Archive | March, 2012

Discovering the Unexpected Power of Nonviolence: Street Spirit Interview with Erica Chenoweth

“We found that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their goals. We also found that these trends hold even where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective — for instance, against dictatorships and highly repressive regimes.” — Erica Chenoweth

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The Occupy Movement Stands at the Crossroads: Street Spirit Interview with George Lakey

“If we do stuff that justifies — in the eyes of the uncommitted — the repression of the state, we will certainly lose. And the uncommitted are most of the 99 percent. We need a lot more of those people. But the only way to win them over is through strict adherence to nonviolent struggle.” — George Lakey

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Occupy Activists Condemn Abuses at San Quentin Prison

The Occupy movement joined with prison reform groups to uphold the rights of prisoners whose suffering is concealed behind the concrete walls of California’s vast prison system. The demonstration was held to expose prison abuses and to bear witness on behalf of the multitudes behind bars excluded from our democracy.

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How a Nonviolent Struggle by Workers and Farmers in Sweden and Norway Broke the Power of the 1 Percent

Both Sweden and Norway suffered horrendous poverty when the 1 percent was in charge. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a right, and created a system of full employment.

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Lessons of Seattle for Today’s Occupy Movement

Violent action will not panic the power-holders, but it will push away the general populace. Power-holders, in fact, love it, because it gives them an excuse to destroy movements. Social change depends not on creating chaos and social disorder, but on mobilizing the power of the people for change.

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National Day of Action for the Right to Exist

Join the struggle on our day of action to uphold the human rights of homeless people on April 1, 2012. Tens of thousands of people are being persecuted simply for being poor and destitute. Cities all across the United States and Canada are trampling on the rights of the poorest citizens.

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The Struggle to Protect Homeless People from Violence

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) documented 113 acts of violence against unhoused people in 2010. California has consistently been a leading state in hate crimes. Since the NCH started gathering data in 1999, the state has recorded 225 assaults of homeless people, and 48 resulted in death.

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Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground

In cold and stormy weather, J.C. Orton opens an emergency shelter at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley. “I think it’s a fantastic situation where we’re able to shelter these people,” Orton said. “The satisfaction of being able to give that depth of service, to my mind, is overwhelming.”

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March Poetry of the Streets

Sleepy bored despairing,/ gray beard, gray jacket,/ blue jeans,/ blue cap./ Beloved Labrador’s gentle gaze/ lends solace./ Handcrafted sign requests help;/ holding few coins,/ your box yawns open/ walking stick sighs./ Resting beside canine friend/ you breathe.

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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.