News

Prince of Fraud

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:10

The post Prince of Fraud appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Technology Access Gap Leaves Millions of Students Struggling to Keep Up

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:46

Twenty-one-year-old Mirka Mendez, a petroleum engineering student at the University of Texas-Austin (UT), has a deep understanding of the US’s technology gap. Without easy access to the internet while in high school, she often had to leave home at 4 a.m. and sit on a bench outside her school so that she could use the building’s hotspots to do research, study or write papers before the opening bell.

“There was no internet where I was staying,” explained Mendez, who left Ciudad Juarez, Mexico — alone — in 2012. She was 15 and planned to live with relatives who had agreed to let her stay with them for $300 a month. It was her dream, she says, to study in the United States. Almost immediately, however, she realized that the arrangement was fraught. “Sometimes I walked to the public library three miles away,” she told Truthout. “I would stay until it closed and then walk back home.”

Despite the personal and academic difficulties she faced, Mendez always completed assignments and graduated high school in 2015 with a 3.7 GPA. Since arriving at UT, things have improved, she said. Nonetheless, she concedes that students in straits similar to hers often fall through the cracks and leave high school without a diploma, let alone enrolling in college.

Students Are Set Back Without In-Home Internet Access

A 2017 survey of more than 400,000 K-12 students, teachers, librarians and school administrators conducted by Project Tomorrow, a California nonprofit dedicated to educational equity, found that lack of in-home internet access is an enormous problem for students in all 50 states. This has been corroborated by researchers at Pew Research who discovered that 17.5 percent of school children in grades 6 to 12 have ongoing difficulties completing school work due to a lack of internet access.

The situation is especially bad in rural school districts. Some allow students to come to school early and stay late, and some have installed Wi-Fi on school buses. Despite this, more than a quarter of respondents told interviewers that they spend part of each day doing homework in coffee shops or fast food restaurants.

Academic difficulties are clearly compounded by the fact that broadband access is now essential for all students. This is not new. The Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Task Force sounded the alarm almost a decade ago, in 2009, when they found that approximately 70 percent of teachers assigned homework that required internet use, whether to submit assignments, utilize bulletin boards, take practice quizzes, share documents for group projects, do research, check grades, or communicate with teachers or peers.

Needless to say, not having access to in-home, high-speed internet puts 5 million US households with school-aged children at a huge disadvantage. Worse, this completely ignores the fact that, even in homes with internet service, numerous family members may have to share one device.

Julie Evans, the CEO of Project Tomorrow, is focused on promoting the equitable distribution of technology and, simultaneously, making sure that teachers are equipped to use this technology in the classroom. “Educational equity is an important social justice issue,” she says. At the same time, she is aware that in-home internet access is just one piece of a far more complex array of concerns impacting how students are educated and supported in their learning.

“There are innumerable issues that have to do with how we use resources within schools,” Evans continues. Parents, she says, are often driven crazy by how much tech use varies from class to class, teacher to teacher. “Some teachers show students virtual experiments, Skype or Facetime with professionals, or have students create a blog. Other teachers don’t incorporate technology into their teaching at all, as if they don’t recognize its importance. This means that apart from in-home access, students are not being introduced to technology in an even way,” Evans says.

She believes that aspiring teachers must be prepared to use technological tools regardless of whether they’re teaching algebra, European history, physics or something else. That said, she admits that there are no one-size-fits-all strategies for making this happen.

Multiple Strategies Utilized

In the rural Southern Columbia School district in Pennsylvania, between 22 and 23 percent of the district’s 1,400 students receive free or reduced-cost meals, meaning that they come from families with incomes between $32,630 and $46,435 for a household of four. “Some students are impoverished and do not have access to broadband,” Paul Caputo, superintendent of the district, says. “Plus, in more rural areas, cell access is troublesome. Service is spotty and there are pockets where there is no service at all. On the plus side, these areas are fewer and fewer, but some still exist.”

District schools, he explains, are now fully wired, and thanks to various federal grants, have been able to “shift how we teach to include technology.”

In addition, Caputo told Truthout that not only are schools being kept open for expanded morning, evening and weekend hours, but every student in grades 7 to 12 has also been issued a computer. This technology was paid for by the sale of the district’s bus fleet several years back. “We realized we could not sustain our own transportation system so we sold our buses for $460,000 and earmarked $250,000 for tech implementation. We bought laptops which have been issued to more than 600 students.” The laptops are turned in at the end of each year, or if a student moves away, and the district currently outsources bus service for the students who need it.

Utilizing SmartBuses

The much larger Merced Union High School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley — with more than 10,000 students, 64 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals — did something different. After recognizing that many students spend an hour or more on the bus traveling to and from school, they equipped the buses with Wi-Fi so that assignments might be completed in transit. The use of Wi-Fi equipped SmartBuses has spread, and they are presently in use in numerous districts throughout the country.

Still, the more than 1.3 million public school students who are homeless, and the more than 400,000 living in foster care often face monumental hurdles in getting schoolwork done in a timely and thorough manner.

Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group that addresses the educational needs of homeless youth, outlined the deficits.

“Most are focused on the needs of adults, not kids, and some require you to be out of the building during the day. The current federal push is to get single adults into permanent or supportive housing…. These policies typically do not take children’s academic needs into account,” Duffield told Truthout. “This is a glaring example of federal failure, since we know that the lack of computer and internet access contributes to the high dropout rates of poor and homeless kids. I’ve seen kids get discouraged when they are belittled by a teacher for not turning in work on time. They’re also typically embarrassed to disclose that they are homeless.”

Emotional Toll Is Enormous

Ed Vere, an Urban Studies major at Wheaton College, remembers this discomfort well. Vere came to the US from the Philippines in 2012, at age 14. After family members told him that he could no longer stay in their Illinois home, he lived with a variety of people and spent several years couch-hopping. “I told my teachers that I did not have access to the internet at home and, if I knew I’d be late with an assignment, would ask if I could turn it in after the due date. Some were gracious, but others said I should have planned ahead or not procrastinated. It made me feel really depressed and suicidal,” he recalls.

