Thursday, 27 November 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • Free Marissa and All Black People

    Marissa Alexander made a decision for herself and her family to accelerate the (un-free) freedom that all who live black in the United States have when we aren't formally caged.

  • From Buy Nothing Day to Independence Day

    Let's highlight the importance of framing and narratives, and the power of including the Global South, in a global day of boycott against multinational corporations.

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.

For decades, Afro-descendant communities in Colombia have fought for autonomy and self-determination as a response to government policies that produce multiple forms of violence in their communities. Fully aware of, and in solidarity with, mobilizations in Ferguson, Afro-Colombians recognize the common dreams of movements for racial justice for people of color people across the hemisphere. Two members of a delegation that visited these communities in August 2014 reflect on their own solidarity process and explore the ways that transnational solidarity manifests (or doesn't) in movements. How can we move beyond allyship and towards a practice of co-struggling?

One week after Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, nine US-based activists and artists of color and one white woman traveled to meet racial justice movement leaders in Colombia. Our delegation was led by Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN, Black Community Process), a collective of African-descendant Colombian groups focused on cultural and political power for Colombia's black population. The history of dispossession is a long one for African descendants in Colombia and across the diaspora i.e. European colonial conquests, subsequent violent and dehumanizing economies of enslavement, the state's denial of social services and reparations. With the energy of the #BlacksLivesMatter mobilizations flowing through our hearts and minds, we began our weeklong human rights delegation throughout the Southwest Valle de Cauca region of Colombia.

The Redacted team shows you ways to die that should scare you more than Ebola, cracks the corporate manipulation code, Boston-crèmes its pants for Dunkin’ Donuts and gets creative with the whitewashing of Vietnam. 

Seventy years ago, this year, Jean Paul Sartre began writing Anti-Semite and Jew; a post war reflection on the plague of anti-Semitism and its effects on European society. The work is brilliant, unique and most likely could not have been written today. Sartre wrote on behalf of Jews; but more importantly, he demonstrated why anti-Semitism was a problem for Europeans generally, not just Jews. With anti-Muslim rhetoric well within the mainstream of American society, it is useful for us to look back to Sartre's work for insight into the causes of racism.

Anti-Semite and Jew is audaciously organized around four almost dramatic figures: The Anti-Semite, the Democrat, the Jew and the "inauthentic" Jew. Anti-Semitism is not merely an idea, according to Sartre, "it is first of all a passion." The anti-Semite measures all things against the Jew that he has imagined. The Jew is crass, rancorous, duplicitous yet brilliant – in that dangerous sort of way. The anti-Semite is the opposite: civilized, amicable, sincere yet mediocre in intellect – in that innocuous sort of way (more on that later). But this Jew is a figment of the anti-Semite's imagination; a creation that reflects everything the anti-Semite imagines he is not, thus becoming his very reason for being. Sartre states, "if the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would have to invent him."

November 2, 2014 was the first annual International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

To mark the date, the President just issued this statement.

History shows that a free press remains a critical foundation for prosperous, open, and secure societies, allowing citizens to access information and hold their governments accountable. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the fundamental principle that every person has the right “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Each and every day, brave journalists make extraordinary risks to bring us stories we otherwise would not hear – exposing corruption, asking tough questions, or bearing witness to the dignity of innocent men, women and children suffering the horrors of war. In this service to humanity, hundreds of journalists have been killed in the past decade alone, while countless more have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, the perpetrators of these crimes against journalists go unpunished.

To possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all state legislators to protect that right. There are no rights without obligations. They are mutually dependent. Fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents. 

According to philosopher David Hume, the idea of keeping a promise depends upon creating rules of justice; that rules of contracts, for instance, have to be considered morally desirable as well. In other words, a "contract" or promise between the state and its public employees must be viewed as a moral commitment and requirement of justice. Justice demands we keep our "covenants" with one another. In regard to public pensions, keeping an agreement means a concern to promote the well-being of public employees and the need to secure their rights. 

