News

Anarchy Radio 01-16-2018

Anarchist News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 04:54

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio01162018

Rising level of militancy (e.g. Iran, Tunisia, Sudan, NYC fast-food workers, forest defenders)? JZ on the road, getting published - despite postmodern nay-sayer. Shooting (stabbing) of the week, E. Antarctica unstable, snow getting scarce, fresh-water acidifying. 8 million tons of plastics into oceans annually. Infoshop.org is back - back to 1800s? Latest ITS extinctionist pathology. Craft, by Alexander Langlands. Action news, calls from OH and FL. Ofelia Rivas next week.

Tags: JZ and Karlpodcastanarchy radiocategory: Projects
Categories: News

Chelsea Manning files to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 02:47

Chelsea Manning files to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland | 16 Jan 2018 | Chelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings. Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for reelection in November. Cardin is Maryland's senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term.

Categories: News

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller's Russia 'Investigation'

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 01:46

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller's Russia 'Investigation' | 16 Jan 2018 | Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump's inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump's associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.

Categories: News

Defend Maru!: ICE Targets Long Time Immigration Activist with Deportation

It's Goin Down - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 01:28

The post Defend Maru!: ICE Targets Long Time Immigration Activist with Deportation appeared first on It's Going Down.

Long time community and immigration activist Maru Mora Villalpando, who has led ongoing protests in Tacoma, Washington as part of the group, Northwest Detention Center Resistance, and who was a guest on the IGD podcast back in May of 2017, has received a “Notice to Appear” in deportation proceedings.

According to Democracy Now!

She says, only days before Christmas, she received a “Notice to Appear.” She writes, “With the letter delivered to my house, ICE has officially made the leap from a law enforcement agency to a political repression agency, crossing a line that should concern us all.” We’ll have more on her case later in the week.

HearldNet wrote:

Mora-Villalpando said she believes ICE may have obtained her address from the state Department of Licensing, which came under fire this month after The Seattle Times reported that it had been providing driver’s license applications to ICE upon request. Gov. Jay Inslee, who has vowed that state workers would not act as immigration agents, ordered the practice halted immediately and accepted the resignation of a deputy director of the department.

But Maru is also not the only immigrant activist that is currently being targeted. As Crosscut wrote:

Villalpando is one of several well-known activists recently targeted by ICE. Last week, for example, ICE detained Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. His arrest sparked protests that led to the arrest of 18 people. That same day, ICE also picked up Eliseo Jurado, the husband of Ingrid Latorre, who is fighting deportation as she takes sanctuary in a Colorado church. Jean Montrevil, co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was also detained. Villalpando received her letter from ICE last month, just before the Christmas holiday.

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Posted by NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Maru has been an increasingly visible advocate for immigrants and those suffering in detention facilities, and the group she is apart of, Northwest Detention Center Resistance, is credited with supporting a variety of hunger strikes and struggles of those on the inside. This support activity has included holding demonstrations, engaging in civil disobedience, organizing noise demos, and working hand in hand with detainees on the inside who are organizing.

According to Crosscut, Maru comes from a family of political and revolutionary organizers in Mexico City, but decided to flee to the United States after facing harassment and repression at the hands of Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI.

But Maru also isn’t backing down and plans on fighting the deportation, as she told Crosscut: 

The idea is “to be mentally prepared to fight back,” Villalpando said. “The law is designed to keep us detained and deport us. We cannot rely on the law because the law is against us. We need to rely on the community. Make ICE’s job difficult.”

Supporters of Maru have asked that people sign an online petition here. People can also stay up to date on upcoming actions in solidarity with Maru by following the Northwest Detention Center Resistance here. Already, earlier today a march on the Tacoma Detention Facility took place against Maru’s potential deportation, and future actions are expected.

As the drive towards mass deportation under the Trump administration continues to grow, the need to stand up and organize against ICE and attacks on immigrants, including grassroots organizers like Maru, is more dire than ever.

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Action at Tacoma cages

Posted by NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Categories: News

Bannon refused to answer House panel's questions about time in White House

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 00:42

Bannon refused to answer House panel's questions about time in White House | 16 Jan 2018 | President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions Tuesday from the House intelligence committee about his time in the White House, prompting panel members to subpoena him on the spot, according to a person familiar with the interview. Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon.

Categories: News

SHOT SHOW: The 40th Anniversary of the SHOT Show Starts next week!

Off Grid Survival - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 22:07

The 40th Anniversary of the SHOT Show starts next week in Las Vegas, and OFFGRID Survival will be there covering the latest and greatest gear and all the breaking news right from the show floor. [...]

The post SHOT SHOW: The 40th Anniversary of the SHOT Show Starts next week! appeared first on Off Grid Survival - Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Categories: News

Two foundations support ICIJ’s investigative journalism

Global Muckracker - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:21

ICIJ is proud to recognize funders who make our investigative journalism possible. Today, we’re highlighting two of these foundations – the Swedish Postcode Foundation and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation – that recently became part of the ICIJ community of supporters for the first time.

The Swedish Postcode Foundation will support important upgrades and improvements to ICIJ’s technology and tools, which are critical resources that drive our investigative reporting and encourage global collaboration.
Swedish Postcode Foundation

In particular, it will support the Knowledge Center – a combination of data sets and documents that serves as an ongoing source of information and story leads for our network. It will merge leaked data obtained by ICIJ with publicly available data from around the world into an online searchable database.

The Knowledge Center will become an ongoing resource for journalists who can use this data to tell important, untold stories and hold the powerful accountable.

“In a world characterized by complexity and increased globalization, truth is more important today than ever before,” said Marie Dahllöf, Secretary General of the Swedish Postcode Foundation.

Related articles

“Investigative journalism plays an important role in exposing abuses of power and structural inequalities. Facilitating collaborations between journalists helps increase the quantity and quality of investigative journalism worldwide. We are therefore proud to support ICIJ’s project, which creates a collective international platform for investigative journalists.”

ICIJ also received a first-time grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting world-changing work in investigative journalism, the arts, environment, education, equity and inclusion, and documentary film.
This grant will support ICIJ’s core operations, helping us expand our capacity to produce even more groundbreaking investigative journalism.

“The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation is proud to support ICIJ’s award-winning and innovative investigative reporting,” said Jonathan Logan, the foundation’s founder and CEO.

“With the Panama and Paradise Papers, the ICIJ has shown in new and innovative ways how rigorous, fact-based reporting can hold the powerful accountable, and also what teamwork and impact look like. We share the ICIJ’s core values, and its commitment to groundbreaking investigative journalism.”

Jonathan Logan Family Foundation

As a nonprofit organization, we rely on supporters who believe in the power of investigative journalism. All gifts to ICIJ – no matter the amount – make a difference. If you’d like to learn about how you can contribute, read more here.

The post Two foundations support ICIJ’s investigative journalism appeared first on ICIJ.

Categories: News

Two Paychecks Podcast: Blockade Against McKenzie Forest Logging

It's Goin Down - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:15

The post Two Paychecks Podcast: Blockade Against McKenzie Forest Logging appeared first on It's Going Down.

In Oregon, Cascadia Forest Defenders are resisting the logging of public lands of the McKenzie Forest by by setting up blockades and occupying treesits.

Logging the McKenzie would be harmful to the water table for surrounding communities, it is also one of the last bits of unlogged forest. Resistance to this is crucial. We got to talk to Cooper who was on the ground at the occupation.

Categories: News

On Yellow Ribbons and Counter-Insurgency: From a Veteran

It's Goin Down - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:39

The post On Yellow Ribbons and Counter-Insurgency: From a Veteran appeared first on It's Going Down.

“We have million dollar skills, and we must give them up. Not to Tiger Swan, not to Blackwater, or the local PD, but to those struggling for liberation across the board.”

America has been engaged in the global war on terror for the past 16 ½ years. I could give you details regarding civilian deaths, military deaths, PTSD and homeless veteran statistics, but so can Google. Instead I’m hoping to come at this as straightforward as possible. The history of America is one simply defined by warfare on behalf bourgeoisie class interests, land acquisition, genocide, slavery, and imperialism. Other than the constant turmoil, destruction, and evil that has accompanied American conquest, another constant has remained. That constant is the American soldier.

In our current reality, we are distracted ad-nauseum about support for troops. Inundated with yellow ribbons and hand-shakes. We let the President and media tell us to stand for anthems (don’t). We wave flags, host BBQs, and come just shy of licking the combat boots used to snuff the life out of poor brown folks around the world. I am a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A former noncommissioned officer of the US military, and I am as much a war criminal as any imperialist foot soldier in history.

As Americans we are heavily conditioned to the Military-Industrial-Complex and its vitriolic form of nationalism. It pervades our existence. From the toys we play with, the holidays that we take, to the lives and roles found within our own family and social circles. We suffer a deluge of militarization from the schoolhouse to the sportsball fields, blasting us with American Imperialism daily, conditioning us to the inhumanity of our cyber-reality.

I know there are better texts to be found on veteran’s resistance. There are more thoroughly researched dissertations, and you should seek those out, but I can only offer up this small piece, from my heart because, as we enter the 242nd year of American empire, I have a hard time finding any semblance of justice within our current State. I offer this up to my fellow soldiers, my veteran comrades, those on the fence. The constant of American imperialism and capitalist destruction was us, is us, and is you. You are the fodder, the bullet, the bomb, the very visible fist that smashes whenever and where ever the elite seek to exploit. They disguise you as peace keepers, as civil affair specialists, counter-insurgents, special operators, analysts, logisticians, medics, and grunts. You are simply the tools of capitalism. The destroyers of lives. The storm-troopers of an evil empire.

