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.
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.
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.
Obama stands to learn a thing or two about human rights during his upcoming trip to Cuba. Will he advance modestly along the lines of diplomatic rapprochement between Washington and Havana, or will he lecture the Revolution about human rights that aren't guaranteed in the land he calls home?
In the Democratic presidential campaign thus far, the Hillary for America presidential campaign has used fear about implementing a single-payer health care system to portray her as the safe, electable choice for the presidential Democratic nominee. At her January 29, 2016, Iowa campaign stop, she stated that single-payer health care will "never, ever come to pass." As opposed to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who proposes a single-payer health care system as part of his election platform, Hillary Clinton has argued that modest changes to our current health care system, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is the best way forward.
A United Nations meeting in Geneva this week could have enormous implications for United States national security, but it is being ignored by most of the media and by US political leaders. It deserves serious attention. A new policy-making body called the Open Ended Working Group will consider ways to break the current impasse in efforts to reduce the danger of nuclear war. The group expects to make formal recommendations to the UN this fall. The initiative is especially important given recent studies on the catastrophic effects that would follow even a limited use of nuclear weapons.
In his work What is Property? Pierre-Joseph Proudhon famously declares that "property is theft." In particular, Proudhon has in mind the products of labor, which, under capitalism, the worker produces but does not own. Nor can she afford to buy them, Proudhon says, "Because the right of increase does not permit these things to be sold at the cost-price, which is all that laborers can afford to pay."