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Can The Green Party Make A Comeback In 2016?

As the 2016 presidential campaign creeps out of the gates, American politics seems to be at yet another crossroads. Discontent over economic inequalityunchecked climate change , and systemic racism in the criminal justice system have spurred growing protest movements across the country. Meanwhile, the country’s two major political parties are more polarized than ever, endlessly locked in a farcical partisan dance that brought governance to a standstill. Voters can be forgiven for thinking that the democratic process is broken and that their leaders have failed to respond to their most urgent needs—it’s no surprise that the 2014 midterm election had the lowest turnout in 72 years.

Amid this political landscape, Green Party activist Jill Stein feels it may finally be time for a real third-party movement to take hold in the US. On Friday, Stein, a Massachusetts doctor, announced that she is considering another run for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, declaring in a press conference that “it is time for generational shifts in our national vision.”

“We’ve had enough of rule by the economic elite,” she told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. “The old politics is collapsing and the political vacuum is begging to be filled. 2016 provides an incredible opportunity to fill that vacuum and surge forward.”

For most voters, the Green Party is best known for Ralph Nader’s spoiler campaign in 2000, which some argue tipped the scales in favor of a Bush presidency. There’s been a reluctance for left-leaning voters to embrace a third party ever since, and the Green Party has subsequently faded from relevance, gathering only a fraction of Nader’s 2.8 million votes in subsequent elections. And despite increasingly dire reports from scientists, climate change routinely polls near the bottom of the list of American voters’ priorities.

But Stein, who ran as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012, believes the movement is ripe for a comeback. She may have a point—a recent Gallup poll showed 58 percent of Americans desire a viable third party, near the all-time high set in 2013. And while Stein received less than 1 percent of the vote in 2012 , she still managed to become themost successful female presidential candidate in history. Her campaign has a strategy to expand that success in 2016, she says, with a stronger focus on digital organizing and social media.

“In this country, people are rightfully very cynical about politics because the models that have been held up are completely toxic,” Stein said in an interview with VICE this weekend. “We have the potential to be the dominant political force. We have the numbers, we have the expertise, we have the grassroots vision, and sense of democracy.”

Stein believes that the party can gain broader support by tying environmental issues to economic and social justice issues, bringing in disparate progressive movements that have gained momentum over the past year. “The reality is that every one of the crises we’re facing right now, from the climate crisis to the economic meltdown to the assault on communities of color and police militarization, there are solutions,” she said. “It’s not an accident, there’s a real effort to divide the environmental community from the social and economic justice community, and it’s absolutely false. The economy will collapse in a second if there’s not a stable climate.”

“In my experience, the problem is not persuading people… that we must work together. The problem is overcoming the media blackout and the things that silence us,” Stein added. “Where those movements are being funded by offshoots of the Democratic Party, then it doesn’t work. Then the agenda is being dictated.”

While the encyclopedic Green Party platform reads more like an aspirational wish list for a progressive utopia than an achievable set of policy goals, Stein has honed in a specific set of proposals she believes could gain popular support outside of her relatively tiny network of activists. That includes a “Green New Deal” public works program aimed at making the country powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2030; comprehensive immigration, education, and healthcare reform; a “radical reduction” in the prison population; and the legalization of a number of recreational drugs. The reforms would be paid for in part by reducing the US defense budget, as well as by the public health savings that would come from eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

“The bottom line here is that the number one environmental issue is jobs,” she said. “That in my mind cuts through the fog here that these are both emergencies—they can both be solved together and this is a win-win.”

In a political environment where science is often optional, Stein stands out for her purist belief that modern science can play a central role in improving daily life for average citizens. A medical doctor, Stein has co-authored two reports on the environmental influences on public health and advocates for plant-based food systems and “active transportation” like biking and walking. “We need community infrastructure which supports health, as opposed to the community infrastructure we currently have, which really inflicts disease,” she said.

“It does create a steep uphill battle, but I think the American people are hitting the wall for what we can stomach in this very toxic money-dominated political mode that has been inflicted on us,” she said. 


But Stein maintains that she can win. “We don’t have to persuade people, we don’t have to change people’s minds. All we have to do is flick that switch in our own minds from powerlessness to powerfulness,” she said. “The minute we do that, the future is in our hands.”

This week, hundreds of thousands rallied in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, more information became available regarding US war crimes, we celebrated the second annual People’s Climate March and World Food Day and we are preparing a mass mobilization to protest the TransPacific Partnership.

