Jorge Parra, a former employee at Colmotores, says that he was fired because of health problems related to his job at the plant outside Bogota. Others tell similar stories. GM denies the allegations.
By Victoria Cavaliere
Progressive America Rising via NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
August 15, 2012 - Nine days into a hunger strike in which he has sewn his mouth shut, Jorge Parra, a former worker for General Motors in Colombia, says his condition is deteriorating.
With mouths sewn shut, a group of former General Motors workers in Colombia started their third week of a hunger strike Wednesday, demanding compensation after allegedly being fired when they were injured on the job.
"We are all totally prepared to die," said Jorge Parra, a former metal worker at the Colmotores plant outside Bogota. He spoke in a mumble, his lips just loose enough to get words out, but not loose enough for food to pass through.
"I have terrible pains in my stomach, my lips are swollen and sore, and I am having problems sleeping … But I will not give up," he told The Toronto Star.
Since Aug. 1, seven former workers have used needle and thread to stitch their lips together. They said more were planning to join the protest.
The protesters say they are willing to die for their cause.(more...)
Written by Kali Akuno
For the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A major progressive initiative is underway in Jackson, Mississippi. This initiative demonstrates tremendous promise and potential in making a major contribution towards improving the overall quality of life of the people of Jackson, Mississippi, particularly people of African descent. This initiative is the Jackson Plan and it is being spearheaded by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Jackson People’s Assembly.
The Jackson Plan is an initiative to apply many of the best practices in the promotion of participatory democracy, solidarity economy, and sustainable development and combine them with progressive community organizing and electoral politics. The objectives of the Jackson Plan are to deepen democracy in Mississippi and to build a vibrant, people centered solidarity economy in Jackson and throughout the state of Mississippi that empowers Black and other oppressed peoples in the state.
The Jackson Plan has many local, national and international antecedents, but it is fundamentally the brain child of the Jackson People’s Assembly. The Jackson People’s Assembly is the product of the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition (MSDRC) that was spearheaded by MXGM in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of Gulf Coast communities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. Between 2006 and 2008, this coalition expanded and transformed itself into the Jackson People’s Assembly. In 2009, MXGM and the People’s Assembly were able to elect human rights lawyer and MXGM co-founder Chokwe Lumumba to the Jackson City Council representing Ward 2.
What follows is a brief presentation of the Jackson Plan as an initiative to build a base of autonomous power in Jackson that can serve as a catalyst for the attainment of Black self-determination and the democratic transformation of the economy.
Program or Pillars
The J – K Plan has three fundamental programmatic components that are designed to build a mass base with the political clarity, organizational capacity, and material self-sufficiency to advance core objectives of the plan. The three fundamental programmatic components are:
Building People’s Assemblies Building a Network of Progressive Political Candidates Building a broad based Solidarity Economy(more...)
By Lois Romano
SolidarityEconomy.net via Politico
June 9, 2012, CHICAGO — On the sixth floor of a sleek office building here, more than 150 techies are quietly peeling back the layers of your life.
They know what you read and where you shop, what kind of work you do and who you count as friends. They also know who your mother voted for in the last election.
The depth and breadth of the Obama campaign’s 2012 digital operation — from data mining to online organizing — reaches so far beyond anything politics has ever seen, experts maintain, that it could impact the outcome of a close presidential election. It makes the president’s much-heralded 2008 social media juggernaut — which raised half billion dollars and revolutionized politics — look like cavemen with stone tablets.
Mitt Romney indeed is ramping up his digital effort after a debilitating primary and, for sure, the notion that Democrats have a monopoly on cutting edge technology no longer holds water.
But it’s also not at all clear that Romney can come close to achieving the same level of technological sophistication and reach as his opponent. (The campaign was mercilessly ridiculed last month when it rolled out a new App misspelling America.)
“It’s all about the data this year and Obama has that. When a race is as close as this one promises to be, any small advantage could absolutely make the difference,” says Andrew Rasiej, a technology strategist and publisher of TechPresident. “More and more accurate data means more insight, more money, more message distribution, and more votes.”
Adds Nicco Mele, a Harvard professor and social media guru: “The fabric of our public and political space is shifting. If the Obama campaign can combine its data efforts with the way people now live their lives online, a new kind of political engagement — and political persuasion — is possible.”
Launched two weeks ago, Obama’s newest innovation is the much anticipated “Dashboard” , a sophisticated and highly interactive platform that gives supporters a blueprint for organizing, and communicating with each other and the campaign.
