Category: Nonviolence in the News

Nonviolence in the News – October 26, 2017

Click here to listen to Nonviolence in the News, recorded October 26th, 2017, or use the controls at the bottom of the page. If you are looking for nonviolence radio, click here. Special alert: In a series of moves this week that have alarmed free speech advocates and critics of media consolidation, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) voted to abolish a rule requiring radio and television broadcasters to maintain studios near the communities they serve, and FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced further plans to end certain media ownership rules. Our experts at KWMR are predicting that this will not change much here, however: “At a time when broadcast conglomerates like Sinclair are gobbling up new stations and pulling media resources out of marginalized communities, we still need the main studio rule to help connect broadcasters to the local viewers and listeners they’re supposed to serve.” —Dana Floberg, Free Press: The policy shifts are expected to significantly benefit the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group—whose reported close ties to Pai have raised concerns as the federal government reviews Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media, which would expand the broadcaster’s reach to 72 percent of the country. Resources. Get this! The Action Network looks to be a great tool for progressive activists; “Fully featured. Award-winning. A joy to use. Empowering millions of activists every day. We’re a nonprofit dedicated to building power for the progressive movement, so we don’t have clients — we have partners, and we can mobilize your activists together. Join us!” “Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals and groups to organize for progressive causes. We encourage responsible activism, and do not support using the platform to take unlawful or other improper action. We do not control or endorse the conduct of users and make no representations of any kind about them”   College of Media, Communication and Information, UC BOULDER: offering a new Master of Arts in Media and Public Engagement (MAPE); a 2-year interdisciplinary program that spans traditional boundaries between theory and practice, offers a critical study of the history, institutions, economics and social implications of the media…   Preaching to the Choir? A new essay from Rebecca Solnit: “The primary assumption behind the idea that we shouldn’t preach to the choir is that one’s proper audience is one’s enemies, not one’s allies.” Solnit argues for greater solidarity among those who share vision of what is possible for nonviolent transformation. But as I have said time and again at Metta, cooperation is much harder than non-cooperation. And it’s in our nature. So what do we need? Solnit responds: “To win politically, you don’t need to win over people who differ from you, you need to motivate your own. There are a thousand things beyond the fact of blunt agreement that you might need or want to discuss with your friends and allies. There are strategy and practical management, the finer points of a theory, values and goals both incremental and ultimate, reassessment as things change for better or worse. Effective speech in this model isn’t […]

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Sumud and the Holy Land Trust – podcast

Sumud, meaning “steadfastness” or “steadfast perseverance” in Arabic, is strategy that first emerged among the Palestinian people through the experience of oppression and resistance during the 1967 Six-Day War. This week Antwan Saca joins us to speak about how Holy Land Trust and how Sumud is being used to help realize a nonviolent solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.  Speaking of the Peacework in Israel/Palestine, Metta Center is co-sponsoring an event here in Petaluma with Combatants for Peace on this very topic. Check it out here!  Click here or use the controls below to listen to the show. If you are interested in going more in depth in Nonviolence News, click here for a transcript, links, and more in depth analysis from the show! 

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Nonviolence in the News – October 16, 2017

