Political Action

The roots of an attack in Stockholm

Socialist Worker - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 01:00

Jeff Skinner reports from Sweden on the background to a recent attack in Stockholm that the media are neglecting.

Mourners lay flowers to honor the victims of a terrorist attack in Stockholm (Pack Diamant | flickr)

ON THE afternoon of Friday, April 7, 39-year-old Uzbek immigrant Rakhmat Akilov stole a delivery truck being unloaded by its driver and sped down Drottninggatan, a popular pedestrian street in downtown Stockholm. Four people would be killed and 19 injured before he crashed into the corner of a local department store and fled on foot.

Central Stockholm was shut down completely; all public transportation stopped, stranding thousands everywhere in the system for most of the evening. Despite the shock, residents of the city--as well as café and restaurant owners--immediately opened their doors to anyone needing someplace to stay.

As soon as Akilov had been apprehended and publicly identified, the question of his motives and his possible connections to organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) began to be asked. What has become known so far, however, points less to connections to organized terrorism than it does to the typical experience of immigrants and refugees in Sweden.

Uzbekistan, where Akilov emigrated from, has been a dictatorship since just before the official dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. It is nominally a Muslim country, but ex-president Islam Karimov and his successor Shavkat Mirziyoyev have consistently used the fight against fundamentalist Islam as an excuse to silence all opposition.

The September 11 attacks in the United States gave these policies a boost; Uzbek leaders granted the U.S. military access to its airbases and used support for the "war on terror" as cover for stepping up the oppression of their own population in general. As one anonymous Uzbek government official noted:

The U.S. government will fight the Islamic terrorists, and our government will get full support from the West to fight against those our government declares terrorists. Since the West has little understanding or interest in distinguishing between devoted Muslims and extremists or terrorists, all opponents of the government will be easily jailed.

Akilov appears to been one of the victims of such policies. Articles in the Swedish media have appeared since the attack noting that he was wanted in Uzbekistan for "production or dissemination of material constituting a threat to public safety" and "participation in religious and extremist organizations." At the same time, however, those who apparently knew him say that he did not seem to be particularly radicalized until he emigrated to Turkey--raising the possibility that he ran afoul of a dictatorial government that labeled him an extremist for its own purposes.

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AKILOV'S EXPERIENCES in Sweden, once he arrived here, were hardly welcoming. He applied for refugee status through Migrationsverket, the Swedish migration board, in November 2014, but his application was rejected after appeal in December 2016. His caseworkers found his claims of torture and imprisonment "unverifiable"--and he was ordered to leave the country. At that point, he went underground, and his case was turned over to the police.

Akilov's experience as a refugee with the Swedish bureaucracy is unfortunately quite typical. Migrationsverket has received a steady amount of criticism for its absurdly long turnaround times (the current waiting period for a work permit, for example, is more than two years), and they have recently drawn media attention for using a law designed to protect the most vulnerable workers to instead reject applications for work and residence permits and deport thousands of ordinary immigrants as well as refugees.

It is not hard to see that, whatever a person's religious or philosophical convictions, the sense of helplessness at being persecuted in their own homeland and frustration at being denied refuge by a country that sees their existence as a "problem" could be a factor in pushing them to violent acts of desperation.

The responses of the Swedish government and the Swedish public to the tragedy starkly illustrate the divide between the two and point, in a general way, toward the solution that Swedish workers of all ethnicities should organize and fight for.

After the attack, Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén delayed his arrival at the congress of the governing Social Democratic Party by a day to coordinate the government's response to the incident. In his speech to the congress after his re-election as party leader, he focused on stepping up the fight against terrorism through reinforcing the military and the police (including proposing 10,000 more police employees by 2024) and extended an invitation to the center-right Alliance bloc of parties to cooperate on improving Sweden's preparedness against terrorism. Speaking at a press conference later that day, he expressed frustration at the presumed ineffectiveness of the asylum process.

In addition, the party leadership as a whole has expressed the view that Sweden's migration legislation cannot and should not differ substantially from that of other countries in the European Union (EU). With millions displaced across the Middle East and portions of Africa, and thousands dying in the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe, the past few years--especially since the Arab Spring and the beginning of the Syrian Revolution--are a testament to the consequences of EU policies that have tightened borders and increasingly turned away migrants and refugees. Sweden's attempts to bring itself into line with those policies will only make the situation worse.

In contrast, on the Sunday following the attack, tens of thousands of ordinary Swedes gathered downtown near the site of the attack in a demonstration against hate. Several racist and far-right organizations attempted to hold demonstrations of their own, but they were so poorly attended that some of the groups openly expressed frustration on social media at their message being ignored.

