Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

February 6, 2017

n-tepco-a-20170203-870x330

Based on image analysis, a two-meter hole has been found in the metal grate under a pressure vessel in reactor No. 2’s containment vessels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. | TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY HOLDINGS INC. / VIA KYODO
NATIONAL

KYODO, STAFF REPORT
FEB 3, 2017
ARTICLE HISTORY
PRINT SHARE
The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the triple core meltdown in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said.

Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core.

The high figure indicates that some of the melted fuel that escaped the pressure vessel is nearby.

At 530 sieverts, a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tepco grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors crippled by the March 2011 disaster.

Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.

The hole could have been caused when the fuel escaped the pressure vessel after the mega-quake and massive tsunami triggered a station blackout that crippled the plant’s ability to cool the reactors.

The searing radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds the previous high of 73 sieverts per hour at the reactor.

Tepco said it calculated the figure by analyzing the electronic noise in the camera images caused by the radiation. This estimation method has a margin of error of plus or minus 30 percent, it said.

An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

According to the institute, 4 sieverts of radiation exposure would kill 1 in 2 people.

Experts say 1,000 millisieverts, or 1 sievert, could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while exposure to doses above 100 millisieverts increases the risk of cancer.

According to Tepco, readings of surface radiation on parts used inside a normally operating pressure vessel can reach several thousands sieverts per hour.

The discovery spells difficulty of removing the fuel debris to decommission at the plant. The government and Tepco hope to locate the fuel and start removing it in 2021.

In the coming weeks, the utility plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.

For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot takes into the interior because of the hole in the grating.

Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.

That is because it is designed to withstand exposure of up to 1,000 sieverts. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could run for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means it would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.

Tepco has been probing reactor 2’s containment vessel since last week.

On Monday, it found a black mass deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel. The images, captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm the same day, showed part of the grating was missing. Further analysis found the 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.

If the deposits are confirmed to be melted fuel, it would be the first time the utility has found any of it at the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns.

The world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 triggered core meltdowns in reactors 1 through 3. Portions of the core in each reactor are believed to have melted through their pressure vessels and pooled at the bottom of their containment vessels.

The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high to check it.

Meanwhile, a nuclear research organization unveiled on Friday a robot that will be tasked with surveying reactor 1 at the complex.

Tepco plans to send the robot into reactor 1 in March, while its survey plan for reactor 2 remains unclear because of the high radiation levels.

The stick-like robot is 70 cm long and equipped with a camera, according to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning.

During a robotic survey in April 2015, the operator found no major obstacles in the path planned in reactor 1 but found water accumulating in the basement.

In the upcoming survey, it hopes to examine the water by deploying a camera and a radiation sensor.

“Confirming the conditions inside the reactor is a first step toward decommissioning,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said in a news conference Friday.

“While difficult tasks and unexpected matters may arise, we will mobilize all of Japan’s technological capabilities to steadily implement decommissioning work and rebuild Fukushima,” he added.

The Next Step in Caring

January 31, 2017


Inbox
x

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
9:29 AM (2 hours ago)

to me
The Next Step in Caring

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5429

Airport resistance is the biggest step forward by the U.S. public in years.

Why do I say that? Because this is unfunded, largely unpartisan activism that is largely selfless, largely focused on helping unknown strangers, driven by compassion and love, not political ideology, greed, or vengeance, and in line with activism around the globe. It’s also targeted at the location of the harm, directly resisting the injustice, and achieving immediate partial successes, including very meaningful successes for certain individuals. It’s gaining support from people never before engaged in any activism. And it shows no signs of any significant undesirable side-effects. This is a movement to be built on, and I have an idea what a next step should be.

