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.

Last Sunday, 14 people walked past a “no trespassing” sign in-between two railroad tracks in Helena, Mont., and temporarily shut down the main rail line used to transport coal through Montana to the West Coast. The action marked the culmination of months of preparation, as organizers in Montana decided on the best way to bring direct action against coal transportation to a new level. Although the occupation of railroad property itself lasted less than an hour, by the time it was over something had changed significantly for Montana’s movement to stop coal exports.

Sep 30

Western Plunder of Greece

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, Huffington Post | Op-Ed

The plunder of Greece by Western Europe goes back to the Romans. Despite their admiration for Greek culture, they made Greece a colony in 146 BCE. From then on, occupied Greece became an open field for thieves and conquerors.

Roman rulers and wealthy Romans filled Rome and their homes with purchased or plundered Greek statues. Rome started looking like Greece, but underneath that artistic splendor, there was resentment and boundless violence.

With reports of yet another near-nuclear weapons disaster being averted, (This time a declassified report detailing when a nuclear warhead-200 times more powerful than the atomic bombs used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki-was accidentally dropped on an American city in 1961, with 3 of its 4 safety mechanisms failing.), it will be extremely difficult for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to keep a straight face if and when he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama. Unlike the U.S., not only has Iran consistently offered direct talks and provided numerous opportunities for diplomacy over its nuclear enrichment program, but on numerous occasions it has reiterated a more ethical and sane nuclear doctrine.

Stories Covered

Risky repair of Fukushima could spill 15,000x radiation of Hiroshima, create 85 Chernobyls
Will Tokyo Be Evacuated
Bangladesh Workers Set Factories Ablaze Demanding better Wages
BBC Investigates Bangladesh Fires
Pope Gone Wild!

Sep 27

The Real Values War

By Brian McAfee, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Republican controlled House of Representatives have voted on the Farm Bill; part of which includes a $39 billion cut in the food stamp program. The bill will of course not pass through the Senate or be signed into law by Obama.

Of those receiving government help in the form of food stamps or the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) 76 percent are children, disabled or elderly. Fifty seven thousand children lost Head Start services because House Republicans voted to keep the sequester (automatic budget cuts) instead of choosing a balanced approach to the budget that makes corporations and millionaires pay their fair share. The WIC program, a health and nutrition assistance program for low income women and children, is also under fire from the right.

Sep 27

New Zealand Professors Say No War with Syria

By Darius Shahtahmasebi, YouTube | Video
As the focus of US and Israel's foreign policy shifts back onto Iran and its nuclear program, the option of military strikes against Syria is still on the table. Some of New Zealand's most respected Peace and Conflict experts and University professors take a stand and say that they are against any military action against Syria by the US and its allies. They make clear they will not condone the New Zealand government's support for any such military action.

In her recent interview, Green Group's May be More Damaging than Climate Change Deniers, Naomi Klein sparked a furious debate among activists on the right and left of the North American environmental movement. Thanks to Klein's article, the flames of controversy have been fanned and brought forth some fiery rhetoric around a dispute which has smoldered since the emergence of a more combative and distinctive left current within the environmental movement. A current associated with the concept of climate justice, and one that has further expanded since Occupy burst onto the political scene in the fall of 2011.

Quebec, a province of Canada that almost half of its inhabitants would like to see become an independent country, is struggling with yet another conflict over its collective identity.

A proposed Charter of Quebec Values (in French La Charte des valeurs québecoises) is being put forward by the government of Pauline Marois, the leader of the Parti Québecois, a central-left party, and not without any opposition as it would ban all civil servants from wearing any "overt and conspicuous" religious symbols.

One of my friends calls working in higher education a “Ponzi Scheme.”

This is how it works:

You put years of your life on a shelf in the name of higher education. You work hard, delay gratification and play the game to obtain the advanced degree.  Unless you have wealthy parents, you take out student loans which you plan to pay back after landing the dream job as a full time tenured track professor.  But, these days, full time jobs are few and far between.  The university is no different than other corporations: full time, tenured track positions with benefits have been eradicated around the country and chopped up into part time work in the name of profit even if the university professes to be “non-profit.”

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Civilian Soldier Alliance celebrate the resistance demonstrated by California prisoners at the suspension of their third hunger strike organized to protest the cruel, inhumane and tortuous conditions of their solitary confinement. After growing participation since 2011, 30,000 people on the inside joined this strike and many continued for 60 days (Roughly 23% of the entire prison population of CDCR, according to the CDCR website from June 2013). At the close of the strike, led by the Short Corridor Collective, many of the demands of the organizers still have not been met. The struggle continues, and is far from over. IVAW and the Civilian Soldier Alliance honor the resistance by the prisoners and express our continued solidarity.