Uniting to end Racism

Justice or Else rally 10-10-15On ’10-10-15,’ the  National Mall was packed with people of color, including many Indigenous people, for the ‘Justice or Else’ rally organized by the nation of Islam. Speakers called for uniting in the “common struggle… for freedom, equality and economic access.” Chris Hedges, who teaches prisoners, writes about the devastation that poverty wreaks, “…when you are poor in America, everything conspires to make sure you remain poor. The invisible walls of our internal colonies, keeping the poor penned in like livestock, mirror the physical walls of prison that many in these communities are doomed to experience.”

A central message at the ‘Justice or Else’ rally was the need for communities to join together to meet their basic needs and to build community wealth. Les Leopold’s book, “Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice” is a good place to start learning how to do this. We also recommend the Democracy Collaborative website. There are many communities in the South that are building economic justice through local food systems. Click here to learn about them.

Perhaps in response to the ‘Justice or Else’ rally, hate groups called for anti-Muslim rallies nationwide, but this effort backfired. Few people showed up to protest. Instead, many people gathered to stand with Muslim communities.

bpsolidarity-700x357This week, Black and Palestinian artists released a video expressing solidarity between their struggles through the message, “When I see them, I see us.” This is an important time to show support because violence by Israel against Palestinians is escalating. Human rights groups are denouncing Israeli attacks on unarmed Palestinians. Thousands in Israel are protesting and calling for a general strike.

There are many similarities between the Black Lives Matter and pro-Palestinian movements which face structural racism, violence and mass incarceration. This week a US Court of Appeals found that Muslims in New Jersey were subjected to surveillance solely on the basis of their religion and a new report reveals that pro-Palestinian activists in the US, particularly on college campuses, are being targeted.

There will be more opportunities in the coming week to rally in solidarity against structural racism and mass incarceration. Check to see if there are #RiseUpOctober events near you.

The War Machine Exposed

The bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the US military this month may trigger the first investigation ever into war crimes by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission (IHFFC). MSF asked for an independent investigation and the IHFFC has agreed to conduct one, but the US and Afghan governments must agree to cooperate.

Staff in shock after the bombing. The Guardian.

Staff in shock after the bombing. The Guardian.

New evidence was leaked this week that the cockpit crew in the plane that bombed the hospital knew it was a hospital and questioned the legality of the bombing before proceeding. CLICK HERE to sign a petition to President Obama to release the tapes.

Sadly, after fourteen years of failed foreign policy in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has reversed its promise to end the attack and will continue to keep 10,000 troops there. In an interview, Professor Junaid Ahmad tells us that the situation in Afghanistan is worse than it was before the US invaded because of the US invasion. On Clearing the FOG Radio, Kathy Kelly says that a continued US presence will bring neither stability nor peace. Protesters rally in Islamabad in 2011 to condemn US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas on al-Qaida and Taliban hideouts. Photograph: BK Bangash/AP

In what is being called ‘a new Edward Snowden,’ an anonymous whistleblower has released classified information about Obama’s drone program to investigative reporters at The Intercept. Published as “The Drone Papers,” the information shows that the president authorizes drone assassinations, that the intelligence is faulty, that innocent civilians are killed in the attacks and that White House statements are inconsistent with reality. As a result, Amnesty International is calling on Congress to investigate the drone program. For more perspective, read Cesar Chelala’s article on Killer Robots.

And, what happens when peace activists meet with the executive staff of the US Institute for Peace? In a very revealing meeting, the group of activists, which included Kevin Zeese, learned that the USIP actually believes in war and cannot oppose war or their public funding will disappear. In fact, with Pentagon officials on their board, it seems that USIP serves as a nonviolent tool for US Empire.

Uniting for Climate Justice

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 8.51.19 AMAfter 500 years of oppression, Indigenous Peoples and allies are uniting from North and South America to protect the earth. Indigenous women signed an historic treaty to that effect in New York City on the eve of the Super Moon. The final words of the treaty call for people to resist destruction of the earth nonviolently wherever it is occurring until it stops.

Last weekend at the World Peoples’ Conference in Bolivia, participants put forth a list of demands to be presented at the COP 21 meeting in Paris this December. They call for binding agreements that address the root causes of the climate crisis and that create a new paradigm rather than reinforcing market ‘solutions’ that enrich a few and exploit many without solving the crisis.