Some part of you knows this already. You are here. You are reading this. You know it in your heart. How many patrols did you do to protect capitalist goods? How many female comrades do you know who have been assaulted? How many times did you protect one warlord from another? How many Taco Bells, Pizza Huts, and Burger King meals did you eat at FOBs and COPs and Joint Bases, while rationing ammo, water, and supplies? How many convoys ended up robbed by enemies and allies? How many drugs did you see traded, poppy fields planted? How many friends and loved ones did you see die, participating in memorial services just to do it again the next day, for no gain, for no value, for 17 years of waste? What about those war crimes that were brushed aside, covered up?

We were washed in toxicity, violent racism and hatred, all while the politicians, the contractors, and our officers profited and were promoted.

The only way this is possible is because we are the constant. We persist and continue to enlist. We embody the bullshit lies we’ve been fed. We revel in the empty thanks of an empty nation. We are endowed with a stigma that guarantees us a shitty steak, at a shitty chain restaurant, one day out a year. We are told that we can use this service to climb the socio-economic ladder, a tool of class escapism. It’s a lie, not worth the paper your DD214 is printed on. Not worth the healthcare, or the paycheck, or the college degree. None of it will buy back our souls. We are the embodiment of capitalist greed.

The very weapons and tools we used to kill others, have come home. They have been transferred back in both practice and implementation. Our community police are kitted with better equipment than we ever were. They are killing PoC, Trans, and those with mental health issues at rates that would be considered war crimes had we pulled the trigger. Our surveillance State has infiltrated everywhere and everything. MRAPs patrol our neighborhoods, while bodies fall around the world, and Northrop Gruman, and Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, and all of the contractors, and stockholders, and politicians make billions on the oppression of neighborhoods around the world.

Standing Rock, Ferguson, forest encampments, J20 prosecutions, antifascist actions, Chicago Black Sites, prisons, and the detention centers sitting on our southern borders are all the products of our militarized police state. The counter-insurgency of the 1960’s has been upgraded to include the weapons that we carried through dusty streets and along mountain ridges. These weapons and tactics were refined with our blood, our sweat, and our youth.

To combat this in any form we must resist. Go AWOL. Don’t show up to formation. Quit going to drill. Spit in Trump’s eye. Throw your medals back, burn your flags, and your bury your commendations. We must resist, and in this resistance, we must recognize our role. It’s not to save. It’s not to lead. It should be to lift up. It should be to impart knowledge, to whistle-blow and teach skills to those targeted by counter-insurgency. Join those fighting in the streets in open rebellion. Lend your knowledge to those confronting fascists in uniform or fascists in khakis. We have million dollar skills, and we must give them up. Not to Tiger Swan, not to Blackwater, or the local PD, but to those struggling for liberation across the board.

There really isn’t just one tool that can confront this synthesized Military-Industrial-Surveillance-Congressional-Complex, but we can help sharpen the ones that do exist. This is asking a lot. It’s a request to have you give up even more after sacrificing mental stability, family, and freedom. It’s asking you to jump on the grenade that is the dishonorable, the other than honorable, to give up that healthcare and home loan. We have wrecked so much of this world. Destroyed so many lives, closed off the futures of millions, displaced even more. We have done it for a uniform; for a gig; for a handshake, an adventure, a degree. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to our future. We must resist.

Resources:  GI Rights Hotline – https://girightshotline.org/ Veterans Resist  – http://nlgmltf.org/military-law/2017/veterans-resist/
Categories: News

Santiago, Chile: Noise Bombs Detonated in Solidarity with the Anarchist Comrades Detained in Villa Francia

Anarchist News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 19:29

via insurrection news

ed. note: while no reference is made to detained comrades in the body of the text, this likely refers to anarchists who were arrested on arms charges and set for trial on January 6th as described here

We are still the same, but more violent…

On Saturday, January 6th, we went out to the street “aimlessly”. Together with our partners in crime, remembering old and good times. Every step of the way through this damn city we faced the imposed reality and inevitably our answer was vandalism. We
reclaim our lives whenever we mock authority. Everyone has their own way of seeing things, whether they agree with each other or not, but even so, with us, disorder has always been where we meet, a point where emotions come to life. This is what we like,
what we want and what we look for, always with an idea behind it.

We placed three powerful noise bombs, inside a dumpster in a public square, under a car and inside a gym; setting off alarms and attracting the attention of the citizens and the despicable police. The streets of Santiago at night are ours when we decide to indulge in the luxury of vandalizing its symbols.

And so the days go by and we continue to plan and put into action new ways to cause disturbances with rocks, sound bombs, fireworks, graffiti etc.

Anarchy and Chaos are our expressions of Struggle and of Life.

Tags: Chilecategory: Actions
Categories: News

Greece: Responsibility Claim from Popular Fighters Group for the Bombing of the Athens Court of Appeals

Anarchist News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 19:01

via insurrection news

Bourgeois Justice, a Weapon in the hands of Capital

“Justice is like a snake. It bites only the barefooted.”

In the years of the memorandum, capital has found in bourgeois “justice” a prop with a special role and active participation in the constant and barbarous antisocial assault we are experiencing. Naturally, this does not happen by chance, instead it stems from its own institutional and class nature. We must remove from bourgeois “justice” the halo of
“neutrality” and “the common interest of the whole society” that has been given to it by the dominant ideology and to see its role in real life. This is not for philological purposes, but because we know well that in the class war that is constantly raging the battle of ideas is a material battle. The overthrow of bourgeois ideology is yet another revolutionary task.

The dominant ideology identifies the will and the interests of a handful of plutocrats with the general will of the whole of society. But in reality, bourgeois justice is one of the components of the exploitative capitalist mode of production and is under the full possession of the owners of the means of production. The exploiters, the industrialists,
the shipowners, the plutocrats and the guard dogs are protected by “Justice” out of its generosity. As a special bureaucratic coercive mechanism, the main goal is to impose the class power of the bourgeoisie, to shield and safeguard its collective interests and to
consolidate its dictatorship (under the mantle of parliamentary democracy). In short, “Justice” is not blind but wears class glasses.

On the other hand, there are some aspects that may create confusion about the class nature of bourgeois “justice” and obscure its real role by presenting it as a neutral arbitrator. The internal contradictions of the dominant bourgeois bloc (e.g the government’s conflict with the judiciary over its salary or other issues) may lead to the illusion that a “Clean Hands” party, as with Di Pietro, of “honest judges” will bring
salvation from corrupt civilian personnel. Or, at a more structural level, the reflection in Law itself (and in its practical application) of the correlation of power between the classes and the incorporation in it of certain conquests of the subordinate classes can spread the illusion and false hope to large parts of society that some honest Tertsetis [an ‘honest judge’ of the early Greek state] are enough to save the people by removing the memorandums through the court. Clearly, we do not underestimate any conquest of the oppressed, even when it occurs in an already mined and structurally hostile legal construct, since each (even a small) victory in the field of law is a crystallization in the
legal form of the unceasing class struggle. We have to guard every conquest and not underestimate it because we are playing away from home on the enemy’s field. On the other hand, the fetishism of lawfulness that submerges its poison into the masses is an obstacle to the development of the class movement and must be resolutely dealt with as
an enemy. Not only because it moves within the predominant bourgeois ideology but also because it sabotages our class interests in practice, spreading in the first place pacifistic delusions and frightful hopes and finally disappointment and resignation. The exploited can only respond to the brutal violence they receive with just popular counter-violence and collective disobedience. Only the class organization and the actual questioning of the state monopoly on violence can stand as a real barrier to the furious attack of the memorandum. Any hope of delegation is disorienting and hostile and must be hit ideologically and politically.

Bourgeois justice not only cannot stand by the people being tested, but by its own institutional nature in periods of capitalist crisis such as today, it further deepens its reactionary, anti-labor and antisocial role. In spite of any (rare) and pro-popular decisions taken by the lower tiers of the judiciary, both the general framework of bourgeois justice and the central direction of its application are directly defined by the class interests of capital as the legal expression and realization of exploitation relationships. At the same time, the hierarchical dependence of the higher tiers of the judiciary on the narrow core of the state apparatus (executive power) limits its relative autonomy, which in formal bourgeois ideology appears as a “separation of powers”. Higher tiers, such as the Areios Pagos[High Court] and the Council of State, which form the case law and the broader framework of legal policy disseminated at the existing levels, are appointed directly by the government. Thus, despite the moaning of the institutions of the judiciary, such as the Union of Judges and Prosecutors, who had the audacity to issue a hypocritical announcement last year against the continuing memorandum and the anti-social insurance law passed by the SYRIZA / ANEL coalition, the very class position of judges, the pre-determined bourgeois nature of the justice they apply, and their hierarchical dependence on their executive power places it opposite the proletariat.

That is why the Council of State, in the name of “protection of the public interest”, legitimized the memoranda and the bleeding of the social majority to protect the interests of the respected bandits of usury. Imperialist dependence, generalized poverty and the decimation of society, the plunder of public property, and the theft of social wealth by the vultures of international and domestic capital, are nothing more than the “protection of the public interest” to the Council of State.

