Articles about Activism
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Get Ready: Protesters Vow to 'Flood the System' for Climate and Planetary Justice
From the tar sands of Alberta to the Port of Seattle to the communities in the blast zone of oil trains, organizers across North America are calling for a "wave of resistance" this fall to "shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival." Under the...
You Have to See These Pictures of Seattle's Kayaking Climate protesters
  An estimated 500 climate activists took to kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and even a solar-powered party barge on Saturday to tell Shell to get the hell out of Seattle. Rallying cry: #sHellNo! The oil giant brought a huge drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, to the city’s port...
One Magical Politician Won't Stop Climate Change. It's up to All of Us
Lots of people eagerly study all the polls and reports on how many people believe that climate change is real and urgent. They seem to think there is some critical mass that, through the weight of belief alone, will get us where we want to go. As if when the numbers aren’t...
Occupy The White House
The Revolution Bernie Sanders is a socialist who has somehow managed to land a spot in the US Senate, the most deliberative, prestigious body of government in a nation that is at the helm of a globe and space-spanning capitalist empire. It is an act of political genius for...
The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn
Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line email: “I am not going to Harvard… I am going to plant corn.” Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when she was an undergraduate at Stanford University...
Make the Rich Panic
It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse. Money has replaced the vote. The...
Riots Work: Wolf Blitzer and the Washington Post Completely Missed the Real Lesson from Baltimore
The police—not to mention capitalism—have done far more to damage Baltimore than any riot could When Oscar Grant was shot by transit cop Johannes Mehserle in Oakland in the early hours of January 1, 2009, a week passed with no institutional response, while videos of Grant’s...
Don't Give In: an Angry Population Is Hard to Govern; a Depressed Population Is easy
Hours after the Conservatives were re-elected, the government looked at cutting access to work schemes for the disabled. You'd think they'd at least have the decency to bring some flowers before shafting the vulnerable, but no. Not these guys. Not today. Today is not...
A Practical Guide to Campaign Planning
Projects and campaigns usually start because we feel inspired about an idea or passionate about a particular issue. Our first impulse is to throw ourselves into action straightaway. But if we take a little time to analyse the situation and to develop a plan of action we can...
20 Principles for Successful Community Organizing
1. Most people are motivated primarily by self-interest. As a creative community organizer, you are always trying to figure out people’s common self-interest, the glue that binds political organizations and movements. 2. Institutions and people that hold power over others...
Democracy Is for Life, Not Just Elections
A mate who I trust said to me; “You know what this election boils down to? Who do you want to be protesting against on May 8th? Or whenever they finish counting, negotiating and posturing? David Cameron and a Tory coalition or Ed Miliband and one led by Labour?” I suppose...
Nonviolence for Whom? If Violence Isn't the Answer, Somebody Should Tell the Police
Ferguson. New York. Baltimore. As cities erupt after decades of oppression and violence at the hands of police, calls for nonviolence can be deafening. “Violence isn’t the answer,” the moralists chide when protesters throw rocks and clash with police. They’re right. But...
Top 10 Grassroots Movements That Are Taking on the World
Waiting for political change to come about once every few years at election time is not only frustrating, but is an almost sure-fire way of ensuring that the changes you really want don’t get delivered within the time frames that are necessary. If we really want to see...
Why Not Voting Is Such a Pitifully Ineffective Form of Protest
Of the most commonly recurring themes that keeps popping up in the comments sections beneath my work is the "if only everyone stopped voting ..." type is probably the most infuriating. The reason that I find these appeals for people to "just stop voting" so infuriating is...
To Vote or Not to Vote, Is That the Question?
Thanks largely to Russell Brand, the question of whether to vote or not has been raised at national level this election. Yet the only argument made against voting has been that they’re all, kind of, the same – is this really all that anti voters think? The challenges we...
