The Making of an Activist

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Vivan Rothstein: In my first act of civil disobedience, I mixed up all the index card files of clients and contracts so no one could figure out who had received which threatening letter, effectively destroying the company’s system of harassment.

Shutting Cities Down: Now and Then

national motto

Lee Fang: The American political and economic system is falling apart. No matter who wins an election, in many cases, the outcomes are the same: well-heeled corporate interests dictate policy.

Civil Disobedience as a Strategy for the Occupy Movement

tom hayden on keith olbermann

Tom Hayden: If there’s enough people and they all sit down and say “We want to appeal to a jury of our peers, which is our Constitutional right,” that’s something that should make the decision makers take pause because I don’t think juries are going to convict these people.

Nonviolent Resistance In History

why civil resistance works

Randy Shaw: But as much as the Left has romanticized Castro’s armed overthrow of the Bautista regime, and Ho Chi Minh’s military defeat of the United States to unite Vietnam, in most cases violence is less likely to achieve revolutionary change than nonviolent strategies.

MLK Would Oppose Today’s Wars

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William Loren Katz: Would Dr. King have called for withdrawal from Vietnam and, had he lived, not called for a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? Would he have failed to see parallels that are as obvious as they are frightening?

China Needs Martin Luther King

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David Love: As America awaits the August 28 opening of the King National Memorial in Washington, D.C., this is a perfect time to reflect on the leader’s accomplishments, legacy, and commitment to justice, equality and nonviolent social change.

Our Fellow Felons

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Hannah Petrie: Even though the rates of drug-dealing and drug-using occurs equally among different races – (think weed here) whites deal to whites, blacks deal to blacks, Hispanics to Hispanics – it’s the people of color who get busted. And once you’re labeled a felon – and denied access to employment, housing, and other rights — your chances of returning to a straight and normal life are extremely low. It is a system designed to keep felons felons.

Libyan Intervention Fraught With Risks

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Ivan Eland: United States should be careful of the signals sent when encouraging violent opposition against unfriendly dictators or when actively supporting such rebellions with military attacks.

The Gandhi None of Us Knew

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Rev. Irene Monroe: The deification of Gandhi intentionally eclipsed Gandhi the real man. andhi’s real life was overlooked and supplanted with a series religious myth.

America: The World’s Greatest Purveyor of Violence Today

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February is Black History Month, and a perfect time to reflect on the nonviolence and antiwar stance of Dr. Martin Luther King. Recently, my colleague, Mark Thompson, reminded me of an important Dr. King quote when I appeared on his radio show to discuss the Tucson shooting. It was a speech the slain civil rights [...]

We Twisted King’s Dream, So We Live With His Nightmare

mlk legacy

Tim Wise: If double-digit unemployment had been viewed as the emergency it is, when only people of color were experiencing it (as they typically have been, in good times or bad, year after year throughout this century), perhaps lawmakers might have seen fit to address the problem.

Finally, Black Civil Rights Movement is Dying

Rev. Irene Monroe: For many African Americans of younger generations, who are now the beneficiaries of the racial gains from the Movement, feeling the Movement’s’ slow death is like a welcoming boulder gradually being lifted from their shoulders, especially for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

Martin Luther King Day: They Never Heard Him Give a Speech

Eddie Martinez

Kafi D. Blumenfield: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This generation of leaders has taken Dr. King’s injunction to heart and they are taking action. They and their peers find common ground by connecting not only through race, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status, but also, on higher ground, through shared aspirations and hope for the future.

Is Social Media Useless for Change?

Malcolm Gladwell

Social networking websites can play and are playing an important role in finding and connecting people who are beginning to think and feel similar things. They can help participants deepen their understanding and form common perspectives. They can help inform those who use them of possible courses of action.

Church of Misfits Harbors American War Resister

War resister Rodney Watson

Tom Hayden: Next week the Canadian parliament is expected to hear a bill proposing humanitarian grounds for granting asylum in the country. Watson’s application for permanent resident status is on hold. About 40 other American war resisters are seeking asylum in Canada, where nearly 80,000 were given protection during the Vietnam War.

Peace Crimes

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Diane Lefer: “Nightwind”–the play we created in 2004 about his experience and his brother’s abduction, torture, and murder by a death squad–has toured the US and the world, including Afghanistan, to raise global opposition to the practice of torture. Performing it for the first time in Medellín, the city where the atrocities took place, Hector was nervous.

A Campaign To Divest From Mideast Apartheid

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David Love: In many ways, the handling of the flotilla tragedy mirrors Israel’s policy of Occupation of the Palestinian territories: inhumane treatment and a disproportionate use of force against those who have been labeled as terrorists.

Imagine

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John Peeler: But suppose there were no violence by the activists, just a refusal to comply with what they held to be an illegal seizure of their ships in support of an illegal blockade and an illegal occupation. The Israeli government and military are manifestly completely unprepared for that. They know only how to respond to Palestinian violence with disproportionate force.

Martin Luther King’s Legacy and Israel’s Future: Stepping Beyond Fear

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Ira Chernus: On this Martin Luther King Day, then, American Jews face a choice. They can dwell on one casual, misinformed, easily misinterpreted remark that King made and use it to justify continued Israeli intransigence and violence. Or they can remember the words in which he summed up a lifetime of nonviolence, on the last night of his life — “I’m not fearing any man!” — and call on their own government to demand at least a start toward ending the conflict: a genuine halt to all settlement expansion.

Who Will Save Palestinians From Themselves

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It was a hot September day in Gaza and I was sitting in the office of a Hamas-affiliated newspaper talking with a senior Hamas intellectual. As the French news crew that had given me a ride from Jerusalem packed up their camera equipment, I took the opportunity to change the subject from the latest happenings [...]

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