The same Council of State judged lawful and constitutional the wage and pension cuts for fiscal adjustment reasons, proving once again that the judiciary as a whole (and in particular its upper tiers) has been wholeheartedly transformed into the upholder of the memorandum policies.

Capitalism is organised crime and bourgeois justice is its laundering machine

The intensification of state authoritarianism in the years of the capitalist crisis, in order to discipline the popular sections and to implement the neo-liberal austerity policies, has as its key partner the judiciary. At the same time as employers’ arbitrariness and impunity are consolidated in the name of the crisis, each strike is considered illegal and abusive. At the same time that employers’ crimes go unpunished, workers are condemned for their trade union action or simply because they are propagandising strikes. While the Halyvourgia strikers were sentenced to imprisonment, on the grounds that the “right of enterprise” is sacred and constitutionally outweighed the right to strike, they never accused criminals like [the oligarchs] Latsis or Vgenopoulos, who sacrificed workers at the altar of profitability. At the same time the crackdown on protesters and the brutal repressive police policy is legalised by prosecutors, a net of protection is being set up over Mafia capitalism. As thousands of socially impoverished prisoners are stacked under inhumane conditions in prison warehouses and political prisoners are experiencing a special regime of exception, white collar criminals are virtually immune. Even when there are a few exceptions (concerning inter-system cleansing and rearrangements within the dominant power bloc or some cases arising from social pressure), the bourgeoisie have privileged treatment, as we have seen in cases like Martine, Papageorgopoulos, Georgiou’s case over ELSTAT, the defendants in the case of Energa and many others.

We do not forget the crimes of the bourgeoisie and their concealment by their class “Justice”.

We do not forget the crime at Ricomex on September 7, 1999, when they murdered 39 class brothers with the collapse of the factory. The plant’s owners and managers have never accounted to “independent justice” for this massacre.

We do not forget the sinking of Samina when 80 people were sacrificed on the altar of capitalist profitability. The representative of the shipowning company escaped with a few misdemeanors, and a few years later the Areios Pagos ceased prosecutions with legal tricks.

We do not forget the four dead workers in Hellenic Petroleum, when the chief murderer Latsis enjoyed not only judicial immunity but also the political coverage of SYRIZA / ANEL co-government and the then Development Minister P. Lafazanis[current leader of anti-austerity party LAE].

We do not forget the impunity enjoyed by the guard dogs of capital, the cops, who are striking protesters, drowning the popular mobilisations in tear gas and killing young people such as Isidoropoulos, Koumis, Kanellopoulos, Kaltezas, Grigoropoulos. We do not forget that the torturer of the Cypriot student has never been punished in the “zardiniera” case in Thessaloniki. The fascists of the Delta team who hit and injured D. Koutsoubou were never held to account. And we know very well that the cops responsible for the serious injury of the 15-year-old Kosta B. will escape with a typical warning. These incidents are mentioned only by way of example, since we could write whole volumes on the coverage that police barbarism enjoys from bourgeois justice.

We do not forget the acquittal of the landowners who were shooting Pakistani land workers in Manolada’s strawberry fields. It was yet another unpunished racist and class crime, out of the hundreds in the long chain of a continuous underground war of the bosses against the working class.

We do not forget the acquittal of the large-scale smuggler Kountouri, who was given the opportunity to continue his antisocial action and cause the ecological disaster in the Saronic Gulf with the saga of Agia Zoni II.

We do not forget the preferential treatment of the owner of the noor1 Marinakis, who remains untouched despite the barrage of “mysterious” murders, even in prison, of the accused for the case.

Let us remember the outcome of all the scandals of the bourgeoisie and its political representatives: Vatopaidi, the structured bonds, the koubarous scandal, the MEVGAL scandal, the involvement of Mantoubalos in the preliminary circuit. Let us remember how the case of the alteration of the Lagarde List came from the Memorandum Finance Minister G. Papaconstantinou, the court acknowledged that its sole purpose was to preserve his political image but said there was no damage to the state!

But even when “Justice” condemned a worthy slave of the bourgeoisie, Diotis, it made sure to give him a suspended sentence, slapping him in a friendly way on the back and paving the way for his release in the appeal trial.

Let us also remember the scandal of the Stock Exchange when the Supreme Court ratified the councils of courts of law, which closed the files for the frauds, and the big capitalists and stockbrokers were acquitted even of the misdemeanor of stock manipulation.

However, the SIEMENS affair is the crown of the scandals, since it demonstrates in the most clear and emphatic way the adherence of legal and illegal capitalist activity, the complex of corruption between business, judicial, political and journalistic power, but also the way in which German imperialism actually operates, covering its ravenousness
and rapacity behind scathing morality. Under capitalism the legality of corruption, morality with amoralism are united as Siamese twins. The SIEMENS black funds from 1990 to 2006 funded politicians and executives of state organizations across a huge geographical range, from Europe and America to Africa and Asia, in order to facilitate the business activity of the company and to secure contracts amounting to €1.3 billion. In the context of this global campaign, the company proceeded to intensive bribery of Greek politicians to “cultivate the political landscape in Greece”, as the CEO of SIEMENS Greece Christoforos himself stated.

Altogether, at least DM 130 million was given to Greek politicians, while damages to public funds amounted to €2 billion. According to the German courts, SIEMENS gave 10% of its turnover to bribes, a large proportion of which was directed to the New Democracy and PASOK funds.

Th. Tsakatos, a close associate of [former Prime Minister]K. Simitis, received a million DM in 1999 to fund PASOK, while T. Mantelis received a total of 500,000 marks.

SIEMENS maintained privileged relationships with Greek politicians such as the Mitsotakis family and with journalists such as Pavlos Tsimas and Olga Tremi while also serving dozens of business executives such as OTE, Vodafone and Forthnet. This has created a huge network of protection and promotion of its business interests. A network that went into operation when the company got into difficulties. On December 15, 2007 Christoforos (among the key managers, along with Prodromos Mavridis, of the money that by way of offshore companies greased the politicians) escaped to Germany under “mysterious” conditions, like the president of SIEMENS Greece Folker Jung. Germany, for its part, while selling its harsh pro-ethical morality to “lazy and corrupt Greeks”, gave Christoforos a special immunity status, rejecting all extradition warrants and refusing to give evidence of the illegal activities of German capital in Greece (SIEMENS, VOLKSWAGEN, FERROSTAAL, etc.).

Eventually, Christoforos was convicted in Germany of bribery, while in Greece, prosecutor Stelios Kostarelos demanded the removal of the prosecution warrant against him with frivolous excuses. Finally, after all the parties involved in the scandal, from SIEMENS and its executives to the parties, politicians and journalists bribed by the company’s “black funds”, in a neo-colonialist out-of-court compromise, responsibility for which is with the then Finance Minister and current Governor of the Bank of Greece, Giannis Stournaras, SIEMENS was asked to pay just 90 million euros!

We mention all these examples, not because the tendency of scandals touches us, but just to highlight the combination of legal and illegal capitalism and the hypocritical and class role of bourgeois “justice”. A “justice” which did not hesitate to lock an unemployed father in prison, Strato Daskarolis, for refusing to pay the predatory state and large
enterprise run tolls. A “justice” that legitimized, by decision of the Supreme Court, the employer’s arbitrariness in regards to changing the place, time and manner of work at any time. Who, then, can have delusions about its class nature?

Solidarity to the Political and Social Prisoners

Beyond the central role of bourgeois “justice” in the reproduction of an unfair and exploitative system, we should also talk about its special role in yet another crime. Let us speak, for example, about the encroaching industry that has been set up on the backs of the weak, the damned, the poor. But also for its role in suppressing those who
consciously turn their anger through every means possible against injustice and humiliation. We have to say a few words about the social and political prisoners who are rotting in the warehouse of souls that are euphemistically called “correctional facilities”.

For us coming from the struggles of the broader antagonistic movement we perceive incarcerated political prisoners as comrades and companions in the merciless battle between exploited and exploiters that is constantly evolving. At the same time, we think that the general prison population is also a wasteful productive potential that the cannibalistic system has marginalized. The minimal extreme cases confirm the rule.
Men, women and children of thousands of families are under the vice of bourgeois “justice” beneath the appearance of “correctional foundations”. In the cement and iron-walled warehouses of souls, which are mostly stacked with the poor of this society, they are experiencing a condition of brutal and degrading incarceration. “Modern” democracy
states that deprivation of liberty, inhumane and outdated living conditions in prisons inside and outside the urban environment will protect the citizens of this country from the criminals’ unlawful and antisocial actions and will release the prisoners as prudent and honest, docile candidate workers. By the same logic, it also deals with its political opponents, anarchists and communists who in any way disputed the omnipotence of power and capital. Special detention conditions, abusive sentences, attempted statements of repentance, criminalization of friendly and family relations, blatant and overburdened files that refer to long-term custody and dozens of years of detention are some of the means used by bourgeois “justice” to subdue the morale of the fighters, in full harmony with the imperatives of maintaining the exploitative system.

The judicial grinders are made up of unaccountable, harsh and vengeful scum, enshrined in injustice, exploitation and the reproduction of crime. Judges, investigators and prosecutors of this country, apart from a few exceptions, are the modern mockers of any fighter or marginalized proletarian who moves outside civil law. They have created a huge factory of unnecessary detention, making Greece a champion of the temporary arrest (imprisonment without trial) within the EU. And when it comes to euphemizing “justice”, the sentences have an outrageously disproportionate burden on all the poor who can not recruit well connected big lawyers, especially immigrants who are being thrown into jail by fast track procedures. Moreover, within the prison, judicial power is expressed through the prosecution veto at the Prison Council, depriving the prisoners of basic rights.

