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      By Mark H. Gaffney 
                             
Finally. After many years of official hypocrisy, a US president appears to be playing hardball with Israel. The US government has declassified a1987 report documenting Israel's secret nuclear weapons program.
 
Mark H. Gaffney is the author of Dimona: the Third Temple (1989), a pioneering study of Israel's nuclear weapons program. This piece first appeared in CounterPunch,org.
December 6, 2013
This Week's PeaceWorker Articles

Your Alternative Source for News and Opinion 

Dear Readers,   

The PeaceWorker is a project of Oregon PeaceWorks, an organization whose mission is "educating and activating people for peace, justice and sustainability."

Recently we had a 2 1/2-month hiatus when Oregon PeaceWorks closed its office and laid off its staff due to financial pressures. Now we are publishing again powered entirely by volunteer effort.

We invite you to visit The PeaceWorker's website regularly. Every other day you will find an important new article imparting news you won't find in the mainstream media, sharing thoughtful opinions or telling you what's going on in the world of progressive action. Select an article from the list at the right or visit www.peaceworker.org.

See you online!

Peter Bergel

Editor

Join Our Mailing List
      By David Swanson                       
                             
Since Tuesday and continuing for the coming three weeks, an amazing trial is happening in U.S. District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, Va. The trial is open to the public, and among the upcoming witnesses is Condoleezza Rice, but -- unlike the Chelsea Manning trial -- most of the seats at this somewhat similar event are empty. The media is mostly MIA, and during lunch break the two tables at the cafe across the street are occupied, one by the defendant and his lawyers, the other by a small group of activists, including former CIA officer Ray McGovern, blogger Marcy Wheeler (follow her report of every detail at ExposeFacts.org), and Norman Solomon who has organized a petition at DropTheCharges.org -- the name of which speaks for itself.
 
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.
      By Norman Soloman                       
                             
This [past] week, in a federal courtroom, I've heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong. Those CIA employees and consultants are more than mere loyalists for an agency that soaks up $15 billion a year and continues to loosen the bonds of accountability. The docket says "United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling," but a more discerning title would be "National Security State v. The Public's Right to Know."
 
Norman Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.
      By Lawrence Wittner                        
                             
In the supposedly classless society of the United States, the wealthiest Americans are doing remarkably well. According to Forbes, a leading business magazine, the combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans has now reached the staggering total of $2.3 trillion.  This gives them an average net worth of $5.7 billion--an increase of 14 percent over the previous year.
 
Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is What's Going On at UAardvark? (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about campus life.
Posted by MinesActionCanada 
                                                           
 The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots had a pretty good 2014 but many people view 2014 as a terrible year full of death, war and disease around the world. Fortunately, things are not as bleak as the news makes them look. The humanitarian disarmament world has seen a lot of successes this year and each of these successes is a win for humanity.  So let's recap the good news stories of 2014 in the humanitarian disarmament world.
 
Mines Action Canada hosts the Canadian component of the new Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.  Mines Action Canada is a co-founder of the Campaign and is currently one of nine non-governmental organizations on the campaign's Steering Committee.  The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is an international campaign of non-governmental organizations calling for a comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. These are future weapons that would be able to choose and fire on targets without any human intervention. Home page is found at http://stopkillerrobots.ca/.
By John LaForge        
             
Any courtroom in China or Iran could have been the scene: An 84-year-old Catholic nun in prison garb, chained hand-and-foot and surrounded by heavy Marshals, is shuffled jangling into court. Her attorney asks if she might be allowed one free hand in order to take notes. The nun has been convicted of high crimes trumped up after her bold political protest embarrassed the state. A high-ranking judge lectures her about law and order and then imposes a three-year prison term.
 
John LaForge works for Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog group in Wisconsin, edits its Quarterly newsletter, and is syndicated through PeaceVoice. You can write Sr. Megan Rice at: # 88101-020 / MDC Brooklyn / Metropolitan Detention Center / P.O. Box 329002 / Brooklyn, NY 11232.
 
From Ruth Benn, Coordinator 
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)
       
             
On April 15 people in communities across the United States will be leafleting, marching, doing street theatre, committing civil disobedience, and picketing at post offices, IRS offices, federal buildings calling attention to what they see as the harmful effects of military spending.
 
Ruth Benn explains the why and how of not paying taxes for war and war preparation. Benn is the Coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating.
 
By Norman Solomon         
             
The most renowned media critics are usually superficial and craven. That's because -- as one of the greatest in the 20th century, George Seldes, put it -- "the most sacred cow of the press is the press itself." No institutions are more image-conscious than big media outlets. The people running them know the crucial importance of spin, and they'll be damned if they're going to promote media criticism that undermines their own pretenses.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org
 
By Lawrence Wittner         
             
Is there an emotional connection between the oceans and the pursuit of peace? For whatever reason, peace ships have been increasing in number over the past century.
 
Lawrence Wittner is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What's Going on at UAardvark?

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Interview by Amy Goodman   
            
A pair of climate scientists are calling for what some may view as a shocking solution to the global warming crisis: a rethinking of the economic order in the United States and other industrialized nations. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin of the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England say many of the solutions proposed by world leaders to prevent "runaway global warming" will not be enough to address the scale of the crisis. They have called for "radical and immediate de-growth strategies in the United States, EU and other wealthy nations."
 
Amy Goodman is host of the popular "Democracy Now" program. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin are climate scientists at the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England.
By John LaForge
 
Beginning Nov. 1, food stamp cutbacks mean $36 per month less for a family of four. Public 'servants' like Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and Democratic former President Bill Clinton point to the failure of poverty programs to end poverty, and then slash those program budgets or abolish them altogether. Meanwhile, the chronic test failure of anti-missile rockets never results in budget cuts, but is called reason enough for more funding.
 
John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice, is co-director of Nukewatch-a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin-and edits their quarterly newsletter. <www.nukewatchinfo.org>
By George Plaven 
 
Dec. 2, 2013: Climate activists won the night Sunday, effectively stalling the first of three controversial "megaloads" from leaving the Port of Umatilla on schedule. Two protesters were arrested after they locked themselves onto the side and underneath the truck hauling massive equipment to the oil fields in Canada. It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished it was 11:30 p.m. About 50 people representing grassroots environmental groups, as well as the local Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, arrived late Sunday to speak out against the megaloads and industrial transporter Omega Morgan.
 
Reprinted from the East Oregonian. For more on this story, check back at www.eastoregonian.com. Contact George Plaven at gplaven@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4547.N

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October 18, 2013
This Week's PeaceWorker Articles

Your Alternative Source for News and Opinion 

Dear Readers,   

The PeaceWorker is a project of Oregon PeaceWorks, an organization whose mission is "educating and activating people for peace, justice and sustainability."

Recently we had a 2 1/2-month hiatus when Oregon PeaceWorks closed its office and laid off its staff due to financial pressures. Now we are publishing again powered entirely by volunteer effort.

We invite you to visit The PeaceWorker's website regularly. Every other day you will find an important new article imparting news you won't find in the mainstream media, sharing thoughtful opinions or telling you what's going on in the world of progressive action. Select an article from the list at the right or visit www.peaceworker.org.

See you online!

Peter Bergel

Editor

Join Our Mailing List
By Jeffrey Rubin
 
Global temperatures are the hottest since the last ice age and the planet is only getting warmer. . . . A warming planet clearly holds profound consequences for us all, but one group that should by paying particular attention are the world's energy producers.
 
Jeff Rubin has been the top-ranked economist in Canadian financial markets for more than a decade. Throughout his career, Mr. Rubin's work has often been the subject of national headlines and has been instrumental in raising key issues to the national spotlight. Abroad, he is best known for his work on global energy markets, and he has become internationally recognized for his prescient calls on oil prices and their economic impacts. 
By Laura Finley
 
The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a case involving whether persons convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors should be prohibited from possessing guns.
 
Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.
By Lawrence S. Wittner
 
Is the human race determined to snuff itself out through mass violence? There are many signs that it is.
 
Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is What's Going On at UAardvark? (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about campus life.
By Lawrence S. Wittner
 
Nearly a quarter century after the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the U.S. government is still getting ready for nuclear war.
 
Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is What's Going On at UAardvark? (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about the corporatization of university life.

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July 5, 2013
This Week's PeaceWorker Articles

Your Alternative Source for News and Opinion 

Dear Readers,   

The PeaceWorker is a project of Oregon PeaceWorks, an organization whose mission is "educating and activating people for peace, justice and sustainability."

Recently we had a 2 1/2-month hiatus when Oregon PeaceWorks closed its office and laid off its staff due to financial pressures. Now we are publishing again powered entirely by volunteer effort.

We invite you to visit The PeaceWorker's website regularly. Every other day you will find an important new article imparting news you won't find in the mainstream media, sharing thoughtful opinions or telling you what's going on in the world of progressive action. Select an article from the list at the right or visit www.peaceworker.org.