Listen to Nonviolence in the News, recorded October 16th, 2017. You can also use the controls at the bottom of the page to listen in. If you are looking for nonviolence radio, click here.   “I refuse to accept the journalistic cliche of ‘meaningless violence’. I refuse to believe that there are no answers to the cheapening of life and the rise of violence against it. If we have no answers to such a basic matter as why we can’t live in peace with one another, often can’t go on living at all, maybe we’re asking the wrong questions.” ~Michael Nagler, The Search for a Nonviolent Future.   Resources. With an emphasis on “Leadership”, Resistance School just launched its first session for the year with well-known activist Marshall Ganz, a veteran of the United Farm Workers Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Professor Ganz spoke about Public Narrative, commonly described as framing, enables the empathetic experience to link leaders with participants, participants with each other, and both with broader public values at stake. Their motto: “Practical skills to reclaim, rebuild and reimagine America.” I would have put “reimagine” first, but otherwise this is superb. Meanwhile, here in the West, Resistance School @ Berkeley is taking shape: This semester will focus on effective communications. The first session, Transforming Resistance into a Social Movement, goes live via Facebook on Thursday, October 5 at 3pm PT/6pm ET and will feature renowned organizer Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. The lesson dives into the goals, activities, and skills that organizers should consider in growing their individual organizing efforts into cross-community social movement for lasting social and political change. Other trainings they will mount this semester include: Cross-Cutting Messaging in a Tough Political Environment with Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Labor and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley (Thursday, October 19 at 3pm PT/6pm ET) Shifting Public Opinion Through Strategic Messaging and Metaphors with Anat Shenker-Osorio, Principle of ASO Communications (Thursday, November 2 at 3pm PT/6pm ET). Communicating About Race in Politics and Organizing with Ian Haney López: Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley (Thursday, November 16 at 3pm PT/6pm ET). … and for more on communication, you might take a look at Sightline. They will send you ‘flash cards’ with elevator-like arguments from their latest research on the closely related issues of climate and democracy, and I think also with research into communication strategies.   A good film, among the many coming out: Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock Or How To Let Go Of The World And Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change. Check Netflix and HBO to watch it.   From the venerable journal Acorn, “Philosophica Studies in Pacifism and Nonviolence,” is now online as well as print; for the philosophically minded. It was founded by members of […]

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Nonviolence in the News – September 29, 2017

This weeks round-up of nonviolence news, events, resources, and jobs! Jobs/Fellowships: Internships for the study of Civil Resistance:  The International Center for Nonviolent Conflict is seeking authors of case studies of civil resistance and peacebuilding. There is a $2000 stipend if you’re selected to write for them. Applications due October 4th. Possible cases might include South Africa, Philippines, Columbia, Liberia, Nepal, East Timor, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, and more. If you are an expert in one of these places, or you know someone who is, please look into this opportunity to work with this great foundation!   Resources: A board game for organizing nonviolent movements “In Rise Up, your movement takes creative actions to fight for victory. As you strategize, you’ll shape the story of your movement—whether it’s stopping an oil pipeline, fighting for dragon rights, or anything else you’re passionate about. But “the System” is hard at work too, maneuvering to crush your movement through tactics like setting up surveillance, making arrests, or causing infighting. Only by working together can you win enough victories to beat the System. Everyone wins or loses together.” Resistance Guide by Paul Engler and Sophie Lasoff Social movements of the past can teach us how to shape the future. Resistance Guide will equip you with the essential strategies to shift public opinion, change laws and decisions, and elect new leaders. This is a handbook for anyone who wants to understand what makes movements succeed, and how we can use this knowledge to fight for a better America.   Peace Science Digest: How Do Violent Flanks Affect the Outcomes of Nonviolent Campaigns? Their talking points: There is no significant statistical relationship between the presence of violent flanks and either nonviolent campaign success or failure, the result of violent flanks having both negative and positive effects that cancel each other out when taken together. Violent flanks that emerge from within otherwise nonviolent campaigns appear to decrease these campaigns’ likelihood of success. Mass participation is the strongest determinant of nonviolent campaign success, and violent flanks have a negative effect on participation levels, suggesting that violent flanks can indirectly contribute to campaign failure. In case studies, armed movements were consistently shown not to protect nonviolent activists but rather to put them at greater risk, as authorities used the presence of armed actors to justify widespread repression against all resistance movements, violent and nonviolent alike. Research shows that, “on average, maximalist nonviolent campaigns often succeed despite violent flanks—rarely because of them.” Jesus and Nonviolence Richard Rohr of Center for Contemplation and Action (CAC) is always inspiring, and recently has posted several daily messages about Jesus and nonviolence, as well as nonviolence itself. Highly recommended for those of us of the spiritual or ‘principled’ persuasion. Resistance School We’re excited to let you know that Resistance School is Back in Session! Check out Semester Two … We’re also thrilled to announce that we now have a second campus: Resistance School at Berkeley. Sign up and be sure to follow […]