In addition, by harnessing the growing power of Facebook and other online sources, the campaign is building what some see as an unprecedented data base to develop highly specific profiles of potential voters. This allows the campaign to tailor messages directly to them — depending on factors such as socio-economic level, age and interests.(more...)
SolidarityEconomy.net via BusinessInsider.com
May 24, 2012 - Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media.
We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.
While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.
If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April. But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.
The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.(more...)
By Michelle Chen
SolidarityEconomy.net via The New Press
‘What Labor Looks Like: From Wisconsin to Cairo, Youth Hold a Mirror to History of Workers' Struggles’ originally appeared in Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America edited by Daniel Katz and Richard A. Greenwald, published by The New Press. Reprinted here with permission.
May 23, 2012 - Every revolution needs two essential ingredients: young people, who are willing to dream, and poor people, who have nothing to lose.
Yet the social forces that make movements strong also incline them toward self-destruction. Hence, over the past few decades, uneasy intergenerational alliances have melted away as impatient young radicals bridle against the old guard of incumbent left movements.
At the same time, when it comes to organizing, without patronizing, poor folks, activists continually struggle just to find the right language to talk about systemic poverty in a sanitized political arena that has largely been wrung dry of real class consciousness.(more...)
By Noam Chomsky
SolidarityEconomy.net via AlterNet.org
Nov 1, 2011 - It's a little hard to give a Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture at an Occupy meeting. There are mixed feelings that go along with it. First of all, regret that Howard is not here to take part and invigorate it in his particular way, something that would have been the dream of his life, and secondly, excitement that the dream is actually being fulfilled. It’s a dream for which he laid a lot of the groundwork. It would have been the fulfillment of a dream for him to be here with you.
The Occupy movement really is an exciting development. In fact, it's spectacular. It's unprecedented; there's never been anything like it that I can think of. If the bonds and associations that are being established at these remarkable events can be sustained through a long, hard period ahead -- because victories don't come quickly-- this could turn out to be a very significant moment in American history.
The fact that the demonstrations are unprecedented is quite appropriate. It is an unprecedented era -- not just this moment -- but actually since the 1970s. The 1970s began a major turning point in American history. For centuries, since the country began, it had been a developing society with ups and downs. But the general progress was toward wealth and industrialization and development -- even in dark and hope -- there was a pretty constant expectation that it's going to go on like this. That was true even in very dark times.
I'm just old enough to remember the Great Depression. After the first few years, by the mid-1930s, although the situation was objectively much harsher than it is today, the spirit was quite different. There was a sense that we're going to get out of it, even among unemployed people. It'll get better. There was a militant labor movement organizing, CIO was organizing. It was getting to the point of sit-down strikes, which are very frightening to the business world. You could see it in the business press at the time. A sit-down strike was just a step before taking over the factory and running it yourself. Also, the New Deal legislations were beginning to come under popular pressure. There was just a sense that somehow we're going to get out of it.(more...)
By Left Eye on Books
SolidarityEconomy.net via lefteyeonbooks.com
Oct 23, 2011 - A division exists within the leaderless communities at the heart of the Occupy protests. I would describe this as a split between Social Democratic Anarchists and Communist Anarchists.
I use these two terms provocatively, knowing that most of those I refer to would not describe themselves as either. Neither the terms Social Democrat or Communist are especially popular in the U.S., and the latter is often associated with small left-wing sects that those I describe as Communist Anarchists have a low opinion of.
It also lately seems that the term “anarchist” is becoming unfashionable again. The terms are meant to indicate both continuity and rupture with the historical left. Since 1917, Social Democracy and Communism referred to two different paths of change. Social Democrats believed in reforming capitalism, so that its benefits would be shared more equitably. Communists believed in overthrowing capitalism. Both created disciplined, bureaucratic organizations to achieve their goals. Both believed attaining state power was crucial, either through elections — usually the path of Social Democrats — or armed struggle — more associated with Communists. Although they often vituperatively denounced each other, they could sometimes work together, as was the case in the 1930s in the U.S., when New Deal reformers, who closely resembled Social Democrats, were strengthened by the organizing efforts of Communists.
Today, we see similar splits, in the U.S. and all over the world, in the context of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and related movements. Some — undoubtedly the majority of participants in the U.S. — wish to reform capitalism. Others would like to destroy capitalism.