See you online!

Peter Bergel

Editor

Join Our Mailing List

By the Institute for
Economics and Peace  
    
A dramatic rise in the number of homicides and more countries, 59, increasing their military expenditure as a percentage of GDP were the key drivers in making the world a less peaceful place, according to the 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI) released today. 
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of the social and economic factors that develop a more peaceful society. It achieves its goals by developing new conceptual frameworks to define peace; providing metrics for measuring peace; and, uncovering the relationship between peace, business and prosperity. 
by David Swanson 
On Monday the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution "CALLING FOR U.S. LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND REDIRECTION OF MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC NEEDS."
 

David Swanson's books include . He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and  http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Reward of a Whistleblower: Solidarity or Solitary?
By Norman Solomon
  

Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washington's high places.  So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber - and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable.

Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration.  More of the NSA's massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day - which is exactly what it can't stand.

      

Norman Solomon Portal http://www.theportlandalliance.org/solomon

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include

War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

by Damian Carrington
Climate change poses as grave a threat to the UK's security and economic resilience as terrorism and cyber-attacks, according to a senior military commander who was appointed as William Hague's climate envoy this year. In his first interview since taking up the post, Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti said climate change was "one of the greatest risks we face in the 21st century," particularly because it presented a global threat. "By virtue of our interdependencies around the world, it will affect all of us," he said. He argued that climate change was a potent threat multiplier at choke points in the global trade network, such as the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world's traded oil and gas is shipped.    
 
Damian Carrington is The Guardian's top environmental reporter.  

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Oregon PeaceWorks to Close Its Doors
But this is far from an Ending

After 26 years of statewide advocacy for peace, justice and sustainability, Oregon PeaceWorks (OPW) will close its doors, but refuse to alter its agenda. The office at 104 Commercial Street in Salem, barring a miracle, will close on April 30.

 

The organization's all-volunteer board made the decision as a response to financial pressures.

 

Birthed in 1987, Oregon PeaceWorks immediately played an important role in achieving a moratorium on U.S. nuclear weapons testing - a moratorium which is still being observed. OPW also led statewide opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 1991 and to the Iraq war which began in 2003. 

 

...Recently, OPW produced a PowerPoint presentation and a 41-minute video entitled "The Militarization of America" addressing this issue. The video can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqugzBpDDeY.

 

In 1988, OPW began publication of The PeaceWorker, a peace newspaper that circulated statewide, as well as in Northern California and Southern Washington. It was published monthly until spring 2010 when it became an Internet-only publication, in response to the rising cost of print publication and in an attempt to fulfill its mission in a greener way.

...All board and staff members will continue pursuing social change and public  service.  The Board has established a fund that will match, dollar for dollar up to $5,000, all contributions toward discharging the organization's debts. Contributions can be sent to Oregon PeaceWorks, 104 Commercial Street NE, Salem, OR 97301 or submitted securely through OPW's website

www.oregonpeaceworks.org

OPW Program Director and former Executive Director Peter Bergel concluded: " the struggle will definitely continue..."

According to Kerry Fox, OPW's current Executive Director, the organization will hold a going-out-of-business sale on April 19-20 from 10-5 at the organization's downtown Salem office at 104 Commercial St. NE, "Visit our website (www.oregonpeaceworks.org) for information about the sale, or call us at 503-585-2767," she said.


By Erin Niemela    

Two days before Christmas my brother called, frantically demanding I tell him what to purchase for my two young children and myself. For the kids, I said, buy Legos. For myself, I neither need nor want anything. I requested he write for me a brief letter answering the following question: If you could give me anything in the world for Christmas, what would it be and why?  My dear brother's response was less than agreeable: "What the hell? I'm too busy to do that! Just tell me what you want!" In his defense, he just had a new baby, but his response warrants a closer look into American culture and how it impacts all of us.

    

Erin Niemela is a graduate student in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University and a PeaceVoice syndicated journalist.  

 

By Norman Solomon    
 

A simple twist of fate has set President Obama's second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago - but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said "I have a dream."

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He co-chairs the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign organized by Progressive Democrats of America. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.


By Winslow Myers
 
Because we are the wealthiest nation on the planet, we have the luxury of being proactive in ensuring our future security. But the path to that security looks very different from the way it did even a few years ago. A primary example of our transformed security context is the realization that there is only one ocean of air surrounding the earth. Unless all nations make a concerted effort to convert to sources of clean energy, global mean temperatures will continue to rise and cause undesirable extremes of weather.

Winslow Myers leads seminars on the challenges of personal and global change, is the author of Living Beyond War: A Citizen's Guide, serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative, is a member of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, and writes for PeaceVoice.

 

By Sam Harris 

 
Editor's Note: Readers may be surprised to find this article reprinted by The PeaceWorker, since it takes a largely pro-gun stance, but it makes a number of very cogent points which gun controllers need to be able to answer. Comments welcome.
 
Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm.
Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, and Free Will. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His blog is here.


 

SEIU 503 SOLIDARITY ACTION AT GOOD SAM IN ALBANY (OR)WITH SEIU 49

SEIU 49 is currently in bargaining with Good Samaritan Health Systems in Newport, Corvallis and Albany (OR).  Rob Mullins, the CEO makes almost $1,000,000.00 a year and is pushing to roll back the pension plans of the hospital workers.  There will be an informational picket at the Albany Hospital  3:30 to 6:00 Thursday March 15th.  This is part of the SEIU Retirement Security Actions taking place in Salem, Portland, Eugene and Albany to publicize the fact that the rich "get a free pass" when it comes to paying Social Security taxes.

Protest Gaza Killings In Portland

An Americand United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR) member is organizing a protest for Wednesday, March 14th for Noon at Pioneer Courthouse Square to protest Israel's current multi-day bombing of Gaza. Please consider joining us on your lunch hour. We'll bring some sings or make your own!
Thanks,
Peter Miller


Following is a PDX JVP press release related to the crisis:

For immediate release.
Monday, March 12, 2012


Contact:
William Seaman - (503) 888-7455
Ned Rosch - (503) 381-7011
Jewish Voice for Peace - Portland, Oregon


Portland's Jewish Voice for Peace condemns latest Israeli aggression against Gaza's population.

(Portland, Oregon) -- The local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace has called for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Gaza, and for the US governmentto end its support for the operations which have killed at least eighteen Palestinians in the last week. "We are heartsick and outraged at this latest rampage by the Israeli military, raining down terror upon an already traumatized and suffering people," said William Seaman, a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Portland chapter. "It is especially frightening because the entirely predictable response to this latest Israeli aggression, the firing of rockets by Gazan militants into civilian regions of Israel, has clearly put Israeli civilians at risk, giving the lie to the Israeli government's justifications for their attacks." The Israeli government has stated that its attacks on Gaza targeted militants who, they allege, were planning an attack inside Israel.

"Instead of ending the inhumane and brutal siege on Gaza that is directly causing needless suffering among many innocent Palestinians, current Israeli use of crushing violence against Palestinians in Gaza further escalates a lethal situation," explained Ned Rosch, another member of the Portland JVP chapter.

"The only language the Netanyahu government understands is that of violence and terror; these latest actions further demonstrate his complete contempt for the Obama Administration," said Seaman. "As US citizens who bankroll the Israeli aggression, we have the moral obligation to cut off the pipeline of US weapons and diplomatic cover that allow this aggression to continue."

Along with Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace supports a suspension of arms sales and any weapons transfers to Israel based on the illegal use of those arms against neighboring countries and within the Palestinian occupied territories.

"We are asking our fellow Oregonians to call their representatives in Washington, DC, to express their strong condemnation of this latest aggression by the state of Israel, and to demand an immediate cut-off of US support," said Seaman. "The path to peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike is through a just resolution to this conflict, and that means an end to the Israeli occupation and its illegal blockade of Gaza."

To contact the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, please call
503-888-7455 or (503) 381-7011.

March 11, 2012

Sad, depressed???

click to enlarge

From Anti-Slavery to the Anti-Monopoly Strategy By Henry Winston

From the Communist Party:


Now, over a hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, racism and oppression are more than ever essential to the ruling class, as U.S. state monopoly capitalism enters a new and more acute phase of the crisis and decline of capitalism. U.S. imperialism, facing a world in which the forces of socialism and class and national liberation are on the ascendancy, and in which foreign imperialist powers are challenging its domination, certainly can’t do today what the slave power was unable to do over 100 years ago — solve its problems through aggression and expansion.


The monopolists are equally unable to solve their problems at home, where they are not only imposing a wage freeze, but are also attempting to impose a far more repressive racist freeze on Black liberation struggles than that of the McCarthy period.


By perpetuating and intensifying racism, monopoly aims to stop the advance of the Black liberation movement, to destroy organized labor and suppress every struggle of the oppressed and exploited.


