Citizen Organizing & Politics

Duluth City Council Unanimously Passes Seed Sharing Resolution

January 15, 2015

By Cat Johnson

Cross-posted from Shareable

Originally posted December 22, 2014

Photo by Dan Kraker/MPR News

Seed activists can put a mark in the win column. Recently, the city council in Duluth, Minnesota passed a resolution supporting seed saving and sharing in the city (see video below of the council meeting). They also requested changes in state seed law to allow seed sharing without cost or germination testing.

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, THE SAD STATE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

January 11, 2015

An Interview with Human Rights Organizer Jackson Doliscar

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar, community organizer and human rights defender.

Some things never change. In Haiti, no matter the century or decade in question, one can be certain that: the state and elite are trouncing the rights and needs of the majority, the population is protesting to demand land and justice, and the international community is taking the wrong side.

Five years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 (no one knows for sure) and rendered 1.9 million more people homeless, the fraudulently elected administration of Michel Martelly has abandoned any pretense of democracy. Having failed to hold elections three years in a row, instead letting national and local elective seats become vacant, the government now rules by decree. It is also attacking and killing human rights defenders. The elite, in combination with foreign corporations, are seizing land for agribusiness, mining, tourism, and free trade zones. The grassroots has taken to the streets to demand democratic government and an end to foreign occupation by the UN. Social movements are also mobilizing for defense of land, housing, and rights. The US has, until recent months, staunchly supported the government. It has backed this support with “security” funding, including more than $7 million for the police in 2015, for a nation not at war against anyone but its own people.

Jackson Doliscar is a community organizer and human rights defender. Since the earthquake, he has been the primary outreach worker in an international campaign for the right to housing for those left languishing under tents, through the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA, by its Creole acronym). This is the first in a two-part series.

TRANSFORMING POWER, PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT IN EL SALVADOR

January 8, 2015

An Interview with Social Movement Leader and Parliamentarian Estela Hernandez

By Beverly Bell

The social movement La Coordinadora is organizing to protect lands and waters - including the Bay of Jiquilisco, pictured here - from corporate development, instead promoting ecological health and sustainable livelihood. Photo: Erika Blumenfeld, EcoViva

La Coordinadora of the Lower Lempa and the Bay of Jiquilisco in El Salvador is a grassroots, community-led organization of 27,000 families in more than 100 communities. It is transforming economic and political power and the health of the environment, across the department of Usulután. Pillars of La Coordinadora are participatory democracy, empowerment of women and youth, and – still in the works - education and health care for all. The communities are generating income through a green economy based on ecological agriculture and fishing. La Coordinadora is working to build food sovereignty, protect ecosystems, and preserve the largest remaining mangrove forest in the area.

Estela Hernandez is a leader of La Coordinadora and its affiliated non-profit organization, the Mangrove Association. She is also an elected member of the national legislature. There, Hernandez sits on the Environment and Climate Change Commission, the body that drafts environmental legislation.

I Can't Breath Until Everyone Can Breathe

January 7, 2015

By Gerald Mitchell, Cross-posted from YES! Magazine

Originally Released  on December 26, 2014

A Milwaukee Black Lives Matter march. Photo by Light Brigade.

The late Maya Angelou said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” When it comes to injustices like those we saw in Ferguson, we’re all part of the problem—and the solution.

Proposed Labor Laws in Chile Lauded as 'Enormous Step Toward Social Equality'

December 30, 2014

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer, commondreams.org.

Released December 30, 2014.

http://commondreams.org/news/2014/12/30/proposed-labor-laws-chile-lauded...

 

'Today we are marking a new milestone—we are clearing a debt that we have hold toward the workers of Chile,' says president Michelle Bachelet

10 Ways Human Rights and Democracy Won in 2014

December 30, 2014

by Sarah van Gelder, Yes! Magazine

Released December 29, 2014 on yesmagazine.org

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/10-ways-human-rights-and-democra...

Ferguson, Missouri. October, 2014. Photo by Sarah-Ji.

In 2014, we saw a lot of brutality. Unarmed black men and women were killed by police, women were raped on college campuses and in military barracks, foreign nationals were tortured, and young and mentally ill Americans were confined for extended periods in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

Movement for Change Coming from the Iguala Case

December 22, 2014

By Blanche Petrich

Cross-posted from Compañero Manuel

Orginally released Dec 9 2014

In Mexico It's More

(translation: In Mexico it's more dangerous to be a student than a drug trafficker)

The five popular municipal committees that were installed yesterday in different Guerrero municipios, and another 20 more that are being prepared, are part of the people’s organized response, who beginning with the Iguala attack, were at a “point of no return, articulating a movement for changing things in this country, once and for all,” asserted Omar García, leader of the Student Committee of the Ayotzinapa Rural teachers college. He described these new organizational experiences in Ayutla de los Libres, Tlapa, Acapulco, San Luis Acatlán and Tecoanapa as initiatives “that seek to exercise self-government and direct democracy through popular assemblies,” which seek to change the forms of government where an official municipal (county) structure dominates that administers public and private issues. “We want it to be the population that attends to those issues with a concept of population, of people, with all its difficulties and complexities, with their creativity.”

EZLN: On Ayotzinapa, the Festival, and Hysteria as Analysis

December 19, 2014

By Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Cross-posted from Enlace Zapatista

On Ayotzinapa, the Festival, and Hysteria as a Method of Analysis and Guide for Action

 

To the compas of the National and International Sixth:

To the National Indigenous Congress:

To the family members and compañeros of those killed and disappeared in Ayotzinapa:

Sisters and brothers:

Compañeros and compañeras:

There are many things we want to tell you. We won’t tell you all of them because we know right now there are more urgent and important issues for all of us.[i] Thus we ask for your patience and your attentive ear.

This Country Needs a Truth and Reconciliation Process on Violence Against African Americans—Right Now

December 17, 2014

By Fania Davis

Cross-posted from YES! Magazine

Orginally released December 03, 2014

The decision not to indict Eric Garner's killer is just the latest story in a long history of violence against black men. What response can disrupt patterns set by centuries of racism?

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