RICHARD HEINBERG – Crises make incumbent politicians look bad. But denying or politicizing problems that result from our own prior mistakes just makes those problems worse. Here’s some free advice for policy makers and members of the Fourth Estate: take the long view, even if it’s scary. And tell the truth, even if it means losing an election or Twitter followers.
AL JAZEERA and NEWS AGENCIES – Rohingya refugees have sued the social media giant Facebook for $150bn over claims the social network is failing to stem hate speech on its platform, exacerbating violence against the vulnerable Myanmar minority.
REYNARD LOKI – Our broken and inhumane food system is a huge source of emissions, so why isnâ€™t it a major part of the climate solution?
REBECCA SOLNIT – Itâ€™s easy to despair at the climate crisis, or to decide itâ€™s already too late â€“ but itâ€™s not. Hereâ€™s how to keep the fight alive.
KATHY KELLY – The U.S. government owes reparations to the civilians of Afghanistan for the past twenty years of war and brutal impoverishment.
MICHAEL CARRIGAN and PETER BERGEL – Our country continues to expend nearly half its discretionary budget on its military might. That leaves only half for everything else. The perennial explanation given to defend this lopsided priority is that the military guards our national security. If only that were true!
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Last year was a terrible time for vast numbers of people around the globe, who experienced not only a terrible disease pandemic, accompanied by widespread sickness and death, but severe economic hardship. Even so, the disasters of 2020 were not shocking enough to jolt the worldâ€™s most powerful nations out of their traditional preoccupation with enhancing their armed might, for once again they raised their military spending to new heights.
ROB OKUN – Where are the â€œotherâ€ white men? Who wear masks, believe in gender equality (and science), raise their children, donâ€™t â€œbabysitâ€ them; workingmen volunteering in their communities? There are plenty of them below the mediaâ€™s radar, and many like them are in BIPOC communities.
RALPH NADER – Where is the outcry among Democratic politicians to reverse completely the corporate takeover of Medicare?
SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Increasingly my work in mental health brings me up against this fundamental moral and existential crisis. How can humanity go on in a world so in denial about the facts which confront us? Our tendency to compartmentalize bad things works against us in the most urgent of ways now.
“These increases [in the minimum wage around the United States] are a testament to the power of workers coming together and fighting for what real people and families need.”KENNY STANCIL –
BARBARA PETERSON – The Strike Down Coal campaign provides a COVID-safe form of disobedience, building on more than a year of direct actions to shut down Merrimack Station. Activists protest the continued burning of coal in New England by refusing to pay utility bills, and mailing coal to the utility company instead. (Facebook/No Coal No Gas)
ANDREW MOSS – One of the most pronounced areas of inequity of the pandemic involves frontline essential workers in such fields as public transport, food manufacturing, health care, postal work, retail, and grocery work. There are necessary and feasible ways of mitigating such inequalities in the short-term, but, as with any injustice, achieving short-term mitigations doesn’t come without struggle.
ERIC DIRNBACH – As early as March, there was a clear need to find ways to assist workers in confronting the new unsafe world at work. Thatâ€™s when the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, or EWOC, was born. A joint project of the Democratic Socialists of America and the United Electrical workers union, EWOC recruited volunteer organizers to talk with workers who wanted to organize around COVID-19 concerns. It created a request form for workers to fill out, which it spread through social media. Inquiries from workers started coming in every day.
PEOPLE’S DISPATCH – Despite police repression and the COVID-19 pandemic, workers and farmers and their allies across India participated in the pan-India strike action against the recent neoliberal reforms pushed through by the Narendra Modi government.
ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trumpâ€™s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.
ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Joe Biden, in blatant defiance of the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has won the vote and claimed the presidency. He will now, as he told the nation in his acceptance speech, begin attempting to â€œrestore the soul of Americaâ€ and â€œmarshal the forces of decency,â€ which sounds great but means virtually nothing unless the words are linked to a clear and courageous agenda.
SOVAIDA MA’ANI EWING – If there is one lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global economic recession have taught us, it is that we live in a world that is so interconnected and inextricably interdependent that it has effectively become a single organism. This is a reality that no amount of denial will change. On the contrary, such denial will only cause us to suffer more intensely. We will be better off if we fully recognize and embrace this reality.
ASHLEY SMITH – The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating as the death toll climbs ever higher around the world. Spectreâ€™s Ashley Smith interviews epidemiologist Rob Wallace about the global capitalist roots of the current pandemic, the likelihood of future pandemics, and the types of organized resistance necessary to prevent them.