Monopoly’s New Assault

Monopoly capital, within today’s context, aims to repeat the kind of assault on the people’s rights that led to the betrayal of Reconstruction. Reaction of that period, through racism and violence, prepared the way for the Supreme Court to void the Civil Rights Act of 1875, whose passage had been won by the supporters of Reconstruction to solidify the gains they had made. Reaction’s aim then was to push the country into a long era of segregation and semi­slavery.


Today state monopoly capitalism seeks to wipe out every trace of the struggles of the recent Civil Rights Decade. The increasing political repression, the attempted frameup of Angela Davis and other political prisoners, Nixon’s racist nominations to the Supreme Court, are all part of monopoly’s attempt to obliterate every advance made through Black and white struggle since Reconstruction was destroyed.


The betrayal of Reconstruction, it should be remembered, was the signal for a three-sided attack against the masses. The Old Slave Codes were replaced by the new Black Codes, and the former chattel slaves were forced into semi-slavery, segregation and racist oppression. At the same time, the escalation of the military plunder and massacre of the Indians was entering a climactic stage. And simultaneously, the courts that upheld the betrayal of Emancipation were declaring that workers, Black and white, did not have the right to organize. In other words, the courts had not only revived Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s pre-Civil War doctrine that the Black man “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” They had also extended this into another phase of repression — that labor, whatever its color, had no rights that capital was bound to respect.


In 1875, when the robber barons were joining with the former slave owners to prepare for the 1877 betrayal of Reconstruction, Judge Holden Owen, presiding over the trial of striking Pennsylvania miners, declared: “Any agreement, combination or confederation to increase the price of any vendible commodity, merchandise or anything else is a conspiracy under the laws of the U.S.” Of course, this doctrine — like Nixon’s wage-“price” freeze — was applied only to labor, never to the capitalists’ profits.


Because of the perpetuation of racism and the resulting division between the triply-oppressed Black workers and the exploited white workers, it took more than 60 years of struggle against the bosses’ government-supported violence to win the right to organize. Today, the rights of labor are once again under grave attack, and labor’s fate, as in the past, is inseparably bound up with that of the Black liberation movement.

March 10, 2012

"KONY 2012" PROVIDES COVER FOR U.S. IMPERIALISM IN AFRICA

BY CHRISTOPHER TOWNE

This article from the on-line edition of Socialist Action newspaper.

Chances are that you have seen the film, “Kony 2012.” The viral video has attracted an unprecedented amount of attention in only a few days.

The subject of the film, The Lord’s Resistance Army, is a central African guerrilla movement with a fanatic religious character and a personality cult surrounding the figure of Joseph Kony. The group brutalizes those who do not join the LRA, and the centerpiece of the video is the LRA’s practice of conscripting child soldiers. The guerrillas also use girls as sex slaves, and children have been killed for attempting to escape. The horrifying realities of the LRA make this campaign seem, on the surface, very palatable.

Desiring an end to the violence, the film advocates a strategy to stop Kony by making him famous, claiming that the leader is virtually unknown. Kony is obviously well known in Uganda and the neighboring countries where his guerrilla forces have operated, so what are the filmmakers talking about? The problem is that he is not well known amongst the “right people”—Americans. The goal, then, is to build up public support for U.S. intervention in central Africa. We are asked to willingly be naïve and pretend that we can’t see the repercussions of U.S. interventions in South Asia and the Middle East.

In a letter to Obama, the charity behind the film, Invisible Children, calls for the president to be more active in the central African conflict and to help the terrible regimes in Uganda and its neighbors fight the LRA: “Your decision to deploy U.S. military advisors to the region in October of 2011 was a welcome measure. … We implore you to engage directly with the Presidents of each of the four countries—in partnership with the African Union—to enhance regional cooperation, increase the numbers and capabilities of troops deployed to LRA-affected areas.”

The group has also called for Kony, and other LRA members under investigation, to be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC). (Interestingly, every single case being investigated or prosecuted by the ICC is focused on Africa. One wonders if the ICC has heard of the sanctions in Iraq, which killed 1.5 million children, or the invasion and occupation that followed, which killed over 100,000 more. Both were initiated by the United States.)

In the film, there is a moment, filled with hugs and cheering, when the campaign declares victory, having heard that Obama was going to supply Uganda’s Museveni regime with 100 military advisors. Yoweri Museveni, who sealed his latest presidential victory in February 2011 after a campaign of bribery and voter intimidation, has ruled Uganda since 1986. His government invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1990s, involving the military in the devastating Second Congo War, which killed 5.4 million people. Currently, there are around 5000 Ugandan troops propping up the phony, U.S.-friendly, Somali government.

Oh, and the minimum age of service in the Ugandan military is 13. That’s right: The government that Invisible Children and the Obama administration entrust to rid Uganda of child soldiers has a military that is itself comprised of child soldiers. And it is, like the LRA, accused of using rape as a weapon. Why does this charity, along with the Obama administration, deride one but not the other?

The timing of the campaign by Invisible Children and the U.S. government is very odd. The vast majority of Ugandans believe that, for the last few years, they have been living through a relative period of peace. The conflict has subsided, and it is likely that Kony has left Uganda. Why does the U.S. feel the need to militarily intervene now? And why are charities ostensibly committed to “peace” pushing for military intervention?

The whole scene is reminiscent of the Save Darfur campaign, which stepped into the picture once the violence had subsided and the worst of the Sudanese military and “janjaweed” paramilitary killings had already passed. Choosing to ignore what U.S. invasions looked like in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Save Darfur campaign pushed for imperialist intervention in western Sudan. Rallies were held, with banners demanding, “Out of Iraq, Into Darfur!” The Save Darfur website included videos of presidential hopefuls, who all took the chance to criticize China’s role in Africa as a major contributor to the violence.

If we go back even further we can see how this is eerily reminiscent of an even older “humanitarian” campaign. King Leopold’s colonization of the Congo was preceded by an international propaganda project telling the world that Belgium would save the Congolese from Arab slave-traders. In subsequent years, and under cover of this propaganda, the Belgians killed perhaps 13 million people and enslaved a huge portion of the population. (This story is eloquently told by Adam Hothschild in “King Leopold’s Ghost.”)

Yesterday we were asked to accept the narrative that the West was saving Africa from the Arabs. Today we have an equally absurd narrative to justify neocolonialism: the West has to rescue Africa from the Chinese!

In April 2011, shortly after the latest sham election of Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan workers and students took to the streets. While the president spent the Ugandan people’s money on military equipment and celebrations for his inauguration, the price of fuel had risen dramatically and, with it, the price of basic household necessities like rice and cooking oil. The people were demanding that the government intervene, and take some of this burden off of them. Yes, this is the very radical notion that has been so popular lately—that the government’s job is not to preserve the extreme luxury of a small minority but to act in the interests of the 99%.

The protests grew to be massive, with many speculating that Uganda would be the next Tunisia or Egypt. And though Museveni is still in power, we have already seen how quickly this can change.

Central Africa is the source of many rare earth metals necessary for the high-tech and electronics industries. Importantly, the DRC has a majority of the world’s coltan, used for energy storage in cell phones, tablets, computers, and video game consoles. The coltan reserves in DRC have yet to be fully developed, a point of great interest for international capital.

The Obama administration wants to prevent one of two scenarios: China can continue to benefit from Africa’s resources at the expense of U.S. claims, or worse, an independent movement could arise in an African country that overthrows capitalism and institutes workers’ control over those resources.

Groups like Invisible Children are vital in providing cover to U.S. imperialism in Africa. When our friends and fellow activists talk about “Kony 2012,” we have to counter the propaganda. There is no such thing as “humanitarian” imperialism! A simple glance at the disasters in Haiti and Libya should be enough to prove this.

A U.S. military presence in Africa, through the expansion of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), is the greatest threat to the hopes and dreams of all African people. The Ugandan people need our solidarity in the face of this growing threat, so that when they rise up again, Museveni won’t be aided by the might of the U.S. military. U.S. hands off of Africa!

March 9, 2012

March 16, 2012 - Free Movie Night in Portland, Ore.

This month's free movie is "One flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" -- a film that showcases many of the problems mental institutions used to struggle with during the 1950's and 1960's.

This movie is a tragic comedy that is painful, honest, and important.

The movie will be introduced by Dr. Dan Smith, who is a Clinical Psychologist at Oregon State Hospital, where much of this movie was filmed. Dr. Dan and our friends with Empower Oregon will lead a short conversation after the movie about what has changed and what is still needed for adequate mental health services in our communities.

This will be an open community forum for folks to come together, enjoy a movie with a message and be part of a good discussion (if you are so inclined).

Thanks for supporting community movie night.

