Archive for March, 2018

It’s not just Trump!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

How Low Can The U.S. Go?

     The U.S. now has a lying, racist, warmongering, misogynist, narcissist, megalomaniac, corrupt billionaire businessman, reality TV personality as President. The mask is off. But it’s not just Donald J. Trump in the mirror. This is what the U.S. has become in the eyes of much of the world – an Empire of “exceptional” shame and disgrace. Granted the rate of descent has accelerated under Trump, but the downward spiral precedes Trump. It’s been going on for quite sometime. It depends how far back you want to go in massacres, regime changes, and imperial wars for resources.

     Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Massacre at My Lai, as part of an American war that killed more than 3 million in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.. This week marks the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq under false pretenses – non existent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) with the war still ongoing. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 500,000 children died there due to U.S. sanctions. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is now in its 17th year. At last count the U.S. was bombing 7 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Somalia, with millions more civilians killed, mainly Muslims. U.S. covert Special Ops are being conducted in an undisclosed number of countries. And now Trump is pushing for a widening war in the Middle East, including Iran that could involve Russia. And some U.S. citizens wonder why so many people around the world hate the U.S.? Stop bombing and killing their families and occupying their countries!

     How low can the U.S. go? The bigger question is: will the U.S. empire and its Military Industrial Complex engulf the entire world in a catastrophic nuclear war in a desperate attempt to prop up its declining empire? I know of no empire in history that has repented and changed its ways for the better. Empires seem to just fall, crash and burn and take a lot of collateral damage with them. In a nuclear armed world that is especially dangerous.

     Where do we find hope in such times? Let me first say where we will surely not find hope –with those who simply want to replace a bad emperor (Trump) with a better emperor (Democrat or Republican). Don’t be conned by lying politicians, media, and war criminals – the likes of former CIA director, John Brennan, NSA director, James Clapper, neocon warmongers like John Bolton and of course the infinite number of war generals, admirals, and arms makers. And especially beware of smooth talking politicians coming on the scene. Remember Nobel Peace Prize two term bomber, Barrack Obama, who dropped more bombs than two term warmonger George W. Bush. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. And stop blaming the Russians for everything!

     We find hope first by standing in repentance for the crimes committed in our names. Then, committing our lives to stand for justice, peace, and caring for the earth (Malama Honua). In a world of escalating violence, stand in the spirit and tradition of nonviolence, kapua aloha. Stand firm, resist, but do so in a spirit of respect for the dignity of all people, even those who disagree with us and oppose that for which we stand. Join hands in solidarity with people in grassroots struggles. Find common ground. And most of all – never give up. No lie can live forever. The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Resistance Means Life!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email:

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March 23, 2018 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet — 861st week – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

History of U.S. Interference in other countries elections

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

History of U.S. Interference in other countries elections

If the link doesn’t work, you can copy and paste the address into the address box on the top of your Internet page. Or you can read the report at

U.S. Massacre at My Lai 50 years ago today

Friday, March 16th, 2018

A forgotten hero stopped the My Lai massacre 50 years ago today

A forgotten hero stopped the My Lai massacre 50 years ago today

March 14, 2018 Kea’au High School Protest Against Gun Violence

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

March 14, 2018 Kea’au High School Protest Against Gun Violence

Here are 3 photos of today’s student protest against gun violence at Kea’au High School on the Big Island. Hundreds of students with home made signs lined the fence of the school facing the Kea’au Pahoa highway. Lots of horns honked in support. A few citizens stood outside the school fence in support of the student protest from 10AM till 10:17.

On Getting Pushback: Advice for Young People Walking Out of School

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

On Getting Pushback: Advice for Young People Walking Out of School

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 By Kelly Hayes, Truthout | Op-Ed 


Junior Nigel Wallace comforts freshman Aleyana Pina during a student walkout to protest gun violence in schools and demand new gun control laws at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 7, 2018. (Photo: Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)Junior Nigel Wallace comforts freshman Aleyana Pina during a student walkout to protest gun violence in schools and demand new gun control laws at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 7, 2018. (Photo: Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As a longtime grassroots organizer and direct-action trainer, I have heard from multiple parents, in the past few days, asking me about what their children will be up against as they participate in the #NeverAgain walkouts this week. As most of us have read, some students will be treated gently by administrators, who have more or less decided to go with the flow. Some students, however, may face consequences for walking out. Many have already been menaced by saber-rattling administrators with consequences ranging from suspension to arrest. The threat of some potential penalty for participating in protest is nothing new, but for many students, this is a first-time experience, so I have decided to share some thoughts and advice for young people who may be walking out.

