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The Audacity of Hope July 20, 2011

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I have just recently returned home from Greece on my own volition, not deported from Israel as I had expected.  I am alright with that to.  My work as part of the US Boat to Gaza and the International Freedom Flotilla II/Stay Human was to get a message out to the world that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza must come to an end.   Our message went further than our wildest dreams, as millions of people around the world  watched.   Israel threw everything they could at us: lies about the passenger, sabotage of boats, threats of being homophobic, threats of chemical to attack soldiers, complaints against our boat, petty bureaucracy to tie us in, economic and political threats against Greece and neighboring countries.   The list goes on.   Well, Israel did succeed in stopping our boats by moving its own blockade into sovereign waters but our messages traveled in waves across the world.   The people of Gaza know we are still coming.  Our solidarity and global movement for a free and just Palestine grows.  And our movements still have most of the boats!

Victor Hugo once said that “Nothing can withstand the force of an idea whose time as come”.   Just like South African aparthied came down, so to must the occupation of Palestine end.

Make Big Banks Pay! May 18, 2011

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Spending time in NY in the early part of this year, made it possible for me to continue some of the banking work I have been doing for the past three years.  Working with allies in SEIU, National People’s Action, New York Communities for Change, United for Peace and Justice we gathered one of the more diverse coalitons in recent NY history to challenge first the State Budget Crisis followed by a NYC fightback against Billionaire Mayor Bloomburg budget cuts!

We did some great lead up actions at REBNY – the Real Estate Board of NY, Committee to Save NY and JP Morgan!  This was followed by a State House takeover in Albany.  By early April we were able to get focused and hone in on a plan for a massive Teach-In on Wall Street for May 12th.  20,000 plus joined together in 10 marches – 9 of them unpermitted through the Wall Street area down to Water street with some successful teach-ins but mostly overload by the thousands of people, marching banks, beautiful art and powerful spirit.  It was a great day!  Check out the website   http://onmay12.org/ . Will post more soon!

Monkey Wrencher of the Year Award! April 20, 2011

Posted by organizingforpower in Lisa's Blog.
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On April 17th I, along with several distinguished others, was bestowed a Monkey Wrencher of the Year Award by our fabulous local radical bookstore – Monkey Wrench Books!  What an honor to have my work recognized as having the ability to wrench the system…

Thanks Monkey Wrench – I will do what I can to live up to this award!   Thanks also for hosting great events and keeping the Austin community connected and informed. 

United Auto Workers Rise Up March 30, 2011

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On March 24th I had the privilege of addressing the 1000 member delegate assembly of the United Auto Workers at their Collective Bargaining Convention in Detroit.   I was given 45 minutes to share stories and lessons about the power of nonviolent direct action to win justice and change the course of history.   The UAW under the new leadership of Bob King, is looking to reclaim the powerful heritage of the UAW and is organizing to win new power for the workers in the auto industry.  I have had the pleasure of working with Bob and his team since the early 1990’s when Iwas in Detroit doing actions around Detroit Newspaper Strike  I’ve done many a training with his people over these years and am proud of their organizing victories.   For this convention we organized a multi-faceted protest that also trained their activists for the fights ahead.  Check some of it out here:

http://www.uaw.org/articles/uaw-activists-force-bank-america-branch-close

Welcoming 2011 Belated February 18, 2011

Posted by organizingforpower in Lisa's Blog.
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2011 really began for me over the holidays of 2010, when our good friends Laurie and Jenn visited for a week.  They often come to Austin, as Jenn hails from not to far away and Austin is a more hospitable place to stay.  We get to hang, but this year was different.  Laurie wanted to talk to me about the US Boat to Gaza and getting me involved.  The campaign was transitioning from a 6 month fundraising effort with moving international departure dates to a period of intensive implementation.  The campaign has decided to create a Boat Council and I was asked to join as a steadfast- meaning I was recognized to be part of a group of people who were invited to join the boat, even at the last minute.   As we spent hours talking, exploring and visioning about the project and mission.  We discussed the delemas of US laws that want to make humanitarian aid a terrorist act. We talked about the blockade and the impact on the poeple of Gaza.   1.5 million people imprisoned, a form of massive collective punishment while all efforts at livehood are thwarted whether you are a teacher, a fisherman, a merchant or youth.   I remembered a powerful moment from Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March, when a young woman got off the bus to Gaza, her only opportunity to see her family.   The power of occupation and blockades to divide families -to tear apart our basic human connection made this mission critically important.  Through  hours of discussion an idea emerged that we should take letters to Gaza as our cargo and that we could drop some of them in the water in bottles in our efforts to break the Israeli military blockade of Gaza.  These letter, love letters could enable 1000’s of others to be with us on the boat.   Their words would be precious cargo on this dangerous mission of love……

I joined the US Boat Council in January 2011 and coordinated the nonviolence training program for the passengers on the Audacity of Hope.

