Arizona’s Havasupai Tribe and a coalition of conservation groups are praising Judge David Campbell’s decision today to uphold the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across one million acres of public lands adjacent to Grand Canyon. The court ruled that the decision complied with federal environmental laws and that it was not too large, as plaintiffs had argued. At stake is protecting the aquifers and streams that feed the Colorado River and Grand Canyon from toxic uranium mining waste and depletion. “The court’s ruling affirms conclusions by five federal agencies, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey,” said Grand Canyon Trust’s Roger Clark.
They think not only that they are right but that they are the good guys. America’s one small contribution to philosophy is Pragmatism. The slogan is: “If it works it’s right.” The atom bomb worked. But was it right? The obsession with profits is what pragmatism comes down to in daily life. It is a narrowing of human valuation and judgment. Actually it’s a kind of colonization of human subjectivity because we are taught only to use money as the tool of evaluation. It’s so deep it’s invisible. And it corrodes our humanity. I have a different view because when I do poetry workshops I see people who are trying to use language as a means of reclaiming their subjectivity. They know what they’re supposed to feel and think. They suspect that isn’t what they really feel and think. It comes in a lot of degrees of extension on out to America and the world.
The question of how best to escalate the struggle for a just and sustainable planet is not just for those looking back on Flood Wall Street and the People’s Climate March, but one that confronts all of us moving forward. It is a task that, after this watershed moment, participants have carried back to the boroughs, cities and towns from which they came. Climate change presents the human race with the possibility of extinction, of reaching a bitter end, but from what I witnessed on the streets of New York, we are on the verge of a new beginning. The only future we will have will be the one that we have demanded.
On Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes made a landmark decision to authorize continued water shutoffs for unpaid water bills, leaving thousands of Detroiters without access to water. At the same time, and less reported on, some 20,000 Detroit residents stand to lose another basic human right — their housing — as the Wayne County Treasurer prepares to carry out mass tax foreclosures across the city. If Detroiters facing foreclosure knew they could buy their home for as little as $500, they’d jump at the chance. But local government does the bare minimum to inform those people who could benefit most. Foreclosure notices don’t even mention the auction, let alone the auction website.
A crowd-control tactic designed to enforce curfew during the most volatile nights of the Ferguson protests was applied in the most calm of daytime situations by mistake, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar testified in federal court Monday. He was one of several witnesses called during a day-long hearing, in which the ACLU asked a judge to put an end to a “keep moving” rule that police began enforcing on Aug. 18 along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson. Some activists are calling it the “five-second rule” — referring to how police would give them five seconds to move or face arrest. Among those who took the stand Monday were a legal observer who said he was threatened with jail after stopping to take information from a handcuffed protester, and an ACLU worker who said he was told he would be arrested after pausing to pray.
Just hours after the Constitutional Court accepted the government’s appeal of the Catalan referendum on self-rule, the northeastern Spanish region registered its first protests. Around 300 people congregated in front of the government delegation in Barcelona to express support for the plebiscite, which is scheduled for November 9, and to condemn Madrid’s attempt to get it ruled illegal by a top Spanish court. This early protest was the beginning of a series of region-wide demonstrations planned for Tuesday by a pro-independence group called National Catalan Assembly (ANC).
We call on our friends and allies in every community across this so called nation for an EMERGENCY DAY OF ACTION. On Wednesday, we all act. So occupy an office, set up a meeting, march on Imperial Metals headquarters in Vancouver 580 Hornby Street. Show up at your legislature, at your parliament if you’re East. Make it known you are standing with us. Make it known we are standing. It’s colder up here and it’s raining, the wall tents are up and the bus is heating. The Elders are joyful and the children are happy. We are standing up, standing strong, we are stopping the destroying.
