The Strike That Started the Red Wave

On Sept. 10, 2012, I joined thousands of my fellow public school teachers in Chicago and walked off the job.

After facing 30 years of corporate education ​”reform” that demonized teachers and led to massive privatization of public schools across the United States, teachers everywhere were ready to fight back. For many of us in Chicago, ahead of the 2012 strike, political developments had shown a range of possibilities for what that fighting back could look like. We had watched intently as protesters took over plazas in Tahrir Square to demand the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, as well as the crowds occupying the Wisconsin statehouse to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union Act 10.

In Chicago, resistance to the attacks on teachers required us to defeat one of the most powerful Democratic politicians in the country (then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel), endure the

— source inthesetimes.com | Jackson Potter | Sep 15, 2022

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How Israel Wages War on Palestinian History

When the Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri made a documentary about Jenin in 2002 – filming immediately after the Israeli army had completed rampaging through the West Bank city, leaving death and destruction in its wake – he chose an unusual narrator for the opening scene: a mute Palestinian youth.

Jenin had been sealed off from the world for nearly three weeks as the Israeli army razed the neighbouring refugee camp and terrorised its population.

Bakri’s film Jenin, Jenin shows the young man hurrying silently between wrecked buildings, using his nervous body to illustrate where Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians and where bulldozers collapsed homes, sometimes on their inhabitants.

It was not hard to infer Bakri’s larger meaning: when it comes to their own story, Palestinians are denied a voice. They are silent witnesses to their own and their people’s

— source counterpunch.org | Jonathan Cook | Aug 21, 2020

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Survivors Are Preserving the Dark History of Native Boarding Schools

Six-year-old Phyllis Webstand wore an orange shirt to her first day of school. It was shiny, she remembers, and laced up the front—more importantly, it was a gift from her granny.

At the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, British Columbia, it was taken from her, as were all the personal belongings she had known and loved. None were ever returned. That year, 1973, Webstand became one of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children in Canada and the US to suffer at state-run and religious boarding schools designed to assimilate by force. In the words of Richard Henry Pratt, the first superintendent of the infamous Carlisle Indian School, it was possible to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man,” often by coercive conversion to Christianity and the forbidding of Native language. Physical and sexual abuse were common.

In the United States, such schools operated for 150 years, the last closing in 1969. They have had a lasting impact on Native communities, from cultural and linguistic loss to intergenerational trauma. Children of people who attended the “residential schools” are more likely to have poor health outcomes, experience depression, and encounter abuse. Their story isn’t widely taught in schools. With “critical race theory” serving as grounds to ban works from Maus to a picture book by Ruby Bridges, the fight to change that may

— source motherjones.com | Emily Hofstaedter | Oct 1, 2022

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Neoliberalism’s Dark Path to Fascism

Neoliberalism as economic theory was always an absurdity. It had as much validity as past ruling ideologies such as the divine right of kings and fascism’s belief in the Übermensch. None of its vaunted promises were even remotely possible. Concentrating wealth in the hands of a global oligarchic elite—eight families now hold as much wealth as 50 percent of the world’s population—while demolishing government controls and regulations always creates massive income inequality and monopoly power, fuels political extremism and destroys democracy. You do not need to slog through the 577 pages of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” to figure this out. But economic rationality was never the point. The point was the restoration of class power.

As a ruling ideology, neoliberalism was a brilliant success. Starting in the 1970s, its Keynesian mainstream critics were pushed out of academia, state institutions and financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and shut out of the media. Compliant courtiers and intellectual poseurs such as Milton Friedman were groomed in places such as the University of Chicago and given prominent platforms and lavish corporate funding. They disseminated the official mantra of fringe, discredited economic theories popularized by Friedrich Hayek and the third-rate writer Ayn Rand. Once we knelt before the dictates of the marketplace and lifted government regulations, slashed taxes for the rich, permitted the flow of money across borders, destroyed unions and signed trade deals that sent jobs to sweatshops in China, the world would be a

— source commondreams.org | Chris Hedges | Nov 26, 2018

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New Clues Into Vatican Response To Holocaust

Vatican officials have always insisted Pope Pius XII did everything possible to save Jewish lives during World War II. But many scholars accuse him of complicit silence while some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

“Pope Pius XII thought that he should not take sides in the war,” says Brown University professor David Kertzer, “and that therefore he should not be criticizing either side of the war, including the Nazis.”

