News

Parkdale Rent Strikers to Michael Lax: Your Eviction Notices Don’t Intimidate Us

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:31

The post Parkdale Rent Strikers to Michael Lax: Your Eviction Notices Don’t Intimidate Us appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following short report comes from Parkdale Organize in Toronto. For more information on the group, check out our podcast interview with them here, as well as this overview of current self-organized tenant groups here.

Michael Lax, landlord and director of Nuspor Investments, has sent eviction notices to the rent strikers at 1251 King.

On Sunday night rent strikers met and unanimously agreed to continue to withhold their rent until Michael Lax drops his application for a rent increase above the guideline at the building. The rent strikers are not intimidated. They will continue their rent strike with the support of their neighbours in Parkdale.

Lax will no longer be allowed to hide in his offices or behind his network of corporations. In the coming days rent strikers will be calling on neighbours and supporters across the city to join a campaign targeting Lax directly. Stay tuned!

Categories: News

White powdery substance found to be baby powder at former President Obama's DC office

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:10

White powdery substance found to be baby powder at former President Obama's DC office | 13 Feb 2018 | An envelope with a "powdery substance" found at former President Barack Obama's D.C. office is now found to be baby powder, following a police investigation on Tuesday. The incident was reported at around 11 a.m. at the World Wildlife Fund Headquarters at 1250 24th Street in Northwest D.C. D.C. Fire and EMS first responders wearing hazmat suits entered the building to investigate. FBI and Secret Service also responded to the scene.

Categories: News

'White powder' sent to Barack Obama's Washington office sparks urgent probe

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:55

'White powder' sent to Barack Obama's Washington office sparks urgent probe | 13 Feb 2018 | Reports a 'white substance' has been sent to Barack Obama's Washington office has sparked an investigation. It comes just a day after Donald Trump's daughter-in-law was taken to hospital a letter containing a 'suspicious substance' was sent to her New York apartment. And counter-terror police were deployed to the Houses of Parliament this morning after a package of white powder reportedly sent to Amber Rudd's office sparked a security alert. Both packages were investigated by police, who found them to be harmless.

Categories: News

Against Amazon and Its World: For An Anti-Amazon Olympics

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:34

The post Against Amazon and Its World: For An Anti-Amazon Olympics appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following is a call to resist the construction of a new Amazon HQ as well as build solidarity with Amazon workers. To read a background on global struggles against Amazon and the world that it is creating, go here.

The sum total of all social evil is being concentrated into a single entity: Amazon. The technology giant, with its tremendous logistical and algorithmic powers, is building an unfree world all around us. In the past, colonies were built far away from the Empire. Now, they are constructed in the hearts of city centers, guarded off from the rest of the world. In the coming months, Amazon intends to announce a location for HQ2, its proposed second headquarters. The effects of this operation, in which the world’s richest man would build a $4B megaplex to facilitate the growth of his delusional science fiction fantasies, would be utterly catastrophic.

We are not interested in compromise, only in a fight. This is a call out to those cities across the country that Amazon is proposing to colonize: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, D.C., Denver, Los Angeles, New York City,  Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle, as well as Seattle who already have an Amazon HQ. We propose an Anti-Amazon Olympics to see which city can create the most trouble for Amazon before they announce their verdict.

#Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now the richest person in the world, as the online commerce giant slashes wages and pushes forward automation. In Europe, workers are responding with strikes and arson attacks. Will the proletarian retail revolt spread? https://t.co/SX7UBKD1Xy pic.twitter.com/ewsgThblFz

— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) December 22, 2017

Find ways to act in solidarity with strikers, union battles, and Amazon employees in general. Amazon delivery trucks serve every part of your town. Find out where they keep their lockers and store fronts. Whole Foods is Amazon. There are distribution and fulfillment centers on the outskirts of every major city. Their poisonous ecosystem is growing all around us, and we must hold them accountable for its negative impact on our lives. We must show Amazon that there is popular and widespread resistance everywhere they threaten.

Let’s take the initiative, let’s stop Amazon before it’s too late! There’s no time but now!

Share the results of your campaign in whatever way you see fit. You can email us anonymously at nohq2@protonmail.com

THE ONLY PLACE AMAZON SHOULD BUILD ITS NEW HEADQUARTERS IS IN THE NINTH CIRCLE OF HELL!
Categories: News

A Fight for Freedom: No Racist, Sexist Fascists in DC

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:12

The post A Fight for Freedom: No Racist, Sexist Fascists in DC appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following is a call to oppose an upcoming gathering of Alt-Lite trolls in Washington DC.

We’re in year two of the Trump regime, and the US is drifting dangerously towards fascism. Trump’s volunteer propaganda team, champions of fake news, misogyny, and racism, will come to DC to make a mockery of “freedom.” We will protest outside. Real freedom is in the streets.

Who are the Alt-Lite and far-Right trolls that seem to exist to spreading disinformation and fake news? Mike Cernovich is best known for pushing the "Pizzagate" conspiracy. In 2016 he attempted to place himself within the Alt-Right, but soon joined the 'Alt-Lite' faction. pic.twitter.com/0bSMDkMjQi

— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) December 19, 2017

The fascists will descend upon Washington DC the evening of Saturday, February 24th, for an evening of sipping fine wine and expensive delicacies. They’re calling their fancy event, “A Night for Freedom.” We are not fooled. We know that their vision is one that protects the oppressive status quo, protects a system predominantly run by rich white men like them and like Trump at the expense of everyone else. Starting at 5 PM, we will protest. We will announce our location as soon as the fascists announce their venue.

A Lot of Cernovich's escapades, from Pizzagate to his disgusting discussion of sexual assault and rape, can be found here: https://t.co/OW0USwGGKM

— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) December 19, 2017

This fascist event is organized by Mike Cernovich, who once tweeted “date rape does not exist.” Cernovich was himself accused of rape, and likes to describe his own very rapey behavior. He was given a seven-figure settlement in a divorce, allowing him a lot of time to tweet pro-Trump propaganda and accuse everyone he disagrees with of pedophilia. Cernovich was one of the lead promoters of the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which led a man to walk into Comet Ping-Pong with a gun and shoot the place up, all based on the lies Cernovich had spread. Cernovich also participated in the gamergate harassment of women attempting to address sexism in video games. He bullies. He’s anti-trans and anti-immigrant. He tweets that his semen has mystical powers. He’s a terrible person.

Fascism and sexism go hand in hand. The links are clear between rape apologists and Trump, who himself bragged about sexual assault and has defended domestic abusers. A hallmark of fascism is toxic masculinity, the type that seeks dominance and avoids accountability, the type that seeks to control women, that denies sexual assault and domestic violence, and that wishes to persecute immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and anyone they believe they can oppress.