Of course it is not at all uncommon for people to selflessly act for strangers. Much of the charity industry is driven by that sort of generosity year after year. But activist organizations are constantly telling themselves that this is not the case, for example that ending the bombing of distant unknown families can only be accomplished by advertising the financial cost of it or instituting a draft or making known the harm to veterans of the military doing the bombing. Yet when the peace movement in the United States has been stronger, in the 1920s in particular and also in the 1960s, acting on behalf of others has been central, as it was to the first big activist campaign, that begun against the slave trade in London, and as it has been in countless campaigns. Working to protect the natural environment is work for future generations. You can’t get more selfless or enlightened than that.

But what’s unique about this moment of sympathy and solidarity with refugees from nations the United States has bombed (plus Iran which it has gone after in other ways) is that it runs counter to U.S. government propaganda, it replaces fear with courage, hatred with love. This isn’t just love stepping into a void. This is a transformation into love from its opposite. This is why I think another major step might be possible.

When I listen to people interviewed at New York protests, or look at the signs they bring to the White House and to airports around the country, I’m struck by the expressions of love and concern for others, more than by the presence of partisanship or hatred for Donald Trump (though it certainly is a factor). And I’m bowled over by the widespread recognition of the lesson from history of the damage done to European Jews by U.S. immigration policy. Protesters’ signs indicate an awareness that Jewish refugees were rejected by the West, that Western governments met and refused to accept their mass eviction from Germany, that the U.S. Coast Guard chased a ship away from Miami many of whose passengers later died in the camps, that Anne Frank’s visa application was rejected by the U.S. State Department. I had no idea people knew these things, much less learned and applied a lesson from them.

Of course, some protesters have personal connections to those put at risk by Trump’s Muslim ban (and that’s what it is, based on his campaign promises and his renaming of the Global War on [of] Terrorism to the Fight Against Radical Islamism). And others find ways to identify themselves with those at risk, such as: “We’re a nation of immigrants. My great-grandparents were immigrants.” But this doesn’t make the movement less altruistic. Identifying with people in some way, even as fellow human beings, is a common part of coming to care about them and to act for or with them.

There are indications that this sentiment is not limited to those protesting and resisting at airports. The ACLU has never raised more money before. And check out this tweet:

John Paul Farmer @johnpaulfarmer

I’m 20 minutes from landing at JFK. Pilot just warned us about delays due to #NoBan protests at T4. The passengers’ response? Applause.

There are also protests happening around the world, outside of the United States, allowing us to build a global movement against global injustices even when those injustices are headquartered in Washington, D.C. And in Washington D.C. and around the U.S. we see unprecedented resistance from an Acting Attorney General and from judges — a group that seemed to be mostly asleep for the past 16 years.

And Canada, which has resisted U.S. wars, aided those enslaved, given shelter to conscientious objectors, and protected people from all variety of U.S. injustice for centuries, stepped up too:

Justin Trudeau @JustinTrudeau

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

There are elements of partisanship in this uprising that could hold it back, and of nationalism as well. Some liberals are not so much concerned about human cruelty as about Trump disrespecting their sacred U.S. military. Where were these crowds when President Barack Obama was setting records for deportations, or when he was bombing the nations that Trump is now banning refugees from, or when he was purporting to create the presidential power to do what Trump is now doing?

Our task is not to erase mistakes of the recent past but not to focus on them either. Our task is to move forward with what we now have. And I think the way forward involves taking one additional major step beyond where the resistance is right now. Once people have come to resist injustices to refugees from wars, to identify with them, to contemplate lives lived in horror of immigration police, to consider the suffering of family members in distant lands suddenly blocked from visiting their loved ones, it seems to be a quite achievable step to begin opposing dropping bombs on those family members. If you’re going to oppose harm to refugees, why not oppose the destruction of their homes that makes them refugees in the first place? If you are willing to question government fear-mongering, you are ready to question the government dogma that says more weapons sales and more bombs and more troops will make things better rather than worse.

If that step is taken, then this becomes a movement that cares not only about that fraction of suffering populations that finds some tenuous connection to U.S. shores, but about that whole 96% of humanity that lacks any such connection. Then we really have something new under the sun. Then we really transform U.S. policy. Then the trillion dollars a year wasted on preparing for more wars can be cut into a little bit to fund human and environmental needs beyond our wildest imaginings.