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Nonviolence in the News – September 15, 2017

If you have trouble with the player above, click here to download.  Jump to NEWS Jump to EVENTS NOTE: You will see the mysterious letters PP, CP, or S in parentheses after some of these items. What’s up with that? We are coordinating these items with the trajectory on which our Roadmap plan is based, namely the natural progression successful movements tend to follow. It goes, roughly chronologically, from Person Power, the term we invented to shadow “People Power,” a common designation for civil society struggles to put the emphasis on the individual person and his/her empowerment, where it all has to begin, then to Constructive Program, building what you want without waiting for the powers that be to give it to you and thereby strengthening your resistance to the remaining pockets of injustice with, finally, satyagraha. Resources: Want to know more about the situation in Western Sahara? Check out Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution, authored by this weeks’ Nonviolence Radio guest, Stephen Zunes. Is White Supremacy only a problem of the American south? The answer is, of course, ‘no.’ Sarah Van Gelder of Yes Magazine points out that there are many ways to uproot white supremacy within one’s own community. She lists thirteen, but surely there are more. She says, “Rooting out white supremacy is not a task that belongs only to those communities with Confederate monuments, though. Every region of our country has its history of racial exclusion and white supremacy, enforced to this day by domestic terrorism, laws, regulations, and police discrimination. Every region has seen people of color, especially African Americans, forced off of land that they farmed; out of businesses, schools, voting booths; and often into poverty through menial underpaid work, overpriced slums, and policing practices that disproportionately target people of color.” She emphasizes powerful, constructive ways of lifting up the voices for justice for all in our communities. Don’t miss her article. Looking for more nonviolence news? Looking for community? Join the Metta Center for Nonviolence every Weds. morning from 8:15-9:15 am for an in-depth, online discussion about nonviolence and take a look at nonviolence in the news from sources like Waging Nonviolence, and others. Contact the Metta Center for Nonviolence to get involved. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” to take place from September 27 to November 10 … successful course participants become eligible for the ICNC grant opportunities and a certificate of completion.  Another university-movement collaboration!  Wonderful development.  And it seems that there’s a great resource from ICNC every episode. (CP)  Truthout reports on an apparently moving and heartbreaking film, “The Last Guardians,” about indigenous struggles against the powerful combinations of  oil companies and ‘their’ government.  It’s the same the world over now; and of course there is another kind of power! (CP) Are you prepared for emergencies?  SF72 is a clear and calming resource that can help people to prepare for disaster. What is important about this resource is that they promote connection and […]

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Nonviolence in the News – September 1, 2017