Mike Cernovich gets caught red-handed in Pizzagate lie

Why is Mike allowed to stay on twitter orchestrating smear campaign after smear campaign? He regularly doxes people he doesn't like. He is a danger to society. @jack @twitter @twittersupport @twittergov pic.twitter.com/UZ2w794SCx

— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) November 18, 2017

We antifascists are those who value real freedom. Opposing fascism is true humanity. Immigrants, Muslims, women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, the poor and working class, and anyone who recognizes the humanity of all people stand united against fascism, authoritarianism, and oppression. We value our differences, the vibrant living Earth, and a future that includes all of us.

We will hold a public rally outside the fascist banquet. The event will feature a variety of speakers who are DC organizers, music, signage, etc. We will gather the community, make noise, and stop them.

Mike Cernovich discusses his love of choking women and being arrested for rape. #Conyers pic.twitter.com/Sjkbz6P6Wz

— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) November 21, 2017

We will convene at 5 PM outside their venue. The right-wing organizers have not yet made public the location of their event because they know we are successful at getting them shut down. Their event will occur on the final night of the “Conservative Political Action Conference” (CPAC), but is expected to be at a different location than the CPAC conference itself. Please stay tuned! We will announce the location as soon as it is known.

FREEDOM IS IN THE STREETS!

THIS CALL TO ACTION: This was written by a committee of members of the DC Antifascist Collective, who were empowered to do so by a process of consensus by the body of the collective as a whole.

ORGANIZERS, POTENTIAL SPEAKERS: Please contact us through our Facebook page if you wish to speak/collaborate/volunteer/participate in this protest event. Please note that only vetted individuals will gain traction in communicating with us, as there is a strong likelihood that the right-wing organizers may attempt to infiltrate our planning process.

MORE INFORMATION:

The cast of characters who are organizing the fancy fascist event will include notorious right-wing personalities such as James O’Keefe, Cassandra Fairbanks, John Goldman (aka “Jack Murphy”), Stefan Molyneux, and Jack Posobiec, who has recently launched a PAC with Cernovich oriented toward getting far-Right fascist candidates elected to office.

Cernovich, Posobiec, and their lackeys have conducted targeted disinformation campaigns, including Pizzagate, planting a “Rape Melania” sign in a crowd of anti-Trump protesters, and planting other signs such as a pro-pedophilia sign in a crowd of antifascist protesters. Many of their disinformation campaigns occur under the guise of other fake troll accounts.

Lucian Wintrich, one of Milo's associates, is also a White House correspondent and writes for the conspiracy website, The Gateway Pundit. Recently, Wintrich gave a speech based on a neo-Nazi meme alongside a Proud Boy who attended Unite the Right. https://t.co/abnFTMxB9N

— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) December 19, 2017

These fascists are often called the “Alt Lite.” They are careful to keep the most extreme Nazis at a distance while maintaining an air of plausible deniability. They claim they’re not white supremacists, but they are indeed immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, heteronormative, right-wing-meme-generating liars whose work has contributed to the rise of the most hateful elements of the “Alt Right.”

We must oppose these fascists. We have put the “Alt Right” on the defensive. Now our focus must shift to these “Alt Lite” personalities. They may not wear swastikas or perform Nazi salutes in public but they pursue the same policy agenda that the most extreme, hateful factions of the far-Right pursue.

What do we do when we need to defend our communities against their brand of domination, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism? We get out into the streets and oppose them!

Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 02-13-2018

Anarchist News - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:08

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio02132018

Kathan co-hosts. Epidemic of loneliness, epidemic of despair. Life expectancy
slipping. Pinker's new, nutso Enlightenment Now. Narcissism e.g. "The Bride
May Now Kiss Herself." Few anarchists seem to notice what's happening in society
at large. Missile proliferation - like the rest of technology. Open season on cops.
Sea level rise accelerating, extinction crisis in Australia, enormous East China
Sea oil spill. E-skin. What is resistance? Action news.

Tags: KZjzKarlcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Steve Keen on Whether Mainstream Economics Can Save Us From Another Financial Crisis

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

"Left Out," a podcast produced by Paul Sliker, Dante Dallavalle and Michael Palmieri, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists and organizers on the Left. Follow "Left Out" on Twitter: @leftoutpodcast

In this episode, "Left Out" speaks with Professor Steve Keen about his latest book, Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis?, as well as the failure of mainstream economics.

A decade after the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression, it is still popular belief among the public and mainstream press that "no one saw" the 2007-08 financial crisis coming. The truth is, however, that a handful of unorthodox economists had the foresight to warn of the crisis, and were able to develop and apply the right analytical framework to the large amounts of empirical data available, allowing them to forecast why and how it would happen. 

In late 2005, Keene became one of the first in this tiny club of economists to get it right (and one of only two do so with mathematical models), earning himself the Revere Award from the Real-World Economics Review for "being the economist who most cogently warned of the crisis, and whose work is most likely to prevent future crises."

So what distinguishes Keen's approach to economics from the mainstream theory (also known as "Neoclassical" economics)?

According to Keen, it's because of his focus on the importance of credit in a dynamic, non-equilibrium framework. From that viewpoint, he identifies the ratio of private debt to GDP -- and the rate of change of that ratio -- as a key determinant of the state of the economy.

In the first half of our interview, Professor Keen explains why conventional economic theory doesn't describe capitalism accurately, as well as Hyman Minsky's hypothesis on the significance of private debt in the economy -- something that is largely ignored by the predominant "Neoclassical" school of economics today.

In the second half, we turn to the prescriptive. Keen contends the main thing people need to think about is that "as well as workers and capitalists we have creditors and debtors in this economy -- and by far the most important social clash these days is not between workers and capitalists, it's between the financial sector and the rest of the economy."

As for the left, Keen thinks in order to win it must be less reactive and more intelligent in their campaigning, otherwise the future we'll face "will be that of The Hunger Games and not of a democratic society." That means focusing more on the role of private debt than on wage campaigns or unionization, and fighting for a modern debt jubilee and universal basic income.

Keen wraps up our discussion with his forecast for the global economy and gives us his predictions for what countries are most likely to face a crisis in the next one to three years.

Did you know? Truthout is a nonprofit publication and the vast majority of our budget comes from reader donations. It's easy to support our work -- click here to get started.

Categories: News

As Lawmakers Debate Future of DACA, What Will It Take for Democrats to Protect Dreamers?

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are continuing to debate the future of DACA, the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants permission to live and work in the United States. Republican lawmakers are pushing to include an amendment to punish so-called sanctuary cities as part of any immigration legislation to protect DREAMers. Meanwhile, a second federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from canceling DACA. On Tuesday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis in New York issued an injunction to keep the program temporarily in place, warning its cancellation would have "profound and irreversible" social costs, writing, "It is impossible to understand the full consequences of a decision of this magnitude." For more, we speak with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee and vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

Lawmakers Demand Kelly's Ouster and Trump's Impeachment

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

Rep. Pramila Jayapal talks about the scandal embroiling the White House over former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after evidence surfaced that he had abused his two ex-wives. On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate that the FBI had told the White House about the physical and verbal abuse allegations that were holding up Porter's background check months earlier than the White House has admitted. Jayapal talks about why she has called for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign, as well as her support for impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

DC Police and the Feds Partner With Hard Right to Convict Trump Protesters

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

 Emily Molli / NurPhoto via Getty Images)A shredded flag is thrown to the ground before Seattle police during a Freedom Rally at University of Washington in Seattle on February 10, 2018. At least five people were taken into policy custody at a right-wing rally that attracted hundreds of protesters to the University of Washington campus. (Photo: Emily Molli / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Washington, DC, police and federal prosecutors have been collaborating with notorious right-wing groups known for fascist statements and using doctored videos to ambush their targets in an attempt to convict and jail protesters from President Trump's inauguration.

