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IWW INSOMNIA STRIKERS WIN BACK PAY, COMPANY MUST POST NOTICE, AGREE NOT TO RETALIATE FOR UNION ACTIVITY!
INSOMNIA STRIKERS WIN BACK PAY, COMPANY MUST POST NOTICE, AGREE NOT TO RETALIATE FOR UNION ACTIVITY!
“…Something told me to stand up for what I believe in. To me, this victory was worth every bit of the struggle.” – Jonathan Peña, IWW member and Insomnia Cookies Striker.
Four workers at Insomnia Cookies’ Cambridge store went on strike on August 19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding $15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members, allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On March 3, a company representative signed an agreement promising almost $4,000 in back pay to the four strikers (two of whom had given notice before going on strike; and all of whom had moved on to more rewarding jobs or pursuits). The company also agreed to post a notice in the Cambridge store, promising not to fire or otherwise retaliate against workers for taking collective action, including joining the union and going on strike. The company was also made to revise a confidentiality agreement that improperly restricted workers’ rights to discuss their conditions of employment with one another and third parties (including union organizers and the media). All references to the terminations have been removed from strikers’ personnel files.
“Since the first utterance of the word ‘strike’ that late August night, it has been an uphill battle for all of us,” says striker Chris Helali. “The Industrial Workers of the World answered the call when no other mainstream union was interested in organizing a small cookie store in Harvard Square. We picketed, we chanted, we sang. I thank my fellow workers, the IWW and all of our supporters for their continued work and solidarity through this campaign. I am proud to be a Wobbly (IWW member)!”Jonathan Peña says, “I remember just feeling real conservative that August night, but something told me to stand up for what I believe in. I had nothing to lose but I had much to gain. Being apart of the IWW means something to me. I will never forget the four amigos, Niko, Chris, Luke, and [me]. We actually made a difference. Being a Wobbly can change your life! I just want to really thank everyone for their solidarity and commitment to crumbling down on this burnt Cookie.”
The IWW vows to continue organizing efforts at Insomnia Cookies. Helali says, “ I am extremely pleased with the settlement, however, it does not end here. This is only the beginning. The IWW along with our supporters will continue to struggle until every Insomnia Cookies worker is treated with respect and given their full due for their labor. There is true power in a union; when workers come together and make their demands unified voices and actions.”Tags: insomnia cookiesunionIWWlaborCategory: Projects
What is it we're addicted to? You guessed it: fossil fuels. And from the look of these graphics, even our governments are supporting Big Oil.
These graphics are from the Overseas Development Institute. You can find them at their website or on Facebook. If for some reason you're really into reading long reports on stuff like this, my oh my have I got the report for you! Graphics found on Visual.ly. Thumbnail photo via Thinkstock.
*The following communique was released on March 3rd, in response to a brutal attack on the autonomous, occupied auditorium space at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico(UNAM).The original in the Spanish, along with more information on the space, and pictures of the injuries people suffered in the attack can be seen at...
We're making the following announcement to communicate that in the early morning of today, March 3rd ( a date that happens to coincide with the anniversary of the occupation one the largest structures of the UNAM), a group of hooded attackers protected with bulletproof vests entered the surrounding area of the occupied Auditorio Che Guevara at 4 am by force, and with an extreme disproportional violence brutally beat the comrades who were entering at the time in order to defend the space. The attackers took backpacks and cellphones from the comrades, took photos, and left them unable to walk. Comrades sufferred multiple wounds all over their bodies caused not just but by hands but also by weapons like pipes, pellet guns, shovels, tasers, and sticks, with which our comrades were brutally beaten and assaulted while their hands and feet were bound.
This situation happens in the context in which just months ago the squatted auditorium was repoened by diverse groups and individuals, in order to continue building an autonomy without hierarchy or authority. The self-named Coordinacion de Auditorio Che Guevara, the Comité Cerezo, and the groups that endorse them claimed responsibility for the occupation. Threats and aggressions against comrades involved with the space had already occurred starting two weeks prior.
We make this call to anyone in solidarity or affinity, who are aware of the autonomous and self-managed activity of the space, so that others may learn of this brutal eviction and be on the alert.
Groups, collectives, and individuals for autonomous and self-managed spaces
Hacemos la siguiente denuncia para comunicar que en la madrugada de hoy 03 de Marzo (fecha que casualmente coincide con el aniversario de una de las estructuras porriles mas grandes de la UNAM) un grupo grande de golpeadores encapuchados y protegidos con chalecos antibalas,entraron al rededor de las 4:00 am por la fuerza y con una violencia desproporcionada a las instalaciones del Auditorio Che Guevara , golpeando brutalmente a lxs compañerxs que se encontraban en ese momento haciendo guardia en el espacio, despojandoles de sus pertenencias como mochilas celulares, y tomarles fotos, dejándolos sin poder caminar,con múltiples heridas en todo el cuerpo que fueron provocadas no solo por los golpes si no también por las armas utilizadas por el grupo de golpeadores, además de habiéndolos atado de las manos y los pies, y haciendo uso de armas como soplete, pistolas de diábolos, palos,armas de descarga eléctrica, toletes, con las que fueron brutalmente golpeados y agredidxs nuestrxs compañerxs.
Sabemos que esta situación sucede en en contexto en que hace meses el auditorio fue reabierto por diversos grupos e individualidades, para seguir construyendo la autonomía sin jerarquías ni autoritarismos.
Responsabilizamos a la autonombrada Coordinación de Auditorio Che Guevara ,y al Comite Cerezo y a los grupos que los respaldan, añadiendo que hace dos semanas ya había ocurrido agresiones y amenazas hacia compañeros del espacio.