Vere now lives on the Wheaton campus and, like Mirka Mendez, says being in college has given his life needed stability. “I even have fast Wi-Fi in my bedroom,” he says. Looking back, though, he believes that his high school teachers should have been better attuned to his despair. “I excelled in school because I channeled all of my energy and emotions there. I appeared fine because my grades were not red flags to my teachers, counselors or coaches. However, mental health is invisible, and mine was falling apart. The red flags were subtle. Saying I did not have Wi-Fi was the only warning I could muster.”

Bobbie Jones, homeless liaison and grant administrator of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Harris County, Texas, never wants another student to go through what Vere experienced. This is why her district has opted to use Title 1 money — a grant allocated through legislation authorized by 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act — to provide the District’s 450 homeless students with laptops and hotspots, a wireless local area network that will provide them with an internet connection and private network access from any location. Although the program is still in the planning stages, Jones expects it to roll out in January 2019. “Many homeless students have difficulty completing homework, and it is not always possible for them to stay late at school,” says Jones. “There are real gaps in academic achievement for homeless students, and we hope this will lead to improved grades and better achievement overall.”

Money, of course, is paramount, and although most school districts now have internet in school buildings, they continue to scrounge for funds to provide laptops, iPads and hotspots to students, or expand access in other ways. Several for-profit groups — Kajeet is among the best known — have jumped into the fray, and while corporate and foundation money is sometimes available to schools or school districts, it does not come close to meeting the need.

That’s where the federal government comes in — or should come in. Not surprisingly, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has not uttered a word about technological inequality since assuming the Department of Education helm in the winter of 2017. For its part, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has several programs that provide assistance to both individuals and districts. According to Mark Wigfield, deputy director of the FCC Office of Media Relations, the E-Rate program has, since 1997, provided money to public schools and libraries to connect to the internet and upgrade services as needed. The amount allocated is tied to poverty rates in a particular area; last year $3.3 billion was expended. E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Fund; its revenue is raised by a consumer tax on telephone service.

Although smaller, the LifeLine Program provides a $9.25 per month subsidy toward the phone or internet service of more than 13 million low-income people. According to Mother Jones, LifeLine is on the chopping block, but, to date, no pronouncements have been made about the FCC’s intentions.

The stakes of this — as well as of the larger effort to make sure that every student has 24/7 internet access — are enormous, and growing. Harvard Professor of Education Chris Dede, in the introduction to Closing the Homework Gap by Daniel J.W. Neal, lays it out clearly and succinctly:

If equivalent broadband access outside of school is not addressed, then teachers are hampered in using powerful forms of digital learning. Either they must privilege some students at the expense of others, or they must forego effective, technology-based instructional strategies that could help all students. The fundamental issue is whether we limit learning to the school place and the school day, or instead make learning life-wide.

The post Technology Access Gap Leaves Millions of Students Struggling to Keep Up appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Want to Join a Forum with Selco & Daisy?

The Organic Prepper - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:06

Hey, everyone! I have the coolest announcement ever.

Selco and I decided that what the world needed was a new forum. We’re talking about a full-on “back-to-the-90s-no-social-media” forums here. So … Read the rest

The post Want to Join a Forum with Selco & Daisy? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

3 TOTALLY FAKE Foods in Just About Everybody’s Kitchen

The Organic Prepper - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:22

Americans are eating fake foods. It’s sad but true that many American staples are fraudulent. Going to the grocery store and searching for whole, nutritious foods is like running a … Read the rest

The post 3 TOTALLY FAKE Foods in Just About Everybody’s Kitchen appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

Supreme Court agrees to hear case that could determine whether Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies can censor their users

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:42

Supreme Court agrees to hear case that could determine whether Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies can censor their users | 16 Oct 2018 | The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could determine whether users can challenge social media companies on free speech grounds. The case, Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, centers on whether a private operator of a public access television network is considered a state actor, which can be sued for First Amendment violations. The case could have broader implications for social media and other media outlets. In particular, a broad ruling from the high court could open the country's largest technology companies up to First Amendment lawsuits.

Categories: News

Honduran ex-lawmaker who helped arrange massive migrant caravan to US is detained

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:28

Honduran ex-lawmaker who helped arrange massive migrant caravan to US is detained | 16 Oct 2018 | A former Honduran lawmaker traveling with a caravan of migrants heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border was detained by authorities in Guatemala on Tuesday as President Trump threatened to arrest anyone entering the country illegally.
Ex-legislator Bartolo Fuentes, who is said to have organized the march, was detained by Guatemalan authorities after failing to register with migration officials upon entering the country...An official with the country’s migration agency said that Fuentes was to be taken to a migrant shelter and then deported.

Categories: News

Trump warns Central American countries he'll withhold funds over immigrant caravan

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:19

Trump warns Central American countries he'll withhold funds over immigrant caravan | 16 Oct 2018 | President Trump in a tweet on Tuesday warned Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that he intends to withhold funds if the "caravan" of Honduran migrants reaches the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump earlier in the day had threatened to cut off aid for Honduras over the caravan. "We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday evening. "Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!" he added in another post.

Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 10-16-2018

Anarchist News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 03:52

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio10162018

Against Art and Culture, by Liam Dee. "Twilight of the Evening Lands" read by JZ.
BAGR #6 underway. Insidious moves by alt-Right. Frightful weather: price of beer to
double. Global insect crisis. Resistance news, two calls.

Tags: jzKarlcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Update On Anarchist Prisoner Eric King In the SHU

It's Goin Down - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 00:41

The post Update On Anarchist Prisoner Eric King In the SHU appeared first on It's Going Down.

Update on anarchist prisoner Eric King, recently moved to the SHU.

A quick update since Eric is still in the Specialized Housing Unit (SHU, segregation) and it is unknown how long he will be there. He still hasn’t received a write-up nor has he been brought up on charges, but is facing a precarious situation. Eric also has some new rules regarding mail.  All paper has to be plain white or regular lined notebook paper. Envelopes have to be straight white or manila if sending something larger. Eric is also unable to receive cards.