This relatively spontaneous demonstration of the mood of the Swedish people less than 48 hours after the attack is a good indication that radical antiwar and pro-immigration perspectives have a better chance of being heard and discussed than compared, for example, to the atmosphere in the United States following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

In an era of escalating military engagements and the consequent exacerbation of the refugee crisis, this is a moment that the Swedish left can ill afford to get wrong.

Categories: Political Action

Where has Ecuador's political left gone?

Socialist Worker - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 01:00

In the second round of presidential elections in Ecuador on April 2, Rafael Correa's successor as leader of Alianza País (Country Alliance, AP by its initials in Spanish), Lenín Moreno, won 51.6 percent of the vote, defeating conservative Guillermo Lasso, who took 48.8 percent. What is the significance of these elections, 10 years after Correa first assumed office?

Decio Machado, born in Brazil in 1968, was an adviser to Correa during his first term (2007–2009), and has been one of the sharpest observers of Ecuador's politics during the 10 years of Correa's rule. Machado is a founding member of the editorial board of the Spanish website Diagonal. He is an associate researcher in Sistemas Integrados de Análisis Socioeconómico and director of the Fundación Alternativas Latinoamericanas de Desarrollo Humano y Estudios Antropológicos (ALDHEA).

Machado spoke to Felipe Pineda Ruiz of Democracia en la Red, following the second round of presidential elections. (This interview was translated by Jeffrey Webber for Jacobin.)

Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno (César Muñoz | flickr)

HOW DO you interpret the electoral process of April 2?

WE'RE LIVING through a complex situation. If it is clear that Alianza País won the elections and will prolong its period in power, with new leadership other than Rafael Correa, it is also evident that the social and economic situation of the country is complicated.

The lack of liquidity facing the state will make it difficult in the short term to deal with the policies of aggressive internal and external indebtedness carried out during the last term of Correa, while the electoral period has resulted in a sharp level of social polarization that is beginning to show some troubling similarities with what is happening in Venezuela.

This is the difficult thing for the next government, and it remains to be seen what its capacities are in terms of revising the errors committed by officialism over the last decade, and positioning itself not as the inheritor of the immediate past, but rather as a new government with the capacity to confront the new challenges that lie ahead. We'll see what happens. Alianza País, with all of its positives and negatives, has many things to rectify, and some have many doubts as to whether they have the will and capacity to do what is necessary.

DO YOU think that the protests by the right-wing party [Creating Opportunities, CREO by its initials in Spanish] after the elections, led by their presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso [against supposed electoral fraud] will have any concrete effect?

PERSONNALLY, I think they lack the militant muscle necessary to sustain a prolonged mobilization against recognizing the legitimacy of the electoral results. However, it's a fact that large sectors of the country are unhappy with the electoral results and the aptitude for bad will on the part of the National Electoral Council does not do anything to help the situation.

In the second round, as in the first round, when accusations of electoral fraud on the part of the opposition were sharpening, we saw that the website of the NEC itself was disabled. These are unpardonable errors for an institution that is under suspicion in wide sectors of Ecuadorian society.

So circumstances will have to change a lot in current Ecuadorian politics, or the scenario will possibly be that the next government has a weak profile, one that is questioned as illegitimate, in a discursive strategy that will surely be articulated by the most reactionary sectors of the country.

This in conjunction with the fact that AP has become very "unsexy" for many Ecuadorians over the last several years, who are no longer enamored with the government's platform.

HOW DO you interpret the electoral map that was consolidated in the election on Sunday?

IT'S TOO early to digest all of the dimensions of what happened on Sunday. Your question in concrete terms is complex and requires analysis that will likely be carried out by various researchers in the coming days.

In any case, the results on Sunday reflect what had already been projected in the first round. Territories with a strong indigenous presence and with a high impact from extractive policies voted for the conservative candidate (Lasso), and officialism (Moreno) won in places that in the past had been in the hands of conservatives. A map that, in short, reflects the political complexity in which we are immersed at the moment in Ecuador.

IS IT possible to infer any pattern of electoral behavior by the middle classes?

I STILL have not been able, in a detailed way, to analyze the Ecuadorian vote by social strata and specific populations. Still, it is worth pointing out that there exists a certain discourse among a set of regional supporters of progressivism that is very critical with respect to the middle classes. They understand the vote in Argentina, in Brazil, and now here in Ecuador, as a betrayal, or an act of ingratitude, with respect to governments that have developed public policies that have allowed a part of the popular sectors to be incorporated into the so-called middle classes.