ESI Step Back! December 20, 2010

Posted by organizingforpower in Lisa's Blog.
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Spent most of this fall working outside of Philadelphia, PA in a small town called Bensalem working to save some good union jobs.  Express Scripts first announce it would close one plant and theatened the closure of a second.  ESI is a mail order pharmacy that has been growing and making millions.  But for the workers it was not looking pretty.   1000 workers faced layoff.  We had little leverage.  A small but might group of workers got together, organizing a worker center next door to their facility in order to fight.   We began to contact clients who we found on the internet through letters, calls and visits.  They organized worksite meetings, petitions and more.   The fight was growing and the company tried to buy them off with a last best and final offer jammed at the table.   The workers organzied and voted it down much to the shock of the employer….who days letter announce the closer of the second facility.  As our unfair labor charges started coming to fruition the company finally decided it was better to settle then go for all out war.  They recinded their order to close the second facility, they agreed to let workers stay in their healthplan  and those who lost their jobs got a great settlement package.  

http://www.stl-jwj.org/2010/12/14/victory-for-express-scripts-workers/

Appalachia Rising October 1, 2010

Posted by organizingforpower in Lisa's Blog.
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On Sept. 27, 2009 over 200o people march through the streets of Washington DC passed the EPA to the White House where over 120 people were arrested protesting mountain top removal.  This protest was the culmination of a weekend gathering called Voice From the Mountain.   Hundreds of coal field residents and their supporters,many young people, participated.   It was such a powerful, moving, informative, creative gathering.  Really well organized too!   An the action was fantastic, there was a roar in the streets as we marched.

At the White House, coal field residents, marching with the flag from their states, delivered their message to the White House and then joined with others on the sidewalk  risking arrest for the mountains.   After some incredible moments including calling Judy Bond, the mother of the movement to stop mountain top removal.  Judy was too sick to travel to DC for the action, so we linked her in by spirit and phone.  There were moments for tears and moments of dancing, as the banjos and fiddles filled the air!

One hundred and twenty of us went to jail that day that day.   Judy Bonds passed away on January 3, 2011 from cancer.   Just 10 days later the EPA made a historic ruling denying a major mountain top removal permit!

The organizing has continued with exciting plans for this new year including a March to Blair Mountain in June 2011.  Check out photos and more here – Appalachia Rising

Hello 2010 January 19, 2010

Posted by organizingforpower in Lisa's Blog.
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OK it is a new year!    Maybe, just maybe I will make this blog work.   Catching up is taking as much energy as moving forward, so for the moment I will just sit in the present.   Getting anchored back home after over a month away – Copenhagen, Paris and Cairo.  All very rich and rewarding in their own ways.   Copenhagen and Cairo will get a post of their own!   for now – Welcome 2010 – Looking forward to a good year!

Think Outside the Bomb August 4, 2009

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What an amazingly powerful few days I had in Albuquerque, NM August 13-16th.   I went to offer trainings on nonviolent direct action and organizing at the Think Outside the Bomb conference.  I was very privileged to hear many powerful speakers including many Native America organizers who put out a clear call for support and solidarity around uranium mining and closing down Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Some exciting seeds were planted of the idea of ongoing actions in 2010 — an important year for anti-nuclear work.  In May the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be renegotiated in New York.   President Obama has called for an end to nuclear weapons, but hat he does may be an entirely different thing.    While we cannot predict the future, it felt like a call to action was thrown down to this new generation of participants.  They were told that it was prophezied that this generation would  lead us out of the chaos.  I saw many inspired and talented young people willing and able and interested in rising to the call.   Keep you posted

Climate Pledge of Resistance August 4, 2009

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This new initiative has just launched it grassroots campaign.   Look to early September of a mass public media launch.   For years I have hoped for a renewed interest in mass nonviolent action and civil disobedience and with the climate crisis we are facing we are past time and Beyond Talk!

Check it out!

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