News

Audit reveals over 100 preemption, other actions to shut down local democracy in Wisconsin

February 11, 2016
Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau
legislation mosaic mural from WI capitol

According to this review by Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state legislature in that state has enacted over 100 unfunded mandates and preemptions of local government authority since 2011.

Recently signed TPP undermines democracy in municipalities, finance, environment

February 8, 2016
Matt Stannard
news photo

I apologize for "de-democratizes" in the title. I wrestled with "un-democratizes," "hurts every good cause," and "cuts a swath down the sail of American democracy like Errol Flynn," and none of them seemed to work. I decided to go with a word that represents curtailment, undermining, moving away from. American political and economic life certainly isn't democratic enough, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership makes it all less so, because it undermines an entire category of democratic policymaking.

Flint crisis shines light on Navajo water contamination and encourages movement against environmental racism in U.S.

February 8, 2016
Courtney Parker
news photo - Figure from EPA Pacific Southwest Region 9 Addressing Uranium Conta

Recent media coverage and spiraling public outrage over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan has completely eclipsed the ongoing environmental justice struggles of the Navajo. Even worse, the media continues to frame the situation in Flint as some sort of isolated incident. It is not. Rather, it is symptomatic of a much wider and deeper problem of environmental racism in the United States.

Detroit "People's Water Board" coalition fights against water privatization

February 8, 2016
Ashley Bohrer
news photo (Maya Rotem)

On July 3, dozens of Michigan activists convened in Detroit to begin a march to demand water justice in the state. The six-day march covered 70 miles as organizers walked from Detroit to Flint and continued by bus to the state capitol in Lansing, stopping in five other Michigan cities along the way.

How the corporation captured the academy

November 25, 2015
Ben Manski

Note: This article was originally published in the Liberty Tree Journal in 2007

ILSR: The growing energy democracy movement has huge potential

September 25, 2015
John Farrell
news photo

The transformation taking place in the electricity system is enormous, but twofold. But most commentators – including the former FERC chair – miss half the opportunity when they fixate on the inevitable technological rather than the more fundamental economic transformation.

Pope speaks of "right of the environment" in address to Congress

September 25, 2015
Suzanne Goldenberg and Stephanie Kirchgaessner
news photo

The Pope demanded justice for the weak and affirmed the rights of the environment on Friday in a forceful speech to the United Nations that admonished against “a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity”.

NYC Participatory Budgeting Wins $100K Prize

September 21, 2015
Jenn Stanley
news photo

Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation last week recognized New York’s participatory budgeting program with the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government. The nod comes with a $100,000 prize.

5 Steps to Turn Your Business Into a Worker-owned Co-op

September 9, 2015
Cat Johnson
news photo

Worker cooperatives are a great way to bring democracy into the workplace. For retiring business owners and entrepreneurs, converting to a worker-owned co-op can also strengthen business and generate a return on investment.

Alperovitz and Hanna: Socialism, American-Style

September 1, 2015
Gar Alperovitz and Thomas Hanna
news photo

The great 20th-century conservative economist Joseph Schumpeter thought the left had overlooked a major selling point in pressing the case for public — i.e., government — control over productive capital. “One of the most significant titles to superiority,” he suggested, was that public ownership produced profits, which means not having to depend on taxes to raise money.

Community activists in St. Louis win decade long fight to create civilian board to investigate police misconduct

May 6, 2015
Rebecca Rivas
news photo

St. Louis City Mayor Francis G. Slay signed the civilian oversight legislation into law today (Wednesday, May 6) in his office with Alderman Terry Kennedy (Ward 18), who fought for more than 10 years for the legislation. Slay vetoed Kennedy’s original legislation after it passed the Board of Aldermen in 2006, so Kennedy has waited almost a decade to shake the mayor’s hand at this bill-signing ceremony.

Community activists in St. Louis win decade long fight to create civilian board to investigate police misconduct

May 6, 2015
Rebecca Rivas
news photo

St. Louis City Mayor Francis G. Slay signed the civilian oversight legislation into law today (Wednesday, May 6) in his office with Alderman Terry Kennedy (Ward 18), who fought for more than 10 years for the legislation. Slay vetoed Kennedy’s original legislation after it passed the Board of Aldermen in 2006, so Kennedy has waited almost a decade to shake the mayor’s hand at this bill-signing ceremony.

Why media mega-mergers are bad news for Latinos and communities of color in general

May 4, 2015
Arturo Carmona and Joe Torres

Comcast's decision to pull the plug on its $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable is a huge victory for the Latino community and communities of color.

The cable giant announced the move on Friday after the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice informed the company that they were against the deal.