Personally, I don't see it like this. It appears to me, rather, that this attitude reflects the incapacity of the techno-bureaucrats of progressivism to understand the new profile of social demands that have emerged through the process of modernization that has been unfolding in the region.

Ecuador is no exception in this respect. Public administrators must comply with their obligations to providing the services needed by their citizens in their respective societies; if they are expecting gratitude from the governed, it is better that they dedicate themselves to making music in the street, or work for a charitable association.

DO YOU think that AP will reformulate their policies, or even better, radicalize them?

I DON'T think we are going to witness any radical change in the political process that the country has been living through. We were already promised this kind of change by President Correa in the 2013 elections, and instead we saw that the government was obliged, due to the economic conditions of the country, to enter into a logic of privatization and understandings reached with sectors of private capital.

We haven't yet seen the tip of the iceberg in this respect. I think Lenín Moreno is a man with a more tolerant mood, and he has expressed, during his electoral campaign, the will to dialogue with sectors that are critical of officialism. In that sense I think it's possible that he will govern conflicts with the existing dissident politics of the social movements in a different way.

Having said that, with respect to advancing toward a model of development that is not damaging to the environment, that decriminalizes abortion, that transcends a model of society marked by its patriarchal character, that understands that the capitalist mode of production and reproduction can be replaced by another model that is not so harmful to society, and many other things that must configure any program clearly of the left--we'll have to see.

Among the Ecuadorian movement sectors, a priori, there is not much optimism in this respect. In any case, we will have to give the new government that is formed in May the benefit of the doubt.

HOW DO you interpret the support for Lasso from a diverse amalgam of sectors from the left?

From my point of view, after this electoral process, the political left in Ecuador no longer exists. With reference to the immediate past, what we had defined as progressivism today no longer represents what we had once wanted it to represent. Its evolution, through the logic of government associated with realpolitik, has led it to live together relatively comfortably with sectors of big capital and the transnational corporations that run the national economy.

There is therefore a mismatch, which has become more evident over the years, between what progressivism is today and the inalienable values articulated in the history of social struggles led by the left.

It is enough to highlight how progressivism lacks any sense of class in the current moment, how it has forgotten debates linked to private property, over who controls the means of production, or how it has forgotten all references to real nationalization of the strategic sectors, or of the sectors that would develop its capacity to intervene in the public interest, among many other things that form part of the historical legacy and values of the Left.

On the other hand, the left of the left of governmental progressivism has also lost its political compass in Ecuador. Its current support for a political party that is the expression of the interests of national and international financial capital cannot be understood as anything other than the mortgaging of its political ideology in order to intensify the conflict with the current government.

This opens up a new situation in Ecuador, insofar as it makes the necessity of rebuilding a left an urgent and fundamental task. However, this reconstruction must be done with new social sectors and a new political generation, possibly even projecting itself politically.

All of this must depart from a fundamental debate, which is about what we understand the left to be 228 years after the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution; and what type of left Ecuador needs today, rooted in the social, economic, cultural and political problems that the country is currently living through.

First published in Democracia en la Red. Translated by Jeffrey Webber for Jacobin.

Categories: Political Action

A new journal for tumultuous times

Socialist Worker - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 01:00

Forced migration is at unprecedented levels around the world, so a new scholarly journal focusing on the work of refugee scholars is a significant contribution, writes Scott McLemee.

Syrian refugees arrive in Germany (Remi Itani | flickr)

FEW ACCOUNTS of a scholar's working conditions lodge themselves in a reader's imagination quite like Eric Auerbach's understated remarks in the epilogue to his Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1946). A German-Jewish philologist, Auerbach was forced out of his academic position in 1935. He escaped with his family to Turkey the following year, and for most of the next decade, he pursued a study in comparative literature on a grand scale--analyzing texts in several languages from more than two millennia--amid the uncertainties of exile.

The book was written during the war and at Istanbul, where the libraries are not well equipped for European studies. International communications were impeded; I had to dispense with almost all periodicals, with almost all the more recent investigations, and in some cases with reliable critical editions of my texts. Hence it is possible and even probable that I overlooked things which I ought to have considered and that I occasionally assert something which modern research has disproved or modified. I trust that these probable errors include none which affect the core of my argument...On the other hand, it is quite possible that the book owes its existence to just this lack of a rich and specialized library. If it had been possible for me to acquaint myself with all the work that has been done on so many subjects, I might never have reached the point of writing.

This passage tends to stick in one's memory. It gives the book an aura of heroism. And Auerbach himself stands as the patron saint of everyone trying to resist the urge to consult just one more paper...just one more book...before adding their own mite to the scholarly literature.

