Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gay Rights is the Civil Rights Movement of our Time!

More often than not, in the present, a majority of folks in the USA feel change is too far off. They'll say it's hard to think about a restructuring of economy, government, and that what's generally accepted in the now-for example, discrimination against people based on their sexuality-is too much to change.

To that I say look at what happened when women voiced their opinions on the matter of voting. Look at what happened leading up to the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Before 1970, not one environmental rule, regulation, law or policy existed. That is exactly what's currently happening in regards to gay rights. Of course that doesn't mean everyone turned into anti-patriarchal, anti-racist activists overnight, and it certainly doesn't main justice is easily found within the present oppressive systems in place. And i certainly doesn't mean racism and sexism have been eliminated through mainstream society. But it does speak to the fact that humans have created the socially constructed systems that have largely maintained oppression, and that therefore these conditions and systems can change by "the same" hands.

Ask a lesbian women, gay man and/or member of the transgender community what it was like to live in the 1950's, 60's, 70's and so on. That reality is changing today, and while nothing is perfect, many states are now realizing how archaic and ill informed their previous stances on the issue have been, much like states did once the tide turned for other movements of human civil rights in the past.

 Don't wait to follow the leader, be one.

All it takes is one person, state or country to lead the way for everyone else. Let's keep supporting LGBT community members in this struggle! The more action and solidarity that's taken, the more the groundswell of change for the betterment of all living things will come. 

Further reading and headlines: 

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/hawaii-gay-marriage-weddings-100522.html 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/12/03/248217871/how-2013-became-the-greatest-year-in-gay-rights-history

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/12/bar_mitzvah_speech_by_portland.html 

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/12/slide-show-first-days-of-gay-marriage.html#slide_ss_0=1
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Thanksgiving Myth


Give Thanks Everyday! 

By: popularresistance.org

Above: “Enlightened and Christian Warfare in the 19th Century–Massacre of Indian Women and Children in Idaho” published in “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated,” August 1868. 

The Defining and Enabling Experience of Our “Civilization” 

As we again plan to celebrate what US “Americans”call Thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment of reflection. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide.

Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped!

Historian Hans K├Âning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, apparently a three-day feast, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe in today’s Connecticut reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots in the Connecticut Valley where the Mystic River meets the sea. The Indians were in fact celebrating their annual green corn dance ceremony. But it was to be their last.

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the supposed 1621 feast, was on hand for the unspeakable massacre of 1637. He described it thus in his History of the Plymouth Plantation (@1647): Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory.

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots, read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic proclaimed Thanksgiving Day was born. Few Pequots survived.

Read the rest of the story here: 
http://www.popularresistance.org/genocide-and-the-thanksgiving-myth/  

Educate yourself, educate others and believe in a better world for all species and the earth!
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Day Never Was, and Will Never Be a Holiday: Why Columbus Day Celebrates Colonization and Genocide

This is a repost from the same day two years ago. It is as relevant now as when it was written in 1991 because put simply, today is not a holiday.

Original post: I'm reposting this article, which I believe does a very good job of explaining why this day is not, and will never be a holiday.

From: http://www.dickshovel.com/colum.html

Why Autonomous AIM Opposes Columbus Day and Columbus Day Parades © by Glenn Morris and Russell Means

When Taino Indians saved Christopher Columbus from certain death on the fateful morning of Oct. 12, 1492, a glorious opportunity presented itself. The cultures Europe of and the Americas could have merged and the beauty of both races could have flourished. Unfortunately, what occurred was neither beautiful nor heroic. Just as Columbus could not, and did not, "discover" a hemisphere that was already inhabited by nearly 100 million people, his arrival cannot, and will not, be recognized as a heroic and celebratory event by indigenous peoples.

Unlike the Western tradition, which presumes some absolute concept of objective truth, and consequently, one "factual" depiction of history, the indigenous view recognizes that there exist many truths in the world and many legitimate recollections of any given historical event, depending on one's perspective and experiences.

