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.
New York City, New York – Two citizen activists were arrested on Monday, October 6th at a Republican National Committee fundraiser in an act of civil disobedience protesting the undue influence of big money in American politics. Kai Newkirk and Curt Ries of 99Rise locked themselves to a banister in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower where the $32,400-per-person reception and dinner was being hosted by New York City billionaires Woody and Suzanne Johnson, owners of the New York Jets and heirs to the Johnson & Johnson Co. The high-dollar fundraiser comes just weeks after Senate Republicans unanimously filibustered a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given Congress the ability to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
Let them come
There are great holes
In the heart of America
Maybe the children can fill them
Let them come
Their mothers and fathers and
Sisters and brothers
Maybe they can clear
Our ears with the music
Of their languages not yet dead
Part I - State Legitimacy and Human Rights
The traditional criterion for state legitimacy was very simple. If a state and its government could hold and govern territory, it was legitimate, at least in the eyes of other governments. The form of government and its behavior did not matter in this definition - Stalin’s USSR, Mussolini‘s Italy, Hitler’s Germany - these regimes held territory and ruled as surely as did the ones in Britain, France and the United States. And, in each other’s official eyes, one state was as legitimate as the other.
This outlook began to change in 1945. Just before and then during World War II, fascist behavior in general and Nazi behavior in particular was so shocking that many post-war governments became convinced that state legitimacy required well-defined codes of national behavior enshrined in international law.
The Possibility At Hand
Gar Alperovitz writes extensively about deep economic changes slowly taking place across the country, region by region. He is one of many doing this here and abroad. Such as: Massimo DeAngelis, deSousa, Ethan Miller, Ana Margarida Estevez, and scores of others. This shared vision of abundance and solidarity at the core of these emerging local and regional dynamics will probably take about a generation to root firmly, if it does. In three or four generations these changes could possibly become a substantial part of the political economics in the US. Possibly.
These thinkers and observers are not envisioning a significant increase in “jobs,” even good ones. Rather, they are envisioning a new kind of economics that fosters cooperation, abundance, and solidarity on a broad scale. That fosters a lot of caring rather than a lot of gouging or co-opting. That is grounded in ordinary people developing a rainforest of opportunity and relationship as a replacement to the scorched earth dynamics of neoliberalism.
Washington, D.C.- The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is supporting proposed reforms outlined in a recent IMF report that are intended to prevent disruptive and costly debt restructuring fights – like the one ongoing between the Argentine government and vulture funds – from occurring in the future. Noting that “the existing legal framework may not be sufficiently robust to prevent ‘holdout’ creditors from undermining the restructuring process,” the Fund has suggested that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in the United States could be “clarif[ied]” to ensure that a foreign country’s overseas assets are immune from US courts’ jurisdiction.
In describing how the FSIA could be amended, the IMF has cited an open letter to members of the US Congress signed by over 100 economists who warned of harmful consequences for Argentina, the international financial system, and the US as a financial center from the recent decision by US District Court Judge Griesa against the government of Argentina. Griesa’s ruling effectively prevents Argentina from paying the majority of its creditors if it does not pay NML Capital and other vulture fund holdouts the full value of their bonds, plus interest (giving holdouts profits as high as over 1,600 percent).
Washington, D.C. — On October 10, 2014, NGOs, farmers' groups, and indigenous organizations from across the world are coming together as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign to denounce the World Bank's Doing Business rankings. The campaign, endorsed by over 235 organizations, will be staging "creative resistance" events at the Bank’s annual meetings in Washington D.C. and nine other cities around the world. The D.C. event is drawing support from a wide range of activist communities, including Occupy groups who will join representatives of impacted communities from Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia.
“Under the banner #WorldVsBank, this movement is calling for the end of the Doing Business rankings and the new Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. They are tools of a pro-corporate, anti-poor, environmentally unsustainable model of development. If the World Bank keeps promoting economic activity that destroys biodiversity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities, they should not have a mandate to exist,” said Alnoor Ladha of /The Rules.
Money Talks, and Climate Action: "What do we want?" "Climate action!" "When do we want it?" "Now!" What does climate action look like? Marching out on a life - if only for an afternoon - that's inextricably bound to fossil fuels? In Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? author Mark Fisher posits that "it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." Again, what does climate action look like? Strolling into a nonbinding climate summit? With respect to global climate change, the difference between "inextricably bound" and "nonbinding" is life and death.
Washington, DC -The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released new proposals for preventing predatory hedge funds and hold-out investors from blocking debt restructurings. The paper proposes a series of reforms to debt contracts, including strengthened collective action clauses and a modification of the pari passu clause that hold-out hedge funds used to sue Argentina.
"In the wake of debt restructurings in Argentina and Greece, the IMF is incredibly concerned about vulture funds," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty coalition, Jubilee USA Network. "The IMF is advocating a market approach, but we also need a statutory approach. We need to change both the contracts and the laws."
22 veterans take their own life every day in the USA. On 17th September 2014, Jacob David George was one of those veterans. And today, 7th October 2014, we mark thirteen years since the invasion of Afghanistan – an occupation with no end in sight, despite the promise of withdrawl by 2014.
We continue to witness new eras of the US-led Global War on Terror, and with it, a persisting conveyor belt of new generations of veterans, too many of whom will become another "one of 22."
In 2008, the Obama Administration made eye-popping headlines by announcing a 10-year, $80 billion nuclear weapons development program. In 2009, Mr. Obama promised to pursue a “world without nuclear weapons,” but that was then.
By 2010, new warhead plans had grown to an estimated $355 billion, decade-long cash cow that amounts to a cool $1 trillion over 30 years. The colossal expense has already been generally adopted by the House and Senate in military authorization bills -- according to the Sept. 22 New York Times.