Monday, October 8, 2018

Honor the Indigenous Communities Leading the Way in the Fight for Climate Justice

When Christopher Columbus landed on Turtle Island, which we now call North America, he brought with him a goal of making profit—of taking from  the land and people to create commerce. Today, approximately 526 years later, that same pillaging continues to drive our planet further into the climate crisis and lead us into ecological collapse. Instead of honoring the violent colonization Columbus represents, we should use this day to call for truth and reconciliation—and honor the Indigenous communities at the forefront of efforts to heal the long-lasting environmental harm Columbus and his ilk have wrought.

Our Planet and Our Lives Are Worth More Than Their Profits!

Not surprisingly, the IPCC’s special report on global warming of up to 1.5°C confirms that the impacts of anthropogenic climate change are formidable and have been underestimated, both socially and environmentally.

The 1°C warming we are already experiencing is enough to cause major tragedies: unprecedented heat waves, hurricanes, flooding, glacier and ice-cap dislocation. These give an idea of what awaits us if human warming is not stopped as soon as possible. Disaster is no longer preventable, but it is still possible and necessary to limit it as much as possible.
The report leaves no doubt: a warming of 2°C would have much more serious consequences than the 1.5°C warming included in the Paris Agreement (under pressure from small island states, the least developed countries, scientists and the climate movement). According to recent research, the threshold of a “hothouse planet” could even been triggered at 2°C. Every effort must be made to ensure that this limit of 1.5°C maximum is respected.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tropical Forests Are Flipping From Storing Carbon to Releasing It

Illegal logging and land seizures are driving this ominous yet overlooked scientific trend.

It wasn’t until heavily armed men arrived from across the river that Cláudio José da Silva realized who was bankrolling the latest episode of illegal logging. His bare chest traced with blue-black lines of body paint, da Silva is a member of the Guajajara people in eastern Brazil, one of the country’s largest indigenous groups. Their side of the Carú River is pristine Amazon rain forest. Across the river, the rain forest has been razed and replaced by cattle ranches and farms. On paper, the Guajajaras’ nearly 700 square miles of rain forest are protected as federally recognized indigenous territory. In reality, the group lives under constant threat of theft and violence. Just the day before, da Silva’s self-defense force, the Guardians of the Forest, caught the local sheriff’s son using cattle to drag lumber from their forest. Armed with machetes, they chased him away and confiscated the cows. Now the sheriff had come bearing an ultimatum: Return the cattle or his posse would retrieve them by force.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Let's Have 40 Days of Choice, Not 40 Days of Lies

STARTING ON September 26, thousands of anti-choice demonstrators will descend on abortion clinics and reproductive health centers for their biannual “40 Days for Life” — with a goal of picketing abortion clinics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 40 days straight.

Supporters of reproductive rights need to rise to this challenge with a vocal resistance. 

While the anti-choicers have grown more confident under the Trump administration to protest the clinics, mainstream women’s organizations unfortunately haven’t responded in kind, failing to organize any opposition on the ground when the right descends on our clinics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Duluth City Council Tables Riot-Gear Resolution

Last night several dozen community members packed the Duluth City Council Chambers to speak out against the Police request to purchase riot gear.  We at the Northern Worker salute everyone who stood out against the militarization of the police.  We especially want to tip our hat to the NAACP, Save the Kids and Lake Superior Ex-incarcerated People Organizing. We won a temporary victory in getting the Council to table the funding request, but we must remain vigilant to defeat this going forward.  Below is an article about last night's vote by Peter Passi that we are reprinting from the Duluth News Tribune.

The Duluth Police Department's request to purchase what some people call personal protective equipment and others call riot gear will have to wait.

The Duluth City Council voted 5-3 Monday night to table a resolution that would have authorized police to spend up to $82,721 for the purchase of a variety of items, including shielded helmets, body armor and crowd-control batons.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The U.S. Isn’t Just Backing the Yemen War—It’s Helping Trap Those Forced to Flee

By now, the images are infamous: stunned, bloodied Yemeni children arriving at the hospital after their summer camp bus was bombed by Saudi aircraft. The United States is deeply implicated in that August 9 attack, which killed 54 people — most of them children.

Fragments from the bomb bear the labels of U.S. weapons manufacturers. The indefensible nature of the bombing — there were no combatants anywhere in sight — has garnered headlines and even attention on Capitol Hill, opening a new conversation about U.S. involvement in the years-long siege of Yemen by a coalition headed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

UMD Faculty Union Denounce U of M President’s Compensation Package

In a letter to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, leaders of two faculty organizations on the Duluth campus call the compensation package of the outgoing system president “excessive” and a “golden parachute.”