Hacemos un llamado a las personas solidarias y afines que conocen el trabajo que se realiza autonoma y autogestivamente en el espacio a estar atentos ante esta alerta y brutal desalojo.
Grupos, colectivos e individuos por espacios autónomos y autogestivos.Tags: mexicoUNAMattackCategory: International
Googoosh is an Iranian singer who is beloved for her contributions to Iranian pop. In a country where being gay is illegal, the fact that this pop singer created this video means a lot. Take a look.
You can share this by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons below.
Original by Googoosh and directed by Navid Akhavan. For more about the rights of gays in Iran, look here. And one more thing about Googoosh: I have been in LOVE with a song by her from the '70s for a long time. (Her professional history is fascinating.) But the fact that Navid and Googoosh contacted me to share another beautiful message from her makes me very happy. That's all. :)
Authors Nico Lang and Zach Stafford set out to collect a group of stories revealing the voices, stories, and lives of gay, queer, and trans* men when they compiled (and contributed to) the anthology "Boys." Little did they know the books would be pretty inspiring before the stories even started.
For those who find the text in this image hard to read:
In their acknowledgements, most people thank those who have supported them along the way, the ones who fought for them and who were in their corner. Instead, I would like to thank the people who weren’t, the ones who showed me why I should fight.
To the kids in Middle School that threw my backpack in the garbage, who wouldn’t let me sit with them on the bus and who reminded me again and again that I was the biggest loser in school, thank you for not making it easy for me.
To the friends that laughed at me when you thought I wasn’t listening, thank you for helping me realize I deserved better.
To the teachers that made me feel different and weird, who reminded me that I didn’t fit in, thank you for helping me stand out.
To the boys that dumped me for not being enough, thank you for giving me something to write about.
To everyone who has ever told me I can’t or I couldn’t or I shouldn’t or I won’t ever or I’ll never amount to, thanks for giving me someone to prove wrong. — Nico Lang
The original acknowledgement by Nico Lang appears in "Boys," a Thought Catalog original anthology. Photography by yours truly. Share these stirring words by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons above. Full disclosure: I know both authors of "Boys," but it's such a good, poignant read by a great group of, well ... boys.
OK, so this explains a lot about our prison population. Clearly, stereotypes matter.
Original by Simple Misfits, these dudes who stage pranks and social experiments. Find 'em on Facebook here. For more on the issue highlighted by this video, see these 10 disturbing facts about people of color in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Paul Kingsnorth wrote recently of the floods that have hit the UK, arguing that they represent the beginning of "a gradual, messy, winding-down of everything we once believed we were entitled to". It's 2 years since he announced "I withdraw from the campaigning and the marching. I withdraw from the arguing and the talked-up necessity, and all the false assumptions. I withdraw from the words. I’m leaving, I’m going out walking". What has he been doing since then, and what does "living with climate change" mean to him?
To start with, here's the podcast in case you want to listen to our conversation while shampooing the dog or pruning your gooseberries.
The first book of yours that I ever read was Real England which I really enjoyed and had the subtitle ‘The Battle Against the Bland’. Does the fact that you’re about to move to Ireland mean you think that’s a battle that we’ve lost?
I’m moving to Ireland for a number of reasons, not least because for a long time I have wanted to have a little bit of land that I can work on and live mortgage-free and educate my kids at home, and it’s just not something that I can afford to do in England any more. Interestingly, in Britain these days, if you want to live simply, you’ve mostly got to be rich.
In terms of losing that battle, what we’re looking at all over the western world is this continual advance of the corporate economy and it’s wiping out a huge amount of colour and character all over the place. In terms of what’s happened in England since I wrote that book, it’s a mixed bag actually. If you go back and read Real England now and start to look at a lot of the campaigns that I wrote about, you’ll find that some of those campaigns were actually won by the people who are fighting them, and a lot of the things they were talking about saving have been saved. You’ll also find that others have been lost.
But the general picture, certainly, is that this march of the monoculture is going on. How long it will go on for, in the face of climate change and peak oil and all the other things that we all talk about is a moot point, but certainly we can see what direction we’re moving in at the moment.
The piece you wrote a couple of years ago, the Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist which generated a lot of debate and discussion, you wrote "it’s all fine, I withdraw, I withdraw from the campaigning and the marching. I withdraw from the arguing and the talked-up necessity, and all the false assumptions. I withdraw from the words. I’m leaving, I’m going out walking". Where have you been since then? Can you give us an update on your walking?
That was a piece that I wrote at a point where I felt that environmentalist had hit a wall. I still feel that, actually, and I stand by what I wrote in that essay, What it also is, is a very personal essay. It’s not necessarily a piece of advocacy. I’m not suggesting anyone else should be doing the same thing. But I think the green movement has hit a wall and I think there are certain things that can’t be achieved and that’s not being talked about, which was why I wanted to withdraw from my involvement in it.
A lot of the journey that’s been happening since then has taken me up and down the dark mountain, if you like. It’s taken me to a point where I’m a lot more comfortable with not being in control, and I’m a lot more comfortable with not knowing. And I feel that broadly speaking as a society, as a civilisation, we tend to think we’re in control of what the future’s going to look like, or that we ought to be or that we can be, and I think that applies to a lot of environmentalism as well. We’re just not. We’re living in a country which is currently flooding in many parts of the landscape, and we have absolutely no control over that. We have no control over the direction our climate’s now going in. We can’t even reduce the emissions that we continue to pump up into the atmosphere at an increasing rate.
