Global Protests Against Draconian Education Cuts, Tuition Hikes

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/168049/global-protests-against-draconian-education-cuts-tuition-hikes

Allison Kilkenny
on May 24, 2012

Austerity protests have become part of the new global landscape, a reality underscored by a wave of recent protests in Philadelphia and Quebec.

More than 1,000 people rallied Wednesday to protest the Philadelphia District’s plans to “transform schools,” a pleasant euphemism generally meaning school closures and mass layoffs. The Philly district plans to possibly lay off 2,700 blue-collar workers, including every member of SEIU B2BJ Local 1201, the city school union representing bus assistants, cleaners, mechanics and other workers.

Philly.com reports that all these workers have received pink slips and could be let go by the end of the year.

Eleven men and three women were arrested during Wednesday’s protest, including B2BJ president George Ricchezza, union health and welfare administrator Dennis Biondo and retired teachers Lisa Haver and Ronald Whitehorne, among others. They were later released and are to be arraigned in June.

The individuals were arrested for “clogging traffic,” according to a local CBS affiliate.

Earlier in the month, the school system announced that it expects to close forty public schools next year and sixty-four by 2017, shocking figures that received little national attention, prompting Black Agenda Report’s Bruce A. Dixon to publish an article titled, “Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News?

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/168049/global-protests-against-draconian-education-cuts-tuition-hikes

Posted in Class War, Education, Environment, Equal Treatment, Globalization, Hard Times. Comments Off on Global Protests Against Draconian Education Cuts, Tuition Hikes

The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

From Business Insider:  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-is-running-a-massive-spying-campaign-on-the-occupy-movement-2012-5

May 24, 2012

Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.

While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.

If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April.  But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.

The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Economic Issues, Fascism, Police Abuse, Police State. Comments Off on The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street

Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

by Chi Mgbako
May 22, 2012

Before a hushed audience of over 2000 women’s rights advocates from 140 countries stood Kthi Win, a sex worker and leader of a national organization of female, male, and transgender sex workers in Burma.  With quiet confidence she bravely stated:

“The key demand of the sex workers’ movement in Burma, in Asia and all around the world is simple.  We demand that sex work is recognized as work. But we have one other key demand, specific to certain parts of the women’s movement. We demand that we are not treated as victims.”

This defiant rejection of victimhood by a sex worker, speaking on behalf of the global sex workers’ rights movement, took place at the recent AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, one of the largest gatherings of women’s rights activists in the world.  It was an extraordinary moment because there’s a tendency by some in the women’s movement to reject sex workers like Kthi because they dispute the monolithic narrative that all people in prostitution seek rescue.

The characterization of sex workers fighting for their human rights as “prostituted women” engaged in futile attempts to “organize the enslaved” is perplexing.  For five years my students and I have worked with and been inspired by sex workers successfully organizing from the margins of society.  Sex workers in India who fight against police abuse, work as safe sex peer educators, and run afterschool programs for their children.  Sex workers in South Africa who are leading a national campaign to decriminalize sex work.  Sex workers in Malawi who had the courage to sue the government and challenge the constitutionality of forced HIV testing of sex workers without informed consent.  And there are countless more examples of sex workers organizing in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.  To label and disregard these advocates as “victims” who cannot comprehend their true “enslavement” is condescending, disempowering, and untrue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/05/16/why-women%E2%80%99s-rights-movement-must-listen-to-sex-workers

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Sex Work, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why the Women’s Rights Movement Must Listen to Sex Workers

Chicago police clash with Nato summit protesters

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/21/chicago-police-nato-summit-protesters

Arrests and injuries as thousands march on downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting


guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 May 2012

The main anti-war march at the Chicago Nato summit was marred by clashes between police and protesters, with several people injured and 45 arrests.

Thousands of people marched towards McCormick Place in the downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting for the two-day summit.

However, the demonstration on Sunday ended in ugly scenes as police used batons to control the crowd. The violence came as a fifth person was charged with terrorism-related offences in in relation to alleged plots to disrupt the summit.

Sunday’s demonstration was the largest anti-war protest so far, after days of marches and protests in the city centre.

Gathering at Grant Park, thousands of protesters set off south towards the site of the summit, led by around 20 Iraq veterans against the war.

Arriving two blocks west of McCormick Place, the veterans, including Scott Olsen, the protester injured in Occupy Oakland demonstrations in October, staged a symbolic “returning” of their medals, tossing them in the direction of the sprawling conference space.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/21/chicago-police-nato-summit-protesters

Did slaves catch your seafood?