As folx know Eric has been through a lot of trauma recently and really could use support through mail and always always books. He was pretty badly hurt, he misses his family and really needs the community right now. Eric is so grateful for all the support, letters, and books he has received so far. We in the support crew are so appreciative of people showing our friend the love!

Please keep Eric in your mind and heart, these are hard times and our friend will need a ton of solidarity and help in the coming months.

You can find his Amazon wish-list here: http://a.co/gUbDsYs

Eric King # 27090045
USP LEAVENWORTH
P.O. BOX 1000
LEAVENWORTH, KS  66048

As always, until all are free –

EK Support Crew

Categories: News

Organizing Tech: Insights into the Tech World’s Sudden Rebellion

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:58

The post Organizing Tech: Insights into the Tech World’s Sudden Rebellion appeared first on It's Going Down.

A look into the emergence of labor struggles coming from within the tech sector.

by X389552

In early April of this year, Google workers went public with a petition against an artificial intelligence project they’d learned was slated to be used in military drones. Over 4,000 workers had already signed onto the letter that begins, “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” and ends with the demand that the company cancel the contract with the Pentagon.

Worker organizers reported to the media that at least 13 of their fellow employees had quit their jobs in protest. Google placated, justified, minimized — and eventually gave in, announcing two months later that they wouldn’t renew the contract.

Soon after, as ICE’s policy of family separations became big news, workers at Microsoft published their own letter demanding that the company cancel its $19 million contract with the agency:

“As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit. We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”

Just days later, Amazon workers followed suit with their own petition against Palantir, a surveillance contractor that hosts ICE’s database of immigrants on Amazon’s servers, and Amazon’s recently exposed practice of marketing and selling their facial recognition tool to police departments:

“Technology like ours is playing an increasingly critical role across many sectors of society. What is clear to us is that our development and sales practices have yet to acknowledge the obligation that comes with this. Focusing solely on shareholder value is a race to the bottom, and one that we will not participate in.

“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights.”

This movement has been reported by the mainstream media and tech press as worker “dissent,” “activism,” and “an uprising.” It can and should also be understood as the the next wave of worker organizing in an industry where business unions have long failed to gain traction.

Tech workers have tried to join bureaucratic unions several times before. A minority branch of Communications Workers of America (CWA) at IBM at one time had 400 dues paying members in the US but shut down in 2016 after almost two decades. WashTech, which formed in 1998 to organize Microsoft contractors with CWA, never reached a critical mass and is now primarily a protectionist advocacy organization that fights offshoring of tech work. Most recently, when software workers at startup Lanetix won a nearly unanimous card check to join CWA in January, the company suddenly “laid off” their entire 14-person department. The workers’ NLRB complaint is still ongoing.

Software engineers who make six figures straight out of an undergraduate degree might seem too content to organize. But concerns about punishingly long work hours, the two-tiered system of salaried employees and contractors, surveillance and lack of autonomy in the workplace, identity-based harassment and discrimination, and capricious discipline are rampant. Many other tech workers I talk to want to work somewhere that prioritizes people over profits, where they can work for the social good rather than the bottom line. These new campaigns are the first stirrings of their realization that finding a “better” job at a “better” company can’t bring them that. Only organizing with their coworkers can.

A persistent problem in organizing tech workplaces is the muddying of the line between the working class and the employing class. Line managers typically have authority over only 5 to 10 workers and most spend time as rank-and-file workers before graduating to management. The class background shared by CEOs and their workers makes it easier for workers to see themselves not as an oppressed proletariat but temporarily embarrassed founders (apologies to Steinbeck).

So why have police and military contracting agitated workers when so many other concerns have not? It is because those issues finally make clear the gulf between what corporations say and what they do, and seeing that gulf sets workers on the path to understanding that appealing to their management’s personal ethics doesn’t get results. Neither do external advocacy campaigns like the ACLU’s petition against Amazon’s facial recognition. Workers have power at the point of production, and some small groups of tech workers have extraordinary structural power in their workplaces. All we need is organization and the will to take militant action.

It’s too early to know what the future holds for worker organizing in the tech industry. But workers fighting together to get a demand met is a potentially transformative experience for the workers involved. Technology doesn’t spring like Athena fully formed from the head of capital into the workplaces where it surveils, intensifies, and automates work. It’s built by people who are workers themselves. What could we win if Uber programmers stand with drivers, if Amazon programmers stand with warehouse workers?

Originally published in issue 3 of the Seattle Worker.

Categories: News

London, ON: Antifascist Mobilization Opposes Pegida, Soldiers of Odin, and Wolves of Odin

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:44

The post London, ON: Antifascist Mobilization Opposes Pegida, Soldiers of Odin, and Wolves of Odin appeared first on It's Going Down.

Jeff Shantz from Anti-Fascist News reports on a recent mobilization in London, Ontario against a collection of far-Right and Islamophobic groups.

Pegida, an anti-Islam group active in Canada and with connections to white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Europe (particularly Germany), has been holding regular rallies in London, Ontario. While Pegida have made few inroad on their own in London, they have made growing links with neo-fascist groups like Soldiers of Odin (SOO) and Proud Boys.

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, a rally of several Pegida members along with a dozen or so SOO and a few Wolves of Odin and other neo-fascist supporters was confronted by a much larger counter-mobilization of antifascists. With cops present the fascists held their ground outside the City Hall building.

London is the sort of city one might expect fascists to receive some reception in. It is a mid-size city in Canada known to be generally politically conservative with a sizeable white collar professional workforce with many company headquarters located there. It could well be a foundation for fascism as a conservative white collar middle strata feels squeezed by economic pressures from above (capital, ownership) and social demands from below. And clearly Pegida and SOO and others see it that way given their persistence in holding events there. On multiple occasions they have held events outside City Hall.

Of note, a SOO member gave a positive shout out to local city councillor Phil Squire. That the mainstream politicians are open in working with fascists is something that bears attention and response in Canada as elsewhere. It appears to be a more common phenomena in Canada as witness in Edmonton where three United Conservative Party candidates openly partied with SOO, including taking photos with them at a campaign event. Perhaps more infamously, Rob Ford, Premier of the country’s largest province Ontario has taken photos with fascist Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy and her entourage. When called out, Ford, unsurprisingly given his own politics, refused to apologize.

On October 13th, the antifascists gave Pegida a reason not to come back. And showed that as their numbers remain small the opposition seems to be growing in size and confidence.

Categories: News

Energy Transfer Partners Security Sinks Two Boats Full of Water Protectors, Threatening Lives

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:26

The post Energy Transfer Partners Security Sinks Two Boats Full of Water Protectors, Threatening Lives appeared first on It's Going Down.

Water protectors with L’eau Est La Vie Camp fighting the Bayou Bridge pipeline report on yet another attack by Energy Transfer Partners.

St. Martin Parish, LA – Early [Monday, October 15th] morning, two boats carrying approximately 15 water protectors and media officials were legally observing a Bayou Bridge pipeline construction site, when an Energy Transfer Partners security boat passed by at an aggressive speed, intentionally causing a large wake that swamped and eventually sunk the boats.

All passengers, including a documentary film crew, narrowly made it to shore before the boats completely sunk.

All passengers are accounted for and safe thanks to the help of a local Cajun fisherman who provided support when he found the stranded L’eau Est La Vie crew.

The water protectors and attending media were there to legally observe an illegal Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction site preparing to conduct horizontal drilling beneath a waterway for project installation.

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ALERT! (10/15):Early this morning, while two boats carrying water protectors and media were legally observing a bayou bridge pipeline construction site, an Energy Transfer Partners security boat rapidly passing by intentionally caused a large wake that swamped and eventually sunk our boats! All passengers, including a documentary film crew, narrowly made it to shore before the boats completely sunk. All are safe, but some are stranded in the swamp. A local Cajun fisherman has offered to help and is preparing to take one of our boat pilots out to do a rescue extraction.There is an urgent need to repair or replace our boats! Please share and support our fight…donate if you can! #StopETP #noBBP Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/nobbp

Posted by L'eau Est La Vie Camp – No Bayou Bridge on Monday, October 15, 2018

The water protectors continue to cite lack of action by Louisiana state officials to address illegal operation and construction by Energy Transfer Partners in the Atchafalaya river basin. Today is just another example of the illegal and cruel tactics ETP continues to use to intimidate water protectors who were acting within their legal right.

L’eau Est La Vie Camp is a hub for pipeline resistance and peaceful opposition to the Bayou Bridge pipeline.

If you would like more information about local, regional, national and international Bayou Bridge pipeline resistance efforts please visit www.NoBBP.org or contact us at resist@nobbp.org.

Categories: News

Kingston: The Really Really Free Market as an Intervention Against Gentrification

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:07

The post Kingston: The Really Really Free Market as an Intervention Against Gentrification appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from anarchists in so-called Kingston, Ontario, who analyze an attempt to use the Really Really Free Market model as an intervention against gentrification.

On September 30th, 2018, members of AKA Autonomous Social Centre in Kingston hosted another Really, Really Free Market (RRFM) in our neighbourhood. Over the course of 3 hours, approximately 150 to 200 folks came by to share and take free things! For those who are not aware of RRFMs, they are events where folks give and take things with no money exchanged. They emerged as public events in direct opposition to so-called free trade negotiations. (check out more details on Wikipedia or here).

At AKA, we have been hosting these ‘markets’ with the intention of offering an accessible introduction to anarchist approaches to community, with mixed success. We have hosted RRFMs in different locations in our neighbourhood for several years. Over the past while, we have given some thought into how we can get more political traction out of these events. For this one, we decided to intervene in the conversations around gentrification happening in our already-very-gentrified neighbourhood. We have frequently hosted the RRFMs in a park that has been long-slated for a new road, which has been significantly opposed by many local groups, including us. This time, we hosted it in Skeleton Park, which is formally called McBurney Park, a downtown park with amazing big trees. McBurney Park is also the namesake of the neighbourhood’s facebook forum that had hosted some classist posts and comments.

The Skeleton Park neighbourhood is historically working-class and over the past 20 years there has seen a significant influx of middle-class folks and soaring rental rates and house prices. The dominant tension in the neighbourhood is generated by primarily liberal middle-class folks who are trying to remake the neighbourhood in their own image. This includes: policing the neighbourhood and posting images of “suspicious” people, putting up surveillance cameras, generally lacking empathy for people who have different lived experiences than them, wanting public spaces to change towards their preferences (security, lighting, cleanliness), ignoring the ways that they are already used as valuable meeting spaces for all kinds of people. This park is a central meeting place and therefore was ideal for an intervention.

Some people who came out to the event follow AKA events, others found it in the ‘garage sale’ section of kijiji, while others happened upon us accidentally. At this event, we had an active tabling presence where we shared anarchist literature as well as some flyers that talked about middle class privilege and how not to be a middle-class jerk in a working-class neighbourhood. In the past we have made speeches about why we were hosting a RRFM, however, found it to be an awkward forum for a public speech. We decided that one on one conversations would be a better way of engaging people and explaining the anti-capitalist and mutual aid values that motivate us. We had some productive conversations, shared literature with many and overhead others connecting with each other in a way that hints at a community where solidarity, mutual aid and direct action are valued and practiced.

Introducing and supporting others in implementing accessible anarchist practices is an important way of getting people connected to anarchism. We know that folks need many entry-points into radical politics. Some get radicalized through militant protests and others through actions like food not bombs, overdose prevention sites, and RRFMs that open a fleeting glimpse of something external to the logic of capitalism. It hints at possibilities outside of the overbearing structures that we live in allowing people to imagine how they can find that feeling again. While through their very form and nature RRFMs are anti-capitalist, opposed to charitable models (though they can be co-opted by charitable do-gooders), and simple approaches to reclaiming ‘public’ space, they are also easy to understand and implement.

Another strategy we are trying to implement is the dissemination of anarchist practices. At the RRFM we had conversations with at least two people who were very keen to organize a RRFM in other parts of the city where they live. While we are excited about working with others to host RRFMs to create and activate more lateral communal relationships to address material needs, we are also aware of some challenges that we will encounter. When you want to do work in neighbourhoods that are not your own, who you decide to work with and where can have an impact on who you reach and who feels welcome.

