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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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.