There is not the same treatment in the rare cases where intra-system competition leads a big fish to the net of the law. Those who belong to the political and economic elite will almost always face discreetly more favourable handling from the judicial robots and will be treated similarly within prisons. None of them has experienced the desperation of
thousands of other prisoners. In a despair that has brought hundreds of suicides, deaths from excessive use of narcotics or other wasted energies.

It cannot be for nothing these thirty years of hard and bloody struggles that have been given inside the walls by incarcerated social and political prisoners. In memory of all these struggles, the people who either motivated or inspired them. To the blood and the pain that has been poured into the hell of the prisons, we pay a small tribute with our action.

At the moment this text is written, another battle is taking place among the prisoners. A struggle to improve an obsolete prison code and against the changes proposed in many articles by the Ministry of Justice, which moves towards an autocratic framework. We express our solidarity with this struggle, and also our desire that the imprisoned conquer the guards of their dreams.

On the new cycle of anti-social attack

“There are now kings without crowns. They are monopolies, real masters of entire countries. ” – Ernesto Che Guevara

What we have said so far leads to an inevitable conclusion: no confidence can be given by the oppressed to the judiciary, since this is a bureaucratic caste of the servants of capital. Only the institutions of popular justice that the armed people can make on their own can give real justice. And this Justice will again be class Justice. With the difference that the course of violence will be reversed and that those who are enriched by our effort, those who plunder the place, those who rob the social wealth will pay.

From this text, therefore, one could not miss a piece seemingly separate from its basic themes. We have to talk about how the violent antisocial assault is unfolding in the present moment.

The SYRIZA / ANEL coalition has proved to be the most competent and faithful servant of the imperialist lenders. That’s why the bureaucrats of Brussels find the glazing for the “success story” of Tsipras. Even through Kathimerini’s pages, Dijsselbloem spoke of impressive fiscal improvement and described Tsipras as “a successful politician capable of guiding the country on the road to stability”. Tsipras, who promised to remove the memorandums with a single article and a law before his arrival as prime minister, that the markets will have to dance, and that all this would happen immediately. Tsipras who in June 2015, a month before signing a new memorandum, said: “This government and this parliament will not vote for a new memorandum.” Today’s praise, therefore, comes as a reward for SYRIZA’s active participation in the EU shambles.

But what is the “impressive fiscal improvement” and the “path of stability” that the head of the Eurogroup speaks about? It is nothing more than the constant massacre of the world of labor, the amputation of its rights, the class bleeding it has experienced, is experiencing and will experience by the establishment of the memorandum policy. Thus, with the third assessment, we expect to open yet another cycle of barbaric assault against workers and poor social layers. The myth of the Greek ‘come back’ drips from all its pores of proletarian blood and sweat. The bloody surpluses that build the image of recovery are an enduring murderous machine in the hands of the exploiters of our lives.
These surpluses, over which the government so much boasts, are formed by an axe on social spending, increased taxes, intensification of the exploitation and slashing of labor rights.

The budget for 2018, which incorporates and extends the memorandum of the previous years, predicts a surplus of 6.67 billion. The surge in the surplus over the past year will reach €2.7 billion! “Social benefits” (pensions, EKAS, allowances, etc.) this year will be €900 million less than last year at the same time as the mass of state revenues will
increase by €1.2 billion. Indirect taxes alone, which have a horizontal character, will swell by €550 million, giving another heavy blow to the social majority and popular consumption. Public health and care will be discarded once again, as costs will be reduced by €350 million. At the same time, state-owned entrepreneurship will be strengthened, as business groups will pocket €6.75 billion (of which 1 billion comes from the state budget and the rest from EU funds). There is no reason to make a more detailed journalistic record of the measures envisaged by the state budget for 2018 as part of the Medium-term Financial Strategy Framework 2018-2021, since it is self-evident that it continues and broadens the existing anti-popular policy within the framework of the colossal redistribution of wealth from bottom to top.

The same is true of the closure of the third review, which includes a series of pre-requisite measures in a clearly anti-popular direction, such as the abolition of EKAS in 2019, the cuts in pension expenditure (1.9 billion), the reduction of the tax threshold- anti-labor and anti-strike arrangements, privatizations (Hellenic, Hellenic International, ports, etc), energy restructuring (PPC lignite depot and liberalization of the gas market) the management of bad loans etc.

Moreover, the introduction of electronic auctions in the face of popular mobilization creates a framework for servicing bank capital and directly threatens the first home of popular families, especially after the end of the Katseli law [of 2011] at the start of 2018. The autocratic downhill trend of the government has reached the point of criminalizing
popular resistance against auctions, just to protect the interests of banks and other vultures of capital!

For this policy, capital’s gangs are rubbing their hands, like the SEV [Federation of Greek Industrialists], which, in its turn, welcomes the memorandums, saying that the prevalence of part-time work and the reduction in the minimum wage helped to curb recession and unemployment!

Obviously, they think that they are addressing lobotomised people and not people with flesh, bones and souls who live by the skin of their teeth in unemployment and middle ages conditions! Employers have many reasons to rejoice: reduced wages, flexible working relationships, marginalization of sectoral and collective labor agreements, and the generalization of individual and business contracts, the deprivation of labor rights, trade union barriers, and additional obstacles are institutionalized against the right to strike and many other memorandum measures serve the fixed class interests of capital.

If we do not resist the plundering of our lives, the Memorandum will remain a permanent nightmare, since at the end of the program in August 2018 the tight budgetary policy of high surpluses (3.5% of GDP by 2022 and 2% from 2023 to 2060) will remain, while Brussels is preparing a “secret” memorandum through the “reform clause”. Apart from the additional measures that will be imposed in this case, this clause also provides for the commitment of the subsequent governments that they will not withdraw the Memorandum of Understanding. And this is well-known to Mr. Fortsakis, Deputy New Democracy finance chief, who, with his cynics, admits that “the end of the memorandum is a fake”. After all, the special supervisory bodies, these sophisticated instruments of neo-colonialism, will remain until the repayment of 75% of the loans granted. A fact that means that the memorandum is here to stay forever if the people do not break it!

But as long as the government and its bosses are trying to show us the magical image of “recovery,” reality itself denies them. Not only because capitalist development is fed by the flesh of the poor but also because it is once again stumbling over the inherent and insurmountable contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. Their recovery has
short legs and a new global capitalist crisis is at hand. The trillions that were given to the banks may have given a temporary breath of life to capitalism, but they did not save it. It just once again shifted the explosion point of its accumulated contradictions. Today, global debt is more than three times higher than total world GDP, capitalist growth is inadequate with steady deceleration in the years to come, and a capitalist bloc can not pull the economy out of the mire of stagnation.

It is, therefore, a matter of time till the outbreak of the next global capitalist crisis and we must be prepared this time. It is a matter of survival for our class to organize, to resist and to fight back. Either we will be crushed under the shadow of fear and obedience, or we will raise a rebellious tower against them.

WE HAVE NO REASON TO FEAR
THEY HAVE EVERY REASON TO FEAR US

Ο. Λ. Α. -POPULAR FIGHTERS GROUP-

P.S: SYRIZA / ANEL, just like its predecessors, are a gang of devoted servants of imperialism and the local bourgeoisie, and do not hesitate to give land and water to their transatlantic bosses by putting the country in the eye of the cyclone. This was just the case once again at the meeting of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with the global master
Donald Trump in October. The political scammers of the “ruling left” are even prepared to bring in nuclear weapons, turning Greece into a privileged ground for the expansion of American boots in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. And they have the audacity of those who sell out to invoke the sacrifices of the Communists and to raise their fists to Makronisos [prison island of the 1940s]. They have the audacity of the people’s guards to declare they are the political descendants of the heroes who were hit with American Napalm on Mt.Grammos [in 1946-49]. But what could one expect from a party where a
member of Parliament commented on selling the land for 99 years through the super-fund says: “99 years must not scare us because the Turks werein Greece for 400 years…”

P.S 2: Once again, we are sending our solidarity to the Palestinian people who are receiving the raging attack of American imperialism and Zionism, after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this context, it is our imperative international task to sabotage by any means the reactionary axis of Greece – Cyprus – Israel -Egypt, as well as all kinds of cooperation of Greece with reactionary regimes such as that of Saudi Arabia. The weapons of the Palestinian Resistance organizations and the Intifada, stones, knives and molotovs, will win!

(Translated from the original Greek language text that first appeared on Athens Indymedia)

Tags: Greecebombingcategory: Actions
Categories: News

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

deSmog - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 18:22
Global map of percent changes in acres burning

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America's electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

But new peer-reviewed research adds to the growing evidence that the shift from coal to gas isn't necessarily good news for the climate.

A team led by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the oil and gas industry is responsible for the largest share of the world's rising methane emissions, which are a major factor in climate change — and in the process the researchers resolved one of the mysteries that has plagued climate scientists over the past several years.

