Thousands Rally Against Duterte 'Dictatorship'

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By Manuel Mogato and Roli Ng for Reuters. MANILA (Reuters) – Thousands of Filipinos rallied on Thursday to denounce Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and warn of what they called an emerging dictatorship, in a major show of dissent against the controversial but hugely popular leader. Politicians, indigenous people, priests, businessmen, and left-wing activists held marches and church masses accusing Duterte of authoritarianism and protesting at policies including a ferocious war on drugs that has killed thousands. Signs saying “Stop The Killings” and “No To Martial Rule” reflected fears that Duterte would one day deliver on his threat to declare nationwide military rule like that imposed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Democratic Ownership And The Pluralist Commonwealth

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By Gar Alperovitz for Truth Out – On September 19, 1977 — a day remembered locally as “Black Monday” — the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill’s doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and their futures. The mill’s closing was national news, one of the first major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring, and “free trade” that has since made mass layoffs commonplace. What was not commonplace was the response of the steelworkers and the local community. “You feel the whole area is doomed somehow,” Donna Slaven, the wife of a laid-off worker, told reporters at the time. “If this can happen to us, there is not a secure union job in the country.” Rather than leave the fate of their community in the hands of corporate executives in New York, New Orleans, and Washington DC, the workers began to organize and resist. And they joined with a new coalition of priests, ministers, and rabbis — headed by a Catholic and an Episcopal bishop — to build support for a new way forward. I was called in to head up an economic team to help. Working together, the steelworkers, the ecumenical coalition, and our team put forward a bold proposal to re-open the mill under worker–community ownership.

Texas Is Flooded Because Our Democracy Is, Too

Port Arthur, Texas underwater (SC National Guard / Flickr)

By Basav Sen for Other Words – Our culture of legalized bribery makes climate disasters more likely, but there’s an alternative. “It’s flooding down in Texas,” goes the old song. “All of the telephone lines are down.” With apologies to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there’s a lot more down in Texas than telephone lines now. Power lines are down, homes are destroyed, and cities sit underwater. Dozens have died. For me, this is personal. I worried intensely about friends and family in Houston and Corpus Christi. Thankfully all are safe, but it’s been jarring to see photos of places I know underwater. Every time I check the news I recognize familiar places from the long drive from Houston to Corpus I’ve made numerous times. There’s another unforgettable sight I often recall from that drive. In Taft, Texas, as you’re nearing Corpus — a major refinery town — over the horizon comes a huge wind farm. What does this juxtaposition of refineries and wind farms have to do with the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey?

Neo-Nazis And The Rise Of Illiberal Democracy

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By Henry Giroux for TruthDig. While Trump finally gave way to overwhelming pressure on Monday and delivered a speech in which he asserted that “racism is evil” and described the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “repugnant,” by Tuesday he had already reverted to his initial assertion of “blame on both sides,” equating neo-Nazis with anti-racist counter-protesters (whom he labelled as the “alt-left”) and speaking of “very fine people” among the crowd of right-wing extremists who chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans on Friday night. The authoritarian drama unfolding across the United States has many registers and includes state violence against immigrants, right-wing populist violence against mosques and synagogues, and attacks on Muslims, Black people and others who do not fit into the vile script of white nationalism. The violence in Charlottesville is but one register of a larger mirror of domestic terrorism and home-grown fascism that is growing in the United States.

Why American Politics Can’t Be Reformed

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By Robert Urie for Counterpunch. The dominant political parties in the U.S. have assumed absolute control over electoral processes at a time when the power of concentrated wealth has been solidified. The result is an all or nothing political process where who it is that perpetuates this system of upward distribution is the only open question. For those who forgot, Bill and Hillary Clinton attended Donald Trump’s wedding and they consider each other ‘friends.’ The food-fight over ‘Russian interference’ is political theater for gullible loyalists, I mean an outrageous assault on our sacred democratic institutions. A central challenge for reformers is that ‘the world,’ including the dispossessed plurality within the U.S., doesn’t have another fifty years to work current political dysfunction out. A political system that can only support the upward distribution of social resources at ever-rising social costs will fail more people at an increasing rate. As fact and metaphor, Barack Obama’s program to combat global warming was insufficient on its face and a cynical dodge when combined with his program (TPP) to give corporations the ability to override environmental regulations aimed at resolving it.

