Tag Archives: North America

United States : There Are Anti-War Candidates

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article from David Swanson

I don’t have any use for PEP politicians (progressive except on the Pentagon), but there are going to be serious members of the U.S. Congress next year who aren’t afraid of flags and war songs. There are going to be a lot more than (AOC+3) four of them.


CORI BUSH

One is going to be Cori Bush from St. Louis who won her primary against a long-time incumbent. She’s recently tweeted the following:

“If you’re having a bad day, just think of all the social services we’re going to fund after we defund the Pentagon.”

“Militarization makes up 64% of our federal budget. Medicare & Health are 6%. Education is 5%. Social Security, Unemployment, and Labor together are 3%. Ignorance is thinking those priorities keep our families safe.”

“220K+ people, including 1,700 healthcare workers, have died from COVID-19 due to our government’s inability to protect its citizens & pass pandemic relief. Ignorance is Trump’s Pentagon taking $1 billion in funding designated for PPE production to make jet engine parts.”

“@BernieSanders and @EdMarkey proposed a 10% cut on the Pentagon budget to use to fund health care, housing, childcare and educational opportunities for cities and towns experiencing a poverty rate of 25% or more. Ignorance is blocking this bill knowing it would save lives.”

“Ignorance is paying Lockheed Martin more than $1 trillion over the course of a 60 year contract for a dysfunctional F-35 program. Ignorance is letting their CEO take a $20 million dollar salary while military veterans go homeless.”

“The Department of Defense has never passed an independent audit, yet we continue to give them money unchecked. Ignorance is the Trump administration *INCREASING* the Pentagon budget by more than $100 billion since he was elected.”

“Ignorance is giving weapons of war to local police departments with no accountability or oversight. Ignorance is calling us radical for saying that’s wrong.”

Cori Bush may appreciate this billboard going up in St. Louis. And I’m sure she fully appreciates that she’s up against Joe Biden on all of the above just as much as Trump. But she’s not going to be alone.

JAMAAL BOWMAN

Jamaal Bowman of New York said of his now-defeated primary competition:

“My opponent, Representative Eliot Engel, and I do not share the same foreign policy vision. He voted for one of the worst policy disasters of my lifetime — an unjust and costly 2 trillion dollar war in Iraq. He voted against President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement which put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program. He went on CNN this past year and said he didn’t want to tie Trump’s hands when it came to strikes on Iran. He was one of only 16 House Democrats in 2016 to vote against an amendment that blocked the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia which has been relentlessly dropping them on Yemeni civilians. My opponent accepts donations from corporations and arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. He supports a hawkish and costly foreign policy agenda instead of focusing on the communities in our district that have been neglected for far too long. We must dramatically reduce the Pentagon’s budget over the next ten years, end the forever wars, and rebuild a diplomacy-first approach through the State Department. We have been in Afghanistan for 19 years, in Iraq for 17 years, and in Syria for five years. Congress must reassert its authority to bring our troops home.”

Engel stood by his warmongering and sank with it. This means that a different warmonger will become the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, while Engel likely heads off to make the big bucks from a yet-to-be-named weapons dealer.

MONDAIRE JONES

Mondaire Jones of New York also won his primary. His website says:

“The United States has been at war for most of my life — wars that have led to hundreds of thousands of people being killed and millions more displaced. We were led into the disastrous war in Iraq under false pretenses. The war in Afghanistan has been raging for almost 19 years. We are contributing to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, in Yemen, by providing weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. Extreme war powers, and a reluctance by members of Congress to exert oversight, have enabled the Trump Administration to bring us dangerously close to the brink of war with Iran. . . . Enough is enough. Our national security depends on a sane approach to American foreign policy that centers diplomacy, peace, human rights, and cooperation on the challenges facing our world. We must stop fighting endless wars. As a member of Congress, I will fight to finally repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has given the executive branch a blank check to pursue foreign wars having nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. I will work to bring an end to existing conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, through inclusive peace processes that center human rights, including women’s rights. I will support barring the sale of weapons to human rights violators, including Saudi Arabia, and I will support redirecting funds towards conflict prevention, including through development aid to reduce poverty and inequalities and combat climate change. . . . Our budgets reflect our values and priorities. Currently, the United States has chosen to prioritize investing in war and weapons ahead of providing for the basic needs of our people. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allocates a whopping $738 billion dollars for military spending. We spend more than approximately the next seven countries combined. It is estimated that we have spent almost $6 trillion dollars on the Global War on Terror alone. The United States maintains hundreds of costly military bases in dozens of countries throughout the world. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has gutted funding for the State Department and USAID, making the United States less able to lead on diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to address our world’s biggest challenges. As a member of Congress, I will push to reduce military spending and reinvest this money in the State Department, to strengthen diplomacy and peacebuilding, as well as domestically, in programs that meet the needs of our civilian population. I will fight to prioritize investment in human security approaches, which focus on meeting the human needs of people and protecting our environment.”

