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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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.