Skip to content

Texas

The Radical Immigrant Farmers Who Helped Defeat The Robber Barons

“I was born in Fayette County, Texas, from German parents, and who fled from the reaction [to] the 1848 revolution. I think that I inherited some of my revolutionary qualifications. I am not responsible for them. I cannot help it.” So testified E.O. Meitzen before the Commission on Industrial Relations in March 1915 about why he involved himself in the political struggles of working farmers. At the time, Meitzen was a veteran leader of the Texas Socialist Party. Nearly thirty years earlier, his inheritance led him to help organize and lead the Fayette County Farmers’ Alliance. When the Farmers’ Alliance failed to bring relief to farmers, Meitzen joined the Populist revolt, becoming a statewide leader of the People’s Party. The Meitzen political legacy extended to E.O.’s children, in particular his son E.R., who was a leader successively in the Farmers’ Union, the Socialist Party, the Nonpartisan League and the Farm-Labor Union of America.

How Border Deployment Led To Union Organizing In Texas

When a group of Texas workers started discussing job problems and what to do about them a few months ago, their list of complaints would have been familiar to Starbucks baristas, Amazon warehouse staff, or restive young journalists at new and old media outlets. With little notice, their employer changed work schedules and transferred employees to a new job location. Some of those adversely affected applied for hardship waivers, based on family life disruption, but many requests were denied. Meanwhile, access to a major job benefit—tuition assistance—was sharply curtailed. Even paychecks were no longer arriving promptly or at the right address. When a few brave souls called attention to these problems, management labelled them “union agitators” who were trying to “mislead” their co-workers.

Texas: Progressive Student Union Wins Victory At Referendum

On April 4 and 5, the University of Texas at Arlington held its semester student elections. In addition to these elections was a referendum brought forth by the administration of UTA to justify raising tuition and fee costs related to the school. This fee increase would be a four-fold increase, from $39 per semester to $150, making it more expensive than most of the UT system schools student union fees. The caveat was that this fee increase would not take place until “significant construction” had been completed on the New UC. What had not been properly conveyed is that the UT Systems Board and UTA administration reached an agreement whereby the UT Systems would grant a loan to help construct this ‘New UC’ which would approximately cost $100 million – but with the collateral that the student union fee increase be tied to it via a referendum in order to begin paying back the New UC the moment of its technical completion. Progressive Student Union (PSU) kept an eye on the issue, and resolved to be the bulwark of the ‘No’ vote when the referendum came.

New Reports Allege Texas Oil And Gas Regulator’s Lax Enforcement

When a Canadian company started drilling for oil and gas near Jim and Sue Franklin’s ranch in a small Permian Basin town called Verhalen, Texas, it didn’t bother the couple too much at first. But Sue suspects that it was the third well that started causing problems. “They put up these big signs that said, ‘H2S gas, danger, keep out, blah blah blah,’” she says. The well was being drilled in what’s called a sour-gas field, an oil field that naturally has a high concentration of a deadly gas called hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The company promised the Franklins that the gas — which can cause headaches, irritate respiratory systems, and even be fatal in high concentrations — would never get into their home, despite the fact that it was barely a mile away.

Indigenous Leaders Pledge To Oppose New Enbridge Developments

On November 5, the Canadian oil company Enbridge announced that it plans to increase capacity on its pipeline system that connects a crude-oil storage hub in Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast, now that the Line 3 pipeline linking Alberta and Wisconsin is complete. The Carrizo Comecrudo and other Indigenous groups in the area, along with the Indigenous Environmental Network, have pledged to protect Indigenous sacred sites and oppose future pipeline developments.  Increasing capacity may include building a new pipeline linking the Houston area to the Port of Corpus Christi, more than 200 miles away. In October, Enbridge acquired the Ingleside Energy Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, the largest crude-exporting hub in the U.S. 

Texas Doctor Provided Abortion In Violation Of New Law

A Texas doctor has revealed that he recently performed an abortion in violation of the state's new controversial law that prohibits nearly all abortions after roughly six weeks into a pregnancy, arguing that he “had a duty of care to this patient.” Alan Braid, a San Antonio-based physician, wrote in an op-ed published by The Washington Post Saturday that on Sept. 6, just five days after the Texas abortion ban went into effect, that he “provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit.” Braid, who began his obstetrics and gynecology residency at a San Antonio hospital in 1972, said that during the year before abortion was recognized as a constitutional right in the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, he saw “three teenagers die from illegal abortions.”

Roe V. Wade In Grave Danger

A draconian Texas law banning abortions beyond around six weeks of pregnancy took effect at midnight after the conservative U.S. Supreme Court did not act to block it on Tuesday, a decision that could have major implications for reproductive rights across the country. While the Supreme Court could still grant an emergency request to suspend the law in the coming hours, the justices' decision to remain silent Tuesday allows Texas to begin implementing what rights groups have characterized as the most restrictive state-level abortion ban since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Abortion providers estimate that the measure could bar care for "at least 85% of Texas abortion patients."