Former CIA Intelligence Analyst Says Whistleblowers Are Vital To A Transparent Democracy

Without whistleblowers, investigative journalism is not possible, says ex-CIA analyst and author Melvin Goodman. (Image: wildpixel / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Mark Karlin for Truthout – Melvin A. Goodman: I spent 24 years at the CIA as a Soviet analyst in the directorate of intelligence. I was not drawn to the agency by idealism, but by a fascination with the incredible repository of intelligence that is held within the entire community. I received an early introduction to this collection as a US Army cryptographer in the 1950s. There have been many intelligence failures over the past 70 years since the creation of the CIA, but virtually all of them have been due to analytical failures, either politicization of intelligence from above (e.g., missing the decline of the Soviet Union; Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) or simply poor analytic tradecraft (e.g., October War of 1973; 9/11 attacks; Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968). These failures were not due to inadequate collection. In fact, the collection of intelligence was sufficient to prevent every one of these failures, including 9/11. If I had been more idealistic then, perhaps I would have paid more attention to the CIA’s role in the conduct of covert action, particularly the illegal and immoral activities prior to my entry into the CIA, including the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, the attempt to assassinate Lumumba in the Congo, and the efforts to overthrow Castro in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Building The Networked City From The Ground Up With Citizens

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By Bianca Pick for Oui Share Magazine – One key point is access to housing. The government is not only tracking down big banks that leave apartments empty but also confronting platforms like Airbnb whose business model has a negative impact on affordable housing. Another big theme is energy transition and renewable energy. Barcelona wants to create a municipal energy company to fight the current monopoly. We are also looking into more distributed energy models, like smart grids, models that are more affordable and which allow citizens to be in control of their data. We are also rethinking urban planning with projects like the SuperBlocks (Superilles). Aimed at giving back public spaces to citizens, they were created in a very innovative process with a digital democracy platform for large-scale citizen participation. Opening the debate brought many great ideas, but it also showed us the complicated aspect of participation. There were many conflicting interests and it was learning by doing in an iterative way. Finally, instead of working only with big companies as governments typically do, we are also rethinking the economic model to support new economies like the solidarity, collaborative and digital economy.

Democracy Protests Continue In Hong Kong

Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017 AP

By Sarah Karacs for Independent – Storm clouds loomed over Hong Kong as tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets, giving way to a downpour as the day wore on that deterred many from joining the throngs of dissent. With last year’s protest at 110,000, as estimated by organisers Civil Rights Fronts, this year saw a reported 60,000 take to the streets, on a day that coincided with the end of the contentious three-day visit of China’s state leader Xi Jinping. Police calculate the number as being significantly lower, at a paltry 14,500. The protest, which saw participants of all ages march through the bustling streets of a city campaigning for universal suffrage and against the degradation of civil liberties, comes as Hong Kong marks its 20th anniversary since it was returned to China from British colonial rule. It has also coincided with the inauguration of new chief executive Carrie Lam, who is seen by detractors as a puppet to Beijing. The news that Nobel prize winner and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is terminally ill and has only recently been granted medical parole has been another source of discontent. The bad weather, and – according to organisers – anxiety around safety in an increasingly fraught political climate, meant turnout here on Saturday was much lower than the hundreds of thousands in previous years.

Authoritarianism Is Making A Comeback

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By Maria J. Stephan and Timothy Snyder for The Guardian. It is time for those who support democracy to remember what activists from around the world have paid a price to learn: how to win. Modern authoritarians rely on repression, intimidation, corruption and co-optation to consolidate their power. The dictator’s handbook mastered by Orban in Hungary, Erdogan in Turkey, Maduro in Venezuela, Zuma in South Africa, Duterte in the Philippines and Trump here provides the traditional tactics: attack journalists, blame dissent on foreigners and “paid protestors,” scapegoat minorities and vulnerable groups, weaken checks on power, reward loyalists, use paramilitaries, and generally try to reduce politics to a question of friends and enemies, us and them.

Head Of National Nurses Encourages Sanders To Start A People’s Party

Sanders speaking at People's Summit

By Medea Benjamin for CODE PINK. NNU’s RoseAnn DeMoro looked directly at the Draft Bernie people in the audience of the Peoples Summit and grinned. “We’re going to take a few questions but I want to thank all the Draft Bernie people here,” she said. Then came the zinger. “I’m with you,” she added, as she turned around to look at Bernie and his wife. Then she pivoted back to the audience, “Nurses, are we with them?” As they roared their approval, DeMoro turned to Sanders again. “I always say: ‘heroes aren’t made, they’re cornered.” I don’t think most people in the audience realized the potential significance of the DeMoro’s endorsement. Her union has about 150,000 members and spent about $1 million on the Sanders campaign. It’s one of only six national unions that backed Bernie Sanders for president. Under DeMoro’s leadership, the nurses have become heavyweights in the progressive world, championing everything from universal single payer healthcare to a Wall Street tax to pay for free college education. Just imagine if DeMoro could get her whole union to back a new party, and leverage that to get other unions and progressive institutions on board.