More information on topics covered below. NOTE:  PP = Person Power, CP = Constructive Program, OP = Obstructive program, or direct resistance. Jump to NEWS Jump to EVENTS Resources: Have I mentioned Positive News?  It’s both a magazine and a website (https://www.positive.news/) offering news in many categories.  Most are at best indirectly related to nonviolence; but all are changing the mindset, especially in their cumulative effect. Of interest regarding one of Stephanie’s items today: The ‘gangsta gardener,’ Ron Finley, who believes masculinity is about being building thriving communities and being a conscious citizen of the planet. Ron is determined to redefine ‘gangsta’ as being about these values, and not machismo. + Exciting first offering of its kind from Nonviolent Peaceforce: an online course on “Strengthening Civilian Capacity to Protect Civilians Against Violence.”  No one can better address that topic than NP! To be offered through Merrimack College, Begins 9/18, reg. closes 9/11 +  Definitely PP!  From ICNC’s “minds of the movement” blog: Mindful Activism: The Power of Mindfulness in the Streets.  ( The top picture shows Sarah Thompson, whom we recently interviewed, leading a meditation). by Gabriel DayleyAugust 25, 2017 …  This comes decades after Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh founded “engaged Buddhism.”  When asked “What is Engaged Buddhism?” he famously said, “It’s Buddhism!”  You can’t be a Buddhist and not feel compassion for those who suffer, and want to do something about it.  Thay (as he’s popularly called) explicitly joined activism with mindfulness-based practices in a global spotlight, activists in pockets around the world have begun to incorporate techniques of mindful attention to the present moment into their movement activities. However, public and scientific interest in mindfulness has focused heavily on benefits to individual wellbeing, and applications of mindfulness to activism have largely been limited to preventing stress and burnout. This focus on individual wellbeing ignores potentially valuable applications of mindfulness-based practices for increasing the effectiveness of activists and strengthening their movements.  The same goes for the growing movement for mindful schools. Scientists now use the term subtle energy, which the likes of Gandhi & King firmly believed in: we recently heard that wonderful talk of Gandhi’s about “living power.”  Thay is now 91, and about to visit his home village near Hue.  All this is interesting in the light of recent events in S. Korea, where Buddhists are in fact getting “engaged.”  Until recently the only activists in S. Korea were Christian. +  Move to Amend conference call, fourth Wednesday of every month at 5PM PT / 8 PM ET, at their Facebook page.  “Join our national director Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap and national board member Laura Bonham in this interactive monthly report on what’s happening with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy and all things Move to Amend.” + If you feel stuck putting your money in Big Banks like Wells Fargo or Wall Street investment funds, you should know about an alternative option which supports good causes: Aspiration.  “We created Aspiration because everyone deserves a financial firm that brings you fairness, great […]

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Nonviolence in the News – August 18th

“If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example.” (First published in Harijan and available in the book, Nonviolence in Peace & War) Resources.    Metta quoted in the New York Times! #5 in ‘most read,’ last time we checked. Next Tuesday we’ll be interviewed by Kris Welch on KPFA, I think at 11am. + From Waging Nonviolence earlier this month, “Sahrawi Refugees Build Upon Their Nation in Exile,” reporting here because we’ll be hearing from Prof. Stephen Zunes at USF, an expert on this little-known conflict where Sahrawi people are resisting with sustained nonviolence in the face of heavy opposition.  One quote: “This 200,000-person camp is run by the refugees themselves…. Any international organizations that come in do so as partners — not as leaders.” No ”peace imperialism here!”  As we recently heard from Sherri Wander, the first lesson learned by peace teams has been, ‘listen to the people you’ve come to help.’  I will never forget what we heard from Mubarak Awad at a meeting in Santa Cruz ~20 years ago, before he was deported from Israel/Palestine.  We asked him if he wanted us there as peace teams and he said.  “Absolutely. We are willing to die, but we do not want to die alone.  So come, stand with us; but don’t tell us what to do.” + Good article from Crux, online magazine of the CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: “West Bank Priests Stress Nonviolence as Youths Protest Israeli Occupation,” by Judith Sudilovsky, August 4, 2017.  Father Firas Aridah: “I tell the young men that we are not with this violence. If we do not accept for Israel to behave this way, then how can we accept it from our side? Wherever God is represented in our life, we should have no violence.” + A new book: Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation.  It’s received high praise from Noam Chomsky; available from Truthout.   + Project Censored, originating at Sonoma State University, now has chapters on 18 campuses.  I’d particularly like to draw your attention to SF State where, under the direction of Prof. Kenn Burrows, they have developed an approach called Constructive Media (vs. fear-based & problem focused).  Categories are Social Health News, Mindfulness & Society News (changes the brain, calms police), Technology & Eco-Health News.   News. + Yesterday (Thursday, August 17) in Common Dreams: “In Support of Eight Arrested for Toppling Durham Statue, Hundreds Turn Themselves In.” A true act of civil disobedience, and it was named as such by Common Dreams. I (Michael Nagler) […]

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Nonviolence in the News, August 4th.