On Wednesday, people around the US marched to show that the climate movement is broad and diverse and to make connections between the climate crisis and the other crises we face. In Washington, DC, marchers held a massive die-in at the doors of the American Petroleum Institute and then marched to Freedom Plaza chanting “We are the 99%” as we neared the plaza (which brought back memories from our days there in 2011).

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 8.40.14 AMNew attention is being paid to Exxon’s role in suppressing science about global warming. Two members of Congress are calling for the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon. Activist Bill McKibben is asking people to exert pressure by protesting at Exxon-Mobil gas stations as he did last Thursday.

Uniting for Food Justice

On Friday and Saturday in Washington, DC, March Against Monsanto held marches and rallies for World Food Day. We marched from the White House to the offices of the US Trade Representative to the Environmental Protection Agency to the offices of Monsanto lobbyists and the National Grocery Manufacturer’s Association. This narrative march called for labeling of foods containing GMOs and for bans on cancer-causing pesticides and protested the DARK Act and international agreements such as the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten food security.

11070808_1729343763960833_2955203671437981749_oFood Justice advocates called for an immediate transition away from large-scale industrial agriculture practices to those that are organic, restore the integrity of the soil and sequester carbon. At a World Food Day press conference, Andre Leu said that there is good science showing that regenerative agriculture “can reverse climate change, end the loss of biodiversity, stop the poisoning of our children and planet and very importantly, nourish all people with high quality food.”

Vandana Shiva wrote that because of the rise of Big Ag, “For the planet and people, the costs have been tragically high. 75 per cent of the earth’s biodiversity, soils, water have been destroyed, the climate has been destabilised, farmers have been uprooted, and instead of nourishing us, industrial food has become the biggest cause of disease and ill health.”

Uniting our Struggles is Essential

Popular Resistance is collaborating with a growing number of organizations and people to protest the TransPacific Partnership and other international treaties that will prevent us from achieving success in our struggles for racial, economic and environmental justice. We are planning a mass mobilization in Washington, DC this November to show the large and diverse opposition to agreements that force us to sacrifice the health and safety of our communities for corporate profits.Toxic TPP Planet First by Chris Owens at the People's Climate March DC 10-14-15

There will be two days of action and arts preparation followed by three full days of creative events. You are invited to participate in any way that you can. CLICK HERE for the Call to Action and to register to either attend the events or plan local events in your community. There will also be opportunities to participate virtually from wherever you are in the International Hack-A-Thon. And make sure you sign the petition to Congress that we will deliver during the actions.

12107023_541238366027730_6314433027810792515_nWe ask that you support this mobilization with a donation. All donations of $25 or more will qualify for a “Stop the TPP” T-shirt. Just write to to tell us your size if you want one. CLICK HERE to donate.

We are rising together, and a people united will never be defeated!

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Howard Zinn who is best known for his “People’s History of the United States” which looks at history from the bottom up, through the lenses of classism, racism and sexism.

Bill Bigelow writes about Zinn’s concerns about nationalism, American exceptionalism and militarism. Zinn said that patriotism does not mean blind obedience to government because that is “the definition of patriotism in a totalitarian state.”

1ziinquoteZinn believed it was essential for students to learn the true history of the US so that they could question and debate whether they want to stay on that same path. Those in power work to hide this true history and to foster obedience without questioning so that the machine of American empire continues to run.

We remember Zinn for the advice he gave activists a year before his death. When he was asked what should people be doing, he gave advice that is good no matter what the era:

  1. Go where you are not supposed to go;
  2. Say what you are not supposed to say; and
  3. Stay when they tell you to leave.
CODE PINK's Alli McCracken with handcuffs in front of Henry Kissinger at senate hearing.

CODE PINK’s Alli McCracken with handcuffs in front of Henry Kissinger at senate hearing.

Confronting the War Culture

CODEPINK exposed truth this week in Congress when they attempted a citizen’s arrest of Henry Kissinger who was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Kissinger is responsible for hideous war crimes in Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and East Timor. Senator McCain who chairs the committee called CODEPINK “low life scum” and the audience obediently applauded Kissinger in a display of the topsy-turvy world we live in where war criminals are heroes.

The current film, “American Sniper,” is a propaganda piece that is being used to glorify war and murder which will draw our youth into the military. Fortunately there are former snipers like Garett Reppenhagen who tell students the truth that there is no glory in taking another’s life, only a sense of loss. There are counter-recruitment efforts in the US by groups such as NNOMY which provides materials for people to use.

