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.

The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a case involving whether persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors should be prohibited from possessing guns. The case involves James Castleman, who in 2001 pleaded guilty under Tennessee law to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence against the mother of his child.  In 2009, Castleman was found in possession of several guns, which was prohibited by a 1996 law that made it illegal for those who have misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence involving physical force or a deadly weapon to possess guns. Allegedly, Castleman was purchasing weapons and selling them illegally. An appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio ruled that the federal law does not apply in Castleman’s case because his domestic violence conviction did not involve physical force. As a long-time domestic violence advocate and scholar who has written extensively about the subject, I am deeply concerned about the implications should the Court overturn the federal legislation.

For the purpose of urging Patriots in other towns “to state the Rights of the Colonists of this Province,” Samuel Adams persuaded a Boston town meeting to establish a Committee of Correspondence.  The year was 1772 and the Gaspee, a British Royal customs vessel in Rhode Island, had just been burned. Consequently, the British government broadened its powers, particularly in sending colonists to Britain to be tried for high treason. Within days, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson agreed that a revolutionary network of writing committees should be established to link the colonies. By mid-1773, almost every colonial assembly had Committees of Correspondence, expressing the various ideals of freedoms and liberties, even independence. A growing political awareness took shape too as other perceived injustices were communicated, and as local forums discussed and debated the principles of equality and rights.

Oct 07

Capitalism + Racism = Death

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV | Video

The AIDS epidemic in Africa is one of the most callous examples of how the concept of profit before people has risen to Genocidal proportions. Pamela Brown’s first segment for the Resistance Report, examines this intersection of Race, Capitalism and medicine drawing on the documentary Fire In the Blood.

Oct 07


By Gabriel Prado, Truthout | Essay

The upper class rich white folks think poverty comes from people being “too lazy.” In all reality, African Americans and Latinos do not get the chances they deserve. Just because of their skin tone they cannot get a fair chance. Nowadays your skin color decides if you get a job. How does that make sense? Do not get me wrong; there are successful colored people, but they probably had to struggle more to get to where they are. Poverty and racial inequality starts with the government and the system.

They've done it. A mere thirty Republican Tea Party extremists have managed to shut down the U.S. government, potentially tanking a national economy that's already on life support. Ironically enough, the flawed logic behind their congressional temper tantrum, to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (coined Obamacare) by taking the country hostage, was a complete and utter failure. Obamacare remains unscathed by the shut down and full online enrollment in the program starts today, October 1, 2013.

The larger picture of the U.S. government's slowdown (incorrectly labeled "shutdown") is a struggle over a centralized and incoherent bureaucracy that continues to seize trillions of dollars more than what it spends. This reckless taxation and spending has created an other-governance dependency for some, while others still believe in self-governance.
But perhaps the government slowdown will again cause Americans to think and reflect about the state of their current civic engagement and future political processes. Yet it is another warning sign that something is wrong. Whereas good governance socially benefits people, corrupt and depraved government berates them.

Oct 05

Individualism is for the Rich

By Ajenai Hampton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Many people in America believe that people's success in life is based on the individual, and that if you do not have any success in life, there is no one to blame but yourself. These people are called Individualists, and are usually very financially successful themselves. Individualists do not believe in helpful government assistances such as welfare and they do not think that the government should be involved in an individual's success, financially or otherwise. Individualists also believe that if you are unsuccessful, it is your fault for not working hard enough.

Miraculous news this morning! Judge Jackson has overturned Herman's conviction, granting him full habeas relief based on the systematic exclusion of women from the jury in violation of the 14th Amendment. 

Even more astonishingly, the Judge clearly orders that "the State immediately release Mr. Wallace from custody."  No application for bail is required, and the State is given 30 days to notify Herman if they plan to re-indict him.

Oct 04

Torture Opponents Say Ban Dick Cheney from Canada or Prosecute Him

By War Criminals Watch, WCW | Press Release

Torture suspect and former U.S. Vice President Richard (Dick) Cheney is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Global Forum, October 31, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event is hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

Lawyers and others are urging Canada to either bar Dick Cheney from Canada as a person credibly accused of torture – or to arrest and prosecute him on arrival, as required by the Convention against Torture. That Dick Cheney authorized, directed and failed to prevent the widespread use of torture by US officials on non-Americans detained in off-shore prisons is no longer open to question. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has determined that torture suspects temporarily in Canada must be dealt with in accordance with the Convention.

Oct 04

Living a Death

By Zulfiqar Shah, Truthout | Op-Ed

I am in Delhi undergoing medical treatment, including detoxification and treatment for other damage caused by heavy metal poisoning applied in Kathmandu, Nepal on December 18, 2012. Although I repeatedly forget things due to my associated memory loss, I keep on writing to make myself feel my own existence still counts since I am no longer an activist on the ground in Sindh, Pakistan. In fact, I believe I was given heavy metal poisoning by the Pakistani intelligence agencies Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) with local facilitation in Nepal.