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.
August 14 and 15 marked the 70-year anniversary of independence from colonial rule for Pakistan and India, respectively. At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the former crown jewel in the British Empire was partitioned hastily into the two countries of India and Pakistan, which were given rein over their own governments.
What about freedom for others, non-Americans, do they deserve it? A silly question on the face of it. One reeking of American exceptionalism, if not xenophobia. Surely, most Americans would answer in the affirmative, yet their meaning of freedom may not be immediately apparent. Their support of worldwide "freedom" usually does not connote the ability to decide what kind of political system or regime type people live under, but rather presumes that some sort of Western-style (non-Scandinavian) democracy is the inevitable outgrowth of freedom.
On April 27, 2017, a hapless cow wandered off-course during a seasonal cattle drive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ended up over the campfire of some Indigenous hunters. The traditional lands of these groups (Batwa and related groups) are routinely trampled by cattle, cut for old-growth timber, or grabbed for mineral resources including diamonds and coltan -- generally illegally. As their wild game diminishes from these impacts, the Batwa have come to view cattle as fair game.
The Republican budget submitted in the House a few weeks back would make fundamental changes for the worst to the lives of all of us if it ever passes. But opposing such a draconian budget is not enough to move us in better directions. As Naomi Klein says, "No is not enough." But there is a viable alternative budget out there released by the largest caucus in Congress. It embodies the budget priorities of most of us -- and it deserves our support this summer.
The US has refused to realize the 1954 mandate of Brown v. Board to address deep-seated education inequity. Today, more than 60 years later, schools are profoundly separate and unequal based on race and class. State-sanctioned sabotage of human potential runs rampant across the United States and can be measured by curriculum, access to programs and technology, how school discipline is administered and funding. It is amplified by the school privatization movement.
We, the undersigned faculty members urge you and the administration of UNAH to drop the charges against student protestors: Moisés David Cáceres Velásquez, Sergio Luis Ulloa Rivera y Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla, who were engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to needed reforms that include student voice and participation on campuses across the nation.
Just like the US economy, most private US colleges -- especially Ivy League institutions -- are oriented toward innovation through entrepreneurship, with more than $39 billion invested in 2016 in companies founded by alumni of Ivy League schools and Stanford University. In several disciplines, such as engineering and the sciences, the entrepreneurial direction is evident in the way courses are taught and in the material itself. Young scientists and engineers are nurtured in the entrepreneurial culture with regards to funding and overcoming challenges, as well as interdisciplinary opportunities leading to setting up their own ventures.
Six months after a scathing Amnesty International on working conditions in Indonesia's palm oil plantations, one of the commodity's largest buyers has acknowledged that the abuses are endemic and still unresolved, but "some progress" has been made. Consumer giant Unilever responded to questions about the labor problems revealed by Amnesty International in a prepared statement.
The spectacle of Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying under oath about possible collusion with Russia and his failure to reveal his multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador highlights that we are a low point for truth in American politics. This low point is even more clearly visible in former FBI Director James Comey testifying under oath that President Donald Trump lied, and Trump promising to testify under oath that Comey lied. Deception proved a very successful strategy for political causes and individual candidates in the UK and US elections in 2016.
Two weeks ago, Donald Trump announced the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate accord, claiming the multinational agreement is "unfair," and will cost too much in US jobs and revenue loss. This news came as a blow to many, including environmentalists and members of Trump's own administration. But the 70 percent of Americans who believe in climate science need not despair. Around the world, people are crafting viable, equitable alternatives to our climate-changing economy.