Hollywood is not the only war propaganda tool. The commercial media, in particular the New York Times, feeds a narrow one-sided narrative of US foreign policy. Robert Parry dissected the NYT coverage of the situation in Ukraine including its lack of historical context.


AP, John McCain at the US funded protests in Kiev that overthrew an elected president.

Ukraine and Russia

The broader view of the crises in Ukraine and Russia requires looking at the role of US involvement and the expansion of NATO. For more information, we recommend these articles by Andrew CoburnDiana Johnstone and William Boardman. Johnstone has an excellent analysis of how Ukraine is being used to further antagonize Russia. She writes:

“NATO leaders are currently acting out a deliberate charade in Europe, designed to reconstruct an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West. With astonishing unanimity, NATO leaders feign surprise at events they planned months in advance. Events that they deliberately triggered are being misrepresented as sudden, astonishing, unjustified ‘Russian aggression’.”

Boardman explains how the US has taken control of Ukraine’s financial affairs:

“The new Ukrainian finance minister, Natalie Jaresko, is an American citizen who managed a Ukrainian-based, U.S.-created hedge fund that was charged with illegal insider trading. She also managed a CIA fund that supported ‘pro-democracy’ movements and laundered much of the $5 billion the U.S. spent supporting the Maidan protests that led to the Kiev coup in February 2014. Jaresko is a big fan of austerity for people in troubled economies.”

And what is behind this charade? Corporate interests as usual. The Oakland Institute outlines the ways that corporations like DuPont, Monsanto and Cargill are profiteering in Ukraine by acquiring land and decreasing regulations and corporate taxes. And of course it is also about oil. A few months after the 2014 coup, Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Devon Archer, a friend of the Kerry family, joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings Ltd.

Oil is often the reason for wars and aggression. This new independent study from the UK shows that foreign intervention is usually for economic gain, and “foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none.”

1vfp1War and the Struggle to end Fossil Fuels

Of course we’ve known for a long time that wars are fought for oil. And we know that the next wars will be over water, food and land as the climate crisis makes large areas uninhabitable. Our activities to end war, mitigate climate change and move to sustainable, renewable sources of energy are closely intertwined.

Daily we receive stories of communities that are fighting extreme energy extraction and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. In Saskatchewn, the Northern Dene Trapper Alliance has been holding a checkpoint for more than two months to keep uranium and oil explorers out. In Vancouver, Rising Tide members disrupted a dinner being hosted by Kinder Morgan which is trying to build a pipeline.

1scotThe people of Forks Township in Pennsylvania are protesting a compressor station that will be used to move fracked gas. And the first watershed to sue over fracking is in Grant Township which passed a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance which recognizes the rights of nature. Communities in other states such as Kentucky and Louisiana and the UK are also fighting fracking.

There have been some recent victories. After his inauguration was disrupted by anti-fracking protests, the new Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf banned fracking on public lands. Scotland placed a moratorium on fracking this week.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.29.41 PMThere is Another Way

Young Dine women and their supporters are walking a thousand miles this year to protest extreme energy extraction and promote alternatives. One organizer of the “Journey for Existence”, Paige Eldridge says, “We are being told to invest in our own destruction in the name of the economy. People say we need these jobs, but we don’t. To take care of ourselves it will take a tremendous amount of work, but it is a beautiful dream and it is so possible.”

Alternatives are essential and possible. The Fight for 15 has made progress in the fight for a living wage and they have plans for more gains in 2015. Madison, WI, home of many cooperatives already, is investing $5 million to create more cooperative businesses. The work to stop trash incinerators has been very successful and is now becoming a movement for zero waste.

As the crisis of plutocracy escalates, alternative economies and political systems become imperative. Just five years ago, 388 people controlled half of the world’s wealth, but now that has declined to a mere 80 people (here are their names). Many of these people not only control the money, but they control the US government. The history of high attendance at the World Social Forum shows that there is a strong desire to build alternatives to the current neoliberal model of globalization.

