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    Living by the Clock of the World: Grace Lee Boggs’ Call for Visionary Organizing Matthew Birkhold April 17, 2012

    In response to a question regarding advice for young activists, 96 year old movement veteran Grace Lee Boggs recently told Hyphen Magazine that activists should turn our backs on protest organizing because it “leads you more and more to defensive operations” and “Do visionary organizing” because it “gives you the opportunity to encourage the creative capacity in people and it’s very fulfilling.” This quote made its way around facebook, twitter, and tumblr, as fans of Grace reposted it like it was common sense while others thought the quote bordered on conservatism.

    To better understand Grace’s call, we need to understand the historical perspective in which it’s rooted.  We also need to understand how visionary organizing differs from protest organizing, how Grace understands revolution, and that the way history develops means that ideas that were progressive or even revolutionary in one era, can become mental roadblocks to progress in another era.

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    Dispatch from Alabama: Organizing against HB 56 Ingrid Chapman February 16, 2012

    This is a message to friends, family and fellow organizers regarding the struggle in Alabama against the most extreme anti-immigrant law in the country, HB 56. The bill, titled the Hammon-Beason Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, was signed into law in June of 2011. Although it has received a lot less coverage, it is, by all accounts, even more draconian than Arizona’s SB 1070.

    I arrived in Alabama 2 days before HB 56 went into effect with the original plan of being here for 2 weeks. That turned into 3 months.  I have just returned for 6 more months to work with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice www.acij.net. I learned about the incredibly egregious law HB 56 and I listened to my heart, which told me to respond to the call for organizing support and to go to Alabama.  Now I am living in Alabama (AL), a place I never imagined myself. Every day is incredibly challenging, full of simultaneous heartbreak and inspiration and yet I am thankful to be here, working side by side with hundreds of incredible people. I believe that from this atrocity, a movement is being born that will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, possibly millions.  I know many might not know the extent of both the crisis and the subsequent developing movement to confront it, so I want to update you and ask for your feedback and support in building a national movement against this vicious anti-immigration law.

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    In the Path of the Mining-Energy Locomotive – Resisting Colombia’s Quimbo Hydroelectric Project (Photo Essay) Entre Aguas February 7, 2012

    While the tone of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, is much more diplomatic than his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the state policies of militarizing territories to facilitate resource extraction under the guise of economic development and counter-insurgent security have not changed. The forced displacement of inhabitants that it spurred has also not abated.

    Santos, the Minister of Defense under Uribe, assumed the presidency in August 2010. He kicked off his administration by naming four focus areas as the “locomotives” of his government´s economic development, one of these being mining-energy generation.

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    From the Arab Revolutions to the Occupy Uprisings, the Winter of Our Discontent Hena Ashraf December 21, 2011

    A few weeks ago on the train my mind drifted to Mohammed Bouazizi and a great sorrow descended over me. I thought of how his tremendous sacrifice on the 17th of December 2010 was the literal spark that set the fire for uprisings around the world. I thought of how an ordinary Tunisian street vendor profoundly affected the lives of millions of people everywhere with his tragic protest.

    His self-immolation captured the immense anger and frustration that millions experience on a daily basis. By setting himself on fire in front of the local governor's office, Bouazizi showed the world that he could no longer endure the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hands of corrupt local authorities. His example shows how revolutions start from the ground up, from ordinary people who are fed up of being pushed around. His actions set off revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and throughout the Arab world, as well as in Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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    Occupy Opportunities for Collective Liberation - Catalyst Project’s Anti-Racist Organizing Strategy Chris Crass December 14, 2011

    Melanie Cervantes - http://dignidadrebelde.comMelanie Cervantes - http://dignidadrebelde.comCatalyst Project, a center for political education and movement building, has compiled a list of resources for anti-racist/collective liberation work to build up the Occupy movement.  The following is an essay from the resource list, sharing key insights from Catalyst's anti-racist organizing strategy and how it relates to the Occupy movement.  The resource list will be sent out widely soon.

    The Occupy movement is one of the most profound organizing opportunities in decades, because of its mass invitation for the 99% to step forward and challenge systemic economic inequality. For white anti-racists, this is a moment when we can engage with, support, and organize hundreds of thousands of white people to deeply connect economic justice to racial and gender justice. 