The question is not whether the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the US Attorney's office in Washington, DC, are working with Oath Keepers, a group of cops and veterans with rabid anti-government views, and Project Veritas, a far-right group known for fabricating accounts to ambush the media and the political left.

The question is, how deep is the relationship between the police, federal prosecutors and these extremists? And in MPD's case, are Washington police breaking the law, as its city council has passed laws barring them from spying on protesters or protest groups?

"It's extraordinarily dangerous for prosecutors and police to be accepting information and evidence from politically motivated organizations that are intending to work against their political opponents," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director and constitutional rights attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. "That's not how they're supposed to operate."

"So when the US Attorney's Office takes video from the widely discredited Project Veritas, in fact, edited video, and submits it into evidence in an effort to prosecute protesters and put them away for decades in prison, it is critically important that the public has an opportunity to see what's going on behind those scenes, and to know what the relationships are that the Metropolitan Police Department, the DC police department, or any police department, has with right-wing organizations," she said. "They simply can't be working in collaboration."

The capital's cops and right-wingers are apparently working together, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by PCJF against DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Karl A. Racine in the US Attorney's office. They want to force the police and prosecutors to turn over all documentation of the relationship between their agencies and right-wing groups that was "used to prosecute persons whose political views are in apparent opposition to the political goals of the providing entities," as the lawsuit said.

"What we are trying to get at is the nature and extent of the relationship, of the DC police department working with Project Veritas, Oath Keepers and other entities," Verheyden-Hilliard said. "We know for a fact that the police department worked with Project Veritas, obtaining edited video that group created when it infiltrated organizations that were planning protests for [President] Trump's inauguration. And in fact, the US Attorney's office in Washington, DC, introduced that video in their failed prosecution of six people caught in that dragnet arrest on January 20. There are still dozens of cases pending. But in the initial round, they tried to prosecute six people for having been in proximity to a demonstration, where other people are alleged to have engaged in acts of property damage at other locations and times separate from the location and time of the arrest."

Astoundingly, federal prosecutors introduced the doctored video evidence made by Project Veritas the same week the Washington Post reported that the group had tried to bait the paper with a fabricated account by a fellow right-winger who accused Alabama Republican Roy Moore -- then a US Senate candidate -- of sexual harassment. (Moore has been accused by a series of women, first reported by the Post.) 

"So they did introduce this video into evidence" to try to convict six protesters from Trump's inauguration, Verheyden-Hilliard said. "It was created by Project Veritas. The police also were given video that they used, and the US Attorney's office used, from the right-wing militia Oath Keepers. When they introduced that video in court, it was the exact same week that Project Veritas was exposed for trying to plant a fake story in the Washington Post. So we immediately filed a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] demand, seeking records showing the nature of the police department and its officers and Project Veritas, Oath Keepers and any other private entity that is providing intelligence information to the MPD. And they refused to respond to that request. We have even had followup inquiry and they are absolutely silent. They will not respond, so we sued them for the documents."

There is a long history of police working with right-wing groups to subvert the organizing and speech rights of social justice groups. On Friday, the Guardian reported police in California were working with white supremacists before June 2016 anti-fascist protests in Sacramento, the state capital, to target protesters for arrest. That wasn't the only example cited, either. "At an Oregon 'alt-right' event, police allowed a member of a right-wing militia-style group to help officers arrest an anti-fascist activist," it reported. "Police in Charlottesville were widely accused of standing by as Nazis attacked protesters, and a black man who was badly beaten by white supremacists was later charged with a felony."

A generation ago, the San Francisco Police Department was caught working with the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish civil rights group, to "spy, harass and intimidate" pro-Palestine activists, as the New York Times reported in 1993. But one big difference between the California state police and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington is that the District of Columbia's city council has explicitly passed laws barring the city's police from spying on and framing protesters.

That law came after the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sued the city after anti-globalization protests more than a dozen years ago.

"We have information showing during the anti-globalization movement that police agencies in both Washington, DC, and Philadelphia were readily obtaining and using politically created false information by right-wing organizations. It's very dangerous," Verheyden-Hilliard said. "But in Washington, DC, we put these restrictions in place under the law. So there's a key component here, which is, the police are actually barred by law -- there are restrictions on their surveillance of political protest groups. And we are very concerned that they are actually trying to outsource that by working with these right-wing organizations to do what the police are barred by law from doing. But, in our view, that would still be illegal. We don't think that they can actually work as a proxy."

It's chilling to recall what the capital's police did a dozen years ago, and to ponder who they're partnering with today to apparently evade restrictions on that behavior. 

"We found that the DC police were sending agent provocateurs into peaceful organizing meetings, encouraging people to undertake acts of violence, which were rejected," Verheyden-Hilliard said. "We found that they were sending cops on long-term assignment pretending to be social justice activists. They were going into people's homes. They were participating in their meetings in an active capacity. And when we were finally able to bring this to light, after some years of litigation, there were laws put into place to make it clear that the police could not conduct themselves in those ways."  

But some police departments are conducting themselves in that manner -- and not just in Washington.

"It is shocking and really angering to see the level of collusion and the amount to which the police covered up for the [neo-]Nazis," Yvette Felarca, "a Berkeley teacher and anti-fascist organizer charged with assault and rioting after participating in the June 2016 Sacramento rally, where she said she was stabbed and bludgeoned in the head," told the Guardian. "The people who were victimized by the [neo-]Nazis were then victimized by the police and the district attorneys."

While this police tactic is not new, Verheyden-Hilliard said Trump has given extremists in police ranks his blessing to go after the political left.

"With Trump taking over the presidency, and his comments before and after, he made it clear that he's giving a green light to the police to act against social justice demonstrators," she said. "He has heralded police brutality as an acceptable form of policing. And I think he has certainly sent a message to police forces and to anyone inside those police forces who has an affinity for any of these right-wing organizations that it's completely acceptable to act on their views in the context of policing. We can see with Charlottesville real questionable police conduct; their failure to act against white supremacists and neo-Nazi demonstrators, while simultaneously acting against social justice demonstrators."

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Categories: News

Trump's Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

Trump's infrastructure plan, which he rolled out on Monday, looks to public/private partnerships at the state level to pay for investment. Hunter Blair, budget analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, discusses why Trump's proposal will harm more people and the need to rethink what constitutes "infrastructure."

