An unprecedentedly united movement of labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, faith, Internet freedom and other organizations escalated their campaign to defeat Fast Track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today with a joint 2,009-group letter urging Congress to oppose it. As the TPP text leaks revealed that the pact replicates and expands on the most damaging provisions of past U.S. trade pacts, thousands of organizations nationwide have educated their members about the TPP’s threats to American jobs and wages, food safety, affordable medicines, the environment, financial stability and more.
For most of history, farmers have had control over their seeds: saving, sharing, and replanting them with freedom. Developments in the course of the 20th century, however, have greatly eroded this autonomy. Legal changes, ranging from the Plant Variety Protection Act (1970) in the United States to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), have systematically eroded farmers’ rights to save seeds for future use. By the end of 2012, Monsanto had sued 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in the United States for patent infringement, winning over $23 million in settlements.
In Baltimore, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray died shortly after being taken into police custody, an investigation may uncover homicidal misconduct by law enforcement, as happened in the North Charleston, South Carolina, killing of Walter Scott. Or the facts may confound the darkest suspicions of protestors, as when the Department of Justice released its report on the killing of Michael Brown. What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses.
Washington, DC – As the uprising in response to the brutal killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore continues, it brings to the forefront the need for substantive action to address widespread systemic oppression of low-income communities of color by law enforcement across the United States. The DCFerguson Movement calls on the D.C. Council to dedicate the $2.9 million in new funding for police in the FY 2016 budget to community-led security initiatives. Currently, the Bowser Administration is proposing that $2.9 million be dedicated to put 48 new police officers on the streets. This proposal comes in addition to the egregious allocation of $5.1 million for body cameras on police officers, to collect footage that Bowser wants to make exempt from open records law.
The New York City Council may not get an actual vote on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership—but today members and other activists rallied for the passage of a resolution urging Congress to shoot down what they deemed a job-killing deal that would wreck the environment. “Let’s be honest: TPP is bad for people. TPP is bad for the environment. TPP Is bad for democracy. Let’s be honest, it’s kind of the most dastardly and evil thing you can imagine,” Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind the anti-fracking documentary Gasland, said at a rally on the City Hall steps this afternoon.
A CAMPAIGN group have set up camp at the Blitzed Charles Church in protest of government spending on nuclear submarines. But despite using the bombed out shell for symbolic reasons, the peaceful group have been met with fierce opposition. Edmund Shillabeer, a city vet and Conservative councillor candidate, said the church is a “sacred” place and a “memorial to those who died during the Blitz”. “Having lived through the Blitz I think it is completely disrespectful,” he said. “No one should be in there.” The Trident Ploughshares group hope their protest will highlight the amount of tax payers’ money spent on the Trident submarine.
A group of anonymous Black Lives Matter protesters temporarily took over the Union Square Forever 21 on Sunday, replacing mannequins’ threads with Black Lives Matter sweatshirts and placing a Black Lives Matter banner across a window. The anonymous collective, who goes by the Never 21 Project, wasn’t protesting Forever 21. Rather, they pulled the stunt to raise awareness for black children who have been the victims of police brutality and violence, like Michael Brown (18), Trayvon Martin (17) and Tamir Rice (12). “They were up for about 20-30 minutes,” a member of Never 21 told ANIMAL via email. “It was so busy in the store that the employees didn’t really notice us. I think what gave it away is the fact that passerby actually thought that Forever 21 was selling these shirts.”
President Lyndon Johnson formed an 11-member National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in July 1967 to explain the riots that plagued cities each summer since 1964 and to provide recommendations for the future. The Commission’s 1968 report, informally known as the Kerner Report, concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Unless conditions were remedied, the Commission warned, the country faced a “system of ’apartheid’” in its major cities. The Kerner report delivered an indictment of “white society” for isolating and neglecting African Americans and urged legislation to promote racial integration and to enrich slums—primarily through the creation of jobs, job training programs, and decent housing.