We also seek to co-develop these future events so that we can make sure anarchism doesn’t get left out of the equation. Too often events like this can be co-opted by charities and non-profits that seek to “help” people without any analysis of power or without any desire to change the conditions under which we all live.

Moving forward, some of the questions we are asking ourselves are:

  • How do you seed other anarchist collectives or groups?

  • What are effective ways of sharing anarchist practices in various contexts to reach beyond the usual suspects?

  • What are other interventions to disrupt every day domination to solicit within others the feeling of and desire for Another World?

AKA Autonomous Social Centre
germinations (at) riseup (dot) net

Categories: News

Rupression.com campaign statement about the accused

Anarchist News - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 22:38

In February 2018, a campaign was launched in Russia to support those
accused in the Network case. Among the main goals of the campaign were
fundraising for legal costs, organizing humanitarian support for the
arrested and offering support to their relatives. The resources gathered
have so far been distributed according to the financial circumstances of
the respective families and the needs of the arrested. Further financial
support is being distributed according to the choices made by those the
arrested throughout the investigation.

Currently two of the accused, Igor Shishkin, and Yegor Zorin, are firmly
siding with the investigation.

Igor Shishkin has not filed a torture complaint, although traces of
torture were reported on his body by the independent Public Oversight
Committee (ONK). He has signed agreement prior to being present in
court, which means that he has fully admitted his guilt. He is actively
cooperating in the investigation of the criminal case, and also giving
testimony against other suspects. If the case by the prosecution is
substantiated with the testimony given by Shishkin, his sentence will be
reduced (as defined in the chapter 5 of the statute 317.7 of Russian
Codex of Criminal Prosecution, UPK RF). Igor is the only accused to have
been visited by official Russian Ombudsman for human rights Tatyana
Moskalkova, but he did not report any torture during the visit. Since
then he has sided with the prosecution during a cross-interrogation with
another defendant. This position is detrimental to co-defendants, and
results in additional pressure for everyone struggling for themselves
and for justice.

Yegor Zorin, in the autumn of 2017, after being tortured, admitted his
guilt and has cooperated with the investigation ever since. He never
filed a torture complaint.

In the framework of the support campaign, we do not consider it possible
to support defendants cooperating with the investigation, against the
interests of the other co-defendants. Thus, financial support for these
defendants is not provided from the common fund. In case you want to
support Shishkin, you may do so via his relatives (link).
All the defendants in the case, Shishkin and Zorin included, have been
tortured and manipulated by the authorities. We are ready to provide
support for Shishkin and Zorin, when they choose to take part in a
collective strategy of defense, instead of an individual one.

DONATE
Yandex-money ABC — S-Petersburg:

41001160378989

PayPal

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Categories: News

Help Needed for Arrested Black Mesa Supporter

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 21:03

The post Help Needed for Arrested Black Mesa Supporter appeared first on It's Going Down.

On Sunday, October 7th, a supporter heading back to Black Mesa was arrested in Utah and is being held at an immigration detention center in Logan, Utah pending a hearing from a judge to grant his release. Abraham is in need of support in many forms, including money and solidarity. Please, take a look at the fundraiser page for a deeper understanding of the situation. See the fundraiser here: https://www.gofundme.com/solidarity-with-ab

On Sunday the 7th of October our brother Abraham Hernandez was detained and arrested in Millard County, Utah where he was kept on an Immigration hold. From there he was transferred to a detention center in Logan, Utah where he waits to see a judge that may grant him release.

From the fundraiser:

“Abraham is not only our loving brother but also a compassionate, valued and vital part of our community. As a water protector and land defender, he is constantly looking for ways to lend his many skills to the local community to help build the autonomous world we all want to see. His dedication to environmental justice and indigenous sovereignty has also made him a crucial asset to the support and resistance in the Black Mesa/Big Mountain community. From sheep herding, hauling water/wood, to fire keeping and fixing hogans, Abraham is known by fellow organizers to always be there and always be ready to support.

“Abraham was arrested while on his way back to camp where he frequently spends months at time dedicated to land defense and to the protection of sacred water and indigenous ways of life. We ask that you may support our community effort to gather resources to guarantee the safety and intentional protection of Abraham.  Please donate to this fundraiser and share with your networks so that our family may continue to navigate this violent immigration system and Abraham may be able to return to the people that love him and need him.”

We, as a community that spans beyond the people we are near, have the chance to support Abraham who has been caught in this disgusting intersection of racism, colonization and immigration enforcement. Please, go to the fundraiser and pitch if you can. If you can’t contribute money, that’s ok, and maybe you can share the link with others who may be able to.

 

Categories: News

North Carolina Ballot Initiative Would Enshrine Tax Cuts for the Rich

Truth Out - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 21:03
This article was published by TalkPoverty.org.

North Carolina Republicans have been on a mission over the last few years to remove every shred of progressivity from their state’s income tax. They’ve largely succeeded, passing several rounds of tax cuts since 2013 that, among other changes, turned the income tax from one with a progressive structure into a flat tax.

So now it’s time for the coup de grace: An amendment enshrining those tax breaks for the state’s wealthiest residents into the state constitution.

In November, North Carolina residents will be voting on a ballot initiative that would amend the state’s constitution to cap its income tax at 7 percent, down from a current cap of 10 percent. Considering that North Carolina’s income tax currently tops out at 5.499 percent, and is scheduled to fall further to 5.25 percent next year, that may not seem like a big deal. But it is.

First, the background. The change to a flat tax helped those at the top of the income scale, who saw their rates drop the most. Along with a host of other tax cutting measures, including a corporate income tax reduction, it cost the state a big chunk of money.

“Since 2012, when Republicans took full control of the legislature and governorship for the first time in modern history, they’ve been on a tax cutting rampage,” said Meg Wiehe, a North Carolina native and deputy director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. “The state will be about $3.6 billion shorter in revenue than it would have been otherwise, which is a pretty significant difference in a state with a general fund of just around $21 billion.”

