Category Archives: North America

United States: Cornel West on His 2024 Presidential Bid

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

Excerpts from video interview by C-Span on April 2

2024 Independent presidential candidate Cornel West talked about his candidacy, platform, and views on U.S. politics today.

Pedro Echevarria

If you had to boil down your candidacy to a few sentences what would you tell people?

Cornel West

It would be based on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and Fannie Lou Hamer, which is trying to get beyond all the lies, all the revenge. I try to talk about truth, justice and love in a context where it seems it is very, very difficult to have any moment of substantive morality, where politics has become legalized corruption and normalized bribery, where they will say anything to stay in office and where there is no genuine concern for people, let alone poor people, working people, people who have been subjugated and degraded.  This is not just empty moral rhetoric. If we give up on serious commitment to public life and citizens being human beings, as opposed to being objects to be manipulated. then the country is over, the American project as we have understood it will be over. I want to raise my voice to mobilize people and get people to see that Trump is leading us toward second civil war and Biden is leading us to a third world war. We’ve got to do better than those two as an option at this particular moment of history.

Video of interview

Pedro Echevarria

Do you have a political background? And what do you think about electing someone to office without a political background?

Cornel West

Well, I think what we need, Brother, is we need new persons, new characters and new visions injected into our system.  My political background is that I have been fighting for poor and working people for 55 years. I’ve worked with a number of different candidates. Sometimes they were within the Democratic party, sometimes they have been outside. More and more they have been outside, because the Democratic party, itself, has succumbed to capture by Wall Street and the Pentagon, by the war profiteers, on the one hand, and the money-makers, on the other. The Republican party has given up for a long time, captured by big money.  It’s true that people look at me and say, “Well, you have never been an elected official.” That’s exactly right. I have been an active citizen trying to ensure that truth and justice can procure a place in American politics and that is very much what i would do as president. i would set a completely different tone, a completely different vibe coming from the White House. And that would be “working people you are at the center of public policy. not Wall Street, not looking at the stock market but rather Main Street and looking at access to health care, access to quality education, access to safe communities, access to housing as a human right just like health care is a human right. we have to push back these predators that have been pushing out so many poor and working people when it comes to housing a whole host of other rights.

Pedro Echevarria

On your website one of the things you advocate for is a wealth tax on all billionaire holdings and transactions, a $27 minimum wage and establish a federal universal basic income commission.  As far as the wealth tax is concerned, I know that President Biden has called for increased taxes on the wealthy, but what is your definition of a wealth tax? How would that work?

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Cornel West

Well, a wealth tax, really, is something that is very difficult to enforce. as much as i would put it on paper, we know that the wealthy are so clever with their lawyers and create loopholes. I am much more concerned about disinvesting from the military. 62 cents for every one dollar in the discretionary budget in Washington goes to the military.  We have 800 military units around the world and special operations in 130 countries. We have to cut back massively on military spending and put it directly into universal basic income.  Alaska was the first state to endorse me and the Aurora Party, in part because we agreed there should be a basic universal income, a social net below which people cannot fall. It’s so much easier to disinvest from the military and reinvest directly into satisfying basic social needs than to follow through on a wealth tax, because we can have some of the most marvelous wealth taxes on paper and you can’t execute it because these loopholes are still there and the lawyers are hired, and there’s tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.  You know the story, how difficult it is to follow through. Yes, I do support that on paper, but in terms of actually gaining resources for poor and working people we need to support a strong minimum wage and strong wing of the trade union movement as well as the fight for benefits and contribute to a robust public life in the country, we have to engage in a significant disinvestment of the military into satisfying basic social needs of our citizens. 

I go to schools all the time and I see more policemen in elementary schools than nurses and counselors.  Can you imagine if that was the case when we went to school? Good God Almighty, these are precious students, in the hood, in the barrios, the reservations, poor whites.  What kind of future are we talking about with that militarized context? I was just at Atlanta, where we see the militarization, not just of the police, but any security officer. Why? Because as the society begins to decay we appeal to the military and we end up with more and more mass shootings and militaristic ways of dealing with conflict. That is the sign of a country going under.  We’ve got to fight back as countervailing forces against organized greed and institutionalized hatred and routinized indifference to the most vulnerable. The 25th chapter of Matthew is a fundamental lens of which to view the world. What you do to prisoners, poor, the elderfly, the children, the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the motherless. that is the criteria. . . .

Pedro Echevarria

Dr. West, I want to address a couple of things on your platform, making news even as we are talking today: one step to codify abortion rights as a constitutional mandate and to nationalize the health care industry, including the pharmaceutical industry.  Why do you think that is necessary?

Cornel West

We have to have a fundamental commitment to women having control over their bodies. We know that if there were a debate and a conversation over abortion in men and men were the only ones who gave birth there would be a very different conversation. Let’s be honest about the patriarchal context of the discussion over abortion. Abortion is in many ways a difficult and delicate issue but we have to have a sensitivity to the woman and the child. I am firmly committed to women having control over the reproductive rights, and I am firmly committed to taking the greed out of our health system. I don’t know why we can’t have the same kind of health care system that the congress has, that the military has. They call that single payer because those are the offices tied to national security. i believe that health care like poverty and the human right to housing those are issues of national security too.  The pharmaceutical companies and medical systems have been obsessed with profits and makes it difficult to satisfy the fundamental basic needs of the most vulnerable, and that is why i am committed to ensuring that every citizen has access to quality health care, quality education, safe neighborhoods with communities having oversight over the police . . .