 

Timothy Welp

SEIU Organizer

c-503-528-692

March Labor Protests In Portland, Gresham And Vancouver

Wed., March 14, Noon, Ron Wyden - Don't Privatize Medicare! Rally at Holladay Park, NE 13th and Holladay

Thurs., March 15, Retirement Security Action For Social Security, March 15th is the day the rich stop paying into the system each year, meet at the Holladay Park max Station

Tues., March 20, 5pm, East County Educators Rally, Bargaining is at an impasse,and a strike is possible. Gresham High School Gym, 1200 North Main Avenue (between Burnside & Division)

Wed., March 21, 5:30pm Picket to Support Workers at Planned Parenthood, Downtown Hilton, 921 SW 6th

Wed., March 21, 3pm, Rally to Protest Firing of Fred Meyer Worker, Orchard Fred Meyer is at 7411 NE 117th Ave, Vancouver

March 8, 2012

"UNION YES" CAMPAIGN HEATS UP AT THE ASHLAND (OR) FOOD CO-OP

Workers have been standing together to hold management accountable to protect their right to a fair and free election as they vote for  United Food And Commercial Workers (UFCW) representation.  They are insisting that there be an environment free from harassment, coercion and intimidation.

 

They have support from Co-op members who support the workers belief that the Co-op values of equality and democracy are Union values.  They are also receiving support from the Southern Oregon Jobs With Justice.

 

On February 19th they heard from Daniel Cobb, Shop Steward from Seattle Central's Co-op and on February 24th the launched a "Union Yes" video featuring workers at the Ashland Food Co-op talking about why they will be voting "yes".  http://www.justiceforcoopworkers.com

 

On Sunday March 11th 6-8pm they will be having an important event: Worker's Rights Forum:  Making Cooperative Values Work At The Ashland Food Co-op.  If you are anywhere in southern Oregon be sure to show up and support these workers.  It will be at La Casa Del Pueblo 1209 Siskiyou Blvd.  If you want more information call: 541-482-4111

SOA Watch: Direct Action Training, April 2012






April 11-13, 2012: Direct Action Training Camp!
Be a WRENCH in the Gears of Empire!
(español abajo)


Join SOA Watch April 11-13, at the Wayside Center for Popular Education in Faber, Virginia, and at the Greenpeace Climbing Warehouse for three days of intensive trainings in theory and practical skills, from learning how to do effective blockades and the basics of hanging a banner, to street theater and fundamental anti-oppression work. This training - intended for all activists working for social justice - will help to spread the skills and knowledge about direct action.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Direct action has been a core part of the SOA Watch movement, and the movement has been effective in raising public awareness of militarization through creative nonviolent direct actions. Over 300 people have been sentenced for "crossing the line" at Fort Benning to demand the closure of the SOA, including Theresa Cusimano last November. Social movements across the US are increasingly using direct action to confront the empire and the 1%.

Register today!

The cost of the camp is only $150, including all meals and trainings. The deadline for registration is March 15, so hurry up and sign up for 3 days of fun and solidarity!

We look forward to seeing you on the ropes in April! Call us at 202-234-3440 or email directaction@soaw.org for more information.

In solidarity,
SOA Watch



Sé un estorbo a la militarización!
Únete a SOA Watch el 11 al 13 de abril, en el Centro Wayside por Educación Popular en Faber, Virginia, y en Greenpeace para tres días de talleres intensivos en capacitación teórica y práctica, de cómo hacer barricadas efectivas y lo básico de colgar una pancarta, a teatro callejero y trabajo anti-opresión fundamental. Este entrenamiento – diseñado para todo activista trabajando en pro de la justicia social – ayudará a difundir el conocimiento y capacidades de acción directas.


¿Qué esperas? ¡Inscríbete hoy!

La acción directa has sido parte fundamental del movimiento de SOA Watch, y hemos podido levantar la conciencia pública acerca de la militarización a través de acciones directas creativas y noviolentas. Más de 300 personas han sido sentenciadas por “cruzar la línea” en Fort Benning para exigir el cierre de la SOA, incluyendo Theresa Cusimano el noviembre pasado. Movimientos sociales en los EE.UU. más y más utilizan la acción directa para confrontar el imperio y el 1%.

¡Inscríbete hoy!

El costo del campamento es $150, con comida y los entrenamientos. La fecha límite de inscripción es el 15 de marzo, así que apúrate y ¡regístrate por 3 días de diversión y solidaridad!

Lxs esperamos en abril! Llámanos al 202-234-3440 o escribe un correo al directaction@soaw.org para mayor información.

En solidaridad,
SOA Watch


March 7, 2012

Rally: Don't privatize medicate - March 14, 2012

From:  Portland Jobs with Justice

 

 Rally to Tell Ron Wyden:

Don’t Privatize Medicare!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Noon

SE Corner of Holladay Park

NE 13th and NE Hollday

 

Senator Ron Wyden has gone too far.


In attempting to be “bipartisan,” he has volunteered to put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the chopping block, with no regard for how it will affect our senior citizens. The plan he has produced with Senator Paul Ryan would shift health care costs to seniors, increase insurance industry control over people’s lives, and give a boost to Rep. Ryan’s not-so-secret plan to ruin Medicare.

Senator Wyden’s special interests are no doubt influencing his decision to slash our essential retirement security programs. With big-money funders like BlueCross/BlueShield and Medco, Wyden’s backers have a dog in the fight against Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Join us on Wednesday as we rally at the park, then march to Senator Wyden's office.
Thanks, and see you next week!

International Women's Day & Norouz

Saturday, March 10, 2012, 6:00pm

International Women's Day Iranian Celebration

Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union, rooms 327-8
1825 SW Broadway, Portland


In celebration of International Women's Day with Persian music performances and entertainment, guest speakers, and recognition of your designated mom, wife, and daughter, let's make the acquaintance of Iranian New Year, Norouz.

For more information, contact Shirin at shirinoh@gmail.com

MARCH 8: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY


While International Women's Day will be celebrated in many countries in the world, in the United States not so much and definitely not with any knowledge or acknowledgement of its history and meaning.  There may be some recognition of women's rights but no respect for its history as International Working Women's Day.  Today the first hit I got on Google said, "See how Goldman Sachs helps women around the world".

There are two important events that should always be remembered in any celebration of this day.  The first action was organized in 1908 by socialist women in the United States struggling for the right to vote and promoting the Women's Trade Union League.  On that day they filled the streets of New York City with 15,000 marchers.  The following year they hit the streets again in support of an upcoming garment workers strike.  In 1910 the Women's Conference of the Socialist International proclaimed solidarity with all women workers and initiated international celebrations on March 8 starting in 1911.

In 1917 International Working Women's Day was celebrated by a demonstration of 90,000 in Petrograd led by striking women textile workers demanding bread, an end to war, down with the Czar and the police.  When they were attacked more workers and sailors joined in the struggle which ended with a defeat for the police and in four days the overthrow of the Czar and his government.

International Working Women's Day was a day of militant activity that changed the world and the only way we can start to get it back our day is to continue to tell its history.

March 6, 2012

DEMO: Against the war on women: Salem, Ore. Sat, April 28, 2012

Meet at 10 AM on the Capitol Steps in Salem, Oregon!
 

CHICAGO: G8 SUMMIT MOVED TO CAMP DAVID, PROTESTS CONTINUE

As Danny Schechter wrote today:  "Who called first?  Did Obama Alumni Association in Chicago - David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley - get nervous and call the White House or was it Barack himself..?"  but regardless, the protests will go on.  Congress has just passed draconian legislation.  The vote in the House was 388-3 for HR 347.  All Democrats supported it and 3 Republicans voted against it. The National Lawyers Guild says, "This gives the government power to charge any American engaged in political protest anywhere in the country".

So G8 moves to Camp David but NATO will still be meeting in Chicago and as one of the protest leaders, Andy Thayer says, "We believe NATO is the military arm of the G8 and anybody who is upset with the G8 should be upset with NATO".

Rally to Restore Friendliness at New Seasons Market

Date: Saturday, March 10
Time: 11:00am-1:30pm
Location: 1954 SE Division St., Portland, OR (Seven Corners store)


Members of our organization, New Seasons Market Workers' Voice, are holding our second solidarity rally this Saturday and we'd love to see you there! We are holding NSM accountable for the firing of Ryan Gaughan, a long time employee of the company who was fired in early February due to his involvement in concerted activity with his fellow workers in the company. We demand that he be reinstated immediately! We are also calling management to the table to begin negotiating with us to implement a peer-review system, in which employees can appeal disciplinary decisions to a panel of their fellow workers.

You can find out more details about our campaign and demands at our website: http://newseasonsmarketworkersvoice.org/

The NSM Workers' Voice campaign has received an endorsement from Jobs with Justice, and our list of supporting community organizations and allies continues to grow! Come be a part of the movement to bring worker democracy to "The Friendliest Store in Town".

