The capitalist system attempts to divert attention away from its obvious failings in every way that it can, from mindless entertainment to the contrived drama of January 6th and missing person stories to their most valuable diversion – Donald Trump! That is why the collapse of the latest diversional politics reflected in the Build Back Better (BBB) has not generated the attention that it deserved, and when it did garner attention, it was framed as some grand battle of personalities. However, the real story of the Democrats’ inability to fashion an agreement on the BBB social infrastructure bill, is not related to the supposed disagreements between the personalities of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and the individuals who make up the “progressives.”
The ruling class across Europe and in the US would rather see people divided than united against oligarchy, that’s why Left populism coupled with the working-class outlook represents a greater threat to the establishment. In the aftermath of the recent German Federal election many people were wondering how Die Linke (The Left) had become so relegated to the sidelines as to lose 30 seats and become the smallest party in Germany’s parliament. Many liberal publications were quick to place blame on Sahra Wagenknecht, one of Die Linke’s most prolific politicians, for the release of her book “The Self Righteous.” In the book, Wagenknecht attacks “lifestyle leftists” for whom being on the Left has become more about labels, identity, and lifestyles rather than the working-class roots that made leftist politics such a threat to the political establishment in the first place.
In this interview, Lowkey speaks to the co-founders of Palestine Action, Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard, both of whom have been arrested for their anti-Apartheid activism. Ammori is a Palestinian-Iraqi whose father was chased from his home by Israeli soldiers in 1967. He was forced to flee to Iraq without even a pair of shoes. The pair discussed what they were trying to achieve with their disruptive tactics and the legal basis for their actions. As Ammori told Lowkey: People often think when we do these things that we are doing it to defy the law or breaking the law in the process. But we would always say that we’re not breaking the law; what we’re doing is actually rooted in law; it is a lawful act to do something to prevent the greater crime — to act to save lives. In 2006, at the height of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, nine activists in Northern Ireland forced their way into the offices of Raytheon, a major arms manufacturer.
In an open letter published Tuesday, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick wrote that students’ two-week occupation of a campus building in protest of poor housing conditions and other issues “must end.” Students have occupied Howard’s Armour J. Blackburn Center for two weeks, vowing to stay put until the university remediates mold in students’ dorms; creates a housing plan for incoming freshmen; and reinstates student, faculty, and alumni members to the university’s Board of Trustees, among other demands. Alumni, local activist organizations, and public figures have shown support on social media for what’s being called the Blackburn Takeover. School administrators have warned demonstrators they could be suspended or expelled for continuing to occupy the building.
If the voyage is successful, the four youth activists on the Rainbow Warrior plan to meet fellow members of the Fridays for Future climate strike movement on 1 November outside the summit to deliver their message. They’re warning that the climate talks should not go ahead without the people who are most affected. But they say many activists have been shut out by a failure to distribute vaccines equally between countries and travel restrictions. Meanwhile major nations have big delegations attending. The Rainbow Warrior set sail from Liverpool on 30 October. It contacted the Clyde port authority to request permission to berth outside the COP26 conference, but it was told it couldn’t sail up the Clyde and that the area was controlled by police.
In recent months, European countries and the European Union have been put under pressure from the United States to substantially break ties with the People’s Republic of China as well as to orient Europe’s military towards confrontation with China. The pressure campaign – which began with US President Donald Trump and continues with his successor Joe Biden – goes against the obvious interests of most European countries. China, not the United States, is Germany’s largest trading partner and has been so for the past five years; Germany, the economic dynamo of Europe, would suffer if it attempts to cut commercial ties with China. China is the European Union’s second biggest trading partner (behind the United States) and the European Union is one of China’s biggest trading partners.
For the past two days, Chris Hedges has been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US' request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange's precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
The Green New Deal is a visionary program to protect the earth’s climate while creating good jobs, reducing injustice, and eliminating poverty. Its core principle is to use the necessity for climate protection as a basis for realizing full employment and social justice. The Green New Deal first emerged as a proposal for national legislation, and the struggle to embody it in national legislation is ongoing. But there has also emerged a little-noticed wave of initiatives from community groups, unions, city and state governments, tribes, and other non-federal institutions designed to contribute to the climate protection and social justice goals of the Green New Deal. We will call these the Green New Deal from Below (GNDfB).
