Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Israel Kills 65 in Gaza, as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

The Great Return March culminated on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, known to the Palestinian people as the Nakba (catastrophe). Israel hit Gaza with air strikes and tank fire, claiming to be targeting Hamas positions.

A day earlier, a mass mobilization of more than 100,000 Palestinians took place on the border between Gaza and Israel. Israeli occupation forces opened fire on protesters with live rounds and tear gas, killing 65 and wounding more than 2400. Among the dead were at least 10 teenagers and an eight-month-old baby, Laila Anwar al-Ghandour, who died from exposure to tear gas. One of the wounded was a Canadian doctor, Tarek Loubani, who was shot while treating the wounded. Dr. Loubani was clearly marked as a doctor.

Exploring the Roots of Women's Oppression

When I became a mother three and a half years ago, I began to feel my oppression as a woman in capitalist society more acutely. All of the endless demands on my time began to add up—the sleepless nights, the feedings, child care, cooking, housework, errands and laundry around the clock. And then there were the demands at work—no paid maternity leave, the pressure to go back to work as soon as possible after giving birth, pumping in a bathroom.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love being a mother, but I began to think deeper. Have women always been oppressed? Where does my oppression as a woman stem from? And isn’t there a better way to do things that spreads out all the work that women do more evenly?

Intersectionality and Divergence – My Life in the LGBT and Labor Movements

Looking back on nearly 25 years of involvement in the LGBT movement, and 45+ years in the labor movement, I am struck by the way those paths have crossed, intertwined and separated over the long term. This arc took me into unexpected territory, where queer identities, once deeply hidden and guarded, have achieved wide mainstream acceptance and support, while organized labor, once powerful and self-confident, now struggles to maintain its existence.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

What the Deployment of Green Berets to the Yemen Border Tells Us About America’s Dirty War

The U.S. government has long sought to distance itself from the morally inexcusable war on Yemen—but this public relations effort is even more difficult after The New York Times reported on May 3 that, in December of last year, U.S. Special Forces (commonly known as the Green Berets) deployed to Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen. Though Saudi Arabia and the UAE are occupying parts of Yemen, the countries rely on YemeniLatin AmericanSudaneseBlackwater and even al-Qaeda mercenaries to fight on the ground. 

50 Years after Memphis: Black Jobs Crisis Continues

On February 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker left their homes for their jobs as Memphis sanitation workers. They never returned alive. They were crushed by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Their deaths sparked a strike by their 1,300 union brothers.

The strike was victorious only after months of protests, strong community support, the intervention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Prisoners Are Organizing a Nationwide Strike Against “Modern-Day Slavery”

Prisoners across the country say they are gearing up for an end-of-summer nationwide strike against inhumane living conditions and unpaid labor—or, in their words, “modern-day slavery.”

The strike was announced in an April 24 press release and shared by a number of advocacy groups. According to one of the outside organizers who was contacted by In These Times, the press released was developed and written by prisoners. The strike, which is primarily being organized by the prisoners, will start on August 21 and last until September 9.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Walkouts by Teachers Spread Across the U.S.

When West Virginia teachers walked out over health insurance premiums, few people predicted that, after feeling betrayed by union bureaucrats, the rank and file teachers would rebel and turn the strike into a wildcat action that would substantially increase their gains. Fewer still anticipated that the walkout would spark coordinated labor actions across the country amongst public educators in a wave of strikes across state lines on a scale that hasn’t been seen in America in years.

U of Iowa Faculty Show How to Organize Under Right-to-Work

On April 18, non-tenure-track teaching staff at the University of Iowa marched with supporters through cold and sleet to deliver demands and a signed letter of support to University President Bruce Harreld’s office. The action was part of Iowa contingent faculty’s campaign for union representation, in response to what workers characterize as policies of overwork and underpayment. 

If their effort succeeds, Iowa’s contingent faculty would become the latest local to be organized by the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Faculty Forward movement, part of a growing wave of union votes and organizing action by graduate students, adjuncts, and other untenured instructors at public and private institutions across the country.