Why We Don't Make Demands
From Occupy to Ferguson, whenever a new grassroots movement arises, pundits charge that it lacks clear demands. Why won’t protesters summarize their goals as a coherent program? Why aren’t there representatives who can negotiate with the authorities to advance a concrete...
Countries around World Are Revoking Freedom of Assembly
On March 26, without much fanfare or attention from U.S. media, the Spanish government ended freedom of assembly. In the face of popular opposition (80 percent of Spaniards oppose it), the upper house passed the Citizens’ Security Law. Under the provision, which goes into...
Great Moments in Peaceful Protest History
The revolution WILL be given permission. "Great moments in protest history: The appropriate way to get what you want!"
Report Shows Increased Killings of Environmental Activists, with Indigenous Communities Hardest hit
Killings of land and environmental activists in 2014 reached an average of more than two a week, a new Global Witness report reveals – an increase of 20% from 2013. How Many More? documents 116 known deaths worldwide last year – almost double the number of journalists killed...
Interview with Tim Hjersted of Films For Action
As research for a panel on the subject of ‘audiences’ at the Radical Film Network‘s inaugural conference earlier this year, I spoke to a number of media organisers and radical filmmakers about their work and how they survive while doing it. This is the second of two...
London Activists Held a 'Die-In' for the Migrants Killed in the Mediterranean
Yesterday in the middle of rush hour, about 200 people held a die-in for the people who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, shutting down three lanes of traffic all around Westminster for over an hour. In 2014, 3,400 migrants died from their boats capsizing as they...
Angry Not Apathetic: What Anarchists Do Instead of Voting
The general election is here, and once again the parties are all over us like a rash, promising that they will fix things. But you don’t have to be an anarchist to know that nothing changes, whoever gets in. This is why politicians are keen on new methods such as postal...
Embracing 'Radical Hope' in Our Fight to Save the Earth
Radical hope is not just about determination and courage in the face of darkness, writes Paul Hoggett - it is also about love and a re-finding of all that is benign in the world. And this is the spirit we need to muster to confront the serious challenges that lie before us ...
Deep Anger: We need to rediscover something we lost along the way
In a better world, there’d be no reason to write this. In that world, plastic bags would be outlawed, rednecks would voluntarily stop driving those obnoxious Ford F-350s and the yogis in yuppie neighborhoods would stop believing that a hybrid SUV could save the planet. But...
In Amsterdam, A Revolt Against The Neoliberal University
For three weeks now, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has been shaken by a wave of student protests against the neoliberalization of higher education and the lack of democratic accountability in internal decision-making. Last week, UvA staff joined the rebellion, declaring...
Confronting Industrialism: If You Can't Clean It Up, Don't Make it!
Modern industrial capitalism is based on a simple premise, writes Derrick Jensen: our mother Earth is a great store of raw materials for us to pillage, and a vast trashcan for our endless volumes of waste, no matter how long-lived and deadly. How can this be changed? First we...
A Note on Call-Out Culture
Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist...
Big Picture Activism
Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of how disastrous the global economy is for people and the planet, I believe that the chances for...
Revolution without Upheaval: A Manual Of Change
When we talk about saving the world, what world are we talking about? Not the globe itself, obviously. But also not the biological world—the world of life. The world of life, strangely enough, is not in danger (though thousands and perhaps even millions of species are). Even...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
This is an excerpt from Beyond Civilization, pages 109-118. Read more here or you can check your local bookstore to buy a print copy. People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the...
A Love That's Louder than Rage: The Beautiful Revolution
At first I thought… The most powerful thing that you can do for your people, your future, your land, your air, your water is to fight and die for what you believe in. But it’s not true… you have to LIVE for what you believe in. So begins the wise words of 13-year old...
The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution
PRINCETON, N.J.—Tariq Ali is part of the royalty of the left. His more than 20 books on politics and history, his seven novels, his screenplays and plays and his journalism in the Black Dwarf newspaper, the New Left Review and other publications have made him one of the...
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to remove everybody from the face of the earth, because humans GENERATE toxic waste, whether it be...