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ROMANTICIZING THE condition of exile is ultimately one of the more dubious privileges of unreflective security, however. And as such, it evades an unwelcome truth: the condition of the refugee scholar is no historical matter but a 21st-century reality.

So much so, in fact, that one of the oldest academic presses in the world has now added a new periodical to its catalog. As of its second issue, The Journal of Interrupted Studies, founded in 2015 by students at the University of Oxford, will carry the imprint of Brill Publishers. (With headquarters in the Netherlands, the press has been around in one form or another since the 17th century.)

Describing itself as "a multidisciplinary publication dedicated to academic work jeopardized by forced migration," the Journal debuted in June 2016 with six peer-reviewed articles. Three were by Syrians; the other three by scholars from Ethiopia, Gambia and Jordan. By my count, two of the papers concerned political and economic issues directly affecting refugees, while a third, which explored problems in teaching English-language sentence structure and intonation, had clear practical implications for how some refugees adapt to a new country. Another two papers analyzed economic developments in Africa without directly focusing on emigration. Finally, the issue ended with a first-person account of primary and secondary education in Syria, by a teacher and translator who studied English at the University of Aleppo--an essay that, judging by a slightly anxious headnote, the editors clearly wanted to have yet worried did not belong in a peer-reviewed scholarly publication.

The dilemma should not come up again. In January, the journal launched a blog called "Interruptions: New Perspectives on Migration," open to "the journalism, personal essays, fiction, poetry, photography and art of those directly or indirectly affected by migration, and of those who feel they have something to contribute to a revised discussion thereof."

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BEHIND THIS ambitious enterprise are Marcos Barclay and Paul Ostwald--two Oxford undergraduates whose friendship owes something to their similarly extraterritorial upbringings. Mark (as he prefers) describes himself as "half English and half Argentinean," while Paul's early years were spent in Germany, Kenya and Russia. Between travel, editorial duties and preparing for finals in a few weeks, they managed to respond to my questions about JIS by email.

The seed was planted in late 2015. While watching a German television show with his father, Paul noticed something about how the program identified its talking heads: a German citizen would be presented with his or her full name, while a refugee would be noted as "Kazim, refugee." Paul had met highly educated Syrian refugees and found the "small but very telling instance of condescending chumminess" offensive on their behalf.

Discussing it later, Mark and Paul decided that what displaced academics needed was a platform from which they could intervene in public life as displaced academics--figures whose participation in the community of scholars ought to be regarded not as marginal but as having been interrupted.

In letting them resume their work, such a publication would have to be interdisciplinary--and open access as well. As Mark put it, "Accepting submissions across disciplines means we can show interruption in different academic fields (social science, natural sciences, art history, law and creative writing, to name a few) and different migration contexts (environmental, political, humanitarian)." Likewise, he says, open-access publishing "allowed us to promote the intellectual dignity of our authors"--who retain intellectual property in their work--"in a forum that encourages exchange."

The first issue of the journal took about six months to prepare. "We started off with encouragement from our tutors and Act Now, an Austrian institution which funded our first issue," Paul told me by email. "Then we received support from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, the German national scholarship program. Beyond that, we have a fantastic team of about 12 people and independent peer reviewers who continue to work on submissions, and our blog."

A second issue was announced for late 2016, but it has been delayed for what sound like altogether pretty agreeable reasons. "After an exchange of emails and Skype meetings," Mark says, "we found ourselves sitting in the office of [Brill Publishing] CEO Herman Pabbruwe in Leiden. I remember the sleepless night in anticipation of our meeting and the slightly surreal bus trip to the airport at 3 a.m. as we tried to make our 10 a.m. meeting. When we arrived in Leiden, Paul suggested we mark the occasion by stretching our student budget and going for breakfast. I will never forget sitting next to a canal trying to enjoy a very nice scrambled egg, but quaking with nervousness!"

The discussion went well, perhaps in part because of Brill's record of support for open-access scholarship. Besides its digital edition, the journal will also be available in print.

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THE EDITORS told me a little about the forthcoming contents--but no details, as yet, about the scholars involved: "We make it a policy not to supply the names of our authors unless we have their consent, as sometimes they may wish to withhold their identity for reasons for personal safety." They hope to be able to give all the names when the journal finally appears.

Of six papers slated for the next issue, three strike me as possibly indicative of the journal's range and potential. One looks at "the strategies employed by German municipalities in integrating [Syrian] refugees at social, cultural and economic levels" and makes recommendations about how the tactics might be more widely applied.

Another paper makes the case for national and international aid to victims of ecological catastrophes in Bangladesh, based on "a number of precedent cases where international bodies have made humanitarian interventions on grounds of environmental risk." The editors say they chose the paper because of the relative neglect of the issue in the West "in spite of the fact it has become a severe threat in the developing world as rapid industrialization unfolds."

