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.
Here in Kabul, I'm generally an early riser at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, but I'm seldom alone. Facing exams, my young friends awaken early and then stay up late to study. Before sunrise this morning, eighteen-year-old Ghulamai sits in the kitchen, poring over his textbook. His efforts have made him number one in his class for the past three school terms. Now in the eleventh grade, he greatly hopes to continue his education, but his situation is precarious.
We woke to a different country on November 9, 2016, one to be ruled by a racist, dishonest, autocratic, militarist, plutocratic, neo-fascist administration. Our responsibility now is to defend our rights, human lives here and abroad, our Constitution and the democratic republic. Nothing less. Let me begin by celebrating the people across the country who didn't roll over and play dead when Donald Trump said he wanted to deport up to 3 million undocumented "criminal immigrants" who he imagines are among us.
"Our chains are your chains," said Ricardo Flores Magón to the American people just over 100 years ago in the midst of a revolutionary war against the dictatorship lead by Porfirio Díaz and William Taft. Today, those words are more effective than ever. Today as yesterday, brotherhood between the American and the Mexican people is urgent, necessary, visible and possible. The dominant class in Mexico and the United States is well articulated to turn the region into a source of unprecedented capitalist wealth, while contempt against migrants becomes the main tool for both governments.
Public education is no longer a top priority in the state of Oregon. At least that's the message students, parents and teachers got when a majority of voters nixed Measure 97, a corporate tax ballot measure, on November 8. Measure 97 would have levied a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on C corporations with Oregon sales of more than $25 million. Had it passed, it would have raised approximately $6 billion a biennium, adding to the $19 billion state general fund.
Elon Musk, the billionaire investor and inventor at the head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has a long track record of clickbait-friendly pronouncements. His plans for solar roofing are no different. Framing the new product in the same revolutionary terms he uses for self-driving Tesla cars or colonizing Mars, Musk promises shingle-sized solar panels that cost less to manufacture than a traditional roof and reduce energy consumption. Musk's vision for American rooftops is interesting enough, but in hindsight, the date of his announcement is even more so.
On the evening of December 4, the camp at Standing Rock celebrated. Traditional songs and drumming resounded through the valley and speakers offered congratulations and prayers of gratitude around the sacred fire. Earlier that day, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will deny the easement for a crucial section of the Dakota Access pipeline to be built under the Missouri River.
The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the easement permit needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline. The struggle is not over yet, but this is a major victory for Standing Rock. Might the large number of people, Indians and non-Indians alike, sending prayers for life on Mother Earth actually have had a role? I can only share my observations and experiences of the hours before the decision.
Like many moments in this post-truth political era, Trump's missives reveal not only the absence of a solid policy stance on international development assistance, but also misconceptions of what we actually do with our aid and how it serves our interests. Yet, as president, he will wield enormous power over our global development agenda, from appointing or nominating leaders on development in the White House cabinet, State Department and the heads of the world's largest aid agencies; to working directly with Congress to set the agenda and budget for our foreign aid.
The Trump team grows larger and, with it, the weight of just how grand defensive actions will need to be. Everything appears at risk -- the economy, the planet, safety, well-being, the ongoing struggle for civil rights. The big orange elephant in the room is that this is bigger than Donald Trump. Our political system can't find the common good, and this relates to design, not just him. The winner-take-all electoral system divides us into winners and losers and creates a situation where no one really wins.
The election of Donald Trump has spurred a number of protests, some of them very large, in cities across the United States. Many of the people venting their frustration are participating in protests for the first time. A whole section of the US population has almost overnight discovered that it wants to be political. In protests, on social media and in conversations, it is clear that the liberal white middle class is prepared to mobilize politically, for the first time, really, since the antiwar movement fizzled out under the Nixon administration.