For at least the past five years the Okinawa Prefectural Government has been monitoring the amount of foreign substances in Okinawa's water. In 2016 Okinawans discovered high levels of toxic chemicals originating from U.S. Kadena Air Base in the drinking water of the densely populated region of central Okinawa, home to some 450,000 people (ANN News). The chemicals are referred to as PFOS, PFAS, and PFOA, and are linked to a plethora of serious health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, stunted development, immune diseases, cardiovascular problems, and hepatic issues, among others (CDC). They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not breakdown and instead accumulate over time (EPA).
Studies have long pointed to air pollution in the United States disproportionately harming poor and minority communities. But a pair of recent studies that examined tailpipe pollution in major urban hubs suggest policymakers could craft regulations more effectively to reduce air pollution disparities by targeting emissions from diesel vehicles. One of the studies, published by University of Virginia researchers earlier this month, used satellites to measure the near-daily emissions of nitrogen dioxide in 52 major U.S. cities, including Phoenix, Los Angeles and Newark, New Jersey. It found that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color experience an average of 28 percent more nitrogen dioxide pollution than higher-income and majority-white neighborhoods.
Some background information first: Assange’s extradition battle with the United States continued at the appeal hearing on October 27-28 at the High Court in London. The first day was largely the prosecution’s, with half an hour at the end for the defense. The second day was given to the defense to expand on its responses to the prosecution’s arguments. Equally, the US’ prosecutors were also given a brief moment at the end to counter. The High Court judges overseeing the hearing were Lord Justice Holroyde and Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett. Holroyde ruled in the United States’ favor on August 11th, allowing them to appeal on all five grounds, including Assange’s health. Burnett previously presided over Lauri Love’s case, blocking his extradition to the United States.
Russell “Maroon” Shoatz has been granted compassionate release after 50 years in prison. The length of his sentence is outrageous but it is hardly unique. The United States not only has the dubious distinction of being the country with the largest population of incarcerated people, but it also has political prisoners held longer than anywhere else in the world. Shoatz is now 78-years old and suffering from cancer. To be blunt, he is being released so that he can die outside of prison walls. Of course there is deeply felt happiness that Shoatz will be freed for whatever time remains in his life, but no one should forget the tortures he suffered, including 22 years in solitary confinement. No one should forget the other prisoners such as Mumia Abu Jamal, Ruchell Magee, Sundiata Acoli, and Dr. Mutulu Shakur.
Robin Rue Simmons had been very curious about the truth of American life as a young person. But it was only after she finished high school, left her native Evanston, Illinois, and returned as an adult — ready to buy a house in the historically Black neighborhood in which she grew up — that she delved deep into her city’s history and fully understood the policies that had kept Black residents poor while enriching their white neighbors. Of course, this isn’t the kind of history that’s taught in school, even if today’s students do sometimes learn unsavory truths about the American empire. Local history is different, perhaps because it can be especially uncomfortable to examine how that empire’s economic plunder shaped our present-day communities.
As the rich and comfortable stayed indoors and rode out the worst months of the pandemic on their Peloton bikes, workers around the country shifted into a different gear. Ten thousand farming equipment workers in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Georgia walked out of their jobs, joining 1,400 cereal workers at Kellogg’s plants in Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, as well as 1,100 coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama and nurses in New York and Massachusetts. And thousands more are waiting in the wings—from workers in academia, to health care workers at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon, California, and Hawaii, to film and television workers in the entertainment industry who averted a strike after threatening to walk off the job and reached a tentative agreement, which will now be voted on.
Last week, in the space usually reserved for sage editorials, the New York Times published Tom Morello’s ode to the radical Industrial Workers of the World and to Joe Hill, that union’s martyred troubadour. The Wobblies, as they were called, were the advocates of a militant, all-inclusive unionism and their songs—like “Solidarity Forever” and “Bread and Roses”—inspired tens of thousands in the industrial war they waged against the ruling class of America’s first Gilded Age. A couple days earlier, Bret Stephens, the conservative Times columnist, warned Democrats not to link their fortunes too closely to a revival of the labor movement, something he seems to take for granted. In support he recalled the militant coal mine strikes that nearly wrecked the British economy in the 1970s.