News

Truthout: What Comes After Capitalism? Upcoming Teach-Ins Can Show a Way Forward

April 21, 2016
Gar Alperovitz and Ben Manski for Truthout.org
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An extraordinary process of change is about to explode this month on campuses and in communities across the United States. Thousands of Americans are coming together in dozens of locations to take on the question of what kind of system should replace capitalism. The process is called the Next System Teach-Ins.

Supreme Court upholds counting all residents, not just registered voters, for determining state Senate Districts

April 20, 2016
Lawrence Hurley for Reuters
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A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the method all 50 states use in drawing legislative districts by counting every resident and not just eligible voters, rejecting a conservative challenge that could have given more sway to rural white voters.

Join thousands in building our future

April 19, 2016
Liberty Tree
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Building a future where people, the planet and peace are put before profit requires more than energy and activism - it requires education. Join thousands across the country later this month for the Next System Teach-Ins to study, debate and organize around the social, political and economic issues that determine what our future will look like. Teach-Ins aren’t only for students - they are a place where students, faculty, staff and community members come together in order to build tools for responding to matters of national and global importance. 

Over 100,000 flood streets of France in pro-democracy “Up All Night” protests

April 14, 2016
Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams
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A police crackdown will not deter France's burgeoning Nuit Debout (or 'Up All Night') movement that has swept across the country in recent weeks as the unifying call for change sparked protests in over 50 cities this weekend.

Thousands of workers join united strike effort, reflecting labor movement power

April 14, 2016
Jim Tankersley and Brian Fung for the Washington Post
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Tens of thousands of Americans will decline to report to work Thursday because of labor disputes, a surge that coincides with a fledgling sense of empowerment among workers who struggled for years to reap the gains of the economic recovery and which could mark a political and economic shift in the balance between employers and their employees.

“Democracy Spring” protests result in most mass arrests at the U.S. Capitol in over a decade

April 14, 2016
Ben Wofford for Rolling Stone
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Chanting, "Money ain't speech, corporations aren't people!" and "We are the 99 percent!" around 425 protesters were arrested Monday in a mass sit-in on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and more have returned to face arrest Tuesday. The demonstration, called Democracy Spring, is advocating a set of reforms the organizers have dubbed the "democracy movement," demanding Congress amend campaign finance laws and restore the Voting Rights Act, among other actions.
 

Student led “National Day of Action” against racism and student debt named divestment from private prisons among list of demands

April 14, 2016
Mashaun D. Simon
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Student leaders across the country are holding localized demonstrations specific to their campus as part of a "National Day of Action" today.
 
Organized by the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) in partnership with #MillionStudentMarch, a student movement created to respond to the education crisis in America, their mission is ending campus racism and student debt.
 

Verizon strike is one of many massive actions powered by thousands of workers this decade

April 14, 2016
Aaron Pressman for Fortune
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About 40,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast walked off the job on Wednesday after contract negotiations broke down. The nation’s second-largest telecommunications carrier by revenue wants to be able to transfer employees to another city for up to two months, outsource more work to non-union contractors and close down U.S.-based call centers that could be moved to Mexico or the Philippines.

Madison students using restorative justice to build community, address school to prison pipeline

April 14, 2016
Ogechi Emechebe for The Capital Times
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On a recent Friday morning at Madison's O’Keeffe Middle School, nine students gathered in a circle to reflect on their experience. Some shared their happiest memories during the three years while others described challenges they faced. They also shared what their goals for high school were and where they see themselves in ten years.
 
“I enjoyed the fun field trips we had, it brought everyone together and made us closer,” one student said.
 

University presidents admit student activists are effective in forcing schools to address racial disparities in new study

April 14, 2016
Kenrya Rankin for COLORLINES
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A new study from the American Council on Education says that student-led protests are having an impact on college and university campuses across the country.

Southern California middle school students call for re-hiring of coach after he was fired for collecting and redistributing wasted fruit

April 14, 2016
Patrick Healy for NBC Los Angeles
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Chanting and carrying flyers for a second day, students protested the firing of a coach at a Southern California middle school over alleged violations involving his collecting and re-distributing food service fruit.
 
Arnold Villalobos said he was gathering only unwanted fruit that otherwise would have ended up in the garbage at Center Middle School in Azusa.
 

Sign the petition supporting striking Verizon workers

"We are on strike because we will do whatever it takes to create a better workplace for ourselves and those that follow.

From: 
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-striking-verizon-workers

Inspiring global action leads the way

April 12, 2016
Liberty Tree Foundation
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Sometimes the movement calls people to action in ways that threaten their very existence - they know that a lack of action, no matter how dangerous, leads to the acceptance of destruction in the very near future.
 