TPP protester holds up a sign during Froman trade hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonIn the US, the fight against neoliberal trade agreements is coming down to the wire. We’ve been working to expose and delay the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for years. Supposedly, negotiations are nearing completion and the president is asking for Congress to give him Fast Track legislation so he can finish the deal. The US Trade Ambassador Michael Froman testified in the House and Senate this past week, or we should say he testi-lied. The Popular Resistance team and allies were on hand to call him and members of Congress out for selling out our economy and democracy in this huge corporate power grab. Read our analysis here about why we must stop Fast Track and how we can do it. Go to and use the easy call-in tool to contact your member of Congress.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.57.31 AMImportant Lessons from Greece

Greek voters made a shift to a coalition of the radical left, Syriza. Greece has been treated as a debt colony with European and US financiers demanding intense austerity and the selling off (aka privatization) of public assets.  Many in Europe see the revolt in Greece as the beginning of a series of revolts against European austerity that makes the wealthy wealthier and everyone else poorer. Spain may be next to revolt at the polls.  As the revolt spreads it may threaten the existence of the European Union as people call for European-wide change.

The new Greek leader, Alexis Tsipras, started aggressively. His first meeting was with the Russian diplomat, not any European leaders. He appointed a radical academic, who called austerity “fiscal waterboarding” as finance minister, stopped two massive privatizations of a port and Greece’s biggest utility, and pledged to raise pensions and rehire fired public sector workers. Greece is on a collision course with Europe, in particular with Germany.

1llsWe are pleased to see people around the world instinctively following the advice that Howard Zinn gave to US activists. Across the world, people are facing governments corrupted by money and not representing their needs and they are fighting back.

We close with a quote from Zinn: “But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power.

‘Low-life scum’ of the world – Unite!

In 2004, Sam Smith gave this talk, “On Becoming and Being an Activist,” at a teen conference. The essence of his message is that we are facing serious crises and we have to make a choice of whether we will act or not. We are on a dangerous path and it takes courage to see that and not be paralyzed into inaction. It is easier to ignore the truth and succumb to the many distractions in our lives.

Smith writes:We Can Build The Future

“It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel — the courage to emigrate from one’s own ways in order to meet the future not as just a right but as a frontier.”

Smith goes on to describe that traditional tools for social change, such as working within the system, are not effective in this time. We must raise our voices, do the unexpected and try the improbable. We need to use our passion, our energy, our magic and music to burst the illusion being hand fed to us in the media and taught in our schools. He describes multiple instance where small numbers of people created radical transformation.

There is evidence that the mirage of democracy in our country is disappearing and that people are taking bold action. There were so many actions in the past week that we cannot hope to include them all in this newsletter.

Democracy in crisis: Plutocracy is a mainstream concept

The World Economic Forum, a global neoliberal institution, is currently meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Tom Keene of Bloomberg News asked in an interview, “How big is the Plutocracy Effect in 2015?” And the response was “It’s significant,” that it is taken for granted by people all over the world that the US is run on “legalized corruption.” The ‘Plutocracy Effect’ is a recognized entity. Think about what that means.

Sam Smith gave this talk, “On Becoming and Being an Activist,” at a teen conference. The essence of his message is that we are facing serious crises and we have to make a choice of whether we will act or not. We are on a dangerous path and it takes courage to see that and not be paralyzed into inaction. It is easier to ignore the truth and succumb to the many distractions in our lives. Smith writes: “It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel — the courage to emigrate from one’s own ways in order to meet the future not as just a right but as a frontier.” Smith goes on to describe that traditional tools for social change, working within the system, are not effective in this time. We must raise our voices, do the unexpected and try the improbable. We need to use our passion, our energy, our magic and music to burst the illusion being hand fed to us in the media and taught in our schools. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This week was the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United which expanded the concepts of corporations as people and money as speech by opening the floodgates of independent political expenditures. Actions took place across the country on Wednesday to protest and call for a constitutional amendment that would reverse this case law. In New Hampshire, hundreds of people marched 185 miles in the snow to protest at the State House. And in Washington, DC, eight people were arrested for disrupting the Supreme Court calling for a reversal of Citizens United.

The President delivered his State of the Union Speech on Tuesday with the usual theatrics and propaganda. In response, Green Party past presidential candidate Jill Stein delivered her own state of the union and others including Cheri Honkala, Howie Hawkins, Shamako Noble and Margaret Flowers commented as well. This “People’s State of the Union” provided facts about the economic, social and environmental crises and solutions to them. A “State of the Black Union” was written by the Black Lives Matter movement too.

Fair Trade Not Free Trade Fast TrackThe President pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in his SOTU claiming that it would increase jobs. The reality is that similar trade agreements caused the massive loss of jobs and suppression of wages and worker rights. Comedian Abby Feldman urges people to wake up while there’s still time stop the TPP. Congress is moving quickly to give Fast Track to the President. And just as quickly people are mobilizing to stop it.

Join the Emergency protest in New York City this Monday at noon at the Sheraton Hotel near Times Square (7th and 53rd).