I was heartened by this recent tweet:

Yaroslav Trofimov @yarotrof

Number of US citizens who traveled to Iraq, Syria to kills locals on behalf of ISIS: 250. Syrians or Iraqis who carried out attacks in US: 0

I replied:

David Swanson @davidcnswanson

What about number who went there to kill locals on behalf of US military?

photo by Ted Majdosz

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

January 21, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
Jan 19 (2 days ago)

to me
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5416

Here I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need more democratic perspectives. Here are six.

1. Get active around policy not personality. And try to nudge newly active or re-activated people in that direction. To take one example of thousands, we should be cheering more loudly for the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. And we should have raised a lot more hell than we did over the idea of locking her up to begin with — and Obama’s pronouncing her guilty before his subordinates tried her — and over all the other whistleblowers still in cages or facing persecution. More support for not bombing Syria in 2013, and more condemnation for arming proxies instead. More — hell, any — support for Trump deescalating hostility with Russia, and more opposition to his proposals to “kill their families” and “steal their oil.”

2. Recognize that the crisis is not new. It’s just ever more urgent, with environmental or nuclear apocalypse threatening. Obama increased military spending, dropped more bombs on Iraq than Bush did, still occupies Afghanistan, is now helping to destroy Mosul, and radically expanded presidential war powers for his successors. Each president does a lot more harm than good. Each should be protested and resisted and impeached and removed — but for good reasons, of which there are always plenty, not for bad ones.

3. Promote a positive vision. We can move toward a better future in which reduced or eliminated military spending makes possible what we don’t now even try to dream of.

4. Go local and global. Build power in towns, cities, states, and through alliances across borders. The latter is crucial for avoiding war and protecting the planet.

5. Take on Washington too, but recognize what we are up against. The activism that may have saved Chelsea Manning, delayed the bombing of Syria, prevented as of yet a war on Iran, and led to Trump campaigning on the idea that attacking Iraq and Libya was stupid, could do more if it knew its own strength. But the wars have now gone secret, outsourced, privatized, and taken to the skies rather than the ground. The lies have become slicker too, though that may be about to change. We have to up our game. A nuclear war is not one that can be criticized after it starts on the grounds that it costs too much money or hurts someone sympathetic or because the people nuked are not showing gratitude. We are also up against a permanent government sending troops to Russia’s border, facilitating a coup in Ukraine, sabotaging peace in Syria, and making recent accusations against Russia that have in some cases proven false and in no case yet been proven true.

6. Resort to the most powerful tool: nonviolence. You cannot expect violence to work on children, even presidential children. It does not educate or control. Children need attention, positive when they do right and negative when they do wrong. The CIA, “Homeland-” “Security,” and “Democrats” are effectively telling Trump that he can only be loved or respected if he joins in spitting in the face of a nuclear armed government. The people who found the one candidate who could lose to Trump are finding the one way to oppose his agenda that will fall apart under scrutiny if it doesn’t kill us all first. Let’s have no more partisanship. No more cults of or against personalities.

We need principles. Policies. Peace.

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

2017 Peace Essay Contest

January 17, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org

10:01 AM (24 minutes ago)

2017 Peace Essay Contest

The West Suburban (Chicago) Faith-Based Peace Coalition is sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. Essays have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1. To enter the contest send a Peace Essay
Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]

2. In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2017 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3. By May 15, 2017 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

Some examples of impact:

The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
A member of Congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
A newspaper includes a KBP story.
A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.
We will announce the winners at a festive event honoring the 89th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2017.

