Baltimore has become what many consider to be ground zero in the emerging “solidarity economy” and the formation of worker-owned, cooperatively run businesses. There’s something important going on here, and there’s a lot that we can all learn from our fellow workers who are in the cooperative space—people who are living, breathing proof that there’s another way to run a business, that there's another way to run our economy, and that there are other ways we can treat work and workers. At a recent event hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Industry titled "Work Matters: Building a Worker-Owned Co-op," Max moderated a panel including workers and representatives from Common Ground Bakery Café, Taharka Bros Ice Cream, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, and the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED).
The crisis of mass incarceration is about more than the conduct of police officers—it’s a question of public expenditures, and how pouring taxpayer money into incarceration at the expense of other, more humanizing ventures takes a toll on society at large. As public schools and public health programs across the nation grapple with a host of preventable problems arising from underinvestment, state and local governments across the nation spend over $200 billion each year on prisons, jails, and police. Now, a new report from the Justice Policy Institute, “The Right Investment 2.0”, takes a detailed look at the “downward spiral” low-income, predominately Black and Brown communities across Maryland are forced into by this imbalance in public expenditures.
For decades, Baltimore has doled out tax breaks intended to spur development. But the increasing use of incentives has not been matched by scrutiny of how much they cost the city, and who is benefiting. State Senator Jill Carter intends to correct that imbalance with a bill she has introduced to study a variety of tax breaks in-depth, with the purpose of determining if their use is both equitable and cost effective. “I think it’s important that people pay attention to how much money is thrown out to wealthy developers with no accountability,” Carter said. The bill would authorize a task force to gather data and recommend processes to increase transparency and accountability for how tax breaks are used.
It was about to get dark. In the summer of 2003, Devin was 19 years old and living in West Baltimore with his mom and two brothers, just a few blocks away from the Western District Baltimore Police station. Every night around 9 or 10 p.m., Baltimore cops patrolled the area heavily. They drove in marked and unmarked cop cars searching for signs of disorder, ready to round up people for mass arrest. It was all part of a policing strategy introduced in the late ’90s called “zero tolerance.” “It always happened around sundown,” Devin told The Real News. “The police see you out with even just one or two people and they just looked at you and you knew they were gonna wild out.”
Baltimore has officially joined the growing list of over 100 U.S. municipalities advocating for a nationwide Medicare for All healthcare system. This significant endorsement, led by Democratic City Councilmembers Kristerfer Burnett and Odette Ramos, aligns Baltimore with major cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in supporting a federally funded universal healthcare program. Burnett expressed gratitude to advocates who have been instrumental in advancing these resolutions nationwide, highlighting the importance of accessible healthcare for thriving communities. Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., a local pastor, emphasized the critical need for healthcare as a right, especially for those facing tough choices like affording insulin or groceries.
Baltimore, Maryland - Shana Bainbridge, a white fifth grade teacher at the predominantly Black Glenmont Middle School in Baltimore, was unsure how she could meaningfully engage her students when her school’s administration challenged her to come up with a project to celebrate Black History Month. “Until we’re put to task to find out something new, we often don’t [learn] about our history,” Bainbridge said. “I thought that was really amazing how generations, not just my students, but the generations before them and the generations before them were able to share their stories and their impact on the world.”
Listen carefully nearby certain storm drains in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood, and you might be able to hear the echo of Sumwalt Run, flowing 30 to 40 feet below. The creek disappeared from Baltimore’s landscape in the early 20th century when the city built a new sewer system. Sumwalt Run became a concrete culvert, moving springwater and storm runoff through Baltimore’s sewers into its harbor. It’s one of dozens of “ghost rivers,” as local artist Bruce Willen calls them, in the city: buried streams that still “haunt” the urban landscape and its residents by contributing to downstream water pollution and flooding.
Baltimore, Maryland - South Baltimore is on a peninsula surrounded by water, highways and train tracks. It's mostly made up of residential row houses, small yards, schools, rec centers and parks. It's also often thought of as a place to avoid — folks are taught to be careful of or even avoid South Baltimore. There was a mass shooting this past July in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore, and another in early September. "People think Curtis Bay is a dangerous place. It's not. It's just we're surrounded by dangerous things," says Taysia Thompson, 17. Taysia is a part of a group of student activists fighting against a very different kind of danger in their neighborhood: air pollution and climate change.
