Sunday, October 23, 2016

Native Americans Are Being Killed by Police at a Higher Rate Than Any Other Group

Suquamish Tribe Descendant Jeanette Riley, a 34-year-old mother of four, lay facedown on a Sandpoint, Idaho street.  One minute earlier, three police officers had arrived, summoned by staff at a nearby hospital. Her husband had sought help there because Riley—homeless, pregnant and with a history of mental illness—was threatening suicide. Riley had a knife in her right hand and was sitting in the couple’s parked van.

Wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle and Glock pistols, the officers quickly closed in on Riley—one moving down the sidewalk toward the van, the other two crossing the roadway. They shouted instructions at her—to walk toward them, show them her hands. Cursing them, she refused.

Drop the knife!” they yelled, advancing, then opened fire.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Geoengineering the Planet: An Act of Mad Desperation

As a last-ditch effort to curb runaway global warming, while avoiding a definitive halt to fossil-fuel combustion, scientists, governments, entrepreneurs, and even right-wing think tanks are advocating various highly dangerous technologies to block solar radiation or draw down atmospheric carbon to cool the planet. Touted as Plan B, these risky methods come under the label of either Solar Radiation Management (SRM) or Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR).

SRM techniques under consideration include placing space-based solar deflectors in orbit, spewing sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, and seeding clouds to increase their brightness. CDR techniques include Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) of CO2 from power-plant flue gases, the iron fertilization of the oceans to stimulate phytoplankton blooms, and burning acres of trees for biochar burial in soils.

For any of these ruinously expensive, energy-intensive techno-fixes to work, they must be applied on a planetary-wide, mega-scale, at great risk to Earth’s natural systems and human societies. Their implementation could result in an array of disastrous unintended consequences due to reckless human interference.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Prison Uprisings, From Attica to Today

Since September 9, thousands of prisoners in at least twenty-four states across the country have joined a series of strikes and protests demanding “an end to prison slavery.” The wave of strikes, now entering its fifth week, was timed to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the 1971 Attica Prison uprising, which left twenty-nine inmates and ten hostages dead after a brutal raid by state troopers.

Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy is the first comprehensive history of this pivotal civil rights struggle and the lengths to which the state went to repress it. Here, Thompson discusses how the story came to light, and what it means for prison organizing today. —Editors

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Vote for Jeff Mackler and Karen Schraufnagel!

Be sure to check out these two upcoming events featuring Socialist Action's vice presidential candidate, Karen Schraufnagel, who will be touring the Twin Ports on October 7th and 8th. On Oct. 7 Karen will be speaking on Why You Should Vote Socialist at 6:30pm in the basement of the Duluth Building for Women. And on Oct. 8 there will be a Meet and Greet social for Karen at Solidarity House (1506 N. 19th St. in Superior). Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thousands of Prisoners Strike Across the Country

Sept. 9 saw thousands of incarcerated men and women go on strike to take a stand against civil and environmental injustice in their respective prisons. The multi-state strike was organized both inside and outside of the prisons.

Some unions have begun addressing the twin issues of racial justice and economic justice with all their members. These discussions have moved from mere individual solutions to the need to end “institutional racism.” There is no clearer example of institutional racism than the prison system.

Jay Cooke, Labor Day, and Crazy Train Capitalism

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Striking Twin Cities Nurses Challenge Allina Board

The 16 members of Allina Health’s board of directors have remained mostly above the fray since a contentious round of negotiations with nearly 5,000 union nurses began in February.

But that changed last week, when Allina nurses at five Twin Cities facilities began an open-ended strike and, at the same time, rolled out a campaign to hold their not-for-profit employer’s governing body accountable.

The Minnesota Nurses Association (link is external), which represents striking nurses, is publicly questioning whether Allina’s negotiating team, led by CEO Dr. Penny Wheeler, has provided board members with accurate information, particularly when it comes to the cost of prolonging the work stoppage after the two sides came so close to an agreement in their most recent talks.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Reckless Security Firm Guarding Dakota Pipeline Has Dark Past in Palestine

When the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe mobilized thousands to protect their land and water in Cannon Ball, North Dakota from a proposed $3.8 billion crude-oil pipeline, they were met with national guard deployments, police crackdowns, an FBI investigation and private security forces that attacked them with dogs. A key firm hired during this time to provide security for the pipeline company, Dakota Access LLC, is the British multinational G4S—one of the largest private security corporations in the world targeted by a years-long global boycott campaign for profiting from the inhumane treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including the torture of children.

