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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.

Oakland, California - A new report from the Oakland Institute, Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, exposes how the international financial institutions swooped in on the heels of the political upheaval and are vying to deregulate and throw open Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector to foreign investors. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU Association agreement in favor of a Russian deal was a major factor in the crisis that led to his ouster in February 2014. Immediately following the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s pivot to the West was solidified with a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional $3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are set to have disastrous effects within the nation.

Jul 28

After the Demonstrations Are Over

By David Palumbo-Liu, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The massive, worldwide protests against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza are unlike any other we have ever witnessed with regard to Israel-Palestine.  One can fairly say that at this moment more people are learning about this topic than ever before - we are witnessing an historic elevation of global consciousness with regard to Israel-Palestine.  If the Holocaust shaped the awareness of Israel for those born after the Second World War, for this generation, Israel will be known by Gaza 2014.

While the mainstream media has covered the largest ones that have occurred in well-known metropolitan cities, the site TheWorldStandsWithPalestine documents as well much smaller but still impressive demonstrations in tiny hamlets, suburbs, and towns around the world.

 

Jul 28

Open Letter to President Obama

By Jose Angel N., El Beisman | Op-Ed

Dear President Obama,

I know you will probably never read this letter. But, as a good Mexican, I’ve been taught to expect disappointment in advance, so there is no harm in trying. 

My name is José Ángel N., and I am an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. I have lived in Chicago most of my life, and the night you were elected U.S. President I watched with my face pressed against a chain-link fence as you delivered an impassioned speech at Grant Park.

After a decade of grassroots advocacy, my personal belief is that the greatest obstacle to positive change in the world isn’t corporations, the government, or the 1%, but lack of movement solidarity.

And no, I’m not pretending to be some modern day Moses bringing the divine truths down from the mountain. I’m just someone who has participated in the entire spectrum of the environmental movement — from mainstream to “radical,” on both coasts — who has witnessed a lot of unnecessary failures over the years, in large part because people can’t figure out how to work together.

Two days after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to investigate violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of Israel's "Operation Protective Edge," people lined Main Street in Carbondale, Ill., to show solidarity with Gaza and condemn the Israeli assault.

When the Human Rights Council convened an emergency meeting on July 23 and adopted the resolution for an inquiry into potential human rights law violations, the United States was the only nation to cast a negative vote against it. 

Jul 28

Demand An End to Executions and Secrecy

By Alessandra Soler, ACLU of Arizona | Press Release

Yesterday it took the state of Arizona nearly two hours to execute Joseph Wood with an experimental lethal injection from an unknown source. According to his attorneys, Mr. Wood was “gasping and snorting for more than an hour.”

Jul 28

Have You Ever Been Hungry?

By Jen Chapin, Food Tank News | Op-Ed
He was intense, surly, a bit unwashed. My interactions with him earlier in the evening had not been overly friendly, but now the show was over and he was looking at me intently - “Can I talk to you?” It was more a command than a request.
 
I was beyond tired, having driven from Baltimore after our gig there through the wee hours of the morning here to Syracuse, slept for a few hours in our hotel, done two morning radio shows, and dealt with a challenging soundcheck and concert partly overseen by this ragged young man, who was assisting an equally brusque sound technician who may or may not have been his dad. But of course I agreed, and after a bit more packing up of instruments and equipment, we met on the chilly sidewalk outside of the theater as my bandmates waited in the van.

The state of Arizona today took one hour and 57 minutes to kill a prisoner in a botched execution, which was carried out using the same combination of drugs as those used in the botched execution of an Ohio prisoner earlier this year.

Joseph Wood, 55, was eventually pronounced dead at 3.49pm local time after he had been seen 'gasping and snorting' over an hour into his execution, according to an emergency stay filed mid-execution by his lawyers as they saw what was happening.

Humanity is at a crossroads, faced with dual threats. One is the growing climate crisis and the other is the ever-present, albeit submerged threat of nuclear annihilation that has been part of daily reality since 1945. Each threatens all life on Planet Earth.

From melting ice, rising and acidifying oceans, permafrost thawing, increasingly severe weather (floods, heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires), signs of anthropocentric climate change are unmistakable and will cause dire problems of famine and dislocation in coming years.

Jul 26

Goons Guns and Georgia

By Jim and Jean Anton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

July 1, 2014. I planned an early morning hike in the woods with the grandkids. That same morning, I read about Georgia's Guns-Everywhere law that allows anyone in Georgia to carry a gun into a church, bar, school, or library, but not into the Statehouse where the politicians who wrote the legislation do their "work."

I wondered why Guns Everywhere didn't include the Georgia Statehouse since the legislation (parading as the Safe Carry Protections Act) was enacted allegedly to increase safety.