So, You’ve Been Told You’ll Get Into Trouble

Some students have been told, in no uncertain terms, that anyone who walks out as part of a protest will be punished. Some school administrators have outlined specific punishments, while others have left students wondering. I have seen numerous outraged parents on social media, threatening to involve the ACLU if students are punished for exercising their “right to protest.” I am glad these parents are being supportive of their children, but it’s important to keep in mind that if the punishment is within the school’s normal disciplinary code (check your student handbook), and a student has, in fact, broken the rule in question, the ACLU is not going to stave off that suspension. I’m not saying that’s a reason not to walk out, but I am saying: Be ready to absorb the consequences of your actions. Don’t expect the system to see the light, cut you a break, or dismiss the rules because of some higher law regarding free expression. As someone who has organized protests for many years now, I can tell you, that’s not how any of this works.

In broad terms, people have a right to protest. But students don’t have a legally protected right to leave school in protest of anything. Defiance for the sake of justice usually costs something. I am not saying students shouldn’t dodge those consequences, if they can, or that parents and students shouldn’t talk administrators out of punishing students who protest whenever possible. Do that. But let’s also talk with young people who are new to all of this about the fact that protest doesn’t just happen when everyone’s on your side and you’re being offered a hall pass. Most movements aren’t received that way at all.

Even students at schools where no one will be penalized should understand that there will be schools where no exemption from discipline is offered, and that in protest, exemption from discipline is rarely a thing. Students who are exempt from punishment should not exempt themselves from discussion of what it means to issue a call to action, to answer one, or to be in solidarity with others, for whom the ask may pose a risk.

Make sure that everyone has a legal plan: If something unthinkable happens, and someone goes to jail, who gets called? Have a plan for that. If the punishment handed down is inordinate and ridiculous, and simply must be fought, who contacts an attorney, and what attorney will they contact? It’s good to have those bases covered, if you can. And if the situation feels very risky (for example, if the proposed punishment is excessive and potentially damaging), have real conversations with one another about who is most at risk (due to existing disciplinary status, institutional anti-Blackness, and other possible factors), and what could be done to insulate the most vulnerable participants.

As someone who has absorbed numerous consequences for disobedience in protest, including arrest, I can tell you, it’s important to be ready. Know what you are getting into. Direct action means stepping outside of society’s preset solutions — solutions that have already failed your community. That’s a challenge to authority, and to the validity of the system itself, as it makes clear that the recourse you were freely given was not genuine. The paths you were told to take to solve your problems are actually closed, or have been politically rerouted by the powerful into insignificance. This is why we protest — because it is the only meaningful path open to us under the unjust conditions we are faced with. In taking such action, I believe a person should know the risks they are facing, take personal responsibility for knowing those risks, and act if they feel that the necessity of the action outweighs the risk. I cannot tell you if that’s the case in any of your given situations. Only your beliefs, your conscience and your knowledge of your circumstances can tell you if the urgency of the moment demands that you take a risk.

When You Protest

Move as a group. Numbers don’t always afford safety, but they do afford power. If you have a lot of people, don’t let your group get stretched out. Don’t have stragglers who could be hassled out of view. Don’t have people jetting out ahead who could be grabbed up as an example to the rest of the group, in an effort to stop your procession. If they want to confront you, make them confront everyone, together.

Any imagery your event generates in the media and on social media will also be more powerful if your group moves in a tight formation, making your unity clear for all to see.