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

Talk Nation Radio: Antonia Juhasz on Tillerson, Trump, and Oil

January 17, 2017

OpEdNews Op Eds 1/17/2017 at 19:26:52

By David Swanson Follow Me on Twitter Message David Swanson Permalink

Related Topic(s): Trump Against Climate Change; Trump Cabinet; Trump Diplomacy, Add Tags Add to My Group(s)
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 1/17/17
Translate Page

Author 9
Become a Fan
(127 fans)

Antonia Juhasz
(image by talknationradio.org) License DMCA Details
Antonia Juhasz is an energy analyst, author, and investigative reporter. She recently wrote a profile of Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for In These Times magazine. We discuss Tillerson and the oil spill he floated in on. See also:
http://www.antoniajuhasz.net

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

– Advertisement –

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

– Advertisement –

and at

View Ratings | Rate It

http://davidswanson.org
David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

For a peaceful 2017

December 28, 2016

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
9:28 PM (2 hours ago)

to me
Here are a few recent items:

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

VIDEO: How Will Trump Wield Obama’s Modernized Nukes?

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

Talk Nation Radio: Vincent Emanuele on Wars for Oil Companies; Robert Alvarez on Department of Energy for Nuclear Weapons

What Racist Registries Look Like

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

Think Politicians Are Trying to Scare You? You’re Not Paranoid.

AUDIO: Talking Trump Appointments (Starts at Minute 40:00)

VIDEO: Militarizing Police and a Policelike Military

VIDEO: CrossTalk: Mainstream’s Revenge

AUDIO: I was on Black Agenda Radio

Talk Nation Radio: Craig Murray: Russia Didn’t Do It; Vincent Emanuele on Stopping Pipelines and Wars

If Phil Ochs Were Alive, Though I’d Not Wish It on Him

BREAKING: The CIA Never Ever Lies

AUDIO: California Should Secede

Black and Foreign Lives Matter: Ending Gun Violence Requires Ending War

Military Recruiting in the United States, and Planning its Decline and Fall

Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving

Talk Nation Radio: Chip Gibbons on Anti-Russia Committee and Censoring Criticism of Israel

AUDIO: I discuss the nomination of Mattis for Secretary of War War War

New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act

AUDIO: I discussed flag burning on Michael Slate show

Give Wes Bellamy a Break

VIDEO: The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War

75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

Talk Nation Radio: George Lakey on Viking Economics

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

Help me keep working in 2017!

http://davidswanson.org/donate

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

December 27, 2016

OpEdNews Op Eds 12/27/2016 at 15:36:15

By David Swanson Follow Me on Twitter Message David Swanson Permalink

Related Topic(s): Japanese Internment, Add Tags Add to My Group(s)
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/27/16
Translate Page

author_photo9

Author 9
Become a Fan
(128 fans)

unnamed
Richard Cahan
(image by davidswanson.org) License DMCA Details
Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows and Richard Nickel’s Chicago. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums.
We discuss the new photo book co-authored by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

– Advertisement –

and at

View Ratings | Rate It

http://davidswanson.org
David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Slacktivism for everyone: How keyboard activism is affecting social movements

December 25, 2016

SATURDAY, DEC 24, 2016 04:59 AM CST

Online petitions and other innovative methods to mobilize show of support is changing the civil disobedience game
JENNIFER EARL, THE CONVERSATION SKIP TO COMMENTS
TOPICS: ACTIVISM, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, ONLINE, PROTEST, SOCIAL MOVEMENT, TECHNOLOGY NEWS, NEWS

Slacktivism for everyone: How keyboard activism is affecting social movements
(Credit: picmov via iStock/Salon)
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

In 2013, an online petition persuaded a national organization representing high school coaches to develop materials to educate coaches about sexual assault and how they could help reduce assaults by their athletes. Online petitions have changed decisions by major corporations (ask Bank of America about its debit card fees) and affected decisions on policies as diverse as those related to survivors of sexual assault and local photography permitting requirements. Organizing and participating in these campaigns has also been personally meaningful to many.

But, a nostalgia for 1960s activism leads many to assume that “real” protest only happens on the street. Critics assume that classic social movement tactics such as rallies and demonstrations represent the only effective model for collectively pressing for change. Putting your body on the line and doing that collectively for decades is viewed as the only way “people power” works. Engaging online in “slacktivism” is a waste, making what cultural commentator Malcolm Gladwell has called “small change.”

