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April 2021

Mumia Abu-Jamal: State Running Scared, Trying To Make Sure He Dies In Prison

Ann Garrison: Mumia has finally had the open-heart surgery that his team and his wife had such a hard time getting any information about beforehand. Johanna Fernandez: That’s correct. But Mumia’s chosen doctor, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, has not been given access to the surgeons. Mumia was finally able to call his wife Wadiya Abu-Jamal several days before the surgery, but at that point he was very weak and was only able to whisper to her that he would be undergoing surgery two days later. He was allowed to call her after the surgery, and she said he sounded strong. AG: Was there any response to the campaign to remove the shackles – the four-point restraints – ahead of Mumia’s surgery.

Why Delivery Workers Across The Planet Are Rising Up

On February 22, 2019, at 6 pm, a car crashed into Servio Hernández’s motorcycle. Hernández, a Venezuelan migrant in Chile, was hit while he was in the middle of making a delivery for PedidosYa, a branch of the German multinational company Delivery Hero. When Hernández arrived at the hospital, the first thing he did was ask the medical staff to let his supervisor know about the accident. “There is nothing we can do for him,” the supervisor told the doctor. The supervisor turned off his phone and blocked Hernández from being able to access the PedidosYa app. Servio Hernández is one of the millions of workers around the world, from Chile to South Korea, who hustle to deliver food and other products to people’s homes.

Making International Workers’ Day A Day Of Action Against Imperialism

War, repression, and imperialism characterize the objective plight of billions of humans still gripped by the vicious colonial-capitalist world system. May 1 is the day laboring classes claim for themselves as International Workers' Day to reaffirm the struggle against the dehumanization and degradation of the global capitalist order kept in place by state violence and war. May 1 also is the deadline the United States agreed to last year to pull out of Afghanistan to end the suffering of that nation of workers and peasants. It also is the day the workers and poor of Haiti have chosen to revolt against the puppet government imposed on them by the Biden-Harris administration, a duo that has proven in its first 100 days its commitment to Black life does not extend beyond domestic public-relations stunts.

RENACER Act: US Congress To Expand Nicaragua Sanctions

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution is being targeted with a new sanctions bill as retaliation for triumphing over Washington’s domination attempts and as President Daniel Ortega is anticipated to win this year’s election. The Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform (RENACER) Act (full text of the bill here), introduced in March, would require the U.S. government to increase sanctions coordination with Canada and the European Union and proposes new immediate measures against the Nicaraguan government and officials ahead of Nicaragua’s November elections, all under the guise of promoting democratic elections. A House companion bill to the RENACER Act, with the same wording of the bill to be voted on in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be brought to the House Foreign Affairs Committee any day now—potentially speeding up the process. 

Powerful Government Policy Segregated Us

I am the author of a book, The Color of Law, that disproves the myth of de facto segregation. In truth, we are residentially segregated, not naturally or from private bigotry, but primarily by racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments designed to prevent African Americans and whites from living as neighbors; these 20th-century policies were so powerful that they determine much of today’s residential, social, and economic inequality. Because powerful government policy segregated us, racial boundaries violate the fifth, 13th, and 14th amendments. Our nation thus has a positive constitutional obligation to redress segregation with policies as intentional as those that segregated us. The federal government made housing and homeownership critical to families’ economic stability and upward mobility.

US Army Corps Of Engineers Permit Big Oil To Dredge Mercury-Contaminated Matagorda Bay

Texas shrimper, fisherwoman and internationally known environmentalist Diane Wilson is on Day 22 of her hunger strike to gain national solidarity and publicity for pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its permit for big oil to dredge a channel in mercury laden Matagorda Bay, Texas.  The dredged channel would allow massive oil tankers into the bay to take on crude oil that will be exported from the U.S. “I am risking my life to stop the reckless destruction of my community. Oil and gas export terminals like the project I am fighting pollute our air, water, and climate — only to pad the pockets of fossil fuel CEOs,” said Diane Wilson. “The Biden Administration needs to stop the dredging and stop oil and gas exports.”

Hawaii Is The First US State To Declare A Climate Emergency

The word “emergency” usually conjures images of ambulances with flashing lights, homes going up in flames, or tornadoes tearing through a town. But increasingly, governments are using the word to describe a slower-burning crisis: climate change. On Thursday, Hawaii became the first state to declare a “climate emergency,” joining 1,933 cities, town councils, and countries, including the European Union. According to The Climate Mobilization, a U.S.-based advocacy group, almost 13 percent of the global population now lives in a jurisdiction that has made a similar declaration. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the country’s only island state, and only one in the tropics, is signaling the need for more drastic action on climate change.

