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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Revolutionary Resolutions for 2013

Revolutionary Resolutions for 2013

The Editors
January 02, 2013

Mark Twain once said, “New Year’s is a harmless annual institution,
of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous
drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”

Although there isn’t much evidence to dispute such a claim,
perhaps it’s time to create some.

With that in mind, we decided to reach out to some truly bold social
movement thinkers and ask for their revolutionary resolutions, the
things they are most looking forward to in their own work for the
coming year, and what they hope can come from people-powered
struggles for justice in 2013.

May these offerings spark your own imagination and help you
ring in the New Year with some dangerous ideas for a better

“I’ve pledged myself since I was a young student back in Burma to
advocate for human rights for every human being while ensuring
that contemporary consumerist capitalism will not persist, for the
sake of humanity and the environment. One thing I’m looking
forward to is to start working on UNESCO’s upcoming Fourth
Annual Regional Forum in Uruguay sometime in fall of 2013, as
well as to launch an innovative project in Burma to provide basic
education to children who are working over 16 hours every day at
local teashops.” – Tim Aye-Hardy, chairperson of the UNESCO Chair International Forum Planning Committee and Burmese human rights activist

“Kids are the target of violence and hatred all over the world, from
Damascus to Detroit, Herat to Hartford, Najaf to Newtown. As a
new parent, I ache and weep and rage at each new story. I wonder
about how to care for and raise my own kids and be a full and active
participant in movements for peace and justice while being in
relationship with those on the margins. In the coming year, I want to
explore that balance within parenting, nurturing new life, feathering
the nest, delighting in each step and word and move, while
organizing and fighting to make the world welcoming, equitable,
safe, sustainable and peaceful for all children. It may even be
easier than giving up sugar or practicing my concertina, right?”
– Frida Berrigan, organizer with Witness Against Torture and WNV

“My revolutionary resolution is to make decisions from a place
of love… really. In the wake of the recent storms, tragedies and
inexplicable loss of lives close to me, and as a parent of a pre-teen
in a world going to hell in a climate handbasket, I don’t know what
else to say that means anything. In order to mobilize the masses
needed to win against egregious corporations and big banks, it’s
imperative that we all bridge from outrage to the courage to
stand up for what we love, our families, friends, health, land,
water, communities. To take care of each other, believe we can
make change and fight from love.” – Nadine Bloch, trainer, activist
and WNV columnist

“To use the signs of climate change I experience daily not as
a motive for depression but as a basis for connecting with other
people. To hold up the possibility of common preservation in the
midst of mutual destruction.” - Jeremy Brecher, author of Save
the Humans: Common Preservation in Action and Strike!

“2013 will be the year of training for nonviolent change.
Nonviolence training is the backbone of successful people
power movements. It provides a vision of how social change
works, the tools to make it happen, and the grounding for
individuals and groups to face the challenges and opportunities
that come with changing the world. Over the next 12 months,
Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service will work with other nonviolence
training organizations to nurture the emergence of a
comprehensive network of trainers and to help establish local,
regional, and national trainings to support a wide range of
campaigns and movements for powerful social change.”
– Ken Butigan, Waging Nonviolence columnist, director of
Pace e Bene and author of Pilgrimage Through a Burning World:
Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site

“I ended 2012 with a peace pilgrimage to Afghanistan, a powerful
experience where I witnessed the horrors of war and poverty, but
also the hope of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a beautiful group
of young people committed to nonviolence. In this New Year, I’m
interested in plumbing anew the inner spiritual depths of peace
and nonviolence in the midst of my activism and public work, that
I might discover deeper causes for hope. Can I become more a
person of prayer, and discover the connections between the inner
work of disarming the heart and the public work of disarming the
world? Dare I push the mystical boundaries of peace, and engage
a new kind of dangerous holiness that threatens war, empire,
corporate greed and nuclear weapons, and so radiate a universal,
compassionate, forgiving, nonviolent love for everyone, and remain
centered in the eternal present moment of peace? That kind of
peacemaking, I believe, is spiritually explosive, globally
revolutionary and astonishingly hopeful, and I find it the highest
goal worth seeking.” – Rev. John Dear, activist and author of 30
books on peace and nonviolence, most recently Lazarus, Come Forth!

