Thursday, 05 May 2016 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

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.

Mar 16

The East Harlem Community Fight Against the Mayor's Rezoning Plan

By Members of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Movement Videos | Video

Highlighted in this film are community members of El Barrio -- women, children, whole families -- as they take their struggle against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s unfair and destructive policies of displacement from community meetings to press conferences to the streets. This new film documents the struggle of East Harlem residents -- predominantly immigrant women of color, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio -- actively opposing an unfair and destructive rezoning plan that the mayor is attempting to impose from above and which, if enacted, will cause widespread displacement of long-term low-income community members.

The right-wing Mackinac Center for Public Policy is making news after being charged $172,000 for Flint city records relating to the water crisis. They should get the records for a reasonable rate, as we have argued in our own battles for public records. But the story raises another, more pressing question: where has the Mackinac Center been on Flint for the last two months? The Flint Water Crisis is international news. It is, as the Mackinac Center itself notes, the largest public health crisis in Michigan since the 1970s.

To everything there is a season. We know the old Pete Seeger tune, composed in the late '50s and made famous by The Byrds in the mid '60s, a time just after McCarthy's communist witch-hunting campaign. It was a time of authoritarianism and public discussion about that kind of leadership. That time has returned. And now, it's time again to discuss it. The discussion is everywhere. Take, for example, "The Elements of Trumpism," an article by Ross Douthat published March 6 in The New York Times.

Mar 14

The Democratic Party's Mitosis

By Jerry Kloby, Speakout | Op-Ed

Voters face a choice in the Democratic Primary that could be deeply significant both in terms of the odds of success in November and the long-term direction of the party.

On December 18, 1865 -- 150 years ago -- when the 13th Amendment became the law of the land (after a 250-year run), Congress banned slavery in America. But it didn't - not completely. It added an exclusion clause: Slavery would be allowed as punishment for a crime. Reaffirming this, Virginia's Supreme Court declared prisoners "slaves of the state" in 1872. And so starts a second story of extraordinary exploitation.

Mar 11

Throwing Our Kids Under the Bus

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

While professing to love our children and to embrace an "it takes a village" mentality, the US continues to enact policies that demonize our children and fail to address issues that are literally killing them. Rather than preparing young people to be amazing leaders, we more often than not throw them right under the bus. The examples I cite below are by no means exhaustive of the many ways we sell kids short in the US. Rather, they represent the vast array of actions and inactions that fails to protect kids, and in many cases, presumes they are the problem. 

Shifting political winds are battering the establishment, as the breeze flows to the back of the populists. Bernie Sanders didn't conjure the hurricane, but adjusted his sails to it. As the political storm grows apace with rising income inequality, new social attitudes are bringing fresh expectations, transforming politics as we know it. What seemed impossible yesterday is suddenly necessary.

Regardless of the outcome of the US presidential primaries, or even the result of the general elections next November, a frightening phenomenon is underway. The US has decidedly moved to the right -- in fact, the ultra-right. Class differences are more pronounced than ever before, thanks to decades of neoliberal policies -- the kind of capitalism that has concentrated the wealth in even fewer hands. Racism is on the rise, and the unmistakable signs of fascism are evident whenever Donald Trump holds a campaign rally. 

On Sunday, March 6, as part of the Pacific Life Community's action in front of California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, a number of PLC'ers were arrested for "crossing the line" onto Vandenberg Air Force Base. The following is a brief account of the action written by Elizabeth Murray, who was arrested on trespass charges along with Charley Smith, Ed Ehmke, Mary Jane Parrine, Jorge Manly-Gil, Karan Benton and Tom Webb.

The McDonald Observatory - a world-renowned astronomical research center - is located in the remote Davis Mountains of far west Texas where some of the darkest night skies in the United States can be found. Alarmingly, this vital multi-million dollar facility may soon be rendered obsolete by light pollution due to increased activity from the fossil fuel extraction industry.

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Speakout

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.