Pedro Echevarria

How much ballot access do you have?

Cornel West

We began with Alaska with the Aurora Party, and then we moved to the United Citizens Party in South Carolina. Very interesting because that was the party that brother Cliburn helped to found in the 60’s and 70’s. I always applaud his early years, and that is the party that endosed me. I’m on the ballot in Utah. on the ballot in Oregon with the Progressive Party. We are on the move. We have low hanging fruits in terms of states where we’re able to get on the ballot once I make the announcement of a Vice-President candidate and they open up their particular dates to get on the ballot.  We are very much on the move and trying to make sure that truth, justice and love has a place in a moment of overwhelming barbarity.

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United States: Exclusive interview: Jill Stein discusses Green Party goals and local issues on Racine visit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article by Denise Lockwood from the Racine Country Eye

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, spoke at the Dekoven Center in Racine (Wiscosin) on Tuesday (March 12) as part of her third bid for the White House, bringing attention to various national and local issues.

Stein’s campaign focuses on the Green Party’s core principles, which include environmental sustainability, social justice and a commitment to nonviolence. The party positions itself as an alternative to the two dominant political parties in the United States.

The Green Party, known for its advocacy for environmental issues, emphasizes the need for sustainable energy, strong social programs and a reduced military budget. It champions grassroots democracy and aims to counter corporate political influence, offering voters an alternative that stresses ecological wisdom, social justice and nonviolent solutions.

During her visit, Stein spoke with Racine County Eye reporter Denise Lockwood about the heightened engagement in the current election cycle, indicating a shift in public sentiment.

“People are like, shall we say, are much more engaged in this election than I’ve seen before,” Stein said.

In her previous presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, Stein, originally from Lexington, Mass., has consistently advocated for the Green Party’s ideals. Trained as a physician at Harvard Medical School, Stein’s political transition was driven by her growing concern for the connection between public health and environmental issues.

She also addressed the financial struggles of many Americans, highlighting the burdens of debt.

“What we’re hearing now is like what we’ve learned over the last decade, but the volume is way turned up,” she stated, drawing attention to the pressing issues of college and medical debt and their broader implications for ordinary citizens’ financial stability.

Stein discusses local issues

In discussing local issues, Stein focused on concerns specific to Racine and similar communities, such as housing challenges, gang violence, and childhood lead poisoning. As a physician, she expressed particular concern about Wisconsin’s high rates of lead poisoning and the broader public health implications. Stein linked these issues to larger systemic problems, including racial disparities and inadequate federal housing policies.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

A central component of Stein’s platform is the Green New Deal, which proposes an ambitious plan to address economic, environmental, and social challenges simultaneously.

“Our program intends to eliminate poverty. And number two, ensure that racial justice is a major dimension of our Green New Deal, a major economic redevelopment program,” Stein explained, illustrating her vision for an integrated approach to these intertwined issues.

On immigration, Stein criticized U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that it has contributed to the current migrant crisis. She advocated for comprehensive reforms, including addressing climate change and stabilizing countries economically and politically to reduce the necessity of forced migration.

Stein also discussed the potential for reallocating resources currently directed toward military expenditures.

“We are spending $12,000 this year maintaining forever wars in the Forever War Machine—$12,000 per household—in our tax base,” she claimed, suggesting that these funds could be more effectively used to address domestic issues.

Campaign strategy

Stein’s campaign’s financial strategy, which focuses on smaller donations, reflects a grassroots approach distinct from her competitors.

“We do have small donations coming in. We can do things for far less,” she shared, highlighting the campaign’s reliance on public support rather than large donors.

Stein’s visit also provided insights into the changing political landscape in Wisconsin, a state known for its fluctuating political allegiances. The potential impact of new political groups and the adoption of ranked-choice voting was discussed, indicating possible significant shifts in future elections.

She concluded her visit by emphasizing the need for broader political choices, suggesting that many Americans seek a system that more effectively serves their needs.

“The American people are clamoring for a fair shot,” she said, summarizing the sentiment that her campaign and the Green Party aim to address.

Following the interview, Stein participated in a community discussion about the Green Party’s platform. We’ll have a story about that discussion later today

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United States: the Path to Victory for Southern Autoworkers

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from the United Auto Workers (UAW)

Autoworkers at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama have been organizing to win their union. Today they met with UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 8 Director Tim Smith to talk about their path to victory. Here are remarks that President Fain shared with them:

Good afternoon, Union Family.

It’s my honor to be here, to be with so many badass, fed up autoworkers who are ready to stand up.

Today I’m here to talk about the path to victory. It’s a powerful idea. The path to victory. Because first things first — there is a path.
 
Before we can even talk about what we need to do to get what we deserve, we have to acknowledge one thing. Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama.