From an indigenous vantage point, Columbus' arrival was a disaster from the beginning. Although his own diaries indicated that he was greeted by the Taino Indians with the most generous hospitality he had ever known, he immediately began the enslavement and slaughter of the Indian peoples of the Caribbean islands. As the eminent Columbus biographer Samuel Eliot Morison admits in his book, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Columbus was personally responsible for enslavement and murder of indigenous peoples. He was personally responsible for the design and operation of the encomienda system that tied Indians as slaves to the lands stolen from them by the European invaders.

As detailed in the American Heritage Magazine (October,1976), Columbus personally oversaw the genocide of the Taino Indian nation of what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Consequently, this murderer, despite his historical notoriety, deserves no recognition or accolades as a hero; he deserves no respect as a visionary; and he is not worthy of a state or national holiday in his honor. Defenders of Columbus and his holiday argue that indigenous peoples unfairly judge Columbus, a 15th century actor, by the moral and legal standards of the late 20th century. Such a defense implies that no moral or legal constraints applied to individuals such as Columbus, or countries, in 1492. As Roger Williams details in his book, The American Indian in Western Legal Thought, not only were there European moral and legal principles in 1492, but they largely favored the rights of indigenous peoples to be free from unjustified invasion and pillage by Europeans.

Unfortunately, the issue of Columbus and Columbus Day is not easily resolvable with a disposition of Columbus, the man. Columbus Day as a national, and international, phenomenon reflects a much larger dynamic that promotes myriad myths and historical lies that have been used through the ages to dehumanize Indians, justifying the theft of our lands, the attempted destruction of our nations, and the genocide against our people. Since the 15th Century, the myth of Columbus' discovery has been used in the development of laws and policies that reek of Orwell's doublespeak: theft equals the righteous spread of civilization, genocide is God's deliverance of the wilderness from the savages, and the destruction of Indian societies implies the superiority of European values and institutions over indigenous ones. Columbus Day is a perpetuation of racist assumptions that the Western Hemisphere was a wasteland cluttered with savages awaiting the blessings of Western "civilization."

Throughout the hemisphere, educational systems perpetuate these myths - suggesting that indigenous peoples have contributed nothing to the world, and, consequently, should be grateful for their colonization and their microwave ovens. As Alfred Crosby, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Jack Weatherford have illustrated in their books, not only was the Western Hemisphere a virtual ecological and health paradise prior to 1492, but the Indians of the Americas have been responsible for such revolutionary global contributions as the model for U.S. constitutional government, agricultural advances that currently provide 60 percent of the world's daily diet, and hundreds of medical and medicinal techniques still in use today.

If you find it difficult to believe that Indians had developed highly complex and sophisticated societies, then you have been victimized by an educational and social system that has given you a retarded, distorted view of history. The operation of this view has also enabled every country in this hemisphere, including the U.S., to continue its destruction of Indian peoples. From the jungles of Brazil to the highlands of Guatemala, from the Chaco of Paraguay to the Supreme Court of the United States, Indian people remain in a perpetual state of danger from the systems that Christopher Columbus began in 1492. Throughout the Americas, Indian people remain at the bottom of every socioeconomic indicator, we are under continuing physical attack, and are afforded the least access to economic, political, or legal redress.

Despite these constant and unbridled assaults, we have resisted, we have survived, and we refuse to surrender any more of our homeland or to disappear into the romantic sunset. To dignify Columbus and his legacy with parades, holidays and other celebrations is intolerable to us. As the original peoples of this land, we cannot, and will not, countenance social and political festivities that celebrate our genocide. We are embarking on a two- pronged campaign in the quincentenary year to confront the continuing racism against Indian people.

First, we are advocating that the divisive Columbus Day holiday should be replaced by a celebration that is much more inclusive and more accurately reflective of the cultural and racial richness of the Americas. Such a holiday will provide respect and acknowledgement to every group and individual of the importance and value of their heritage, and will allow a more honest and accurate portrayal of the evolution of the hemisphere. It will also provide an opportunity for greater understanding and respect as our societies move ahead into the next 500 years.

