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 United States suffers from a self-imposed amnesia. It has chosen only a few threads from the rich thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to weave into the fabric of its national epic. Forgotten is King's major address on US foreign policy, delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City on the night of April 4, 1967, exactly one year to the day before his assassination. He began, "I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice."
That food you bought today at the big box store was labeled "organic." Is it? How do you know?
Crooked politicians in the US, specifically Washington DC, have encouraged Big Food businesses to help themselves to the organic industry by marketing products openly in breach of stringent organic criteria established by the US Department of Agriculture.
In Kabul, where the Afghan Peace Volunteers have hosted me in their community, the US military maintains a huge blimp equipped with cameras and computers to supply 24-hour surveillance of the city. All of this surveillance purportedly helps establish "patterns of life" and bring security to people living here. But this sort of "intelligence" discloses very little about experiences of poverty, chaos, hunger, child labor, homelessness and unemployment which afflict families across Afghanistan.
Syriza's rise to power was accompanied by popular hopes for reform on all fronts: economic, environmental, political and cultural. Alas, none of the hopes became reality. In fact, instead of spurring positive social change, the governing Syriza party has followed closely in the footsteps of its predecessors.
When microbiologist Bruce Hemming was hired two years ago to test breast milk samples for residues of the key ingredient in the popular weed-killer Roundup, Hemming at first scoffed at the possibility. Hemming, the founder of St. Louis-based Microbe Inotech Laboratories, knew that the herbicidal ingredient called glyphosate was not supposed to accumulate in the human body.
Since 1992, when she was first elected to public office, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had a remarkable political career. It was therefore hardly a surprise that during the primaries for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton named Schultz as her nationalcampaign co-chair. When running that campaign, Schultz became a close ally of Clinton, a relationship that has endured to this day. Schultz herself has smugly proclaimed that she and Clinton enjoy "a special relationship."
In wonderfully poetic prose, The Pedagogy of Insurrection helps readers better understand the overall project of critical pedagogy and its willingness to problematize the common understandings of oppressed peoples to facilitate their liberation from restrictive the thought patterns typically holding them in thrall. However, McLaren's book broadens that project to appreciatively include the realm of religion and theology by introducing readers to the emancipatory quality of liberation theology.
They have descended from homes built on the mountainside. Women sit together in the cemetery not to mourn but to wait for the duvet distribution to begin. When I approach them, each woman extends a hand in greeting. Some have the needed small stamped pieces of paper to receive two duvets but most don't. One of the women tells me about the pain in her chest, her legs. She talks about the war. I listen to all the manifestations of her suffering.
North Korea announced the successful testing of a hydrogen bomb earlier this week, ringing in the New Year with an ominous blast. The conciliatory New Year's Address delivered by North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, which included no references to the nation's nuclear ambitions, was greeted in South Korea with hope for better relations in 2016, but such optimism was quickly dashed by detection of seismic activity in North Korea near previous nuclear test sites.
I have been thinking over the last month about what might be worth saying at this time when our work to stop drone killing and surveillance has been met with the announcement that the United States government intends to expand its drone program. And almost certainly the level of drone killing - assassination - is soaring as drones are integrated into an air war strategy that appears to be limitless in its intensity.