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    Another Father is Possible Tom Ricker November 4, 2011

    A REVIEW OF RAD DAD: DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONTIERS OF FATHERHOOD
    EDITED BY TOMAS MONIZ AND JEREMY ADAM SMITH

    PM Press, 2011

    “The other day someone asked why I keep doing Rad Dad even though my kids are teenagers. I smiled and said, 'I do it because I'm a father, and I know I'm a better father when I have community…'” - Tomas Moniz, co-editor, with Jeremy Adam Smith, of Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood.

    When I was asked to write a review of Rad Dad, I was like, “Oh yeah, I love that book!” Oddly that love has made this a real challenge. Over the last four weeks of fits and starts I began having the sinking feeling that I was not nearly rad enough of a dad to do the book justice. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to my son’s adoption but then I suppose to habit, I stopped going to protests in 2007. I really stopped being any kind of organizer a year and half later when I moved to Houston with my wife. And though I recently got refocused on organizing, my work has been submerged under a barrage of institutional crises that are far from exciting. At the same time, the Occupy movement has taken off across the country. And though it reached Houston a couple of week ago, surgery and the new job (ironically) have mostly kept me away from the parks and stuck in the house.  

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    So Real it Hurts - Notes on Occupy Wall Street Manissa McCleave Maharawal October 4, 2011

    I first went down to Occupy Wall Street last Sunday, almost a week after it had started. I didn't go down before because I, like many of my other brown friends, was wary of what we had heard or just intuited that it was mostly a young, white male scene. When I asked friends about it they said different things: that it was really white; that it was all people they didn't know; and that they weren't sure what was going on. But after hearing about the arrests and police brutality on Saturday, September 24th and after hearing that thousands of people had turned up for their march I decided I needed to see this thing for myself. 

    So I went down for the first time on Sunday, September 25th with my friend Sam. At first we couldn't even find Occupy Wall Street. We biked over the Brooklyn Bridge around noon on Sunday, dodging the tourists and then the cars on Chambers Street. We ended up at Ground Zero and I felt the deep sense of sadness that that place now gives me: sadness over how, what is now in essence just a construction site, changed the world so much for the worse.

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    Tax the Rich, Save our Safety Net! Save our Safety Net September 21, 2011

    Victory: On September 20, 2011, the DC city council voted to increase taxes on residents making over $350,000 a year by approximately .5%.  By finally creating a new tax bracket targeting high-income earners the council acceded to the demand of Save Our Safety Net, DC! (SOS) and other local advocates who together have been fighting for a more progressive tax system in the district.  It was a strange victory for the coalition as there was no grassroots mobilization in the days leading up to the surprise vote.  Nor was there any guarantee that the more than $100 million in new revenue over the next four years would go towards rebuilding the city’s safety net.  Still, there’s no doubt that the groundwork for the vote was laid by the SOS campaigns over the past two and a half years.  Perhaps most pleasing was the sight of the most conservative, anti-tax members of the council squirming and bitterly whining as the proposal they had fought so hard to avert was finally put into law.

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    Creating Space for Kids in Our Movements Vikki Law August 11, 2011

    Despite rhetoric about mutual aid and creating new worlds, social justice movements across the US and Canada often neglect the needs of caregivers and children. This has had the effect of excluding crucial organizers and reducing our ability to raise the next generation to be a part of our movements. 

    Over the past six years, I have interviewed more than 20 mothers who explicitly identify as anarchists about the support (or lack thereof) they’ve received from their peers and movements. These mothers varied in terms of age, race, ethnicity, class, partnership status, and sexual identity. Many had been politically active before motherhood. Some found that continued involvement was not possible and that their peers were unwilling to support the challenges they faced as new mothers. Many who have stayed actively involved were able to do so largely because of community support.

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    Revolutionary Experiments Andrew Willis Garcés July 30, 2011

    OPPOSE AND PROPOSE: LESSONS FROM MOVEMENT FOR A NEW SOCIETY
    BY ANDREW CORNELL

    AK Press, 2011

    From 1971 to 1988, a group comprising several hundred “nonviolent revolutionaries” organized into collectives in cities across the country and put in motion a plan: to take down the US empire, while simultaneously uprooting oppressive behavior in themselves and the world around them. They built many Left community institutions that continue to exist today. They used militant direct action to stop weapons shipments to Pakistan—and helped coordinate an action in which 3,000 people occupied the proposed site of a nuclear plant, inadvertently popularizing a form of decision making and action prep that has become standard for large-scale direct actions. Andrew Cornell’s Oppose and Propose!: Lessons from Movement for a New Society offers us a look into this remarkable grouping.

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