The first thing you need to do to win is to believe that you can win. That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And that those things are worth fighting for. That is why we stand up. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe it’s possible.

There is a path. But here’s the other thing about the path to victory. It’s only a path. You have to walk it. Nobody can walk it for you. I didn’t come down here to tell you what all I’m going to do for you as the President of the UAW. That’s not what this is about. Everything you win in this fight will be because you won it.

You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace. And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.

I’ve been meeting with UAW staff and with some of you. And what’s clear to me is we are doing things differently this time. This time, we are going to make sure we have leaders on each line, on each shift, talking to each other about building their union. That is the path to victory.

And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election – but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract. That’s what changes lives. That’s what this is all about.

But you have to walk that path to victory. You have to say – I’m ready to talk to my coworkers. I’m ready to have my name be public on a vote yes petition. I’m ready to go to work every day and proudly wear my UAW hat for everyone to see. I’m ready to stand up, strong and loud, and proud about this fight. I can’t win that for you. Our staff can’t win that for you. Only you can walk that path to victory.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re walking alone. Our staff, our union, and hundreds of thousands of UAW members are behind you. Across this country, there are working-class people looking to you. For inspiration. For hope. And we’ve all got your back.

I opened these remarks with “union family,” because we are a family. But here in Alabama, it hits close to home. Many of you may not know this but my family’s roots are in the South. I have family from Alabama. And three of my grandparents were from Tennessee, one from Kentucky, and after the Great Depression, all of my grandparents had to move north. And they were blessed to hire in at GM and Chrysler in the early days of the UAW. They stood up for themselves and went and got a better life.

But the real meaning of union is not having to leave for greener pastures. Not having to leave your family and your life behind just to be able to live. The real meaning of union is fighting for a better life where you are. Because it’s your job. It’s your body. It’s your time. It’s your family. It’s your community.

I look around here and I see a lot of people who remind me of myself and my roots. I know struggle. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been on unemployment. I’ve received government aid to get formula and diapers for my firstborn child.

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Question related to this article:
 
What is the contribution of trade unions to the culture of peace?

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Joining the union, the UAW, changed my life. It gave me a wage I could raise a family on. It gave me a job I could rely on. And it gave me hope for the future. So, I put everything I had into building this union. I walked that path. I know what it’s like to be out there at the gates, trying to get your coworkers organized. I know what it’s like to have to fight the company tooth and nail just to have a little dignity on the job. And I know if I didn’t do it, if regular autoworkers like me and you don’t stand up, nothing’s going to change. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your family. And we’ll have your back every step of the way.

You’re so close to the finish line. Some people get within inches of their goal and quit before they realize that if they’d have given one more push they would have reached it.
 
 My running for president of the UAW was very similar. If I hadn’t relied on faith and faced fear and doubt and took on the insurmountable odds of running for president of the UAW, nothing would have changed.
 
People said I was crazy for running for President. Some who were previously in power tried to make the members afraid to vote for change. But the members took a leap of faith and voted for new leaders and look what we are accomplishing.

Our Big Three contract campaign was the same. People said we were crazy for going for the things we did. Companies said they couldn’t afford it. Companies made threats. The media said we were crazy.

But guess what? We focused on facts in our Big 3 campaign and strike. The fact that the companies made a quarter of a trillion dollars in a decade. The fact that CEO pay went up 40% over the previous 4 years. And the fact that workers were being left behind, although the workers generate those massive profits through their labor. 75% of Americans sided with us in that fight. Using the power of facts and a unified membership.

We won a record contract and the companies still paid out massive stock dividends to investors. CEOs are still giving themselves massive raises, and business is fine.

It’s the same here in Alabama.


Facts: The German three made double what the Big Three made in the last decade. A half a trillion. $460 billion. Mercedes’s CEO got an 80% raise last year. The eight managers on the Mercedes management board got a collective $27 million raise last year. The average Mercedes executive makes $3,600 an hour. It would take a Mercedes production worker at the top rate two years to make what a Mercedes executive earns in one week.

The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid.

Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives. Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It’s time to change that.

Years ago, my grandparents had to leave Tennessee to live the American Dream. You don’t have to leave. You can achieve it right here in Alabama.

The first thing I do when I get up every day, daily reading and pray. Recently, I thought of you when I read my daily reading, Hebrews 11:1, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
`
he only people who can organize the South are the workers in the South. And those workers who stand up are forever going to go down in history for doing what so many people said was impossible. Why not you? Why not here?

I said during our campaign at the Big Three that this is our generation’s defining moment. That faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, and we moved mountains.

Now, here in Alabama, we have another mountain to move. This is your defining moment to change your lives. To change America. And to change the world for the better. So, let’s walk down that path to victory together in Solidarity and let’s finish the job.

So, I came here not to win this thing for you. Not to tell you what to do. I came here to find out for myself the answer to one question. Are you ready to Stand Up? I believe you are, and I believe in you.

If you’re ready, the time is now. This is your defining moment. If we have public supporters in every department, on every line, on every shift, Mercedes workers will be guaranteed to win your election. Raise your hand if you can commit to being that person for your line.