 KOMUnews)A car drives over a crumbling Missouri bridge on February 22, 2011. (Photo: KOMUnews)

Support from readers provides Truthout with vital funds to keep investigating what mainstream media won't cover. Fund more stories like this by donating now!

Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. We're now more than a year into the Trump administration, and activists have scored some important victories in those months. Yet there is always more to be done, and for many people, the question of where to focus and how to help remains. In this series, we talk with organizers, agitators and educators, not only about how to resist, but how to build a better world. Today's interview is the 110th in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

Today we bring you a conversation with Hunter Blair, the budget analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. Blair discusses Trump's newly released infrastructure plan and explains why unloading the burden of majority of funding to states and localities is the wrong approach.

Sarah Jaffe: We are talking on Monday. The Trump infrastructure plan, if we can call it that, has been released, and you have been looking at the potential things that might be in it for a while. Tell us about what the overall structure of this thing is, what is in it, and what should we be afraid of?

Hunter Blair: I think the structure of the plan is what we expected to see. It is only $200 billion in federal funding, as opposed to the headline claims of either $1.5 trillion or $1 trillion that the administration had been claiming. Of that, $100 billion goes to this sort of grant program that kicks the funding decisions to states and localities. They are required to come up with 80 percent of the funding and the federal government only provides 20 percent. There is $50 billion for rural projects. All of it comes back to what appears to be their belief that state and local governments need to spend even more on funding our infrastructure. Then, there are quite a lot of boilerplate claims about leveraging the private sector.

Let's talk about the state funding question right now because there is.... Well, there are a couple of big problems with taking it all to the states. 

State and local governments already account for the vast majority of our public infrastructure spending. [The Congressional Budget Office] had a report where 77 percent of public infrastructure spending on transportation and water infrastructure comes from state and local governments. It strikes me that if we think that this type of system has led to an underinvestment in infrastructure, kicking still further of the onus onto the states seems wrong.

Then, of course, there is the problem that ... unlike the federal government, states can't really run a deficit.

Yes, that is absolutely right. As far as funding is concerned, if the federal government is unwilling to fund it and sends the decisions to the states, states are going to have to raise taxes or put tolls or user fees on whichever piece of infrastructure, because, as you say, they can't run the sorts of deficits that the federal government can.

There are several questions about what this is going to look like in practice. What kinds of infrastructure are we talking about here? He has made some promises all over the place, but when it comes down to it, what kinds of things are they suggesting be built?

As far as their claims about leveraging the private sector, what we are talking about there are mostly very large mega-projects. Things that you would see in big urban areas. That is the main takeaway for most of the funding. There is the small rural account, but it is $50 billion over 10 years.

Obviously, we have crumbling infrastructure on many levels. One of the big ones ... on a lot of people's minds still is clean water. I live in a small city in New York that has water problems. Flint still doesn't have clean water. Is there anything at all in this plan, such as it is, that would take into account things like that?

Unless a state or local government decided that that was where to put a particular part of the funding, no. Even then, we have already seen how states and local governments have responded to the types of funding constraints that they are under, and so the idea that we are going to get some sort of noticeable increase in infrastructure with a plan like this -- and particularly noticeable increases in places that were having trouble getting state and local governments to fund fully -- seems wrong.

One of the big reasons that people wanted to talk about a big massive infrastructure project is, of course ... job creation, and particularly the kinds of jobs that people have been losing.... Under a plan like this that is contingent on states eking out some money and/or private companies doing things, what does the picture around job creation look like here?

As far as states and local governments ... since this isn't a real infrastructure plan and it is just kicking all of the decisions to states and local governments, we have seen how they have responded to those decisions. We have seen the underinvestment. So, getting more jobs from this is not likely to happen. As far as the public/private partnership type of things go, what we are looking at is, historically [public/private partnerships] have avoided ... prevailing wage laws. It is very probable that if, let's say there was a significant increase in infrastructure, if a lot of that came from public/private partnerships, it would not be surprising if these were much worse jobs than they should have been.

Let's go a little bit deeper about this public/private partnership thing. It is kind of a buzz term that gets thrown around a lot by politicians of both parties, frankly. Talk a little bit about the history of what [they] look like in practice where we have seen them operate and what the pitfalls have been.

You are right, we hear about it a lot from a lot of politicians about very boilerplate claims, "We are going to leverage the private sector to find this many dollars." At the end of the day, private entities don't bring any more funding to the table. Either the federal government is going to fund it or you are going to be looking at taxes or tolls or user fees. Private companies do not build our infrastructure for free and they don't manage or maintain anything of the sort for free and they expect to earn a return. They will earn that return through partnerships that allow them to collect tolls or pay them through state and local taxes. Leveraging the private sector, it gets thrown around a lot, but it certainly doesn't bring any new money to the table.

It just brings a different type of financing to the table. It brings that financing at a time [when] interest rates are still incredibly low. It seems like also the wrong time to be talking about it. Along with that, public/private partnerships bring their own sorts of problems that you have to deal with. Typically, the public sector has provided infrastructure in the US because a lot of infrastructure has natural monopoly characteristics: high fixed costs and low marginal costs that would allow private companies to keep out competitors. This means that they would have the incentives to hike prices or deteriorate the service quality, which means even if a private sector entity is providing the infrastructure or managing the infrastructure, you still need a strong role for the public sector in regulating it to ensure efficient pricing or good service quality. Again, you are not really getting around needing a strong public role by introducing public/private partnerships.

I am just picturing a giant bridge over the Hudson River that says "Trump" on it in gold. What are you going to do? Sell naming rights to infrastructure? It makes no sense to me. But I guess that is the slippage here -- as you say "public/private partnership" and what that actually means is that we give public goods to private ownership. Then, it gets a name.

Talk a little bit about what an actual infrastructure plan that fixed problems that we know we have -- like crumbling bridges and water that poisons children -- and what ideally that would look like to put people to work and fix problems and maybe keep us all from dying in a climate change catastrophe.

I think, ideally, we have seen how much the state and local governments have taken on and have seen where that has gotten us as far as underinvestment in infrastructure across the board. I think that an ideal infrastructure project would be on that size -- $1 trillion, $1.5 trillion, $2 trillion -- but it would be real federal dollars put on the table to make the sorts of investments we need. Beyond that, I think public investment is larger than just infrastructure. We should be investing in early childhood education and things like that.

It is interesting to think about the kinds of things and the kinds of jobs that are considered "infrastructure investments" and "infrastructure jobs." That we don't think about our public schools as infrastructure in the same way that we think about a bridge.

Right, but it is absolutely a part of the type of public investments that our country needs. It should be part of a broad public investment plan.

The plan is now out. People have been talking about it, thinking about it, organizing around these issues of infrastructure for a while. What can people do to pressure for real investments -- not giveaways to private companies and dumping the responsibility on the state?

I think you do what you typically do. Call your congressperson or senator and tell them about the type of infrastructure plan that you would actually like to see: real infrastructure investment from the federal government, not just kicking it to states and localities to figure out where to get funding from.

How can people find out more about this and keep up with your work?

You can find out more at www.EPI.org.