Tags: methanenatural gasshale gasfrackingclimate changeNASAjet propulsion laboratoryclimate change science
Categories: News

Corporate-run Ag Co-ops Squeezing Farmers

Grassroots Economic Survival - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:56
Link: How Rural America Got Milked

The independent New York State dairyman, who passed away last year, complained that Dairy Farmers of America used its control over local milk haulers to prevent him from doing business with anyone else. For Garrett Sitts, it was the abuse of food safety protocols. He charges that milk inspectors controlled by DFA threatened him and many other farmers with health care violations if they dared to raise questions about DFA’s business practices. For Jonathan Haar, it was a failed attempt to escape DFA’s grip. After nearly ten years with DFA, he tried to leave for another co-op, Agri-Mark. But after promising negotiations, Agri-Mark suddenly went silent. Haar says he was told that Agri-Mark and DFA had an unwritten agreement not to work with each other’s farmers.

Read the rest at Washington Monthly

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

How to explore networks and entity metadata in the Offshore Leaks Database

Global Muckracker - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:12

This is the second part of a three-part series on ways to search our Offshore Leaks Database that now includes more than 680,000 entities from 55 secrecy jurisdictions. The first installment was How to search the Offshore Leaks Database by location.

The Offshore Leaks database displays networks of entities and individuals that can be challenging to navigate. Here are a few tips on how to make sense of those networks and all the information you can get out of the data we have made public.

1. Who are the intermediaries?

Offshore transactions involve an individual who had money, an entity that will be used to hide this money but also an intermediary that will oftentimes register that entity in the secrecy jurisdiction. Those intermediaries could be law firms or banks, or other companies.

When you search for any keyword you will be able to access the intermediaries connected to that key word by simply clicking on the “Intermediaries” tab. When you explore an entity you will often find the connected intermediary (look for this icon: Intermediary). Double clicking on this icon will enable you to find all the other entities connected to this intermediary. You can also click on the name of the intermediary listed under the graph.

List of intermediaries

2. Explore big group of companies

The Offshore Leaks data includes conglomerates of companies connected to each other through a mother company often called a group. Those are referenced as “Other” in the data and be found under the tab with the same name.

You can search for example the company “Glencore” and find a link to “Glencore Group” in the “Other” tab. This will display all the entities connected to that commodities giant accused of having abused loopholes to avoid tax.

Glencore's group of companies

The Nike group and WL Ross group, formerly run by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, both investigated as part of the Paradise Papers, can similarly be found under the “Other” tab.

3. Additional information you can get out of the database Related articles

Extra information on entities can be found when you highlight the different icons or if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. You will find for example dates of incorporation of entities or dates of appointment of officers.

You can also find out the source of the information, meaning the leak from which the data originated. For each leak, you can see how current the data is. For example data from Appleby is up-to-date until 2014 whereas data from the Bahama Leaks is current through early 2016.

The database allows you to filter the search results for each specific leak through a menu on the right. We created a “same as” relationship to enable data from different leaks to be connected. Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s company, Fleg Trading Limited, is present in both the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks, as you can see on the entity page.

Entity data

Happy searching! As always, don’t forget to tell us what you find in the data.

And don’t forget, ICIJ believes this data should be publicly-available, and we need your support to keep it that way.

Make a donation and help us keep it free, online and accessible.

The post How to explore networks and entity metadata in the Offshore Leaks Database appeared first on ICIJ.

Categories: News

Nothing is over, everything continues…

Anarchist News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 16:26

From Fire On The Horizon
(https://fireonthehorizon.noblogs.org/post/2018/01/16/nothing-is-over-eve...)

For 5 years now our group of comrades has been involved in two projects that have striven to shed light in the darkness that is the ‘prison island.’ The original desire was to continue the legacy that anarchist-nihilist comrade Darko Mathers had begun with his own similar project. It was not our intention to copy or imitate, but to continue in our own way a much needed dissemination of anti-social, individualistic, nihilistic, anti-civilisation, insurrectionary anarchy along with a healthy influx of attacks that were not necessary linked to the anarchic circles but fitted within what can be done on this island of passivity. At moments we also included influences from comrades abroad to spread the anarchy of praxis but also to show limited international solidarity.

In the present we occupy there is a shifting of the conflict against authority that we are part of, many questions have been asked about the use of the internet (which is a tool of the enemy, which should never be forgotten!), along with projects that manifest themselves online and their connection with praxis, either said or written by similar projects and imprisoned comrades. We still consider counter-information important, who knows in the future maybe we will be involved again, along with its spreading as an important contribution to anarchy in conflict with all the domination apparatus. When words and online presence do not match up to the active contribution to the attack in the real world, then we risk contributing to the spectacle and becoming at best keyboard warriors of irrelevance.

What we feel is needed now, at least personally for us as individuals that now have disbanded as a group, is more comrades contributing to physical projects that attack the rising tide of the technological-scientific-industrial-military-prison complex, along with exploitative globalised capitalism, the passive societies, the police states, murdering borders, rising fascism, a whole civilisation laying waste to the shrinking wild earth we inhabit and authority that not only exists as a physical enemy but also dwells within us.

Until the next ‘fire on the horizon’, ‘in the belly of the beast’… our passion goes out to all of the anarchists of praxis still fighting around the world, to those still with us, those who are not and those inside the prisons, especially those in Greece.

“We are friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and its course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did… But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never meet again…” – Friedrich Nietzsche

P.s FOTH will remain online as an archive to those who will make use of it.

Tags: ukblogsanti-technologythe internetDarko Mathersanarcho-nihilismcategory: Projects
Categories: News

As the "Alt-Right" Strays From Its Roots, Will It Turn to Open Fascism?

Truth Out - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:31

Fascism has always been about reinvention, and without a dynamic opposition, it will just find a way to repackage itself to the same constituencies it draws from. Even as the "alt-right" seems to be in decline due to widespread public revulsion and mass resistance from antifascist organizations, especially after Charlottesville, we cannot afford to ignore it. We must exploit and widen the points of rupture within the coalition.

 Joe Raedle / Getty Images)Mike Enoch (L) stands with white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term 'alt-right' as he speaks during a press conference at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on October 19, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

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On October 7, 2017, around 50 people from far-right organizations like Identity Evropa and the National Policy Institute returned to Charlottesville, Virginia: the site of the confrontation that brought together a thousand white supremacists from around the country and left one protester dead. As the torches again lit up the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, the appearance of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer was a stark reminder of the new status quo. After the death of activist Heather Heyer, Spencer and his ilk were even less welcome in Charlottesville than they were before, yet they returned, reveling in their status as hated outsiders.

Spencer, who coined the term "alt-right" and has set its tone and image since 2010, had always tried to shuffle off the ugly image of the US's white nationalist history. Instead, he was taking his cues from the European "identitarian" movement and spoke of building a "meta-politic": a set of ideas that would help to manifest his vision of a traditionalist "Ethnostate" for white people.

Since 2015, the rise of Trump and the entry of the "alt-right" into the public lexicon, Spencer has consistently brought his "elite" movement further into the gutter. While he had built the original AlternativeRight.com on disgraced European philosophers, racist paleoconservatives, fringe economists and alternative spiritual leaders, as his movement moved from the "big tent," it began to lose the core that it had used to change the public's perception of fascist politics. As we move into 2018, the "alt-right" has been hit on multiple fronts, as platforms reject their presence and a mass movement forms to repudiate them, and so they have headed into a period of what could rightly be termed "decadence." Traditionally, this means a period of decline and decay, one where the essential core of their movement has been lost, and they are returning to the blatant viciousness that has defined white nationalism, as opposed to the more cloaked variety.

Reclaiming White Settler Colonialism

The defining ideas of the "alt-right" came from what is known as the European New Right (ENR). Founded by French philosopher Alain de Benoist and established through the Research and Study Group for European Civilization (GRECE) and associated journals, they wanted to use the popular New Left politics of the 1960s to reinvigorate a far-right racist, nationalist vision for Europe. Using the argumentation found in anti-imperialist and "third-worldist" circles of the time, they argued for an "Ethno-pluralist" politic that saw a "nationalism for all peoples" as the solution to the degenerating effects of globalized commodity capitalism. Instead of the internationalist and egalitarian vision of the New Left politics they appropriated, they wanted to see a deep relativism, to have cultures kept separate from cosmopolitan influence with the understanding that different peoples were too different in skills and temperament to abide by each other's rules and customs. The founding principle here was an opposition to egalitarianism, primarily on the belief that human beings were not equal, either as individuals or as groups. The primary segment of this was racial, and by using the decolonization rhetoric, they could argue that white Europeans were facing colonization by globalism and had to join up with other liberation movements that they could reframe through ethnic nationalism.

The primary philosophical thread that the ENR came from is known as "Third Positionism," in which fascists use leftist politics in a strange synthesis of the left and the right. Anti-capitalism, environmentalism, post-colonialism, antiwar politics and the like have all been appropriated heavily in white nationalist circles, so much so that they have seen crossover between the left and the far-right in a number of movements since the 1960s. It was from this tradition that Spencer and the "alt-right" hailed, arguing in support of movements in the Global South to reject capitalist development and in favor of non-communist forms of anti-capitalism. It was these principles they used to buck off accusations of white supremacy, saying that instead of "ruling over non-whites," they simply want to return to their ethnic roots and live an "indigenous" form of life. This has played out in more contemporary times as the  "alt-right's" support for North Korean nationalism, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad or the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Since 2015, the dominant discourse on the "alt-right" has shifted away from that type of Third Positionist synthesis and in favor of straightforwardly angry bigotry, focusing on vicious racial jokes, slurs and harassment. The Daily Shoah -- the most popular white nationalist podcast today, which receives tens of thousands of downloads a month -- made a brand out of using "shock jock" rhetoric for white nationalists. In common "alt-right" fashion, their culture of one-upmanship has made the most violent racial discussions commonplace, often talking about genocide, calling Black people subhuman and proposing Jews as the enemy. The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer took this to another level, blogging multiple times a day in rants filled with racist rage.

