This Issue: Faith, Hope, and Persistence
When we look at what is happening in our world, it can be difficult to
believe that there are grounds for hope, let alone faith. And yet we –
we humans – continue to live and act in ways that testify to our hopes,
and to our faith in the possibility of a better future. We plant gardens
and trees, we have children, and we resist injustice and act to protect
the planet we share.
is something quite different from optimism. Optimism – and pessimism –
assess the likelihood of something happening. But being optimistic or
pessimistic is irrelevant to standing up for justice and defending the
earth. For most of us at least, our moral principles aren’t based on a
calculation of the odds. And in fact most acts of resistance, and most
movements for justice, arise in the face of what are often overwhelming
odds. They are the powerless challenging those with entrenched power. It
is only by acting that people who feel powerless come to feel that they
do have power. And when we act, that which seemed impossible to achieve
starts to become possible, because enough people believe it is possible
and are working together to make it so.
is about possibility, not certainty. Even when we know that we are
rowing against the tide, as we often are, we know that the future is not
preordained. We know the future is shaped by human actions, and so we
act. And we hope that our actions will help to steer the future in the
direction we want to go in.
we act collectively, we are also expressing our faith in other people,
and in ourselves. Not blind faith – we know our own contradictions and
faults, and we know all too well the immorality and cruelty that humans,
or at least some humans, are capable of. But we also know, from our own
life experience, that part of the common heritage of humanity are
impulses to create community, to share, to love one another, to treat
others as we ourselves would wish to be treated. And the fact that these
capacities exist is a basis for faith in people, including ourselves,
and in our ability to change and to rise to our potential to be who we
are capable of being. By working to change the world, we change
of the most moving and inspiring human capacities, and one that comes
out so strongly when we act together to fight for justice, is our
persistence, even in the face of overwhelming odds. This issue of Other
Voices shares a number of such stories. In Oaxaca, a multi-ethnic
network of towns fights a tenacious ongoing battle to protect their
water against corporate takeovers. Mineworkers in South Africa spend
nine days underground, on strike, until mine owners agree to act on
sexual harassment in the mine. In Nashville, when Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agents show up to arrest an immigrant father and son
sitting in a van in their own driveway, neighbours spontaneously come
out, spread the word to others, and surround the van to prevent the
arrest, remaining on the scene until the ICE agents finally leave.
Shadidul Alam emerges from jail, having been imprisoned for criticising
the government, and defiantly continues his work. Suzanne Berliner
Weiss, a Jewish child born in Nazi-occupied France, loses her parents,
is cared for by loving caring strangers, and emerges as a adult who
devotes her life to working with other for social justice.
people are moved to act, when they have faith in the people who are
acting with them, and when they have hope in at least the possibility of
success, then they – we – can be astonishingly persistent. And so we
– Ulli Diemer
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As long as there has been injustice, people have resisted injustice, individually and collectively. The Resistance page in the Connexions Subject Index brings together a broad, almost-random collection of articles, books and films about resistance in many different places, in the present and the past. Explore stories of resistance here
On the coast of Oaxaca, Afro and Indigenous Tribes Fight for Water Autonomy
In southern Mexico, a multi-ethnic network of towns has halted the
construction of a mega-dam. Now they are organizing to manage their own
natural resources and revitalize their culture as native water
Keywords: Water Rights – Oaxaca
Dearest Arundhati Roy: Shahidul Alam reflects on his time in prison
Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi photographer who was charged with
criticising his country on Facebook and spent more than 100 days behind
bars. Freed from prison, he replied to the Indian novelist who wrote to
him in jail. He tells her “The case still hangs over my head and the
threat of bail being withdrawn is the threat they hope will silence my
tongue, my pen and my camera. But the ink in our pens still runs. The
keyboards still clatter.”
Keywords: Bangladesh – Political Prisoners
NUMSA strike against sexual harassment is a 'powerful moment in labour history'
What does it require to get management to take a sexual harassment
complaint seriously? If the recent National Union of Metal Workers of
South Africa (NUMSA) strike is anything to go by, it takes about 290
striking workers remaining underground without food and clean water for
nine days. Workers at the Lanxess chrome mine staged an underground
strike demanding that management immediately suspend and discipline an
alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment. It took nine days for the
company to agree and for union members to return to work.
Keywords: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Women/Work
Marx on Children (and on Forgiving Christianity)
Karl Marx sometimes took his children to attend church services, purely
to enjoy the music. When they asked him what the music was about, he
explained that it had to do with a poor carpenter killed by rich men.