Should protest happen online or in the real world? Wherever people will get engaged.

This amounts to a debate over the “right way” to protest. And it’s bound to heat up: The election of Donald Trump is pushing many people who have not previously engaged in activism to look for ways to get involved; others are redoubling their efforts. People have a range of possible responses, including doing nothing, using online connections to mobilize and publicize support and protesting in the streets – or some combination of tactics.

As a social movement scholar and someone who believes we should leverage all assets in a challenge, I know that much social good can come from mass involvement – and research shows that includes online activism. The key to understanding the promise of what I prefer to call “flash activism” is considering the bigger picture, which includes all those people who care but are at risk of doing nothing.

Most people are apathetic

Social movement scholars have known for decades that most people, even if they agree with an idea, don’t take action to support it. For most people upset by a policy decision or a disturbing news event, the default is not to protest in the streets, but rather to watch others as they do. Getting to the point where someone acts as part of a group is a milestone in itself.

Decades of research show that people will be more willing to engage in activism that is easy, and less costly – emotionally, physically, or financially. For example, more than a million people used social media to “check in” at the Standing Rock Reservation, center of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Far fewer people – just a few thousand – have traveled to the North Dakota camps to brave the arriving winter weather and risk arrest.

Once people are primed to act, it’s important not to discourage them from taking that step, however small. Preliminary findings from my team’s current research suggest that people just beginning to explore activism can be disheartened by bring criticized for doing something wrong. Part of the reason people volunteer is to feel good about themselves and effective about changing the world. Shaming them for making “small change” is a way to reduce numbers of protesters, not to increase them. Shaming can also create a legacy of political inactivity: Turning kids off from involvement now could encourage decades of disengagement.

‘Success’ takes many forms

“Flash activism,” the label I prefer for online protest forms such as online petition, can be effective at influencing targets in specific circumstances. Think of a flash flood, where the debilitating rush of involvement overwhelms a system. Numbers matter. Whether you are a high school coach, Bank of America, the Obama administration or a local council member, an overwhelming flood of signatures, emails and phone calls can be quite persuasive.

Further, all that 1960s-era street-style protest is effective only in certain circumstances. Research shows it can be very good at bringing attention to topics that should be on the public or policymakers’ agenda. But historically protests are less successful at changing entrenched opinions. For instance, once you have an opinion about abortion access, it is fairly difficult for movements to get people to change their views. And, while the protests we are so nostalgic for sometimes succeeded, they also often fail where policy change is concerned.

The glass can be half-full

Online protest is easy, nearly cost-free in democratic nations, and can help drive positive social change. In addition, flash activism can help build stronger movements in the future. If current activists view online support as an asset, rather than with resentment because it is different from “traditional” methods, they can mobilize vast numbers of people.

Take, for example, the “Kony 2012” viral video campaign calling for the arrest of indicted war criminal Joseph Kony. Some hated the campaign; others highlighted its ability to draw attention to an issue many thought Americans wouldn’t care about. Think about the possibilities. Would Planned Parenthood be unhappy if 100 million Americans watched a persuasive short movie on abortion rights as civil rights today, and shared it with friends? Would the effort “matter”; would it help drive the direction of the public conversation about abortion?

And flash activism isn’t necessarily just a one-time game of numbers; MoveOn showed that with a big enough membership base, you could mobilize large numbers repeatedly. People who participate in one online action may join future efforts, or even broaden their involvement in activism. For example, kids who engage in politics online often do other political activities as well.

Many hands make light work

Critics often worry that valuing flash activism will “water down” the meaning of activism. But that misses the point and is counterproductive. The goal of activism is social change, not nostalgia or activism for activism’s sake. Most people who participate in flash activism would not have done more – rather, they would have done nothing at all.