Nov 05

An Open Letter to My Fellow Americans

By Musa al-Gharbi, SpeakOut | Open Letter

Many people were rightfully outraged by the caricature of my recent Truthout article, as presented first in The Washington Free Beacon, and then in Fox News. Both of these interpretations selected the most provocative lines from the column and presented them out of context, spliced with inaccurate summaries of my position—for instance, claiming that I view most US soldiers as “anti-Muslim rapists.” If I actually believed or argued what these pundits were claiming, people would have every right to be up-in-arms. But these allegations are utterly false. Please allow me to set the record straight by highlighting the inaccuracies of this coverage and clarifying what I actually argued in the column:

Florida's voters must choose between two candidates who were once members of the same party, which complicates their records. Read the other state-by-state analyses in this series here.

Florida's gubernatorial race is one of the highest-profile elections in the country this year, with incumbent Rick Scott (R) running against former Florida governor – and former Republican – Charlie Crist (D). The race has been incredibly close, with most recent projections showing Scott just a single point ahead of Crist. Women voters could certainly turn the tide for either candidate. Women make up approximately 50 percent of Florida's population and their needs and concerns – and consequently their vote – play an integral role in determining not only the upcoming gubernatorial election, but also the well-being and prosperity of Florida's overall population. But the question remains: where do women in Florida truly stand, and what does the future of women's rights look like for the state?

New York, NY - Tomorrow's midterm elections have seen new highs in nonparty outside spending (by groups other than the parties or candidates) and dark money, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law of the 11 "toss-up" 2014 Senate races. Some of the takeaways:

  • The $328 million of non-party outside money spent in these 11 races surpasses the total $259 million of such spending in all 33 2012 Senate races combined.
  • Three races, in North Carolina ($78 million), Colorado ($64 million), and Iowa ($56 million), have already broken the all-time record for most outside spending in a Senate race ($52 million).
  • 58 percent of nonparty outside spending, nearly $200 million, was "dark money," spent by groups that don't report the identities of some or all of their donors. Pro-Republican nonparty outside spending is far more likely (76 percent) to come from dark money groups than pro-Democrat spending (35 percent).
  • Expenditures have increased drastically as Election Day approaches, with almost half of outside expenditures ($207 million) made since the beginning of October. Since the data sample ends on October 29, there may be significantly more spending between then and Election Day on November 4.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - Citizen activists from across the country are entering the final days of their water-only fast after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year's midterm election. Those fasting have urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court's recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions by signing their Democracy Voter Pledge.

"We're fasting to call to action all those who believe, as we do, in a 'one person, one vote' democracy, where the voices of everyday Americans count for more than the dollars of billionaires and corporations." said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk, who will have gone 18 days without food on election day. "We have a sacred duty to exercise our right to vote, and a strategic imperative to do so in a way that will advance our struggle to end the domination of big money over American politics."

Nov 03

Climbing Beyond Cartels

By Staff, Escalando Fronteras | Press Release

Monterrey, Mexico –Escalando Fronteras | Climbing Borders, an international development cooperative that uses rock-climbing to prevent at-risk youth from getting involved in gangs and organized crime as child soldiers in Mexico, is set to scale up its project and solidify the place of extreme adventure sports as a youth development tool in violent and conflict prone areas around the world. Encouraged by the positive results of its pilot project, which worked with 50 kids (both boys and girls between the ages of 6-18) from one of the poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods of Monterrey, Lomas Modelo, the cooperative is set to launch an Indiegogo campaign on the 17th of November which aims will allow the organization to reach 1000 at-risk youth in Monterrey by the end of 2015.

Dr. Nadia Vazquéz (from Mexico) (specialist in child soldiers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), Rory Smith (from the U.S.) (MA in International Development and Management), and Nicklas Karlsson (from Sweden) (MA in Social Anthropology), all avid climbers, with experience working in youth development in Monterrey, and armed with substantial evidence supporting the positive effects of climbing and the outdoors on both the mind and body saw the potential for climbing in development. They set out in the beginning of 2014 to test the effectiveness of climbing as a development tool in areas characterized by violence and conflict.

