Citizen Organizing & Politics

#BlackLivesMatter: Lessons from a Leader-ful Movement

February 17, 2015

By Jodie Tonita

Reposted from on February 19, 2015

In the 15 years that I have been supporting social change leaders to become more powerful, effective and collaborative I have never been as hopeful as I am today. A new civil rights movement with bold new leadership is emerging, and there is already a lot to be learned from these efforts, and much to celebrate.

A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

February 17, 2015

By Alicia Garza

Reposted from on February 17, 2015

I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.

A Love Note to Our Folks: Alicia Garza on the Organizing of #BlackLivesMatter

January 30, 2015

By L.A. Kauffman

Reposted from N+1 on January 20, 2015

When protests erupted across the United States late last year, after grand juries failed to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a friend who works for a prominent media outlet wrote to me wondering “if it’s all just the internet organizing itself.” The nationwide marches and freeway blockades seemed spontaneous, after all, with the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter being widely used to publicize gathering spots and share images of the demonstrations.

The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

January 30, 2015

The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion


reposted from Counterpunch, January 26, 2015

Organized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the first annual Festival Mundial de las Resistencias y Rebeldías contra el Capitalismo, or the Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion, was held in central and southern Mexico over a two-week period at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. The event’s subtitle sums up its purpose well: “While those from above destroy, those from below rebuild.”

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.


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.


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,

Released December 30, 2014.


'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

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.


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