By pushing a cap on the income tax into the Constitution, lawmakers hope to lock those reductions in, making future legislators go through the same long amendment process in order to raise taxes or add progressivity back into the code. (Amendments to the North Carolina constitution are placed on the ballot via a three-fifths vote of both houses in the state legislature and require approval by voters, whereas legislation can be passed by a simple majority of lawmakers.)

As recently as 2013, the top income tax rate in North Carolina was 7.75 percent, so it’s not out of the question that lawmakers would want to implement an increase from today’s levels. Even setting the cap at 7 percent was a compromise of sorts among the Tar Heel State’s Republicans: Many wanted to cap the income tax at its current level, or even below that, forcing a constitutionally-mandated tax reduction.

A cap poses several problems, in addition to the simple unfairness of leaving such a low tax rate on the wealthy in a state where more than 100 percent of the income gains since 2009 have gone to the richest 1 percent of the population (meaning those at the other end of the income spectrum actually lost ground). For starters, it could undermine important state investments, as Alexandra Forter Sirota, director at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center, explained.

“To maintain current service levels for our population, we won’t have enough revenue under our tax code in 2019,” she said. “So they’ll have to either cut services or raise revenue or some combination of both.” And those cuts tend to fall disproportionately on low-income communities and people of color, she said, as will potential revenue raisers if the state has to resort to fees or sales taxes in lieu of being able to raise income taxes.

Already, that dynamic has been evident in the state. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted recently, spending on public colleges in North Carolina is still nearly 20 percent below where it was before the 2008 recession. Previous rounds of tax cutting have made it so that North Carolina can’t raise K-12 education funding, which is already among the lowest in the nation.

This problem will be magnified when another economic downturn inevitably comes. “There have been key times even in recent history when the state, in an emergency situation, has relied on the wealthiest taxpayers to pay more to help ensure that critical services don’t have to be deeply cut,” explained Wiehe. “Future lawmakers who maybe would prefer to use the income tax as their tool wouldn’t have that available to them.”

Case in point, the state enacted a temporary top tax rate of 8.25 percent on the state’s richest residents in response to the Great Recession – helping to preserve funding for public schools and public health programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program – a move which would be rendered much more difficult if lawmakers needed to spend time getting voters to approve a new amendment.

North Carolina has been a political battleground in recent years, the quintessential “purple” state that is home to the weekly Moral Mondays march, but with a state legislature controlled by conservatives. In addition to the tax cap, voters there will be assessing amendments that would restrict voting rights and remove some of the (currently Democratic) governor’s powers. Locking in tax cuts for the wealthy fits right in.

According to a recent Elon University poll, 56 percent of North Carolinians support the tax cap amendment as written, with 15 percent opposing it. However, after being provided an explanation that includes the amendment’s possible adverse effects, the gap falls to 45-27. That has Sirota optimistic that voters grasp what’s at stake.

“I think that North Carolinians are incredibly smart about this issue right now,” said Sirota. “They understand that since 2013 the vast majority have not seen a big difference in their taxes, but they have seen their communities struggle with having to figure out how to meet needs.”

The post North Carolina Ballot Initiative Would Enshrine Tax Cuts for the Rich appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

‘Weed Nazi’ Bethany Sherman Sues Antifa For Defamation

Unicorn Riot - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 19:30
Eugene, OR – A new defamation lawsuit seems to be the last hope of redemption for Bethany Sherman, a 36-year-old woman who recently lost her head position at a marijuana company after she and her husband were exposed as participants in neo-Nazi groups. Sherman had…

The post ‘Weed Nazi’ Bethany Sherman Sues Antifa For Defamation appeared first on UNICORN RIOT.

Categories: News

Multiple murders cast shadow on an unexpected trouble spot for press freedom: Europe

Global Muckracker - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:27

The rape and murder of a Bulgarian reporter and disappearance and likely murder of a prominent Saudi journalist in Turkey have capped a brutal 12 month period of press freedom crackdowns and violence against reporters in Europe, a region that’s often considered a relative safe haven for journalists.

One year ago, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered just outside her home, in an attack that was widely believed to be related to her reporting on corruption in Malta. That the car bombing took place in Europe only added to the shock for many journalists.

CPJ joined in a moment of silence on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Maltese journalist #DaphneCaruanaGalizia on the road where she was killed by a car bomb, just down the street from her home. pic.twitter.com/uCRM1saLVJ

— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 16, 2018

Then came the murder of Slovenian journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, who were shot to death in February 2018 during Kuciak’s investigation of ties between Slovakian officials and Italian Mafia figures.

Since then, Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, dissident and opinion contributor to the Washington Post, disappeared into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and is feared dead.

And in Bulgaria, Viktoria Marinova, the television host of a current affairs show that had recently covered allegations of the misuse of European Union funds, was found raped, beaten and suffocated in a park on Oct. 5. Authorities have arrested a suspect based on crime scene DNA and have downplayed any connection to her journalism. But two investigative journalists who appeared on that program had been questioned by police during their reporting on the subject.

The recent killings stand out because Europe has usually been a relatively safe place for journalism compared to other parts of the world, said Tom Gibson, Brussels-based European Union representative and advocacy manager for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This is the advertisement that the ⁦@washingtonpost⁩ is running today, demanding answers for the disappearance of our Saudi colleague and ⁦@PostOpinions⁩ columnist, #JamalKhasoggi pic.twitter.com/0ds7ju6leA

— Jason Rezaian (@jrezaian) October 12, 2018

The struggle for press freedom has intensified worldwide, but the Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index, published last May, found that the worst decline was in Europe, a region the group still describes as “the region where press freedom is the safest.”

Journalists around Europe face pressure from national leaders and their allies, who, in many cases, buy media outlets and turn them into instruments of the state. Journalists are also subject to police questioning and arrest. In late September, Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos sued three journalists, including the editor-in-chief of the Fileleftheros daily, for defamation after publication of a report alleging that EU funds intended to improve conditions for asylum seekers in a camp on the island of Lesbos were being misused.

