As the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a standstill in March 2020, a peculiar trend popped up in multiple cities: People started hanging white sheets out of their windows. With April rent coming due alongside record unemployment numbers, the white flags became a protest symbol for struggling tenants on the verge of a rent strike. The symbol spread online and eventually showed up in Chicago, Brooklyn, and New Orleans, according to reporting from CNN. The rent crisis also led to a rise in tenant unions, with tenants-turned-housing-activists in Oakland and San Francisco successfully organizing multi-month rent strikes that resulted in impressive wins. Despite the threat of eviction and potential economic and legal fallout, ordinary people, acting out of necessity, engaged in a collective act of defiance.
The grandly named Summit of the Americas is due to be held in Los Angeles next month, if the Biden administration can decide who to invite and what to talk about if they turn up. As things stand, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina, Honduras and most of the Caribbean states have said they will not attend if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are not included. Although Biden no longer calls them the ‘troika of tyranny’ like Trump did, the governments of these three countries are still ostracized by Washington. But in Latin America, Biden’s threat to exclude them from the party has not gone down well. While it might be Washington’s turn to host the summit, the invitation list is supposed to include every state in the two continents, regardless of political disposition.
On February 4, the 2022 Winter Olympics are set to open in Beijing. With this, the Chinese capital will become the first city to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Games. It will also make the People’s Republic of China the first country in the Global South ever to host the Winter Olympics, which have historically been dominated by Europe and North America (home to the top 14 countries in the all-time medal table). China remains the only Asian host nation in history besides Japan and South Korea. These milestones have gone almost entirely unremarked-upon in Western media coverage leading up to the Games, which instead paints China as a uniquely “authoritarian” and therefore undeserving host.
Around 500 Palestinians currently incarcerated in Israel under the illegal policy of administrative detention have been boycotting Israeli military courts to protest their detention since January 1. The detainees have since refused to appear for court hearings and sessions regarding the approval or renewal of their administrative detention orders. They are also boycotting appeal hearings, including those in higher courts. According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups, among those participating in the boycott are three minors and one woman. All of them are being detained without charge or trial by the Israeli authorities. Detainees in several prisons and detention centers in Israel launched this novel form of protest against the illegal administrative detention policy on January 1.
Amazon’s size and power place the corporation at the very center of the crises of climate breakdown and economic inequality that grip our planet. The growth of CEO Jeff Bezos’s astronomical wealth — up $100 billion since March, now surpassing that of any other human in history — is directly proportional to Amazon’s human and environmental costs: his corporation mistreats its workers, wrecks the climate, and undermines the public institutions underpinning our democracies along the way. Taking on Amazon, therefore, will require more than curbing Jeff Bezos’s personal wealth or calling for corporate social responsibility. It will require a global movement that is organized along every dimension of Amazon’s expanding empire: for workers, for peoples, and for the planet.
Planning documents for the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit shed new light on the agenda behind the controversial food summit that hundreds of farmers’ and human rights groups are boycotting. The groups say agribusiness interests and elite foundations are dominating the process to push through an agenda that would enable the exploitation of global food systems, and especially Africa. The documents, including a background paper prepared for summit dialogues and a draft policy brief for the summit, bring into focus “plans for the massive industrialization of Africa’s food systems,” said Mariam Mayet, executive director of the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), who provided the documents to U.S. Right to Know. The dialogues “are deaf and blind to the converging systemic crises we face today, and the drastic urgent re-think it demands,” ACB said in a statement.
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama have been voting on joining RWDSU for the last month. If they are successful, they would be the first Amazon employees in the United States to join a union. Their campaign has garnered support from across the country. UCOMM previously reported on Teamsters driving from Boston to support the effort. The NFLPA has released a video supporting the organizing effort, actor Danny Glover came down to Bessemer to meet with the workers, and even President Joe Biden has weighed in. Josh Brewer, the lead organizer on the campaign, told the Prospect that many people in the community are extremely supportive of the organizing effort. “Everyone in the community is cheering us on. It’s been that way since we got here. We’ve had local people bring food and chocolate and coffee to the organizers. When I look at the notes that organizers send me, they tell me that workers are telling them, ‘It’s my grandfather I’m hearing from.