The Variable Relationships Between Worker Centers And Unions

Like many immigrant workers, Pascual Tapia, a late-night janitor at a Target store in Minneapolis, was a victim of wage theft. He often worked 56 hours a week, but he was hardly ever paid time and a half for overtime. And like many immigrant workers in the Twin Cities, he turned to a highly regarded worker center for help: CTUL, the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (the Center of United Workers in Struggle). Tapia was delighted when CTUL won over $1,000 in back pay for him as part of the more than $1 million in settlements it won from cleaning contractors for Target and other big-box stores. But Tapia, CTUL, and many other Twin Cities janitors agreed that winning back pay wasn’t enough: The janitors wanted to end systemic wage theft, and beyond that, they wanted to somehow become union members.

Police Killing Black Americans Amounts To Crimes Against Humanity

The systematic killing and maiming of unarmed African Americans by police amount to crimes against humanity that should be investigated and prosecuted under international law, an inquiry into US police brutality by leading human rights lawyers from around the globe has found. A week after the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death, the unabated epidemic of police killings of Black men and women in the US has now attracted scorching international attention. In a devastating report running to 188 pages, human rights experts from 11 countries hold the US accountable for what they say is a long history of violations of international law that rise in some cases to the level of crimes against humanity.

Court Rules Germany Must Tighten Climate Law

Berlin - Germany must update its climate law by the end of next year to set out how it will bring carbon emissions down nearly to zero by 2050, its top court ruled on Thursday, siding with a young woman who argued rising sea levels would engulf her family farm. The court concluded that a law passed in 2019 had failed to make sufficient provision for cuts beyond 2030, casting a shadow over a signature achievement of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s final term in office. “The challenged provisions do violate the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young,” the court said in a statement. “The provisions irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030.”

How We Can Place The Wellbeing Economy At The Heart Of Our Cities

Once upon a time, the growth of a country’s Gross Domestic Product would actually lead to social progress. In the first few decades after the Second World War, growth was invested in collective institutions like health and education systems. Tax rates were progressive and growth was directed to those who needed it most. Unfortunately, this so-called ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ did not last very long. Within a few decades, we managed to shift to an economic system dictated by market fundamentalism. “We have been undermining our collective institutions, tax rates have been cut down for the very wealthiest and scientists are getting louder with their warnings about environmental breakdown”, author, researcher and advocate for a Wellbeing Economy Katherine Trebeck explains.

For Social And Environmental Justice, Words Don’t Cut It

Not so long ago, business was business. The vast majority of corporations happily functioned according to the doctrine of economist Milton Freidman, who believed a company’s sole responsibility was to make gobs of money for its shareholders to roll around in. And, whether due to ideology or cynicism, few expected anything more from the business world. Today, corporate executives have taken to substituting the word shareholder with "stakeholder," a buzzword for the broader group that also includes customers, employees, even neighboring communities. But companies that espouse the "interests of all stakeholders" best take care to follow their words with action, especially when it comes to social and environmental justice.

Advocates Welcome DOJ Hate Crimes Charges In Ahmaud Arbery Killing

Racial justice advocates welcomed Wednesday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that three men imprisoned in Georgia on murder and other charges in connection with the death of unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery last February also have been charged with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. According to a DOJ statement, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William 'Roddie' Bryan "were each charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping." "Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing—and in Travis's case, discharging—a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence," the statement added. 

The CIA Has Been Taking Over For Decades

December 22, 1963 — exactly one month after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, former President Harry S. Truman published an op-ed in the Washington Post that most people, especially our perfumed ruling elite, wanted to ignore.  Truman, who signed the CIA into existence just after World War II, wrote, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—the CIA. […] For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

US Troop Build Up Threatens Resource War In The Arctic

While plenty of headlines are being dedicated to the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, an increase of U.S. forces in another area has gone under the radar. This area is the Arctic. Back in March, the U.S. Army announced its strategy for “Regaining Arctic Dominance,” signaling that the region long devastated by climate change may soon also be devastated by great power competition and U.S. imperialism. This focus on the Arctic comes as a result of the climate crisis. The Arctic is melting three times faster than the rest of the world, but rather than treating this as the existential threat that it is, capitalists view it as an opportunity to expand their regional influence, a move which will fuel the crisis even more.
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