By Bree Newsome in Blue Nation Review - As you are admiring my courage in that moment, please remember that this is not, never has been and never should be just about one woman. This action required collective courage just as this movement requires collective courage. Not everyone who participated in the strategizing for this non-violent direct action volunteered to have their names in the news so I will respect their privacy. Nonetheless, I’m honored to be counted among the many freedom fighters, both living and dead. I see no greater moral cause than liberation, equality and justice for all God’s people. What better reason to risk your own freedom than to fight for the freedom of others? That’s the moral courage demonstrated yesterday by James Ian Tyson who helped me across the fence and stood guard as I climbed. History will rightly remember him alongside the many white allies who, over the centuries, have risked their own safety in defense of black life and in the name of racial equality.
By Judith Blau in Truthout - There is no denying that the Bill of Rights was progressive at the time it was written - in 1791 - advancing civil and political (and property) rights. Along with theDeclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789), it promised to safeguard citizens against arbitrary power; to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion; and assured citizens that their property could not be taken for public use without compensation. Both the Bill of Rights and the Declaration provided protections to ensure that anyone accused of a crime had the right to a fair trial. Thomas Jefferson played some role in influencing the drafting of both.
By Chris Hedges in Truthdig - Totalitarian societies, including our own, inundate the public with a steady stream of propaganda accompanied by mindless entertainment. They seek to destroy independent organizations. In Nazi Germany the state provided millions of cheap, state-subsidized radios and then dominated the airwaves with its propaganda. Radio receivers were mounted in public locations in Stalin’s Soviet Union; and citizens, especially illiterate peasants, were required to gather to listen to the state-controlled news and the dictator’s speeches. These totalitarian states also banned civic organizations that were not under the iron control of the party. The corporate state is no different, although unlike past totalitarian systems it permits dissent in the form of print and does not ban fading civic and community groups. It has won the battle against literacy.
By Western Environment Law Center - On Tuesday, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill issued a landmark decision in Zoe & Stella Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, the climate change case brought by eight young citizens of Washington State. In her decision, Judge Hill ordered the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) to reconsider the petition the eight youth filed with Ecology last year asking for carbon dioxide reductions, and to report back to the court by July 8, 2015, as to whether they will consider the undisputed current science necessary for climate recovery. Last June, the young petitioners filed a petition for rulemaking to Ecology requesting that the agency promulgate a rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions in Washington according to what scientists say is needed to protect our oceans and climate system.
By Sky News - Some 17,000 demonstrators have gathered on the streets of Greece to protest against the latest bailout deal - accusing its international creditors of blackmail. Many support Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras and said they would heed his call to vote against the latest deal in a referendum on Sunday - despite the risks the country might then go crashing out of the eurozone. "The people of Greece have made many sacrifices. What interests me is not the euro but guaranteeing a dignified way of life for the next generations," said Vanguelis Tseres, 50, who has been unemployed since the start of the debt crisis in 2010, in Syntagma square in Athens.
By Rucha Chitnis in ReImagine - “There is an entrenched devaluation of immigrant women workers. Domestic workers are breadwinners of their families throughout Latin America and Asia. In so many ways they are uplifting the economies of their countries through remittances,” said Katie Joaquin, campaign director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition. “We see this as an international struggle that is critical to the leadership of women,” she said. There are nearly two million domestic workers in the United States, more than 90 percent of them women, mostly low-income immigrant women from diverse ethnicities. Over the past 25 years, MUA has built a worker-center model of sharing power and harnessing workers’ collective bargaining rights.
By Justin Miller in Prospect - Without a clear mandate from the EPA, regulations at the federal level may well remain limited, though the Obama administration has made some moves to regulate fracking. This March the president announced new safety regulations for fracking, a first at the national level. However, given the limits of unilateral federal authority the restrictions can only apply to federal and tribal land and have no impact on the vast spectrum of state and local laws. Despite the relatively small scope of the rules, that didn’t stop two oil industry groups from immediately suing to challenge the regulations. Nor did it stop 27 Republicans, including Republican Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, from swiftly introducing legislation that would kill the policy.
By Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree in Monthly Review - The Hidden Structure of Violence marshals vast amounts of evidence to examine the costs of direct violence, including military preparedness and the social reverberations of war, alongside the costs of structural violence, expressed as poverty and chronic illness. It also documents the relatively small number of people and corporations responsible for facilitating the violent status quo, whether by setting the range of permissible discussion or benefiting directly as financiers and manufacturers. The result is a stunning indictment of our violent world and a powerful critique of the ways through which violence is reproduced on a daily basis, whether at the highest levels of the state or in the deepest recesses of the mind.
By Reclaim The American Dream - Sixteen states from coast to coast have gone on record in favor of a constitutional amendment to restore the power of Congress and the states to put some limits on campaign spending. They have acted either through popular referendum, legislative resolutions or collective letters from elected state leaders to Congress. Roughly 500 municipalities, from Liberty, Maine, to Los Angeles, California have also demanded constitutional action to reinstitute clear controls on campaign spending. The Los Angeles referendum, passed by a 77% majority in May 2013, was fairly typical. It instructed elected representatives to seek an amendment stating that “there should be limits on political campaign spending and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings.”
Interview with Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers by Joan Brunwasser in OpEdNews - The Congress will receive it for 60 days before the Fast Track clock starts counting, then there will be additional time for the House to debate and vote followed by the Senate. So we will have several months to educate, organize and mobilize people. This is likely to occur in the Fall, some estimate the likely time will be November. We will know more about the exact dates as we see when the negotiations are finalized. The key thing about that timing is the election season. Anytime after Labor Day is considered the re-election season for members of Congress. This puts them more on edge, more concerned about the voters. As we saw in the Fast Track vote, only the minimum number would take the risk of voting for Fast Track. Elected officials concern with public opinion, and fear of a populist revolt, will be an even greater concern in the fall.
By John Spina and Ben Chapman in Ny Daily News - The brigade of men and women who keep the city’s schools clean are calling on Mayor de Blasio to end a two-tier system which, they say, leaves thousands in their ranks underpaid. Under the system, about 800 of roughly 5,000 cleaners earn a base $23.85 an hour, while the rest, doing the same work get about five dollars less. A bureaucratic loophole is to blame, union reps and workers said in front of City Hall Wednesday. The lower paid workers were brought on by private contractors, while their higher paid counterparts were hired directly by the schools. None of the workers are city employees.