Opponents to this suggestion react as though this proposal is an attack on ancient time-honored holiday, but Columbus Day has been a national holiday only since 1971 - and in 1991, hopefully, we can correct the errors of the past, moving forward in an atmosphere of mutual respect and inclusiveness. 

Second, and related to the first, is the advancement of an active militant campaign to demand that federal, state, and local authorities begin the removal of anti-Indian icons throughout the country. Beginning with Columbus, we are insisting on the removal of statues, street names, public parks, and any other public object that seeks to celebrate or honor devastators of Indian peoples. We will take an active role of opposition to public displays, parades, and celebrations that champion Indian haters. We encourage others, in every community in the land, to educate themselves and to take responsibility for the removal of anti-Indian vestiges among them.

 For people of goodwill, there is no better time for the re-examination of the past, and a rectification of the historical record for future generations, than the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival. There is no better place for this re-examination to begin than in Colorado, the birthplace of the Columbus Day holiday.

Russell Means and Glenn Morris wrote this position statement in 1991 on behalf of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, 1574 South Pennsylvania St., Denver, CO
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, October 7, 2013

With the U.S. Government Shutdown, is the Empire No More?

Not by a long shot, but in terms of Hegemony? How many people/nations are literally laughing at the U.S. right now? It's a mockery to have the Imperial "leader" of the "free" world in disarray due to bipartisan political differences.

This is why anyone who feels strongly about either dualistic side of the U.S. system needs to check their belief systems. Two sides of the same coin shutting down the government over a heath care bill-one that mind you, does take a great step forward in providing care to those who are least likely to access/afford it, but certainly does not ensure that all people will have affordable access to health care.

That said, if you're thinking with a reformist mentality it most certainly does something positive, but for the republican party to be able to shut down the government as a result, to try and sneak a measure on the recent budget appropriations bill to strike down the health care bill, which was made law well over a year ago, is not only disgusting it's laughable.

Perhaps this is a good thing for people around the world to see that there are many, many issues "at home" where houseless people continue to go without places of shelter, folks are hungry, education is increasingly offered at bourgeois prices, the surplus of food harvested does not reach all individuals or families, and health care is at such an ideological difference that hard working people can get hurt or sick and be stuck paying bills, in debt, for the rest of their lives. The fact is "Obamacare" is not enough. Check this out for further knowledge: 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/7/is_obamacare_enough_without_single_payer

although truthfully until all people that are located in the U.S. know they can get medical attention when they need it at truly "affordable" to them prices, the system will never serve the merits of justice. The U.S. puts its nose in everyone's business.

Thankfully the country is not at war with Syria-although allegations of military action in Libya and Somalia are being reported today-but maybe, just maybe a shift will take place and redirect energy to domestic issues of health across social, environmental, economic and political factions so that sustainment might be able to take place and be reached before meddling in foreign affairs across the globe. A pipe-dream it might be, but until then, with the government shut down, all eyes are on the next step.

What do you think is just?

Continued imperialism thrown in the face of every nation across the planet? Or taking care of your own at home first? Especially something as important as health?
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Will the U.S. Back President Obama's Push for War on Syria?

This is a time when democrats that feel they're "progressive" by simply backing the democratic party need to check in with themselves. What's being proposed by President Obama concerning Syria has nothing to do with "leading" a democratic society.

What does is listening to Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon. On Thursday he tweeted-"Tally from constituents calling my office, emailing, and writing about #Syria: 1135 opposed to U.S. action, 18 for." Oregon is not the only state or entity completely opposed to this neocolonial act.

We know Russia has interests in the region from billions in business to their only military base in the Mediterranean. But what are the U.S. interests in the region? Is it to flex muscles? Because of ties to Israel? With so many claiming injustice, with the great understanding that even motioning for war in this manner is against means of sustainability and peace, what are the "real" motives for war?