Those three are going to be added to Congress anew. That’s a big improvement. A couple more might get in, the first more likely than the second.

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Question for this article:

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

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MIKE SIEGEL

Mike Siegel, who won his primary in Texas, has not a word on his website but has said this:

“Let’s rebuild the State Department and our diplomatic corps. Let’s revamp our foreign aid spending to encourage the development of civil society and local economies. And instead of over-spending on war industries, let’s invest in the domestic safety net and the conditions for peace around the world.”

QASIM RASHID

Qasim Rashid, who won his primary in hyper-militarized Virginia, says on his website:

“The United States spends twice as much on national defense as China and Russia combined. We can spend this money more wisely and find ways to cut costs. US defense spending priorities must focus on foreign threats, assemble the defense infrastructure necessary to protect Americans from these threats, and support the men and women who defend our way of life, while they’re serving and after they serve.”

“[W]e should not be running our foreign policy through the Pentagon. It’s time to invest in diplomacy, and take time during the COVID-19 pandemic to think about what national security truly means in a 21st century world.”

Then there are incumbents.

PRAMILA JAYAPAL

This co-chair from Washington State of the extremely unreliable Progressive Caucus recently said:

“This will be a top priority of the progressive caucus — to really get some meaningful budget cuts in Pentagon spending this next cycle.”

She recently tweeted:

“We must retire the days of incremental change and usher in a new age of bold, progressive transformation. That means finally cutting wasteful defense spending to make long overdue investments in health care, infrastructure, and clean energy.”

MARK POCAN

Jayapal and Pocan, of Wisconsin, recently wrote:

“Every dollar wasted at the Pentagon is a dollar not being spent on test kits, personal protective equipment or contact tracing. Every handout to Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman is money that could have been spent on ending this pandemic, keeping small businesses afloat and staving off an economic meltdown. We hope our colleagues will join us in voting to cut the Pentagon budget, so we can redirect funding to where it’s needed in our communities.”

KATIE PORTER

A possibly ally is Katie Porter who recently asked a Lockheed Martin executive:

“Why should the taxpayer foot the bill to help Lockheed Martin at this time?”

Then there are the five most reliably antiwar Congress Members of recent years:

ILHAN OMAR

RO KHANNA

RASHIDA TLAIB

AYANNA PRESSLEY

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

That makes a possible baker’s dozen out of 435 House Members, not counting 100 Senators. There are more:

BARBARA LEE

In July, Congresswoman Lee of Oakland and Congressman Pocan announced the formation of a Defense [sic] Spending Reduction Caucus. I have been unable to learn who is in it.

PETER DEFAZIO

EARL BLUMENAUER

Defazio and Blumenauer of Oregon have been relatively outspoken, even on their websites.

JIM MCGOVERN

Congressman McGovern of Massachusetts is a pretty reliable vote.

There are others.

This year 93 House Members voted to move 10% of military spending to human needs on a vote that was not even close and on which none of them were threatened or bribed by their party “leadership” to vote the wrong way, and with Trump available as the target of their rhetoric. Could boosting the number of members willing to speak out against militarism to over a dozen boost the number willing to vote against it on even the weakest measures to over 93, even if the White House changes?

There are numerous other candidates for Congress whom people have claimed should be added to “the squad” but unless they will talk about war and peace, they’re not getting a jersey on my squad and they’re not serious about what they claim to be serious about.

There may be others I don’t know about. Please add them in the comments under this article on davidswanson.org.

Not a single one of these members of Congress has ever proposed their ideal federal budget. The Progressive Caucus has a budget proposal that is much improved over past years in that it would move a teeny bit out of military spending, specifically $63 billion out of the off-the-books slush fund, $38 billion out of supplemental spending, and $62 billion out of the Pentagon’s budget. That’s $163 billion moved to useful things out of well over $1 trillion going to militarism.

Most Democrats and all Republicans in Congress are not listed above. The same goes for almost all “white” Congress Members. Also wildly under-represented here: men in Congress. Almost all Democrats running for Congress have zero foreign policy or budget positions on their website at all, other than their great love for veterans. In my view, what happens will depend very largely on public activism. Can we make opposing militarism mainstream, respectable, acceptable? Can we make warmongering marginal, shameful, despicable? We have to try.

