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.

Natalia Estemirova was the sole motivation for the Roots To Resistance Project, an Art and Activism project celebrating the work of 12 Global Women Activists doing profoundly important work on this Planet. Natalia Estemirova's 8' Portrait was the first of 12. Natalia was a Grass Roots Activist, a Journalist and she was so profoundly OF the people. She was there for her Community during two brutal wars in Chechnya and during the acts of violence and repression of the current Chechen government led by Ramzan Kadyrov. Natalia stayed, reported, supported, spoke up loudly and even in the face of threats and grave dangers she refused to leave her country and those that depended on her. Natalia was only too aware that she truly was one of the only voices left reporting from within the borders of Chechnya during these dark days.

Natalia Estemirova was abducted and murdered in July of 2009.

It was most certainly the Activism, dedication, fierceness and love of her people that made me feel so heartbroken for the loss of Natalia but it was also something else which is harder to describe. As I began to investigate the life of Natalia Estemirova I was so very struck by the ways she wore all of these experiences on her face and body, the way she wore and exposed her joys and also the heartache of a life lived so close to these wars, violence and suffering. She wore it all with immense sincerity, integrity and grace and so although I never knew Natalia Estemirova, I was profoundly moved by her humanness and beauty and I did my best to paint all of that, and her, back to life.

Democracy At Work has commissioned a participatory art piece by a New York arts collective, Animus. The piece is called "500 pieces" which will be created by the guests at Economist Richard Wolff's speaking engagements on Sept 7th in Palo Alto and on Sept 13th in Berekely.

Each guest will receive a piece of wood with a notch in each side which they can place where ever they would like to create the artwork.

As someone who deals extensively with questions of subornment in fiction (and who once had some training on the subject, courtesy of Uncle Sam), I found the question itself extremely interesting. I was also interested -- and, as admirer of Hayes and his work, concerned -- that Hayes really had no answer. He said he would try to protect himself by continuing to practice what he recognized as good journalism, which he said consists at least in part of ensuring that a wide variety of voices are heard on his show. But countless people have gone astray before Hayes, and surely all of them -- at least the ones who weren't corrupt to begin with -- promised themselves at least this much, that they would continue to practice good journalism. And alas, the promise wasn't enough.

So I got to thinking. What are the warning signs, the real metrics a well-intentioned and clear-eyed journalist should consider before her subornment begins, and by which she can judge whether her integrity is slowly being compromised, corroded, and lost? It's important to think about these issues in advance. Cops and soldiers, after all, use when/then thinking to prepare for physical danger. The principles apply to the danger of subornment, too.

Sep 05

Israel Says: Rachel Made Me Do It

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | News Analysis

On 16 March 2003, the last day of her life, 23 year old Rachel Corrie was in the Gaza town of Rafah standing in front of the Palestinian family home (not just a house) of Dr. Samir Nasrallah. Dr. Nasrallah was a local pharmacist and Ms Corrie had been staying with his family while serving as part of an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) cadre seeking to disrupt the Israeli army’s (IDF) on-going demolition of Palestinian homes. Between 2000 and 2004, the Israelis had destroyed enough homes in the Rafah area to leave some 1700 people homeless.

The Israeli army claimed they did this because these homes were used as “terrorist hiding places.” The result, they claimed, was frequent gunfire at Israeli settlements and soldiers. Yet for the time that Ms Corrie stayed with the Nasrallahs, everyone in the home had slept on the floor and away from the windows to avoid a constant barrage of gunfire from Israeli snipers.

Sep 05

Who Owns Detroit?

By Critical Moment, Critical Moment | News Analysis

We Detroiters are now entering a period of turmoil that is quite different in character from the devastation of the last 40 years. The crisis we find ourselves in is a bankruptcy that is both economic and political.

It is economic in the sense that the twin forces of industrial abandonment and depopulation that have been pulling Detroit down for so long have left the city with empty pockets and a ruined tax base. This situation has been made all the worse by the political games of the governor, right-wing think tanks and their pawns on both sides of the aisle in Lansing who are using the state's poorer urban centers as experimental laboratories to develop a new type of uniquely American austerity.

Sep 05

Undercover Agents Assault Journalists at Democratic Convention in Charlotte

By Steve Horn and Kevin Gosztola, SpeakOut | Press Release

Charlotte, NC — Two journalists covering the Democratic National Convention were confronted on Sunday by two undercover agents who assaulted one and threatened to punch the other in the mouth for photographing them.

The two journalists, Kevin Gosztola of and Steve Horn, a Truthout contributor credentialed to cover the DNC for WORT-FM in Madison, Wisconsin, took notice of four burly middle-aged white males during a public march. The four were taking photos of the undocumented immigrant contingent in the march. They were carrying "No Papers, No Fear" blue flags and had put stickers from Code Pink on their person to make it seem like they were protesters in the demonstration. One man in an orange shirt had a black piece in one of his ears.

Sep 05

Why #OccupyIsaac Makes Sense

By Gary Roland, InterOccupy | News Analysis

If you haven't heard yet a historic coalition is being built in the City of New Orleans to help not only those displaced and left in need by Hurricane Isaac, but also the almost 10,000 people who have been left homeless since Katrina struck 7 years ago. The Occupy Movement is using the communications capabilities of InterOccupy and its national & international reach, to bring together the Common Ground Collective & Food Not Bombs, in a relief effort that will force our political system and the mainstream media into a conversation about the human impact of global warming.

Oakland - The Yes on Proposition 37 California Right to Know Campaign will air its first television ad today with a significant statewide television buy that directly challenges the credibility of the big corporations that are now working to deny Californians the right to know what’s in their food.

Proposition 37, which will be on the California ballot in November, would be the first law in the U.S. requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods.

"You see the Republican convention?"

"I can't look at that. I'd get so upset."

"It was worse than you think—like a Klan rally."

That little back and forth came courtesy of colleagues—-well, on one of my gigs; don't get me started on that story—-discussing the second or third evening of that raucous gathering in Florida. The woman calling the Republican convention a Klan rally I would not call a militant. Frankly, she's usually the least angry black person in the office. You know one of those black people who always think you're blaming white people—for everything? Trayvon Martin? Please, child. You got more blacks killing each other than whites. You know. That person.

Sep 04

The Motion of Heavenly Bodies

By Shahid Mahmood, SpeakOut | Opinion

Sir Isaac Newton said, "I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." There is no disputing physics -- it is a science that involves the analysis of matter and its motion through both space and time. Motion is a human propensity, embedded in our genetic code. Humans are always on the move – migrating and evolving, whether pushing the limits of physical prowess or rocketing a probe to Mars. The right to mobility is considered a basic human entitlement -- enshrined in the constitutions of many sovereign states. This right asserts that citizens have the liberty to travel, reside, and work in a place of their choosing.