The clock's ticking...a vote from Congress could come as soon as Monday. What do you think? How does this motion make you feel about the current administration and country? See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Monday, August 19, 2013

In the words of the great Desmond Tutu...

in respect of the late Howard Zinn,

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

 For Egypt, Syria, and all... See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NYPD's Stop and Frisk Policy Rejected!!!



Major news today as a strong act of justice has come down regarding the New York Police Department's controversial and incredibly racists policy called "stop and frisk." A federal judge has ruled in favor of justice through an argument that the policy is unconstitutional. The Judge, Shira Scheindlin, essentially wrote that what the police have been doing adds up to a policy built on racial profiling. If you have ever heard about this policy before, you know the targets of "stop and frisk" have primarily been people of color. Because of this policy police have routinely stopped people of color in a disproportionate manner-people who would never have been stopped if they were white. The video linked here will fill you in more, but for now, and whenever justice is actually served through the system, we must celebrate (momentarily) before the next task is undertaken.
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

If you needed anymore proof that race matters and the US justice system is not just look no further than the acquittal of George Zimmerman

It's made national news for several days now. Protests have continued in numerous parts of the country. Look at the actions of the case and ask if this same situation would've played out if race weren't a central theme. Couple that with a critical look at a court system that legitimates taking the life of an unarmed youth. Does that sound just to you?

In the words of the Rev. Al Sharpton: "Let us be clear: It is now, because of these laws, and upheld by a jury in this trial, where anyone walking — committing no crime — can be followed or approached by another civilian, and they can use deadly force and say it was self-defense. That is something that is frightening and cannot be allowed to sustain itself in our society."

He's right, and while many white folks can not stand the Rev., look at how this statement is absence of race. Now insert the history of folks from African descent in the US and things get more volatile.

Even the US Attorney General, Eric Holder agrees. At the recent NAACP convention he said it is time to fight against "Stand Your Ground" laws nationwide.

"By allowing, and perhaps encouraging, violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation: We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent."

The picture attached to this post is true, and until all people are equally protected in the US there will never be justice, sustainability or peace. Follow this case, learn more, don't be quiet, speak your mind and contribute to the movement.

In solidarity. See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Friday, July 12, 2013

Farm Bill Gets Passed, Food Stamps Left Out, Low Income Individuals Bear U.S. Burden Once Again

When will people be consciously able to connect the dots? The Farm Bill just passed, finally, but for the first time in the last 40 years there are no safeguards for low income people who rely on the support food stamps provide. Republicans v.s. Democrats, really? That's what gets the headlines, not those who will be deeply impacted by this, which is another reason why if you pay attention, the system is clearly broken.

Read about it here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/farm-bill-passes-narrowly-in-house-without-food-stamp-funding/2013/07/11/53616a4c-ea52-11e2-a301-ea5a8116d211_story.html 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/us/politics/house-bill-would-split-farm-and-food-stamp-programs.html?_r=0

 http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/11/politics/house-farm-bill And Demand Justice! See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Exceptional Read: "This Independence Day, Thank a Protester"


If you read anything today, it should be this... Article courtesy of: truthdig.com

By Amy Goodman,

More than 160 years ago, the greatest abolitionist in U.S. history, the escaped slave Frederick Douglass, addressed the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. Douglass asked those gathered, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?” His words bear repeating this Independence Day, as the United States asserts unprecedented authority to wage war globally, to spy on everyone, everywhere. Independence Day should serve not as a blind celebration of the government, but as a moment to reflect on the central place in our history of grass-roots democracy movements, which have preserved and expanded the rights proclaimed in the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Douglass answered his question about the Fourth of July, to those gathered abolitionists: “To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

Douglass not only denounced the hypocrisy of slavery in a democracy, but worked diligently to build the abolitionist movement. He fought for women’s suffrage as well. These were movements that have shaped the United States. The civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s set a permanent example of what can be achieved by grass-roots action, even in the face of systemic, violent repression.

Today, movements continue to shape our society. The trial of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, would not be happening now in Florida were it not for a mass movement. Sparked by the seeming official indifference to the shooting death of yet another young, African-American male, nationwide protests erupted, leading to the appointment of a special prosecutor. A month and a half after Martin was killed, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.