Please sign our online petition at: http://newseasonsmarketworkersvoice.org/petition/

Questions? Have a great idea about how to help? Please contact us directly at: info@newseasonsmarketworkersvoice.org, or by phone at 971-258-1653

“A group of workers, now called New Seasons Market Workers' Voice, have been campaigning for a more democratic workplace for over 3 years now. When management made the decision to fire Ryan they weren't just getting rid of a 9 and half year committed staff member, they were attempting to silence the voices of their workers. New Seasons drew that line, now we are responding.“

--Noah Johnson-Greenough, Produce Service Manager for New Seasons Market

World Federation Of Trade Unions Statement on the International Women’s Day, 8th March 2012

The massive bloody strike on 8th March 1857 of the female workers in the textile industries of New York who--demanding the redaction of the work hours to 10 hours/day, equal pay of men and women and health and safety conditions in the work places--were brutally attacked by the government and the employers, motivated the 2nd International Conference of the Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910-–held with the initiative of the great German communist Clara Zetkin- to call for the celebration of the 8th March as the International Day of Women.

This year we celebrate this International Women's Day during a deep global capitalist crisis, which has multiple facets in the financial, economic, social, labor, environmental and political level. This deepening capitalist crisis is combined with an effort of the bourgeoisie to minimize its losses by transferring the biggest burden to the working class and the popular layers.

The female unemployment reaches over 81 million women. More and more women are employed with “flexible” working relations, part-time job, labour-broking. Today, women represent the majority of the poor and illiterate population and millions of them have no access to education, healthcare, food, clean water and other basic needs. Millions of women lack maternity protection; thousands of women die from pregnancy and lack of medical care; millions of women are forced to emigrate; millions are victims of violence, abuse, human trafficking and sexual exploitation during armed conflicts and military interventions. Additional pressure on women refers to the implications of the reduction, elimination and privatization of public social services. This has an impact on the quality of the childcare and the elderly care.

The trade unions have a responsibility and a fundamental role in developing efforts to promote gender equality in the workplace, in our own unions, in our respective countries and globally not by the equal butchering of rights but for the full satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the man and women of the working class and the popular strata.

WFTU supports all those who struggle for: Stable work for all with decent salaries, Protective measures for the unemployed, Social security and pensions for all, Maternity and parental leave for all the mothers or the fathers with full salary and social security rights, Exclusively public and free system of Education and Healthcare, no privatizations and monopoly activity. Public and free nurseries, creative leisure centers and children summer camps.

The WFTU reaffirms its commitment to support these struggles that will not end until the elimination of the conditions that allow poverty, inequality and exploitation of man by man in the capitalist system. We call for strengthening the fight, class unity and international solidarity. We call on all working women to be on the frontline of the class struggle. We appeal on all the class-oriented trade unions to enhance the initiatives taken by the WFTU for the formation of an International Women’s’ Committee with rich action in favor of the international working women’s rights.

The Secretariat Greece, Athens
40, ZAN MOREAS STREET, ATHENS 11745 GREECE TEL. +302109214417, +302109236700,FAX +30210 9214517 WWW.WFTUCENTRAL.ORG E-MAILS : INFO@WFTUCENTRAL.ORG, GENSEC@WFTUCENTRAL.ORG

March 5, 2012

#F29 Occupy Portland Shuts Down ALEC Corporations

Occupy Portland does its bit to raise awareness of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

An Occupy Portland Video Collective Collaboration in Peaceful Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
 

Honduran resistance movement

Since June 28, 2009, when the military took control of the streets of Honduras and overthrew the elected president, I've been covering the Honduran resistance movement. The Honduran resistance brought together virtually every sector of society: teachers, feminists, industrial workers, indigenous communities, taxi drivers, students, street vendors, and everyone else who supported the ousted president's campaign for direct democracy and social justice.
 

Wells Fargo action, Portland, January 24, 2012

As part of a National Day of Action Against Wells Fargo, PCASC joined forced with We Are Oregon and Enlace to show that the community was organizing together to call out Wells Fargo for their terrible business practices.
 


Portland, OR Wells Fargo Protest, 1/24/2012 from Peter Parks on Vimeo.

March 4, 2012

HRC NAMES NEW PRESIDENT AND LGBT GRASSROOTS ARE CAUTIOUS BUT HOPEFUL

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has named a much needed new President. They have chosen Chad Griffin, President of the Board of the American Foundation For Equal Rights (AFER). This is the organization behind the creative Prop 8 lawsuit. He is not exactly the "diversity" candidate but no one seriously expected that from HRC.

 

As the richest LGBT lobbying organization many are hoping there will be a change of strategy. As African American Lesbian Blogger Pam Spaulding says, "The HRC needs a shot in the arm of activism". The HRC is seen by many as a top down organization that believes in "access politics". In other words if you can buy access to the political elite (like Clinton, Obama, etc.) that is how change happens. This of course is the basis of the all lobbying strategies. However after years of this approach many believe that the only real Federal level change (DADT Repeal) happened as a result of grass roots activists engaged in a variety of direct action activities. As Michaelagelo Signorile said, "We had rage in our gut and we showed it". These actions that targeted Democratic reluctance as well as Republican intransigence showed that outside the beltway militancy effected inside the beltway voting.

 

There is hope that change is a com in'. Joe Sudbay of gay.americablog relates that he has a gay political friend, who is no friend of HRC who put it this way, "I think I might start to care about HRC again". A good start. But more important is the reaction of Robin McGehee who founded "Get Equal" in 2009 as a grass roots direct action organization which orchestrated activity around DADT repeal.

First, Chad has actually been talking to her (a good start) and this past week she stated, "I was hesitant to offer my customary congratulations. My words were brief, but heartfelt and serious: We must push for nothing less than full Federal equality and we have to create an effective insider/outsider strategy. Honestly, tonight I feel cautious and hopeful. Hopeful that our movement is headed to full equality because I do not only want the right to marry. I want it all. At this moment I don't think Chad Griffin is going to be afraid to go for it - at least I hope not!".

At least they are talking to each other.

 

Blogger Pam Spaulding seemed to be saying the same thing. "We need a pick that would not signal business as usual in the beltway, but that connects from the grass roots to the pols on the hill. I hope that Chad can reinvigorate the organization from within to move to a real fierce advocacy as opposed to a perceived go-along, get-along beltway organization. We are all hoping, clearly the grass roots is giving the opening and Chad and the HRC Board need to take the next step." We sure don't want to hear, "wait until after the elections". But a joint civil disobedience action would be a unity ticket!!

March 2, 2012

Judge tosses lawsuit against Olympia co-op over boycott

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A lawsuit against a food co-op that decided to stop carrying products from Israel was thrown out Monday, with a judge saying the boycott was protected free speech that was lawfully enacted by the co-op's board.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed in September by five members of the Olympia Food Co-Op against several board members over a 2009 decision by the board in support of a boycott. Israeli products that were removed from the co-op's two stores after the boycott, one in East Olympia and the other on Olympia's West Side, include gluten-free crackers, ice cream cones and a moisturizing cream.

In dismissing the suit, Judge Thomas McPhee cited a 2010 law that limits lawsuits aimed at silencing activists, known as an Anti-SLAPP law.

"The law is designed to provide for an expeditious dismissal of meritless lawsuits that target free speech," attorney Bruce Johnson, who represented the co-op and also helped craft the language of the law, told The Associated Press. "Behind the law is the notion that people who are involved in public discussion and public debate shouldn't be sued simply for the fact they participated in a public debate."

McPhee ruled that plaintiffs failed to show that the board acted outside of its authority when it enacted the boycott. He also ruled that the 2010 law was constitutional. He also addressed the plaintiffs' contention in its lawsuit that the boycott was not "nationally recognized," as is required under the co-op's boycott policy.

He said that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement or BDS, which supported the boycott, "is a national movement," The Olympian reported. The group supports boycotts to compel Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

McPhee said he will consider a written order awarding damages in the case at a later date. Under Washington's statute, each defendant in the lawsuit is potentially entitled to an "anti-SLAPP penalty" of $10,000, in addition to attorney's fees.

Bob Sulkin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said that he was disappointed with the ruling and is weighing his next steps in the case.

"It's the Court of Appeals or state Supreme Court who will decide this," he told the AP.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Judge-tosses-lawsuit-against-co-op-over-boycott-3364582.php#ixzz1nfLCzOUP

March 1, 2012

Birds, Human Population Growth, and Climate Change

Slowing Population Growth Would Help Climate Crisis, Too
beach crowd

Climate change and human overpopulation are tightly linked. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the rapid growth of the world's population is one of two primary factors driving global warming.

Now a new study by Dr. Philip Cafaro makes the case that slowing human population growth through voluntary programs should be on the list of solutions for tackling climate change. The discussion comes at an opportune moment, with the world population topping 7 billion and the climate crisis worsening. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working for years to highlight the effects overpopulation is having on plants and animals around the world; we think slowing human population growth by empowering women and improving access to family planning will have benefits for everyone and be a crucial part of easing the global climate crisis.

Read more about the study at the Population Media Center and learn more about our work on overpopulation.