Interviews for Resistance is a project of Sarah Jaffe, with assistance from Laura Feuillebois and support from the Nation Institute. It is also available as a podcast on iTunes. Not to be reprinted without permission.

Categories: News

How Progressives Can Criticize Trump's $7 Trillion Deficit Without Preaching Austerity

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

 Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)Protesters demonstrate near the full Senate budget committee markup of the tax reform legislation on Capital Hill November 28, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)

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Deficit spending isn't a sign of moral or economic failure. But looking at the headlines about the Trump administration's last few weeks of economic policymaking, you might think otherwise.

Referring to Democrats and Republicans both, The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson bemoans that, "Ever-larger budget deficits have become their means of making policy and practicing politics." He points to the $1.7 trillion spending agreement reached last week, the $1.4 trillion tax plan passed recently and the White House's 2019 budget proposal, which -- if passed in full (something that basically never happens) -- would add $7 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade.

As John Cassidy at the New Yorker puts it, "the country's finances will be in a wretched state once the GOP's recent tax-cut bill is fully enacted." He laments the "sea of red ink that now stretches into the indefinite future." We have to "keep the deficit numbers in check," he says. But Republicans -- committed to small government and even smaller budgets -- simply aren't up to the task. The irony!

Top Democrats adopted a similar line. "If you're a deficit hawk you've got to be a deficit hawk all the way through," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a crowd on in response to Rand Paul's rejection of the budget deal, noting the Republican's hypocrisy in voting for the GOP tax cuts. "For both sides to get the deficit down, each side can't say, 'Well I'm a deficit hawk on this issue but not on that issue.' If we're going to get the deficit down."

In the push to condemn Trump, it seems that everyone's become a deficit hawk, blurring the line between calling out Republican hypocrisy and Democrats' proclamations that America needs to get its fiscal house in order before slipping irreparably into the red. Yet, the problem with the budget the White House proposed Monday lies not in the amount of money it proposes to spend -- but the programs it aims to cut. The plan would take a sledgehammer to America's social safety net and public sphere, cutting deeply into Medicare and food stamps while selling off vital national infrastructure. So why are Democrats still fixating on the debt as Republicans abandon the pretense that it ever mattered?

The GOP has been lying about the impacts of the federal deficit for well over 30 years. Despite campaigning against so-called wasteful spending, Republican administrations have reliably driven up huge deficits: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford are responsible for the third, fourth and fifth largest debt hikes over the course of an administration, respectively. Today's breed of deficit hawkishness might most accurately be traced back to budget talks in the mid-1990s, when Republican strategists ingeniously compared the finances of the world's largest economy with the everyday economic trade-offs of hardworking Americans.

"You simply can't draw enough parallels to the family budgeting process," pollster Frank Luntz has advised GOP lawmakers. "It forces voters to evaluate the U.S. budget for what it is, rather than as some abstract governing concept … Keep it simple and force Americans to apply some common-sense kitchen-table economics to the budget process."

NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley echoed that refrain on Sunday, arguing that "if you outspend your paychecks a month, you might put the difference on your credit card. The government does the same."

Americans poring over their monthly bills, of course, don't enjoy either the power of taxation or access to a sovereign currency. The issue when the federal government deficit-spends money isn't the amount they spend, but what they spend it on: There's no finite amount of cash the Treasury is pulling out of a vault. There are also no ominous bill collectors -- vigilante Chinese bondholders, for instance -- who are going to cross the Pacific Ocean to shake us down for what they're owed and threaten our sovereignty, no matter which party drives up the bill. Simply put, there's no inherent reason to worry about the size of the deficit itself.

As former Senate Budget Committee chief economist Stephanie Kelton said recently, Republicans' outright embrace of deficit spending in this context should be treated as a gift to Democrats. "Take that gift," she said, "and say, 'Look, you're willing to do $1.5 trillion. We're willing to do $1.5 trillion. But you're making your check paid to the order of big wealthy corporations and the richest people in this country. Let me show you how we're going to write our checks for $1.5 trillion.'"

Some push back against Kelton's line of thinking by arguing that that, while there's a time and place for deficit spending, an economy that's close to full employment simply isn't one of them. "There is no comparable case for deficits now, with the economy near full employment and the Fed raising interest rates to head off potential inflation," Paul Krugman writes of the budget deal, referencing big spending outlays during the recovery in 2012. "If anything, we should be using this time of relatively full employment to pay down debt, or at least reduce it relative to G.D.P."

But why? A growing deficit has little effect on the macroeconomy, and can be spent on important goods like infrastructure and job creation that would be a sum positive for the public. Markets balked recently over fears of inflation -- something which could theoretically rise if the economy truly does become overheated -- but there's little reason to expect it will anytime soon. Common wisdom has held that a so-called "natural rate" of unemployment around 5.5 percent is ideal for warding off inflation, yet the unemployment rate has fallen steadily below that since 2015, with few signs of inflation on the horizon.

Economist Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, suggests seeing how low unemployment can drop before inflation kicks in, in the process improving the lot of people still struggling to recover from the last recession. While the economy is relatively close to what we call full employment, nearly all the jobs the United States has created since 2005 have been temporary. Wages are only just now starting to rise for the first time in years. If the economy really is moving in the right direction, why stop stimulus spending now?

"The unemployment rate has now been well below [5.5 percent] for more than two-and-a-half years," Baker writes, "and there is still no evidence of an inflationary spiral. In fact, the inflation rate remains well below the Federal Reserve's 2-percent target."

Deficit hawkishness has been a Republican con for decades. That a few people were dumb enough to drink the Kool Aid in that time isn't all that surprising. Take Mick Mulvaney, who is now inexplicably both the head of the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As a Tea Party Congressman from South Carolina, he pushed to cap spending and balance the federal budget, and arrived to the Trump Administration promising to "restore fiscal sanity."

Introducing the 2019 budget proposal Monday, Mulvaney admitted that it wouldn't amount to a balanced budget, going on to say, "I will always be a deficit hawk … I am today, I was yesterday, I am tomorrow." But whether Mulvaney, Paul Ryan or other alleged deficit hawks actually believe what they say can be left up to their therapists: What's relevant is how they actually vote.

For years, cable news channels gave equal time to earth scientists and climate deniers, poisoning the national debate on global warming to disastrous effect. The conversation around the deficit might be even more dire still: Deficit hawkishness -- based on a series of fantasies about how modern economies work -- has by now become common wisdom, including among otherwise shrewd pundits and politicians. Fearmongering about the debt is its own kind of trap. Doing so in the name of partisan politics is another. With any hope, Democrats will avoid both in crafting their own policies moving forward.

Categories: News

Trump's Presidential Portrait: Say Cheese

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00
Categories: News

Scholar David Harvey Discusses His New Book and Why Marxist Analysis Is More Relevant Than Ever

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

Left Out, a podcast produced by Michael Palmieri, Dante Dallavalle and Paul Sliker, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists, and organizers on the Left. Please support Left Out on Patreon. Left Out needs your support to keep this show running.