Gay men and lesbians have seen sweeping changes in their legal rights, as same-sex marriage become legal in state after state, the U.S. military has dropped its official discrimination against homosexuality, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act was recently judged unconstitutional. Again, undergirding this progress are the decades of movement-building and grass-roots organizing.

In Egypt, the revolution dubbed the Arab Spring continues, with mass protests forcing out President Mohamed Morsi. Where this goes now, with the military in power, is yet to be determined. As my “Democracy Now!” colleague, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, tweeted from the streets of Cairo on the night of the military coup, “After two and a half years, Egypt just went back to square one in its post-Mubarak transition.”

The United States has been for well over two centuries a beacon for those around the world suffering under tyranny. But the U.S. also has been the prime global opponent of grass-roots democratic movements. Amazingly, South African President Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress were not taken off the U.S. terrorist watch list until 2008. When the people of Chile elected Salvador Allende, the U.S. backed a coup against him on Sept. 11, 1973, ushering in the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who murdered thousands of his own citizens, crushing dissent. Sadly, drone strikes and the U.S.-run prison at Guantanamo are not historical references; they are current crimes committed by our own government.

Now, National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, as far as we know, is stranded in the Moscow airport, his U.S passport canceled. He has admitted to revealing a vast, global surveillance regime that has outraged citizens and governments the world over. He joins in his plight imprisoned whistle-blower Bradley Manning, who faces life in prison, being court-martialed now for leaking the largest trove of classified documents in U.S. history. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has now spent more than a year cooped up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. These three are central to the exposure of some of the most undemocratic practices of the U.S. government.

More than 100 protests are planned across the U.S. this July Fourth weekend, in opposition to the NSA’s surveillance programs. These protests are part of the continuum of pro-democracy struggles around the world. In closing his Rochester, N.Y., speech, Douglass sounded an optimistic note, saying, “Notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country.” Grass-roots justice movements are the hope, the beacon, the force that will save this country.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,000 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “The Silenced Majority,” a New York Times best-seller.

© 2013 Amy Goodman

 Distributed by King Features Syndicate
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Will the Grassley Amendment Make You Partisan (for a minute)?



This blog is very political, but certainly non-partisan. Democrats and Republicans rule the U.S. Some, like us, will argue they are different sides of the same coin. The easiest way to view the matter is Republicans want to maintain power with a WWE factor-weathly, white, elites-while the Democrats argue their progressiveness, but constantly seek to reform an inherently broken system where their "true" pursuits will never take hold.

However, there are times and certain issues that may have supporters of the peace, sustainability and justice movement looking to back certain parties, third parties, these two main parties even, depending on the issue. It's not often, but when it's in our face we sometimes must take a step away from our theoretical goals to support matters on the ground as marginalized people and communities are forced to deal with them. One things for sure, and that's immigration reform is a complete necessity to our fight in the U.S. Dignity and respect are essential. The racist, capitalist system is not. But while this system still stands (brace yourselves anarchist comrades) Latino and other brown folks continue to face disproportionate burdens because of their race, class, ethnicity and culture. The Grassley Amendment works to harm the legal status for "illegals".

Recently, Senate lawmakers rejected a measure that would delay work that may actually be looked at as a path to citizenship. It's no surprise that a Republican lawmaker, Chuck Grassley, is at the head of this delay. The Grassley amendment argues that officials must have concrete control over the whole U.S.-Mexico border, for six months, before any immigrants could apply for legal status. Yes. That was a serious sentence. And yes. This is coming from an elected official, once again proving that racism is not gone in anyway from this country, and that xenophobia towards Latinos continues to be significantly high is many corners of the U.S.