Resources. Important article in Waging Nonviolence: “A Manual for a New Era of Direct Action,” by George Lakey July 28, 2017.  50 years on from his manual with Daniel Hunter!  We do have some continuity!  Why is this article so great? Every paragraph links to specific resources.  May be indispensable for newer activists. Here are some main points: NAME THIS POLITICAL MOMENT. Clarify with your co-initiators specifically why you’ve chosen to build a direct action campaign. Assemble the core members of your campaigning group BE AWARE OF THE NEED FOR A LARGER VISION Choose your issue. Double-check to see if this issue is really viable. Analyze the target carefully Track your key allies, opponents and “neutrals.” As your campaign implements its series of actions, make strategic choices that move you forward. Training and leadership development can make your campaign more effective YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE matters for your short-run success and for the movement’s wider goals. THE BIG PICTURE will continue to influence your chances for success.   +  Right round here GREETINGS FROM THE OCCUPY SONOMA COUNTY EARTH ACTION CAMPAIGN: Earth Action Campaign Listserv. This list is used for sharing climate change, climate justice, GMOs, toxic chemicals, Earth-related news and Earth Action Campaign information.   + Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change. This anthology from Truthout and Haymarket Books collects wide-ranging interviews by C. J. Polychroniou with arguably the world’s most well-known critic of US policy.  (free with donation to Truthout) EXCERPT now on Truthout.   + ICNC’s “Minds of the Movement” blog is particularly rich this week, with articles on the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, an article on the importance of media coverage by Deborah Mattis, co-editor of Minnds, others from Papua New Guinea, India, and the U.S.  I would particularly draw your attention to Jack Duvall, “Why Violence Undermines Protest.”  Jack writes: “Every nonviolent movement is a commitment to living in freedom and justice, once power is shared fairly by everyone. Violent action sabotages that commitment, because turmoil in the streets will be quelled by repression.”  Well, more than that: it creates incoherence of means/ends. And on Hong Kong’s “umbrella revolution,” Johnson Ching-Yin Yeung, an organizer (and fellowship recipient from ICNC) writes: “… in a fast-paced society, people get used to harvesting fruits from a one-off investment. When mobilizing people, organizers love to frame the mobilization as “This is our last stand!” or as an endgame. The framing raises both organizers’ and protesters’ expectations, and produces more desperation when they encounter setbacks. The reality is that one contention of nonviolent struggle doesn’t always yield an overall success; it often takes 10 times more escalations and contentions to achieve a goal.”  Yet another example of how modern culture weighs against nonviolence, in a way we often neglect: “undue haste” vs. sumud.   + “Goodbye to the NFL and Cognitive Dissonance” by David Niose (legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, immediate past president of the American Humanist Association, and author of Fighting Back the […]

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Nonviolence in the News: July 21st, 2017

