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March 2021

Overview Of Struggles And Violations Imposed Upon Palestinian Farmers, Fisherpersons, And Herders

Prior to the war of 1948, Palestinians owned approximately 78% of total area of historical Palestine, the remaining were state land “as classified by British mandate at that time. Today, in 2021, Israelis constitute 52% of total population in historical Palestine but utilizes over 85% of the total land, while Palestinians comprised 48% of population and utilize 15% of the land (PCBS, press release, 2019) this drastic change of percentages indicates actions of land theft in Palestinian lands by the “Israeli” occupation. Between the years 1967 and 2017, 200 settlements have been established, 131 of which are officially announced as towns, along with 11 neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and 16 other settlements in Gaza.

Need A Quote From An Official Enemy Denouncing Democracy?

You know you’re in for a hard sell when the New York Times (3/29/21) publishes an article under the headline “An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.” And Times Beijing bureau chief Steven Lee Myers doesn’t disappoint. He asserts: China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law. “Generally” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. I don’t think I have to spend too much time reminding you that the United States is a massive supporter of coups and undemocratic governments; has an ongoing history of torture, detention without trial and extrajudicial killing; and asserts the right to invade and coerce countries in defiance of international law.

One-Click Shopping Has Brought American Workers To The Brink

A historic union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama officially came to a close on Monday. Now comes the tallying of votes. The election represents the first large-scale effort to organize an Amazon warehouse and a landmark moment for the labor movement in the U.S. South. If the majority of votes are in favor of unionization, the roughly 6,000 workers of the facility will be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Predictably, Amazon — the country’s second-largest employer — has made considerable attempts to undercut the campaign, including heavily-funding anti-union propaganda, changing traffic light patterns to deter canvassing and even paying workers to quit.

Chauvin’s Lawyers Are Falsely Implying That Drugs Killed George Floyd

Drugs have long been used to justify racist police-perpetrated violence, and the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the alleged murder of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street corner last May is, thus far, no different. In his opening statement in a Minneapolis courtroom on Monday, Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric J. Nelson spoke at length about Floyd’s health problems and drug use in a clear attempt to cast doubt on the prosecution’s central argument: Floyd was killed because Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for mercy and gasped, “I can’t breathe.” The prosecution saw this coming from miles away. Attempts by Chauvin’s defense to blame the victim began shortly after Floyd was handcuffed and killed in police custody — an alleged murder that was captured on video before sparking mass protests against racist police violence in Minneapolis and across the nation.

Will We Stand Up For Black Trans Lives Too?

Last summer, during what some have called the largest social justice uprising in United States history, the lives of Black trans people were ignored. While many rightly raged against the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, few know the names of Black trans people like Kim Wirtz, who have also been murdered by a racist policing and prison system. In Baltimore, trans activists from the LGBTQ organization Baltimore Safe Haven protested, demanding an end to police violence and an end to the erasure of the Black trans community. The Real News’ Eddie Conway talks to activists on the ground in Baltimore about their fight.

‘We’re Reversing 90 Years Of Prohibition’

On Tuesday night, New York went from being the marijuana arrest capital of the world to passing one of the most progressive legalized cannabis laws in the country. Update: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Wednesday morning [more details below]. As expected, the State Assembly and the State Senate both overwhelmingly passed the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, which permits adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana and grow the plant in their home. The legislation's two main sponsors, Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, had fought for the bill's passage for more than seven years. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had repeatedly tried to impose his own legalization plan on the legislation, agreed to sign the MRTA last week, as he continues to govern amid multiple scandals and investigations.

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed By Jewish National Fund Against Palestinian Group

Washington, DC - A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and others against a U.S.-based Palestinian rights organization. The JNF had accused the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) of engaging in “material support for terrorism,” citing their speech and expressive activity, including their support for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The JNF—a quasi-state institution in Israel that acquires and administers land for the sole benefit of the Jewish people—also sought to hold the USCPR liable for their participation in the “Stop the JNF” campaign, an advocacy campaign that sought to highlight the JNF’s own unlawful and discriminatory practices.

Two Ambassadors To Syria With Wildly Different Analyses

In the past few months, Grayzone journalist Aaron Mate has interviewed two former ambassadors to Syria: former UK Ambassador Peter Ford and former U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Ford.   The two ambassadors have a common surname but dramatically different perspectives. This article will compare the statements and viewpoints of the two diplomats. Peter Ford trained as an Arabist and served in the British foreign service in numerous cities including Beirut, Riyadh, and Cairo. He was Ambassador to Bahrein from 1999 to 2003, then Syria from 2003 to 2006.  From 2006 until 2014 he was a senior officer with the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.  

