’t only protecting themselves to some extent — they’re also protecting people nearby. As the New York Times just noted, “most experts now agree that if everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another.”

In other words, wearing a mask is about solidarity.

Unfortunately, some protesters have not worn masks, perhaps unaware that they were putting others at risk. Meanwhile, some police officers have disregarded orders to wear masks.

With latest research indicating that about 35 percent of infected people have no symptoms at all, unwillingness to wear a mask jeopardizes the health of others. That jeopardy is far from evenly distributed. Older people and those with underlying health problems are at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. African Americans and other people of color are also dying at much higher rates, due to structural racism.

“UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford described the protests as a kind of uncontrolled experiment, one that will test what happens when people are wearing masks in an outdoor setting, but yelling and not maintaining their distance,” the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Said Rutherford: “If you have breakdowns in social distancing and don’t have masks on, then you’re deeply in trouble.”

Addressing the chances of exposure to the virus while protesting, California’s Department of Health is urging caution: “Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protest carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19. . . . In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities should wear face coverings at all times.”

Also, if you’re headed to a protest, you might want to consider giving away some masks.

“The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas),” The Atlantic reported as this week began. “It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, such as police vans and jails.”

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported, “state health officials will be encouraging people protesting the death of George Floyd to seek COVID-19 testing — regardless of whether they feel sick — due to the increased risk of the disease spreading at mass gatherings.” The newspaper added that “a key recommendation will be when asymptomatic protesters should seek testing, because the incubation period of the virus following infection is around five days — with a range of two to 14 days.” Testing too early could miss the virus.

Protesting is crucial at a moment like this. But protesting must be done without ignoring the pandemic.

While some hazards probably can’t be avoided at demonstrations, wearing a mask remains vital. The reality that it’s difficult if not impossible to maintain six-foot social distancing at a protest makes wearing a mask all the more important. The life you save may not be your own.

At campaign rallies last fall and winter, Bernie Sanders struck a chord when he asked: “Are you willing to fight for that person who you don’t even know as much as you’re willing to fight for yourself?” It was a powerful statement that resonated deeply and became a viral rallying cry. The ethical core remains. And by speaking out and protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death, large numbers of people have been answering that question with a resounding Yes.

At the same time, those who wear a mask at protests are making clear that they’re willing to undergo some discomfort to protect people they don’t even know.

There are many things we have no control over as we keep pushing to change the political direction of the United States. Whether we wear a mask isn’t one of them.

Norman Solomon is co-founder and national director of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Source: https://www.normansolomon.com/norman_solomon/2020/06/solidarity-includes-wearing-a-mask-at-protests.html

activism, Resources & Downloads

Classic Direct Action Rags – new downloads!

We just posted several new issues of the original Direct Action newspapers – namesake of Luke Hauser’s novel and source of many of the stories contained therein.

Free downloads of a dozen original issues as PDFs, along with activist handbooks and a PDF of the book.

Click here!

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activism, Climate Justice, Culture, Photos, Resources & Downloads, Video

Youtube – A Brief History of Nonviolent Direct Action!

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Direct action has a long and honored place in American history – from the revolution itself through abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, civil rights advocates, feminist and gay rights activists, and on to today’s vibrant climate and social justice organizing.

Click here for A Brief History of Nonviolent Direct Action

Join author Luke Hauser for a profusely illustrated 25-minute journey through our past. We’ll focus especially on nonviolent organizing from 1980 to the present, with sections on the 1980s anti-nuke movement and 2011’s Occupy actions.

Originally created around 2000, the show has been updated with a revised text and many new images.

So make a big bowl of popcorn, pull up your beanbag chair, and get ready for a journey through our history!

Photo by Janet Delaney.

 

 

 

activism, Culture

Why Are Only Honkies Protesting?

Senators vote to approve the extension of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration in Lansing

Take a close look at the Covid protest photos – notice anything missing? Like a little color?

The photo of a recent Michigan march above, courtesy of PBS,  shows hundreds of people marching – generally something I support! – but I blew it up, and could not spot a single person of color. Not one.

Michigan’s population is 25% POC.

Last time this happened was around 1981, when the anti-nuclear movement noticed it was overwhelmingly white. Here’s what POCs said at that time:

“Figures honkies would get out in the streets when it’s their own asses on the line!”

*****

For more on the evolution of progressive activism, see our new youtube video:

A Brief History of Direct Action

activism, Resources & Downloads

Dancing the Spiral: A Companion to the Writings of Starhawk

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Welcome to Luke Hauser’s lastest project – a companion text to accompany Starhawk’s voluminous writings, featuring dozens of magical workings, ritual ideas, activist skills, pagan history, and more.

Dancing the Spiral – free download and more info.

Created in cooperation with Starhawk and Teen Earth Magic witchcamp, the goals are: (1) an exciting and challenging book for people working alone or with friends; (2) inspiration for folks to form a circle so they can do these workings with others; and (3) a fun book to flip through and get inspired!

The book also features pages of magical and activist resources – books, music, websites, free downloads, and more.This initial mock-up already contains much of the material, including the just-completed history essays.

We hope to complete and publish this book as a PDF and print edition sometime in 2021. Meanwhile, we’ll post drafts as they develop.

Dancing the Spiral – free download and more info.

*****

activism, Culture

Post Scarcity Anarchism – Classic Murray Bookchin

Post Scarcity Anarchism by Murray Bookchin first published in the 1970’s looks at social change and how to participate in/achieve meaningful social change.

In case you’ve never read it or want to read it again, this book has never been so relevant.

It examines what our capitalist society is and what will eventually happen to it (which is what’s happening now!)

– from Baruch

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activism, Climate Justice

Planet Plastic – Good Article

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Good Rolling Stone article on the deluge of plastics leaking into our food, water, and air.

Planet Plastic – Rolling Stone

Since 1950, the world has created 6.3 trillion kilograms of plastic waste — and 91 percent has never been recycled even once. More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030.

The Petroleum Connection

At its root, the global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels. The private profit and public harm of the oil industry is well understood: Oil is refined and distributed to consumers, who benefit from gasoline’s short, useful lifespan in a combustion engine, leaving behind atmospheric pollution for generations. But this same pattern — and this same tragedy of the commons — is playing out with another gift of the oil-and-gas giants, whose drilling draws up the petroleum precursors for plastics. These are refined in industrial complexes and manufactured into bottles, bags, containers, textiles, and toys for consumers who benefit from their transient use — before throwing them away.

Get the full story:

Planet Plastic – Rolling Stone

 

activism, Culture, Resources & Downloads

The Diggers – revolutionary ancestors!

Diggers-Winstanley

In 1649, near London, a rag-tag group of radicals staked a claim to common land and began to clear and plant it so it would be a “common treasury for all.”

The Diggers – an essay

Among our most interesting ancestors, these English revolutionaries were forerunners of groups like Food Not Bombs – claiming unused resources in the name of the community.

Here’s a short article about the Diggers of 1649 and their place in the revolution of the 1640s.

Click here for a bunch more history articles, including the 40-page illustrated essay “Our Magical Ancestors – available as free PDF or read online.