South African anti-mining group continues speaking out against plans for titanium mine, calling for solidarity after assassination of founder

April 11, 2016
CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation
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On 22 March 2016, Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe (pictured), chairperson of the, Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) was assassinated at his home by two assailants who shot him eight times in the head. ACC, a South African community organisation has been subjected to sustained harassment from local authorities and a mining company, for its campaign to oppose titanium mining on the ancestral land of local communities in the pristine Eastern Cape Province. Prior to the assassination, Rhadebe had contacted other members of the organisation warning them of a hit list that his name was on.

Berta Cáceres’ assassination, land rights and the growing criminalization of social justice leaders

April 11, 2016
Autumn Spanne
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Since her mother’s murder a month ago, Bertha Isabel Zuniga Cáceres has scarcely had time to grieve. The 25-year-old student is adamant that her mother, Berta Cáceres Flores, will not become just one more Honduran environmental activist whose work was cut short by their assassination. 

Support grassroots democracy in South Africa

Endorse this joint statement on the assassination of the chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee - #StandWithAmadiba #StandForDemocracy 

Use the extensive information database designed for activists in the worldwide citizens’ movement against coal - CoalSwarm

April 11, 2016
CoalSwarm

The purpose of CoalSwarm is to create a collaborative information clearinghouse for the worldwide citizens’ movement to address the impacts of coal and move to cleaner sources of energy. Containing over 8,000 articles on coal-related topics posted on the SourceWatch wiki, this open-source reference provides a constantly expanding body of information that anyone can utilize and contribute to.

 

Learn about writing a community ordinance to take control of local food exchanges from the Alliance for Democracy

April 11, 2016
Alliance for Democracy

Put your community in charge by passing a local ordinance that strengthens your food system. Tailor the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance to your community and its needs and get it passed. You will be told you can’t do that. Do it anyway. Then persist. 

Dozens of organizations rally for New York Governor Cuomo to use state authority to deny pipeline after lands have been seized through eminent domain

April 11, 2016
Stefanie Spear of ECOWATCH on BUZZFLASH at TRUTHOUT
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Nearly 400 people from across the state of New York and beyond rallied in Albany today asking Gov. Cuomo to stand up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and use the state’s authority under the Clean Water Act to deny the 401 water quality certificate for the Constitution Pipeline.

Hundreds of Californians protest and testify against dangerous crude oil trains

April 11, 2016
Cal Coast News
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Opponents of Phillips 66’s proposed rail spur came from across California Thursday to protest the project as it appeared before the San Luis Obispo County Planing Commission. An estimated total of more than 500 people showed up to the first day of a two-day hearing on the planned rail spur.

Scientists warn earthquake risks are increasingly linked to corporate injection of wastewater from gas and oil extraction into the ground

April 11, 2016
Anna Kuchment for Scientific American
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To Cathy Wallace, the earthquakes that have been rattling her tidy suburban home in Dallas feel like underground thunderstorms. First comes a distant roar, then a boom and a jolt. Her house shakes and the windows shudder. Framed prints on the walls clatter and tilt. A heavy glass vase tips over with a crash.

Group of kids sue Obama, federal agencies for supporting the destructive fossil fuel industry

April 11, 2016
Zoë Carpenter for The Nation
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 On Wednesday, a group of kids and teenagers will face off in an Oregon courtroom against the US government and the fossil fuel industry. The young people, from states as far away as Florida, Arizona, New York, Hawaii, and Alaska, are suing President Obama and several federal agencies for inaction on climate change.

Information about the secret financial dealings of some the world’s richest and most powerful people exposed in “The Panama Papers”

April 11, 2016
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
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A giant leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records exposes a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing, hidden by secretive offshore companies.

Villagers continue to peacefully protest plan for coal plant creation in their community after death caused by police violence in Bangladesh

April 11, 2016
John Vidal for The Guardian
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Bangladeshi villagers staged further protests on Tuesday after police opened fire and killed at least four people demonstrating against the planned construction of two large Chinese-financed coal-fired power stations.

Where will the 2017 Democracy Convention take place?

April 5, 2016
Liberty Tree Foundation
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We are excited to report that the planning process for the third Democracy Convention is moving forward and a location has been chosen!  

Support “Restore the Vote” in Minnesota

Restore the Vote is once again before Minnesota state lawmakers.  Last year, the legislation was passed by the Senate before ultimately stalling in the House.  Restore the Vote will re-enfranchise approximately 47,000 people who are currently ineligible to vote, because of a felony conviction, even though they live and work in our communities.  Current policy, which this bill would change, unnecessarily and excessively discourages positive civic participation, perpetuates racial injustice, and adds cost and complications to voting.

From: 
Restore the Vote - Minnesota

Learn about “Ranked Choice Voting” from Fair Vote Minnesota

April 2, 2016
Fair Vote Minnesota

Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank candidates on the ballot according to their preference - 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc. Voters cast their vote for their favorite candidate knowing that if he or she doesn't gather enough votes to win, their vote will count toward their second choice. In a single-winner election, votes cast for the least popular candidate are not "wasted", but rather reallocated to more popular candidates, based on the voters' second choices, until one candidate wins with a majority of continuing votes.