This was also inaugural week for many state governors. Anti-fracking protesters disrupted the swearing in of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf who wants to link education funding to fracking revenue. And anti-fracking protests took place at the inaugural events for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. People from across Alabama disrupted Governor Robert Bentley’s inauguration which was held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and displaced the annual activities.

Reclaiming MLK

#BlackLivesMatter Protesters lay in Boston highway attached to cement barrels.

#BlackLivesMatter Protesters lay in Boston highway attached to cement barrels.

In many cities across the country, MLK Day was celebrated in a new way. People rejected the watered-down and dreaming version of Dr. King and embraced him as the radical activist that he was. Demonstrators in Oakland shut down the Federal Reserve for four and a half hours to represent the time that Mike Brown’s body was left on the street after he was killed. Why focus on the Federal Reserve? As this annual report by United for a Fair Economy shows, people of color are “underbanked and overcharged.”

Youth everywhere are organizing and shutting things down to gain attention for their demands. In Boston, activists locked themselves to concrete barrels to blockade the highway for hours.

We spoke with organizers from Washington, DC, Pittsburgh and Oakland on MLK Day about the rising awareness of the connections between racism, capitalism and militarism and the work that is being done to counter them on Clearing the FOG Radio. Click here to listen to that program.

The Right to a Livable Future

One of the greatest threats we face is the climate crisis. The failure to take effective action to mitigate it also has its roots in racism, capitalism and militarism. That right to a livable future is under attack in neoliberal trade agreements like the TPP and TAFTA. In their zealous drive for profits, Big Energy is using every tool they have to extract the last bits of carbon from the Earth, but the people are not deterred.

Pipeline protest sign outside of Dominion meeting 1-21-15 from Friends of AugustaThe Oceti Sakowan issued a call to protect Mother Earth by stopping the Alberta tar sands extraction and the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now that the NE Supreme Court ruled against the people, Keystone is moving to use eminent domain to seize property for the pipeline, but Nebraskans are not giving up. And Canadians are organizing a #ShutDownCanada day of action on February 13 for many reasons including to protest dirty energy.

Virginians are fighting a similar battle with Dominion which is suing for access to people’s land for pipelines to carried fracked gas. As in the Midwest, this pipeline fight is uniting uncommon allies. And the same is happening in Seneca Lake in the struggle to stop a fracked gas storage facility. There have been more than 200 arrests to stop Seneca Lake; this week the mom’s took on Crestwood.

We know that fracking has caused an unprecedented number of earthquakes in Oklahoma, and a new study shows the same happening in Kansas too. Fracking pipelines and facilities also emit hazardous chemicals and can explode. Oil pipelines leak as this one did this week in Montana, dumping tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River for the second time.

BXE Activists after shutting down FERC meeting.

BXE Activists after shutting down FERC meeting.

Despite these environmental catastrophes, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues to rubberstamp permits for new oil and gas infrastructure. This week, activists with Beyond Xtreme Energy disrupted FERC’s monthly meeting causing the commissioners to leave the hearing room. We are at an energy crossroads and the people are saying stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and move to renewables instead. Studies show that solar is cheaper in almost all US cities. Iowa City is the latest to announce an effort to increase solar capacity.

People everywhere are not only resisting the continuation of the old era of fossil and nuclear fuels, but are working together to create alternatives to move us into the era of clean and just energy sources. There are numerous groups networking at present to collaborate on work to make this transition. If you want to be informed about those efforts,sign up for the Popular Resistance climate justice affinity group here.

Find Your Path To A Just Society

Sam Smith encourages each of us to find a way to contribute to our transformation to a just society, to find our path and walk it. He writes:

“Above all, we must understand that in leaving the toxic ways of the present we are healing ourselves, our places, and our planet. We must rebel not as a last act of desperation but as a first act of creation.”

And that is what we mean when we say, “Stop the machine and create a new world.”

This is an important reality to consider. The reaction to the grand jury in 170 cities included people blocking major roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels. The police were unable to stop mobilized people working together to stop traffic. Those involved in the protest were still a small number, perhaps 200,000 people, but even this small percentage of the population had the power to #ShutItDown. In most instances protests were met with support even by people who were inconvenienced by traffic.

Now that we know that even a small percentage of Americans, well under .1%, have this power, how do we grow this capacity?

Growing the Movement

Research over the last 100 years of resistance movements shows that when just 3.5% of the pub