Worse yet, when people denigrate flash activism, they are driving away potential allies. Critics of online efforts no doubt know that not everyone is willing to march or rally – but they miss the important potential for others to take actions that support and actually result in change.

Scholars and advocates alike should stop asking if flash activism matters. We should also stop assuming that offline protest always succeeds. Instead, we should seek out the best ways to achieve specific goals. Sometimes the answer will be an online petition, sometimes it will be civil disobedience and sometimes it will be both – or something else entirely.

The real key for grassroots social change is to engage as many people as possible. That will require flexibility on how engagement occurs. If people want larger and more effective social movements, they should be working to find ways to include everyone who will do anything, not upholding an artificial standard of who is a “real activist” and who is not.

The Conversation

Jennifer Earl, Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona

The Many Ways to Help Standing Rock

December 2, 2016

Published on
Friday, December 02, 2016
by YES! Magazine

Even if you can’t show up at the wintry encampments, you can join water protectors in other ways: from calling the North Dakota governor to breaking up with your bank.
bySarah van Gelder
4 Comments

Photo by Lori Panico.
The timing couldn’t have been more awful.

The day after Thanksgiving, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that people camped at the Oceti Sakowin Camp would be considered trespassers on that federally managed land after Dec. 5. With thousands of people, it is the largest of the water protectors’ camps. Next came the snow, which is piling up across the camp as I write. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered an immediate evacuation allegedly out of concern for the well-being of water protectors in the “harsh winter weather.”

“He gave a whole list of concerns … that we’re going to freeze to death and the solution is to cut off emergency services,” said Tara Houska, an organizer from Honor The Earth, at a news conference on Monday. The move evokes the “collective memory of Native people being pushed off land,” she added. “In 2016, that history is still happening.”

“The most dangerous thing we can do is force well-situated campers from their shelters and into the cold,” Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement. “If the true concern is for public safety than [sic] the Governor should clear the blockade, and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings.”

An elder at the camp, Faith Spotted Eagle said, “It is so transparent that what they are doing is to protect the pipeline.”

What will you do? With these rapidly unfolding events at Standing Rock, what can you do? How can you support this indigenous-led nonviolent movement?

“We call on all people of conscience, from all Nations, to join the encampments and stand with us by Dec. 5 as we put our bodies in front of the machines,” says a statement from the Sacred Stone Camp, which also states: “We call on allies across the world to take action EVERY DAY starting December 1.”

How can we do something every day, as requested, to make a difference where we are?

When I interviewed Chairman Archambault earlier this month, he said this: “Follow your heart. If you want to be here, you’re welcome. If you want to pray from home, pray from home. If you want to send a letter of support, send a letter of support. If you want to send a contribution, send a contribution.”

Here are some things to consider as you decide what to do.

Show up

If you’re a veteran, consider joining the 2,000-plus veterans who are “self-deploying” to Standing Rock on December 4–7 to stand nonviolently with the water protectors.

People with skills like nurses and other medics are needed. Check with Oceti Sakowin camp or teams already on the ground to find out. And there is always work to do in the kitchen or chopping wood. People are also needed at the front lines to maintain a nonviolent presence; they risk arrest and attack from law enforcement’s “sub-lethal” weapons.

If you do go to Standing Rock, remember that this is a movement founded in nonviolence and prayer. Respect the indigenous leaders there and follow their requests about how to behave at camp in keeping with Lakota traditions.

But before you pack up your car and head out, consider the snow. You will need to be well-provisioned to avoid becoming a burden on the community there. Many of the organizers have asked White allies to consider whether the money spent to get yourself to Standing Rock would be better spent donating to the cause: covering mounting legal costs, provisioning an indigenous water protector, or helping the Standing Rock tribe pay for costs.

You may be a more effective advocate where you are, where you have easy access to elected officials and banks; at Standing Rock, access to phone and internet service is limited.