Before you leave today, put your name on the public petition and join your coworkers on the path to victory. We will not let the company divide us. That’s how they win. Solidarity is our strength. That’s how we win.

This isn’t about power, It’s about control. Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.

Thank you.

International Women’s Day: The Americas

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press survey by CPNN

In order to gather photos from the celebration of International Women’s Day, we put the following phrases into the google search engine:
° women’s day photos 2024
° Photos “Journée internationale de la femme” 2024
° Fotos”Día Internacional de la Mujer” 2024
° Fotos “Dia Internacional da Mulher” 2024

Here are the results from the Americas.

ARGENTINA


The center of Buenos Aires on Friday evening during the celebration of International Women’s Day. JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI (EFE) (from El País)

BERMUDA

The Government kicked of its celebration of International Women’s Day [IWD] with the Public Service IWD Wellness Walk around Hamilton earlier this week, with a number of female Public Service employees taking part, including the Governor, Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors and Head of the Public Service Cherie Whitter. The Government has prepared a series of activities throughout the week aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in the public service under the theme #InspireInclusion. (from Bernews)

BOLIVIA

Women shouts slogans against gender-based violence during an International Women’s Day march in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, March 8, 2024. AP Photo/Juan Karita (from APNews)

BRAZIL

People take part in a march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 8. A banner reads “Stop to femicide. Legalization of abortion.” REUTERS/Tita Barros (From Reuters)


PETERBOROUGH, CANADA

Kawartha World Issues Centre and Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre rallied and marched in Downtown Peterborough for International Women’s Day from Peterborough Square to City Hall on Friday afternoon. Photo by David Tuan Bui. (from PTBO Canada)

VANCOUVER, CANADA

Various groups gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday March 3, 2024 for speeches followed by a march for International Women’s Day. (CityNews Image) (from Vancouver City News)

CHILE


Protesters march in groups in the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Santiago. SOFIA YANJARI. (from El País)

COLOMBIA

A woman attends an International Women’s Day event with a red handprint across her mouth, a symbolic representation of murdered and missing Indigenous women, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) (from APNews)

ECUADOR


People take part in a march in Quito, Ecuador, March 8. REUTERS/Karen Toro (From Reuters)

GUATEMALA


Young people in Guatemala City release green smoke in the Plaza de la Constitución. DAVID TORO (EFE). (from El País)

HONDURAS

Tegucigalpa, Honduras. International Women’s Day was marked with street actions Fot: Gustavo Amado/EPA (from Renascença)

Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

MEXICO


More than 180,000 protesters marched through Mexico City demanding access to justice and freedom from violence and fear. Some carried photos of people they were accusing of rape or violence. Other banners demanded that girls grow up without violence and drew attention to missing and murdered women. [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] (From Al Jazeera)

PANAMA


Women participate during marches in commemoration of International Women’s Day in Panama City, Panama, 08 March 2024. (from EPA Images)

PERU


Protesters dance during the protest in Lima (Peru). ANGELA PONCE (REUTERS)Argentina. (from El País)



PUERTO RICO


Shouting: “Vivas nos queremos”, “Nosotras parimos, nosotras decidimos” o “¡Qué viva la lucha feminista!” (“We love each other alive”, “We give birth, we decide” or “Long live the feminist struggle!”), two marches toured the streets of the capital of Puerto Rico, this March 8. RICARDO ARDUENGO (REUTERS). (from El País)

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

Address by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024. (frame from video of UN television)


CHICAGO, UNITED STATES

In Chicago, the day before International Women’s Day, CODEPINK, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Chicago Area Peace Action dropped a banner over the Chicago river that read: Feminists Say No to War with accompanying signs demanding negotiations in Ukraine and cooperation with China. (from Codepink)


SEATTLE, UNITED STATES

People chant as they walk down John Street on Capitol Hill during a march for International Working Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, in Seattle. Speeches portrayed Palestinian liberation as a “feminist imperative.” (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times) (from the Seattle Times)

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES

On March 8th, 2023, peace activists in DC made a large human peace sign in the rotunda, a banner demanding “Peace NOW” was unfurled from an upper level. The group in the rotunda formed a human peace sign donned with pink parasols and peacefully sang “Give Peace A Chance.” The human peace sign and the “Peace NOW” banner were followed up by office visits to Congresswomen who initially signed the Progressive Caucus letter to Biden demanding he pursue a path to negotiations to end the Russia/Ukraine War. (from Codepink)


Women march in Montevideo (Uruguay), this March 8. MARIANA GREIF (REUTERS). (from El País)

VENEZUELA


Women participate in a demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela, March 8. REUTERS/Gaby Oraa. (from Reuters)

USA: 200+ Unions Launch Network to Push for Gaza Cease-Fire

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Seven national and over 200 local labor unions in the United States on Friday announced  the establishment of a coalition to promote a cease-fire in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.


(Click on image to enlarge)

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the Association of Flight Attendants, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Education Association, National Nurses United (NNU), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the United Electrical Workers (UE), and 200 local unions and labor organizations launched the National Labor Network for Cease-fire (NLNC) to “end the death and devastation” in Gaza.

The coalition says it represents more than 9 million union workers—”more than half the labor movement in the United States.”

