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Social Movements

Biden Memos Show Palestine Advocacy Is Working

For a very long time, Palestinians and those in solidarity with them in the United States have faced mounting frustration. The work is hard, victories are rare, and they often seem very small against the setbacks and the ongoing loss of life and general misery that Israel brings to the lives of every Palestinian under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. If that is a more or less permanent feeling for many, it is more acute than ever now and for the past five months. We mobilize, we agitate, we protest, we argue, we shout, and not only does Israel’s genocide in Gaza continue, but U.S. President Joe Biden does everything he can to maintain both material and political support for it.

Bolivia: A Judicial Coup

On Monday, January 22nd, the poor in Bolivia set up road blockades. That day marks the fifteenth anniversary of a great step in human dignity called the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The blockaders resisted police aggression for nearly 2 weeks. The closure of the roads had only one objective: To stop a judicial coup that aims to dismantle a range of collective rights enshrined in the 2009 Constitution, a spectacular constitution that was born of the thirty-six; original and indigenous nations including the Quechua, Mojeña, and Aymara, whose organizing changed modern history. The United Nations declared itself on the side of the blockaders.

Global Tapestry Of Alternatives: Weaving Transformative Connections

Proactive responses to the multiple crises the world faces—ecological, socio-cultural, political, economic, spiritual—are widespread and diverse. They range from movements of resistance to the dominant ecologically destructive and socially inequitable model of “development” that has been imposed across the world, to people’s initiatives at constructing or sustaining ways of life that meet human needs and aspirations without despoiling the earth and exacerbating inequalities. They are emerging from Indigenous Peoples and other rural communities, from urban neighborhoods, from both the Global South and Global North, from both marginalized sections and the privileged elite.1

President Petro Denounces Attempt Of Institutional Rupture And Coup

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, denounced the attempt of a “serious rupture of institutional order,” referring to the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office against him, which he called unconstitutional. Petro decried that the Colombian Attorney General’s Office has opted for disruption of institutional order to remove him from the presidency. “They have decided to break the institutional order. As the president of the republic, I must warn the world of the mafia that has taken over the Attorney General’s Office, and I must ask the people for maximum mobilization,” the Colombian president wrote on social media.

Argentine Court Invalidates President Milei’s Labor Reform

On Tuesday, the National Chamber of Labor Appeals declared the constitutional invalidity of the labor reform included by President Javier Milei in the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) signed in December. During a press conference at the Pink House, Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni said that Milei will appeal this decision at all necessary levels, including the Supreme Court. "The reform is essential to create employment, for companies to hire, and to have a much more friendly labor market for both parties," he said, attempting to justify a pro-corporations proposal that has been strongly rejected by the population on the streets.

The Return Of The Guatemalan Spring, Update 1

Guatemala’s new president Bernardo Arévalo was inaugurated on January 14. But it did not come off without a hitch. Outgoing opposition lawmakers did their best to try to stymie the swearing-in of Arévalo and some of his party members. Arévalo’s supporters rallied in Guatemala City. As we looked at in Episode 2, Bernardo Arévalo is the son of Guatemala’s first democratic leader Juan José Arévalo, who ushered in the Guatemalan Spring. Bernardo Arévalo has promised to lift Guatemala once again, but… even after winning the election, he faced constant legal maneuvers, led by the attorney general, that aimed to overturn the results and block his inauguration.

Davos Elites Talk About Rebuilding Trust; People Talk Of System Change

With war threatening to escalate in the Middle East, as well as crises in Ecuador and many other parts of the world, most people are not even aware that the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is rolling around again this week. In the context of sharpening inequalities, and perilous global politics, what relevance does this gathering have outside the elite bubble? The Forum’s annual Global Risks Report itself posits misinformation, societal polarization, extreme weather conditions, conflict, and rising cost of living among the key risks to the global economy this year. What the WEF has failed to define is that for many, the coming year does not bring the threat of multiple crises.

Ralph Poynter Used His Strong Voice And Stout Heart To Fight For Justice

Ralph Poynter was the son of a union organizer. His family was located in the Pittsburgh area, which was a major steel producer at that time. He graduated from Duquesne University with a master’s degree in music education. Grounded in union principles, he joined the United Federation of Teachers, UFT, when he began working at P.S. 175 in Harlem as a 5th-grade substitute teacher in the mid-1960s. It was at the time when the struggle for community control of the city’s public schools first erupted. Community school boards throughout the city were attempting to exercise their control of the teaching staff to reflect the needs of the children in their communities.