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced in July his intention to step down from his position in 2019, saying in a statement that his seven years as president exceeds the national average and the university will benefit from a fresh perspective.

Hotel Struggles Across the Nation

Ten days into the Chicago Hotel Strike, the struggle has not slowed, but has in fact grown. A 26th hotel has joined the initial 25 and there is little sign of the workers letting up. Hotels on strike include the Drake Hotel, Hyatt, Hilton, Holiday Inn, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and more.

And they are not the only ones fighting.

Thousands of hotel workers at Marriotts across the country have authorized to strike in at least 21 hotels in five cities. This number may very well multiply since UNITE HERE represents over 20,000 Marriott workers on the continent.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Prison Strike Is the Modern-Day American Slave Rebellion

On August 21, 1971, George Jackson was shot down during an attempted escape from San Quentin State Prison. Jackson, who had authored the highly-regarded prison memoir Soledad Brother the year before, co-founded the Black Guerilla Family and quickly emerged as one of the leading voices for black liberation in the early days of the black power movement. A mere two weeks later, on the opposite end of the country, Attica prison in New York became the site of the nation's most deadly prison uprising. Forty-seven years since the climax of each, the dates were chosen as bookends to prisoner-led protests that swept the country in recent weeks. Out in front were organizations like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), a human rights group made up of currently incarcerated individuals.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Report on the Recent Swedish Elections

The outcome of the Swedish parliamentary election on 9 September confirms a general European trend: rising right-wing populism and a weakening Social Democracy. The traditional picture of Sweden as the home of a progressive social democratic welfare state has been fading away for several decades now.

The outcome of the Swedish parliamentary election on 9 September confirms a general European trend: rising rightwing populism and a weakening Social Democracy. The traditional picture of Sweden as the home of a progressive social democratic welfare state has been fading away for several decades now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Monsanto-Bayer Merger Hurts Farmers and Consumers

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a stern warning in its lawsuit against the conditionally-approved mega-merger between Bayer and Monsanto in June.

The anti-competitive price effects of the merger would, according to the DOJ, “likely result in hundreds of millions of dollars per year in harm, raising costs to farmers and consumers.” The Justice Department warned that the combining of Bayer and Monsanto would reduce competition for vegetable seeds, likely driving up prices. Further, farmers might see prices for GMO cotton, canola, corn and soybean seeds increase, as well as price increases for herbicide and seed treatments.

Monday, September 10, 2018

More Than Universal Healthcare: The Meaning of Socialism

Schemes of state and municipal ownership, if unaccompanied by this co-operative principle, are but schemes for the perfectioning of the mechanism of capitalist government - schemes to make the capitalist regime respectable and efficient for the purposes of the capitalist; in the second place they represent the class-conscious instinct of the business man who feels that capitalist should not prey upon capitalist, while all may unite to prey upon the workers... To the cry of the middle class reformers, “make this or that the property of the government,” we reply, “yes, in proportion as the workers are ready to make the government their property.”  ~James Connolly [1]

A recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times boldly stated, “Americans like socialism now.” Increasingly among younger people, the word “socialism” has lost its Cold War stigma. According to the article, the new-found interest in socialism is linked to the 2008 crash and its recovery, “which has seen nearly all newly created wealth claimed by the 1% while wages stagnate, has led to a rebirth of the American left.”[2] In other words, for most people, capitalism just wasn’t working.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Report on the People's Climate March

On September 8 People’s Climate Marches were held in 250 cities across the world. In Duluth a diverse and spirited group of 200 and 250 people from across the region converged for a march and rally. The event began at the American Indian Community Housing Organization’s building, from which a brief march was held to City Hall, where the main rally was held. Afterwards, the remaining protesters marched down to Bayfront Park, where the annual Harvest Festival was taking place.

We Can Beat the Climate Destroyers

Humanity faces a multi-faceted crisis. Endless wars of imperial aggression, both overt and covert—from Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan to Yemen, Palestine, and Central and South America. These conflagrations compel those at the bottom of the economic pyramid to fight and die to protect the wealth and privileges of those at the top. These wars destroy human beings and our natural environment, but also opportunities and resources that could be allocated to human betterment.

Nike is Not the Uniform of the Resistance

Who would have thought that Colin Kaepernick’s simple act of kneeling during the National Anthem would continue to be an important topic in national politics two years later? 

Kaepernick’s attempt to bring attention to the problem of police violence shook not only the sports world, but the whole country; the reactions have been deeply polarized. He has been joined by athletes all over the country who want to express their solidarity with Black victims of police violence. Not only do professional athletes continue to follow his example, but high school football players were kicked off the team and a teacher was transfered for the protest.