“The war between Israel and Hamas has continued unabated since Hamas brutally attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,163 people, and taking 253 hostages,” NLNC said in a statement.

“Israel responded with an onslaught that has killed over 28,000 Palestinians and left over 67,000 others injured,” while “1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced, and humanitarian aid remains mostly blocked from those in need,” the coalition added.

NLCN is calling for:

° An immediate cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas;
° Restoration of basic human rights;
° The immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas;
° Unimpeded full access for humanitarian aid; and
° A call for a cease-fire by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

In his strongest statement yet, Biden—who has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some activists for his staunch support for Israel—said  Friday that he has called for a “temporary cease-fire” during private phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leaders of the seven unions—most of which have already called for a cease-fire—issued statements underscoring the imperative for peace.

“The UAW has a long tradition of calling for peace and justice for working-class people across the globe, and we live that tradition today,” UAW president Shawn Fain said. “In that spirit, we call for an immediate end to the U.S. government’s funding and support of this brutal assault on Gaza.”

Carl Rosen, UE’s president, said: “The support for a cease-fire is overwhelming. We can’t stand by in the face of this suffering. We cannot bomb our way to peace. We express our solidarity with all workers and our common desire for peace in Palestine  and Israel.”

APWU president Mark Dimondstein said that “as a union that stands for equality, social justice, human and labor rights, we unite with unions and people of goodwill around the world in calls for a cease-fire, for justice and peace. The cries of humanity call for nothing less.”

Bonnie Castillo, the NNU’s executive director, asserted that “nurses cannot allow our patients and our colleagues to continue suffering from the traumas of war.”

“We vow to protect and heal all people, and it’s our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free of violence,” she added. “We’re calling for a cease-fire now before one more life is lost, before one more family faces injuries or illnesses.”

The NLCN’s formation follows last week’s cease-fire call  by the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation.

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Exclusive: Putin’s suggestion of Ukraine ceasefire rejected by United States, sources say

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion of a ceasefire in Ukraine to freeze the war was rejected by the United States after contacts between intermediaries, three Russian sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

The failure of Putin’s approach ushers in a third year of the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two and illustrates just how far apart the world’s two largest nuclear powers remain.


Frame from video about proposal

A U.S. source denied there had been any official contact and said Washington would not engage in talks that did not involve Ukraine.

Putin sent signals to Washington in 2023 in public and privately through intermediaries, including through Moscow’s Arab partners in the Middle East and others, that he was ready to consider a ceasefire in Ukraine, the Russian sources said.

Putin was proposing to freeze the conflict at the current lines and was unwilling to cede any of the Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia, but the signal offered what some in the Kremlin saw as the best path towards a peace of some kind.

“The contacts with the Americans came to nothing,” a senior Russian source with knowledge of the discussions in late 2023 and early 2024 told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

A second Russian source with knowledge of the contacts told Reuters that the Americans told Moscow, via the intermediaries, they would not discuss a possible ceasefire without the participation of Ukraine and so the contacts ended in failure.

A third source with knowledge of the discussions said: “Everything fell apart with the Americans.” The source said that the Americans did not want to pressure Ukraine.

The extent of the contacts – and their failure – has not previously been reported.

It comes as U.S. President Joe Biden has for months been pushing Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine, but has faced opposition from allies of Republican presidential nomination frontrunner Donald Trump.

The Kremlin, the White House, the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) all declined to comment.

U.S. SAYS ‘NO BACK CHANNEL’

Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering a full-scale war after eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces on the one side and pro-Russian Ukrainians and Russian proxies on the other.

Ukraine says it is fighting for its existence and the West casts Putin’s invasion as an imperial-style land grab that challenges the post-Cold War international order.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he will never accept Russia’s control over Ukrainian land. He has outlawed any contacts with Russia.

A U.S. official, speaking in Washington on condition of anonymity, said that the U.S. has not engaged in any back channel discussions with Russia and that Washington had been consistent in not going behind the back of Ukraine.

The U.S. official said that there appeared to have been unofficial “Track II” conversations among Russians not in the government but that the United States was not engaged in them.

The U.S. official said Putin’s proposal, based on what has been publicly reported, was unchanged from past demands that Russia hold on to Ukrainian territory. The official suggested that there appeared to be frustration in Moscow that Washington had repeatedly refused to accept it.

Putin told U.S. talk-show host Tucker Carlson last week that Russia was ready for “dialogue”.

CONTACTS

Intermediaries met in Turkey in late 2023, according to three Russian sources.

A fourth diplomatic source said that there had been Russian-U.S. unofficial contacts through intermediaries at Russia’s initiative but that they appeared to have come to nothing.

The U.S. official said he was unaware of unofficial contact through intermediaries.

According to three Russian sources, Putin’s signal was relayed to Washington, where top U.S. officials including White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met.

The idea was that Sullivan would speak to Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, and set out the next steps, one of the Russian sources said.

But when the call came in January, Sullivan told Ushakov that Washington was willing to talk about other aspects of the relationship but would not speak about a ceasefire without Ukraine, said one of the Russian sources.