In some cases at least, the threat to journalism has produced change, though at a high cost. The murder of Kuciak and his fiancee led to the resignations of Prime Minister Robert Fico, his cabinet and the police chief. Three people were charged with Kuciak’s killing in September. Prosecutors previously said they think his killing was tied to his investigative work.

“Things have gone downhill” in countries including Poland, Hungary and Serbia, said Arch Puddington, Distinguished Fellow for Democracy Studies with Freedom House, an organization that monitors freedom of speech and other rights around the world. Political tactics to silence the press have included takeovers of public media, the purchase of other media outlets by cronies, limiting journalists’ access to information, lawsuits and starving news outlets of revenue by dropping government subscriptions and advertising.

Poland, the largest former Eastern Bloc country in the EU, was initially seen as a success story with its transition from communism to democracy. But in recent years the crackdown on freedom on the press has intensified. In late 2015, Poland’s parliament enacted a media law that gave the government more control over state-run television and radio. In 2016, days of protests against proposed restrictions on media access to parliament resulted in a rollback, but the pressure on press freedom has continued since then. In 2017, for instance, the country’s media regulator fined the leading news broadcaster, U.S.-owned TVN24, for its coverage in 2016 of the protests, calling it “fake news.”

At least 43 journalists have been killed in relation to their work so far in 2018. These are just a few of the reporters the world lost this year. #HFPATruth #PressFreedom https://t.co/2XLnSS8cge pic.twitter.com/LRphH2J5Ni

— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 11, 2018

“When it comes to the freedom of the press, it has worsened significantly,” said Vadim Makarenko, an International Consortium of Investigative Journalist partner at Gazeta Wyborcza said in January. The ruling Law and Justice party has ordered state owned enterprises to cancel their advertising commitments and state agencies to cancel subscriptions to independent media companies, which were already facing economic pressures. Declining revenue resulted in the 2016 layoff of 190 staff members at Makarenko’s workplace.

In Hungary, the day after the April election that left Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in place, the government shut down the country’s largest opposition paper, Magyar Nemset, while the pro-government magazine Figyelő published a list of 200 Orbán critics, including journalists, calling them “mercenaries” of U.S. financier George Soros. One was International Consortium of Investigative Journalist member András Pethő, co-founder of the investigative site Direkt36.

Serbia fell eight steps down in the 2018 Reporters Without Borders scorecard to 76 out of 180 countries. The organization noted that “some courageous journalists continue to cover dangerous subjects such as crime and corruption, but their stories are usually published by online media with a limited reach.” It also noted “collusion between politicians and media, a high level of ownership concentration and a lack of pluralism in the print and broadcast media” as concerns.

Journalists there have been “harassed and beaten in a campaign to silence them,” said Puddington.

Despite the fact that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pressed Saudi Arabia to prove its claims that Khashoggi left its consulate alive and questioned whether there were really no cameras recording events in the consulate that day, his record on freedom of the press is bad.

In July, Erdogan allies, and a member of his family, sued a reporter and her newspaper for defamation. The lawsuit against award-winning journalist and ICIJ member Pelin Ünker and the newspaper Cumhuriyet focused on stories published as part of the global Paradise Papers investigation that included details about offshore companies, one of which had been managed by Erdogan’s son-in-law and others in which a former prime minister’s sons were shareholders.

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But reporters across the region haven’t given up the fight. In Lithuania, journalists recently scored a victory against what could have been a severe blow to freedom of information there. In early October, the government moved to shut down access to the government registry, which had provided free access to journalists for more than a decade to company documents and land records. ICIJ member and 15min.lt reporter Šarūnas Černiauskas noted that the action followed reporting by 15min.lt, the largest news website in Lithuania and other media outlets that “used this exact data to investigate the leader of the ruling party and the decisions taken by this very government.”

“The war is far from over, and all of the journalists that got actively involved in the fight are definitely blacklisted,” Černiauskas wrote to ICIJ members who helped protest Lithuania’s attempt to keep information private.  Less than a week later came another appeal to support press freedom there — this time to support LRT, the Lithuanian national radio and TV network in a battle to prevent attempts to reshape its governance to give politicians more control.

“General press freedom is struggling” around the world and probably will continue to do so for the next five years as populism and nationalism continue to gain ground, said Committee to Protect Journalists’ Gibson.

That creates a real need for the press freedom community to continue pushing, he said. After outcry, the Lithuanian government relented, with some officials even calling for the government to open up the registry free of charge to everyone.

The post Multiple murders cast shadow on an unexpected trouble spot for press freedom: Europe appeared first on ICIJ.

Categories: News

The Bookstore Is OPEN

The Organic Prepper - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 15:31

Due to popular demand, we’ve set up a bookstore to make it easy to find all the PDF books that are produced here. You can find authors like me, Selco, … Read the rest

The post The Bookstore Is OPEN appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

Citizen and Legislative Efforts to Reform Redistricting in 2018

Truth Out - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 14:18

Grassroots and advocacy groups around the country are working to curb gerrymandering – the manipulation of voting districts to favor or disfavor one group of voters over another or to protect incumbents. Similar grassroots efforts in recent years led to the successful implementation of independent commissions in Arizona and California.

24 states have a ballot initiative process that allows citizens to propose a law or constitutional amendment, either to the legislature or directly to voters. Other states only allow the legislature to amend the constitution or pass laws, meaning, in these states, that citizens must persuade their legislature to pass reforms.

A round-up of the latest news on key citizen-driven and legislative efforts to reform the redistricting process.

Ballot Initiatives

Michigan

A ballot initiative that would create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to draw the state’s political boundaries, proposed by Voters Not Politicians (VNP), will go before voters on the November 2018 ballot. Voters Not Politicians founder Katie Fahey hopes a nonpartisan commission will remove politics from the redistricting process, and create a system that “represents voters instead of politicians.”

The group submitted nearly 450,000 signatures to the Michigan Board of State Canvassers in December 2017, overwhelmingly surpassing the amount necessary to place a question before Michigan voters on the ballot in 2018 (315,654).