Seattle Votes To Guarantee Lawyers For Renters Facing Eviction

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Monday to guarantee free legal counsel to poor tenants facing eviction, a system similar to the right to representation already enshrined in the country’s criminal courts. In passing the measure, members of the council hope to keep as many people in their current homes as possible and avoid the devastating and expensive downstream consequences — including homelessness — that often follow when someone is forcibly removed from where they live. "This legislation will not enough be itself and we know that we need a lot more," said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who originally proposed the legislation. "We know that eviction destroys communities, wrecks households and even kills."

Will Biden’s Central American Plan Slow Migration?

Joe Biden entered the White House with some inspiring yet contradictory positions on immigration and Central America. He promised to reverse Donald Trump’s draconian anti-immigrant policies while, through his “Plan to Build Security and Prosperity in Partnership with the People of Central America,” restoring “U.S. leadership in the region” that he claimed Trump had abandoned. For Central Americans, though, such “leadership” has an ominous ring. Although the second half of his plan’s name does, in fact, echo that of left-wing, grassroots organizations like the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), its content highlights a version of security and prosperity in that region that’s more Cold War-like than CISPES-like. Instead of solidarity (or even partnership) with Central America, Biden’s plan actually...

Virginia Finalizes $3.7 Billion Deal To Acquire Train Tracks

Virginia officials and freight railroad company CSX have signed a $525 million deal to transfer 223 miles of track and 386 miles of right-of-way to the commonwealth, a key part of a larger $3.7 billion program announced in 2019 to increase Amtrak passenger service and VRE commuter rail service in Virginia over the next decade. “Today, we’re celebrating a major, major milestone in our work to make it easier for people and goods to move around Virginia and up and down our East Coast,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, who stood alongside officials from CSX, Amtrak and VRE during a signing ceremony at a VRE station in Alexandria on Tuesday. Tracks in America are almost universally owned by freight railroads, which allow passenger service like Amtrak and VRE to operate.

Governor Signs Executive Orders Barring Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed executive orders barring transgender athletes from women’s sports in the state. “Only girls should play girls’ sports,” Noem tweeted on Monday. “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.” The executive orders direct the state’s Department of Education and Board of Regents to align its policies so only those who are biologically female can participate in women’s sports.  Last week, Noem refused to sign the GOP bill barring transgender athletes from women’s sports.

Why Biden’s Choice To Bomb Outer Space Is So Damn Exciting

President Biden has announced he will be continuing to build Donald Trump’s Space Force — an idea Trump probably dreamed up while high on some bizarre pills his special “doctor” gave him and had left the rubber cement jar open on his desk. The Space Force is the new branch of our military designed to conquer and kill things in outer space. That might not be word-for-word from their mission statement, but I’d wager it’s close. Pretty sure their jackets say, “Let’s kill some shit in space.” And, let’s face it — we don’t know what’s in outer space. But whatever it is, we know it needs to be killed.  Before you ask — Yes, Space Force is exactly what humanity desperately needs right now.

The Answer To Anti-Asian Racism Is Not More Policing

This past year of the pandemic has seen a horrifying uptick in anti-Asian violence and hate crimes in the U.S., many targeting the elderly. From Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year old Thai man who was knocked to the ground, to Noel Quintana, a 61-year old Filipino man who was slashed in the face, many Asian elders have been assaulted and attacked since the pandemic’s onset. Asian people, especially Chinese folks have been subjected to verbal and physical violence—much of which has been fueled by Trump’s anti-Asian rhetoric pertaining to COVID-19’s origins. Racial epithets such as “kung flu” and “Chinese virus” have only exacerbated the situation. While some people have donated or raised awareness, others have expressed their grief by calling on more policing as a means for justice.

There Are So Many Lessons To Learn From Kerala

Indian farmers and agricultural workers have crossed the hundred-day mark of their protest against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They will not withdraw until the government repeals laws that deliver the advantages of agriculture to large corporate houses. This, the farmers and agricultural workers say, is an existential struggle. Surrender is equivalent to death: even before these laws were passed, more than 315,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide since 1995 because of the debt burden placed on them. Over the next one and a half months, assembly elections will take place in four Indian states (Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal) and in one union territory (Puducherry).
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