Yet we labour under this illusion that if we can come up with the right plan we can sort things out, and we can’t. Once you accept that, you walk off into this strange wilderness in which you’re not in control of things. I’m exploring this territory in which we’re faced with an enormous change in the way that we live and an enormous change in all the assumptions that we base our lives on, and we can’t really get a grip on where things are going. It’s an unsure place to be. I think we need to have a lot more honesty about exploring those unsure places that we’re finding ourselves in. We’re moving into this age of really radical change and collapse and we’ve no idea where we’re going to be going or how we can keep a grip on the way that we live.
Over the years, I know with the Dark Mountain camps and some of the writing, there’s been overlaps and links between the Dark Mountain movement and Transition or people involved in Transition. How have you observed or thought about the relationship there? What’s in common and what’s distinct between them, do you think?
I’ve noticed a lot of Transition people involved in Dark Mountain, a lot of them kind of at the heart of the project actually. I think what the projects have in common is that they are both open to the reality that I’ve just been talking about, of this future in which things are going to change whether we like it or not. This path that our culture is on at the moment isn’t going to continue, and a different future needs to be prepared for in different ways.
There are obviously differences as well. Transition seems to be a much more practical engagement with the on-the-ground stuff. Dark Mountain is really an artistic project, it’s a writers’ and a creators’ project I suppose in the broader sense of the word. We produce books and we produce art and we hold events which feature music and all sorts of creative responses, and we’re talking about trying to reimagine the stories that we’ve told ourselves on a creative level. So there’s an obvious difference there.
The similarity between them is that they’re both responses that seek to, I think, have a realistic assessment of what’s possible and what isn’t, and often in the mainstream green movement I don’t see enough honest assessment of what isn’t possible. People don’t like to talk about that. I think at this stage, we need to be able to put our hands up and say well here are the things we can’t do, how do we live with that. I think as a culture, we’re very bad at doing that.
Within the more mainstream environmental movement, where does that inability come from, do you think? They keep telling this story that we can turn it all around, particularly the ones who say and we can still have growth too…
It’s so common. It’s politics I think. What you’re really looking at here is a movement, if you look at the big green NGOs, they need public support. That’s where they get their funds from and that’s where they get their petitions signed and how they get people to go on their marches. If you look at political parties like the Green Party, they need to get the votes in, which means to some degree they’re going to have to tell people what they want to hear.
What people want to hear in a society in which we’re all soaked in material wealth is “It’s all going to be fine for you, you won’t have to give up your nice cars or your houses or your holidays in the sun. We can somehow make those things ‘sustainable’“. I’ve lost count of the number of ‘mainstream’ greens I’ve met or know who don’t really believe that for a minute, but they have to say it because otherwise nobody listens.
We have this cult of optimism in this culture where people don’t want to hear bad news. They just want to turn off. The Greens have discovered this to their cost over the last 50 years. Every time you tell people about climate change or any other horrible thing that’s happened already or is coming along, people just don’t want to hear it. We’ve got this whole global movement of climate change denial now which is an incredible thing really, psychologically. Millions of people out there, busily working away pretending it’s not even happening.
If you’re a mainstream green organisation and you need a lot of people to buy into your message it’s very difficult to give them bad news. It’s very difficult to question all of the stories and all of the assumptions that the whole culture you work in is based on. I don’t really blame anyone for that, you’ve got to work within the barriers that are set for you. But the limitations there I think are very clear and it just seems very obvious to me that you can’t give out any kind of honest green message on a wide scale in a society in which people are as addicted to material prosperity as we are here. It’s just not possible. And that leaves Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace and the Green Party and all the rest of them in a very difficult position, an impossible one really.
We’re in a situation where lots of Somerset is under water, Cornwall coastlines are crumbling into the sea, the river Thames is swelling ... it’s been extraordinary in the coverage over the last week or two how rarely anybody’s mentioned climate change. Really, really extraordinary. If you’re in a situation where the impacts are so clear and nobody puts two and two together, is there still a role for you in terms of raising awareness and talking about it? Is the idea that we can get people to care about this a lost cause?
I think one of the reasons I moved on from green campaigning to the Dark Mountain kind of writing I do now, is I kind of gave up on raising awareness as a useful response. I think that there’s a false assumption within the green movement and within all political movements actually, that if you give people enough information, and you raise their awareness, that that will lead to action. I believed that for a long time, and I can remember in the early 1990s writing about climate change and campaigning on it, no-one else in the mainstream was talking about it, it was just a few greenies.
We all believed that if people knew about this on a big scale then obviously they would act, it’s just so obvious that they would act, isn’t it? Now they know about it on a wide scale. It’s been on the front pages of newspapers for the last 10 years. Everybody knows about climate change, all the information is out there, and nothing is happening.
And as you say, you can get into this astonishing situation where half the country’s flooding and hardly anyone talks about it. They don’t even ask the questions. No-one in the media even asks the questions. What does it take? I think there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. We assume people are being rational all the time and that if you give them facts they’ll act on the facts. That’s not really what happens. We all make assumptions based on our prejudices and intuitions and then we use the facts to back them up. Call me cynical but I think that’s the way that humans work. I think that’s the way that we all work.
If you start off on the assumption that if you raise enough awareness things will change, I think you’re in the wrong place. My conclusion personally is that the useful thing you can do is keep telling the truth, to keep being honest about what’s actually happening to provide information for people who want to act on it, but also just to hunker down really and get on with doing what useful work you can do at your local level without imagining that you can change the way that society is going, because I don’t think at the moment that you can.