Montreal: Demonstration for “climate justice”

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the Tribune de Geneva (translation by CPNN)

Several thousand people demonstrated in Montreal on Saturday for “climate justice”. Several organizations had called for the rally to advocate for the social project “linking ecological action to social justice”. “Social justice – climate justice – same fight,” proclaimed a large banner, while another called for a “just and green revival”.


As of September 27, 2019, nearly half a million people had already marched through the streets of Montreal. AFP

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(Click here for the original article in French

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Last year, on September 27, nearly half a million people marched through the streets of Montreal with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg as part of the “global climate strike.” The march was called “the biggest demonstration in Quebec history” by one of the organizers.

Children’s shoes

Among the organizations that called for the demonstration on Saturday, on the occasion of the world day of climate mobilization, were notably the student coalition for an environmental and social shift (CEVES), “the planet is invited to parliament” and the ” coalition for the de-financement of the police ”.

The protest began in front of a downtown monument that until recently housed the statue of a former prime minister of Canada. The bronze statue of John A. Macdonald, accused of carrying out a policy of forced assimilation of indigenous populations, was thrown to the ground in late August during an anti-racism rally.

Children’s shoes were placed in front of the monument to symbolize the threat of climate change to new generations.

English bulletin September 1, 2020

HOPE FOR THE US . .

In the face of pessimistic predictions, even to the point of civil war, there are progressive mobilizations in the United States.

Unionization . The public approval rating for unions has climbed to nearly its highest level in fifty years. There has also been a surge of unionization among adjunct professors, grad students, digital and print journalists, museum workers, nurses, cannabis store workers, and nonprofit employees.

Colleges and Universities .. Search for Common Ground has partnered with Soliya and Tiger 21 to implement an orientation program for first-year students that will facilitate intra-campus dialogue and build trust, respect, and constructive coexistence across differences.

Black Lives Matter .. The movement continues to mobilize, most recently in professional sports. Players of the Women’s National Basketball Association are wearing t-shirts to support a progressive Congressional candidate opposing a team owner who opposes racial equality.

Youth climate activists .. A teen-age activist from the US has launched an international nonprofit organization, Climate Cardinals with over 5,000 volunteers translating climate information into more than 100 languages and dialects. The average age of the volunteers is 16!

International Day of Peace .. Campaign Nonviolence has already listed over 3500 actions planned for the national week of actions the third week of September around the International Day of Peace – “to take to the streets against violence and injustice, and to carry on Dr. King’s vision of what we could become—a new culture of nonviolence”

Peace movement .. The United National AntiWar Coalition, which unites a broad specturm of American peace organizations, has issued a “Call to Action”:

* Demanding justice and accountability against racist killer cops!*

* For economic justice in response to the economic collapse.


* In defense of migrants rounded up and deported!

* In solidarity with LGBTQ+ and disabled people

* Against endless wars, sanctions and occupations

Peace on the ballot .. New Haveners will vote on a referendum, proposed by the city’s peace commission and unanimously endorsed by the city’s Board of Alders on the following question: “Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

Progressive political agenda .: Addressing the Democratic National Convention, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a mass people’s movement working to establish

* 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher * education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States;

* a movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia, and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration

* and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past;

* a movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many.”

Hopefully, in future editions of the bulletin, we will be able to report that these progressive mobilizations in the United States are able to provide a “soft landing” for the crash of the American empire.

HUMAN RIGHTS




Plan for Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, September 19-27, 2020

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



USA: Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks to the 2020 Democratic National Convention

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



First Person: Turning ‘apathetic people into climate activists’; a young person’s view

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Colombia: Details of the Non-Violence Secretariat to be created by the Mayor’s Office of Medellín

          

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



For colleges in the United States: First Year Connect

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



International Alert Programme on Women, Peace and Security in Nigeria

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY


Palestine: 15 lessons from 15 years of BDS

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



US: The United National AntiWar Coalition – Call to Action

US: The United National AntiWar Coalition – Call to Action

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

Announcement of webinar from The United National AntiWar Coalition

The past months of the Black Lives Matter Movement have confirmed once again the only way to challenge this racist, militarized system is with the explosive power of people making demands and shutting it down.

Regardless of what happens in November our only way forward is to stay mobilized! The people must lead from below through organized, strategic protest.


• Demanding justice and accountability against racist killer cops!