Transcript and links to items covered in the Nonviolence in the News segment of Nonviolence Radio, aired July 21st, 2017. Goose Fest News    PAYING RESPECTS (in Memoriam): Liu Xiaobo, who kept vigil on Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protect the (mainly student) protesters from oncoming soldiers, promoted a pro-democracy charter that brought him an 11-year prison sentence and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2010 while locked away, died on Thursday. He was 61.  It was because of the Tienanmen tragedy that I have dedicated my life to spreading information and understanding about nonviolence.  That tragedy was preventable, and we saw that, but we had no way to reach the students at that time.   Resources. Three news sources: The opportunityagenda.org allows you to select topic and type of resource. ‘Toolkit for journalists’ is one such resource, fair amt. on messaging. Their main focus is on racial issues. Especially for and about women: WINGS: Women’s International News Gathering Service is celebrating its 25th year!  The have by now an extensive archive (which I haven’t checked for nonviolence content; if you do. let me know what you think.) Last year I cited Peace Science Digest, a product of the War Prevention Initiative.  Available online and in print; excellent selection of articles and format: each article ends with “Contemporary Relevance” and useful “Talking Points” to take away.  So now from WNV/Peace Science Digest: “How movements can succeed in the face of government repression” by Molly Wallace.  This is basically a review of “trends in nonviolent resistance and state response,” in Global Responsibility to Protect, Erica Chenoweth suggests that part of the answer lies in target governments becoming increasingly savvy in their responses to nonviolent movements, now that such movements are recognized to pose a real threat to their power. In light of this possibility, how can nonviolent resistance persist and succeed in repressive contexts?  Particularly clever governments have been particularly quick to recognize the ‘danger’ to them (i.e. their self-perceived interests) of nonviolent movements.  Case in point: in 1990’s the Israeli govt. deported our friend Mubarak Awak, who founded the Palestinian Center for Nonviolence (and was a major actor in the first Intifada) but left alone Sheik Yassin, whom they knew was masterminding suicide bombings. (Commentary) On the July 7th nuclear weapons ban, that will be open for states to sign on Sept. 20th and that becomes international law after 60 nations sign, I was discussing all this last weekend in NC when one questioner led to the thought that “sometimes the good is the enemy of the best.”  Is a nuclear ban, assuming we can achieve it, a step toward the abolition of war or a facilitation of war, making it more ‘thinkable’? Augustine: “Peace is the longing, nay the cry of every soul.” For a point-for point roadmap of what lies ahead, see Zia Mian’s article in the latest Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Mian writes: “In a potentially powerful obligation, the ban requires the states that sign up […]

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Nonviolence News – July 7th, 2017

In the last episode of NONVIOLENCE in the News I cited three very hopeful trends developing partly (at least) in response to the vacuum at the top: 1) Devolution of decision making down to state and community levels – where it belonged in the first place!, 2) A political awakening among progressive religious groups  (Sarah’s interview we just heard is a superb example), and 3) “culture jamming” by the group “Subvertising.” Since then ‘devolution’ has become a knock-down, drag out fight between “conservative” states and liberal cities.  A locus to watch in the coming months. OK… on to our standard ‘trifecta’ of resources, news, and events. 1.Resources. Because there is far too much to cover in a half-hour segment may I once again direct your attention to Nonviolent Conflict News (NVCNews.org), which “aims to be a dedicated, reliable source of international media coverage on civil resistance.” While single protests generally draw the attention of most media outlets, NVCNews aims to go beyond this, providing a window into in-depth analysis of civil resistance movements, their dynamics, and the full range of nonviolent tactics that they use. NVCNews aggregates news stories from a wide range of independent and conventional media outlets. Each story is accompanied by a summary drawn from its original text, prepared and edited by the site editors, that highlights the story’s relevance to the dynamics of civil resistance, to a specific movement or campaign, or to the larger context of such events.”  It will be interesting to compare their analyses with ours. +From Vimala Thakar (in Awaken Weekly, a feature of ServiceSpace.org) comes “The force of love is the force of total revolution.”  If you agree with me that this is a great title, give it a listen. + FILM(s): “The Women’s March” is a documentary covering the Jan. 21 nationwide march, called the “largest one-day demonstration in US history,” with screenings listed on Eventbrite.  Of course, the limitations of one-off demonstrations and protests are becoming clear. Another forthcoming film is on the New Story, with Charles Eisenstein, Vandana Shiva, and many others: “The End Of Normal.” + BOOK (& interview) Naomi Klein has written an important book: No is not enough! And there is a great interview w/ herself and Michelle Alexander in TruthOut. Stephanie? Stephanie Van Hook: Yes, my problem with this and many other discussions today is that while they’re calling for strategy they don’t actually propose one: they give platforms, wish-lists, no concrete plans.  I also see a danger that these two, or others, might be “Sanderized:” made into leaders that are supposed to do it for us. 2.News. It’s JULY 7th! And again our loyal listeners will know that this is the day on which the UN Disarmament Commission was to – and did! – adopt the treaty that calls for, and is hopefully a key step toward, a complete ban on nuclear weapons.  “Today, 72 years after their invention, states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. With 122 votes […]

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