Is there anything that you would march for now?
I think this stuff is really about distinguishing between what you can do and what you can’t do. It’s very simple. I’ve been involved in a campaign to stop a supermarket being built in my town for the last three years. I’ve been involved in that quite heavily because it feels like a winnable battle. It’s not going to stop the march of supermarkets more generally but it might save this small town centre and that seems to be worth doing.
If there’s something specific to be marching against then it’s a good thing. Marching against the Keystone XL pipeline seems like a good thing. That might be a winnable battle as well. But there’s a difference between trying to prevent a particular pipeline or a particular fracking rig or a particular supermarket and trying to change the whole of human behaviour and stop climate change. They’re not the same thing. I think you can win small battles and local battles and I think you can protect what you can protect, and I think you can continue to tell the truth. But if you set yourself up to try and change the behaviour of industrial society, or stop the climate changing or change the direction of material progress then you’re going to be very disappointed as a lot of people have been.
When one takes that step across, when one goes up the Dark Mountain as it were, and accepts that there’s not a great deal that you can do and that the climate is going in a particular direction and that’s just how it is ... what gets you out of bed in the morning?
The funny thing is, this was a surprise to me really. People sometimes look at Dark Mountain from the outside and assume it’s very depressing and doom laden. They say “Where’s the hope? Where’s the hope? We want hope!” People have this addiction to hope. They want to be able to hope for things even if there isn’t a basis for it. But I’m finding that since I gave up on false hope and since I gave up having to pretend that we can save things we couldn’t save or stop things we couldn’t stop, I feel a lot better I have to say, because I felt for a long time and I know other people have felt this too, that I was like a priest who didn’t actually believe in the religion I was telling everyone about but felt I had to keep telling them because that was my job.
I get this sense from a lot of green leaders and spokespeople and all the rest of it, they don’t really believe in what they’re saying in a lot of ways. They don’t really believe that the world can be turned around and we can stop climate change and have a peaceful, sustainable development for 10 billion people. But they kind of have to say it because they don’t know what else to say.
But once you stop saying it, and once you stop saying things that you actually believe to be untrue, the alternative is not to collapse in despair. It’s to think – OK, well what can I actually usefully do then? Here I am, at this moment in time. These changes are happening and I’m living through them. What can I usefully do?
Everyone will have different answers to those questions. My answer is I can continue to write in a way which I know inspires and informs some people. I can continue to make my life as low impact as possible. I can have some land and work on it, I can bring my kids up in a way that I consider to be good, and that’s what I do. That seems to be a useful response with the kind of powers that I’ve got, and that will be different for everybody. But once you stop having to pretend that you can do everything, the alternative is to say, well I can do something, what is it? I suppose that’s a great weight off my shoulders.
I suppose for lots of people the idea of giving up on the idea of being able to hold things back feels like an acceptance of something that just feels completely unacceptable really.
I think so, and I think that’s because of our illusion of control. This whole culture of ours, this whole civilisation is built on this illusion of control. It goes right back to the Enlightenment and beyond the idea that we’re going to control nature, we’re going to control the future, we’re going to have a great plan that we’re going to roll out for how civilisation’s going to look. It’s not going to happen. We need to learn to accept, as most traditional cultures have accepted, that we’re not in control of the wider world beyond our culture, and we should learn to let go of some of it.
We’re going through a climate change event now. It’s not the first this planet has experienced by any means. It’s the first one on this scale that humans have experienced. We created it. It’s happening now. The levels of carbon dioxide are higher than they have been for thousands of years. They’re going up at a record rate. That’s not going to turn around and even if it did at this point, the change is coming. There’s no point in pretending that it’s not happening. It doesn’t help anybody. It’s better to be flexible and say well, here we are. Here we are. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to prevent things from getting worse. It doesn’t mean give up. It just means that you adjust your expectations, I suppose.
But looking back through history, there have been times when people have mobilised, have made big changes happen. Even the changes of attitude towards smoking in public over the last 10 or 15 years – one can point to examples where people have led, within a relatively short period of time to quite major changes in how we do things.
That’s possible. I’m sure that will continue. You can see that our changes to the environment have been quite rapid over the last 20 years or so. People’s ideas about things as basic as recycling. Even things like flying and driving are starting to change a little bit in countries like this. But it’s not relevant to the scale of the problem. It’s not that it’s not happening, it is happening and will probably happen a lot faster when people make the final connection between climate change and the weather events that we’re having, which I think they will because as this goes on and on and gets worse and worse, people are not going to be able to pretend it’s not happening any more.
I think that will happen, it’s inevitable that people’s attitudes will change and people will do things. People will keep doing things like campaign against fracking, which hopefully will prevent it from happening and that’s all good. I don’t’ want to be critical of it or say that people shouldn’t do it. In the grand scale of things, we are now committed to a big climate change. In the grand scale of things, there’s now a rolling extinction going on which hopefully we can hold back as much as possible, but isn’t going to stop. We’re not getting back to the point we were at 50 years ago. It’s not going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean you’ve lost, you give up, you go home and cry, it just means you adjust to the rolling reality of it. We’re going to have to go with it now. The floods aren’t going to stop coming at this point.
Did you see any of the stuff recently that David Holmgren’s paper Crash on Demand generated?
I haven’t read the post but I’ve seen lots of people writing about it.