• For economic justice in response to the economic collapse.

– For a public health response to the pandemic with Medicare for all.

• In defense of migrants rounded up and deported!

• In solidarity with LGBTQ+ and disabled people

• Against endless wars, sanctions and occupations

We face the greatest capitalist crash in US history and an out of control COVID-19 pandemic. At every level of government from the president to Congress down to mayors and local officials, the response to the pandemic and economic collapse shows a failed state.

The people must remain mobilized through the election and beyond. We will not win the change we need at the ballot box. The two candidates of the parties of the billionaires ignore the super-majority of people in the US who support improved Medicare for all, a robust Green New Deal, an end to inequality and taxation of the wealthy, an end to the never-ending wars and US imperialism. Neither party is responding to the call to stop racist militarized policing, invest in alternatives to policing while cutting police budget and democratic community control of the police. No matter who is elected the people must be mobilized in 2021 to make the country ungovernable until the people’s demands are met.

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Question for this article:

The peace movement in the United States, What are its strengths and weaknesses?

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We defend:

• Resistance and uprisings against racism and police violence

• Education workers opposing dangerous school reopening

• Organizing for rent strikes and against evictions

• Black Lives Matter Movement everywhere

• Social movements seeking peace and justice

• Solidarity with all those resisting US imperialist violence

Click here to register: bit.ly/DNCRNCWebinar

An Online RALLY supported by: March on DNC and RNC, UNAC – United National Antiwar Coalition, ILPS – International League of Peoples Struggles, BAYAN – Philippine Coalition, NAARPR – National Alliance Against Racism & Political Repression, BAP – Black Alliance for Peace, IAC – International Action Center, VFP – Veterans For Peace, Cuba Si, IFCO, FIRE – Fight for Im/migrants & Refugees Everywhere, AFGJ – Alliance for Global Justice, Code Pink, Popular Resistance, SanctionsKill Campaign, US Peace Council, WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom -US chapter, Peoples Power Assemblies NYC, December 12 Movement, Call to Action on Puerto, Colectivo de Mujeres Mexicanas NY, Jornada: Se Acabaron Las Promesas, USPCN – U.S. Palestinian Community Network, POWIR – People’s Opposition to War Imperialism, and Racism, Southern Workers Assembly, SDS- Students for a Democratic Society, The People’s Forum, other groups to be added.

Enddorse the call: bit.ly/KeepItInTheStreets

Support UNAC

Please make a much needed contribution at: hppts://UNACpreace.org/donate.html

Join our Facebook group at: https://facebook.com/groups/unac1

Subscribe to the UNAC Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6zb1Rg8CiAO9Ff8kLlXXiQ

USA: Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks to the 2020 Democratic National Convention

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A video from Youtube

USA: Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks to the 2020 Democratic National Convention

Click on image to see video.

Good evening, ​bienvenidos​, and thank you to everyone here today endeavoring towards a better, more just future for our country and our world.

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

In fidelity and gratitude to a mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States; a movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia, and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past; a movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many, and who organized an historic, grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy.

In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America.

Plan for Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, September 19-27, 2020

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

From the website of Campaign Nonviolence

Every year, Campaign Nonviolence organizes a national week of action across the United States and around the world, built around the third week of September, near Sept. 21st, International Peace Day. For the last six years, we have organized an unprecedented national grassroots movements with actions in every state where people connect the dots between the issues of injustice and violence, including war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction, and hold public events, actions and marches demanding immediate positive social change.

In September, 2019, the Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Action held over 3,300 actions, events and marches across the USA and in 20 countries. This was an historic unprecedented new form of organizing in the US, and we invite you to help us build up this national week of action.

The only way positive social change has happened in the US is from bottom up, people power, grassroots movements of nonviolence, so we invite everyone to join this Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Action Sept. 19-27, 2020, as an organizing tool, to help get the movement moving, to invite people of all walks of life to take to the streets against violence and injustice, and to carry on Dr. King’s vision of what we could become—a new culture of nonviolence. Join the growing Campaign Nonviolence national week of action movement by signing up for an action, or join with others planning an event.

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Questions related to this article:

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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SEE THE FULL LIST OF PLANNED ACTIONS THIS SEPTEMBER

To support these powerful forms of action, Campaign Nonviolence invites people everywhere to:

* Take the Campaign Nonviolence Pledge


* Host or attend a Nonviolence Training in preparation for your action


* Start a Nonviolence Study Group and use our newest nonviolence study guide, Engaging Nonviolence!


* Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter


* Find tools and resources for Action Week. Get the CNV action toolkit, flyers, graphics, action ideas and more! See below.


* Read the 10 Tips for Great Actions and read about some great actions ideas.


* Join action organizers around the country as we come together for the next Campaign Nonviolence National Conference ONLINE to mark the 75th anniversary or Hiroshima and Nagasaki featuring Richard Rohr, Erica Chennoweth and more!


USA: Will COVID-19 Spur a Wave of Unionization?

…. HUMAN RIGHTS ….

An article by Steven Greenhouse from Dissent Magazine

Workers have been infuriated by the callous treatment they’ve received in their workplaces. Many of them recognized that the most surefire way to get their employers to provide the protection they needed was through collective action.


Protestors outside a Staten Island Amazon warehouse fulfillment center on May 1, 2020 (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

This essay is part of a special section  on the pandemic in the Summer 2020 issue.

In mid-March, someone asked me whether COVID-19 would spur a wave of unionization. My first reaction was no. How could workers possibly unionize when there was all this social distancing and people couldn’t even meet in groups? Moreover, I thought workers would be so cowed by the horrors of the pandemic that they wouldn’t give much thought to unionizing.

That response was short-sighted. I didn’t realize how furious many workers would become about the uncaring, even callous way their companies have treated them during this crisis—about the many employers that didn’t lift a finger to provide masks or hand sanitizer. Many of these irate workers recognized that the most surefire way to get their employers to provide the protection they needed was through collective action.

We’ve seen that kind of action from workers at Amazon, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Instacart, Perdue Farms, Whole Foods, and smaller grocery stores like MOM’s Organic Market in Philadelphia. Many workers have incorporated social distancing into their battles—standing six feet apart as they picketed their workplace, or using cars to block the drive-thru at their McDonald’s.

Many of these workers would no doubt vote to join a union tomorrow if they could (even though Trump’s anti-union National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] temporarily suspended all unionization elections in late March). But it remains very unclear whether all the coronavirus-inspired anger and activism will result in increased union membership. The overriding reason why it might not is an old one: when there are unionization elections in the United States, the playing field is tilted sharply in favor of corporations and against workers seeking to organize.

Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University found in a study that companies often use intimidation tactics to thwart organizing drives. In her analysis, which looked at NLRB-supervised unionization elections between 1999 and 2003, 57 percent of companies threatened to close operations if workers voted to unionize, while 47 percent said they would cut wages or benefits. Bronfenbrenner also found that 34 percent illegally fired union supporters, 28 percent illegally attempted to infiltrate the union organizing committee, and 22 percent illegally used “bribes and special favors” to encourage workers to vote against the union. Another study of elections in 2016 and 2017 found that companies terminated nearly one in five rank-and-file workers who spearheaded unionization campaigns.

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Question(s) related to this article:

The right to form and join trade unions, Is it being respected?

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The federal judiciary’s conservative tilt makes unionization harder still. Not only do employers often require workers to hear anti-union consultants and watch anti-union videos, but they also have the right to prohibit union organizers from setting foot on company property, thanks to a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that exalted private property rights far above workers’ rights and concerns. Under that ruling, employers can even bar organizers from putting flyers on windshields in the employee parking lot.

During the pandemic, many employers remain as aggressive as ever in fighting unions. Amazon seems to have gone out of its way to signal that it won’t tolerate organizing efforts. The company fired Christian Smalls, who spearheaded a walkout by employees at its Staten Island warehouse who felt Amazon was doing far too little to protect them from the virus. Amazon also fired Bashir Mohamed, the lead worker-activist at a Minnesota warehouse, as well as two tech workers in Seattle who were outspoken climate campaigners and had criticized safety conditions at the warehouses. Whole Foods, an Amazon subsidiary, has created a heat map that uses twenty-five metrics, including diversity levels and number of complaints about safety, to keep tabs on which of its stores are most at risk of union activity.

On March 31, the CEO of Trader Joe’s sent an anti-union letter to all employees, while a Trader Joe’s worker in Louisville said the company fired him for airing safety concerns about COVID-19 on his Facebook page. All that came after Google fired four worker leaders who were promoting collective action and after the tech darling, Kickstarter, suddenly dismissed several members of its union organizing committee. (Kickstarter said they were not terminated for backing a union.)

