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Archive for the ‘Matt Meyer’

Partners in the Freedom Struggle

March 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Why Nonviolent Activists Should Follow John Brown

by Matt Meyer

“The lack of historical consensus regarding John Brown,” asserted longtime labor, racial justice, and international activist Bill Fletcher, “speaks to the ideological confusions we continue to face.” Fletcher — a columnist for Black Commentator, Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies, and former president of TransAfrica — noted that John Brown was anti-slavery, but not just that; he was anti-racist, but there were others at the time who were anti-racist as well. As Fletcher suggested that Brown’s difference was his dramatic defense of enslaved Africans, people he actually befriended and liked, he summarized the dividing line question which still remains: “Was Brown a terrorist or was he engaging in an emancipatory practice?”

This year’s Left Forum — the annual coming together of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public, the largest in the US — was a different one than usual for me. Award-winning and beloved science fiction writer and old buddy Terry Bisson asked me to join his panel on a favorite topic of ours: the legacy of abolitionist John Brown. (more…)

‘Ordinary’ Thoughts

March 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

On Solidarity and the Fight Against Fascism

by Matt Meyer

“In our struggle against Zionism, racism, and all forms of colonialism and imperialism, there is no place for antisemitism or the vilification of Jews, Palestinians or any people based on their religions, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity or history. At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.”

So opens the statement Not Quite ‘Ordinary Human Beings’ — Anti-Imperialism and the Anti-Humanist Rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon, which was written by people from across the United States and Canada concerned about the attention within progressive circles being afforded someone openly attacking left-wing anti-Zionist Jews as being essentially the same as any anti-Palestinian Zionist. My own concern was magnified by the fact that this individual was doing so in the name of support for the just Palestinian struggle for peace and freedom. As an activist who has long struggled against racism (in and out of the “movement”), against imperialism and colonialism, I found it surprising and disappointing that some of my comrades and colleagues would give extra voice to someone with fairly open ties to positions more normally associated within the right-wing of the political spectrum. (more…)

A Story and a Book

February 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Matt Meyer, Politics

On the Nature of Violence and Nonviolence

by Matt Meyer

Amidst a bombardment of Black Bloc commentary, questions about the militarized nature of tear-gas toting police, and the ever-frustrating all-too-abstract dialogues about the meanings of nonviolence, violence, strategy, tactics, and principles, comes a simple story (and a complicated book) straight out of Occu-politics. First, though, some defining of terms:

Nonviolence (a term some have called ‘a word seeking to describe something by saying what it is not’) is used in as wide a variety of ways as there are flavors of ice cream. For some, it is strategic and revolutionary, for others principled and philosophical; for some it is a way of life and for others a mere tactic. For most practitioners, it is an often-tantalizing combination of the above. Our story will hope to add some clarity.

Violence, as we sadly know too well, goes well beyond war to include domestic violence, random street crime, repression, and even poverty — responsible for more death than most other forms combined. But sometimes, despite this variety, it seems that the images of violence which come quickest to our minds are that of an angry kid with a rock or a gun. Our book will try to turn that image on its head. (more…)

Nonviolent Nigeria

February 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

The Roots (and Routes) of Resistance

by Matt Meyer

It is tough now to believe: Chidi Nwosu was murdered just a little over one year ago. He was hardly the first prominent Nigerian human rights leader to be assassinated, nor was he the last before the Occupy Nigeria movement of 2012 began taking to the streets, forming a new, nationwide emphasis on the need for sweeping economic and political change in one of the most populated and resource-rich corners of the planet. Nwosu, founder and president of the Human Rights, Justice and Peace Foundation (HRJPF), was a friend and colleague of the secular pacifist War Resisters International — but his death was anything but nonviolent. Tortured in his home while his wife and young daughter were locked in an adjacent room, he was shot in the head and dragged around the house as a symbol of what happens to those who dare take on questions of police misconduct, government corruption, and an end to rule by multinational corporations. It is no coincidence that this killing took place a short time after a major conference had been held (with Nwosu as central organizer), linking the issues and calling for a “total cleansing” of the Nigerian scene. (more…)

Occupied Nigeria

January 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Deploying Nonviolence Against Colonialism

by Matt Meyer

For too many expatriate Africans living in the West, the phrase Occupied Nigeria raises scary images of U.S. or NATO warships bearing down in AFRICOM-commando fashion, reestablishing Eurocentric hegemony over the worlds’ fifth largest supplier of crude oil. Before these early days of 2012, we had barely heard news of the spreading Occupy hashtag on the continent that helped re-popularize mass nonviolent civilian resistance around the world last year. Now #Occupy Nigeria in just two short weeks has mobilized thousands in cities across the diverse West African country, along with support demonstrations (including some of those ex-pats) in London, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The widespread strike by Nigerian oil workers continues to grow, as calls for an end to economic and political corruption gain momentum.

The short-term issue which birthed the network now being called Occupy Nigeria was the hastily-announced January 1, 2012 end of the federal fuel subsidies which had enabled average Nigerians to afford gas pumped from oil reserves on their own land. This resulted in an overnight 120 percent price increase, and an outburst of fury at decades of governmental collusion with the multi-billion dollar oil industry. (more…)

Occupation and Liberation

November 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Building Sustainable Resistance Movements

by Matt Meyer

Just as police were attacking Occupy spaces in Oakland, Portland, New York City, and elsewhere, and various mainstream (and even some left-leaning) pundits were declaring the demise of the Occupy movement, new initiatives and new life was being breathed fresh into grassroots spaces. In less than one week following the dismantling of several prominent 24-hour occupations, and the arresting of some key activists, substantial achievements were being made. New York’s “flagship site” convened a day-long series of mass, nonviolent direct actions, from a morning civil disobedience at the Stock Exchange, to afternoon “speak-outs” on the trains crossing several different subway lines and many miles throughout the City’s boroughs. (more…)

Occupy Halloween

October 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Matt Meyer

A Simple Suggestion for Mass Solidarity

by Matt Meyer

For everyone who wants to support the inspiring and growing “Occupy Wall Street,” “Occupy Together,” and “Occupy the Hood” movements but is feeling too busy, too scared, too overwhelmed, too young or too old (even too middle-aged!), too tired, too cautious, too far away from the center of the action, too involved with work or parenting or just trying to survive; for everyone: a simple suggestion…

THIS HALLOWEEN, MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2011, WEAR A “V” MASK

For Victory & Peace, For Vigilance Against Injustice, For a Vision of a New & Better Tomorrow (more…)