Hundreds protest lack of prosecution for police officers involved in shooting death of Jamar Clark

April 2, 2016
Carimah Townes for Think Progress
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After months of protest and tension in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that he will not charge officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg for the killing of Jamar Clark, an unarmed man who died from a gunshot to the head. Freeman says Schwarze shot Clark within 61 seconds of his arrival at the scene of a domestic dispute. According to the county attorney, Clarke was resisting arrest and had his hand on Ringgenberg’s gun.
 

Community democracy scores a win for the environment through the passing of Minneapolis’ plastic bag restrictions ordinance

April 2, 2016
Jim Hammerand for Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
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The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved an ordinance that will ban carry-out plastic bags for most retailers and add a 5 cent litter fee.
 
Starting June 1, 2017, customers of Minneapolis retailers will have to use paper bags instead of plastic bags. The ordinance excludes plastic bags used for dry cleaning, newspaper deliveries, and plastic bags for takeout food or that come in direct contact with food (like ones used for fresh produce).
 
New plastic bag rules for Minneapolis retailers take effect in 2017.

Twin Cities janitors reach agreement after negotiations following 24-hour strike in February addressing wages and workload

April 2, 2016
Andy Rathburn for Twin Cities Pioneer Press
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Minneapolis-St. Paul janitors have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract following months of negotiations and a 24-hour strike last month.
 
The union representing about 4,000 janitors across the Twin Cities announced that an agreement on a new four-year contract was reached between janitors and their employers after a 12-hour bargaining session that ended early Monday morning.
 

Corporate controlled “Itasca Project” circumvents democracy in Twin Cities decision-making

April 2, 2016
Charles P. Pierce for Esquire
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Good intentions don't justify unaccountable power.

Call me paranoid, but I found The New York Times's tale of the gnomes of Minneapolis  just a little unnerving. It certainly makes me curious about the future of democratic government.

Great American Think Off 2016 explores how income inequality threatens democracy with essay contest and debate

April 2, 2016
Great American Think-Off New York Mills Cultural Center
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With a national election right around the corner, this year the Great American Think-Off wants to know if people agree or disagree with this statement: “Income Inequality Threatens Democracy”.

People power - it’s what drives democracy

March 31, 2016
Liberty Tree Foundation
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People power - it’s what drives democracy. We stand in solidarity with all of the organizations and individuals proving that there is power in standing together and taking action in our communities.

Join the SOAW spring days of action April 14 - April 18 to raise awareness about the harm caused by the drug war

As you probably already know, SOA Watch is heading to Nogales, Arizona/Sonora this October for our first Border Mobilization. We are very excited to be making preparations for this major mobilization to the U.S./Mexico border, but before that, we also want you to come build community and speak truth to power with us in Washington, DC for the Spring Days of Action from April 14-18.
 
From: 
SOAW.org

Arizona’s recent primary election was a disaster, especially in ‪Maricopa County‬. TAKE ACTION - help restore democracy in Arizona!

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has done it again.
 
As the top official in charge of making sure every eligible person can vote and that every vote is counted in Arizona’s most populous county, Helen Purcell created and presided over another disaster of an election. For the good of the country, and to ensure the integrity of upcoming elections, it’s time for her to resign. #AdiosHelen
 
From: 
presente.org

Preemption being used to block local democracy measures including minimum wage laws

March 27, 2016
The Huntington News
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August, the Birmingham, Ala. local government took a significant step toward supporting low-wage workers in the city by raising minimum wage to more than $10 from the national floor of $7.25. The move constituted a strong victory for labor rights and community activists, who had spent months rallying support and talking to lawmakers in an effort to make Birmingham the first city in the South to raise its minimum wage. By August, the decision had garnered a broad base of support that included workers, activists, city officials and a large segment of residents.

Climate activists call for no new oil extraction in New Orleans Superdome protest

March 27, 2016
Rising Tide North America
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Currently, hundreds of climate and social justice activists are occupying the Superdome in New Orleans in a mass protest calling to keep 43 million acres of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

GMO labeling victory in Senate may be short-lived, but sheds light on successful pushback against corporate interests

March 27, 2016
Zoe Lister-Jones for The Huffington Post
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Last week, a bill to pre-empt states’ rights to label GMOs was overturned in the Senate. With over 90% of Americans in favor of labeling foods containing Genetically Modified ingredients, this outcome lends hope at a time in which many of us might feel the weight of corporate interest too often impacting legislation.

Climate activists challenge using eminent domain for fracking with “Pancakes Not Pipelines” protest

March 27, 2016
Lee Ziesche for AlterNet
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Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox (Gasland) and others from the activist group Beyond Extreme Energy were arrested today protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its role in continuing to permit fossil fuel projects that will greatly accelerate climate change.