I have no experience dealing with school resource officers, specifically, as they pertain to protest, but I would say a lot of the same rules apply as in street protests, because whatever title police in schools are assigned, they are, in reality, still police. Have a buddy — that way no one is identifiably vulnerable for being on their own, and there is a witness to whatever each person experiences. Make agreements with your co-organizers about what to say/do if confronted by a school resource officer. This is not a decision you want to be making on the spot. If you need to respond to an officer, have a canned response that everyone has agreed to, like “We will be going outside for 17 minutes and then returning.” That’s it. No flourish. No arguing. If you are detained, hand over your school ID and shut your mouth. If they are detaining you, they may be treating the protest as criminal, which means anything you say can be used against you and your friends. They may act as though their questions come from a place of agreement or understanding. Know that’s not real and stick to your plan of minimum communication.

Know your tone. Is your event solemn? Is it angry? Have some intention about that and encourage your classmates and co-organizers to hold one mood together. If your event is too scattered, you lose control of your narrative. Encourage participants to take the matter seriously. No goofing off. Personally, I would try to keep a serious expression at all times. People who are photographed laughing and smiling in serious protest situations are often used to discredit the seriousness of an event or issue. Don’t play into that. If the group’s shared mood or behavior falters, words or songs that are spoken or sung collectively can be a good way to reel people back into a shared mode.

Read Up

There’s a lot of good material out there on the legal, ideological and pragmatic aspects of protest. For those getting pushback, I highly recommend, “White People Hate Protests,” a zine by Mariame Kaba that makes clear that the popular embrace of past movements is largely grounded in our society’s need to subsume those movements, rather than allow for any sense of historical momentum. Movements that truly undermine the status quo are rarely popular when they occur, regardless of what people claim decades later.

I also recommend the zine “Why Protest,” which provides some relevant thoughts and inspiration about why we take action in general. I would actually suggest printing out copies of “Why Protest” to share with your classmates on Wednesday or thereafter. It’s that good.

If you are part of a walkout about gun control, read up about guns and gun laws. Don’t settle for talking points. Be able to discuss your own informed thoughts. There’s a lot of legal history around gun legislation, and there’s a lot that may matter to you that doesn’t matter to adults who have shaped the gun control narrative over the years. This is not the Democrats’ moment. It’s your moment. Let your exploration of the facts and the ideas at work inform it.

Make sure your demands reflect your values and desired outcomes. If your demands aren’t in lockstep with the demands being made at other schools, that’s OK. Some of the more unique demands that students who are walking out have made involve the development of alternative forms of conflict resolution in their schools, such as transformative justice programs, to create a more just and healing environment when harmful dynamics arise the first time. That’s a good thing.

In solidarity with those who have already been organizing, read up on what groups have been leading protests in your area in recent months in years. What are they fighting for? Why? Had you heard about them before? If not, ask yourself why, and what forces might be at work. While people tend to have their favorite examples of youth protest — examples that tend to rest firmly in the past — there is incredible youth organizing that’s gone on in very recent times that many have yet to hear of. Black youth in Chicago, for example, won a trauma center for the city’s underserved South Side, but it took a lot of direct action and defiance to make that happen.

Lastly, read up on your school’s disciplinary code and on local protest laws. Acts of righteous indignation should be well informed.

If You Don’t Walk Out

Maybe you’ve decided to sit this one out. Maybe your protest was somehow thwarted. Maybe you settled on a compromise with administrators — an assembly of some kind that isn’t what you had in mind but will address the issues you wanted to discuss. Here’s what you need to remember: Organizing an event can be a very good thing, but if you want to change the world, organizing one event is just one small step in a much larger process of taking action, building culture and building community for the sake of change. And while your principal, the police, or your own circumstances may derail your participation in a singular event, community and culture are something you can build every day through the relationships you develop with others, and through the dialogues and activities you undertake. No principal has the power to stop that, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes is Truthout’s social media strategist, as well as a contributing writer. She is also a direct action trainer and a cofounder of The Chicago Light Brigade and the direct action collective Lifted Voices. Kelly’s contribution to Truthout’s anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? stems from her work as an organizer and her ongoing analysis of movements in the United States. Her work can also be found on her blog, Transformative Spaces, in Yes! Magazine, BGD and the BGD anthology The Solidarity Struggle: How People of Color Succeed and Fail At Showing Up For Each Other In the Fight For Freedom. Kelly is also a movement photographer whose work is featured in the “Freedom and Resistance” exhibit of the DuSable Museum of African American History.