David Harvey is arguably the most influential living geographer, as well as one of the world's leading Marxist scholars. He is among the most cited intellectuals of all time across the humanities and social sciences.

Harvey currently works as distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at CUNY, where he has been teaching Marx's Capital: Critique of Political Economy for more than four decades. His course on Marx's Capital has been downloaded by over 2 million people internationally since appearing online in 2008.

Harvey is also a famous author of several bestselling books, including The Enigma of CapitalA Brief History of Neoliberalism17 Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, and many more.

His latest book, Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason, makes the core of Karl Marx's thinking in the three volumes of Capital clear and accessible for the lay reader, without compromising their depth and complexity.

As Harvey argues in this interview, most people who read Capital often stop after the 1,152 pages of Volume I, which is very problematic if you want to understand the workings of capital as a totality.

We ask Harvey why understanding all three volumes of Capital is so crucial, and why technological, economic and industrial change over the last 150 years makes Marx's analysis more relevant now than ever.

In the last half of the discussion, we probe into whether it's necessary for social movements today to develop a stronger institutional basis for understanding how capital and capitalism works, and ask Harvey what the left must focus on to effectively organize for a better economy and society. 

Did you know? Truthout is a nonprofit publication and the vast majority of our budget comes from reader donations. It's easy to support our work -- click here to get started.
Categories: News

After Surviving London's Grenfell Tower Disaster, Immigrants May Face Deportation

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

 A number of survivors from London's Grenfell Tower tragedy last June, which saw at least 71 people die in a tower block blaze caused by poor fire safety measures, may now face deportation after the deadline for applying for an immigration "amnesty" passed on Jan. 31. There is also a risk that family members might be investigated and deported.

Undocumented migrants living in Grenfell Tower were offered an amnesty period of a year, provided they applied before this deadline. Critics say the deadline was inadequately publicized and that the process risks hampering the forthcoming inquiry into the fire by potentially discouraging and preventing residents from giving evidence.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced in Parliament just after the fire that she would not use the tragedy as a way to clamp down on residents' immigration status. She then performed a U-turn and undocumented immigrants were promised only the year-long amnesty.

"The Justice4Grenfell campaign is outraged that survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who have core participation status in the upcoming public inquiry could face the possibility of deportation," said a spokesperson for the campaign, which developed immediately after the fire tragedy.

"Immediately after the disaster Theresa May said no one should feel scared about coming forward. Then Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis announced a pitiful one-year amnesty for undocumented migrants living in the tower. Now he has said survivors can apply for permanent residence, but only after a five-year period of regular observation by the state."

Justice4Grenfell campaigners are deeply concerned about May's inability to stick to her promises and the impact of her decision on the inquiry. They say residents who manage not to be deported will still be afraid of being identified and may decide to stay silent.

"This constant shifting of the immigration policy has meant that people will not come forward with crucial information for the public inquiry and the criminal investigation. Relatives who were granted visas in the aftermath of the fire now face the possibility of their visas expiring," the spokesperson added.

"Yet in some cases, it has taken over four months for remains to be released and funerals to take place. This could mean that families will have to leave the UK before any substantive hearings at inquests or the public inquiry, and before any completion of the police investigation and criminal proceedings."

According to Dr. Nando Sigona, deputy director at the University of Birmingham's Institute for Research into Superdiversity, "The so-called 'amnesty' for undocumented residents was not something the government conceded without sustained pressure from community groups and activists, and it came with two big caveats: A deadline for applying that just expired and a 12-month sell-by date.

"This means that even those who benefitted from it are now just a few months away from fearing deportation."

Sigona says the situation is symptomatic of the government's "single-minded obsession" with immigration, even in the wake of a tragedy like Grenfell. "To me the greatest obstacle to people coming forward was the limited duration of the amnesty," Sigona told Occupy.com. "Those who applied and came forward are now especially vulnerable as their names and whereabouts are known to the authorities."

Responding to criticism of the immigration crackdown on Grenfell residents, Britain's Home Office said: "The welfare of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire is a top priority for this government. That is why we introduced a policy to encourage people who may have feared enforcement action to come forward and access the support they need. If anyone were to come forward after the deadline, we would still consider them for leave outside of the immigration rules as an exceptional case."

The Home Office insists that the amnesty deadline was sufficiently publicized, stating, "Our policy has been promoted online and by teams and stakeholders on the ground and has also received extensive media coverage." But there is no evidence that residents were sent any written correspondence, meaning that many people without internet access, or who did not encounter Home Office representatives "on the ground", may have been unaware of the deadline.

The Labour party has been particularly vocal in its opposition to the government's plans. Labour MP Diane Abbott wrote a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd in which she pointed out that many of the survivors "have been granted core participant status for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, however it appears that arrangements have not been made to secure their stay in relation to it". She ended the letter by asking that Grenfell survivors and their families receive "indefinite leave to remain on a discretionary basis". Rudd has yet to respond to Abbott's letter.

With many survivors' visas due to run out in the next few weeks, time is short for politicians and campaigners to reverse the government's decision and halt the deportations. To many, the government's agenda seems clear: Not only is the move symptomatic of a wider attempt to push immigrants out of the UK, but it risks severely compromising a fair inquiry into a serious incident at a time when the UK government's credibility is already on the line.

The Grenfell Tower tragedy, which occurred in a council-run tower block, affected people on low incomes as well as those with uncertain immigration status. For many observers, May's government is showing once again how overtly and shamelessly it is capable of robbing the underdog of a voice.

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Categories: News

A Feminist's Guide to Rom-Coms and How to Watch Them

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00
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Today is Valentine's Day, which means lots of chocolate, teddy bears, and single ladies being made to feel especially inadequate. Some might celebrate Galentine's Day instead, some might skip on acknowledging the holiday at all, and some, myself included, will be holed up watching romantic comedies.

The internet is filled with lists of which rom-coms will "get you through" Valentine's Day" -- the assumption seems to be that, otherwise, we singles would be festering alone in our living rooms, drinking vodka and singing "All By Myself" à la Bridget Jones. I enjoy the genre, but as a feminist I have some qualms.

Romantic comedies, particularly "the classics" of the genre, can be problematic by today's standards of feminism. Movies like Pretty Woman and Princess Bride tend to perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes and romanticize men's predatory behavior. Not to mention they are usually limited to depicting heterosexual relationships between an attractive cis man and an equally, perhaps even more, attractive cis woman. (LGBTQ folks: Here's a list of rom-coms that drown out the heteronormative noise.) Lastly, if rom-coms are marketed to single women, then why are they mostly written and directed by men? (That's a rhetorical question.)

Despite all this, rom-coms are stunningly popular. How do you reconcile your love of rom-coms with your staunch feminism?

Monique Jones, a pop culture critic and entertainment journalist, says that it's OK if you like problematic rom-coms. "That doesn't make us any less of an activist, it doesn't make us any less down for the cause. It's just being a human -- and being part of a culture that has indoctrinated us to believe certain things, whether or not they're true," she says.