Answering The Call

First, what is strategy, and why does anyone need it? Aren’t social movements all about taking action to create change? Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce, who teach at CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies, tackle this question head-on. “How do oppressed people, facing far stronger opponents, sometimes win?” The key to an underdog’s success, they argue, is strategy. While long-term planning comes naturally to the wealthy and powerful, strategy is even more important for the dispossessed to achieve their goals. Yet if the stories of the less powerful are rarely told, their strategies are even harder to trace.

Lessons From One Unequal Society To Another

This past Sunday, Chileans voted once again on a new constitution, opting to reject — for the second time in two years — an attempt at constitutional revision. Rejecting a highly conservative text, voters chose to keep the dictatorship-era constitution for the time being. A political saga that began amid immense hope has now devolved into a dismal disarray that’s left countless Chileans tired and frustrated. Here in the United States, we face an equally bleak political outlook. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 25 percent of U.S. adults feel that neither of the nation’s two major parties represents them adequately enough. Some 63 percent of Americans express little to no confidence in the future of our political system.

On Human Rights Day; The US Is The Greatest Violator Of Human Rights

As the international community celebrates December 10th as International Human Rights Day, it is imperative that the world also affirm that violators of the fundamental human rights of peoples and nations will be held accountable. From the war in Ukraine to mass incarceration of Black, Latino and Native Peoples in the U.S. to Obama’s ongoing war in Yemen to murderous economic sanctions, coups, assassinations, war and abandonment of Afghanistan, international arms sales, commodification of COVID vaccines, illegal military occupations in Syria and Iraq, the pending invasion of Haiti and the resource wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that have cost over six million lives.

A Word On The Meaning Of Political Self-Empowerment For Our Movement

Frank Chapman wrote this statement to call for unity in struggle by Black, Latino and working-class communities. Chicago saw great victories earlier in 2023 through a united front under a Black and Latino leadership, with the first-in-the-country elections for democratic civilian oversight of the police, and the election as mayor of a trade unionist, Brandon Johnson. Johnson defeated a racist who was backed by the Fraternal Order of the Police, Paul Vallas. Vallas is known in Chicago history for introducing neo-liberal policies, which included major attacks on funding for public schools. 90% of Chicago Public School students are Black and Latino.

Protests Mark One Year Anniversary Of Coup Regime In Peru

December 7, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary of the US backed right-wing parliamentary coup that ousted democratically elected president Pedro Castillo Terrones. The past 364 days have been some of the bloodiest, most repressive, and tumultuous in recent Peruvian history and the blood continues to be spilled. The US-backed Boluarte regime, led by the Fujimorista right-wing Congress, now has the blood of over 100 martyrs on its hands, with thousands severely injured, imprisoned, and tortured, and many more disappeared. There has yet to be justice in any of these cases as the prosecutor’s office becomes mired in corruption charges and telenovela-styled backstabbing between the executive power, the judicial powers, and members of Congress.

Think #MeToo Didn’t Make A Real Difference? Think Again

What difference did #MeToo actually make? In 2017 and 2018, the viral hashtag became a global sensation that motivated millions to speak out about sexual assault and harassment. But more recently, critics have questioned whether the flurry of activity ended up leaving much of a legacy. This questioning is hardly surprising. If there is one thing that is most consistent when it comes to mass protest movements, it is that these mobilizations will be dismissed by mainstream political observers as being fleeting and inconsequential. Time and again, they are labeled as fads, scolded for being too “confrontational and divisive,” and written off as flash-in-the-pan eruptions with little lasting significance.

The Rise Of The New McCarthyism In The United States

A new era of McCarthyism is rising in the United States and impacting journalists and media outlets around the world. Fabricated charges and economic sanctions being used to target free speech and press freedom are creating a hostile environment for those who challenge and expose people in power. This is a critical time to understand the attacks on our right to know and what tools are available for both media and advocates to fight back. To provide a greater understanding of what is happening, the US Peace Council hosted a webinar on Sunday, November 12 called "The Rise of the New McCarthyism in the United States." Speakers included experts in law, history and social movements.
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