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.

Aug 26


By Emanuel E. Garcia, SpeakOut | Poetry

We claim that an infinity
Can come from one

That nothing is more virtual
Than empty space

Aug 26

Ferguson Is All of Us

By Dr James J Zogby, Arab American Institute | Op-Ed

This is the year in which we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Bill. Instead of being able to reflect on the distance we have traveled since 1964, the horrific events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri only served to remind us of how far we still have to go.

It's not just the thought of Michael Brown lying dead in the street with six bullets in his young body. It's not just the scene of police in armored vehicles, dressed in battle fatigues, military issue helmets, and gas masks staring down demonstrators through the gun-sights of their high-powered weapons. It is that. But it is so much more.

Aug 25

The Rebirth of the West

By Werner de Gruijter, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Why even economists will take ethical issues seriously…

Scientists are pushing the panic button. Since it is reasonable to assume the advent of more humanitarian misery due to increased wealth differences. Yet nothing happens to prevent this; mainly because ethical language has lost its popularity among politicians, especially when the economy is concerned. Hence this attempt to revitalize the ethical argument.

My earliest recognition of the odious and oppressive role of racism in American life came in December 1955. No, it was not in response to the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and the subsequent mobilization and bus boycott by the black community of that city. Unaware of those developments, I was, instead, attuned to the controversy surrounding the efforts by Southerners, from the governor of Georgia to the residents of New Orleans, to exclude the University of Pittsburgh's black fullback and linebacker, Bobby Grier, from playing in the Sugar Bowl game against Georgia Tech.

Growing up in western Pennsylvania where football was integral to masculine rites-of-passage, I was outraged that racial discrimination could bar a talented athlete from performing on the gridiron. I was also a naïve 10 year-old, living in a predominantly white suburb of Pittsburgh and sheltered in so many ways within a racial order that provided certain advantages to whites while denying them to blacks. When I got to junior high school, I was eager to join the football team even though my skinny frame limited my eventual playing time. Although I transitioned from football to cross-country and track in high school, I remained an avid fan of the game and continued to take part in pick-up touch football matches.

Santa Barbara –The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) yesterday continued its efforts to compel the United States government to comply with its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), asking a Federal Court judge to reject the US government’s claim that the treaty cannot be enforced.

On April 24, 2014, the Marshall Islands filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court, alleging the United States has violated its moral and legal obligations under the NPT by refusing to negotiate in good faith toward complete nuclear disarmament.

Aug 25

Ferguson: Apartheid-Town America

By Rev. Samuel Weddington, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Milkor is a company few Americans recognize. Milkor USA, Inc. is an American majority-owned company spun off from its South African parent company, Milkor (PTY) Ltd. Both companies manufacture and sell the Multiple Grenade Launcher (MGL). Primarily developed for military use, the MGL is basically a portable cannon with a six-slot revolver mechanism on the bottom that has a variety of uses and configurations ranging from the launch of mobile 40mm grenades to tear-gas canisters. This weapon is terrifying, and rightly so since it is the "grenade launcher of choice" for the United States Marine Corps and the Navy Seals. Unfortunately, the MGL is now present on American streets like West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, with officers in police departments across America wielding them against a public they are sworn to serve. Such trivia is important because we, as a country, must come to the realization that our police forces are militarized - emphasis on enforcement rather than service to peace - and the weapon of choice to suppress the rights of our citizens to protest has its roots in apartheid South Africa.

In the wake of tragedies like the recent police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager in a working-class suburb of St. Louis, the nation is often called upon to reflect on racial discrimination. But debate over the issue usually focuses narrowly on how racism spurs injustices while overlooking how it is also a major source of division. Yet, these two issues are inextricably intertwined. The profound division of American society along racial lines is part of a vicious circle exacerbating a host of social problems, from excessive use of force by the police to mass incarceration and wealth inequality.

While the stereotypical criminal is African-American or Hispanic, people commonly overlook the fact that numerous US prisoners are white. Around 34 percent of state and federal prisoners are white. [1] Further, 43 percent of the people on death row are white. That is not an insignificant share. The prison population actually provides part of the picture only since discrimination is present at each stage of the legal process. Even though blacks are disproportionately perpetrators and victims of crime, they are more likely than whites to be arrested, charged, convicted, and harshly sentenced for the same offenses, as Michelle Alexander describes in her masterful book, The New Jim Crow.

CNN recently aired a hopelessly biased and myopic segment on the Erin Burnett Show - a report that can only be described as propaganda for the US police state. The video, currently on CNN's website, is titled "How a 1997 bank robbery led to police militarization."

Kyung Lahr begins her report sounding like a voice actor introducing the trailer for a Hollywood blockbuster with these words, "Shooting at everyone, dressed for war, outside of a Bank of America in North Hollywood in 1997, this is what retired police officer John Caprarelli faced armed only with his 9 mm handgun."

A new report released today from IATP takes an in-depth look at how tar sands have developed from an unconventional, inefficient energy source to the spotlight of the corporate agenda as conventional oil supplies dwindle. Tar Sands: How Trade Rules Surrender Sovereignty and Extend Corporate Rights follows the development of energy policy from NAFTA up to current free trade negotiations to illustrate that while energy sources evolve, one trend remains constant: The protection of corporate profits at the expense of human rights, sovereignty and the environment. With new free trade agreements in negotiation, the time for action is here: The public needs a seat at the negotiating table.

The Washington Post's disclosure last month of yet another leaked EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating document on Energy and Raw Materials (ERM) brings to light the overwhelming emphasis placed on dismantling the United States' ability to govern its own energy resources. Pressure to repeal the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), due to new-found U.S. energy reserves through hydraulic fracturing, stands as most controversial to environmentalist and anti-globalist.

"I am an invisible man...I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." -Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)

Son, if you came up missing
your hood would not be able to find you.
Unable to pick you out in a crowd,
or a police line up.