As a party, Republicans want more border enforcement as part of their definition of immigration reform. I guess that makes them feel better even though anyone educated on the subject knows no matter how much enforcement is placed on the boarder people will attempt to cross it so long as economic sanctions like NAFTA are in place. If you want a little more background on Grassley's views on Indigenous people or the rights of women check this out:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/21/1619501/chuck-grassley-native-americans/?mobile=nc

Read up on the Grassley Amendment, find out how/where this amendment was attached in Congress and why "ordinary" people like us have to have matters like this "explained". Get educated and fight for the human rights of immigrants and all people:

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/13/senate-kills-grassleys-border-security-amendment-with-all-four-republican-gang-of-eight-members-in-support/comment-page-2/

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/02/07/grassleyhutchison-vawa-amendment-knocked-down-147543 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/immigration-bill-amendments_n_3232641.html See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't wait until the next "May Day" to honor Immigrant and Labor Rights


Yesterday, known internationally as "May Day", thousands of people marched and performed other acts of solidarity to show support for the rights of the working class as well as immigrants. In the US, major marches in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and a host of other locales spoke to the need for justice driven immigration reform and fair, equitable rights for the greater labor force.

While this annual day of solidarity is vastly important to infuse the conscious collective with an understanding of the discrimination many feel under a racially biased, capitalistic labor system, this important day must fuel the next 364 days of action. There are so many struggles across the globe, in Bangladesh, in the US, in your home town-all must be fought. This fight is as essential to the lasting implementation of sustainability across the social, political, environmental and economic landscape as any.

Don't let this one day be the only day where this is on your mind. Educate yourself on the multifaceted issues associate with the movement for immigrant and workers rights. Find your place within the struggle and act! Links to media coverage on yesterday's events:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/05/01/world/20130502MAYDAY.html?_r=0

http://globalnews.ca/news/529199/gallery-may-day-protest-in-montreal/  

(love the title on this one!)
http://q13fox.com/2013/05/02/may-day-2013-17-arrests-8-officers-slightly-injured/#axzz2S9mG3tix

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/01/us/seattle-may-day-protests/index.html

http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2013/05/02/king_of_prussia_courier/news/doc51814f47c17f7757791460.txt See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An all too serious question regarding news from Syria today...


First, here's a taste of the news currently circulating global news sources:

The United Nations is seeking more concrete evidence to establish whether President Bashar al-Assad’s government has used chemical weapons in its conflict with the rebels. While the United States and other countries say they believe the regime likely used the deadly nerve agent sarin, U.N. inspectors say the current evidence is not strong enough to meet its standard of proof.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Syria to grant access to U.N. investigators so they can collect samples from alleged attack sites and victims. Ban Ki-moon: "I take seriously the recent intelligence report of the United States about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. On-site activities are essential if the United Nations is to be able to establish the facts and clear all the doubts surrounding this issue. A credible and comprehensive inquiry requires full access to the site where chemical weapons are alleged to have been used. I again urge Syrian authorities to allow the investigation to proceed without delay and without any conditions." -From Democracy Now!

The question: Are chemical weapons really the last step that will get the US involved in Syria? Why? What about the wishes of the people? Why does the U.S. always have to "get involved" when there are so many issues at home? How could the U.S. actually "help"? The opposition is asking for assistance because they have been taking major hits from the Assad regime for months. They have asked for support in weapons. If any support will be provided, perhaps listening to them is a justicecentric step forward?

From a sustainability perspective, weapons are not. While the violence they bring forth is at the root of this issue, that IS what the people are asking for, not a full U.S. retaliation. By why are chemical weapons the deal breaker? The obvious answer is obvious, but the real question is for more than a year the opposition has been forced into refugee status, faced bombings and other unaccounted and accounted for acts of terror.

Although the use of chemical weapons brings a new horrific flavor to the conflict, why is that the last straw? Why is this conversation going where it's going now when these people have been brutalized for months on end? If chemical weapons weren't in the cards would the UN and US be ok with what's going on? Is that the way they've really felt? War is not sustainable. There has got to be another way for peace, justice and freedom in Syria... See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ernest Moniz named the new head of the EPA...