From Salon:   http://www.salon.com/2012/05/21/did_slaves_catch_your_seafood/singleton/

Thailand, a major source of fish imported to the US, depends on forced labor for its product

By , GlobalPost
Monday, May 21, 2012

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

PREY VENG, Cambodia, and SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand — In the sun-baked flatlands of Cambodia, where dust stings the eyes and chokes the pores, there is a tiny clapboard house on cement stilts. It is home to three generations of runaway slaves.

The man of the house, Sokha, recently returned after nearly two years in captivity. His home is just as he left it: barren with a few dirty pillows passing for furniture. Slivers of daylight glow through cracks in the walls. The family’s most valuable possession, a sow, waddles and snorts beneath the elevated floorboards.

Before his December escape, Sokha (a pseudonym) was the property of a deep-sea trawler captain. The 39-year-old Cambodian, his teenage son and two young nephews were purchased for roughly $650, he said, each through brokers promising under-the-table jobs in a fish cannery.

There was no cannery. They were instead smuggled to a pier in neighboring Thailand, where they were shoved aboard a wooden vessel that motored into a lawless sea. His uncle had fallen for the same scam five years prior and escaped to warn the others. But Sokha told his son, then just 16, that this venture would turn out differently. He was wrong.

“We worked constantly, for no pay, through seasickness and vomiting, sometimes for two or three days straight,” he said. “We obeyed the captain’s every word.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/05/21/did_slaves_catch_your_seafood/singleton/

Posted in Abuse, Class War, Fascism, Globalization, Hard Times, Human Rights, Nazism, Slavery, Workers. Comments Off on Did slaves catch your seafood?

The First Domino Falls in Greece

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/21-2

by Shamus Cooke
Published on Monday, May 21, 2012 by Common Dreams

Greece’s situation is not an isolated event, but a bellwether for the industrial world and beyond. The fallout from the 2008 global crisis hasn’t reached bottom yet, and the depths will be dug deeper as the Euro crisis spreads — political crisis will create economic crisis and vice versa, as periods of calm and stability are replaced by international turmoil and panic.

The media and politicians have portrayed the Greeks as indolent and stupid, refusing to swallow the economic medicine needed for a healthy recovery. But the austerity medicine of the bankers — slashing and privatizing the public sector, cutting wages and benefits, mass layoffs, etc. — is a cure that threatens to kill.

What will happen in Greece? Its future was hinted at in the last elections. The centrist parties were devastated by the reality of economic extremes; the “middle ground” simply fell out from under them, since society had been torn asunder by the inequality of the very rich versus everybody else.

In consequence, the radical left party SYRIZA is polled to come in first in the next elections, based on its firm stance against austerity and its uncompromising attitude against the bankers of Greece and beyond. The corporate politicians wanted SYRIZA to take part in a “unity government” that would magically rebuild the country’s lost middle ground and continue the pro-banker austerity policies.

But unity in an economically polarized country like Greece is impossible, especially when the continued existence of the bankers and wealthy rests on the continued suffering of everybody else.

Since unity failed during the last elections, Greek “technocrats” are now overseeing the government until the next elections. What is a technocrat? Someone who supposedly lacks any class bias; the professional strata of professors, lawyers, or doctors that attempt to sit astride an uneven society perfectly balanced, blind to special interests, while keeping their sights set on the “national interest.” But the Greek technocrats are continuing the wealthy’s austerity program, exposing their fake objectivity.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/21-2

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Austerity, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Fascism, Globalization, Human Rights, Workers. Comments Off on The First Domino Falls in Greece

UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

From Gaia Health:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/

by Heidi Stevenson
May 21, 2012

The next time you’re in a hospital, how would you like to have your food brought to you by a slave laborer? If you’re in the UK, you may find out, because slave labor has already been trialed in one hospital, and is about to become standard practice there.

The Guardian reports that the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBHT), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) piloted the program with six unemployed people in consultation with the union. The trust stated that the type of work included:

… general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients.

… and justifies it with the statement:

We are situated in a deprived area with high unemployment and we think it is important to help get people back into work. The project gave participants the opportunity to gain confidence, training and experience, under supervision.

So why don’t they simply hire them? You know, the old-fashioned way of getting employees.

Continue reading at:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/


Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Employment, Fascism, Police State, Social Justice. Comments Off on UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals