Sunday, March 19, 2017

Native Americans Fear Budget Cuts Will be the Death of Tribal Radio

Eighty miles south of the Oregon border, along the Trinity River in Northern California, sits the 12-square-mile Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

Of the nearly 3,000 people living in the Hoopa Valley, approximately three-fourths are Native American. And the local radio station KIDE-FM caters to them, offering listeners live broadcasts of the Hoopa tribe’s general meetings; a local, award-winning, weekly show called “Health Matters”; and an array of national programming, including NPR newscasts and Native American public media shows.

New Health Care Proposal: Bad Medicine in the Making

With the election of Donald Trump as president, the Republican initiative to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” begins in earnest and with real traction, following several years of consistent but failed attempts that were merely symbolic. Now, the right-wing rhetoric is shaping into reality.

In February, President Trump met with state governors and health-care executives to begin to outline the initial framework of a long-promised but still- developing plan that would “save America from Obamacare.” It was a step towards the fulfillment of a major campaign promise and a pledge that was repeated in the new president’s first speech to Congress to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Big Data’s Hidden Labor

Who owns your data? We are used to signing the question away in unread terms of service agreements, but it has increasingly become a matter of livelihood. Shipping companies like UPS and Amazon  micromanage their workers with advanced surveillance networks, while international retailers and fast-food chains now generate employee schedules with complex, data-fed efficiency algorithms. Monsanto “smart farm” technologies extract valuable insights from independent farmers en masse, and Uber drivers may even help develop their own self-driving replacements by building driving databases of unprecedented size and detail.

When America Interfered in a Russian Election

There is still no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. What substitutes for proof is nothing but an endless loop of corporate media repetition. The Democratic Party has plenty of reason to whip up hysteria in an effort to divert attention from its endless electoral debacles.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Women strike worldwide on International Women’s Day

Women in over 50 countries took part in the Women’s Strike on March 8. The first reports came from Rome, which was essentially shut down as 20,000 women participated in protests that started at the Colosseum and continued through the streets, blocking traffic and shutting down public transportation.

In Argentina there were three days of strikes. On Feb. 3, at an open assembly, activists  in the women’s movement agreed to ask labor unions to support the women’s strikes—and they responded favorably. A teacher’s strike took place on the first day, followed by a strike called by the industrial unions against the government’s economic measures, and then followed by strikes in solidarity with International Women’s Day. This involved transportation workers, airport workers, teachers, and students. Tens of thousands of women marched in Buenos Aires.

Strikes Aren’t for the Privileged

As Wednesday’s Women’s Strike continues to makes headlines, there’s a strange idea floating around the Internet: that striking is for the privileged, the province of well-off women with the luxury of being able to claim a vacation day or hire other people to take care of their children and loved ones.

In a country with a union density just south of 11 percent, there are a number of legitimate questions to be raised about the feasibility of a strike in 2017. Workers’ bargaining power stands at historic lows, and the institutions that once supported striking workers (namely, unions) have been eroded by a mix of neoliberal assault and market forces. Women, in particular — inordinately represented in low-wage service work — enjoy perilously few protections on the job, and are all too likely to face retaliation from their bosses for not showing up. Thanks to these and other structural factors, what happened yesterday was not a truly mass strike. That’s why organizers outlined a number of ways to plug into the day’s events, inside and outside the workplace.

Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart Passes Away

This morning I spoke with Lynne Stewart’s husband, Ralph Poynter, at their home in Brooklyn, N.Y. We managed to do the call via video camera, where Ralph and the family were surrounding Lynne, who had just had a second series of mini-strokes that rendered her unable to speak but able to hear what were perhaps my last words of love and solidarity. Lynne opened her eyes in acknowledgment, bravely trying to muster a smile.


Lynne’s cancer has now spread throughout her body, including her brain. Ralph explained that her days are numbered and she is unlikely to make it to her next scheduled medical appointment on March 16.

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Harassment

When we think of the biggest issues at work, wages and benefits usually top the list. But in many industries, sexual harassment and assault are huge concerns—even if nobody’s talking about it.

Workers who experience harassment on the job can file charges with the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, but they face many hurdles to get even a hearing. Deadlines are short. Only employers with 15 or more employees are covered.

Long Live Standing Rock!