However, as feminists we do have to hold ourselves accountable, Jones says. Here are three tips on how to be a responsible rom-com consumer.

1. Be Aware of How You're Internalizing the Underlying Messages

One of the biggest problems with the genre is that it tends to reinforce problematic ideas of romance. Contrary to rom-com plots, it's actually not an outrageous notion for a man to love you "just as you are" (Bridget Jones's DiaryTrainwreckPretty WomanGrease), but it actually is outrageous for a man to consistently ignore your rejections and relentlessly pursue you (The Notebook10 Things I Hate About You50 First Dates, Breakfast at Tiffany's).

"There are a lot of patriarchal things in society that we've grown up with that we've just assumed are normal. And those same ideals get stuck in these movies. That's why so many of them don't get called out as being problematic, even though they are indicative of larger problems in society," Jones says.

Once you're aware of the patriarchal underpinnings of these movies, you can more objectively decide what you believe is romantic. For example, maybe you don't think it's romantic to pretend to be someone's fiancée while they are in a coma and have no idea who you are. It's creepy, Sandra Bullock.

2. Be Conscious of What/Who You're Supporting

This takes some research, but it's worth it (IMDB will be your new best friend). Jones suggests learning what you can about the movie: Who's the director? Who wrote it? Who acts in it? What's the premise? "If you don't feel offended, then I think it's fine to watch," Jones says.

And for the movies we don't feel good about -- like anything involving Woody Allen -- consider skipping it. "I can't justify having my head in the sand just to support somebody like Woody Allen," Jones says. She skips anything with his name attached to it.

"I never liked his movies anyway. They don't speak to me, first of all, as a woman, and second of all, as an African-American woman," she says. "I know all the film critics and film students that I have been in contact with say that Woody Allen is a master at doing this and that. But I don't align with anything that he does or is. And that's how I go about it. If what the person does doesn't align with my core values, then I just can't do it."

There are funnier, more romantic movies than Annie Hall, anyway.

3. Opt for Rom-Coms With Fewer or Zero Problems

I know the classics are, well, classics, but why not watch a movie that takes a healthier approach to romance? "There are always movies that are smaller productions, and they might not have the big box-office dollars, but they're still well-crafted, well-made movies," Jones says.

Here's a list of five from Thought Catalog to get you started: Warm Bodies, She's Out of My League, Celeste and Jesse Forever, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Kate and Leopold (sarcasm).

So, my fellow feminist rom-comphiles, don't be discouraged.

There are still a lot of things people can enjoy about romantic comedies, Jones says. "With as much choice as there is out there, a person doesn't have to give up their romantic comedy love altogether."

Categories: News

For the Love of Liberation: Let's Stop Belittling Others and Start Organizing

Truth Out - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:00

 Lauren Walker / Truthout)(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

While critique has its place, sometimes it's overemphasized at the expense of a revolutionary love that can help us get closer to the liberation we want. Liberation can't be achieved through the political system we currently live under, so the system must be abandoned out of love for ourselves and others, before it destroys us.

 Lauren Walker / Truthout)(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

This story is the third in Truthout's "Visions of 2018" series, in which activist leaders answer the question: "What would you like to see created, built, imagined or begun this year?" Each piece will focus on a bold idea for transformation, to give us fuel as the year moves forward.

As activists and artists, how do we motivate others? How do we mobilize people into sustainable movements? As we approach these questions in 2018, we would do well to remember that there's more to organizing and informing people than criticism.

When we take fear into account, it's not surprising to see many who'd rather embrace the lie they know in place of a truth they do not.

I used to hold many of the beliefs, ideas and politics that I find myself regularly denouncing now. Since this is the case, I try to be understanding toward some of the people who may not yet realize the things I've come to understand in my life. El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, popularly known as Malcolm X, stated this perfectly in a letter to Maya Angelou, where he wrote:

We need people on each level to fight our battle. Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today.

The road to better insights, which many of us are still actively traveling on, is often marked by people who take the time to help us learn and grow, and who don't belittle others simply because they're not as informed.

During difficult times like these we're living in, there will always be people who are prone to behave in desperate ways. Some are ready, willing and able to quickly betray themselves and/or others for anything that even just slightly appears to resemble relief or security. They may be capable of committing themselves to the same political missteps that helped lead us all to this despicable moment we're in. Actual progress and change can die and do die at the hands of an overzealous optimism that relies on the same to give us anything new. The same political parties that break promises, the same politicians who cave to the control of the elite, and the same government that has been ruthless from its very beginnings are going to keep doing what they have always done. When we take fear into account, it's not surprising to see many who'd rather embrace the lie they know -- for example, the lie that the US is a functioning democracy -- in place of a truth they do not.

Our current political times are so regressive that human rights like guaranteed health care, housing and fair wages are considered "radical." Capitalism has infected minds across every section of this society. Even among those of us who it oppresses disproportionately, some may defend the abuse they're familiar with; they may even think attempting to utilize this abusive system is the solution to ending their abuse. This happens at the expense of their loved ones and the communities of which they are a part.

I used to hold many of the beliefs, ideas and politics that I find myself regularly denouncing now.

In turn, many on the left are understandably working to critique and confront the liberal idea that the political system and institutions working against us are reformable. While the criticisms of what liberalism has tolerated that led us up to now certainly ring true, the way these criticisms are levied is often counterproductive. Simply insulting and critiquing people is not organizing them.

Like the standard of what's designated "radical" tells us how far behind we are, so, too, does what many people consider liberating and freeing, and what they label "resistance." I personally don't believe anything about the US political system is liberating or freeing. I've accepted that the country my people have had to fight and rebel and bleed and sweat to be a part of is a hindrance to our liberation. This much shouldn't be controversial. Nevertheless, I have the utmost respect for the people who gave so much to get us to this point. The work of those who labored for representation in government, media and civic life should not be trivialized by unreasonable attachment to a blatant lie; that untruth says that what we have at our disposal to reflect our hopes, needs and desires through government is adaptable. It isn't.

Simply insulting and critiquing people is not organizing them.

We should work to understand how people reflect their desire for change, who they pick to represent those desires, and what they have at their disposal to do so because it means everything, even if they are caught up in fruitless cycles that don't yield real results.

The self-expressed desire for people to be free is a common theme across the diverse spectrum of nations and empires. The definition of what freedom is becomes malleable for the sake of oppressive powers that hope to propagandize and push their own agendas. What freedom is not is all around us, decaying, immersing us in its rot. This expired hell that we're all too familiar with should be thrown away, and the love of liberation will help us do that cleaning.

The love of liberation involves critical introspection to truly feel the deeper needs of those who are disposed of and disinherited.

This fight we're in is not about careerism, celebrity or winning as if it's a game. It's also not about waiting. Time alone will not remove the unacceptable, and what we've become familiar with will indeed try to destroy us all before it allows itself to be easily overtaken. This obliges us to take up a revolutionary love, pursue a deeper understanding, and go forth serving the people's needs.

