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March 2015

Corporation Literally Served Inmates Trash

Two weeks ago Progress Michigan uncovered emails revealing that a prison food provider served cakes nibbled on by rats to inmates. They’ve now discovered that employees from this same food vendor, Aramark, served inmates at another facility an equally unsavory meal: garbage. In an email exchange between the company’s general manager, Sigfried Linder, and the state’s Department of Corrections, Linder admitted that prisoners at Saginaw Correctional Facility were served food that was previously thrown in the trash. “Mr. Chisolm discarded the left-overs from the line before the last half unit was in the chow hall.

Honduras: Assassination Of Student Leaders Prompts Protests

Soad Ham, a 13-year-old student leader of the Central Institute of Tegucigalpa who participated in the student protests against the Honduran government in the last two weeks, was found tortured and killed inside a plastic bag Wednesday. On Thursday, the opposition Libre Party called for protests against the assassination Ham and 3 other student leaders this week. The largest public high schools in the country have been protesting against the decision to change the class schedule, which will mean that the students in the afternoon will leave their schools at 7 p.m. – a very dangerous hour for students to be on the streets of Latin America’s most dangerous city. Public high schools are generally located in areas riddled with crime, and there is no public transportation services at those hours.

Teachers: How PARRC Testing Affects Our Classrooms

We are teachers at Barbieri Elementary School who want to make clear what is happening in your children’s classrooms as a result of decisions made in offices far away. This year, 3rd-8th graders in Framingham Public Schools will be taking the test known as PARCC, which will be replacing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). PARCC was created by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two multi-state consortia given $360 million in federal funds to design new standardized tests to hold students, schools and teachers “accountable.”

Fractivists Bust Up Aquifer Exemption Workshop

We were twenty minutes into one of the most boring Power Point presentations I have ever seen. While we looked at “shaded areas of cross-sections of multiple productive zones of oil fields,” the regulator was droning on and on. You’d think I’d be nodding off. But no, my heart was beating and my palms were sweating. I was about to do one of the boldest actions I have done since becoming an activist three and a half years ago. Professionally dressed in a sedate gray dress and heels, I was seconds away from disrupting something called an “aquifer exemption workshop” led by DOOGR, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the very state agency that recently had been exposed for illegally allowing oil companies to inject toxic fracking wastewater into 2500 wells near California aquifers.

Resisting The Criminalization Of Homeless Lives

Since December 9, 2014, over 100 of Sacramento’s poor and homeless have lined up every Tuesday for a free organic meal outside the doors of City Hall hosted by the Community Dinner Project, organized by Occupy Sacramento. The food line starts two hours before city council is called to session. Hundreds of Sacramento's poor line the sidewalk in front of City Hall to share a hot meal. Although these dinners take place on city property, the event is not sanctioned by the city government. In fact, it is expressly forbidden. In October of 2013, the City passed an ordinance requiring all community groups to obtain a permit before sharing food with the homeless. The Community Dinner Project addresses this and other community issues by providing a hot meal and an environment for discussion.

After Talking To Washington Post Minimum Wage Worker Fired

Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25-cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson.When I wrote about her in The Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line. She called me the other day to say she didn’t get to enjoy the 25-cent hike for long. After the story came out, she says she was fired from her job for talking to the Post. I spend a lot of time writing about people at the low end of the economy, and I see up close how narrowly they get by day-to-day. In this case, writing about Tippen’s plight may have made her situation worse.

Thousands Protest Austerity In Brussels

Tens of thousands demonstrated in the streets of Brussels Sunday to protest against austerity measures introduced by the new Belgian government. ​Officials estimated the crowds at 20,000, while march organizers claimed that up to 120,000 people participated in the rally, one day before Belgian labor unions called for a series of strikes. Marchers came from across the country, chanting slogans like, "Yes, there is an alternative to government savings.” They also called for a fair tax system and a better distribution of government spending. The rally was organized by the social NGO “Hart boven Hard” (Heart Over Hard) and according to local press about 7,000 demonstrators are expected in Brussels Monday for the strikes, which are expected to disrupt public transportation.