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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.

For decades, Afro-descendant communities in Colombia have fought for autonomy and self-determination as a response to government policies that produce multiple forms of violence in their communities. Fully aware of, and in solidarity with, mobilizations in Ferguson, Afro-Colombians recognize the common dreams of movements for racial justice for people of color people across the hemisphere. Two members of a delegation that visited these communities in August 2014 reflect on their own solidarity process and explore the ways that transnational solidarity manifests (or doesn't) in movements. How can we move beyond allyship and towards a practice of co-struggling?

One week after Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, nine US-based activists and artists of color and one white woman traveled to meet racial justice movement leaders in Colombia. Our delegation was led by Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN, Black Community Process), a collective of African-descendant Colombian groups focused on cultural and political power for Colombia's black population. The history of dispossession is a long one for African descendants in Colombia and across the diaspora i.e. European colonial conquests, subsequent violent and dehumanizing economies of enslavement, the state's denial of social services and reparations. With the energy of the #BlacksLivesMatter mobilizations flowing through our hearts and minds, we began our weeklong human rights delegation throughout the Southwest Valle de Cauca region of Colombia.

The Redacted team shows you ways to die that should scare you more than Ebola, cracks the corporate manipulation code, Boston-crèmes its pants for Dunkin’ Donuts and gets creative with the whitewashing of Vietnam. 

Seventy years ago, this year, Jean Paul Sartre began writing Anti-Semite and Jew; a post war reflection on the plague of anti-Semitism and its effects on European society. The work is brilliant, unique and most likely could not have been written today. Sartre wrote on behalf of Jews; but more importantly, he demonstrated why anti-Semitism was a problem for Europeans generally, not just Jews. With anti-Muslim rhetoric well within the mainstream of American society, it is useful for us to look back to Sartre's work for insight into the causes of racism.

Anti-Semite and Jew is audaciously organized around four almost dramatic figures: The Anti-Semite, the Democrat, the Jew and the "inauthentic" Jew. Anti-Semitism is not merely an idea, according to Sartre, "it is first of all a passion." The anti-Semite measures all things against the Jew that he has imagined. The Jew is crass, rancorous, duplicitous yet brilliant – in that dangerous sort of way. The anti-Semite is the opposite: civilized, amicable, sincere yet mediocre in intellect – in that innocuous sort of way (more on that later). But this Jew is a figment of the anti-Semite's imagination; a creation that reflects everything the anti-Semite imagines he is not, thus becoming his very reason for being. Sartre states, "if the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would have to invent him."

November 2, 2014 was the first annual International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

To mark the date, the President just issued this statement.

History shows that a free press remains a critical foundation for prosperous, open, and secure societies, allowing citizens to access information and hold their governments accountable. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the fundamental principle that every person has the right “to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Each and every day, brave journalists make extraordinary risks to bring us stories we otherwise would not hear – exposing corruption, asking tough questions, or bearing witness to the dignity of innocent men, women and children suffering the horrors of war. In this service to humanity, hundreds of journalists have been killed in the past decade alone, while countless more have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, the perpetrators of these crimes against journalists go unpunished.

To possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all state legislators to protect that right. There are no rights without obligations. They are mutually dependent. Fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents. 

According to philosopher David Hume, the idea of keeping a promise depends upon creating rules of justice; that rules of contracts, for instance, have to be considered morally desirable as well. In other words, a "contract" or promise between the state and its public employees must be viewed as a moral commitment and requirement of justice. Justice demands we keep our "covenants" with one another. In regard to public pensions, keeping an agreement means a concern to promote the well-being of public employees and the need to secure their rights. 