Mar 16

The East Harlem Community Fight Against the Mayor's Rezoning Plan

By Members of the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, Movement Videos | Video

Highlighted in this film are community members of El Barrio -- women, children, whole families -- as they take their struggle against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s unfair and destructive policies of displacement from community meetings to press conferences to the streets. This new film documents the struggle of East Harlem residents -- predominantly immigrant women of color, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio -- actively opposing an unfair and destructive rezoning plan that the mayor is attempting to impose from above and which, if enacted, will cause widespread displacement of long-term low-income community members.

The right-wing Mackinac Center for Public Policy is making news after being charged $172,000 for Flint city records relating to the water crisis. They should get the records for a reasonable rate, as we have argued in our own battles for public records. But the story raises another, more pressing question: where has the Mackinac Center been on Flint for the last two months? The Flint Water Crisis is international news. It is, as the Mackinac Center itself notes, the largest public health crisis in Michigan since the 1970s.

To everything there is a season. We know the old Pete Seeger tune, composed in the late '50s and made famous by The Byrds in the mid '60s, a time just after McCarthy's communist witch-hunting campaign. It was a time of authoritarianism and public discussion about that kind of leadership. That time has returned. And now, it's time again to discuss it. The discussion is everywhere. Take, for example, "The Elements of Trumpism," an article by Ross Douthat published March 6 in The New York Times.

Mar 14

The Democratic Party's Mitosis

By Jerry Kloby, Speakout | Op-Ed

Voters face a choice in the Democratic Primary that could be deeply significant both in terms of the odds of success in November and the long-term direction of the party.

On December 18, 1865 -- 150 years ago -- when the 13th Amendment became the law of the land (after a 250-year run), Congress banned slavery in America. But it didn't - not completely. It added an exclusion clause: Slavery would be allowed as punishment for a crime. Reaffirming this, Virginia's Supreme Court declared prisoners "slaves of the state" in 1872. And so starts a second story of extraordinary exploitation.

Mar 11

Throwing Our Kids Under the Bus

By Laura Finley, Speakout | Op-Ed

While professing to love our children and to embrace an "it takes a village" mentality, the US continues to enact policies that demonize our children and fail to address issues that are literally killing them. Rather than preparing young people to be amazing leaders, we more often than not throw them right under the bus. The examples I cite below are by no means exhaustive of the many ways we sell kids short in the US. Rather, they represent the vast array of actions and inactions that fails to protect kids, and in many cases, presumes they are the problem. 

Shifting political winds are battering the establishment, as the breeze flows to the back of the populists. Bernie Sanders didn't conjure the hurricane, but adjusted his sails to it. As the political storm grows apace with rising income inequality, new social attitudes are bringing fresh expectations, transforming politics as we know it. What seemed impossible yesterday is suddenly necessary.

Regardless of the outcome of the US presidential primaries, or even the result of the general elections next November, a frightening phenomenon is underway. The US has decidedly moved to the right -- in fact, the ultra-right. Class differences are more pronounced than ever before, thanks to decades of neoliberal policies -- the kind of capitalism that has concentrated the wealth in even fewer hands. Racism is on the rise, and the unmistakable signs of fascism are evident whenever Donald Trump holds a campaign rally. 

On Sunday, March 6, as part of the Pacific Life Community's action in front of California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, a number of PLC'ers were arrested for "crossing the line" onto Vandenberg Air Force Base. The following is a brief account of the action written by Elizabeth Murray, who was arrested on trespass charges along with Charley Smith, Ed Ehmke, Mary Jane Parrine, Jorge Manly-Gil, Karan Benton and Tom Webb.

The McDonald Observatory - a world-renowned astronomical research center - is located in the remote Davis Mountains of far west Texas where some of the darkest night skies in the United States can be found. Alarmingly, this vital multi-million dollar facility may soon be rendered obsolete by light pollution due to increased activity from the fossil fuel extraction industry.