SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Legislation to prevent the Isle of Man being used by 'vulture funds' to exploit the debts of some of the world's poorest countries has this week received Royal Assent.
The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (Limitation on Debt Recovery) Act 2012 outlaws a practice that undermines international debt relief efforts.
The legislation prevents vulture funds from buying up poor nations' debts for a fraction of their original amount and then using the courts to sue for the full value, plus interest and penalty charges.
Last Thursday I joined students at the UIC Forum to sing pro-worker holiday carols while handing out candy canes with petitions attached to them. We did this in an effort to pressure Chancellor Allen-Meares to step in and offer campus workers a fair contract. Workers have been in negotiations for more than 7 months. Our newly formed UIC student organization, USAS (UIC Students Against Sweatshops), is mobilizing students on campus as part of the larger Campus Worker Coalition, which includes unions like SEIU and AFT.
From our professors to those who clean our buildings, UIC workers are fighting for a fair contract and dignity in the workplace. According to a financial audit, completed by Eastern Michigan University professor Howard Bunsis, campus workers are struggling just to maintain their basic benefit standards.
The US military is saying that Adnan Latif, the young Yemeni at Guantanamo who recently died, committed suicide by overdosing on medication he smuggled into his cell. The US military's storyline does not add up, and crucial questions are unanswered. The Yemen government is helping the US hide the truth.
"Evil visited this community today," is how Governor Molloy described the awful events that occurred at a Newtown Connecticut Elementary school. Whenever a "terrorist" attacks and innocents are slaughtered, we begin referencing religious concepts and asking the inevitable questions. Why do they hate us? Why would someone commit such an atrocity? Why was a flawed, obviously insane individual allowed access to weapons? The 24 hour cable "news" networks voyeuristically "report" firsthand accounts and "talking head experts" speculate regarding motive and intent. But yet we ignore the obvious, and refuse to look at who we are, better, what we've become, as a nation, a people, that makes such awful events not an aberration, but an all too common occurrence of slaughter and mayhem.
The New York Times today, in the very first sentence of its article titled, "Leader of Hamas Delivers Defiant Speech at Anniversary Celebration," reports, "GAZA CITY — Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, gave a defiant speech on Saturday, vowing to build an Islamic Palestinian state on all the land of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Despite quoting Meshal at length in the article, there was no direct quote confirming this first sentence. The Jerusalem Post did provide a direct quote: "Palestine was, still is and will always be Arab and Islamic...Palestine belongs to us and to no one else." This is consistent with the Hamas Covenant 1988, which states in Article Thirty-One: "It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region, because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror."
Council member Ken Cockrel must be trippin! On Tuesday, December 11, after he, along with Saunteel Jenkins, James Tate, Gary Brown, and Charles Pugh, voted to approve the ill-conceived Hantz land sale proposal, he was quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, "a 'no' vote would have sent the message to the world that Detroit isn't really serious about urban agriculture." The foremost advocates and practitioners of urban agriculture in Detroit opposed the Hantz proposal. It is groups like Feedom Freedom Growers, Earthworks Urban Farm, the Garden Resource Program and D-Town Farm that have informed the nation and the world that Detroiters are serious about urban agriculture.
During the campaign season, President Obama claimed voters must choose between two visions for America. We could choose to move forward towards shared prosperity or rely on the same reckless policies that led to economic collapse. On November 6, the American people spoke in favor of shared prosperity. A majority of Americans cast ballots for the President and for Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Americans are also quite clear about the meaning of shared prosperity: we need to invest in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs that build the middle class, not cut them.
The black black versus the high yella black. Writer Alice Walker calls it colorism. She says it's a major problem in the black community--so much so that just as DuBois predicted that color would be America's main problem of the 20th century, Walker believes this insider struggle of different hues would be black folk's chief burden of the 21st century. To give an example of colorism's power, Walker points out that, in matters of what she calls black black wome wondering if prominent black men will chose one of them, "it is sometimes everything we think about," she says.
I remember a girl in my high school--still today, one of the most attractive females I've ever seen--who was also very, very dark. A dark popular guy said he would "ask her for the go" because she was obviously fine, but you know he also had that dark thing to contend with, especially the combination of both being nearly literally black. I don't think I'd ever seen someone wrestle so hard about anything. You would have thought he had a legitimate dilemma.
One way to avoid the fiscal cliff is for corporations to pay their fair share of taxes – instead of hiding hundreds of billions of dollars offshore. These loopholes allow many of America's largest corporations and wealthiest individuals to avoid taxes by using accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. At least 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the U.S. make use of tax havens, including Wal-Mart, Coca Cola and Pfizer. When these corporations skip out on their taxes, U.S. citizens are left to pick up the tab. Reclaiming the $150 billion lost to offshore tax loopholes would more than cover the $109 billion in automatic spending cuts that will take effect in 2013 if Congress fails to avert the fiscal cliff.
In his feature directorial debut, author and visual artist Antonino D'Ambrosio spins a lively social history that chronicles how a generation of artists, thinkers, and activists channeled their creativity into an organized response and resistance to the reactionary politics that increasingly defined American culture in the 1980s. This idea of art as political statement came to be known as "creative response," and, through insightful and energetic interviews with more than 50 influential creative voices, D'Ambrosio traces the movement from its earliest inklings in the Reagan-Thatcher era through three decades of social and political change.