Julian Assange has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. We think he deserves to win. There is an incredibly long list of actions that Julian has taken toward a more peaceful world. As Julian has said, “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.” More than one individual can nominate Assange; he’s already been nominated this year by people including former Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire and French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Maguire and four other Peace Prize winners wrote a letter to then-President Trump recounting Assange’s contributions toward peace.
Compressed into a two-minute soundbite, the story of Alexei Navalny and the recent protests that have erupted across Russia seems simple enough. The Russian opposition figure who recently survived an attempt on his life — an alleged poisoning delivered via Novichok-laced pants — was arrested and convicted of breaching his bail conditions in a process that can be fairly described as unjust. In response, his supporters took to the streets across the country in protest. Ask a Russian, like Katya Kazbek, and they will tell you something different: things are way more complicated than they seem.
The criminal “justice” apparatus faces increasing criticism for emphasizing punishment, violent abuse and incarceration of criminals rather than rehabilitation. However, few observers recognize the active role community “justice” programs and businesses play in this displacement. The public/private SafeZone initiative launched in downtown Minneapolis in 2004 serves as an instructive example of how programs lauded as reforms can still impose punitive “law and order” tactics onto targeted populations. “A month ago I was driving down Nicollet going to pick up my girl, somebody shot at me, twice!” Demetri (whose real name is being protected) said in an electrified voice.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Michael Smith about civil rights attorney Michael Ratner's recently published memoir, "Moving the Bar – My Life as A Radical Lawyer". Smith was a close friend and collaborator of Ratner's for over three decades. Michael Ratner was one of the most important civil rights attorneys in our era. He spent his life fighting on behalf of those who state and empire sought to crush, from the leaders of the prison uprising at Attica to Muslim prisoners held in Guantanamo, to Julian Assange.
The drive to reopen Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in the country, has become a pitched battle between educators and the state apparatus, the latter backed up by the corporate media and the unions. The fight by Chicago educators to prevent the reopening of schools is the focal point of the class struggle in the United States, with every other major district in the country looking to Chicago to set a precedent. In this context, it is of the utmost importance for teachers and other educators to organize independently of the unions and join the Chicago Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, as well as attend this Saturday’s national meeting of the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee...
After several months of continuous pressure on Northwestern administration to abolish University Police and divest from policing and other militarized entities, NUCNC is continuing their work into the new quarter. Since their campaign of more than 30 days of consecutive actions, the group has not held any mass protests or demonstrations, but they continue to pressure the University and practice mutual aid — a core tenet of prison-industrial complex abolition. “Prisons are the biggest social service we have,” NUCNC member Eliza Gonring said. “So poor people, homeless people, Black people are just getting funneled into prisons and if we want that to stop, if we don’t want people to get preyed upon, we’re going to need to start supporting people.”
On 7 February, the citizens of Ecuador will express their constitutional right to popular sovereignty, electing a new president and National Assembly to carry the country out of its most severe crisis in a generation. Between violent crackdowns on IMF protests in 2019 to persistent threats to cancel next month’s election, Ecuador’s democracy is on the brink. The vigilance of the world will be critical to preserve it — and help restore democracy to a region in the midst of an authoritarian backslide. Ecuador has been hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic than almost any country in the world. The country has recorded an excess toll of 40,000 deaths in 2020, a per capita record that is nearly double the magnitude of the United States.
On January 26, 2021, authors and editors of the book "Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China and the US" held a webinar to provide an update to the book and answer questions. The moderators were Sara Flounders and Margaret Flowers. Speakers were Lee Siu-Hin, Margaret Kimberley, Vijay Prashad, and Max Blumenthal. Order the book at Bit.ly/CapVentBook and the Ebook at Bit.ly/CapVentEBook.
When I first put forward “wages for housework” in March 1972, I was unsure of the implications. I knew that wages for housework was qualitatively different from wages for housewives, which I had been considering; it spoke about the work and didn’t identify necessarily with women, which I thought—and others did too—was crucial. I had recently studied volume one of Capital in a reading group—without a teacher. l realized that women reproduce labor power, the basic capitalist commodity, unwaged. That was a new idea then. A year later, I went on a lecture tour of North America with Mariarosa Dalla Costa and as I spoke with audiences (as an English speaker, I did most of the speaking), I began to understand that we were developing a new perspective that was international and far more comprehensive.
One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947. Although the scientists cite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed 1.7 million people around the world and has "revealed just how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies properly," they acknowledge that the coronavirus does not pose an existential threat to Homo sapiens.
Do cities create greener lifestyles? Or do they just enable them? It’s very, very, very clear that people who live closer to other people drive less. But how much of this is due to the fact that people who were already predisposed to driving less—those of us who don’t particularly enjoy driving, for example—are deliberately living where parking is scarce and buses are frequent? A forthcoming academic paper finally begins to answer this crucial question. Its “breakthrough” conclusion: Bigger parking lots make us drive more. Even if we ignore the breathtaking economic costs of dedicating scarce urban space to car storage, mandatory parking isn’t an “all of the above” strategy that simply lets people choose their favorite mode of transportation.
Chicago Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) ordered 5,800 teachers to return for in-person instruction at the beginning of January. Teachers who refused to return to in-person learning as the deadly COVID-19 virus raged through Chicago were labeled by the district as “absent without leave.” Their pay was docked, and their computer access locked. The World Socialist Web Site recently interviewed Jake, one of nearly 150 locked-out educators. Jake was a physical education (PE) teacher at a CPS elementary school for five and a half years until recently. He quit the profession after being locked out.
The bad orange man is now back in Florida. Donald Trump, known as “45” by people who refused to speak his name, is history. His accidental presidency is now a bad memory and the sight of him taking his last flight onboard Air Force One was a moment of relief at the very least. Unfortunately, there is too much joy and not enough analysis about his departure and the new Biden administration. Inauguration day was of course full of pomp and ceremony but this year there was more propaganda than usual. Some of it appeared to be trivial, such as the news that former first ladies wore purple to signify unity between red and blue states.