His basic argument was that economic growth and the growth-based economy is the thing which is frying the biosphere and pushing us over the edge, and the only way to have any hope of saving that is to deliberately engineer economic collapse because that’s the only way it stops growing, and that actually we would be well advised to put some or all of our energy into actually withdrawing our support from the economic growth model in such a way that we deliberately bring about its collapse. I wondered what your thoughts were on his approach?
It’s interesting because I think there’s going to be a lot more of this in coming years. You’ve probably seen the rise of Deep Green Resistance as well, that’s another slightly more radical, angry response to this idea that the thing that’s destroying the world is the capitalist machine and therefore you must destroy the capitalist machine.
It’s quite right really. Obviously the thing that’s destroying the world is economic growth. More broadly, the thing that’s destroying the world is advanced capitalism. What you do about that, on the other hand, is another matter. I haven’t read Holmgren’s paper so I can’t really comment on it.
In terms of withdrawing your support from the machine as it were, it seems like a great idea to me. That’s what I’m trying to do myself. I don’t think you’d ever get enough people to withdraw your support from it to crash it, but to be honest I think it’s starting to crash itself anyway. It seems to be completely unsustainable. Again, this is a question of everybody’s individual response to the crisis we’re going through now.
I think everybody’s individual response will be different, and his seems to be, as far as I can tell, quite sensible. Whether it will have the effect that it wants to have, I don’t know but what’s clear from an ethical point of view to me is that this industrial machine is destroying the world. We know that. It seems to be an obvious ethical obligation really to withdraw your support from it and your engagement with it as much as possible.
But of course, the reality is that we’re all stuck in it. Just by being born into our generation in this country it’s almost impossible to completely withdraw yourself. But you can still do what you can do. You can’t predict the future. How many people are going to do that kind of thing? We don’t know. Anything could happen over the next 10 or 20 years. It could be another economic crash, it could be a rapid climate change event and everything could change and everybody’s attitudes could go out the window.
One thing that is exciting I suppose is that we shouldn’t underestimate how quickly people’s attitudes can change when circumstances change. If we had a giant economic collapse, if we had rolling climate change, if we had all this stuff coming at once and making it very very obvious that we weren’t going to keep on going in the same direction then anything could happen. That doesn’t mean we could reverse everything and get back to how it was, but we could have a very very different attitude. At some stage, our intellectual assumption that capitalist growth and progress are the only game in town is going to collapse. How soon that will be, I don’t know, but it will happen because it so obviously is undermining even its own assumptions, and when that happens then things start to get really interesting, but in what direction we have no idea at all.
Is there not a case that actually what’s needed now more than anything is people who have a real understanding of the situation and the context and where we find ourselves actually putting themselves forward for positions of leadership, whether at the local or the national scale, and actually stepping up rather than retreating? Is this not a time for the people who have spent so many years working on this stuff to actually try and step across and take some kind of leadership at this point?
My feeling on that is that we’re living in a decaying system and trying to take leadership roles within a decaying system is not going to lead to anything. You can’t offer solutions with the same mindset that created the problems and look what’s happened to the Green Party.
You can spend 50 years trying to get seats in parliament. If you try and stand for leadership roles or step up to leadership roles in the society we’re in at the moment, you will automatically get sucked in to that society’s assumptions about growth and progress and all the rest of it.
I think it’s more interesting. I think we’re in what’s called a "pregnant widow moment" at the moment, where the old king is dead and the king’s wife is pregnant and we don’t have a new king yet and we’ve no idea what the new regime’s going to be. We’re strangely in transition actually between the old world of growth and progress and material assumptions of wealth and a new world which is going to see much more environmental chaos and much more poverty and instability but also probably completely new forms of politics and philosophy and all the rest of it, that are going to come from the changes that we’ve already initiated. We don’t know what shape they’re going to take.
I think the most useful role for people who you might call leaders, anyone who’s been working on the stuff we’re talking about is to actually keep doing what they’re doing to stand apart from things. Not to necessarily become leaders in what’s going on at the moment. But to stand apart from things, to keep cranking out the radical ideas, to keep thinking about how things are changing and to stay nimble and to improvise, not to get bogged down by ideologies or get stuck in party systems or any of that stuff. But just say "things are changing radically. The useful stuff to do at the moment is to protect what we can protect and keep developing our ideas as things happen".
I think there will be more and more appetite for people who have radical views or what we see now as radical views over the next decades because so clearly the thing is coming apart and the answers are not going to come from within, so actually standing outside and maintaining a clear focus and continuing to expose what’s wrong and trying to come up with alternatives, I think is the most useful thing to do at the moment.
Categories: Solutions Feed
Climate Denier Steve Milloy Now Director at Coal Giant Murray Energy, On CPAC Global Warming Panel Today
The Junkman has a new job, and yet again it involves defending fossil fuels and attacking science. Steve Milloy, who long ago dubbed himself "The Junkman," is listed as Director of External Policy & Strategy, Murray Energy Corporation, in a description of a global warming panel happening Thursday afternoon at the CPAC convention in Washington.
That means he’s now deploying his anti-science, climate denialist PR spin for the largest privately-held coal producer in the U.S., Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp.
Milloy apparently hasn’t bothered to update his online biography with this new title, and he didn’t respond to questions from DeSmogBlog about his exact start date. But it appears that he took the job with the coal company led by controversial conservative coal baron Robert Murray at some point last year. *Update: A Murray Energy spokesperson confirmed with DeSmog that Milloy began employment at the company on October 15, 2013.*
Milloy appears on the roster of attendees at a White House meeting last Halloween, according to an Office of Management and Budget meeting log from Oct. 31, 2013. Milloy, appearing on behalf of Murray Energy Corp, was part of the coal industry coalition pushing back against efforts to improve mine safety rules protecting workers from respirable coal dust that can cause black lung disease, according to documents supplied at the meeting.