The merger would have combined the two largest cable providers in the country, giving Comcast unprecedented control over both pay-TV and high-speed Internet access markets. 

Maryland bill would restore voting rights to ex-felons

April 30, 2015
Ari Berman
news photo

Freddie Gray’s neighborhood in Baltimore had the highest incarceration rate of anywhere in the city. More than 450 adults from Sandtown-Winchester are in state prison, and one in four juveniles were arrested from 2005 to 2009.

Participatory budgeting empowers communities of color in New York

April 10, 2015
Sondra Youdelman
news photo

NEW YORK — Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Council Members kicked off the voting period for New York City’s 2014-2015 participatory budgeting cycle — now the largest such process in the nation. This year, 24 Council Districts will allocate nearly $30 million citywide for residents to collaboratively develop into local capital projects through a year-long process of neighborhood assemblies, delegate meetings, and project expositions.

Celebrate Earth Day with Cheri Honkala in Santa Barbara!

April 9, 2015
 
Join America’s leading anti-poverty activist in celebrating Earth Day, 2015:
 
 
with special guests, Hollywood film actors and supporters Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer.

The Democratic Turn of the Century: Learning from the U.S. Democracy Movement

March 18, 2015
Ben Manski

Originally published by the journal Socialism & Democracy. Contact the author for permission to reprint.

Democracy movements arose in most regions of the globe during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Students of social change have studied many of these movements, but, remarkably, have so far failed to look at that of the United States.

Glen Ford on what true black community control of the police would look like

February 13, 2015
Glen Ford
news photo

A key activist in the early Sixties grassroots movement to overthrow American apartheid recently asked if the current Black Lives Matter campaign will be able to sustain itself. In the near term, the answer is almost certainly, yes. The momentum of the mobilization will be propelled forward by the dogged determination of a new generation of activists, building on the skills and experience of previously vetted organizers and the quickening, soul-wrenching drumbeat of police murder and repression.

Why Washington should fear the silence of the anti-war movement

December 8, 2014
Ben Manski
news photo

On this 73rd anniversary of the last declaration of war by the United States, as the Pentagon escalates its military actions in Iraq and Syria, the silence of the U.S. peace movement carries an ominous warning for Washington, DC. The streets of major U.S. cities are not filled with anti-war demonstrations, yet the apparent quiet does not signify consent. A look at history shows why.

Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor: The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US

December 6, 2014
Mumia Abu-Jamal and Johanna Fernandez

This volume is a leap into the abyss that is the American Gulag. Our purpose is to explore the origins of the current system of carceral punishment, which began to mass-incarcerate poor and working-class African Americans and Latinos living in urban centers beginning in the late 1970s. We link the new characteristics of imprisonment as it then emerged to the campaign of state repression unleashed against the civil rights and black power movements in the 1960s. Some of those imprisoned are veterans of these movements, and are political prisoners.

More Info: 

This essay appears in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Socialism and Democracy.  To read more click here.

Ben ManskI: Seattle WTO Uprising Still a Force in World Events, 15 Years Later

December 1, 2014
Ben Manski
news photo
We live in an era in which it is increasingly normal for individuals not only to reject the power of corporations over their lives, but for some to even occupy public space and defy police and established authorities. Ben Manski discusses how this era was inaugurated on November 30th, 1999 in the streets of Seattle.

UK students take to the streets to demand 'free education'

November 19, 2014
Common Dreams
news photo
Those are the calls being voiced in the streets of London on Wednesday as thousands of students marched for publicly-funded ("free") education nationwide. The protest was also billed as a direct challenge to austerity cuts to higher education imposed by the conservative government led by David Cameron.

Why doesn't the US observe Armistice Day?

November 11, 2014
Rory Fanning
news photo

On Tuesday, the United States should be celebrating its 95th Armistice Day, pausing as a nation to think about the terrible costs of war – including the loss of so many lives. Unfortunately, we replaced it with a very different holiday.

Remembering the Christmas Truce of 1914

November 11, 2014
Veterans for Peace
news photo

December 2014 will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914. During 2014 VFP National will plan activities to share with chapters to celebrate this memorable moment in history.

Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

RYDER and HAYDEN: Importance of the War Powers Resolution

November 10, 2014
Paul Ryder and Tom Hayden

[Research by Paul Ryder]

The nation needs a full public debate and a Congressional vote on whether to authorize the current American military interventions in Iraq and Syria and, if so, under what conditions. The past is prologue:

April 4, 1956: President Dwight Eisenhower’s news conference --

Q: Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, would you order those Marines that were sent over to the Mediterranean and over in that area, would you order them to war, without asking the Congress first?