G4S announced in March that it plans to halt all of its business with Israel in the next 12 to 24 months, in what was hailed as a significant human rights victory, with international campaigners vowing to hold the company to its word. However, the corporation’s role in protecting the Dakota access pipeline indicates that G4S is profiting from a different colonial context, this time in North Dakota's Indian country.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Standing Up at Standing Rock

Some 1,000 Native American activists from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and across the country faced off against police and security forces protecting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project. Dozens of people have been arrested and assaulted by police while attempting to stop the project, and many more continue to risk arrest to protest the pipeline.

The Dakota Access pipeline, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, is planned to stretch 1,172 miles from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, before ending in Illinois.

Friday, August 12, 2016


The Northern Worker is on a break while the editor gets a new computer to replace the old one, which has died.  We hope to be back up and running soon.  Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Anti-Racist Protesters Confront Police

Aug. 2016 Black lives
Five hundred and seventy one and counting have been killed by U.S. cops this past year, an all-time high in recent decades, according to figures posted in the U.S. edition of the British-based Guardian newspaper.* The majority murdered were Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American. One hundred thirty eight were Black. For the year 2012, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s research put the figure of Blacks murdered by cops and vigilantes at 313, averaging one every 28 hours.

These are curious facts, which need elucidation. In only a handful of these murders was a cop convicted or even charged. “Self defense” was the time-honored defense of the police. They were said to have feared for their lives when “confronted” by Black people who were almost always unarmed.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interview with Jeff Mackler, Socialist Action’s Presidential Candidate

We are seeing a renewed interest in socialism today. The campaign of Bernie Sanders, who claims to be a “democratic socialist” to mask his 98-percent Democratic Party-line voting record, has given much publicity to the word “socialist,” and many young Sanders supporters call themselves socialists. The Sanders candidacy is no accident. His “democratic socialist” and anti-establishment-sounding “political revolution” rhetoric is aimed at sheepherding the growing hatred of tens of millions back into the safe channels of capitalist elections and the rule of the one percent.

Due to this evidence of the possibilities available to socialists right now, Socialist Action has decided to run its own presidential candidate, Jeff Mackler, to build support for working-class, independent, socialist politics. I sat down with Jeff Mackler for an interview shortly after Socialist Action had announced his candidacy, to talk about the campaign, key issues in the election, and the increased interest in socialist ideas.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

We Are All Orlando

On June 12, the nation and the world were stunned when a mass shooting took place in Orlando, Fla., at the Pulse, a gay nightclub. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 wounded. Five people remain hospitalized.

This was the deadliest attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. The shooter opened fire and took hostages. After three hours the police stormed the bar, where 300 patrons were trapped. The shooter, Omar Mateen, 29, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers.

The LGBTQ community and friends are pouring out to attend vigils across the U.S. and the world.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

U.S. & Mexican Workers Call for a Boycott of Driscoll's Strawberries

Driscoll’s may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons. Its conventional and organic berries can be found year-round everywhere from Sam’s Club to Whole Foods. To keep its berries stocked far and wide, the company uses a vast supplier network stretching from Canada to Argentina.

But some of those suppliers are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Employers Love Advocating Self-Care

"Every professional training I go to includes a section on burnout and self-care. My thought is always the same: just pay me what I’m worth. Pay me what I’m worth. Pay me what I’m worth. And give me enough paid time off.

That’s it. I don’t need bubble baths and chocolate and massages and silly TV. I need more money. And I need more rest."

Because many people derive some sort of satisfaction out of interpreting others’ words as uncharitably and narrowly as possible, I was immediately inundated with a bunch of condescending remarks about how money isn’t everything and with that attitude you’ll burn out before you know it. So I’ll expand on my spur-of-the-moment rant.