Four organizations are taking a stand against UF’s official food service provider to protest its use of prison labor. The Gainesville Chapter of the Dream Defenders, UF NAACP, the UF Black Student Union and the Coalition to Abolish Prison Slavery at UF launched a monetary boycott against Aramark, the food service giant, Tuesday. The goal is to pressure the university to contract a new food supplier that doesn’t use prison labor, Dream Defenders member Ava Kaplan wrote in an email. UF Graduate Assistants United also announced its support for the Reitz Union Boycott Thursday through a Facebook post. Aramark has been UF’s official food provider since 1995...
Lobster is a major commodity and popular dish in Atlantic Canada, but there’s now a growing list of restaurants taking the succulent shellfish off its menu. The removal of lobster dishes is a move to show solidarity with the Mi’kmaq and to condemn the ongoing violence stemming from the lobster dispute in Digby county. Dartmouth cocktail and wine bar Dear Friends boasts a hyper-local menu with seafood options, but you won’t find its popular lobster rolls on the menu right now. Co-owner Matt Boyle says lobster is off the menu as long as the ongoing lobster dispute continues between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in lobster hot-spot St. Mary’s Bay, located in southwest Nova Scotia.
Earlier this fall, we launched our No Dough for the Occupation campaign to pressure General Mills to stop producing Pillsbury products in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last month, our campaign coalition—which includes the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, and others—held its first day of action to coincide with General Mills’ annual shareholder meeting. The day before the meeting, on the United Nations International Day of Peace, protesters gathered in front of General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis, chanting “No Dough for the Occupation”...
The British Trades Union Congress has condemned Israel’s annexation plan, calling it “another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid” in the West Bank. Passed on Tuesday, the motion is thought to be the first time the British trade union umbrella body has described Israeli policies as apartheid. The TUC motion calls for the UK to “take firm and decisive measures, including sanctions” against Israel to stop annexation, end the occupation and respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return. It also called for unions around the world to join the campaign “to stop annexation and end apartheid.”
Future climate scenarios are not only in the hands of state and corporate leaders; they depend upon the extent to which climate movement activists’ current political philosophies, analyses, strategies, tactics, and alliances either weaken or strengthen the prevailing balance of forces. The most important barrier to reducing climate change remains Washington’s philosophy, crudely expressed in 1992 when President George H. W. Bush told the Rio Earth Summit, “The American way of life is not up for negotiations” (Deen 2012). In the same spirit, the Donald Trump administration removed the US from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017 on the grounds that compliance will be too expensive for the world’s largest economy (Trump 2017).
Brazil's environment is under siege, as President Jair Bolsonaro has approved hundreds of new toxic pesticides this year and gutted watchdog environment agencies. Among the many dreadful results, news reports indicate that between December 2018 and March 2019, Brazilian beekeepers found more than 500 million dead bees. As the Amazon burns, Indigenous activists are calling on the world to help, and Beyond Pesticides is responding by promoting a boycott started by a Swedish Supermarket owner: #BoycottBrazilianFood. The Amazon rainforest is the world's biggest terrestrial carbon sink, and home both to the planet's richest biodiversity and approximately 400 indigenous tribes. The country has 2300 pesticides registered for use; a total of 290 new toxic pesticides have been approved as of late August 2019.
Walmart could suddenly become a whole lot less busy this back-to-school shopping season. The American Federation of Teachers, the nation's largest teachers union, is threatening to boycott the giant retailer if it continues to sell guns. The labor group also wants Walmart to stop making financial contributions to politicians who oppose gun control. "If Walmart continues to provide funding to lawmakers who are standing in the way of gun reform, teachers and students should reconsider doing their back-to-school shopping at your stores," AFT president Randi Weingarten wrote in an Aug. 7 letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.