The U.S. official refused to be drawn on any details of Sullivan’s purported calls, or whether such a conversation with Ushakov took place.

PUTIN ‘READY TO FIGHT ON’

One of the Russian sources expressed frustration with the United States over Washington’s insistence that it would not nudge Ukraine towards talks given that the United States was helping to fund the war.

“Putin said: ‘I knew they wouldn’t do anything’,” another of the Russian sources said. “They cut off the root of the contacts which had taken two months to create.”

Another Russian source said that the United States did not appear to believe Putin was sincere.

“The Americans didn’t believe Putin was genuine about a ceasefire – but he was and is – he is ready to discuss a ceasefire. But equally Putin is also ready to fight on for as long as it takes – and Russia can fight for as long as it takes,” the Russian source said.

The Kremlin sees little point in further contacts with the United States on the issue, the Russian sources said, so the war would continue.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Alex Richardson

American Attitudes about the Conflict in Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A survey by the Gallup Poll

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

° Republican support for Ukraine war has withered since start of conflict

° 41% of Americans say U.S. is doing too much to support Ukraine

° Democrats remain steadfast in support of current approach to Ukraine

° 64% of Americans say neither side is winning the war

1. Helping Ukraine Too Much or Too Little?

As the harsh winter months approach in Ukraine, Americans’ views on the war there have shifted, with a plurality now saying the U.S. is doing too much to help Ukraine. Forty-one percent of Americans overall say the U.S. is doing too much, which has risen from 24% in August 2022 and 29% in June 2023. Thirty-three percent, down from 43% in June, say the U.S. is doing the right amount, while 25% believe the U.S. isn’t doing enough.

2. The Partisan Divide on the War Effort

Both Republicans (62%) and independents (44%) increasingly see the U.S. as doing too much to support Ukraine compared with when Gallup began asking this question in August 2022.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

3. Ending the War or Going Long?

Another key question that has loomed over the conflict since it began is how it ends. In August 2022, a majority (66%) of Americans believed the U.S. should support Ukraine in reclaiming its former territory, even if this resulted in a prolonged conflict. That view has waned but not completely shifted, as 54% of Americans maintain that view. Forty-three percent now favor the U.S. trying to help end the war quickly, even if that means Ukraine cedes territory to Russia.

4. Partisans on “Staying the Course”

Partisan shifts have been significant on the question of how to end the war, with a majority of Republicans (55%) now preferring to end the conflict as soon as possible. Independents have also shifted notably on this question and are now divided evenly between those who support a prolonged conflict, with Ukraine regaining all lost territory, and those who would like to see the war end as soon as possible. Democrats continue to favor helping Ukraine regain its lost territory.

5. Financial Aid and Its Limits

While nations across Europe have contributed to the war effort in Ukraine, the U.S. has provided the lion’s share of support, which has become a hot political topic among some congressional leaders calling for limits on the funds being committed to Kyiv. Today, 61% of Americans say the financial aid Ukraine receives from Washington should have limits, with over eight in 10 Republicans sharing this view. Thirty-seven percent of Americans, including 65% of Democrats, believe the U.S. should continue to provide aid as long as Ukraine requests it.

6. Who’s Winning the War?

And finally, a question Gallup began asking in June of this year is who, if anyone, is winning the war? Today, 64% of Americans say neither side is, a seven-percentage-point increase in this view since the summer, when the world was awaiting a Ukrainian counteroffensive that stalled because of Russia’s military entrenchment across the Donbas. Interestingly, the view that neither side is currently winning the war is the only question on the war where there is at least some consistency across party ID, with little to no differences among Democrats, independents and Republicans. Democrats, however, are far more likely than Republicans and independents to believe Ukraine, rather than Russia, is winning.

The Rez of the Story: What is a culture of peace?

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article by Vince Two Eagles in the Lakota Times (located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, USA)

Yesterday, February 4th, was recognized as the “International Day of Human Fraternity by the United Nations.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls for we humans to “…reaffirm our commitment to bridging divides, fostering religious understanding and cooperation among people of all cultures and beliefs. Together, let us forge a path towards a more peaceful, just and harmonious work for all.”

The headline reads, “Human fraternity for peace and cooperation” on the UN website. The very valid question, “What is the culture of peace?” is asked and answered as follows:

“The culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions and models of behavior and ways of life based on:

1. Respect for life, ending of violence and promotion and practice of non-violence through education, dialogue and cooperation;

2. Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

3. Full respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Commitment to peaceful settlement of conflicts;

5. Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;

6. Respect for and promotion of the right to development; Respect for and promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men;

7. Respect for and promotion of the right of everyone to freedom of expression, opinion and information;

8. Adherence to the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, culture diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations; and fostered by an enabling national and international environment conducive to peace; (Source: A/ RES/53/243).”

The UN site goes on to state:”We need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.”

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Question for this article:

Can the vision of a culture of peace help inspire action?

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“We also need to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance, which involves societal acceptance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, including with regard to religious expression. Education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief.”

“Furthermore, we must acknowledge that tolerance, pluralistic tradition, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity. Thus, it is imperative that we encourage activities aimed at promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue in order to enhance peace and social stability, respect for diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.”