As this trend took over, and the trolls on sites like 4Chan and Twitter took hold of the movement, they moved steadily away from the academic veneer that Spencer had held. Any false notion that this is a movement that is "not about hate" and instead simply about identity has been dashed by their own statements.

Spencer, for his part, has joined in completely. While AlternativeRight.com and the Radix Journal -- leading "alt-right" publications run by Richard Spencer -- tried to keep his racial separatism "intellectual," his new AltRight.com shot directly for the gutter. The publication now, which looks a lot more like The Daily Stormer than one of GRECE's journals, is the modern equivalent of the White Aryan Resistance's newspaper, which was filled with racist cartoons and accusations of conspiracy. Spencer's public speeches, which were once toned from academic conferences and filled with well-researched dramatics, are now opportunities to simply mock the crowd, framed by laughter and cruel insults.

Genocide

One of the key arguments made by the "alt-right" for years was that it was completely and totally against racial conflict; rather, they said, it was modern multicultural society that made conflict inevitable. Instead, the "alt-right" took the old-fashioned segregationist motto of "stop the hate, separate" and argued that racial separatism would be healthy for all people. Nationalism, they argued, was for all people, often coined as "Ethno-pluralism." They tried to pretend a great deal of sympathy for First Nations people, arguing that we needed to avoid this type of racial colonialism. While that rhetoric is still formally used in many of their publications and public arguments, it is quickly disappearing from the dominant public "alt-right" discourse.

The Right Stuff, the website that hosts The Daily Shoah, recently ran a blog post arguing that the most appropriate action for white nationalists would be to kill all Black people in Africa so that they could use the continent for "living space." "Extermination of the brown hordes in their homelands could give vast new territories to us. They are ours for the taking," it read, arguing that racial struggle is inevitable and that, as nature predicts, often the superior species will wipe out the inferior.

The Daily Shoah has created a financial infrastructure so it can employ a few staff people regularly, including Mike Enoch, who lost his job after his identity was revealed to be a six-figure software developer in Manhattan with a Jewish wife. One of their other regular hosts, who goes by the pseudonym "Jayoh," has referred to himself openly as an "exterminationist." He believes nationalists would have to actively exterminate Black Africans, who, he says, would eventually enter into white nations and corrupt them.

While many on the "alt-right" would fail to go as far as openly arguing for the extermination of billions of people, they are reclaiming a colonial sense of themselves. Spencer's rhetoric has changed from the idea of isolated tribal states to envisioning the white Ethnostate as a great empire. This fulfills what he says is white people's "Faustian spirit," the internal drive to explore and conquer. Spencer's own "Alt Right Politics" podcast regularly celebrates European colonialism and expansionism, discussing colonialism as something that is a sum benefit for the colonized. He refers to Indigenous tribes as "humiliated peoples" who he does not want to become; therefore, he says, white Europeans must win this racial conflict. While previously "alt- righters" would have argued that ruling over others was an unnecessary evil and that they instead wanted "nationalism for all peoples," the idea that non-whites need to be controlled by whites is again gaining popularity, even if many of the thought leaders would deny this when pressed.

Street Action

The next move for the "alt-right" was to go from the world of internet chatter and private conferences into street activism. The "alt-right's" ideas were not developed through active struggle; they were instead built through echo chamber dialogue. This has made their organizations generally unskilled in activism. Instead of trying to organize and agitate on issues, using public clashes as opportunities for radicalization, they do what they have discussed in their conferences: They simply want to get at white populations to shift their consciousness towards racist "in group" and "out group" thinking.

Their step into street activism has been by and large a failure, with almost every public appearance being shut down entirely. The only opportunities they had were by uniting with their slightly more moderate "crossover" figures in what has been called the "alt-light." This is the group of "independent Trumpists" and those aligned with publications like Rebel Media and Breitbart who, while sharing their style and many of their immediate policy aims, refuse to get on board with full-tilt white nationalism. While they had some success in collaborating at the "free-speech" rallies that started in Berkeley, they were inevitably betrayed by this contingent and left on their own.

The "alt-right" helped to catalyze this split, angered over the inability of "alt-light" people like Mike Cernovich or Alex Jones to get on board with open fascism. "Alt-right" leaders thought that they had grown large enough riding on the coattails of these Trump supporters that they could still lead a large following when they broke free. That was the intent of the August 12, 2017, "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, which was intended to show that the "alt-right" had become a mass movement. Instead, they had to phone in hundreds of more traditional white nationalist types, including KKK organizations, skinhead gangs and the National Socialist Movement. In the end, the "alt-right" and its organizations and media outlets were just another branch of the US white nationalist movement, like Stormfront or the Aryan Nations. Their branding effort was a failure.

Dual Power

The primary avenue that the "alt-right" utilized was, until recently, web 2.0 platforms, where they had equal footing with major media and political figures. Anyone could post on 4Chan, and an internet celebrity could eclipse a sitting US senator in Twitter followers. Podcasts, web hosting, social media and video broadcasting had been heavily democratized, and the "alt-right" was, in a sense, the price that was paid. In that world, they were able to amplify a white nationalist message far beyond what they were capable of in times restricted to basement-printed newspapers and Xeroxed flyers.

Since the "alt right" has intensified its rhetoric and headed into violent street action, the country has further revolted against it. With poor media coverage and dog-whistle memedom, it was hard for average people to catch on to the "alt-right's" explicit fascism, but it has now been fully revealed, and there is a collective revulsion taking place. After the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, media and web hosting companies went on a tirade of mass platform denial for the "alt-right." Major "alt-right" publications and figures lost their websites -- many permanently -- as well as social media accounts, podcast hosting, email services, YouTube channels, payment systems and even dating websites. The recent Twitter "Terms of Service update" was another blow, closing dozens of far-right accounts simultaneously.

In response, they began creating their own infrastructure. Patreon, the payment platform that allowed people to pay publications or individuals monthly donations, was replaced by Hatreon, a similar service that did not ban users for neo-Nazi associations. Gab was presented as a "free-speech" alternative to Twitter, and had "alt-right" accounts flood its servers when announced. Many websites, including the white nationalist podcast The Daily Shoah and AltRight.com, began limiting their content to paid subscribers, all in the effort to create a financial infrastructure as "alt-right" figures were fired from their jobs and banned from the mainstream internet. As this all happened, their reach was further limited. Hatreon did not work as promised, no one outside of the "alt-right" ventured to Gab, and with their content behind paywalls, they lost their audience. Simply put, the "alt-right's" alternative internet was subpar, and they are slipping from the public conversation.

The coming months will show exactly how much the "alt-right" has been limited by the web platform denial and their own infrastructural incompetence, and attacks on net neutrality will only further limit their ability to create their own media community.

Fascism in the Age of Dinosaurs

The "alt-right" was, in and of itself, an attempt to save white nationalism from the dregs of history, where it had been placed through years of vacant terrorist acts, buffoonish behavior and the mass resistance from antifascist organizations. The European New Right, from which it received its earliest inspiration, was an effort to bring the right back into the culture, to avoid the failures of French nationalism seen during the waning years of Algerian colonialism, and to save fascist philosophy from its disrepute. The "alt-right's" expansion was due to its quality of quick adaptation to new technology, political climates and social mores.

We are hitting a period of heavy decline for the "alt-right," and the second half of 2017 has been a sequence of critical hits against it. However, this is not a prediction of its irrelevance and failure. Instead, it is simply a sign of the cracks in the coalition, the points of rupture that can be exploited and widened.

Fascism has always been about reinvention, and without a dynamic opposition, it will just find a way to repackage itself to the same constituencies from which it has drawn in the past.

Categories: News

Administration of Denial: Trump's Shock and Awe Attack on the Environment

Truth Out - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:25

 Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)President Donald Trump signs a Presidential Proclamation shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017. (Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

The administration of Donald J. Trump, starting with the president himself, is populated by deniers of human-caused climate disruption in all the key positions. For those of us concerned about runaway climate disruption, this regime, with its denial of the greatest existential threat to humanity (alongside nuclear war), has become our worst enemy.

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 Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)President Donald Trump signs a Presidential Proclamation shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017. (Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)

It's no secret that Donald Trump, someone who would never be mistaken for an intellectual, does not believe in anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

We're all familiar with his tweet from 2012 that stated: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Fast forward to early 2018. Trump is now president of the United States, and a climate-disruption-driven Arctic cold front recently engulfed vast swaths of the US. Taking a page out of the fossil fuel industry propaganda playbook, Trump tweeted in late December: "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

During the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump and his fossil-fuel backers have filled key positions in his administration with ACD deniers, and their war against scientists and government administrations tasked with dealing with ACD impacts has been one of shock and awe.

Fossil-Fueled Cronies

Rex Tillerson had been CEO of ExxonMobil for a decade when he accepted the post of secretary of state. Tillerson, who famously dodged questions about Exxon's role in sowing doubt about ACD during his confirmation hearings, has stated that our ability to predict the impact CO2 is having on the atmosphere is "very limited."

