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.

Youth backed by student, parent and educator-led groups and civil rights organizations will participate in the national You Can't Build Peace with a Piece Week of Action beginning on April 1st to urge elected officials and school districts to fund counselors, community intervention workers and mental health professionals instead of placing armed guards and other law enforcement in schools. The Week of Action will include events in California, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Washington D.C., and more.

"When we arrive at our school, we are greeted by a security guard or police officer, we are made to go through metal detectors, and then gates lock behind us when the bell rings. The police can enter classrooms, at the principal's discretion, to do random searches of our belongings, use metal detector wands, and even drug-sniffing dogs to go through our lockers. These prison-like conditions are what make us feel unsafe, not our fellow classmates," said Leslie Mendoza, a high school student and organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles.

Apr 02

Can Oxygen-Pricing Help Save the Environment?

By Robert McCroskey , SpeakOut | News Analysis

A study just published in Science, the most comprehensive "Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years" ever done, shows that recent warming has been "amazing and atypical" and will destabilize the climatic conditions which have allowed civilization to develop, unless there are dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. As if the emissions situation isn't bad enough in exposing large areas of the planet to excessive heat and drought, the recent bout of "land-grabbing" across the middle of the planet in all the equatorial regions, in order to increase both the human food supply and "biofuels," will further help to destroy these sensitive ecosystems. Even without global warming, the "belly-band" of the planet can become a desert in the same way that North Africa did during Roman times. Therefore there is a double urgency to rein in our over-consumption.

Walking up Woodward to the coffee shop on Mack, mind snacks competed with Detroit's weather version of March Madness as the wind juked me with a snow assist. Yep, it was a Gortex-layer-over-polar-fleece day. As the coffee drip trickled into the cardboard pots (should have called ahead) I mind snacked on the prison-cell wisdom of knocking out pushups, dips and row machine weights at the Boll Y. A fella never knows when he has to take out the trash or deliver java to modern day Freedom Bus Riders.

Wet snow could not put out the fire in the hearts of Detroit Freedom Riders as they boarded Betsy, a National Action Network bus, in an Eastern Market parking lot bound for the Cleveland, Ohio headquarters of the Snyder law firm of choice, Jones Day, as it preps to loot Detroit in a conflict of interest orgy. Nasty weather for nasty times as Detroit democracy is buried in a GOP/Banking/Bondholder avalanche, suffocating the right to vote of the majority Black population that back-in-the-day Deep South white supremacists would only envy.

Cha-ching! is the sound of banks registering the new revenue coming their way the very moment Gov. Rick Snyder put Detroit under an emergency financial manager (EFM).

"Who knows what the city has paid? The same stick-up men that went through the neighborhoods (with the foreclosure crisis) are now at city hall," said Jerry Goldberg, attorney for Moratorium Now.

Tied to every bond issue and loan the city has are "termination events," Goldberg said. Termination events include a lower bond rating, a late payment or the naming of an EFM. Any one of those events is a trigger, hiking the interest rates and adding penalties to the city's obligations to the banks. As the city's financial outlook worsens, the city also gets deeper in debt.

Detroit has undergone a coup. PLUS new proof comes out that far right-wing front groups are purchasing the opinions of media talking heads. AND I go over ways to fight back.

There's an ongoing joke in China that both captures the long standing competitive nature between Beijing and Shanghai while tying it neatly with the country's number one preoccupation: pollution. "In Beijing you just need to open your window, inhale and you'll get the equivalent of having smoked three cigarettes," a Beijing guest boasted at a dinner party, to which his Shanghai host responded, "Oh, that's nothing: Here in Shanghai we turn on the hot water faucet and we get pig soup."

Guests roar with laughter as both scenarios have become too real, if not too painful to take seriously. The Shanghai Daily kept count of the rising number of dead pigs floating down the Huangpu as if tracking numbers on the stock exchange. At last count the number surpassed 13,000.

The city's hip hop community is protesting Detroit's new status under emergency management in its own unique way.

Will Copeland, a community activist and emcee who performs under the name Will See, has recently released a song with a heated message to mobilize citizens against the state's takeover of Detroit through an emergency manager. The song "Emergency" is a powerful example of hip hop as a tool of resistance and awareness.

"These different messages need to be put out there because if they're not put out front and center, a lot of people aren't going to think of hip hop as rebel music, they'll think of it as party music or materialism," says Copeland.

Chávez believed heavily in creating transformative Southern power and a new unity in the South. One of Chávez's greatest achievements was realizing an active, dynamic internationalism that can create new realities of progress.

He carried the heritage of Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Simon Bolívar, who believed strongly in integration. Chávez thought everyone was an American and that there was no reason to be split into so many different, little countries. He wanted to create a large federation of people, a socialist federation of all peoples of Latin America. Everything he did worked toward that end. And during 14 years of power, there has been more progress on the question of Latin American integration than during the preceding 70 years.


A report came out showing the NYPD has spent over a million hours in the past decade arresting hundreds of thousands of people for possessing less than 25 grams of marijuana. Is that really the best use of their time? Does it really make our society safer?

Once again, the largest corporations and their governmental cohorts succeeding in sealing their dominance over our lives without any oversight, transparency or leniency. This time it concerns food safety, as Monsanto and lobbyists have shoved through dangerous legislation that effectively makes any oversight of GMO food void.

The Monsanto Protection Act, which President Obama signed into law this week, will strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment. The result is that GMO crops will be able to evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.