“As 2012 wound down, low-wage workers started to stand up at
Walmarts, McDonald’s, car washes and grocery stores across New
York, warehouse workers in Illinois and California, security workers
at JFK airport. We’ve been stuck with a low-wage economy for too
long, and these workers are doing something to change it. In 2013,
I expect much more, more strikes, more struggle, more wins. It’s
going to be a long slow process of changing the way our society
thinks about and treats its lowest-paid employees, but it’s one
of the most important fights I can think of. And my resolution is
to be there for as much of it as I can.” – Sarah Jaffe, independent
journalist and WNV contributor

“This year I resolve to be the best bridge-builder I can be. I believe
2013 will be a year of connection and synergy. This February will see
the largest mobilization yet to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline with
new and renewed alliances across the spectrum of social movements.
In June and our allies are bringing together 500 youth from
over 75 different countries in a convergence called Global Power Shift
in Istanbul to build skills, share strategy and build political alignment
to tackle the root causes of the climate crisis. Our friends working
to stop fossil fuel extraction (fracking, oil, coal, gas) are bringing
together people across different struggles and movements in the
Extreme Energy Summit. The U.S. Climate Justice Alignment process
is bringing together frontline communities in an Our Power gathering
hosted by the Black Mesa Water Coalition on the Navajo Reservation.
Students and community groups are on fire with campaigns to divest
from fossil fuels, bringing new allies and stakeholders into the
movement. All of this work inspires me, and I think we will see
our movements swell with broader alliances, new entry points for
people who never considered themselves ‘activists,’ and new bold
strategies.” – Joshua Kahn Russell, author of Organizing Cools the
Planet and U.S. actions coordinator for

“As 2012 came to a close, televised reports showed demonstrations
in Iraq with tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators in Anbar
province protesting the allegedly sectarian policies of Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki. The images remain in my mind as a signal of the
widening awareness of the field of nonviolent struggle; aggrieved
Iraqis, who comprehend the logic of nonviolent resistance, were
fighting with political tools rather than IEDs. The exact outcome
remains unclear, but the imagery on Al Jazeera prompts my personal
resolution: I shall work even harder in 2013 for depth of worldwide
understanding of how civil resistance can be used to press for serious
social and political change in acute conflicts, without bloodshed.”
– Mary Elizabeth King, WNV columnist and author of A Quiet
Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance

“Our resolution at is to take the fight to the fossil fuel
industry as hard as we can–we’re tired of playing around with
their puppets in D.C. and eager to take on the guys pulling the
strings.” – Bill McKibben, environmental author, activist and
founder of

“Metta’s main contribution to a nonviolent future is an ambitious
scheme called Roadmap that lays out a three-phase, long-term,
nonviolent strategy for ‘the great turning.’ It builds up to resistance
through personal empowerment and constructive program. Roadmap
will be on the inside front cover of the January issue of Tikkun, etc.
and we are creating an interactive tool on our website so that anyone
can participate at whatever level feels right. We particularly invite
Occupiers to come have a look at Roadmap as we go forward: our
emphasis on constructive program should resonate well with their
most recent (and brilliant) “occupations”: Sandy relief and the
Rolling Jubilee.” – Michael Nagler – President of the Metta Center
for Nonviolence and author of Search for a Nonviolent Future

“In the year 2013, I expect even more affirmation of people power
and its basic concepts. We can expect tough nonviolent struggles for
democracy, human rights and social justice worldwide, from Rangoon
to Cairo, from Madrid to New York, from Moscow to Male. If there is
one thing I may wish it is that we all learn how to best educate,
promote and support hundreds of thousands brave activists engaged
in this conflicts.” – Srdja Popovic, former Otpor leader and founder
of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Churchill is reported to have declared that “History is written by
the victors.” How the history of the Arab Spring is written will
have a profound effect upon the future of nonviolent struggle and
the type of action used to conduct future campaigns. It is possible
that 2013 will see the field locked in a battle of analysis over how
the victories and losses of recent years have come about and whether
these events have led to positive changes for the societies in which
these struggles were waged. A victory for strategic nonviolent
struggle on the ground could be rolled back by the lack of careful
analysis and documentation of the events based on historical reality.
Access to information about the requirements for success of
nonviolent struggle can help people understand past struggles,
and help to make future ones more effective. The Albert Einstein
Institution s looking forward to expanding its programs and
activities this year in order to contribute to increasing that
knowledge and understanding. - Jamila Raqib, Executive Director,
The Albert Einstein Institution.

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