Last September, Milloy wrote about Murray Energy briefly on his JunkScience.com blog without mentioning any ties to the company. Perhaps he hadn’t joined Murray yet, or didn’t see reason to declare his position? (*See update above*)
The CPAC global warming panel taking place today in Washington features a cast of climate confusionists apparently seeking to permanently sink the GOP’s reputation on scientific matters.
With one exception — CEO of Abundant Power Group, Shannon Smith, a conservative who acknowledged in a recent tweet that “climate change is a reality” — the rest of the panel is stacked with a denier dream team of veteran apologists for tobacco companies, the Koch brothers, the chemical industry and dirty energy interests.
Last year, climate denial was all the rage among most of CPAC’s young conservative attendees. So the right-wing audience will probably continue to buy the snake oil that all but Smith will be selling.
AFTER TOBACCO AND TOXIC CHEMICALS, "CLEAN COAL" A NATURAL FIT FOR MILLOY?
Steve Milloy’s new employer, Murray Energy, is a company with a clear position on climate change – 100% denial of science and reality.
Here is what Murray Energy spokesperson, Gary Broadbent, told the National Journal last summer:
"There is no relationship between the utilization of coal and climate change," company spokesman wrote to me in an e-mail. "Our members of Congress, and particularly the Obama administration, confuse scientific facts and evidence with their own beliefs."
Robert Murray, the company’s founder and president, is clearly a climate denier who once referred to global warming as “global goofiness.” Bob Murray is also known for repeatedly lashing out with defamation lawsuits against journalists.
His company Murray Energy is also a funder of the Heartland Institute, the Chicago-based right wing group known for its attacks on climate science and its outrageous Unabomber billboard. According to Heartland’s 2012 fundraising plan — an internal document published originally on DeSmogBlog in February 2012 —Murray Energy gave $100,000 to Heartland in 2010 and was expected to give $40,000 in 2012.
WHO IS STEVE MILLOY? A BRIEF HISTORY
Milloy, an infamous tobacco- and chemical industry-funded PR flack, was an author of the 1998 American Petroleum Institute “communications plan” to attack science and undermine international action on climate change. Written in conjunction with many right wing think tanks and fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Southern Company, the industry’s goal was to launch "a national media relations program to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science."
The 1998 API memo noted the “current reality” the industry faced:
"Unless 'climate change' becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts."
Three of the groups represented on the 2014 CPAC global warming panel were listed on the 1998 plan as possible channels to deploy the industry money to attack climate science, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Competitive Enterprise Institute and Frontiers of Freedom:
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, AND POLLUTING
Milloy has been a loud-mouthed attacker of climate science ever since, and proud of it. He told Popular Science in 2012:
"There's really only about 25 of us doing this. A core group of skeptics. It's a ragtag bunch, very Continental Army. … I'm happy to be a denier."
Like many other polluter operatives, Milloy has affiliations with a number of fossil-friendly think tanks in addition to his role at Murray Energy.
He's listed as an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, senior policy fellow at the Energy and Environmental Law Institute, ‘expert’ at the Heartland Institute, the publisher and editor emeritus of JunkScience.com and president of the consulting firm Steven J. Milloy, Inc. He previously served as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, director of Science Policy Studies at the National Environmental Policy Institute and more. He also formerly served as a blogger and occasional on-air commentator at FoxNews.com.
Milloy has defended everything from cigarettes to Agent Orange to asbestos to PCBs and dioxins to … well, you get the idea.
If you produce a deadly and dangerous product that needs defending, then Steve Milloy is your man. His business card might as well read "science denier for hire."
Apparently, Murray Energy is the latest polluter to make the call to book the Junkman’s disinformation services.Tags: steve milloyCPACMurray Energy CorporationSteven J. Milloy
On Monday, January 13, two Fullerton, California police officers charged with the beating death of Kelly Thomas were acquitted, and the prosecutor announced his decision not to press charges...
Categories: Solutions Feed
We've known for a while that once a person gets above a certain level of financial stability, having more money doesn't make her any happier. So why do the wealthy often seem so eager to have more, more, more? The ideas one group of researchers has are nothing less than fascinating.
A degree from Harvard University was once seen as the pinnacle of achievement in higher education. Parents would boast proudly that their child was attending one of the most prestigious universities in America, and a diploma from Harvard could almost guarantee you a job in whichever field you chose.
But today, Harvard’s image is being tarnished by fossil fuels. The university still maintains considerable holdings in fossil fuels in their endowment funds, and according to University President Drew Faust, that isn’t going to change in the near future.
Faust has long been an opponent of fossil fuel divestment, and refuses to take part in the larger movement of universities and other institutions who are pulling their endowment funds out of dirty energy financial holdings. Harvard currently has an endowment worth over $30 billion, the largest of any other institution in the United States.
ClimateProgress has been following Faust’s anti-divestment campaign for some time, and has completely debunked all of Faust’s talking points on the issue of divestment. In 2013, Faust released a letter explaining her reasoning for refusing to divest, which includes: fossil fuel companies won’t notice; divestment would hurt Harvard’s bottom line; the endowment is not a tool for social change; and that divestment is hypocritical.
As ClimateProgress pointed out at the time, all of Faust’s reasoning rests on faulty logic. First of all, divesting from fossil fuels would send a big message to the dirty energy industry and would easily inspire others to do the same. Second, as fossil fuel reserves are depleted, the companies' stocks will plummet, which will have a significant impact on Harvard’s bottom line. And third, on hypocrisy, it is not hypocritical to remove your financial holdings from an industry that is making money at the expense of human and environmental health.