According to his daughter Eleanor, Karl Marx often said, “Despite
everything, we can forgive Christianity much, because it has taught us
to love children.” What did he mean by that? Gary Leupp offers his
Keywords: Children – Christianity
Speak up for Assange: International journalists’ statement in defence of Julian Assange
Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, is currently
detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom and
faces extradition to the United States and criminal prosecution under
the Espionage Act. He risks up to 175 years imprisonment for his part in
making public the leak of US military documents from Afghanistan and
Iraq, and a trove of US State Department cables. The ‘War Diaries’
provided evidence that the US Government misled the public about
activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and committed war crimes. WikiLeaks
partnered with a wide range of media organizations worldwide that
republished the War Diaries and embassy cables. The legal action
underway against Mr Assange sets an extremely dangerous precedent for
journalists, media organizations and the freedom of the press.
Journalists and journalistic organizations around the globe are
expressing their grave concern for Mr Assange’s wellbeing, about his
continued detention and about the draconian espionage charges.
Keywords: Whistleblowers – Wikileaks
System Change not Climate Change
SCNCC describes itself as “a network of North American ecosocialists
and fellow travellers united in the belief that capitalism is driving
climate change and that a radical international grassroots movement can
stop it. Green capitalism is a dead end. So are liberal parties like the
US Democrats and Canadian Liberals and the corporate-friendly approach
of most Green NGOs. SCNCC believes the climate justice movement will
unite with the labour movement, First Nations/indigenous and other
struggles for liberation to create an alternative to the upside down
world shaped by fossil fuels and corporate power. Another world is
possible, but we need more ecosocialists to make it happen.”
Keywords: Climate Justice – Ecosocialism
Book of the Week
Holocaust to Resistance: My Journey
By Suzanne Berliner Weiss
A memoir by Suzanne Berliner Weiss. Born to Jewish parents in Paris in
1941, Suzanne was hidden from the Nazis on a farm in rural France. Alone
after the war, she lived in progressive-run orphanages, where she
gained a belief in peace and brotherhood. Adoption by a New York family
led to a tumultuous youth haunted by domestic conflict, fear of nuclear
war and anti-communist repression, consignment to a detention home and
magical steps toward relinking with her origins in Europe, as well as a
life-long involvement in radical politics in the United States and
Canada. Suzanne tells how the ties of friendship, solidarity and
resistance that saved her as a child speak to the needs of our planet
today. Read more
Keywords: Holocaust Survivors – Resistance
Lessons of Nashville: The working class and the defense of immigrants
Residents of the working-class Hermitage neighborhood of Nashville,
Tennessee, defended an immigrant father and his son, after agents of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought to detain the father for
deportation. The father and son refused to leave their van, parked in
their own driveway, after the ICE agents accosted them. When neighbours
became aware of what was happening, they spread the word, and people
turned out to support them. For four hours, the father and his son
remained in their van, sheltered by their neighbours who at times locked
arms in a human chain to prevent the ICE agents from approaching.
Eventually the agents left empty-handed.
Keywords: Class Solidarity – Solidarity
The Anti Nazi League and its lessons for today
An interview with Paul Holborow, who was organising secretary of the
Anti Nazi League in Britain in 1977-1980, and is today an activist in
Stand Up to Racism. The Anti-Nazi league of the late 1970s was a mass
movement whose experience has relevance today with the growth of the far
Keywords: Anti-Fascism – The Right
From the Archives
Mapping Colonial Frontier Massacres in Australia
From the moment the British invaded Australia in 1788 they encountered
active resistance from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners
and custodians of the lands. In the frontier wars which continued until
the 1960s massacres became a defining strategy to eradicate that
resistance. As a result thousands of Aboriginal men, women and children
were killed. This site presents a map, timelines, and information about
massacres in Australia from 1794, when the first massacre was recorded,
Keywords: Australia – Massacres
December 20, 1956
Montgomery bus boycott ends in victory
The Montgomery bus boycott lasted from December 5, 1955 -- the Monday
after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing
to surrender her seat to a white person, until December 20, 1956, when
it ended in victory. The bus boycott resounded far beyond the
desegregation of public buses. It stimulated activism and participation
from the South in the national Civil Rights Movement.
December 25, 1831
The Christmas Rebellion in Jamaica
苹果app香蕉视频 Some 60,000 slaves rise in revolt against slaveowners and the British colonial authorities.
December 25, 1914
The Christmas Truce
Christmas Day, in the first year of World War I, German, British and
French soldiers disobey their superiors and fraternize with “the enemy”
along two-thirds of the Western Front. German troops hold Christmas
trees up out of the trenches with signs, “Merry Christmas.” “You no
shoot, we no shoot.” Thousands of troops stream across the no-man’s land
strewn with rotting corpses. Soldiers embrace men they had been trying
to kill a few short hours before. The event terrified the military high
command on both sides. It represented their ultimate nightmare: soldiers
refusing to kill each other.
December 29, 1890
Massacre at Wounded Knee
troops surround and start firing on a Lakota encampment, killing
somewhere between 150 and 300 men, women, and children. Twenty of the
soldiers who took part in the massacre were awarded military medals of
honour, and the colonel in charge was promoted to major-general.
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