Mike Pence, Trump's vice president, has called ACD a "myth." He also voted twice against limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA administrator, refuses to link ACD to CO2 emissions. He was, of course, rabidly opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency itself during his tenure as Oklahoma's attorney general. Pruitt even said he intended to form a team of "independent experts" to challenge well-established climate science because, he claimed, the subject has not yet undergone "a robust, meaningful debate." Thousands of emails released in the early months of the Trump administration revealed the longstanding and very close relationship Pruitt has maintained with the oil and gas industry. Moreover, it has been known for a long time that Pruitt has maintained a secretive alliance with said industry.

Then there is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who denies humans are the cause of ACD. Meanwhile, another more recent addition to this junta of ACD deniers is Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who has blamed ACD on the sun -- and is now a nominee to head NASA, an agency that spends nearly 10 percent of its budget on monitoring the Earth and its climate. It's worth noting that, echoing Trump's position, Bridenstine has even implied that one day of snow disproved decades-long ACD trends.

Along those lines, we have also Trump's nominee for the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, who has been a long-time outspoken ACD denier. She has called climate science a "kind of paganism" for  "secular elites," and claims that excess carbon emissions are "beneficial" and good for plant growth. She has even claimed that UN efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions are actually a secret attempt to create what she has called a "one-world state ruled by planetary managers."

These are simply a few of the "highlights" of those who have been tasked with entrenching ACD denial across the spectrum of the US government under this administration.

Climate Change Vanishes Before Our Very Eyes

Within moments of Trump's inauguration as president, references to "climate change" were erased from the official White House website.

Since then, a generalized scrubbing of all things "climate change" and "global warming" has become the norm across various federal agency websites, from the National Institutes of Health to the EPA. The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a watchdog group that monitors such things, commented to Mother Jones on these actions: "What has happened is a significant and systematic shift in ways that certain types of information and messages are presented on federal websites."

This "significant and systematic shift" is clearly aimed at ignoring, or at best obfuscating, the facts and reality of ACD. This is indicative of the aforementioned fossil-fuel cronies doing the bidding of their backers.

While there have been far too many changes to websites to include all of them, there are several highlights worth noting.

The position of director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has in the past functioned as the president's top science advisor, has remained unfilled. Less than two months into Trump's term, that office's website removed a line from a description of its mission that said it "ensures that the policies of the Executive Branch are informed by science."

Tillerson's State Department removed the term "greenhouse gas" from its Office of Global Change's website, in addition to deleting links to the Climate Action Report.

The National Institutes of Health's environmental unit changed mentions of "climate change" to "climate," and the agency has erased links to a fact sheet about ACD's threats to human health.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

The National Park Service has seen nearly 100 documents that describe its action plans regarding ACD scrubbed from its Climate Friendly Parks website.

EPA websites have been the hardest hit. Dozens of links to information aimed at assisting local officials prepare for ACD impacts have been deleted. More than a dozen mentions of the words "climate change" have been removed from the site's main page, and other website pages that had detailed the risks of ACD, goals to curb emissions, and state plans to adapt to more extreme weather fueled by ACD are long gone.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) website has also seen dramatic changes. The Bureau of Land Management's statement about the purpose of a 2015 Fracking Rule that entailed greater regulations for onshore energy production has been removed. Prior to Trump, the DOI website featured an extensive overview of its ACD priorities, which have now been reduced to just a few sentences that focus on the kinds of land the agency protects. Recently, just before this Christmas, the Interior Department rescinded a variety of ACD policies, along with mitigation policies, because they were "potential burdens" to energy development.

The Department of Energy, which runs the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has made vast changes to its web pages that include the Bioenergy Technologies Office and the Wind Energy Technologies Office, including the reduction of emphasis on renewable energies as replacements for fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOT) changed the language it uses across multiple web pages, exchanging "climate change" and "greenhouse gases" for terms such as "sustainability" and "emissions." Furthermore, the DOT's summary was changed from working to "reduce greenhouse gas pollution and improve resilience to climate change impacts" to helping to "enhance sustainability, improve resilience, and reduce energy use and emissions on our highway system."

Attacking the Planet

Another nefarious way in which the Trump administration has been pushing its denialist approach to ACD is by disallowing government scientists from participating in conferences to discuss their work on the subject.

There are numerous instances of this, but one example occurred last October when the EPA canceled speaking appearances of three of its scientists who were to discuss ACD at a conference in Rhode Island.

Actions like this one -- the suppression of the work of government climate scientists -- have been widespread and common enough that several scientists exiled by the Trump administration recently formed a panel in order to continue their work. The scientists, who were members of a federal advisory committee on ACD that was disbanded by the administration, took their research to Columbia University's Earth Institute which went on to hire one of the committee's researchers who will reconvene the panel members to produce the report they were previously working on.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues its near-daily attacks on the environment itself, one of the more recent being its announcement to open most US coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. This came on the heels of another announcement that the administration aims to dramatically shrink several ocean monuments in order to allow for more commercial fishing, after announcing plans to shrink several land-based national monuments as well.

The planet's warming, of course, is not pausing to wait out this administration. The last four years have been the four hottest years ever recorded. Signs of runaway ACD abound, and it is only intensifying.

The Trump administration's attack on science and the environment, along with its denial of the largest existential threat to humanity (alongside nuclear war), will continue, and almost assuredly, intensify.

Categories: News

When Sexual Assault Victims Speak Out, Their Institutions Often Betray Them

Truth Out - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:03
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A 27-year-old medical resident in general surgery is sexually harassed by two men -- the chief resident and a staff physician at the hospital. She feels trapped. When one of the men's actions escalates to assault, she struggles to find the strength and courage to report it.

When she finally does, will the outcome harm her even more?

The story, a fictional composite based on real accounts in our research, is agonizingly familiar. The outcome is often worse. When sexual harassment and assault occur in the context of an institution -- a school, the military, a workplace -- the behavior of institutional leaders can become a powerful force in how the victim fares. 

From Susan Fowler's poor treatment by Uber's human resources department to the silence of non-abusive men in Harvey Weinstein's orbit, our most powerful institutions often act without courage. 

Over 25 years, my students and others have amassed a substantial body of empirical work revealing the real psychological and physical harm that institutions can do to those they betray.

However, if institutions want to do the hard work, they can help victims and prevent violence in the first place -- by choosing courage instead of betrayal.

How Betrayal Harms Health

My colleagues and I first introduced the term institutional betrayal in 2007, and have since explored it further, including in a book, "Blind to Betrayal."

Institutional betrayal is harm an institution does to those who depend upon it. This betrayal can take the form of overt policies or behaviors, such as discriminatory rules or genocide.

Harm can also mean failing to do that what is reasonably expected of the institution, such as not providing relief to disaster victims or failing to respond effectively to sexual violence. For instance, some victims of assault are punished or even demoted or fired for reporting the assault to their institution. 

In our studies, we found that more than 40 percent of college student participants who were sexually victimized in an institutional context did also report experiences of institutional betrayal.

These power ratios between harasser and victim can be quite significant, depending on the victim's status. While the medical resident's issues in our first example are deeply troubling, she may have more leverage to seek justice than a hotel or restaurant worker who is the daily and unrelenting target of harassment.

My work with clinical psychologist Carly Smith at Penn State shows that institutional betrayal can cause both emotional and physical health problems, even for those who have experienced similar levels of trauma from interpersonal betrayal.

One study found that institutional betrayal exacerbates symptoms associated with sexual trauma, such as anxiety, dissociation and sexual problems. 

Other researchers have found similar effects. For instance, military sexual trauma survivors who have also experienced institutional betrayal have higher rates of PTSD symptoms and depression than those who have not experienced it. Perhaps most alarming, the survivors with institutional betrayal experiences had higher odds of attempting suicide. 

In another study, we discovered that institutional betrayal is associated with physical health problems, such as headaches, sleep problems and shortness of breath. 

Institutional Courage

What can we do to prevent and address institutional betrayal? The antidote is something my colleagues and I call "institutional courage." 

The details of institutional courage depend to some extent on the type of institution involved, but there are 10 general principles that can apply across most institutions.

1. Comply with criminal laws and civil rights codes.

Go beyond mere compliance. Avoid a check-box approach by stretching beyond minimal standards of compliance and reach for excellence in non-violence and equity.

2. Respond sensitively to victim disclosures.

Avoid cruel responses that blame and attack the victim. Even well-meaning responses can be harmful by, for instance, taking control away from the victim or by minimizing the harm. Better listening skills can also help institutions respond sensitively. 

3. Bear witness, be accountable and apologize.

Create ways for individuals to discuss what happened to them. This includes being accountable for mistakes and apologizing when appropriate.

4. Cherish the whistleblower.

Those who raise uncomfortable truths are potentially the best friends of an institution. Once people in power have been notified about a problem, they can take steps to correct it. Encourage whistleblowing through incentives like awards and salary boosts.

5. Engage in a self-study.

Institutions should make a regular practice of asking themselves if they are promoting institutional betrayal. Focus groups and committees charged with regular monitoring can make all the difference.

6. Conduct anonymous surveys.

Well-done anonymous surveys are a powerful tool for disrupting institutional betrayal. Employ experts in sexual violence measurement, use the best techniques to get meaningful data, provide a summary of the results and talk openly about the findings. This will inspire trust and repair. 