Nov 05

An Open Letter to My Fellow Americans

By Musa al-Gharbi, SpeakOut | Open Letter

Many people were rightfully outraged by the caricature of my recent Truthout article, as presented first in The Washington Free Beacon, and then in Fox News. Both of these interpretations selected the most provocative lines from the column and presented them out of context, spliced with inaccurate summaries of my position—for instance, claiming that I view most US soldiers as “anti-Muslim rapists.” If I actually believed or argued what these pundits were claiming, people would have every right to be up-in-arms. But these allegations are utterly false. Please allow me to set the record straight by highlighting the inaccuracies of this coverage and clarifying what I actually argued in the column:

Florida's voters must choose between two candidates who were once members of the same party, which complicates their records. Read the other state-by-state analyses in this series here.

Florida's gubernatorial race is one of the highest-profile elections in the country this year, with incumbent Rick Scott (R) running against former Florida governor – and former Republican – Charlie Crist (D). The race has been incredibly close, with most recent projections showing Scott just a single point ahead of Crist. Women voters could certainly turn the tide for either candidate. Women make up approximately 50 percent of Florida's population and their needs and concerns – and consequently their vote – play an integral role in determining not only the upcoming gubernatorial election, but also the well-being and prosperity of Florida's overall population. But the question remains: where do women in Florida truly stand, and what does the future of women's rights look like for the state?

New York, NY - Tomorrow's midterm elections have seen new highs in nonparty outside spending (by groups other than the parties or candidates) and dark money, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law of the 11 "toss-up" 2014 Senate races. Some of the takeaways:

  • The $328 million of non-party outside money spent in these 11 races surpasses the total $259 million of such spending in all 33 2012 Senate races combined.
  • Three races, in North Carolina ($78 million), Colorado ($64 million), and Iowa ($56 million), have already broken the all-time record for most outside spending in a Senate race ($52 million).
  • 58 percent of nonparty outside spending, nearly $200 million, was "dark money," spent by groups that don't report the identities of some or all of their donors. Pro-Republican nonparty outside spending is far more likely (76 percent) to come from dark money groups than pro-Democrat spending (35 percent).
  • Expenditures have increased drastically as Election Day approaches, with almost half of outside expenditures ($207 million) made since the beginning of October. Since the data sample ends on October 29, there may be significantly more spending between then and Election Day on November 4.

LA, SF, NYC, Houston, Sacramento - Citizen activists from across the country are entering the final days of their water-only fast after weeks of deprivation in a bid to elevate the issue of money-in-politics corruption during this year's midterm election. Those fasting have urged voters to exclusively support candidates who support pro-democracy reforms that would overturn the Supreme Court's recent Citizen United and McCutcheon decisions by signing their Democracy Voter Pledge.

"We're fasting to call to action all those who believe, as we do, in a 'one person, one vote' democracy, where the voices of everyday Americans count for more than the dollars of billionaires and corporations." said 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirk, who will have gone 18 days without food on election day. "We have a sacred duty to exercise our right to vote, and a strategic imperative to do so in a way that will advance our struggle to end the domination of big money over American politics."

Nov 03

Climbing Beyond Cartels

By Staff, Escalando Fronteras | Press Release

Monterrey, Mexico –Escalando Fronteras | Climbing Borders, an international development cooperative that uses rock-climbing to prevent at-risk youth from getting involved in gangs and organized crime as child soldiers in Mexico, is set to scale up its project and solidify the place of extreme adventure sports as a youth development tool in violent and conflict prone areas around the world. Encouraged by the positive results of its pilot project, which worked with 50 kids (both boys and girls between the ages of 6-18) from one of the poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods of Monterrey, Lomas Modelo, the cooperative is set to launch an Indiegogo campaign on the 17th of November which aims will allow the organization to reach 1000 at-risk youth in Monterrey by the end of 2015.

Dr. Nadia Vazquéz (from Mexico) (specialist in child soldiers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), Rory Smith (from the U.S.) (MA in International Development and Management), and Nicklas Karlsson (from Sweden) (MA in Social Anthropology), all avid climbers, with experience working in youth development in Monterrey, and armed with substantial evidence supporting the positive effects of climbing and the outdoors on both the mind and body saw the potential for climbing in development. They set out in the beginning of 2014 to test the effectiveness of climbing as a development tool in areas characterized by violence and conflict.