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.
Bolivian President Evo Morales lost the referendum last Sunday that could have given him the ability to run for re-election in 2019. The margin was small, but the implications are huge: Bolivia's longest standing and most popular president finally has an end date for his time in power, on January 22, 2020. The lead up to the election was brutal, with an array of corruption scandals and conflicts, the most tragic of which was a protest last Wednesday against the opposition-controlled mayor's office that resulted in a fire leading to six deaths.
For those "feeling the Bern," this is not the moment to throw another log on the fire, curl up on your couch and immerse yourself in books about the most popular brand to emerge from Vermont since Ben & Jerry's. In upcoming Democratic primary states, door-knocking, phone banking and voting will likely be a far higher priority - particularly among those newly fired up by Bernie Sanders' landslide victory in New Hampshire on February 9.
On Thursday, February 18, minimum wage and housing justice activists in Oregon descended on Salem to protest a weakened wage proposal and delayed renters' rights legislation. $15Now Oregon - the state wing of the larger Fight for $15 movement sweeping the country - saw opposition over the last several months coming from the much more moderate Raise the Wage coalition and its $13.50 minimum wage proposal. The bill that passed the Oregon Legislature, which would raise the minimum wage to the highest in the country, would bring the minimum wage in Portland to $14.75 by 2022.
This is not a plan to close Guantánamo. It lays out several obvious steps that the Center for Constitutional Rights has long called for, and that the Obama administration has long reneged on - finally releasing the men who have been cleared for transfer, most for years, and strengthening and speeding up the Periodic Review Board process - but talk is cheap. Unless the Obama administration shows real will and dramatically steps up its efforts on these basic fronts, men whose detentions the administration itself has determined are unnecessary will continue to languish.
In this report, acTVism Munich provides an overview of the activities that took place on the 9th of February, 2016, the day when the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 was launched by Yanis Varoufakis and Srecko Horvat at Volksbühne in Berlin. This report aims to give the public a transparent view by documenting the activities and interviewing organizers and participants. Interview partners include Yanis Varoufakis, SreckoHorvat, Katja Kipping and Gesine Schwan.
Everyone following the Democratic presidential primary race almost certainly heard about the Big Letter. Four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under Democratic presidents signed an open letter condemning an analysis of Bernie Sanders' platform by University of Massachusetts economist Gerald Friedman. The letter asserted that Friedman's analysis made "extreme claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence."
Like a dry Christmas tree, social media spaces exploded on news of the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Immediately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called upon Republicans to draw battle lines against any nomination coming from President Obama. Within hours of Justice Scalia passing, the unseemly speed of McConnell's announcement was reflective of the polarization that has consistently put partisanship before the legislative work of the nation, plaguing both terms of Barack Obama's presidency.
Last month, as US border patrol agents began rounding up Central American women and children denied asylum, asmall group of international peace activists from Voices for Creative Nonviolence boarded a plane for Helsinki, Finland, to visit two longtime Iraqi friends who fled Baghdad last summer and somehow completed a perilous seven-week journey over land and sea to reach this northern seaport.
There was a barbaric massacre in Turkey last week. There might be another one this week. It's the latest in a series of shocking crimes to which the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has subjected members of Turkey's Kurdish minority population since the end of the summer. It's becoming increasingly clear that the Turkish state is engaged in ethnic mass-displacement and other forms of ethnic cleansing.
In October 2015, I had the privilege of teaching an intensive one week seminar on US politics and campaigns at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, Colombia. UPB is one of the largest Catholic universities in the Andean region with an enrollment of over 26,000 and a strong outreach program to students from Colombia's many indigenous groups.