The outlook for unionizing isn’t all glum. The burst of coronavirus-related walkouts and sickouts comes after the biggest wave of strikes since the 1980s: the 2018–19 #RedforEd strikes, as well as major work stoppages at General Motors, Marriott, and Stop & Shop. The public approval rating for unions has climbed to nearly its highest level in fifty years. There has also been a surge of unionization among adjunct professors, grad students, digital and print journalists, museum workers, nurses, cannabis store workers, and nonprofit employees.

Another welcome development for labor is that this year’s crop of Democratic presidential candidates put forward the most ambitious plans to rebuild unions in decades, perhaps ending a long period in which the party took labor for granted. One Democratic candidate after another seemed to realize (or acted as if they just realized) that if wage stagnation is going to end, if income inequality is going to be reduced, if the Democrats are to win back Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, then it will be vital to strengthen the labor movement. It’s hard to know whether the presumptive nominee Joe Biden means what he says about fighting hard to rebuild unions; one sure thing is that workers would benefit from a Democratic majority on the NLRB, which comes with control of the White House.

In a video of a walkout at an Amazon warehouse in Chicago, one courageous worker said, “This is not about Amazonians being lazy. We want to work. We want to work in a clean facility. We want to work where it’s going to be safe and our kids are going to be safe and our families are going to be safe. How can we be essential workers when our lives are not essential?”

She expressed an essential point: in a society where corporations are relentlessly focused on maximizing profits and productivity, collective action is by far the most effective way for workers to get employers to address their pressing needs. Most corporate executives couldn’t care less whether their employees have a voice at work. It’s up to the nation’s workers to make their employers hear their voice—loud and clear. There is no more pressing time to do this than during a horrid pandemic, when many workers have died because their companies failed to take adequate safety precautions.

Steven Greenhouse was a New York Times reporter for thirty-one years, spending his last nineteen years there as its labor and workplace reporter. He is the author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, which was published last year by Knopf and will be released in paperback in July.

For colleges in the United States: First Year Connect

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An announcement from Search for Common Ground

American society is plagued by far-reaching polarization stemming from deep grievances and divides. College campuses have become a battleground, with racial hate incidents, controversy over guest speakers, and heated debates over creating safe spaces or protecting free speech.

First Year Connect aims to combat polarization on college campuses and in American society by equipping a generation of young Americans to engage constructively across their differences. We intend for First Year Connect to be the primary orientation program used by colleges to develop healthy campus communities, reaching tens of thousands of students per year on a fee-for-service basis.

THE PROGRAM

First Year Connect is an orientation program for first-year students that will facilitate intra-campus dialogue and build trust, respect, and constructive coexistence across differences.

Students will meet in small groups (8-12 members) through an online video-conferencing platform before arriving on campus. Each group will be composed of students spanning political, racial, and other lines of diversity within the student body, and will be guided by a highly-trained facilitator.

A wide range of topics will be discussed, such as politics, religion, and personal values, and students will be given the chance to feel heard, welcomed, and embraced before they arrive on campus.

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Question related to this article:
 
What is the relation between peace and education?>

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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First Year Connect builds on over 20 years of experience facilitating online, cross-cultural dialogue experiences for young people from varied backgrounds in universities, language centers, and youth organizations across the globe.

OUR GOALS

First Year Connect will empower students to set the cultural and social norms on campus during times of tension. The program will enable students to drive constructive dialogues on campus themselves rather than relying on top-down direction from administrators.

Even before starting classes, the student body will develop norms of constructive discourse, helping all students to feel heard and respected.

First Year Connect aims to protect both safe spaces and free speech. Students will be able to express themselves openly while creating a productive, genuine, and respectful dialogue with others.

A greater sense of community across campus will be developed and maintained as a result of the mutual trust and respect cultivated by First Year Connect. Students will become trained facilitators themselves, which will help hold the community together during times of heightened tension.

PATHWAY TO SUSTAINABLE SCALE

First Year Connect has partnered with a state university and a small liberal arts college for its 2-year pilot program. These pilot institutions have agreed to cover a portion of the program costs for the first two years, and then will cover the full costs starting in year 3 if the program meets agreed-upon metrics. If successful, First Year Connect can achieve scale by tapping into new markets through a fee-for-service model rather than relying on philanthropy.

In order to scale, a public relations campaign will target higher education leaders to popularize First Year Connect as the preferred program for orienting diverse student bodies into healthy campus communities.

Search for Common Ground has partnered with Soliya and Tiger 21 to implement First Year Connect.

US: WNBA players wearing T-shirts opposing Dream owner

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from ESPN

WNBA players are wearing “Vote Warnock” T-shirts to games this week to support Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is challenging Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) for her U.S. Senate seat.

