Every bullet, head-stomp, and crosshair-map is another gift. Let media rationalize with false equivalencies while they may, for a new era of nonviolent activism and resistance beckons. Exposing the reactionaries of our time will require courage, commitment, and unwavering devotion to the truth. During 2010, I documented a series of progressive actions that leave me convinced this is more than possible, that in fact a historical cycle is emerging and points the way forward through the tide of tea.
It is not okay to tackle a woman to the ground and step on her head just because you don't like her politics. The tea party sees tyranny everywhere and practices it on others. This is how real, actual, not-imaginary fascism comes to America.
But there's a cure for the viral insanity: people like Lauren Valle, the MoveOn.org activist brutalized by Rand Paul's county coordinator. Her courage is in the best traditions of progressive activism, which is not just an answer to the tea party but the antidote. More after the jump and a very important video...
In case you missed it, the DREAM Now letter series launched this week, with a letter from DREAM Act student Mohammad Abdollahi. The first featured letter-writer, Mohammad, helped to organize this week's DREAM mobilization in DC, which consisted of lobby visits, a "mock graduation," and student-led rallies. The mobilization took a controversial turn yesterday, as 21 young people engaged in civil disobedience in the nation's capitol to highlight the urgency they feel for moving the legislation -- the youth risked deportation because of their immigration status.
The DREAM Now letters to follow each week, from undocumented young people who feel they must tell their stories, will be used to call attention to the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act without further delay. Please get involved by posting the letters on your blog, your facebook or twitter profiles, or wherever you can. Together we can make the DREAM Act a reality for the million or more young people whose lives are now on hold, waiting for this critical legislation -- a stepping stone to full immigration reform that 70% of Americans support.
I was born in 1985 to a barely-turned 16 year-old who had been kicked out of her house while she was pregnant for being a disgrace to the family. I lived with my mother in an abandoned house in Guerrero, Mexico. She struggled to find work, but was either harassed or asked for sexual favors. She said no. She was 17 in 1986 when the 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico. She decided to take me to the U.S., but we didn't stay that long. At my grandmother's request, we returned to Mexico. The hits kept coming: my mother ended an abusive relationship with a military man and feared for her life.
Then, my father called- after abandoning my mother while she was pregnant and being MIA for most of my early years, decided he wanted us to join him in California. My options have always been limited. I was 8 years old when I came to the U.S. When I was 14, my 18-year-old boyfriend wanted to marry me. I said no. When I graduated from the top of my high school class, I thought I couldn't go anywhere. My parents were migrant farm workers- college wasn't likely. But years later, I found a private college in Kansas that would accept me. I worked myself to the bone, and obtained an Associate's Degree. Today, I am working towards my Bachelor's degree. According to my calculations, it will take me eight years.
I've had people tell me that it's not a big deal, that I should keep on waiting for the DREAM Act to pass. My life has been on pause, rewind or replay for years. Waiting is not an option. That is why undocumented youth like myself are risking everything, right now, to pass the DREAM Act, this year. If we're putting our lives on the line for this, Mr. President, the least you can do is call members of Congress and ask them to do the same.
It started with 3 undocumented youth sitting in John McCain's office, and it has escalated to 20. How many more will it take before Congress passes the DREAM Act?
This May 1st, immigrant communities and citizens alike will hit the streets to say no to Arizona's new "show me your papers law" and yes to real, federal action on immigration reform this year. Eighty cities across the country are gearing up for major rallies, marches, and protests tomorrow. Students who had come in from New York, Florida, and California to participate in the Washington protests led their own action in front of Governor Jan Brewer's DC office today. They chanted, "Arizona, Shame On You! Immigrants Are People, Too!"
Tomorrow's marches are a follow-up to the major March for America: Change Takes Courage, which drew over 200,000 people to the National Mall on March 21st. At that event, President Obama delivered a firm message promising he'd work on comprehensive immigration reform "this year." Now, with Arizona's new law driving already-desperate communities into action, we're likely to see events in Chicago, New York, and L.A. turn out tens of thousands of people.
At the DC event, 40 protesters will go so far as to risk arrest, practicing peaceful civil disobedience in the face of cynical Washington politics.
Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, writes today at Huffington Post:
Tomorrow, there will be over 80 demonstrations in favor of immigration reform across America. One of them will be in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. There, some 40 dignitaries including a member of Congress, clergy, heads of organizations and community leaders will likely be arrested in acts of civil disobedience against unjust immigration enforcement and the political cowardice in addressing our broken immigration system. I will be one of those getting arrested.
I am willing to get arrested tomorrow because the massive deportations being undertaken by the Obama Administration are tearing apart families, separating children from their parents, risking the lives of disabled immigrants and vulnerable refugees, and spreading terror into our communities. I will be arrested because America needs to understand immigration reform is not merely a political issue; our broken system is a moral disaster unfolding in our nation. Civil disobedience is important at this point because it signals to our leaders that the current situation is so unjust and unsustainable that people are no longer willing to comply or be complicit in the injustices committed by our government.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who just announced that he intends to join in the civil disobedience, released this statement:
We have to keep the pressure on and let the President and Congress know we need immigration reform this year," the Congressman said Friday. "I am joining the rally in Washington because the effort to get immigration reform passed is escalating, the attacks on immigrants and immigration reform are escalating, and the Arizona law is a wake-up call that inaction at the federal level has huge consequences for communities, families, and individuals.
