Friday, August 12, 2016

Hiatus

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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Belly Dance and Cultural Appropriation Question

I am going to be honest here. I love to travel. I love to try new things. Historically, I have collected hobbies like some people collect Dragon Ball Z Action Figures, stamps, and nail polish colors. Wait, I’ve collected those too. I am curious about the world and cultures. I have worn clothing that was inspired by ethnic styles. In the late 1990s, I wore a bindi a few times, as it was the trend then and because I imagined that it made me look like I was a superhero that could blast magical magenta lasers from the gemstone. I drew a comic book wherein I did exactly this. I suck.

So, when I talk about cultural appropriation, it is not because I am riding on some high horse looking down on people. It is because I have a carbon footprint that looks like Godzilla walked by. It is because I want to partake in cultures. It is also because I don’t want to be a terrible white person who stomps on people of color. There is already a lot of stomping in the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Clinton, Kissinger and the coup in Honduras

In one of the early Democratic Party debates, in order to inflate her credentials as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton threw out an off-the-cuff comment about her relationship with Henry Kissinger: “I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better—better than anybody had run it in a long time.” In 2014 when Clinton reviewed Henry Kissinger’s book, “New World Order,” she called him a “friend” whose counsel she “relied on.”

This was all too much even for Bernie Sanders, who had refrained from criticizing any of Clinton’s actions when she was Secretary of State. Sanders stated that Kissinger was “no friend of mine” and launched into describing Secretary of State Kissinger’s nefarious role in the bombing of Cambodia. He did not use the word “war criminal,” but this was the verdict of the International Tribunal at The Hague, and summons for his arrest issued by judges in France and Spain are still in effect.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Union Member Prince Fought for Worker Rights

The world lost a musical icon on April 21. You'll read about his impact as a musician and an entertainer elsewhere, but let's take a second to look at Prince's career-spanning fights on behalf of working people.

For more than 40 years, Prince was a union member, a long-standing member of both the Twin Cities Musicians Local 30-73(link is external) of the American Federation of Musicians and SAG-AFTRA,(link is external) the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Beginning with "Ronnie Talk to Russia" in 1981 on through hits like "Sign o' the Times" and later works like "We March" and "Baltimore," Prince's music often reflected the dreams, struggles, fears and hopes of working people. And he wasn't limited to words; his Baltimore concert in the wake of Freddie Gray's death raised funds to help the city recover.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Twin Cities Fast Food Workers Join National Strike

Striking fast food workers and community supporters rallied outside McDonald’s restaurants in St. Paul and Minneapolis Thursday, joining a nationwide day of action in 320 cities to call for a $15 minimum wage, paid sick time and union rights.

The Twin Cities actions were organized by CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle, a community affiliate of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Verizon Workers Go on Strike

Wednesday at 6 a.m., 39,000 Verizon workers walked off their jobs, beginning one of the largest strikes in years.

The company is pushing to offshore more call-center jobs, outsource more line work to low-wage contractors, and force workers to accept assignments away from home for up to two months at a time—all while it's making $1.8 billion in profit a month.

Technicians and call-center employees from Massachusetts to Virginia have been workingwithout a contract since August 1. The Communications Workers (CWA) and Electrical Workers (IBEW) say they’ve offered millions of dollars in health care cost savings, which they believed was a top priority for Verizon—but the company has refused to budge on the unions’ priorities.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Wedge becomes first union co-op in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS - Workers at the Wedge voted Tuesday to ratify their first union contract, making the Minneapolis grocer the state’s first unionized co-op.

Wedge Community Co-op workers voted last November to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, seeking higher wages, an equitable process for dealing with management and a voice in decisions that affect the co-op’s culture and working environment.

In negotiations described by Local 1189 as “fairly smooth,” Wedge workers made real progress on those issues.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

100 Year Anniversary of the Easter Uprising in Ireland

Ireland was the first colony of imperialist Britain. 100 years ago this week, several thousand Irish men and women rose up, arms in hand, to oppose British colonialism. There are many lessons of that uprising. The main one being that national struggles cannot be successfully separated from the class struggle, and those who attempt to do so always end up opposing the interests of the workers in their own country. Here, Finn Geaney explains the history of that rebellion.

100 years ago this week, April 24th 1916, a few hundred men and women, members of two armed bodies, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, seized control of a number of key buildings in Dublin and held out against British forces for almost a week. Extensive repressive measures followed the defeat of the Rising. 171 prisoners were tried and 90 death sentences were imposed, of which General Sir John Maxwell confirmed fifteen, including all seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic. Sir Roger Casement was later hanged in London’s Pentonville Prison for his part in preparations for the Rising. More than 3,500 men and women were arrested immediately after cessation of hostilities, and more than 2,000 of these were transported to prison camps in Britain. The fifteen executions that were carried out in Dublin were spread over a period of ten days. This widespread repression contributed significantly to the growth of resistance to British rule in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stop the Persecution of Muslims & Immigrants!

Beginning in early January, Socialist Action joined with many other organizations for a series of conference calls on the need for united action to more effectively combat the rising tide of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hatred in this country. The ad-hoc coalition that was formed took the name Stand Together Against Racism and Islamophobia (“STARI”) and put out a call for a week of coordinated actions across the country between Feb. 13 and Feb. 21.
As the call explains: “The corporate media and some politicians on both sides of the aisle believe their interests can be advanced by scapegoating the poor and those oppressed by racism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant prejudice, mass deportations, and the exclusion of refugees fleeing endless U.S.-supported wars abroad. Hate, fear mongering and war are increasingly publicly promoted for heinous ends and especially to divide the victims of the ever-deepening social cutbacks government austerity policies inflict. We say no to Islamophobia and all forms of religious prejudice. We denounce the endless racist police murders of unarmed members of the nation’s Black and poor communities. We reject militarily sealed borders and mass deportations of Latino people.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Defend Reproductive Justice for Women!

“The most significant abortion rights case in a generation.” “The greatest threat to reproductive justice in 25 years.” These are just a few of the headlines to the many articles providing background to the news that on March 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Such claims are absolutely valid and accurately describe at the threat to women’s lives that is currently posed by attempts to restrict access to abortion in dozens of states.

In the next few months, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not a 2013 Texas law called HB 2, which would leave only about 10 of the state’s 44 clinics open if upheld, is constitutional. HB2 requires clinic doctors to hold admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and requires the clinics themselves to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.