Last month, Loeffler wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the league’s promotion of Black Lives Matter — which is painted on the courts at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where the league is holding its restart — and advocating instead for teams to add American flags to jerseys.


Photo from Twitter – Sue Bird

Elizabeth Williams, a forward on the Atlanta Dream, told ESPN that the league’s executive committee began exploring the shirt idea as a response to Loeffler’s statements, because “for effective change to happen, there has to be policy changes. And so if we’re going to sit here and talk about wanting justice reform, part of that is making sure that we have officials in office that understand that.”

Williams said the Dream and other players have made a coordinated effort not to discuss Loeffler or her statements in recent weeks, and instead focused on how they could best support a candidate they felt better represented their political views.

“I think when all this stuff started happening with her, we didn’t want to feel like we were pawns,” Williams said. “We can only control so much about what the league does [in regard to Loeffler], and so for us, we wanted it to be bigger than that.

“That’s kind of been the theme of this season. So we wanted to make sure we could still keep the focus on our social justice movement, and funny enough, Rev. Warnock is somebody who supports everything that we support and just happens to be running in that seat. So it just worked out really well.”

Williams said Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird initially came up with the idea.

Bird told ESPN that participation in the campaign to support Warnock is voluntary and that all players have discussed the idea over Zoom calls while at IMG Academy, where the WNBA season resumed in late July.

“This was a situation where given what was said in regards to the owner of Atlanta and how, basically, she came out against a lot of what the women in our league stand for, I think was emotionally tough for a lot of the women in our league to hear that,” Bird said. “But very quickly we started to realize that this was only happening for her political gain. This was something that she wanted. And the more noise we made, whether it was a tweet saying to get her out, that was just playing into her hands.

“I’m not some political strategist, but what I do know is that voting is important. And I think our league has always encouraged people to use their voices and to get out and vote.

“So, what a great way for us to get the word out about this man, and hopefully put him in the Senate. And, if he’s in the Senate, you know who’s not. And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Last month, Loeffler told ESPN that she feared the WNBA’s public support for the Black Lives Matter movement could drive some fans away.

“I think a lot of people feel that they may not have a place,” Loeffler said. “They may feel excluded from this sport and other sports that make them feel like American values aren’t at the core of what we’re doing here.”

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Question for this article:

How can sports promote peace?

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She also contended that there is a difference between saying “Black lives matter” and the organization Black Lives Matter.

“I think we all agree the life of every African American is important,” Loeffler said. “There’s no room for racism in this country, and we have to root it out where it exists. But there’s a political organization called Black Lives Matter that I think is very important to make the distinction between their aim and where we are as a country at this moment.

“The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and anti-Semitism. To me, this is not what our league stands for.”

Warnock released a statement through his campaign Tuesday saying he was “honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the WNBA players. This movement gives us the opportunity to fight for what we believe in, and I stand by all athletes promoting social justice on and off the court.

“Senator Loeffler and those like her who seek to silence and dismiss others when they speak up for justice have planted themselves on the wrong side of history. We are in a moment of generational, transformative change, and there is no place in that movement for bigotry. We celebrate the courage and resolve of these players standing for justice, and I am proud to stand with them.”

Later Tuesday, Loeffler followed up with a statement of her own, saying, “This is just more proof that the out-of-control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them. It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball, and I stand by what I wrote in June.”

Following the Dream’s 81-74 loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night, the players’ decision was a primary talking point.

“We definitely decided to wear it because he’s for Black Lives Matter,” guard Chennedy Carter said. “He supports the league and the movement, and we support him. We’re voting for Warnock.”

Forward Betnijah Laney concurred.

“He’s just somebody that also supports the Black Lives Matter — the movements that the WNBA is standing behind this year,” she said. “So, this is somebody that we’re supporting, as well.”

Also on Tuesday, the Seattle Storm defeated the Connecticut Sun 87-74. After the game, several members of the Storm spoke about the process.

“What we’re trying to do is first educate ourselves, and then educate everyone else. Initially, this kind of came from Sue — vote for Warnock. We had an opportunity to be on two separate Zooms with him and see what he stands for and what he’s fighting for,” forward Breanna Stewart said. “I think he’s someone who’s fighting to create change and fighting to be on the right side of things. Obviously, I’m not voting for Georgia, but continuing to use my platform to help with that — but I did vote today, just want to let you know.”