Governor Signs Law To Stop Teachers From Talking About Racism

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed one of his party’s top legislative priorities into law: a bill aimed at stopping teachers from talking about racism and any current events that may be contentious. The legislation, supported by virtually every GOP state legislator, states that social studies teachers in public K-12 schools “may not be compelled” to talk about current events or public policy or social issues considered controversial. If they do talk about such things, they are required to present the issue “without giving deference to any one perspective.” The law specifies all the things that social studies teachers aren’t allowed to talk about. They can’t make it part of a course to talk about the concept that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”

Hunger Strike Exposes Biden’s Drive To Increase US Oil Exports

The Biden administration claims to care about the climate crisis but it is currently allowing a dredging project to proceed in the Matagorda shipping channel to open the way for crude oil exports in Texas. Not only will this drive a surge in oil extraction, but it will also increase mercury pollution by digging in a Superfund site left by the aluminum company, Alcoa. The project will decimate the struggling local fishing industry. To stop this project, veteran activist and shrimper, Diane Wilson has been on a hunger strike since April 7. Clearing the FOG speaks with Diane about her current hunger strike and her long fight to protect the waters in her area.

Diane Wilson In Hunger Strike To Protect Matagorda Bay

Legendary environmenal activist Diane Wilson has been called “an unreasonable woman.” As a shrimper, Diane learned firsthand about tremendous pollution damaging the waters near her hometown of Port Lavaca and fought to defend the Bay from Formosa and Alcoa, major chemical companies. In 2019, Diane was plaintiff to a court case brought against Formosa on account of the shocking amount of plastic pollution – called nurdles – that Diane found littered around the Bay. That case resulted in a $50 million settlement against the company that is being used for environmental projects. Now, as of May 5th, Diane is on Day 29 of a hunger strike protesting the dredging of the Matagorda Ship Channel, a channel first dredged in the 1960s to provide a means for ships to travel between the Gulf of Mexico and the industry along Lavaca Bay.

US Army Corps Of Engineers Permit Big Oil To Dredge Mercury-Contaminated Matagorda Bay

Texas shrimper, fisherwoman and internationally known environmentalist Diane Wilson is on Day 22 of her hunger strike to gain national solidarity and publicity for pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its permit for big oil to dredge a channel in mercury laden Matagorda Bay, Texas.  The dredged channel would allow massive oil tankers into the bay to take on crude oil that will be exported from the U.S. “I am risking my life to stop the reckless destruction of my community. Oil and gas export terminals like the project I am fighting pollute our air, water, and climate — only to pad the pockets of fossil fuel CEOs,” said Diane Wilson. “The Biden Administration needs to stop the dredging and stop oil and gas exports.”

72-Year-Old Fisher Hunger Strikes For Crude Oil Export Ban

Texas - Seventy-two-year-old, fourth-generation retired shrimper Diane Wilson has been without food for 16 days. Her 1995 red Chevy, nicknamed “Rosie,” has become a mobile campsite, and each morning she posts up on a causeway at the waterfront of Texas’ Lavaca Bay, expending just enough energy to switch out a sign displaying the number of days she’s been on hunger strike and drape a banner off the side of the truck blaring the message: “STOP THE DREDGING. STOP OIL EXPORT.” She hopes her hunger strike will draw enough attention to pressure the Biden administration stop Houston-based oil and gas firm Max Midstream’s plans to invest $360 million to deepen and widen the Matagorda Ship Channel by 2023.

Portraits Of Houston’s Black Urban Farmers

Texas is home to more Black farmers than any state. The USDA's Census of Agriculture estimated in 2017 that of the 3.4 million farmers in the United States, roughly 48,000 are Black, and nearly a quarter of them are located in the Lone Star State.  The number of Black folks sinking their hands into Texas soil, however, used to be much larger. The early 1900s witnessed the terrors of Jim Crow, which ran Black families in Texas off of their own land. The societal and business practices of the 1950s didn't allow Black farmers access to the fields and credit necessary to keep their farms afloat, and by the 1980s, an estimated 170 farms a week were being forced into foreclosure, most of them Black-owned. 

Saving Ourselves: Autonomous Disaster Relief In Texas

On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak with participants in autonomous groups across Texas, including Cooperation Denton, Stop the Sweeps in Austin, Mutual Aid Houston, Houston Tenants Union, and North Texas Rural Resilience. The first in a two part series, this episode discusses the devastating storms which rocked Texas and the Southwest and the context that the “big freeze” happened within: from anti-Black police violence and attacks on the homeless community, to widespread neoliberal policies that left infrastructure and housing stock dilapidated and on the verge of collapse.

Texas County Got Rid Of Cash Bail For Minor Crimes

Eager to resolve a federal civil rights lawsuit, Texas' most populous county over the past two years has stopped requiring most people accused of low-level crimes from putting up cash to get out of jail on bond. Tens of thousands of people accused of misdemeanors not involving some specific circumstances, like domestic abuse or previous bond violations, have been freed without cost while awaiting trial. Letting them out does not appear to increase the chances they will be arrested for new crimes, according to researchers who have been tracking changes made to the Harris County misdemeanor bail system. In fact, the percentage of defendants arrested for new crimes within a year of their original arrest went down after the county changed its bail practices.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.