We developed a tool called the Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire. First published in 2013, the questionnaire probes a company's employer-employee work environment to assess vulnerability to potential problems, the ease or difficulty of reporting such issues and how complaints are processed and handled. 

7. Make sure leadership is educated about research on sexual violence and related trauma.

Teach about concepts and research on sexual violence and institutional betrayal. Use the research to create policies that prevent further harm to victims of harassment and assault. 

8. Be transparent about data and policy.

Sexual violence thrives in secrecy. While privacy for individuals must be respected, aggregate data, policies and processes should be open to public input and scrutiny.

9. Use the power of your company to address the societal problem.

For instance, if you're at a research or educational institution, then produce and disseminate knowledge about sexual violence. If you are in the entertainment industry, make documentaries and films. Find a way to use your product to help end sexual violence.

10. Commit resources to steps 1 through 9.

Good intentions are a good starting place, but staff, money and time need to be dedicated to make this happen. As Joe Biden once said: "Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value."

The Conversation

Categories: News

Sessions Doubles Down in the War on Weed

Truth Out - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:03
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Four days after California rang in the New Year as the sixth state to legalize recreational use of marijuana -- and more than 21 years after it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana use -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared war on the most populous state.

Sessions issued a Marijuana Enforcement Memo providing guidance to US Attorneys on "which marijuana activities to prosecute" by following "well-established principles" to "disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country."

The Trump administration's Pot Memo doesn't immediately affect medical marijuana usage -- now available in 29 states, plus the District of Columbia -- but it does roll back the 2014 Cole Memorandum, which guided federal prosecutors away from targeting marijuana businesses operating legally under state law.

The Cole Memo was a federal response to the growing shift in public opinion given the number of states "that have moved to legalize marijuana for medicinal, agricultural or recreational use."

The Sessions memo sent ripples through a cannabis industry already struggling to fund state legalization under contradictory federal laws, but those who have been on the front lines of the legal battles responded forcefully. As Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said:

Jeff Sessions' obsession with marijuana prohibition defies logic, threatens successful state-level reforms and flies in the face of widespread public support for legalization.

Rescinding the Cole memo is not just an attack on sensible marijuana polices -- it's an attack on civil and human rights. Police have long relied on the suspicion of minor marijuana offenses to profile, harass, arrest and even lock up massive numbers of people, especially in communities of color. We can't stand by and let the drug war be used as a tool to harm vulnerable communities or to deport and destroy families.

***

The "principles" alluded to by Sessions include the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, a product of the "war on drugs" initiated by Richard Nixon. In 1994, Nixon's domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman candidly admitted the racist roots of Nixon's crusade to Dan Baum of Harper's Magazine:

You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Arrests for small-scale possession and distribution of pot have been the leading edge of drug enforcement ever since, which, in combination with the mandatory minimum sentencing laws created by Bill Clinton's two crime bills, created the system of mass incarceration under which people of color and the poor have been disproportionately pushed into an overpopulated prison system.

The US still has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and 57 percent of those in prison for drug offenses are Black or Latino -- even though white people use and sell drugs at similar rates.

All of this has come at a tremendous cost, not only in lives ruined, but in taking money away from social programs that can help people live stable and healthy lives. The US spends more than $50 billion a year on the drug war -- far more than the entire $38.8 billion budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But the tide has been turning against these policies. 2016 saw a record number of measures to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. Voters across the country rejoiced when Maine, Massachusetts and California legalized recreational marijuana, while five other states -- Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota -- legalized medical marijuana use.

Marijuana legalization is more popular than it has ever been, with a recent Gallup pollfinding it favored by 64 percent of Americans.

***

The "growing drug crisis" Sessions lectured about has nothing to do with marijuana legalization and everything to do with how our society treats addiction and mental health in general and regulates our access to health care, housing and food.

As Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, pointed out in a 2014 interview with Frontline,

Drug abuse and drug addiction is not unique to poor communities of color. It is like this everywhere in America, but how we respond to drug abuse and drug addiction in poor communities of color is radically different than how we respond to it in more privileged communities....

People in [poor] communities have little choice but to self-medicate, and when they do, when they decide to turn to marijuana or turn to cocaine or turn to some type of substance we've designed, we've decided is prohibited, is off-limits, then rather than responding to these people with drug treatment and say[ing], "How can we help you cope with your crisis and help you through this period of time and help you deal with your drug addiction?" instead we say: "Oh, the answer for you is a cage."...

That's our answer to drug abuse and drug addiction in these communities. If we really cared about people who lived there, would that be our answer? I think not. I think the way in which we respond to drug abuse and drug addiction in these communities speaks volumes about the extent to which these are people we truly care about.

There are ongoing debates and critiques about whether legalization and regulation have done more to benefit cannabis businesses than individuals who gain new access to marijuana. But there is no credible defense for the racism at the heart of the "war on drugs" and the US criminal justice system.

No matter how you read the pot leaves say about the future of the marijuana market, one thing is certain. It will take large-scale protests to make Sessions and his fellow drug warriors afraid again. And it will require a movement that puts the fight against racism front and center to successfully fight for access to health care and decriminalization to turn the tide on mass incarceration and drug addiction.

The "war on drugs" doesn't work, and it will require strategies based on solidarity and liberation to take up the calls to put an end to it. As the Drug Policy Alliance urges, "It's time for a new approach grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights."

Categories: News

Carrier Workers Are Livid After Facing Layoffs Despite Trump's Promises

Truth Out - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 14:02
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Even before he officially took office, President-elect Donald Trump flew to Indianapolis in December of 2016 to trumpet a deal he had reached with air conditioning and heating furnace manufacturer Carrier. In return for Trump's pledge to reduce the corporate tax rate and reduce regulations, as well as $7 million in economic incentives, the company agreed to keep some jobs in the state rather than move them to a plant in Mexico as it had planned.

While Trump bragged that he had saved 1,100 jobs, the truth was just 730 jobs were preserved at the Indianapolis plant. In reality, 550 from Indianapolis were still being moved to Mexico, and all 700 workers at the company's Huntington plant would still lose their jobs.

The fine print of Trump's deal has now turned into reality for Carrier's Indianapolis employees. Roughly 340 workers lost their jobs in July. The last round of layoffs mean 250 workers will clock in in for their final shifts today despite Trump's pledges.

Duane Oreskovic is one of them. "Tomorrow will be the last time I clock in, at 5:00 p.m.," he told In These Times. "We'll get off at 3:30 in the morning, and that's the last time we'll clock out."

It came as a deep shock when he and his coworkers were told they'd be laid off in February. "We were more than surprised," he said. "We were at awe, we were astonished … It was beyond shock, to tell you the truth."

When Trump came to the plant and gave his speech, Oreskovic said, everyone thought he was going to save all of their jobs, particularly with Vice President Mike Pence -- the former governor of Indiana -- by his side. But, Oreskovic figures, Carrier's plans were already set in stone by the time the politicians got there. "It was avoidable but unavoidable," he said.

"I would have hoped something would have been done, I mean, for example, someone from Congress would maybe speak up, 'Hey this is something we should look at Mr. Trump,'" he said. "We were hoping someone would intervene, but apparently it never happened," he added, scoffing: "Politics."

He has two job prospects lined up, but neither is likely to pay as well as the job at Carrier. "Financially I'm concerned," he said. "If I've got to settle for a job at three dollars less an hour, three dollars doesn't sound like a lot, but that is somewhat of a lifestyle change when it's based on 40 hours or 50 hours a week."

But perhaps even more wrenching is the prospect of disbanding his close-knit group of coworkers. "We work over 10 hours a day, five or six days a week. We know each other better than our family members," he said. But after today, they'll be less likely to regularly ask each other about children or how their weekends went. "I look at this like a divorce. We're getting ripped apart from one another."

When asked how he feels about completing his last day, he responded, "Emptiness."

Frank Staples also feels like a community is being disintegrated by the layoffs. "We spend more time with each other than we do with our own families," he told In These Times.

He started at Carrier in 2005 but knew his job was in danger when the company announced in February of 2016 it was moving the plant to Monterrey, Mexico. The news was a surprise: He knew that the plant was making money from what he was told in quarterly meetings. "Here we are making a profit for them, and they're going to leave us and go somewhere else?" he said. "That was just heartbreaking and devastating to a lot of people."

Even before the election, Staples said, he and the United Steelworkers union had tried reaching out to Pence several times to have him intervene. "He would never meet with us," he said. He doesn't think the Trump administration has done a whole lot to help.

"There's a lot of things that Trump could sign as an executive order, because he has that power, that would keep American workers working. But Trump's sitting on his ass not doing any of it," he said. "I would say to Trump, 'You made a decision and ran on a campaign promise that you were going to help the American worker. Stand up and do it.'"

The news of layoffs in early 2016 fused with personal tragedies to send Staples into an episode of depression. First he got divorced. During the divorce, "I started having issues with wanting to be at work because I was so depressed," he said. "I already knew our jobs were gone, I was like, 'To hell with this shit.'"

Then his brother was murdered, he said. He tried to go on medical leave but ended up getting fired. The union that represents Carrier workers, United Steelworkers Local 1999, fought to have him reinstated, but he's still in limbo -- not having been asked to come back in for work yet.

"It's been scary and nerve-wracking," he said. "Everybody's on edge because we don't know what's going to happen."

"It's been hell," he added.

Categories: News

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