Today, the Sierra Club and Ratepayer and Community Intervenors, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court in Albany challenging a Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling that would slap $150 million in subsidies on New Yorkers’ electricity bills to repower the uneconomical Dunkirk coal plant. The expensive bailout would result in a plant three times larger than necessary to maintain reliable operation of the region’s power grid. The plant would be allowed to burn both coal and gas, increasing unhealthy air pollution in the region and contributing to dangerous climate disruption.
“Our message is blunt: migrants are dying who need not,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, “It is time to do more than count the number of victims. It is time to engage the world to stop this violence against desperate migrants.” The research behind “Fatal Journeys,” which runs to over 200 pages, began with the October 2013 tragedy when over 400 migrants died in two shipwrecks near the Italian island of Lampedusa. The report, compiled under IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, indicates Europe is the world’s most dangerous destination for “irregular” migration, costing the lives of over 3,000 migrants this year.
At 7 pm on October 7 veterans and their allies will gather again at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to lament 13 years of war in Afghanistan and to grieve for and remember a very special human being, one of the finest examples of resistance to war and the inhumanity that spawns war, Jacob George. We will play Jacob’s music, and members of Guitarmy, who marched with Jacob, will play some of his songs. We will remember and be motivated by this much beloved comrade’s life. We will also be there to affirm, once again, our right to assemble peacefully at this memorial at any hour. Chris Hedges and a few others will speak.
One way of looking at this conflict from the perspective of European-American police officers and vigilante-type individuals who kill African-American youth is as a very highly racialized and macho game of lines drawn in the sand. Here the lines in the sand are drawn in blood and the game is over when they get to shoot to kill with impunity. Indeed it is useful to think in terms of there actually being three lines: The will to kill line – based on highly racialized and genderized emotions of anger and hatred; the right to kill line – what that person can reasonably expect to get away with based on existing norms, laws, policies and practices, and their enforcement, and the need to kill line – rooted in a threat to that person’s life or the lives of others.
Benjamin says that the activists launch their actions knowing full well they face arrest – and that knowledge frees her psychologically, for example, to berate the president of the United States for authorising drone strikes in Yemen before an international television audience. “We don’t like getting arrested – it takes time and it’s expensive and takes lawyers,” she said. “But we’ve been arrested dozens of times.” Benjamin has also been denied entry into Canada and Egypt, where she says an Egyptian policeman fractured her shoulder attempting to force her onto a plane out of the country. But in Washington, the Capitol complex and committee hearings are by law and democratic tradition open to the public unless secret intelligence matters are being discussed.
In response to inadequate federal proposals for regulating transport of volatile crude oil by rail, the Center for Biological Diversity (“Center”), Adirondack Mountain Club (“ADK”) and Friends of the Columbia Gorge (“Friends”) filed comments today calling for an immediate ban on puncture-prone tank cars involved in several explosive accidents. “Allowing these dangerously deficient tank cars to remain in service is playing Russian roulette with public safety,” said Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center who focuses on the impacts of energy development on endangered species. “These tank cars put our health and the environment at risk, so allowing their continued use is unacceptable.”
A passionate coalition of teachers and students in Jefferson County, Colorado are continuing their fight against censorship this week, employing some of the very tactics the conservative school board wants to eliminate from history textbooks. Seventy-two of 102 teachers at Golden and Jefferson high schools called in absent on Monday, forcing both schools to close for the day; teacher “sick-outs” also closed two high schools on September 19. Meanwhile, several dozen students from Carmody Middle School walked out of classes on Tuesday morning, marking the first time younger students have joined an ongoing protest by teachers and high schoolers against proposed changes to the district’s history curriculum.
Could a movement of part-time and temporary laborers, who are frequently mothers, caretakers, and homemakers, be a part of the revival of a movement demanding living wages for housework? What if interns and freelancers supported the growing movement in the US prison system by establishing connections with those struggling behind the walls? We often speak of all our oppressions as connected; taking the first steps towards creating and strengthening these bonds can lay the social groundwork that will support a popular or revolutionary mass movement. As this work is done, we should also look to the organizing that is happening as we speak.