No One Is Free Until All Are Free

The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They cannot offer to us their wisdom, their leadership and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We cannot stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.

Black America’s State Of Surveillance

Ten years ago, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, my mother, a former Black Panther, died from complications of sickle cell anemia. Weeks before she died, the FBI came knocking at our door, demanding that my mother testify in a secret trial proceeding against other former Panthers or face arrest. My mother, unable to walk, refused. The detectives told my mother as they left that they would be watching her. They didn’t get to do that. My mother died just two weeks later. My mother was not the only black person to come under the watchful eye of American law enforcement for perceived and actual dissidence. Nor is dissidence always a requirement for being subject to spying.

Councilman Arrested At Occupy Donates Settlement Cash

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a Manhattan Democrat who sued the city after he was roughed up by cops at the Occupy Wall Street protests, said today he’ll donate his $30,000 settlement to the Center for Constitutional Rights. Mr. Rodriguez said he was beaten, knocked to the ground and arrested at Zuccotti Park, the locus of the anti-Wall Street movement, on November 15, 2011, the night NYPD officers forcefully cleared the park. Police charged him with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The charges were later dismissed. “No protester, whether an elected official or not, should be treated the way I was treated during my arrest in the Occupy Wall Street movement,” Mr. Rodriguez said at a City Hall Press conference.

Digital Rights Activists Use Jumbotron To Pressure Wyden

Fight for the Future parked a truck adorned with a Jumbotron on Capitol Hill for an impromptu “film festival” as part of the group’s ongoing campaign to pressure Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to drop legislation that would fast track the multi-national Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade deal between countries in Asia, Australia and the Americas would boost U.S. trade, but activists fear it would jeopardize transparency due to issues of internet censorship. “Senator Wyden has built his career on a platform of government transparency and support for Internet freedom,” Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer said.

NLG Students To Hold ‘Black Lives Matter’ Day Of Action

On Thursday, April 2, two days before the 47thanniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Lawyers Guild (NLG) students and faculty will hold aday of action at law schools nationwide in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against racist police violence and white supremacy. Despite strong, grassroots organizing and regular demonstrations since the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police killings of unarmed Black Americans continue with impunity. This week, NLG members will coordinate with other student and local groups to disrupt business as usual and call attention to the racist legal system which criminalizes and oppresses people of color.

C.H.E. Supporters Occupy Cafe In Protest

Members of the C.H.E. Cafe Collective demonstrated outside of the cafe’s premises on Tuesday, March 24 in protest of an eviction order from the administration. Members of the Collective have not abided by the joint resolution of A.S. Council and Graduate Student Association following a series of meetings held over the past few weeks. Instead, the members decided to rally against administration’s order, marching around the facility with megaphones and picket signs. According to Cameron Hughes, a press committee coordinator of the Collective, they don’t know how long the demonstration will last. it is unknown how long the demonstration will last.

The Fight For $15 Is The Fight For A Livable Planet

Prioritizing profits is warming our planet and growing economic inequality. That’s why is supporting the Fight for 15, a new effort calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. We believe that a new, prosperous clean energy economy should be one that protects the planet, protects the people who live on it, and generates millions of good jobs that pay livable wages. We can help jumpstart that economy on April 15. here’s no way that our civilization can survive in a 6 degree future — one that we’re all but assured if fossil fuel companies dig up and burn all the fossil fuels they have on the books. And there’s no way our country can thrive if the wages we pay 3.3 million of our workers means they can’t afford decent housing, food or education.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Hospitalized, Court Hears Mental Anguish Law

The law was enacted in response to a broadcast Abu-Jamal made last year. The family of Daniel Faulkner, who was killed in 1983, claim that it distressed them. A federal judge heard an appeal Monday to a law allowing victims of crimes to file injunctions against perpetrators who afflict “mental anguish.” Meanwhile Mumia Abu-Jamal, the prisoner and activist who inspired the legislation, is held in hospital incomunicado. Little is known about the condition of the black revolutionary, who is serving life for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer, other than that he is being held in intensive care, and his family is unable to contact him.
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