At the beginning of June, a three-judge panel at the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered for VNP’s measure to be placed on the November ballot, unanimously rejecting a challenge that contended the initiative is too expansive for a constitutional amendment and does not list all to the sections that would be abrogated. The challengers appealed the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. Learn more about the lawsuit here.

On June 20, the Board of State Canvassers approved putting the proposal on the November ballot in a 3-0 vote.

On July 31, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, allowing the proposal to be voted on in November.

Learn more about the proposal here.

Utah

Organizers have gathered enough signatures to put a proposal that would change Utah’s redistricting process before voters in November.

Better Boundaries, the ballot proposal organized by the bipartisan group, Utahns for Responsive Government, would create a seven-member advisory redistricting commission to advise Utah lawmakers on the redistricting process beginning in 2021. The commissioners, who would be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, would be required to follow ranked-order criteria to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts, which would include preserving communities of interest and neighborhoods together. The proposal would also prohibit the commission and the legislature from considering partisan political data unless necessary to comply with other redistricting criteria.

The lieutenant governor certified the group’s signatures in early June.

Learn more about the proposal here.

Missouri

Clean Missouri is campaigning for a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would mandate the use of a new statistical model for redistricting. The amendment also would give a nonpartisan state demographer responsibility for drawing state legislative lines for state apportionment commissions. If voters approve the measure, Missouri would be one of the first states in the nation to require a statistical test to measure partisan fairness in the redistricting process.

The coalition submitted almost 347,000 signatures in May, exceeding the minimum 160,199 signatures it needs for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.

On August 2, the Secretary of State certified the initiative to appear on the November ballot as Amendment 1.

On September 14, the Cole County Circuit Court struck the initiative from the ballot, citing the state constitution’s single-subject rule for constitutional amendments and the initiative’s proposed changes to more than one branch of government. On September 21, the Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri reversed that decision, restoring the initiative to the ballot.

Learn more about the proposal here.

Arkansas

In late May, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge certified the ballot title for a proposal to revise the state’s redistricting process, clearing the way for the petitioners to collect signatures.

Currently, an apportionment board consisting of the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general draws Arkansas’ state legislative districts while the legislature draws congressional districts. The proposed constitutional amendment would replace the existing process with a seven-member citizens commission that would draw both congressional and state legislative districts. The commission would consist of two Democrats, two Republicans, and three individuals unaffiliated with any political party. The proposal also prohibits drawing districts for partisan advantage or to harm the voting strength of minority groups.

Supporters will need to collect 84,859 signatures to submit to the secretary of state by July 6 for the initiative to appear on the November ballot. The secretary of state must certify the ballot issues for the election by August 23.

Oklahoma

Represent Oklahoma, a nonpartisan citizens group, is seeking a state constitutional change that would transfer redistricting duties from the legislature to an independent, nonpartisan commission. According to the group’s website, the proposal would provide clear criteria such as ensuring common communities are intact and prohibits drawing districts with partisan motivations. It would also require consensus from each party represented for a plan to pass.

The group hopes to implement a new process before the next redistricting cycle in 2021.

Legislative Efforts

Colorado

In early May, Colorado lawmakers approved two measures that would create a twelve-member redistricting commission with an equal number of Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters to draw the state’s congressional and state legislative districts. A supermajority of eight members, including at least two unaffiliated members, would be required to approve a map. Cosponsor State Sen. Stephen Fenberg stated, “This makes sure Democrats and Republicans can’t collude and draw maps that are equally good for the parties but bad for unaffiliated voters.” Both of the bipartisan resolutions passed through the legislature unanimously.

Two citizen coalitions – Fair Districts Colorado and People Not Politicians – that previously filed ballot measures implementing similar citizens redistricting commission, are now supporting and campaigning for the new measure, known as Fair Maps Colorado. The proposal will go before voters on the November ballot.

Learn more about the congressional proposal here.

Learn more about the state legislative proposal here.

Ohio

In May 2018, Ohio voters overwhelming passed a ballot proposal that requires bipartisan cooperation in the legislature’s map drawing process for congressional districts.

State Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would keep the legislature in charge of drawing congressional maps, but, will restrict politicians’ ability to manipulate district lines for partisan advantage. The proposal would require support from both parties to ensure a map has bipartisan approval and sets new rules for map drawing that were previously absent, such as ensuring districts are compact and rules for preserving cities, townships and municipal corporations in the same district. If the legislature fails to pass a map with bipartisan support, the state’s seven-member redistricting commission would have the opportunity to draw a map. If the commission fails to pass a map with bipartisan approval, the legislature would have a second chance to pass a map, but would be subject to strict rules if it cannot garner significant bipartisan support.

The final amendment was a compromise between Democrats, Republicans, and Fair Districts = Fair Elections, a nonpartisan coalition who prepared a ballot proposal that would have added congressional maps to the state redistricting commission’s duties. The new process will begin in 2021.

Pennsylvania

Fair Districts PA, a coalition seeking to reform redistricting in Pennsylvania, is working to amend the state constitution to give an independent redistricting commission responsibility for drawing congressional and state legislative boundaries. The organization supports HB 2402 which would create an eleven-member commission composed of members of the two largest political parties and third-party or unaffiliated voters. The bill would also require the commission to hold at least six public hearings and would mandate that at least seven members – including commissioners from each political caucus – vote to approve a final plan.

To be enacted, this constitutional amendment must pass the state legislature in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 legislative sessions and the voters must vote to approve it in 2020. While the Pennsylvania General Assembly is out of session until September, citizens have called on Governor Tom Wolf to convene a special session on redistricting reform this summer.

Virginia

OneVirginia2021 launched March Forth, a ten-month campaign to build momentum for a constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering in Virginia before voters in 2020. Advocates plan to organize Virginia residents to urge state legislators to enact reform during the 2019 legislative session.

To get a constitutional amendment on the ballot before the next round of redistricting, the General Assembly must pass identical resolutions in consecutive sessions in 2019 and 2020.

The post Citizen and Legislative Efforts to Reform Redistricting in 2018 appeared first on Truthout.

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