By Zeba Blay for The Huffington Post - The most important star-studded event taking place Sunday night wasn't the Oscars -- it was director Ryan Coogler's #JusticeForFlint charity concert. The event, which was held at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint, Michigan, helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for residents affected by the Flint water crisis, and provided them with "a night of fun, relaxation, and entertainment." Below are just a few of the stand out moments from the show...
By W.E.B. DuBois for Red Wedge Magazine - "Black Art Matters." If there were a way to sum up the thrust of this essay in one very brief sentence then that would be it. W.E.B. DuBois is one of those thinkers who needs very little introduction: lifelong socialist and Black liberationist, founder of the N.A.A.C.P., author of what is still to this day one of the definitive books on Black Reconstruction in the south. What is often overlooked is how central art was to DuBois' ideas about Black freedom in the United States.
By Jeff Bryant for The Progressive - For years, our public schools have been burdened by a “reform” narrative that education is “failing,” and that only a regime of standardized testing and charter schools will make administrators and teachers more “accountable.” Politicians and pundits across the political spectrum have adopted this doctrine and now easily slip into the rhetoric that supports it without hesitation. But recently, the pillars of the “reform” agenda have begun to crumble. The whole notion of a top-down mandate for reform coming from state capitals and Washington, D.C. is being regarded with a new degree of skepticism.
By David Swanson for Let's Try Democracy - The millions of people in the United States who are denied equal rights because they are immigrants have vast stockpiles of wisdom and rich culture to share; they engage in more strategic and courageous activism than do non-immigrants; and without any doubt they would vote better than do the "legal" people of South Carolina if only they were permitted to vote. The mistreatment of these people shortchanges every U.S. enterprise and reduces civil rights, paychecks, public safety, sense of community, and basic levels of morality for everyone.
By Timothy Karr for Other Words - The Obama administration’s ongoing crusade against government whistleblowers — which culminated last year in the imprisonment of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling — has reignited a debate over the role journalists should play in defending their profession and the sources and networks on which it depends. Sterling’s serving a three-and-half-year prison term for a conviction built primarily on circumstantial evidence — a heavy sentence, though less than the draconian 24 years the government originally sought.
By Dennis Gravey for The Hampton Institute - It is very possible that in the next few years millions of American workers could win significant wage increases through minimum wage legislation, and do so without militant strikes or building their capacity for shop-floor direct action. For those of us fighting for significant wage increases this is great news, but for those of us fighting for an overthrow of capitalism, this should be very worrisome. Central to this tension is a strategic question, namely, Shall unionists prioritize direct or indirect action? If we aim for revolution, we must choose the former?
By Julia Angwin for Pro Publica - The FBI’s much-discussed request to Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino’s health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most people believe Apple should comply. But the FBI is demanding a lot more than the data on a single phone. It has obtained a court order requiring Apple to build custom surveillance software for the FBI – which computer security expert Dan Guido cleverly dubs an FBiOS.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams - With ambitious calls for a post-carbon future, respect for Indigenous rights, and economic justice for all, climate activists from across Canada and the world will celebrate International Leap Day on Monday with rallies, film screenings, teach-ins, and more. The actions are in support of the Leap Manifesto, a set of 15 demands endorsed by more than 150 organizations and unveiled last September. Canadian anti-capitalist and author Naomi Klein and her husband, filmmaker Avi Lewis, are among its initiating signatories.
By Sharmini Peries for The Real News - On Thursday the European parliament called on the European Union to impose an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, saying that Britain, France, and the EU government should no longer sell weapons to a country accused of targeting civilians in Yemen. EU lawmakers voted 359 in favor, 212 against, with 31 abstentions from the formal call for an EU embargo. Although the vote is not legally binding, lawmakers hope it will pressure the European Union to act.
By Staff of By Associated Press - This is the 17-year-old boy fighting for his life in a coma after Utah police shot him in the chest because he was brandishing a broomstick. Abdi Mohamed was hospitalized in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday night after the shooting near a homeless shelter. Mohamed, who lives with his girlfriend and their son, moved to the States from Kenya 10 years ago, according to the New York Daily News.
By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine - For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers. A recent study showed that around half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent — the recommended percentage by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — and a quarter spends 50 percent or more.
By Sebastian Murdock and Peter Andrew Hart for Huffington Post. Anaheim, CA - Three people were stabbed Saturday during a Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim, California, including one person who was in critical condition after apparently being stabbed with a flagpole, police said. Thirteen people were arrested after counterprotesters clashed with participants in a planned KKK rally. The violence erupted at about noon, an hour and a half before the KKK rally was scheduled to begin at Pearson Park, the Los Angeles Times reported. Several dozen counterprotesters had gathered at the scene that morning to face off against the Klan.
By Aprill O. Turner for the Campaign for Youth Justice. The tragic death of Trayvon has set off a national conversation about racial profiling and the role race played in the death of this young man. Trayvon’s death, and those of other young black men, has served as a catalyst for a new generation of activists that seek to dismantle the structures that target and criminalize black youth. New organizations have been formed, new leaders have emerged, the spirit of resistance has been given a reboot, and a new modern day civil rights movement has emerged. The question at the center of this movement is, “What does the world look like when Black Lives Matter?” What does education look like when Black lives matter? What does economic opportunity look like when Black lives matter? What does the criminal justice look like when Black lives really matter?
By Sharda Sekaran for Drug Policy Alliance. United States - It’s been a groundbreaking month in the national dialogue about opiate dependency and addiction. From halls of government to family living rooms, the country is positioning for a dramatic shift in attitudes about drug policy that might finally mean an end to the drug war in favor of a public health and human rights approach. In early February, a series of bills were introduced in the Maryland state legislature that would decriminalize small amounts of drugs for personal use, expand access to treatment in emergency rooms and hospitals, and allow for consumption rooms where people would be able to use safely under medical supervision.
By Paul Gottinger for Reader Supported News. Saudi Arabia opened 2016 with a tragic, yet increasingly common event for the Kingdom, a mass execution. In the words of Amnesty International, “Saudi Arabia’s authorities demonstrated their utter disregard for human rights and life by executing 47 people in a single day.” According to the British rights organization Reprieve, Saudi Arabia has had one of the world’s highest rates of execution for over ten years. Many of these executions occur after unfair trails and may be carried out by the barbaric means of beheading, public crucifixion, stoning, or firing squad. All 47 individuals executed on January 1 were accused of being terrorists. However, four of those executed were involved in Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring protests. These four remained strictly nonviolent in their calls for greater democracy and rights in the Kingdom.