Break up with your bank

Banks are feeling the heat from the protests and from their own customers. One bank, DNB of Norway, has responded to pressure by divesting from Energy Transfer, the parent company of the Dakota Access pipeline. DNB is reportedly reconsidering more than $400 million in credit. The ING Bank of the Netherlands, which prides itself on its sustainability and human rights stance, posted a statement on its website expressing concern about excessive police force at Standing Rock.

If your bank is one of the direct investors in DAPL or one of the investors in its parent companies, Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics, ask them to withdraw support. Tell them you plan to close your account if their support continues. Photograph yourself cutting up your credit card, or share your letter on your social media networks. I posted my break-up letter to Chase Bank on my blog and on Facebook and Twitter—and was surprised by how many responded that they planned to do the same.

If you have a retirement fund or mutual fund, find out if it is invested in Energy Transfer Partners, Energy Transfer Equity, or Sunoco Logistics—or any of the 38 banks offering credit to the pipeline project. If so, let those investment companies know you object and tell them you would like the fund to divest or you’ll shift your account to a socially responsible investment fund.

Consider planning or participating in a nonviolent protest at a bank branch or headquarters. Sacred Stone Camp has posted a map to find bank branches near you and recommends actions beginning Dec. 1.

Banks are risk-averse, and this pipeline project has become quite risky because of public relations problems as well as the oil price bust and reduction of oil extraction in North Dakota. Banks and investors may be hoping for an excuse to back out. Your action could help tip the balance.

Call off the police

There are now dozens of law enforcement agencies participating in the multistate force that is shooting water cannons, pepper spraying, and shooting various “sub-lethal” weapons at unarmed water protectors.

If your police force is there, call them home. Although the police staffing is changing constantly, some sheriffs have responded to public pressure by refusing to send deputies. Contact elected officials, write to local papers and local blogs, and contact local media to object to law enforcement involvement at Standing Rock.

Complain to government decision-makers

Angry about the evacuation order? Talk to the person who made it:

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple

600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0100

Phone: 701-328-2200
Email: http://www.governor.nd.gov/contact-us

https://www.facebook.com/NDGovDalrymple

https://twitter.com/NDGovDalrymple

“Where is President Obamaand why does he remain silent on this issue?” Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network asked in a statement responding to the governor’s evacuation order.

When he visited Standing Rock on June 13, 2014, President Obama said this: “I promised when I ran to be a president … who honors our sacred trust, and who respects your sovereignty, and upholds treaty obligations, and who works with you in a spirit of true partnership, in mutual respect, to give our children the future that they deserve.”

Remind President Obama of this and of the way his decision on DAPL will shape his legacy.

President Barack Obama

Phone: 202-456-1111
Email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

You can also call Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, at 202-456-3182.

Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is charged with making a decision about the permit to drill under the Missouri River. Tell them to reject the permit and order a full environmental impact statement.

The commanding general is Lt. Gen Todd T. Semonite

441 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000
Phone: 202-761-0011

https://www.facebook.com/USACEHQ/

Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of Army (Civil Works)

108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310
joellen.darcy@us.army.mil
(703) 697-8986

Col. John W. Henderson

Commander
Omaha District, USACE
1616 Capitol Ave., Ste. 9000
Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: 888-835-5971 or
402-995-2229

The Department of Justiceshould be concerned about the use of excessive force against the water protectors and alleged violations of civil and human rights.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Tracy.Toulou2@usdoj.gov

You can also call the Department of Justice Office of Community Relations, which offers mediation to communities facing racial and religious confrontations.

Federal office: (202) 305-2935

Regional office: (303) 844-2973

Askcrs@usdoj.gov,

https://www.justice.gov/crs/what-we-do

Remember to speak politely and factually about your concerns. If you send an email, copy it to your social media account to inspire your friends, and to local media.

Call out the media

If media outlets are ignoring or distorting the news, call them on it. Send open letters and share them on social media. Ask major media to fully and factually cover the unfolding drama at Standing Rock.