But Faust clearly cannot be swayed by logic, and this week her ignorance was put on full display when a young activist named Alli Welton from Divest Harvard put Faust on the spot and asked her why her university refuses to divest from the dirty energy industry. ClimateProgress provides the video:
Faust honestly believes that the fossil fuel industry is not standing in the way of renewable energy, which can only mean that she is either living in a state of complete denial, or that she hasn’t bothered to keep up with current events for the last few decades.
Again, Joe Romm at ClimateProgress takes Faust to task on her facts:
The oil, gas, and coal industries have spent over $2 billion lobbying Congress since 1999. In 2009 alone, the oil and gas industry “unleashed a fury of lobbying expenditures” against climate legislation, “spending $175 million — easily an industry record — and outpacing the pro-environmental groups by nearly eight-fold, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis.”
Indeed, the fossil fuel industry is not content these days to merely block new legislation to advance clean energy. They are working in a numerous states to roll back existing clean energy standards.
The leader of what once was the shining light of higher education has lowered her institution to the position of a mere biostitute — a person or group willing to deny what science is telling us for the right price.
Luckily, Faust is virtually alone in her refusal to divest, as even the largest financial organizations on the planet, including the World Bank, have endorsed fossil fuel divestment, claiming that it is unsustainable financially, and that continuing to invest is to deny the harsh reality that is climate change.
Years ago, people might think that her leadership position at Harvard would mean that she probably knows more than the average person. But today, it seems the students are the true leaders pushing their president not to remain a pawn for the dirty energy industry.Tags: Drew FaustHarvarddivestmentClimate ProgressJoe RommFossil FuelFinanceCampaign
The U.S. government stopped counting those who have given up looking for work decades ago, which means unemployment is actually higher than reported.
I have a few friends who stopped looking for work, but what shocked me in this graphic is the number of those under 55 and much younger who have just given up entirely because there are no jobs out there. It's like generations of people have no hope.
Is this really a time to be cutting unemployment, welfare, and other assistance for those who are having a tough time getting work?
This chart was made by Economic Policy Institute. They do some amazing research and could use some Likes on their Facebook page and some follows on Twitter, if you're into it. Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.
Let me say up top here that I am NOT a teacher — I found this on a blog (listed below) that is all about and by teachers. And it's the kind of thing I hope gets legs so people stop asking these kinds of silly questions.
Oh, and next time your state wants to cut teacher pay and benefits, speak up!
1. “We’ve all been to elementary school, so aren’t we all kind of experts on it?”
Umm, no. You’ve been sick before — does that make you a doctor?
2. “When I retire, I still want to do something, so I think I might take up teaching.”
Teaching is not a hobby, like gardening or sailing. Teaching will likely make your old job feel like a vacation.
3. “Have you ever thought about making your class more fun?”
No, I do my best to make it as boring as I can.
4. “If you really cared about kids, you wouldn’t worry about the salary.”
I love my students. I love teaching. I also love being able to support my family and feed my kids.
5. “If you managed your time at school, I bet you wouldn’t need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends.”
OK, I’m a little busy at school. I teach and work with students almost every moment of the day. Spending 20 hours a week outside of school on prep and grading is normal for me.
6. “You’ll never be a truly great teacher until you have your own kids.”
Actually, yes I will. The relationship between teacher and student is quite different from that of parent and child.
7. “Why do you make them read so much and write so many essays? Why do you give such hard grades?”
Because it’s my job. Because my students are here to learn. Because they’ll need these skills to survive in the world. How many reasons do you need?
8. “I pay taxes in this district, so technically you work for me.”
Sorry, we’re not your minions. That’s not how it works. Taxes support public goods and services — such as the fire department, police, parks, and yes, public schools — for the community as a whole. And by the way, teachers pay taxes too.
9. “Ohh, you teach kindergarten. That must be fun — playing and singing all day.”
Yes, my life is just like Disney movie. I sing and the children and the little animals of the forest come running. Actually, in kindergarten, we teach our students the foundational literacy and math skills — as well as the social and emotional skills — that set them up for success in every grade to follow.
10. “Why are you so strict? They’re just kids.”
We make plenty of time for laughter and fun in my classroom. But rules and routine are not only necessary, they help children to feel safe, secure, and valued in the classroom community.
11. “How hard can it be? You have all summer off.”
A longer summer break is one of the benefits of choosing teaching as a career. But keep in mind, it’s not all summer. I spend weeks every July and August on professional development and curriculum planning. And during the school year, I work 12 hours a day all week long and at least one day every weekend. Add it up and our vacation days are about the same.
12. “Teaching is nice, but don’t you want to be more successful and make more money?”
I teach because I want to make a difference. I teach because what I do every day matters for kids.
That’s what success looks like.
This appeared originally on the We Are Teachers Tumblr – used with permission. Go Like, follow, and otherwise engage on social media with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And then there's the old-fashioned Innerwebz. Thumbnail image by rocksee, used under Creative Commons license.
30-ish years ago, Ronald Reagan set into motion the very machinery that has been used to hammer the poor and those on welfare, to a point where social safety nets are nearly a thing of the past. At the same time, that machinery created the vast income inequality that we have today, which shows no signs of ebbing.
Just how that happened is very much worth your next three minutes.