Study: Climate Change Means Bleak Future for Birds
cranes

Imagine a world without birds -- or at least without many of the birds that brighten our lives today. According to an analysis of more than 200 individual studies of climate change's effects on birds, 600 to 900 land bird species (out of 8,500 worldwide) could disappear by 2100 -- and that's if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's middle-range projection of a 6.3-degree temperature rise occurs. The extinction toll rises by another 100 to 500 birds by each degree of warming above that projection.

It's yet another wake-up call on what we stand to lose if we let the climate crisis go unchecked.

Read more on the study in The New York Times and check out the Center for Biological Diversity's Web page about the alarming climate changes already underway. It features an amazing video showing 131 years of warming in 26 seconds -- and making it even clearer that birds don't have much time.

February 29, 2012

Seattle buses: Palestine equal rights information

Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) launches new ad campaign on King County Metro buses

Check out the latest bus ad by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation member group SeaMAC.


SeaMAC has launched new ads on King County Metro buses as part of a continuing effort to expose the misuse of U.S. taxpayer money to support Israel’s ongoing discrimination against the Palestinian people.


Contact: press@SeaMAC.org

Peter Lippman (206) 432 1669
Edward Mast   (206) 633-1086
Carla Curio (206) 450-0706


With the slogan “I’M A PALESTINIAN – EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL”, the ads will run on twelve buses for the next four weeks.  Photo available on request.

SeaMAC’s new ad campaign is also part of Israeli Apartheid Week, February 27-March 2.   Local Israeli Apartheid Week events are being held at the University of Washington, Antioch University and Seattle University. Visit http://seattle.apartheidweek.org/ for information.

“Palestinians want equal rights,” says Carla Curio, volunteer with SeaMAC.  “Israel’s discrimination and apartheid are basic causes of the ongoing conflict.  Equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis will be the foundation of a just peace.”

Israel controls the lives of over five million Palestinians, most of whom have neither voting rights, political rights nor civil rights.  Israel has separate sets of laws, rights and opportunities for Israeli Jews and non-Jews.  Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are denied basic civil rights.  Palestinians citizens of Israel are subject to segregation and discrimination, with central provisions of Israel’s Basic Law explicitly denying equal status to non-Jews.

The US gives several billion dollars of military aid to Israel each year, plus political, diplomatic and military support, in spite of US laws forbidding such aid to any country that has a consistent record of gross violations of human rights.

SeaMAC designed the new ads to fit King County Metro’s revised and restricted advertising policy.  SeaMAC continues to pursue a lawsuit against King County for censoring SeaMAC’s Metro bus ad campaign launched last December, “ISRAELI WAR CRIMES: YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK,” which was approved, accepted, printed, then cancelled by King County.  With legal representation by the ACLU, SeaMAC has filed an appeal to overturn a recent dismissal of the lawsuit.

SeaMAC has also been running a series of print ads exposing Israel’s ongoing discrimination and war crimes against Palestinians.  The complete series of SeaMAC ads is available at www.SeaMAC.org.

Press packet available on request.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Washington State and as a 501 (c)(3) organization under Federal tax code.

Oregon: A call for an end to unjust deportations in Multnomah County

(Note:  Scroll down for English.)

Grupos de la comunidad aplauden la resolución del condado de Multnomah;

Hacen llamado a su aprobación y tomar acciones futuras

Resolución muestra preocupación por los efectos de la aplicación de las prácticas de inmigración federales en materia de seguridad pública y la confianza pública en el Condado de Multnomah

Portland, OR— Acción por Justicia y Dignidad (ACT), es  Una red de comunidades de fe, grupos de derechos laborales, inmigrantes y organizaciones de libertades civiles, insta a la aprobación de la resolución del Condado de Multnomah, que aboga por el uso discrecional de agentes o cortes de migracion en proceso de deportación de inmigración y piden que se ponga fin a las deportaciones injustas.

“Este es un primer paso importante para no someterse a la voluntad forzosa en los pedidos de detención migratoria de ICE  en el condado de Multnomah ", dijo Eliana Machuca, una portavoz de la red. "Instamos a los miembros de la comunidad para hacer oír su voz y asistir a esta audiencia."

La audiencia abordara temas críticos sobre la seguridad pública y derechos de los inmigrantes en el Condado de Multnomah. Al pedir a nuestras agencias locales del orden público a detener y mantener a los inmigrantes indocumentados en las cárceles del condado, los agentes de migración han obligado a los gastos de la ejecución federal de inmigración en los gobiernos locales y sus residentes, disminuye nuestra seguridad pública, y sin necesidad de separar a miles de familias de Oregon.

ACT aplaude a los Comisionados para llamar la atención sobre las importantes cuestiones de influencia de ICE (Migracion) en materia de seguridad pública y la confianza pública en el Condado. Su preocupación es expresar un primer paso fundamental para comenzar a abordar los efectos de las políticas de Migración aquí en el Condado de Multnomah.  ACT espera medidas concretas y cambios después de esta resolución.

"El Condado de Multnomah debe ser un lugar donde la gente, sin importar su estado migratorio, se sientan seguros a presentarse y denunciar el delito, ya sea una víctima, un testigo o tener conocimiento de actividades criminales", dijo Becky Straus, Directora Legislativa de la ACLU de Oregon.

"Con esta Resolución, el Condado está haciendo un compromiso de trabajar con miembros de la comunidad, incluyendo a los miembros de nuestra red, para reconstruir la confianza de la comunidad en nuestro sistema de seguridad pública.", Dijo Straus. "Estamos agradecidos por este compromiso y esperamos poder abordar estas asuntos en los próximos meses."

Community Groups Applaud Multnomah County Resolution;

Call for Passage and Further Action

Resolution raises concern over the effects of federal immigration enforcement practices on public safety and public trust in Multnomah County.

Portland, OR— Act for Justice and Dignity (ACT), a network of faith, labor, immigrant, and civil liberties organizations, urges passage of the Multnomah County resolution, which calls for use of prosecutorial discretion by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in immigration deportation proceedings and calls for an end to unjust deportations. 

“This is an important first step in breaking ICE’s hold on Multnomah County,” said Eliana Machuca, a network spokesperson. “We urge community members to make their voices heard and attend this hearing.”

The hearing will address issues critical to public safety and immigrant rights in Multnomah County. By asking our local law enforcement agencies to detain and hold undocumented immigrants in county jails, ICE has forced the costs of federal immigration enforcement onto our local governments and their residents, diminished our public safety, and needlessly torn apart thousands of Oregon families. 

ACT applauds the Commissioners for bringing attention to the important issues of ICE’s influence on public safety and public trust in the County.  Their voicing concern is a critical first step in beginning to address the effects of ICE’s policies here in Multnomah County.  ACT is looking forward to concrete steps and changes that follow this resolution.

“Multnomah County ought to be a place where people, regardless of their immigration status, feel safe to come forward and report crime, whether they are a victim, a witness or have knowledge of on-going criminal activity,” said Becky Straus, the Legislative Director of the ACLU of Oregon.

"Con esta Resolución, el Condado está haciendo un compromiso de trabajar con miembros de la comunidad, incluyendo a los miembros de nuestra red, para reconstruir la confianza de la comunidad en nuestro sistema de seguridad pública.", Dijo Straus. "Estamos agradecidos por este compromiso y esperamos poder abordar estas asuntos en los próximos meses."

 

“With this Resolution, the County is making a commitment to work with members of the community, including advocates in our network, to rebuild community trust in our public safety system.” Straus said.  “We are appreciative of this commitment and look forward to addressing these issues in the coming months.”

Victory! Colombian Political Prisoner Liliany Obando to Be Freed

Colombian Political Prisoner Liliany Obando to Be Freed on Thursday, March 1st, after 3 1/2 Years of Incarceration on False Evidence

by James Jordan,

Alliance for Global Justice National Co-Coordinator

The International Network in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (of which The Alliance for Global Justice is a co-founder) has just received the wonderful news that labor activist, human rights defender and Colombian Political Prisoner Liliany Obando will be released on bond tomorrow from the prison where she has been held for three years and seven months on charges of "Rebellion".

Liliany Obando was arrested August 8, 2008 while serving as the Human Rights Coordinator for FENSUAGRO, Colombia's largest organization of peasant farmers and farm workers unions and associations. She was apprehended while finishing a report about the more than 1,500 Fensuagro members who had been killed by Colombian military and paramilitary troops over its first 30 years of existence. She was detained on the basis of evidence allegedly obtained from computers that "miraculously" survived an attack against a FARC encampment across the border from the Colombian Department of Putumayo, in Ecuador. That camp was not a camp carrying out aggressions, but was involved in negotiations toward the release of FARC captives Ingrid Betancourt and three US citizens. The Uribe administration had learned that the camp had had back-channel talks with members of the US State Department. The attack, ordered by then-Defense Minister and current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, was widely considered to be an attack on hopes for a peace process itself.