The needs are many: Some need to be fed, need clean water, need to be unconfined, need health care, need a home or safety, need a friend or a teacher or a community. The list goes on. Despite where they are currently at, it's by offering the services that people need (which capitalism fails to give them) that minds and hearts can be changed. Not everyone will make it, or get what it is we're working for. The work of changing this world is extensive, and the pre-revolutionary moment we're in requires us to not expect overnight results.

In love, we can find ourselves freer than in any place entrapped by borders.

This is why liberation is deeper than condescension and criticism. Life and love are much more intricate than the simplicity of tiring reactionary battles. People who have invested their entire beings, hopes and communities into ideas that aren't working are having their hearts broken repeatedly. Broken hearts certainly need mending. And sometimes collective liberation can seem like a dream. But it is real, and it can answer the incompleteness created by repressive disarray.

It's not up to oppressed people to educate their oppressors and organize them. We should never believe that it's required of people experiencing brutality to meet those brutalizing them with patience and understanding -- though if people do choose to do this, it's certainly up to them. However, the prerogative should not be to appease power as much as it should be for us to upend it. What's clear is that people need to be more organized and unaccepting of what's guaranteed to harm us: racial capitalism. And a liberatory framework that fights against repression is love, and that's exactly what we need.

In the coming year, let's focus on the fact that love -- and how we choose to utilize it -- will give us a preview of the safety we've never known. In love, we can find ourselves freer than in any place entrapped by borders. Through love, radical risks actualize revolution and true deliverance.

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Categories: News

Kansas City, MO: Banner Drop Against ICE

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 04:38

The post Kansas City, MO: Banner Drop Against ICE appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following banner drop and report was posted on the Antifa International Instagram account, which we repost here.

The post reads:

[B]anner drop in Kansas bringing attention to two recent ICE captives, both Bangladeshi men who have been living here for more than 10 years.”

Solidarity with all prisoners of ICE! Fuck borders. Chinga la Migra!

Categories: News

Portland, OR: Defend Afrin Action Report Back

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 04:26

The post Portland, OR: Defend Afrin Action Report Back appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following is a report back from Portland, Oregon about a demonstration held in solidarity with resistance to the Turkish State, which is attempting to destroy the autonomous cantons of Rojava. To learn more about the situation on the ground in Rojava, check out our podcast interview on the subject here.

On February 12th, members of Demand Utopia in Portland Oregon gathered during rush hour traffic to spread a message of solidarity with the Kurdish struggle in Rojava and to raise awareness of the necessity to #DefendAfrin.

For the past 7 years, the people of Northern Syria have been developing a revolutionary society based on a confederation of neighborhood assemblies that embrace feminism, secularism, and radical environmentalism. Heavily influenced by the ideas of Adulah Occalan who in turn was inspired by the praxis of American anarchist and communalist Murray Bookchin and their philosophy of social ecology. The movement in Rojava is currently locked into a life or death struggle against the fascistic Turkish regime. A regime bent on continuing their ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish and the destruction of the revolutionary movement in northern Syria.

The Turkish invasion of Afrin should be a lightning rod of solidarity for anti-authoritarian leftists across the world. Not since Franco’s invasion of Spain in 1936 has there been a more historically important moment for the anti-authoritarian left to take action in defense of our eras most hopeful manifestation of revolutionary potentiality.

We see our liberation infallibly connected to the success of the Rojava revolution. In Portland, we flew the Portland flag. It was created in 1970’s during a time of the “neighborhood revolution” and is intended to reflect the same ethics of social ecology. In this era, Portlander’s rose up against discriminatory and ecologically destructive urban renewal development projects to create a vibrant movement based on ecological resiliency,  neighborhood community control, and direct democracy.

Since then, in Portland and cities across the western world, the scourge of gentrification, displacement, police violence and increasing corporate control have again created a wave of disaffection and dis-empowerment. Cities have become alienating urban sprawls, built with the logic of control/counter-insurgency and amusement parks for the rich. We see our only potential for salvation to come from a strategic praxis of democratic confederalism and libertarian municipalism. To offset the increasing power of global capitalism, hierarchy and ecological devastation, as in Rojava, we must build a commune of communes, develop neighborhood assemblies, take power from despotic city bureaucrats, developers, take control of our cities and raise the banner of rebellion against mega-state and capitalist interests in localities across the world!

We have a choice, 

To build an ecological society or face global catastrophe!

We must take back the land!

Fight for community controlled everything! 

and

Demand Utopia!

Solidarity with Rojava and the global movement for liberation!

Categories: News

“What They Awakened”: Audio Documentary on Defense of Chicano Park

It's Goin Down - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 03:55

The post “What They Awakened”: Audio Documentary on Defense of Chicano Park appeared first on It's Going Down.

In the following audio documentary about the defense of Chicano Park in San Diego, located in the working-class neighborhood of Logan Heights, we discuss what all went down on February 3rd, when over 1,000 people came out to stand up to a collection of far-Right Trump supporters, Alt-Right trolls, and pseudo-militia members.

Antonio Foreman approaches Joey Gibson during clashes outside of Chicano Park.

In the first section, we play some audio clips about how the far-Right trolls and MAGA muppets quickly fell into disarray, causing many of them to viciously fight with each other. Coming all the way from Portland, Joey Gibson was also seen and heard on various livestreams approaching members of the United National Patriot Front , which is lead by Antonio Foreman, the former body guard of the neo-Nazi livestreamer Baked Alaska, both of whom attended the neo-Nazi rally, Unite the Right, in Charlottesville.

Gibson is heard telling another far-Right protester that he will, “Ask the Alt-Right guys,” for support, as he attempts to rally his troops to go across the street to confront the “Mexicans and antifa.” Gibson and friends then attempted to enter the park from various side streets, only to be rebuffed by the crowd. At a certain point, police decided it was time to leave, and offered to escort the far-Right trolls back to their cars, leading to various confrontations and clashes. We end the first section by showing how various factions within the far-Right demonstration ended the night by attacking each other for being “cucks,” and recording every second of it.

Far-Right protesters break out into a fight with each other during their rally against Chicano Park.

In the second part of the podcast, we spoke with a cross section of anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and antifascist organizers in the San Diego area who all have a connection to the liberated territory of Chicano Park, as well ask why local far-Right organizers have attempted to single out the park as a flash point. In detail, we talk about how local organizers navigated the terrain and worked to create a space that protected both the park and the hundreds and hundreds that came out to defend it, in the face of a potentially violent police force and far-Right protesters.

Rally at Chicano Park grows to over 1,000 as only 50 far-Right trolls fight with each other close by.

This year will see the 48th anniversary of Chicano Park and those we spoke with in the interview are excited about the future, and stated repeatedly that the mobilization brought together a wide range of organizations and individuals and awakened a new sense of collective strength. Where this power and capacity will be put towards next is anyone’s guess, but local organizers are excited about the future.

More Info: San Diego Community Mobilizes to Defend Chicano Park, official Chicano Park website, and Far-Right Trolls Outnumbered at Chicano Park, Fight Among Each Other

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