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.
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."
That conservative forces have long sought to squash dissent and curtail rigorous academic debate on campuses is far from a secret. From the militarization of many campuses, academic repression of faculty, excessive and difficult-to-navigate bureaucracies, limitations on free speech and more, college students, staff and faculty members today face many challenges as they seek to explore, debate and take action on critical and difficult issues. The gun lobby has seized on this environment of academic stifling, promoting firearms as the answer to an array of problems on campuses and beyond.
As US liberals and some leftists are pulling up their sleeves in anticipation of a prolonged battle for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, the tussle becomes particularly ugly whenever the candidates' foreign policy agendas are evoked. Of the two main contenders, Hillary Clinton is the obvious target. She is an interventionist, uncompromisingly, and her term as secretary of state (2009-2013) is a testament to her role in sustaining the country's foreign policy agenda under George W. Bush.
As the crises we face intensify, so does the cry for the Movement of Movements to coalesce into one mass movement for change. But herein lies a seeming paradox: This revolution will not be organized under one umbrella - its diversity is part of its revolution. We are wandering in the woods, looking for the revolution of the Movement of Movements, not seeing the forest for the trees.
Police violence does not end when someone dies in a confrontation. The kindred of the dead suffer for years to come - a lingering, constituent facet of this terror. We need only recall Ferguson, Missouri. In Brazil, police violence haunts as well; especially in working-class Black neighborhoods where the affective communities of the dead mourn under the threat of reprisal from the police.
On 31st Jan, I followed Zekerullah, an Afghan Peace Volunteer who coordinates the Borderfree Street Kids School in Kabul, to visit Zuhair and his family in their rented room. Zuhair attends the School on Fridays with 92 other working and street kids, a minuscule number in the context of 6 million working children in Afghanistan. My heart squirmed at the unequal math of today's economics.
Like most animal advocates, I was thrilled when California's Proposition 2 passed back in 2008, as it prohibited three of the cruelest agricultural practices of our time: battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates. Prop 2 promised future animals a better life - or, perhaps more precisely, a less horrible one. But Prop 2 has already proven a colossal failure, worse yet, it has helped perpetuate the misperception that the problem of animal suffering in farms has already been solved.
I know that you might be angry or frustrated that Flint's water crisis is fading from national attention. In this fast-paced news environment, the devastation that families in Flint, Michigan are facing is beginning to fade from front-page news. Yet Flint's residents are still dealing with the short and long-term effects of contaminated water. Even as donations have arrived to help families, safe drinking water remains a precious resource. It is all too familiar.
Early spring is audition time for high school seniors hoping to get into the music departments or schools at colleges, universities or conservatories around the country. Unlike their peers who aim to major in liberal sciences or other fields, music majors need to perform a rigorous and competitive audition to be accepted. Acceptance rates vary from 5 percent to about 40 percent in the US. In the past few weeks at Northwestern University, I listened to 50 hopeful candidates perform and interview for a slot in music education, where each year more than 1,100 high school seniors apply for approximately 100 slots.