Evidence said to be contained in the computers was not credible. The international police agency INTERPOL said that the sources of files the computer contained could not be authenticated. The chain of custody of the evidence was broken and unaccounted for several times during the first days it was seized and at least two Colombian law enforcement personnel testified that the files had been manipulated. Charges against Obando were made on the basis of copies of emails said to have been found on the computer. However, Police Captain Ronald Hayden Coy Ortiz, who oversaw the initial investigation testified in court that the computers contained no email records.

Nevertheless, Obando's case was stretched out over more than three years without resolution. Even when the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that the evidence against her was inadmissible, she continued to be jailed

But even if the Supreme Court, Interpol and the government's own witnesses could be ignored, an international campaign for her freedom could not. After years of friend of the court statements signed by such notable supporters as Prof. Noam Chomsky, Sanctuary Movement founder and former President of the Presbyterian Church Rev. John Fife, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and others, petitions, letters, emails, demonstrations, phone calls and delegations on her behalf, Liliany Obando is finally looking forward to being united with her two children and other friends and family--and to her freedom. It is no mistake that her release was announced concurrent with a major conference in support of the more than 8,000 Colombian political prisoners: the Colombia Behind Bars Forum, with guests from around the world, including representatives of the INSPP and AFGJ. This is yet another example of the power and influence of international pressure!

Nevertheless, all is not settled regarding Liliany's case. The court process has not been suspended and she still could be sent back to jail. Further, political prisoners released into the general public are often at risk of violence in the first days, weeks and months following their liberty.

I spoke today to Liliany at the Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) Women's Penitentiary just moments after receiving the news. I was so happy, overjoyed I could barely contain myself. Lily greeted me, "You heard the good news?" Yes, of course, I'd heard it. I asked her how she was feeling, and she said, "I have mixed emotions. I want to leave, but I don't want to leave the other political prisoners behind. We have to keep working until all the political prisoners are free."

Yes, that is the Liliany Obando that so many of us have come to know, love and look up to. Never tiring of the struggle for peace, justice and human and labor rights, the day she entered the prison she started collecting the testimonies of other political prisoners and organizing on their behalf. From within the jail cells, Liliany proposed the establishment of the International Network for the Political Prisoners and always insisted that we not only advocate for her freedom, but for the freedom of all her comrades deprived of liberty. And she insisted that we not just advocate for the freedom of the political prisoners, but for peace in Colombia.

From the beginning, the INSPP has insisted that a first step toward a real and just peace in Colombia will begin with a humanitarian exchange of Prisoners of War, and with the immediate freedom of all of Colombia's Prisoners of Conscience and Prisoners Due to Judicial Set-ups.

Today there are many indications that a legitimate peace process could be ready to begin in Colombia. The recent announcements that the FARC would release all their current military prisoners met with the release of Liliany are significant. But international pressure must not let up! Now is the time to demand the freedom of all Colombia's 8,000 political prisoners and, more, for an inclusive peace process based on dialogue and negotiations, and without unrealistic pre-conditions. And for us in the US, we must demand an end to our country's sponsorship of war and repression in Colombia, including our funding and restructuring of Colombian prisons where political prisoners are concentrated under harsh conditions.

But as we vow to continue this struggle...let us also take a moment to celebrate this great victory. As Liliany once told me, "By day we struggle, by night we dance!

As a high profile political prisoner, Liliany Obando is under the threat and risk of violence and there has been a request for international accompaniment for her during her first days of freedom. AFGJ and the INSPP are preparing for the possibility of traveling to Colombia to help provide protection. There is also a need to raise more than $3,000 to cover her bond payment. AFGJ is starting a fund to cover travel costs and, if needed, contribute to her bond. Checks and Money Orders can be made out to the Alliance for Global Justice--and be sure and put "Lily Obando Fund" in the memo line. Send them to:

AFGJ
1247 E Street SE
Washington, DC 20003


To make an online contribution, go to this link: http://afgj.org/afgj-donations . Then, BE SURE AND SEND AN EMAIL TO james@afgj.org telling the amount you contributed and that it was for the "Lily Obando Fund". If you don't do this, the contribution will go into AFGJ's general fund.

Traspasa los Muros (Beyond the Walls), Lazos de Dignidad (Links of Dignity), The International Forum of Denmark, the International Network in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (of which the Alliance for Global Justice is a founding member), the National Lawyers Guild announce:

We received news this afternoon a phone call from the Political Prisoner of Conscience LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA, informing us that the Superior Court of the Judicial District of Bogotá--Criminal Chamber, resolved to REVOKE the order of first instance by which the 9th Circuit Specialized Judge of Bogotá had denied her liberty.

As a consequence, the court ordered the immediate liberty of LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA in consideration that her case had exceeded the limits of the criminal case.

We emphasize that LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA is a defender of human rights in Colombia and that she has been in custody since August 8, 2008, held in limbo in a trial process with no seeming end that by virtue of this fact became itself a sentence, with her endruing three hard years and seven months detained in an arbitrary manner.

We solicit that the Colombian state guarantee her personal integrity and safety as well as that of her family now that she has been set at liberty.

We thank the international community for their accompaniment and we ask that they maintain solidarity and continue with watchful eyes concerning the case of LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA, since her well-being remains at risk. We receive the news of her freedom with much happiness and we ask that it be shared widely.

We will continue struggling for the freedom of all the political prisoners of Colombia.

Greetings and solidarity.

February 29, 2012

OH, NO..ELIZABETH WARREN ON FOREIGN POLICY

It doesn't really surprise me, but there are certainly a lot of members of the Democratic Party base who have fallen for Elizabeth's populism. As progressives fill her coffers because they hear her actually say corporate crooks should go to jail and says she believes there needs to be some regulation of Wall Street..and then the progressive pundits fall all over her and promote her candidacy. I realize her kind of talk from a Democrat is strange to hear. But I have asked what her position is on other important topics. But as she has decried the lobbyists for the financial industry it looks like the lobbyists from AIPAC have had a willing ear.

She has now put an "issues" section up on her official web site. "Israel" and "Iran" predominate. The line that caught my eye was "Iran must not have an escape hatch". This is in relation to the important role the U.S. has in getting other nations to to impose strict sanctions. It sounds like war to me. But decide for yourself.



************************************************************************

Israel

Since its founding more than 60 years ago, Israel and the United States have been steadfast, trusted, and reliable allies. I unequivocally support the right of a Jewish, democratic state of Israel to exist, safe and secure. I believe that it is a moral imperative to support and defend its existence.

For generations, the United States and Israel have shared a commitment to a stable, secure, and peaceful Middle East. But our alliance runs far deeper: it is a natural partnership resting on our mutual commitment to democracy and freedom and on our shared values. Both our countries have been sustained by our commitment to liberty, pluralism, and the rule of law. These values transcend time, and they are the basis of our unbreakable bond.

As a United States Senator, I will work to ensure Israel’s security and success. I believe Israel must maintain a qualitative military edge and defensible borders. The United States must continue to ensure that Israel can defend itself from terrorist organizations and hostile states, including Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others. I also believe firmly that a two-state solution is in the interest of Israel and the United States. Lasting peace, however, requires negotiations between the parties themselves, and although the United States can and should aid in this process, we cannot dictate the terms. Unilateral actions, such as the Palestinians’ membership efforts before the United Nations, are unhelpful, and I would support vetoing a membership application.

Iran
Iran is a significant threat to the United States and our allies. Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, it is an active state sponsor of terrorism, and its leaders have consistently challenged Israel’s right to exist. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world. The United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well. Iran must not have an escape hatch.

February 28, 2012

Shut Down Corporations: February 29, 2012 action in PDX

Join us in the Streets! 

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb 29th at 12:30pm

WHERE: SW Ankeny & Naito Parkway on the waterfront side of the street. You'll see PCASC's (Portland Central America Solidarity Committee) banners and props!

What: Tomorrow is #F29 - a national day of action called to Shut Down the Corporations & PCASC will be there, demanding Wells Fargo divest their prison stock!

March with us & help spread the word about the dark side of Wells Fargo's investments!
We will not allow the detention of immigrants to be a profit source for Wells Fargo!


This is the first public action since PCASC decided to take on the Wells Fargo Prison Divestment campaign and we're really excited that it's a part of #F29!

Rally begins at 11:30am, we march at 1pm.

See you there!

Say NO to ICE’s unjust deportations; March 1, 2012 action in Portland, OR

Help End Unjust ICE Deportations in Multnomah County

Join immigrant, faith, labor, and civil liberties advocates to stand up for our communities and say NO to ICE’s unjust deportations in Multnomah County!

Thursday, March 1st, 10am-12pm
Commissioners Board Room, Multnomah Building
501 SE Hawthorne St, Portland, Oregon


Hearing before Multnomah County Commission to pass a resolution supporting our communities’ and ICE Director John Morton’s demand for prosecutorial discretion on all deportation cases in our region.