“Within that frame, the General-Assembly took note of all international, regional, national and local initiatives, as appropriate, as well as efforts by religious leaders, to promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, and in this regard took note also of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled ‘Human fraternity for world peace and living together’.”

“Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, including by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

“In 1999, the General-Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.”

“The declaration came about as a result of the long held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process, in which dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.”

“On 20 October 2010, the General-Assembly in resolutionA/RES/65/5 pointed out that mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. It further recognized the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.”

“At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world. Our world continues to be beset by conflict and intolerance with rising numbers refugees and the internationally displaced in a hostile and unwelcoming world around them. We are also, unfortunately, witnessing messages of hate spreading discord among people. The need for spiritual guidance has never been greater. It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith [and non-faith] traditions.”

“The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity, with resolution 75/200.”

And now you know the Rez of the story.

Doksha . . . (“see you later” in the Sioux language)

United States: The Black Choreographers Dancing Toward Justice

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article by Hannah J. Davies from Hyperallergic (produced in collaboration with the Arts & Culture MA concentration at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism)

Since it began over a decade ago, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has celebrated the literal movements of its participants. People protesting killings of Black people have not only marched in the streets; they have krumped, twerked, vogued, and resurrected the electric slide of the ’70s and ’80s in often impromptu responses to the emotions underpinning their demonstrations. Black choreographers, in turn, have woven the grief, anger, and sadness of the BLM movement into formal concert dance.


Choreographer Chanel DaSilva’s Tabernacle (2023) (photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy the Dallas Black Dance Theatre)

Choreographer Kyle Abraham presented “Absent Matter” in 2015, just two years after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, ignited BLM and one year after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A work of fluid and athletic gestures, Abraham’s performance took its cues from hip-hop, ballet, and politically minded anthems like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” In 2016, David Roussève’s “Enough?” — with an accelerating choreographic phrase danced to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklin — asked whether dance can be a sufficient medium for considering the brutality often inflicted on Black people.

Now (January 2024), eight years later, that question is being answered in the affirmative on major dance stages around the United States. Choreographer Jamar Roberts’s “Ode,” a somber and sensuous dance first performed in 2019 as a response to gun violence, was restaged for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 65th anniversary in December. Last May, Chanel DaSilva’s “Tabernacle” premiered at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, fusing Afrofuturism, hip hop, and African dance in a direct response to BLM. And last fall, as part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Crossing the Line festival, the French-Malian choreographer Smaïl Kanouté’s “Never Twenty One” made its New York debut, its title borrowed from a BLM slogan. A trio of dancers whose bare arms and torsos were emblazoned with words like “death,” “negro,” and “PTSD” engage in movements akin to mortal combat onstage, punctuated by moments of kinship, in homage to people of color killed through gun violence in the US, South Africa, and Brazil before they had reached their 21st birthdays. After the performance at FIAF, one audience member noted that she had cried 63 times while watching.

While there is a clear difference between dance erupting on sidewalks and performances choreographed for the stage, there is overlap between the two forms. In addition to a sense of urgency, they share some of the same movements and gestures. In “Never Twenty One,” for example, the spasmodic krumping motions that originated in South Central Los Angeles in the ’90s were seen in protests in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. One audience member animatedly joined in from her chair during the show at FIAF in perhaps an unusual move, but in another setting, it would be almost rude not to.

Dr. Shamell Bell, a dancer, Harvard lecturer, and one of the founding members of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles, explained to Hyperallergic the importance of rooting such pieces in lived experience and “[reaching] out to the people that you’re supposedly wanting to bring attention to.” Having begun her career dancing on the streets as a youth activist, Dr. Bell now works on performance pieces that, like “Never Twenty One,” play with the conventions and traditions of vernacular Black dance genres to shine a light on difficult topics.

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Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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Dr. Bell served as a co-social impact director for Ritual of Breath Is The Rite to Resist (2022), a transmedia opera at Dartmouth and Stanford that brought together dance, music, visual art, and text. Composed by Jonathan Berger and choreographed by Neema Bickersteth and Trebien Pollard, the piece was loosely based on the last moments in the life of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old African-American man who was killed by a New York City Police Department officer in 2014. His final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a major slogan for the BLM movement.

“We asked the community what they needed to heal,” Dr. Bell said. “One of the most important aspects of doing performance as activism is making sure it has tangible resources for and connections with the community it matters the most to.”

Dr. Bell reached out to Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and others who had lost children to police brutality, not only entering into a dialogue with them but also creating rituals aimed at supporting them emotionally. In a similar vein, Kanouté incorporated the testimonies of bereaved families into his piece at FIAF, including haunting monologues in multiple languages that comprise the show’s soundtrack. Both works go beyond archiving the experiences of their subjects to also provide a space for grieving. “Dance is a healing modality,” Dr. Bell added. “And we need to heal ourselves in order to heal this world.”