Preventing Dissent - How Britain’s new police state will radicalise us all
In the UK, an insidious secret network of violent extremists is plotting to subvert democracy. The members of this network detest our way of life, and hate our freedoms. Walking amongst us, this dangerous fifth column is exploiting the very laws we hold dear to campaign for...
The Cynic and the Boatbuilder
A few days ago in Stockholm I was walking by the water and was accosted by a youngish man from Ireland who shouted out my name. This is not something that happens to me often -– apparently he is among that small subset of humanity that has read my book – so I took this...
The Left's Self-Destructive Obsession with Shame
Perhaps the most redeeming aspect of my father’s ministry was his tireless work to help people heal from guilt and shame. I saw the transformative impact that his efforts had on people’s lives as they built the strength to lay down years of resentment and bitterness, and...
Mutiny of the Soul
Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are an essential part of a process of metamorphosis that is unfolding on the planet today, and highly significant for the light they shed on the transition from an old world to a new. When a growing fatigue or depression becomes serious, and...
Going to Places That Scare Me: Personal Reflections on Challenging Male Supremacy
"Going to Places that Scare Me: Personal Reflections on Challenging Male Supremacy" is an excerpt from the critically acclaimed book, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy by Chris Crass. Around the world, women...
Democracy? That Would Be Anarchy!
The lead-up to an election is a tough time to be an anarchist. There's always someone wagging a patronising finger and telling you that your, or their, or someone's grandparents died for your 'right' to submit agency over your life to someone who also claims to represent...
Articles on Privilege Theory
So one particular night I went on a knowledge binge and spent 9 hours reading about privilege theory. Below you'll find excerpts and links to most of the articles I read. My extremely brief conclusion is that PT is definitely helpful to understand and is useful up to a...
The End of War
Feedback from my lecture at the Green Party annual meeting has been trickling in, and it seems that the talk wasn’t as well-received as I thought at the time. The people who walked out in the first five minutes – maybe they didn’t have to go to the bathroom after all, as I’d...
Disorderly Conduct
Last weekend I decided I would get the kids outdoors for a little time in nature. The Susquehanna River was frozen over, with the most remarkable ice formations. Even though the water is not deep in this part of the river, ice somehow piled up several feet. The photograph...
The Best Social Change Documentaries of 2014
This round-up features Films For Action's picks for best activist film of 2014, most of which can be watched for free online. Our favorites for the year are at the top of the list.     [ffa-repeater][horizontal]148260,148747...
Why the Macho Sludge Peddled by 'American Sniper' Is Really Cowardice
Martin Luther King Jr. exemplifies real bravery in "Selma." Well, you can beat on your chest / Hell, any monkey can. —Bruce Springsteen, “Real Man” In an essay on Theodore Roosevelt, Gore Vidal classified the former president and known tough guy as an “American sissy.” He...
Seven Types of People. Which One Are You?
This is an excerpt from The One Idea That Saves the World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action by Laurence Overmire. The House is on Fire. The people in the house are Sleeping and in great danger Seven of their neighbors will come along Each with an opportunity to...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change
Would any sane PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around...
Why Anti-Racism Will Fail
Editor's note: Thandeka wrote this in 1999, but her analysis and contribution to the discussion on anti-racism remains as relevent to today as ever. She addressed this to Unitarian Universalists, but you can read it pretending she's addressing middle-class liberals; it works...
Activist's Harsh Sentence Shines Spotlight on England's "Medieval" Badger Cull
Jay Tiernan, a leader in the fight to stop the killing of wild badgers in England, has received a six month suspended jail sentence and up to $83,000 in fines for breaching a court order brought by cattle farmers who support the “badger cull.”  According to The Guardinan...
In Your Wildest Schemes: The Market Vs. Climate Change
 The free market won’t stop climate change, but its failure is inspiring the people who will  
The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV
It's become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King's birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader." The remarkable thing about this annual review of King's life is that several years — his last...