Supported by the ACT for Justice and Dignity Network

The hearing will address issues critical to public safety and immigrant rights in Multnomah County. By making it mandatory for our local law enforcement agencies to do their dirty work, ICE has forced the costs of federal immigration enforcement onto our local governments and their residents, diminished our public safety, and needlessly torn apart thousands of Oregon families. Help us make our voices heard as we support Chair Cogen and the County Board of Commissioners in protecting our communities and seeking accountability from ICE.

Can you show your support by attending the hearing?

For more information, please visit www.actforjusticeanddignity.org or contact Aeryca Steinbauer at aeryca@causaoregon.org.

Encourage your faith leader to sign on to our ONSM Faith Leader Letter of Support.  Read the letter. 

It is important for us to show strong support for this resolution, which paves the way for continued work to support immigrants in our community.

February 27, 2012

Stern Advice to the Left from the House of Lords

From Zoltan Zidegy:

A sense of humor is essential to balance the humbuggery of much of the political commentary that surfaces today. “Astonishment” is the best word for a recent “provocative discussion” (Say No to Protectionism) posted on the Political Affairs website and authored by Peter Mandelson--“Lord Mandelson” to his UK peers. In the past, Political Affairs was the source of timely, informative articles that expressed the views of advocates of the Marxist-Leninist perspective, authors like Jacques Duclos, Palmiro Togliatti, William Z. Foster, Henry Winston, Herbert Aptheker, Paul Robeson, and many other committed Communists.

But today Political Affairs embraces a far wider spectrum of opinion including now, for undoubtedly the first time, a “lord” from the prestigious UK House of Lords, Lord Peter Mandelson. Unlike Foster, Winston, and Robeson, Mandelson has established his credentials by championing the “third way”, a position to the right of traditional social democratic doctrine.

Mandelson, a pal of George Bush’s subservient buddy, Tony Blair, argued that the UK Labour Party should transform into a market-friendly, classless party located somewhere in the narrow political space occupied by the US two-party farce.

Go here for the rest of the article.

February 26, 2012

Don’t tell us it’s not a class war gerald caplan

Globe and Mail Update

Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 1:50PM EST
Last updated Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 1:53PM EST

The entire world seems to be one huge advertisement for The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein showed in her revelatory book how the corporate-political-military-media complex exploits crises to further impose their harsh right-wing agenda – even when they themselves created the crisis. In a sane world, the economic meltdown and deep recession of the past four years would have led at minimum to stringent regulation of financiers and speculators plus programs to assist their victims. But in this world, you have to be nuts to believe in a sane world.

In reality, everything that’s happened in the past several years has gone to further empower and enrich the 1 per cent (or maybe the 5 per cent) at the expense of the rest of us. Look anywhere you want. What else does the universal demand for austerity programs mean? What else does the sudden concerted attack on public sector workers mean? What else does the intransigent line taken by multinational corporations against their unions mean? What else does the demand for “right-to-work” laws mean? What else does the widespread attack on seniors’ pensions mean?

Look at poor Greece. Ms. Klein could have invented it as a pure case study for her thesis. Big economic problems, it’s true. So how do you fix them? As a Greek journalist wrote matter-of-factly in The New York Times, the latest bailout program imposed by the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank “almost guarantees recession.” And this will be on top of the punishment that had already been inflicted on the 99 per cent, including deep cuts to private-sector wages, layoffs in the civil service and significant reductions in health and social security.

February 25, 2012

Wolves and Oregon tax credits???


 

 

A wolf pack now inhabits Oregon, and in coming years there will likely be more. Oregon already has a strong wolf management plan.It supports programs designed to help livestock producers take proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss from wolves.

Actually, in states that have wolves, only 1/10th of 1% of all cattle losses were due to wolves; for sheep, it’s an average of less than 2.5%. 

 

 The expenses of breeding and raising livestock are already deductible from Oregon taxes. Yet in 2011, the legislature added a renewable $100,000 wolf kill compensation fund. (See ORS 610.150). Clearly the needs of these ranchers have now been met.

 

Yet HB 4005B, a new tax credit for livestock killed by wolves, has just been passed by the House Revenue Committee. If this unneeded bill becomes law, ranchers will be faced with a choice between the tax credit and the wolf kill compensation fund. Why would a majority of the committee pass this wasteful bill? We thought our lawmakers were supposed to be cutting government waste.

 

Some members of the House Revenue Committee actually called the cost of the tax credit “miniscule,” and we agree, since it is estimated that wolves will kill only 5 sheep and 5 cattle in Oregon next year. But Rep. Jules Bailey said it best when he described the credit as “bad policy.”

 

Bravo for his lone vote against the bill in committee. 

 

In the past 12 years, bill by bill, vote by vote, such tax giveaways, officially known as tax expenditures,” have grown from 36% to a staggering 46% of the General Fund, diminishing the revenue urgently needed for our public services such as schools and state police.

 

HB 4005B is bad public policy. Please click here to call or email your Senator and your Representative right away and ask them to kill this unneeded, wasteful tax break.

 

SALEM,OREGON CELEBRATES THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF DEFEAT OF ANTI-GAY BALLOT MEASURE 9

There will be a free screening of the award-winning documentary, "Ballot Measure 9" on Wednesday March 28th at Louck Auditorium (Salem Library).

If you were in Oregon in 1992 you will remember this campaign. It was the Oregon Citizen's Alliance initiative that was a vicious attack on the LGBT community. Our response galvanized our community and its allies. It also was the beginning of union involvement in fighting these types of initiatives. Particularly SEIU503 which took on this fight as its own.

This presentation is sponsored by the Salem Human Rights And Relations Advisory Commission. Following the film there will be a panel discussion.

February 24, 2012

Diversity on college campuses under attack

From the Peoples World:

 

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could mean the death knell for racial and ethnic diversity on college campuses. It could threaten gender based affirmative action as well.

 

But, despite the notion that the High Court is "protected" from public opinion and politics, the American people do have the ability to influence the case's outcome.

Ever since the modern-day civil rights movement and its victories, the extreme right wing in the United States has been gunning for any and all democratic gains from those struggles. This includes remedies for past and present discrimination, such as affirmative action.

Affirmative action has already been hobbled by the Bakke decision, and state laws driven by Ward Connerly and crew. This is the logical outcome of a campaign to  destroy government mediation in cases of past and present discrimination.

 

Today the US Supreme Court is packed with legal representatives of this extreme right-wing worldview.

In 2003, the US Supreme Court ruled that universities could take into account racial and ethnic diversity in their admissions process, although they could not use "quotas." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the author of the majority opinion in that 5-4 ruling.

Public universities could use race in their complex admission point system, as they use children of alumni as a factor, because the goal of racially diverse campuses was good for the country, democratic, and constitutional, the court said.

And indeed studies show that while class-based considerations can increase the numbers of black and Latino college students, race-based considerations result in slightly higher percentages, more reflective of the population at large.

In 2004, one study of 146 selective colleges and universities found that Blacks and Latinos would account for 4 percent of the student bodywithout any affirmative action considerations. Affirmative action based on race/ethnicity increased that number to 12 percent, the study found. With socio-economic affirmative action the number of black and Latino students would have been 10 percent. In the U.S. population as a whole, African Americans and Latinos make up 13 and 16 percent, respectively.

O'Connor retired in 2005 and in her stead President George W. Bush appointed Samuel Alito, who vehemently opposes any attempts to remedy racial, gender or other types of discrimination.

The four dissenting justices in 2003 were Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and William Rehnquist. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has written opinions hostile to remedies for racist discrimination, replaced Rehnquist. In short, the court is even further to the right and hostile to civil rights than it was in 2003.

To make matters worse, on the more liberal side of the court, Justice Elena Kagan is recusing herself from the case. She was the Obama administration's solicitor general and worked on the case before being appointed to the Supreme Court.

It looks grim indeed. The court will hear arguments this fall on the case, which is based on a white student's suit against the University of Texas claiming she was denied admission because of her race. It is sure to be an issue in the 2012 elections.

The far right will try to throw sand in the electorate's eyes with claims of "reverse discrimination," that men and whites will have rights taken away.

 

These are divide-and-conquer tactics. Affirmative action is a remedy for past and present discrimination. Equal protection under the Constitution is there exactly for that reason - to remedy the ongoing damage from the racist institution of slavery. Racism and other forms of discrimination still exist. Therefore remedies need to exist. These remedies have benefited all Americans, including women, people with disabilities and others.

That's where the American people come in. Electing a president and Congress that will stand squarely with civil rights and diversity sends a message to the court, a message they will hear loud and clear. Just think of how much more further right the court could go with a President Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul.

Defeating the enemies of affirmative action in the elections is not the only way to fight. Students, families, unions, schools - the 99% - have to send other messages through petitions, demonstrations, letters to the editor, online campaigns, that racial diversity and affirmative action are valued and necessary for a 21st century democratic America.

 

 

Susan Webb

co-editor, PeoplesWorld.org