However, in two crucial respects the participants in the movement–reformers and revolutionaries alike — differ from the old left. They all eschew bureaucratic forms of organization in favor of leaderless modes of organizing. And they all believe that building power from below is more important than strategizing about how to attain and exercise state power. That is why I describe them as “anarchists”, even if they might not adopt that label themselves. Over the next five to ten years, some of these movements may develop electoral wings, but it is difficult to imagine them attaching to these wings the same lofty hopes and dreams that characterized the old left.
So how do these divisions play out in the current movement?(more...)
SolidarityEconomy.net via AP
NEW YORK, Oct 6 2011 -- Their chief target is Wall Street, but many of the demonstrators in New York and across the U.S. also are thoroughly disgusted with Washington, blaming politicians of both major parties for policies they say protect corporate America at the expense of the middle class.
"At this point I don't see any difference between George Bush and Obama. The middle class is a lot worse than when Obama was elected," said John Penley, an unemployed legal worker from Brooklyn.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began last month with a small number of young people pitching a tent in front of the New York Stock Exchange, has expanded nationally and drawn a wide variety of activists, including union members and laid-off workers. Demonstrators marched Thursday in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Anchorage, Alaska, carrying signs with slogans such as "Get money out of politics" and "I can't afford a lobbyist."
The protests are in some ways the liberal flip side of the tea party movement, which was launched in 2009 in a populist reaction against the bank and auto bailouts and the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
But while tea party activists eventually became a crucial part of the Republican coalition, the Occupy Wall Street protesters are cutting President Barack Obama little slack. They say Obama failed to crack down on the banks after the 2008 mortgage meltdown and financial crisis.(more...)
We are in that time of the year when the SACP launches its popular Red October Campaign. Our Red October Campaign is inspired and seeks to take forward the spirit and the victories of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia - ushering in the first workers' government in the 20th century.
The Red October campaign has been an important platform in building and strengthening the SACP over the last 11 years. Through our Red October Campaign we have built an SACP that is closer to the workers and the poor of our country. Through this campaign we say to the workers and the poor of our country, take up struggles to change your lives for the better and be the masters of your own destinies. It is only the workers and the poor themselves, in struggle and in solidarity with all other progressive forces that will consolidate and deepen our national democratic revolution, and advance the struggle for socialism in our country.
Through these campaigns we have also exposed the failures of the capitalist system to address the needs of the overwhelming majority of our people, and particularly also the failures of the neo-liberal macro-economic policies pursued since 1996. Our Red October Campaign has also been an important organising tool to recruit more and more members to the SACP. The Red October Campaign has also been an important platform for the ideological development of SACP members, and generally to conscientise and mobilise the workers and the poor to be the makers of their own history.
Since its launch twelve years ago, the Red October Campaign has been an important campaigning platform led by the SACP, and has notched some important victories, including:
a. the roll out of banking services to the poor via Umzansi account
b. the transformation of the financial sector as a whole
c. The passage of the Co-operatives and Co-operative Banks legislation(more...)
By Manny Jalonschi
SolidarityEconomy.net via NYC Indypendent
Sept 19, 2011 - Surrounded by the headquarters of some of the world’s most powerful financial players, over two thousand protesters converged on Wall Street this Saturday. By the end of the second day, those occupying Liberty Park, formerly known as Zuccotti Park on Broadway and Liberty St., had settled in, partially helped by pizza, hot chocolate and blankets paid for and delivered by their supporters in New York City and across the country.
The Wall Street occupation began on Sept. 17 after months of planning and encouragement by Adbusters, who originally called for the occupation in response to a corporate-controlled political system that is no longer serving the needs of the majority of its people. They were soon joined by the hacktivist organization Anonymous in calling for a general people’s assembly. While the meetings leading up to the protest focused on dozens of smaller goals, Saturday morning, in the dozen or so people’s assemblies that broke down in Zuccotti Park now renamed Liberty Square, the protesters identified their key goals as liberating America from the death-grip of finance and creating a sustainable, just future for every member of the country. Specifics ranged from a progressive tax system, ending the wars and creating universal healthcare to more localized solutions like supporting and participating in a variety of worker owned cooperatives.
The protest began around noon in Bowling Green Park with approximately 3,000 people filing in from various ad hoc rallies across the Financial District — including a crowd that swarmed around the Wall Street Bull earlier in the day. The crowd then began marching towards 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza. While the group’s original goal had been to occupy the sidewalk in front of the building, the area was cordoned off and surrounded by more than 40 police cars and 80 police officers. Instead, the crowd, which had decreased to less than 2,000 by 3 p.m., marched to Zuccotti Park on the Corner of Liberty St. and Broadway.(more...)
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