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June 2015

Bree Newsome: ‘Now Is The Time For True Courage’

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.

Bree Newsome Took A Stand, Will You?

By Jennifer Farmer in Alternet - Newsome bravely scaled a pole at the South Carolina State Capitol and removed the confederate flag from state grounds. While many of us bemoaned the display of the racist symbol of oppression and white supremacy, Newsome took action. As she was led away in cuffs, she stoically recited biblical scripture. This was not the first, and I suspect it will not be the last time, Bree took a stand for something in which she believed. In 2013, she protested North Carolina's voter suppression law during the Moral Monday protests organized by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. Newsome exhibits the brand of bravery we should all aspire to gain ourselves.

‘This Is Not A Revival’: Detroiters Reclaiming City’s Image

By Derrick Broze in Mint Press News - Detroiters have always taken care of themselves, Caprice Wood told MintPress. She added: “It might be new for the younger generation but the older generations have been doing this their whole life.” Jaleel Muhammad, the education assistant with Earthworks, agrees, but goes a step further. He told MintPress, “There is a synergistic relationship that forms around having a garden in the center of the community.” Muhammad develops urban farming- and gardening-related curriculum for young learners at the James and Grace Lee Boggs Educational Center. He also works with a parent committee that is attempting to get healthier foods into school cafeterias. While there are legitimate criticisms to be levied against Detroit, Muhammad says more people should dig a bit further beneath the surface.

Dominion CEO Worried About Grassroots Social Media Organizing

By Glen Boshart in We Are Cove Point - Farrell experienced firsthand the power of social media when Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export project came under heavy fire by activists, who also protested the project in person at FERC by repeatedly disrupting that agency’s meetings. The executive acknowledged that the power industry has not always been “on the cutting edge” with respect to using social media tools, but added, “we’re going to have to learn how to do it and we’re going to have to learn how to respond.” Farrell said that ability to respond has become even more important with the emergence of a new coalition of opponents. He noted that opponents of new projects in the past tended to be mostly people who did not want a project to involve the use of their property. This new coalition, however, includes these people teaming up with environmental groups that want no fossil fuel use at all, as well as Tea Party conservatives who oppose government intrusion on principle, Farrell said.

Our 18th Century Bill Of Rights Needs Revising

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.

The Lonely American

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.

Washington State Youth Win In Their Climate Change Lawsuit

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.

Anti-Bailout Protests As Greece Rows With EU

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.

Socialism Means Abolishing Distinction Of Bosses & Employees

By Richard D. Wolff in Truthout - Actual large-scale socialism would thus predominantly entail worker cooperative enterprises such as these. Like the capitalist enterprises that once emerged from European feudalism, these new cooperative enterprises would seek to solve problems such as how to organize their interdependencies with one another and with the public, how to relate to private and public property, and how to manage transitions from smaller- to larger-scale enterprises. Different forms of societal socialisms will emerge: some with markets, private property and large corporations, and others with centralized and/or decentralized planning systems, socialized property, constraints on enterprise size etc. Debates, experiments and choices among them will likely characterize the multiple forms that socialism will take.

Scenes From Domestic Worker Organizing

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.

Why It’s So Hard To Regulate Fracking

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.

Hidden Structure Of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence

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.

Progress Report: Amend The Constitution

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.”

Zeese And Flowers: TPP Fight Is NOT Over!

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.

Public School Cleaners Protest Underpaid Work

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.
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