The Black Alliance for Peace Baltimore Citywide Alliance strongly opposes the proposal for a new $330 million joint training facility for Baltimore’s police and fire departments on West Baltimore’s Coppin State University campus. The contradictions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) fostering growing relationships with the state are sharpened with this proposal on a campus with access to the Department of Defense 1033 program budgets, which transfers military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. Any potential existence of a joint training facility for a police department currently under a consent decree, that names violations of civil liberties, not only serves to create and sustain tensions negatively impacting the overall campus climate but the surrounding predominantly Black, working-class communities of West Baltimore.
Five days after Freddie Gray’s death, the Baltimore Sun (4/24/15) published on its website an interactive slideshow on his arrest, which it updated later that month as the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) added information. Audiences could click through a timeline of details of Gray’s long April 12, 2015, ride in a Baltimore police van, during which police reportedly made six stops before officers said they discovered their prisoner was unconscious. (Gray died on April 19, after a week in a coma.) The slideshow was almost entirely sourced from the statements given by BPD leaders during press conferences, without independent corroboration. In a new book, They Killed Freddie Gray: The Anatomy of a Police Brutality Cover-Up, I reveal extensive evidence that undermines most of what the Sun reported in its slideshow timeline. My book is sourced to discovery evidence from the prosecution of six officers that was never presented in court, internal affairs investigation files and more.
In a large yet intimate gathering seated around the projector in the middle of Baltimore’s NoMüNoMü gallery on Aug. 18, the Black Alliance for Peace- Baltimore and Malaya Baltimore held a discussion “From the Philippines to Baltimore: The Indo-Pacific Command, Neocolonialism, and You!” The event was part of BAP- Baltimore’s “Baltimore Summer School” series. Information handed out at the start of the event explained the exploitative nature of Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). APEC is a “neoliberal scheme called ‘free trade’ that makes it easy for… transnational corporations … by eliminating labor and environmental protections.”
Jake Urtes and Jonah Gallagher were getting ready to play a show in Brooklyn when they found out they had lost their jobs. The pair had taken the week off work for a short tour with their band, Shift Meal. To everyone’s surprise, their boss and owner of Common Ground Bakery Cafe, a long-established and beloved coffee shop in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, had abruptly shut down the shop. On the Common Ground internal Slack channel, workers read owner Michael Krupp’s brief message to all staff informing them that they wouldn’t need to come to work the next day, Monday, July 3.
Baltimore, MD—Do you know about the back story behind the U.S., U.K., and USSR signing the “Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water” in 1963? It is a very dramatic tale, involving illegal arrests in international waters, switching missions from one ship to another, children tasting nuclear fallout as it came down like snow—and it all began with Hiroshima. The atomic bomb which the U.S. dropped on that Japanese city on Aug. 6, 1945, caused Albert Bigelow to leave his military career as a Navy captain just before his date of retirement.
Baltimore, Maryland - Despite the cold weather, dozens of workers and their supporters picketed outside the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore in February, as they had been doing—and have continued to do—for months. The workers are demanding better wages and working conditions, which they say they are owed on principle—but also because of the heavy public subsidies their employer receives. Andre Eldridge Jr., who has worked at the Marriott Waterfront since 2017, said that many of his colleagues live paycheck to paycheck and have to take on second jobs to make ends meet. “That’s just crazy,” he told The Real News.
Baltimore, Maryland - For Baltimore-based childbirth educator and doula Ashlee Jaye Johnson, finding the right working space was crucial to give her startup the consistent effort it needed. It’s not so easy to find that with a child under 3 years old. “It would have been really expensive to send my child to a daycare or something like that,” Jaye Johnson says. The average cost of full time childcare for an infant in Baltimore City is upwards of $200 a week or $10,300 a year, according to the Maryland Family Network. “And also I just prefer for her to be closer to me.” But Jaye Johnson was already finding traction for her business, Birth Class in a Box.