Is just business as usual in Washington. What a shame, but of course, it's nothing out of the ordinary, unfortunately. These are the moves where it's easy to see that the head of executive branch of the U.S. is not harnessing the power he has (although not as much as most think) to bring about the lasting change necessary to support means for a sustainable, just and peaceful world.

Mr. Moniz is a nuclear physicist best known by environmentalists for his love of fracking (see the attached picture). Have you seen the documentary Gasland yet (http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/)? You should educate yourself on the process of fracking and who's most impacted if you're not already well versed. The Gasland documentary does a great job.

While other appointees to the President's cabinent can also come under scrutiny, back to Mr. Moniz, one must wonder if placing him at the head of an agency that's supposed to protect the environment, yet supports nuclear means to achieve energy goals among other polluting means, is conflicting at the core. Nuclear energy creates waste that humans have not yet figured out how to adequately get rid of. The old answer for the U.S. was to impact Indigenous people (big surprise!) by dumping all the waste in Yucca Mountain, a sacred area for the Western Shoshone Nation. While that plan has been stricken down (not on the merits of social justice) there is still no way to deal with the waste never mind that with nuclear energy and waste, proliferation of nuclear weaponry is not too far behind. Is this really the best foot forward Mr. President? Does fracking and the Keystone Pipeline really have anything to do with being energy independent, or more so maintaining the status quo?

Here's some interesting background on the new head of the EPA:

 http://grist.org/news/meet-obamas-energy-secretary-pick-ernest-moniz/ See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Case for Albert Woodfox



From Democracy Now! this morning a headline read:

Federal Court Orders Release of Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox for 3rd Time

A federal judge has once again ordered the state of Louisiana to release Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther who has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Woodfox and another prisoner of the "Angola Three" were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola Prison. The Angola Three and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism. On Tuesday, the same federal judge that ordered Woodfox’s release in 2008 again ruled Woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. It was the third time Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors successfully reversed the two previous victories. The state is expected to appeal once again to keep Woodfox behind bars.

Why does Louisiana want to keep Mr. Woodfox in solitary confinement?

This is not the first or even second time his conviction has been called into question based on racial discrimination. This piece is more than two years old, but speaks to what's been going on in recent years regarding critical examination of Mr. Woodfox being help behind bars:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2010/06/albert-woodfox-angola-3

These pieces will also fill you in on the struggle:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/usa-the-angola-3

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/04/angola-prison-3-herman-wallace-albert-woodfox-40-years-solitary-confinement 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/albert-woodfox-herman-wallace_n_873111.html

There are many other sources to educate yourself on the subject, so when the next person asks you why you care about defeating racism when "all men are created equal" you can act in solidarity with movements that are truly anti-racist and seek to eliminate this socially constructed form of oppression.
  See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Big Pharma Defending Capitalism in Africa While the People Suffer


"Fire in the Blood" is a documentary that was shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film looks at the way large pharmaceutical companies helped support the death of millions of people by blocking the delivery of necessary AIDS drugs to tens of millions of people mainly in Africa, but largely across the "developing" world. The reason? Profit of course. The affordable generic AIDS drugs aren't how some of the biggest corps in big pharama like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, make the enormous profits they do. Rather it's their "designer" brands meant for the "first" world.

This documentary critically examines this process. Essentially big pharama, mostly in the U.S., has literally refused to let the countries that needs the drugs the most to get them. At the core of the issue is the beloved friend of world injustice, the WTO, who supports the block of the cheaper, generic drugs that wouls not only save peoples lives, but offer them a higher standard of living, due to a trade deal called the "TRIPS Agreement". You can check out more info about the film and subject matter as well at watch the trailer for the film over at http://www.fireintheblood.com/


Democracy Now! recently hosted a discussion with the film director, Dylan Mohan Gray, as well as Ugandan AIDS doctor Peter Mugyenyi. Peter was actually arrested for trying to import the generic drugs?!?!?!? Watch the video above or visit:

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/23/fire_in_the_blood_millions_die

to get better educated on the subject, big pharam and the WTO as a whole.

See www.solarliving.org for full course schedule