This clip is part of an interview with author Ian Haney López on "Moyers & Company," a place I find stuff like this all the time. Here's a TEDx talk about his book, "Dog Whistle Politics." Thumbnail image via Wikimedia Commons.
As Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) age out of the workforce, they'll be replaced by a much different group of people. What it means is that immigration reform has to happen sooner rather than later. We can't just stick our heads in the sand and ignore all of this, can we?
This video was created by Center for American Progress. Their website, their Facebook page, and their Twitter are all things that could make your day. Thumbnail image is a copyright-free image found on Wikimedia Commons.
Every six months to a year, the Fox "News" crew gets around to attacking the poor, those on food stamps, and others not like them because, you know, hate and stuff. And the results, after Jon Stewart slices them up and serves them raw with his own special verbal jiujitsu sauce, are deliciously hilarious.
(It looks like this will be the full 21-minute show, but it's actually a shorter, nine-minute clip. But soooo worth it...)
The original is from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," which has the same clip but divided into two segments (1 and 2). So I found it on Hulu for you. You're welcome. Also, if you are not in the United States and Hulu blocks you, here's a quick solution.
I'd never heard the term "medical desert" before watching this video. For being a country that spends so much money on health care, it's kinda crazy to think that in some places in the United States, there's literally no health care to be had.
From BASTARD Conference
We have received the first round of workshops for the BASTARD conference 2014, on the theme of social war. We are now open (deadline, March 9th) for proposals of workshops with other themes.
If you have ideas about anarchist theory that you've been wanting to talk to people about, now is the time! Presentations can be conversations, lectures, panels, fish bowls, practice sessions, and so on, so if you're shy, do it with a friend or two! However this sunday is the hard deadline.
Get back to us!BASTARDcfp8 days of anarchyCategory: Projects
The U.S. Department of Defense released the 2014 version of its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) yesterday, declaring the threat of climate change impacts a very serious national security vulnerability that, among other things, could enable further terrorist activity.
Released every four years, the QDR is a broad outline of U.S. military strategy discussing how to maintain global U.S. military hegemony. Like the 2010 document, the 64-page 2014 QDR again highlights the threats posed to national security by ever-worsening global climate disruption.
"The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities," the report details.
"Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating."
For sake of context, some members of the U.S. Congress still deny the existence of climate change, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But the Pentagon's assessment is that global warming is not only real, but also a civilizational threat, as stated in sobering language in the past three QDRs.
As outlined in Christian Parenti's 2011 book, "Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence," the military establishment understands climate change is an unparalleled global threat, saying so clearly in reports like the QDR. The problem: its activities around the world are in large part responsible for the threat to begin with."Theat Multipliers...Can Enable Terrorist Activity"
Although climate change doesn't have its own robust section as it did in the 2010 QDR, in each of the eight times it's mentioned this time around, the QDR draws similar conclusions.
Climate change has the ability to "devastate homes, land, and infrastructure" and "may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs."
Further, the QDR says the desperation that many people, particularly in poorer regions, will face due to climate change impacts could lead to "resource competition" and even "terrorist activity."
"The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world," explains the report.
"These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."
Spending the bulk of QDR ink perscribing the damages climate change will wreak on a global scale, the report also points to a few suggestions of how to tackle the crisis. Sort of."Creative Ways to Address...Climate Change"
According to the Pentagon, it's not all doom and gloom going forward.
"[T]he department will employ creative ways to address the impact of climate change, which will continue to affect the operating environment and the roles and missions that U.S. Armed Forces undertake," says the QDR. "The Department will remain ready to operate in a changing environment amid the challenges of climate change and environmental damage."
What the Department of Defense plans to do to tackle the crisis, though, is explained only in the vaguest of terms.
"We have increased our preparedness for the consequences of environmental damage and continue to seek to mitigate these risks while taking advantage of opportunities," says the report.
The QDR then explains a couple more specific examples of its plans for the future.
The QDR explains, "The Department’s operational readiness hinges on unimpeded access to land, air, and sea training and test space...[and] [w]e are developing new policies, strategies, and plans, including the Department’s Arctic Strategy."Making Bad Problem Worse
Unfortunately, the Pentagon's Arctic Strategy — published in November 2013 as a follow up to President Obama's National Strategy for the Arctic Region published last May — would only make a bad problem worse.
The Arctic Strategy’s approach follows on the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, released in May, which focused — perhaps a little too much — on how a warming Arctic would allow the U.S. to access currently-inaccessible fossil fuels...Indeed, the main reason why the Arctic is warming enough to create such “historic opportunities” is the burning of fossil fuels that drives climate change.
As we've pointed out here on DeSmogBlog before, the Pentagon is an enormous consumer of fossil fuels.
As TomDispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse has explained (emphases mine), "In 2009, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), the military spent $3.8 billion for 31.3 million barrels -- around 1.3 billion gallons -- of oil consumed at posts, camps, and bases overseas."
With special operations forces stationed in over 100 countries around the world, one thing's for certain: the environmental costs of militarism are huge.
But until the Pentagon's call for "unimpeded access to land, air, and sea training and test space" ends, we can continue to expect QDRs every four years drawing increasingly horrific conclusions.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of DefenseTags: Quadrennial Defense Review 2014PentagonQuadrennial Defense ReviewQDRChristian ParentiTropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violenceclimate changeterrorismWater Scarcityfood shortagesResource Competition
Back in "simpler times", Americans often Anglicized (made more English-sounding) the names of Mexican children. A little boy named Juan would have his name changed to John, for example.
Ramón "Chunky" Sanchez recounts a time his teachers had a little trouble renaming the new kid.
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