Of course, BLM and other movements for racial justice are just the latest chapters in a long history of Black cultural activism in the United States. Artist and academic Stafford C. Berry Jr., a scholar of what he describes as “African-rooted” dance at Indiana University, told Hyperallergic that these choreographic works extend and are part of “the trajectory and existence of Black lives from enslavement up until now,” adding that the BLM movement “is really a contemporary recapitulation of our earlier movements.” Mentored by the influential choreographers Chuck Davis and Kariamu Welsh, Berry noted that he has long drawn inspiration from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ’70s, which emerged in tandem with Black Power. Even so, Berry sees the BLM movement’s resurgence in recent years as a step forward in understanding Blackness in America. Berry noted that the works that BLM has inspired have been “bold and unapologetic, by people who are centering themselves and trying to figure out what BLM means for the United States, and the world.”

This certainly seems true of Kanouté, who is based in Paris and was inspired by what he described to Hyperallergic as the “powerful echo” of events in the US to look at the loss of Black lives across the world. “We had a young man called Nahel [Merzouk] who was shot by the police,” he said, catching his breath backstage after the FIAF performance as he recalled the case of the 17-year-old boy of North African descent who was killed by French police last June, sparking protests across France. “The racism and separation I grew up with was under the surface, but now it’s come out.”

In the same way that popular dance can offer a sense of hope and resistance at protests, there is a cathartic quality to Kanouté’s work. Despite the frequent choreographed clashes among the three men on stage, “Never 21” was infused with a sense of truly owning and embracing Blackness and Black joy in its many forms. Kanouté explained that he draws particular inspiration from Black communities living in cities like Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro, whose joy often exists side by side with danger and precarity.

“They have to create their own identity, their own music, their own dance, because they don’t know if tomorrow they will still be there,” Kanouté said. “In that kind of atmosphere, you create powerful things.”

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David Malcom Krieger, Man of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An obituary from Waging Peace

David Malcom Krieger, man of peace, passed away on December 7, 2023 and left the world with one less champion.

David was born on March 27, 1942 to Herbert and Sybil Krieger in Los Angeles. The family settled in the San Fernando Valley where his father was the first pediatrician. David attended North Hollywood High before heading to Occidental College where he graduated with a degree in Psychology. He was getting his PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii when he met and married Carolee, his wife of 57 years. He did get the PhD, too.

David traveled to Japan to study as part of his PhD work and was so moved by what he experienced and learned in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that he dedicated the rest of his life to abolishing nuclear weapons and achieving peace. He was drafted into the army during the Vietnam War almost simultaneously. However, his clarity of mind and morals would not allow for participating in war and killing. He was, as far as we know, the first Officer in the Vietnam War to sue for Conscientious Objector status.

In 1972, David came to Santa Barbara to work as an assistant to Elisabeth Mann Borgese at the Center for The Study of Democratic Institutions. Here he collaborated with some of the greatest minds of the time on the subject of democracy. He and Carolee stayed in Santa Barbara, raising their three children among the blood orange trees and peacocks on the property they worked tirelessly to convert from rocks and weeds to the artists’ and gardeners’ paradise that it is now.

In 1982, David, Frank Kelly, Wally Drew, and two others founded the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. This was to be David’s proudest accomplishment. David Krieger led the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation until his retirement in 2019. His work, educating, advocating, writing extensively, and speaking all over the world about the dangers of the nuclear age and the insanity of the nuclear arms race helped advance the cause of peace with justice, particularly among young people, however, also with nearly everyone he personally encountered. David’s charisma, honesty, and depth of knowledge on the subject were hard to disagree with. David Krieger was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize ten separate years.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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David developed a passion for karate when he was in Japan in his early 20s. As with everything he was passionate about, he dedicated himself to being among the best at it, earning his black belt in the Shito-Ryu form, and founding and running his own Dojo, Pacific Karate-Do Institute. He taught many Santa Barbarians karate in the 1970s and 1980s, and counted some of those former students among his closest friends.

David loved to play tennis and for years, his free afternoons and weekend mornings were spent playing with some of his other closest friends.

David was also a prolific poet. He found poetry to be an excellent way to express his impression of world events and daily joys.

David Krieger was a man of thought, of conviction, and of honor. He wanted to make the world safer, more peaceful, and ultimately a kinder and more just place for everyone and everything. He never stopped believing it was possible. In his honor, we admonish you to carry this work on.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to: The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

– –

Here is an excerpt from his last message as President of the Nuclear-Age Peace Foundation:

When we founded NAPF in 1982, the world was adrift in nuclear dangers. We began with a belief in the necessity of awakening people everywhere to the dangers of the Nuclear Age – a time in which our technological prowess exceeded our ethical development. This dilemma continues today. For nearly four decades, we have been a steady, consistent and creative voice for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.

As the calendar page turns to 2020, we are working to create a peace literate world, based upon empathy, caring, kindness and overcoming fear, greed and trauma: a world in which nuclear weapons can be abolished and stay abolished. Our Peace Literacy Initiative, headed by Paul K. Chappell, a West Point graduate, goes to the root causes of war and nuclear weapons. It is a profound way of waging peace.

As the next generation prepares to take the helm at NAPF, I ask you to believe in the power of our work now more than ever. We have exciting plans to scale up our Peace Literacy work and deliver measurable and increasing impacts over the coming months and years.