This is how a legacy is passed on to a new generation: Martin Luther King gave his life to spreading the message of nonviolence. After he was assassinated, Bernard Lafayette picked up the fallen torch, and passed it on to Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis. Now they are sharing this vision with the next generation.
Kazu Haga is dedicated to spreading Martin Luther King’s vision of the Beloved Community to the next generation. Rev. King believed that his philosophy of nonviolent resistance could be effective not just in the struggle against segregation, but also in the struggle against militarism, and in the struggle against economic injustice.
The occupation of a vacant building in Santa Cruz became a complicated and illegal experiment in social change. Eleven people — including alternative journalists and some of Santa Cruz’s most visible activists — were singled out and charged with misdemeanor trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy to commit trespass.
Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, according to English poet Percy Shelley. Alameda poet Mary Rudge created profiles in poetry of the Occupy movement’s dedicated young organizers, pepper-sprayed university students, tent dwellers, longtime 1960s-era activists, jobless artists, inconvenienced bus riders, homeless squatters, and passive TV news watchers.
Violent action will not panic the power-holders, but it will push away the general populace. Power-holders, in fact, love it, because it gives them an excuse to destroy movements. Social change depends not on creating chaos and social disorder, but on mobilizing the power of the people for change.
The Occupy movement joined with prison reform groups to uphold the rights of prisoners whose suffering is concealed behind the concrete walls of California’s vast prison system. The demonstration was held to expose prison abuses and to bear witness on behalf of the multitudes behind bars excluded from our democracy.
“If we do stuff that justifies — in the eyes of the uncommitted — the repression of the state, we will certainly lose. And the uncommitted are most of the 99 percent. We need a lot more of those people. But the only way to win them over is through strict adherence to nonviolent struggle.” — George Lakey
"We found that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their goals. We also found that these trends hold even where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective -- for instance, against dictatorships and highly repressive regimes." — Erica Chenoweth
Nonviolent direct action clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.
We have another kind of power, though the term nonviolence only defines what it is not. Some call it people power. It works. It’s powerful. It’s changed and it’s changing the world. We’re unconventionally dangerous, because we’re not threatening physical violence but the transformation of the system (and its violence).
Virtually everything about capitalism says that only the top one percent of upper-income people really count, while the 99% who struggle for everything don’t deserve to even survive. The Occupy movement is trying to point out this flaw in a very concrete way by camping out and protesting.
At the same moment when thousands of families in public housing across the nation are living in substandard conditions or are at risk of becoming homeless, the Berkeley Housing Authority has entered into an agreement to sell the city’s occupied public housing units to a billionaire.