Donate

There are many opportunities to donate cash or supplies. Here are three that I can vouch for:

• The Standing Rock tribe, which is using the funds for their substantial legal expenses and for providing facilities for the camp: standwithstandingrock.net/donate/.

• Oceti Sakowin Camp is the largest of the water protector camps, the closest to the front lines, and is now facing evacuation: ocetisakowincamp.org/donate.

• The Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly the Red Owl Collective), which has been providing legal support to the many who have been arrested at Standing Rock: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/11B5z8

You can also support some of the key indigenous organizations that are leading this movement nationwide and worldwide:

• The Indigenous Environmental Network: http://www.ienearth.org/?s=donate.

• Honor the Earth: http://www.honorearth.org/.

You can raise more money for these and others by organizing support events and fundraisers in your community. Invite people who are curious about the issues as well as people who are already passionately engaged. Make it a celebratory or prayerful event in whatever way makes sense to your community.

Other options

Phone a bank. Invite friends over to make phone calls and send emails. It’s more fun together.

Resist extraction where you live. Join work to stop the pipelines, coal trains, fracking, and export terminals in your city or state and include #NoDAPL and #WaterisLife messages to remind people of the link to Standing Rock.

Resist but also renew. Remember that as you resist the dystopian world of extraction, Donald Trump, violence, and racism, you can also use your activism to build up the world you want. Do your own “just transition,” switching to clean energy, conserving, protecting the water, rebuilding the soil—while including everyone in a way of life that is more soul-satisfying and joy-filled.

Resilience for the days ahead

When I talk to people at Standing Rock, I feel the trauma and pain but also the resolve. The young people speak of being the Seventh Generation, the ones that were prayed for. And many speak of the suffering they are prepared to endure to ensure the next generations has the clean water they will need to survive. That resolve is helped by the support that continues to flow in from more than 300 tribes nationwide, and from hundreds of thousands of allies, including next week’s arrival of thousands of veterans.

“We are not standing down,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of Sacred Stone Camp, at a news conference on Monday in response to the governor’s evacuation order. “We are in our home, we are strong, and we have prayer.”

This article was written for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Sarah van Gelder
Sarah van Gelder is co-founder and editor-at-large of YES! Magazine, and author of The Revolution Where You Live: Stories from a 12,000 Mile Journey Through a New America. Follow her blog and connect with Sarah on Twitter: @sarahvangelder

Share This Article

No Discrimination, Oppression!

November 22, 2016

Friend —

Just a few weeks after my fifth birthday, in the spring of 1942, my parents got my younger brother, my baby sister, and me up very early, hurriedly dressed us, and quickly started to pack.

When my brother and I looked out the window of our living room, we saw two soldiers marching up the driveway, bayonets fixed to their rifles. They banged on our front door and ordered us out of the house. We could take only what we could carry with us.

We were loaded on to train cars with other Japanese-American families, with guards stationed at both ends of each car as though we were criminals, and sent two-thirds of the way across the country to an internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas.

For nearly three years, barbed wire, sentry towers, and armed guards marked home. Mass showers, lousy meals in crowded mess halls, and a searchlight following me as I ran from our barracks to the latrine in the middle of the night — in case I was trying to escape — became normal.

So when I hear Donald Trump’s transition advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged — because I remember the tears streaming down my mother’s face as we were torn away from our home. And I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and clearly, that this is not who we are.

My mother was born in Sacramento, my father grew up in San Francisco, and my siblings and I were born in Los Angeles. We were American citizens, as proud of our country as we were of our Japanese heritage. But in the fear and mass hysteria of wartime, none of that mattered. When our government allowed hatred and racism to overtake our values, nothing else mattered.

We cannot allow our country to be led down that dark path ever again.

I am committed to fighting for our values, our democracy, and the moral character of our nation. And I am committed to standing with the Democratic Party against bigotry and oppression for the next four years and beyond, no matter what form it takes. I hope you will do the same. Add your name today to stand with me:

http://my.democrats.org/Next

Thank you,

George