Guard Sami Whitcomb concurred, saying the players “are very concerned with leadership in this country and people that we want to be representing us and the morals that they represent. I think [Loeffler has] proven that she doesn’t represent us, she doesn’t represent our voices — not in this league, not in the community. Rev. Warnock does, so we’re putting our support behind him because of the person that he is and the type of legislation that he stands for. You can call it politics. We call it supporting the human race and morals.”

Seattle guard Jordin Canada added that this “is bigger than basketball. We’re more than athletes. To have someone in our league that doesn’t represent or support African Americans, who are 80% of our league, is disheartening, honestly, and sickening.”

Former Dream player Layshia Clarendon, who has written and spoken out about Loeffler’s comments, was also heavily involved in the planning of the WNBA players’ campaign.

“It’s important for us to support voting and the overall campaign to flip the Senate,” said Clarendon, who now plays for the New York Liberty. “We want people in office who support the same values and morals as we do. Rev. Warnock is pro criminal justice reform, for LGBT+ rights, and pro choice/reproductive rights. Those are the kind of people we want representing us, because that’s what our league stands for.”

USA: New Haven Alders Put Peace On The Ballot

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Thomas Breen in the New Haven Independent

Peace will be on the ballot this November — in the form of a nonbinding referendum asking New Haveners how they’d like Congress to spend the majority of the federal budget.

On the military, as is currently the case? Or on jobs, education, environmental sustainability, and other human services instead?


Monday night’s virtual aldermanic hearing.

During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting of the full Board of Alders, local legislators voted unanimously in support of adding that question about federal spending priorities to the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The non-binding advisory referendum, proposed by the city’s Peace Commission, will ask New Haveners the following question: “Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

Hill Alder Ron Hurt urged his colleagues to vote in favor of the resolution that included the ballot update. He said the purpose of the resolution and nonbinding referendum is to give New Haven voters an opportunity to weigh in on whether or not they would like to see Congress and the President “end foreign wars, scrap all nuclear weapons, rebuild infrastructure, and develop a new economy based on renewable energy.”

According to a June committee hearing on the item, 53 percent of the current federal budget is devoted to military spending. Many who testified during that two-and-a-half-hour hearing spoke of the perversity of this country spending so much on weapons and vehicles of destruction when that money could instead be going to bolster the nation’s public health infrastructure, which has so struggled to keep up with the pandemic. The Department of Defense’s budget, meanwhile, has proven seemingly impossible to audit because of bookkeeping errors, deficiencies, and irregularities.

In a press release put out after the vote, Downtown/Yale Alder Eli Sabin, who is the aldermanic representative on the Peace Commission, applauded the move. He quoted Peace Commission Chair Joelle Fishman as saying, “this ballot referendum will allow New Haven voters to express their hopes and dreams, and perhaps inspire other cities to do the same, building the momentum needed to create the political will for every person to be treated with dignity and respect, for every person to have health care, housing, a living wage job, food security, in a peaceful and sustainable world.”

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Questions for this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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Westville Alder and Health and Human Services Committee Chair Darryl Brackeen, Jr. is also quoted in that release as saying that supporting the peace resolution “is the right thing to do and now it’s time to hear from the people.”

Peace Resolution

Below is the resolution adopted by the Board of Alders Monday night. The title of the resolution is: From the Peace Commission, a Resolution calling on Congress and the President to prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities and states for human needs, jobs, and an environmentally sustainable economy and placing a non-binding advisory referendum to that effect on the November 3, 2020 New Haven municipal ballot.”

Whereas, the severity of the U.S. economic crisis, compounded by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, has caused severe budget shortfalls at all levels of government, necessitating a re-examination of national spending priorities; and

Whereas, every dollar spent on the military produces fewer jobs than spending the same dollar on education, healthcare, clean energy and other beneficial programs; and

Whereas, U.S. military spending has ballooned to more than half of federal discretionary spending – more than during the Cold War, the Vietnam conflict, or the Korean War; and

Whereas, the United States trails many other nations in life expectancy, infant mortality, education, housing, and environmental sustainability;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Alders of the City of New Haven, Connecticut calls on the U.S. Congress and the U.S. President to end foreign ground and air wars; refrain from new military ventures; work toward an end to all nuclear weapons; reduce military spending in order to meet human needs; promote job creation; re-train and re-employ those losing jobs in the process of conversion to non-military industries; rebuild infrastructure; assist municipal and state governments; and develop a new economy based on renewable energy.

Be it further resolved that the most honorable City Clerk of New Haven is hereby directed to accomplish any and all actions necessary to place the following non-binding advisory referendum on the November 3, 2020 municipal ballot:

“Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”.