Newsletter: Corbyn Teaches To Embrace Change We Need

Corbyn For the Many Not the Few

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The shocking election result in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives losing their majority and the creation of a hung Parliament; and Jeremy Corbyn being more successful than any recent Labor candidate – cutting a 20 point Theresa May lead down to a near tie – gives hope to many that the global shift to the right, fueled by the failures of governments to meet the basic needs of their population and growing economic insecurity, may be ending. Corbyn is a lifelong activist (as you will see in the photos below), whose message and actions have been consistent. He presented a platform directed at ending austerity and the wealth divide and was openly anti-war. There are a lot of lessons for the Labor Party in the UK from this election but there are also lessons for people in the United States. We review what happened and consider the possibilities for creating transformative change in the United States.

How Media Consolidation Threatens Democracy: 857 Channels (And Nothing On)

Vice President Al Gore speaks as President Bill Clinton looks on during an informal discussion with parents and children in Alexandria, Virginia on Feb. 9, 1996. Clinton had signed the Telecommunications Act the previous day. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By John Light for Moyers & Company – Earlier this week, we wrote about a pending deal between Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. Sinclair hopes to buy Tribune, a move that will allow the company to broadcast news to 70 percent of Americans. But the deal has raised eyebrows. The company is notoriously close with Trump, and also favored George W. Bush when he was president. The company’s DC office produces conservative commentary and news segments that paint Republicans in a favorable light, and distributes them to local stations around the country. Some worry that Sinclair hopes to create a competitor to Fox News, operating out of local television stations across America. If the deal does go through — anti-trust regulators and the FCC will have to approve it — it will only have been possible because earlier this year, Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai relaxed rules preventing media consolidation. Like much the FCC deals with — net neutrality, internet privacy — media consolidation is a dull-sounding topic that is nonetheless very important. It has a direct hand in the quality of American journalism, and it dictates how accountable that journalism is to its audience.

The Left Radical Who Will Likely Be Jackson, Mississippi’s Next Mayor

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By Kate Aronoff for In These Times. The city of Jackson, in the heart of staunchly Republican Mississippi, might seem an unlikely place for a municipal revolution. Yet Jackson’s radicalism has been forged in the crucible of massive disinvestment, both by private industry and by a conservative state legislature. Led by the Black nationalist organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, organizers in Jackson have backed experiments in everything from worker-owned businesses to participatory, neighborhood-by-neighborhood democracy. A leader of this movement, Jackson Councilman Chokwe Lumumba, helped start people’s assemblies in the city, inviting residents to hash out the kinds of changes they want to see. He was elected mayor in 2013, only to pass away months later. In an effort to carry on his father’s legacy, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 33, ran to succeed his father and lost. Now, with his second run, he hopes to continue the work his father began.

South Korea’s Likely Next President Warns US Not To Meddle In Nation’s Democracy

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By Jason Ditz for Anti-War – The split between Moon and Trump is so dramatic, in fact, that Moon has felt the need to publicly warn the US against “meddling” in the nation’s politics, not just directly in the election itself, but also with policy decisions made in the lead-up to the election. Indeed, Moon and his allies warn that the biggest problem is the US rushing through measures in the lame-duck government ahead of the election, noting that agreements on things like the THAAD anti-missile system, and then hastily putting the system in place before any public hearings or environmental assessments were allowed to take place. Analysts even suggest that President Trump’s talk of making South Korea pay for THAAD might help Moon,, because he is seen as more likely to stand up to the US on the deployment, and doesn’t feel particularly wedded to any agreements on the deployment, which were made in the post-impeachment, pre-election environment specifically to avoid real political debate.

Mass Protests In Venezuela, On Both Sides

Protests against Nicolas Mduro in Caracas April 20, 2017

By Lucas Koerner for Venezueal Analysis. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of the capital Wednesday in massive pro and anti-government rallies marking the country’s independence day. Thousands of red-clad supporters of President Nicolas Maduro mobilized in four separate marches that culminated in a mass rally along Bolivar Avenue in downtown Caracas. “I am here to support the Revolution… because I love my country, I’m a Chavista in the flesh and I support Chavez and Maduro, and I want that to be heard in the US, Europe and the rest of the world so they can’t say this is a show, that we don’t have numbers, that we’re paid to be here. No, this is real,” one marcher told Venezuelanalysis.