WHAT: Rally for Immigration Reform
WHEN: Saturday May 1, at 2:00 p.m. ET (music program starts at 1:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Lafayette Square, (across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House)
In addition to civil disobedience, many May Day events will feature celebrities who are taking a stand against what happened in Arizona. Via Perez Hilton:
And if you're lucky enough to be in Los Angeles this weekend, go be a part of their march with guests like Gloria and Emilio Estefan also taking part!
It's not just a hispanic issue, it's one that affects everyone regardless of their background.
Last but not least, students who've walked 1,500 miles on what they are calling the "Trail of Dreams" will be a major part of the Washington, DC event. Watch their stories:
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Kevin, let’s start with you. What exactly are you launching today, this campaign of civil disobedience?
KEVIN ZEESE: Well, it’s three groups that are launching it. ProsperityAgenda.us, which is trying to democratize the economy in the way that Michael Moore is starting to get a debate going about, we see healthcare as critical to people getting control over their lives. And a single-payer system is the only way to do it. Healthcare-NOW!, which is the leading grassroots advocacy group for single payer that is joining us. And the Center for the Working Poor in Los Angeles works on issues of low-wage workers.
And the basic thrust of this is, is to highlight the denial of healthcare by the insurance industry. Doctors and patients reach an agreement on what they want, what kind of healthcare is appropriate, and too often healthcare insurance companies say, “No, we’re not going to pay for that.” In fact, there was a report put out by one of the really excellent organizations in this effort, California Nurses Association, that showed that 20 percent of the time when people have agreed on healthcare, the insurance companies say no. Twenty percent of the time. One company was 40 percent of the time. So this is a serious problem. In fact, Michael Moore, when he did Sicko, had 25,000 people write him and say that they were being denied healthcare. So the goal is to say, “Get these people healthcare.”
We’re going to go—and if people who are denied healthcare want to have the community support them, they should contact us at mobilizeforhealthcare.org, and we will bring people together to go to the insurance company and say to the insurance company, “Provide this person with healthcare.” These are life and death decisions, and their profits should not be coming before patients.
But the overlying message of this is that the healthcare—health insurance industry should not be seen as a solution to our healthcare crisis. They are the cancer of the healthcare crisis. We need a single-payer system. And the band-aid, putting over the cancer, that President Obama and the Democrats are pursuing in Washington is not going to make the situation better. In fact, it’s going to make it worse, because they’re going to empower these insurance companies with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual new revenue by having working people, who can’t even afford to put food on the table in too many kinds, forced to buy private insurance that’s overpriced and a pretty lousy product. It’s amazing that we’re seeing the government forcing people to buy insurance, when the insurance industry is the cause of so much of the problems that we’re facing here.
So, people who want to get involved in this, we’re looking for people to sign up to protest, mobilizeforhealthcare.org, and come there and sign up, whether you’re a patient, whether you’re—want to get involved in this. We’ve had hundreds of people sign up already, and we want hundreds and hundreds more, because this is going to be a national campaign.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: So you’re calling for people to stage sit-ins at the offices of private insurers?
KEVIN ZEESE: Well, the first thing we want people to do is to go to the insurance and make a demand: stop the denials. If they refuse a demand, we say we’re staying until you make that—make that promise, and that we’ll stay—I mean, sit-in, and stay until that demand is met. If it’s not met, we stay. We’re not seeking to get arrested, but if that’s what happens, then the insurance companies have to choose: are you going to arrest people for your profits, or are you going to provide healthcare, like you’re supposed to be doing?
How can they say with a straight face, while we’re about to give them hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue and working people’s income, how can they say with a straight face they’re going to deny healthcare? It’s going to demonstrate that these corporations are not the solution.
Single payer is the solution. And so, please, get involved, mobilizeforhealthcare.org. Get involved, get active. We need the people to rise up and say, no, we don’t want this forced insurance company solution that the Obama administration and the Democrats are pushing down the people’s throats.
"The Terri Schiavo case has demonstrated that we are being governed by un-elected judges, and that the legislative and executive branches of government lack the will to stand up to them when they authorize acts of violence. The matter therefore, now rests with the people. When government fails to protect life, the people must do so directly. Today must mark the beginning of a new era of civil disobedience and conscientious objection, with simultaneous, determined efforts to curb the authority of the courts and restore government to the people through their elected representatives."
"The Schindler family had every right to fight for their daughter's life. Who ever convinced them that Randall Terry was the guy to lead the charge was very mistaken. Across the MSNBC screen last night I saw the word " Bomb threat." Since Terry has a history of violence towards abortion clinics, this is not surprising. More here"