Earlier today people from across the Northeast converged and took over Spectra Energy’s office in Waltham, MA. A “Final Notice” was delivered to Spectra, letting them know that they have 40 days to cancel their northeast fracked-gas pipeline expansion project or face escalated resistance. Permits do not equal permission, and Spectra will be guilty of crimes against humanity if they move forward with this fracked-gas project that will hurt local communities and attribute to the climate chaos that is killing thousands of people each year. We are giving Spectra Energy and their executives one last chance to do the right thing. But if they don’t, we are prepared to stop this project ourselves. Join the resistance movement, pledge to take action: http://www.fangtogether.org/pledge More footage and pictures from “the takeover” coming soon.
Drone technology is getting ever more deadly. The US Navy has released a video detailing LOCUST – the new tool allowing multiple drones to coordinate and swarm the enemy autonomously. It’s designed to protect large US vessels nearby. The concept was detailed by the Navy last year, which only this month allowed the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to demonstrate what LOCUST – or the Low-Cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Swarming Technology program – can do. They’re touting the tool as a new era in autonomous warfare. LOCUST is essentially a system that can launch swarming UAVs to overwhelm the enemy and provide the marines and sailors operating them with a massive tactical advantage, ONR explains in the press release.
Members of Arizona’s San Carlos Apache Tribe are not giving in to a giant conglomerate that wants to take its ancestral land so it can be mined. This past weekend, the tribe held the Save Oak Flat Street Fair in Tucson, Ariz. — named for its ancestral and sacred land — to bring more attention to the project it believes will forever contaminate and harm the pristine and hallowed environment of the Tonto National Forest, about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix. “It was [Sen. John] McCain’s home turf there,” Tribal Elder Sandra Rambler said in a phone interview with TheBlot Magazine. “He was really blasted. It’s bringing more awareness. We’re not going away.” The campaign is called “Apache Stronghold” and provided information in pamphlets, posters, newsletters and other formats to residents. Members of San Carlos Apache and other tribes from Arizona and other states joined in the street fair event.
The health insurance industry took advantage of Washington’s infamous revolving door last week when it named former Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, perceived by many to be a liberal Democrat, as the face of its latest K Street-operated front group. Schwartz, a former five-term member of Congress who made an unsuccessful bid for Pennsylvania governor last year, announced in an email blast Tuesday that she had found work again, not back home but back inside the Beltway. “Today I will begin as President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance,” she told her “friends and supporters.” The Better Medicare Alliance is a so-called 501(c)(3) nonprofit that appears to have been created with funding from insurance companies by APCO Worldwide, a Washington influence firm with a long history of running front groups for its clients.
Armed with twigs and placards, enraged residents from a semi-pastoral community 360 km north of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, protested this week against wanton destruction of indigenous forest – their alternative source of livelihood. With climate change a new ordeal that has caused frequent droughts, leading to suffering and death in this part of Africa, the community from Lpartuk Ranch in Samburu County relies on livestock which is sometimes wiped out by severe drought leaving them with no other option other than the harvesting of wild products and honey. “People here are ready to take up spears and machetes to guard the forest. They have been provoked by outsiders who are out to wipe out our indigenous forest to the last bit,” Mark Loloolki, Lpartuk Ranch chairman, who led the protesting community members told IPS.
Though we don’t have big numbers now, it is more important than ever that we speak the truth about what is happening in the wars in Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, in the drone warfare program, and in looking at ways in which the climate crisis is exacerbated by the military. There are so many ways in which the military is destroying our planet through the use of fossil fuels, nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, spraying poisonous chemicals on fields in the “War on Drugs” in South America, and through the several hundred military bases around the world. Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War is still affecting the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”
The Kiev regime wants to forcibly impose on the entire population of Ukraine its system of values which totally rejects the Soviet period in the history of Ukraine. It is based on the traditions of Ukrainian integral nationalism, which is the local Ukrainian variant of fascist ideology. These ideas of integral nationalism inspired such figures as Stepan Bandera. For a significant part of Ukrainian society, such attitudes are unacceptable. That is why opposition appeared. Despite all the repression, people have been fighting against the reactionaries and actively looking for an alternative. But the forces of resistance in Ukraine are split, and some of them are not guided by consistently democratic principles. Some of them receive help from Russian nationalists and therefore think that the alternative to Ukrainian fascism is Russian nationalism. But this is wrong and a dead end road. Therefore, the solidarity of international left forces with the liberation struggle against the Kiev regime will help the people of see they have friends and strengthen the democratic tendencies in the camp of resistance.