The Red Women of Finland

In his recent New Year’s address, Finnish president Sauli Niinistö shocked many by discussing the still festering wounds of the 1918 Finnish Civil War. [1] One hundred years ago, a red lantern was lit in the tower of the Helsinki Workers’ House late in the evening on January 26, signaling the beginning of brutal hostilities between Finland’s socialist Reds and its nationalist Whites. [2]

Having just celebrated the centenary of their independence from Russia, Niinistö reminded Finns that “in the early days of independence we were not ‘together,’ but very badly apart. This cannot simply be swept away. We must have the courage to be honest about history, because only honesty creates a foundation for trust.”

Spring Antiwar Actions Protest U.S. Bombing of Syria

Antiwar and social justice activists mobilized for the April 14 and 15 spring regional protests across the U.S. to demand an end to “U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad.” The broadly sponsored and nationally coordinated protests were organized in some 40 cities, in an effort initiated by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases.

Although hundreds of organizations joined in endorsing these actions, most were extremely modest in size. Estimates of the crowd in Oakland, Calif., ranged from 750 to 1000, while over 500 assembled in New York. A related Chicago protest a week later drew some 300 people and was organized by a new coalition that affiliated to UNAC. Planned actions in Minneapolis were limited to less than 100 due to a blizzard snowstorm. About 100 mobilized in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

No Troops on the U.S.-Mexico Border!

Declining empires are dangerous, and the U.S. is an empire in decline. If the U.S. ruling class can avoid the Thucydides Trap with China (the tendency for a declining empire to go to war with a rising empire), they still must face their own decline as the center of the capitalist system. In the face of the decline they are acting more and more as a class without solutions to their own problems, much less the broader problems facing the country and world. This bodes ill for all peoples. Case in point: Trump’s (further) militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump authorized the National Guard to “defend” the U.S.-Mexico border on April 4. As of this writing (April 17) the White House has not released details, but the first troop deployments have already taken place, according to an April 12 New York Times report. Trump made the decision after Congress denied his $25 billion request for a border wall in the recently passed budget. Instead, he got only $1.6 billion. He also seemed to be reacting to racist and sensationalized stories on Fox News and other right-wing media about caravans of immigrants moving north toward the U.S.

The Militarization of American Science

Following World War II, a think tank named the RAND Corporation took the lead in formulating policies guiding military-industrial Big Science. Some of the titles of books and articles about RAND provide a hint of what it represented in the public imagination: “The Think Tank that Controls America,” “America’s University of Imperialism,” “Dr. Strangelove’s Workplace,” and “Wizards of Armageddon.”

RAND’s signature initiative was its hypotheoretical venture into “thinking the unthinkable.” Its legendary Nuclear Boys Club waded into the topsy-turvy world of megatons and megadeaths in a quixotic effort to put nuclear warfare strategy on a rational, scientific basis. Spoiler Alert: The end of the world begins with a “Fuck You, Buddy.”

Remove People From Nature? Human Beings Are Not a Problem!

We don’t need to be removed from nature. We need to radically change the way we relate to it.

Capitalism’s endless pursuit of profits for the few continues to destroy the ecosystems upon which human beings base our very existence. And while one political wing of the capitalist class ceaselessly denies climate change, those capitalist politicians who do acknowledge the science make attempts to shift blame for it away from themselves. Misanthropic explanations for the state of the world, holding all humans to account for our original sin of being human, help reduce the risk that the exploiters will have to answer for the unique crisis that they have created.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Federal Attack on Sex Workers’ Rights Is a Threat to Everyone’s Free Speech

On March 23, Craigslist decided to do away with personal ads. Last week, Microsoft announced plans to make it illegal to get naked on Skype. The company is also out to ban any “offensive language” from Xbox and Office. Reddit has changed its content policy as well: Now the site explicitly forbids users from advertising paid services including “physical sexual contact” on its platform. And it’s not just the big names that are making such urgent amendments. Pounced.org, a dating website for those into Furry Fandom, just shut down.

How Privatization Sparked the Massive Oklahoma Teacher Uprising

On April 2, an estimated 30,000 Oklahoma teachers walked out of schools across the state, some traveling hundreds of miles to the capital to protest. This momentum has not stopped: At the time of this writing, teachers are marching—by foot—from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. Across the state, they are planning to continue to mobilize, despite legislative opposition that has gone so far as to accuse the teachers of bussing in protestors from Chicago.