On his fifth day in office, President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Army Core of engineers to restart digging the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on sacred Sioux land, in violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The camp, known as Standing Rock, near Cannonball, N.D., was officially closed on Feb. 22 on order of North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.

Standing Rock had become the flashpoint for unprecedented mass mobilization of Native Americans, thousands of solidarity activists and a worldwide outcry against corporate greed, racism and the bitter U.S. legacy of genocide. Many activists came from the struggle against the XL Keystone Pipeline, stretching from Canada to the Gulf Coast, halted in 2015 but set to restart under Trump.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Women on Strike Around the World!

International Women’s Day, March 8, is set as the date for women’s strikes around the world. This event comes on the heels of a series of strikes and mass demonstrations last year when women poured into the streets of Poland, Ireland, Turkey, Italy, Argentina, and Iceland.

This time, the call by the International Women’s Strike Network has been answered by more than 30 countries around the world and on every continent. Women in each country are creating their own platforms and demands.

Two Sides of the Same Old Coin: Ellison, Perez, and Democratic Party Establishment

After months of campaigning, establishment favorite Tom Perez has won the DNC chairmanship. For weeks, it was unclear whether Perez, supported by Joe Biden and, implicitly, Barack Obama, would defeat Keith Ellison, endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The race in some ways appeared to re-open the Sanders-Clinton divide in the Democratic party. In the end, Ellison lost by 35 votes (235 to 200).

This election occurs in a very particular political moment. Trump’s election was an unexpected blow to the Democratic Party, which actively worked to make Trump the Republican candidate in the hopes that this would make it easier for Hillary to get elected. This was clearly an erroneous calculation. To make matters worse, the Republicans now also control the House, the Senate, and most local and state legislatures. At the same time, the resistance movement against Trump has been organizing large-scale actions, from the massive January 21 protests, to the airport protests, to “A Day Without Immigrants.” In this context, the Democratic Party is attempting to rebuild itself and has chosen Tom Perez to lead the party in this endeavour.

Trump Escalates War on Immigrant Workers

Trump’s war on immigrant workers has moved into high gear as new orders unleash the full force of the U.S. government to greatly expand deportations, harassment, and provocative police actions in minority communities.
Under Barak Obama, deportations reached a record high 434,000 for the single year 2014. Known as the “Deporter-in-Chief,” Obama, during his entire presidency, oversaw the deportation of over 2 million immigrant workers, more than any previous president.

However, fearful that the Democrats would lose support in the 2016 elections, Obama subsequently implemented guidelines that slightly limited deportations during his final two years in office; 2015 saw a 23 percent reduction from the 2014 record high.

Fight Trump, Keep Dems at Bay: The Case Against a Popular Front

The moment he entered the White House, President Trump unleashed a series of vicious attacks on Muslims, immigrants, and native peoples. All within his first week in office, Trump issued a string of executive orders that resuscitated the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines, initiated his project to build the wall along the border with Mexico, cut federal funding for Sanctuary Cities, passed an immigration ban on Muslims from seven countries, and suspended all entry for refugees for 120 days (and indeterminately for Syrian refugees).

Probably the most unliked president in decades, Trump is eliciting mass outrage and resistance with each of his recent measures. The spontaneous demonstrations in dozens of airports around the country this past Saturday are an impressive example. As the magnitude and frequency of the protests reveal, the political landscape is changing: people are ready to fight back.

Stop the Clamp Down on Muslim Immigrants!

Trump’s ban on Muslims, which tens of thousands protested at airports across the country, was the most recent escalation of an ongoing assault on the rights of Muslims and youth from Africa and the Middle East. This group has been targeted continuously at least since the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror.”

In the fall of 2014, the Obama administration announced that a new program called “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) would be launched, with pilots in three cities—Minneapolis, Boston, and Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Just Transition to Sustainable Jobs

The Trump administration wasted no time before launching a veritable blitzkrieg on all fronts in pursuit of an “alt-right” America First agenda. But resistance has been swift and massive.

In addition to various movements mobilizing we also heard from scientists. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported: “Comments by U.S. President Donald Trump on nuclear weapons and climate change have helped make the world less safe, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned … moving its symbolic ‘Doomsday Clock’ 30 seconds closer to midnight.”