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.
Two famous heads got lost in Berlin. Neither loss, I hasten to add, was connected with brutality. From the past or near future, they caused melancholy or rejoicing, depending on your viewpoint.
One loss really occurred twenty-two years ago, when the 62-foot red granite statue of Lenin on East Berlin’s Lenin Square and Lenin Allee (meaning Boulevard not Alley!) was, with the names, removed two years after the state which had erected it. Unlike a dramatic scene in the popular film “Goodbye Lenin” showing the whole statue whisked away by helicopter, it was really first beheaded, then sawed into 129 parts, despite some angry protests, and buried in the sand of an outlying wooded district.
The government is being asked to take action against British firm G4S, after it emerged the company has won a £71m contract to provide a range of ‘base support’ services at Guantánamo Bay.
Legal charity Reprieve, which assists Guantánamo prisoners such as British resident Shaker Aamer, has submitted a dossier of evidence to the UK’s responsible business watchdog, the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (UK NCP). The submission argues that by providing ‘essential’ services at the prison, G4S will be contravening British government policy that the prison must be closed, as well as the OECD’s guidelines for responsible business conduct.
New York, NY—On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Lyme disease patients from around the US will unite at the headquarters of the New York Times to call for greater coverage of the Lyme disease pandemic.
Lyme patients are using the New York Times as a symbol for the media as a whole to bring attention to the general underreporting of this public health crisis. By holding a silent vigil, Lyme patients are speaking out with silence against the silence.
“Even the slightest chance of an oil spill in a Marine Protected Area far outweighs any potential benefit to the state,” said State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.
Only in a Big Oil state like California would a Legislator have to author a bill to ban offshore oil drilling in a "marine protected area." And only in a Big Oil state like California would the Legislature vote against a bill to stop oil drilling in a “marine protected area."
The US holiday Labor Day is a joke. Any day off is welcome, of course. However, again there will be no visible strikes and no muscle-flexing by the labor movement. Observance of Labor Day is as if having to be either over-worked or unemployed, putting up with extreme income disparity, tolerating insanely onerous student debt, forced to contribute to environmental degradation and unabated military madness, are non-existent issues in the "real world."
The non-labor orientation of our political reality has a lot to do with the loss of May Day in the US as a workers' show of force and rallying tool.
Almost daily, we are faced by difficult choices we are challenged to confront over a range of foreign and domestic policy concerns. We must decide whether to stand firm on principle or negotiate and compromise; whether to push for everything we want or work to achieve what we believe is possible. As these choices play out, I am often guided by an important lesson I learned more than four decades ago from one of my heroes in the U.S. civil rights movement, Julian Bond, a young African American leader of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee.
The story begins at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, IL. In the months preceding the Convention, the country had been shaken by a series of traumatic developments.
If you are over fifty and were raised in a Jewish household, you either heard this question, "but is it good for the Jews?" explicitly asked numerous times or were subtly encouraged to think the question to yourself. It reflects a group-centered concern born of the memory of anti-Semitic hostility and a seemingly unending vulnerability, and it can apply to almost any public action: federal or local legislation, cultural trends, foreign policy decisions, etc. I do not know how many of the younger generation of American Jews, known to be very secular and prone to religious intermarriage, still ask this question, but there can be no doubt that it is still there on the tips of almost every Jewish tongue of that generation for whom World War II is still well remembered.
The British government is being asked to reopen an investigation into BT, after new evidence appeared to link the company to illegal US drone strikes and the mass government surveillance used to select their targets.
Legal charity Reprieve, which assists the civilian victims of drone strikes, has this week submitted to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) a complaint containing details of how a cable laid by BT for the US military between RAF Croughton – a US base in the UK – and Camp Lemonnier – a secretive drone base in Djibouti – was tailored to meet special NSA requirements consistent with the launching of drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia.
On Labor Day 1940, American workers faced the aftermath of the Great Depression, with mass unemployment persisting and a divided labor movement facing a renewed counterattack from corporate America. They were barely becoming aware of an even greater threat, one that would determine the future of their country and their labor movement: the threat of Nazi armies mobilizing for war.
On Labor Day 2014, American workers face the lingering results of the Great Recession, with unemployment still at historic highs, burgeoning inequality, and attacks on the very right to have a union. But, like workers in 1940, we are being pressed by another threat, one that will far overshadow our current problems if we do not take it on.
The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22 that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Approximately 75 people attended the session. The co-presenter to Roger Annis was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read his talk published here in The Bullet. It is titled "Understanding the civil war in Ukraine."