LORETTA GRACEFFO – More than 30 years after ACT UP was founded, their bold activism in response to the AIDS crisis offers critical lessons for those mobilizing around COVID-19.
JESSICA CORBETT – “We’re in a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet and our livelihoods,” said C40 chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
KATHERINE HUGHES-FRAITEKH – Waging Nonviolence and Solidarity 2020 and Beyond are launching a new webinar series featuring experienced grassroots activists from a broad array of international struggles.
PETER BERGEL – In the wake of the COVID epidemic, the movement to ensure that Black Lives Matter, the inadequacies revealed in our health care system, the movement to address climate change and the growing disgust our people feel for the U.S.â€™s ongoing foreign wars and international bullying, the time has come for system-wide changes.
WIM LAVEN – We will start healing as a country, as a people as soon as we start finding the humanity in each other. We are so busy angrily shouting at each other that we have forgotten to listen; letâ€™s take our power back, find our shared humanity, and take care of ourselvesâ€”weâ€™ve got work to do.
ERIC TEGETHOFF – Health care workers at an Oregon hospital say they are rallying for livable wages. Members of the Service Employees International Union local 49 are urging Providence Hospital management in Milwaukie to complete bargaining with workers.
KATHY KELLY – The cries against war in Yemen fall like rain and whatever thunder accompanies the rain is distant, summer thunder. Yet, if we cooperate with war making elites, the most horrible storms will be unleashed. We must learn–and quickly–to make a torrent of our mingled cries and, as the prophet Amos demanded, â€˜let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.â€
FINTAN O’TOOLE – Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.
ANDREW BACEVICH – The nationâ€™s current preoccupation with race, as honorable and necessary as it may be, falls well short of adequately responding to the situation confronting Americans as they enter the third decade of the twenty-first century. Racism is a massive problem, but hardly our only one. Indeed, as Martin Luther King sought to remind us many years ago, there are at least two others of comparable magnitude.
ERIC STONER – Momentum organizer Nicole Carty discusses how the Black Lives Matter movement built consensus on racial justice and the strategy needed to make the goal of defunding police a reality.
CAROLINE HURLEY – Security, claim peace scientists, is the experience and expectation of well-being. Analyzing management of the major 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa is instructive given Covid 19â€™s global rampage. Despite internal UN dysfunction, especially the veto system pitting members at cross-purposes, that organization proved its worth.
ROBERT kOEHLER – In the linear world of geopolitics, militarism and mysteriously determined â€œnational interestâ€ rule and security means â€” though it is never put this way â€” playing games with Armageddon. This is called realism. And those who claim to be realists never â€” ever, ever â€” allow a word like â€œdisarmamentâ€ into the conversation, much less into the realm of political choice.
BERNIE SANDERS – On this May Day 2020, I wanted to give you an overview of what working people are going through in this country and throughout the world and where we need to go from here.
MIKE FERNER – If we can expand our consciousness and compassion, we can begin to comprehend our governmentâ€™s behavior in the world and come out of this pandemic demanding to be better members of the human family.
CENTER FOR CITIZEN INITIATIVES – The Covid-19 pandemic shows that governments that think of security in mostly military terms are simply wasting money, Mikhail Gorbachev has said. Defense spending must be cut globally to fund things that humanity actually needs.
PAUL ENGLER – There are times in history when sudden events â€” natural disasters, economic collapses, pandemics, wars, famines â€” change everything. They change politics, they change economics and they change public opinion in drastic ways. Many social movement analysts call these â€œtrigger events.â€ During a trigger event, things that were previously unimaginable quickly become reality, as the social and political map is remade
BRIAN TERRELL – â€œI am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,â€ said Dr. King. 52 years later, our very existence as a species is at risk and the radical revolution of values that he preached is our best hope.
MOVE THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS MONEY – Three former UK Royal Navy Commanders sent a letter to all UK parliamentarians on April 1 questioning the policy of maintaining a continuous at sea nuclear deterrent. The commanders note that the Â£2 billion a year cost of maintaining this nuclear posture and readiness for war appear to be unjustifiable, especially as the economic costs of the coronavirus pandemic are mounting
BERNIE SANDERS – This is a moment that we have got to be working together and going forward together. What I wanted to do is talk about a series of proposals that we are working on and that we will introduce to the Democratic leadership about how we can best go forward.
KATHY KELLY – U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the U.S. â€œmaximum pressureâ€ policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Iranâ€™s Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif urged member states of the UN to end the United Statesâ€™ unconscionable and lethal economic warfare.