Kertzer has written extensively about popes and the Jews. He won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Pope and Mussolini, which traced the rise of fascism in Europe. And he was among the first to have access to the Pius XII archives when the Vatican opened them in March, after decades of requests from scholars.

Kertzer has just published his early findings in an article for The Atlantic. The newly unearthed documents — some imbued with anti-Semitic language — are shedding light on the

— source npr.org | Sylvia Poggioli | Aug 29, 2020

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How Syria’s blasted landmarks are starting to rise from the ruins

The centre of Aleppo was a marvel. It was a demonstration of the multiplicity of both humanity and stone. It was an embodiment of the material and cultural wealth that once made Syria one of the luckiest and most civilised places on Earth – a California of the Middle East, blessed by climate, fertile land, physical beauty and its position between the Mediterranean and the Silk Road to the east. “My beautiful province,” as the seventh-century Byzantine emperor Heraclius called Syria, while retreating from Muslim conquerors, “what a paradise you will be for the enemy!”

In Aleppo there was, and mostly still is, the citadel, a mound growing upwards into improbably massive walls, a dream of castle-ness realised with crushing weight. Then there were the souks, a huge web of covered alleys and streets, spaces made of produce and transactions as much as of masonry, in which gems of architecture – a polychrome portal or a serene dome – would make themselves known amid the action and clutter, their arabesque decorations indecorously garlanded with electrical conduits and air-conditioning units.

Then there was the Umayyad mosque, built on the site of a Hellenistic agora, called after the dynasty that founded it in the eighth century but its surviving fabric coming from

— source theguardian.com | Rowan Moore | 4 Jun 2021

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The iconic fashion item Blue jeans is costing the planet dearly

The production of blue jeans, one of the most popular apparel items ever, has for decades left behind a trail of heavy consumption, diminishing Earth’s water and energy resources, causing pollution, and contributing to climate change. The harm done by the fashion industry has intensified, not diminished, in recent years.
The making of jeans is water intensive, yet much of the world’s cotton crop is grown in semiarid regions requiring irrigation and pesticide use. As climate change intensifies, irrigation-dependent cotton cultivation and ecological catastrophe are on a collision course, with the Aral Sea’s ecological death a prime example and warning.
While some major fashion companies have made sustainability pledges, and taken some steps to produce greener blue jeans, the industry has yet to make significant strides toward sustainability, with organic cotton, for example, still only 1% of the business.
A few fashion companies are changing their operations to be more sustainable and investing in technology to reduce the socioenvironmental impacts of jeans production. But much more remains to be done.

Eternally current and always fashionable, blue jeans are among the most-worn articles of clothing on Earth, transcending time, trends, and social class. Their popularity is ubiquitous, so much so that legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent once declared: “I wish I had invented blue jeans. The most spectacular, practical, relaxed and nonchalant.

— source news.mongabay.com | Jenny Gonzales | 17 Nov 2022

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Meet the Censored: Katie Halper

The longtime co-host of Useful Idiots, Katie Halper, made headlines last week, and not for any reasons she would have asked for. Katie was fired from a part-time hosting arrangement at The Hill’s Rising, whose editor told her an editorial critical of Israeli policies in Palestine was “not in our sweet spot of coverage.”

Rising grew a significant audience as an independent media vehicle between 2019 and 2021, when it was hosted by the left-right team of Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. It has since undergone changes, piloted for a time by Intercept reporter Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky of The Federalist, and ultimately moving to a new incarnation featuring Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave. Part of the hosting job involves monologues called “radars.” Katie, who had a fill-in arrangement at the outlet for years, was let go over just such a radar. You can see it above.

The controversy began when Michigan Democrat Rashida Tliab spoke at an online seminar on September 20th and said, “It has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government.” Tliab gave her talk in the wake of the shooting of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in the West

— source scheerpost.com | Matt Taibbi | Oct 6, 2022

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