And a paper on art history goes back to the origins of forced migration -- or at least one of the earliest stories in which it features. The author examines how the Tower of Babel has been the overt or implicit image of "cultural and social dislocation … throughout many examples of Western contemporary art ranging from Soviet Constructivism to postmodern art."

All three articles are scheduled to appear in the second issue of the Journal of Interrupted Studies, due out this summer.

First published at Inside Higher Ed.

Categories: Political Action

Nada menos que la igualdad

Socialist Worker - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 01:00

¿Por qué el New York Times propone formas más "racionales" para atacar a los inmigrantes y sus comunidades?

EN SU editorial del 20 de marzo, el New York Times llamó a aplicar la ley contra empresas que empleen a trabajadores indocumentados. Si no, el periódico advirtió "los contribuyentes seguirán financiando una larga, costosa y despiadada represión contra los inmigrantes, mientras los empleadores seguirán tranquilamente sacando provecho de la mano de obra inmigrante, y haciéndose los desentendidos."

Cinco días antes, en un barrio industrial de Queens, a cuatro millas y un universo de las oficinas del Times en Midtown, la gerencia de Tom Cat Bakery distribuyó cartas afirmando que como resultado de una auditoría gubernamental, los trabajadores que no puedan proporcionar prueba de su estatus migratorio legal, dentro de diez días, serían despedidos.

¿Es esto lo que el New York Times quiere? Y si es así, ¿cómo es esto diferente de la "despiadada represión contra los inmigrantes" que dice estar en contra?

Sorprendió a muchas personas ver al periódico liberal más famoso del país dar consejos a la administración Trump de cómo cazar inmigrantes de una manera más eficiente. En respuesta a la xenofobia de Trump, los principales medios de comunicación, como el Times, finalmente habían comenzado a reportar sobre el terrible costo humano de las deportaciones y las detenciones de inmigrantes, lo que por mucho tiempo ignoraron durante los largos ocho años de Barack Obama como el "Deportador-en-Jefe."

Los inmigrantes y sus partidarios debemos tomar la editorial del Times como un triste, pero importante recordatorio de que no debemos confundir el afán del establecimiento liberal en atacar a Donald Trump con que de hecho esté de nuestro lado.

También es una advertencia de que si nuestra lucha contra las políticas de inmigración de Trump no desarrolla nuestras propias demandas de justicia y plena igualdad, nefarias demandas serán impuestas sobre nuestro movimiento por voces liberales que dicen hablar por nosotros.

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EL TIMES tiene razón en que la falta de castigo a los empleadores expone la hipocresía de los políticos que dicen estar en contra de los inmigrantes indocumentados porque han infringido la ley. Como señala su editorial:

Los empleadores siguen asumiendo relativamente poco riesgo al contratar a un inmigrante indocumentado para realizar trabajo manual y pesado, a menudo por poco salario. A la vez, así como la máquina deportadora del Sr. Trump se acelera, las familias están siendo despedazadas y la laboriosa comunidad inmigrante, con profundas raíces en este país, queda atrapada entre el miedo y la incertidumbre.

Como lo hace con todo, Trump toma este añejo doble estándar y lo hace más obvio y grotesco. Ataca a los inmigrantes como "delincuentes" y divulga historias de violencia inmigrante. Mientras, junta un gabinete de ladrones, cuyos crímenes incluyen ejecuciones hipotecarias ilegales (Steven Mnuchin), racismo judicial (Jeff Sessions), y al fracasado candidato a la Secretaría del Trabajo, Andrew Pudzer, implicado en el robo de salarios y en la contratación de trabajadores indocumentados.

Pero esta duplicidad no es exclusiva de Trump. Es una característica propia de la aplicación de las leyes de inmigración en Estados Unidos y en cualquier otro país.

El propósito central de las redadas de ICE no es deportar a todos los inmigrantes, ni evitar de que "roben" empleos, sino mantener a la mayoría en su puesto de trabajo, pero más vulnerable: con miedo a defender sus derechos (y arriesgarse a que su jefe llame a ICE) o buscar otro trabajo (donde podrían tener que proporcionar nueva documentación).

Cada vez hay más pruebas de que los agentes de inmigración buscan a los inmigrantes que son líderes en su trabajo, como los empleados de Tom Cat que han organizado campañas para mejorar su condición laboral y los tres activistas de los trabajadores lácteos de Vermont arrestados por ICE hace dos semanas.

Estos trabajadores están siendo atacados no porque han roto ley alguna, sino porque exigen que sus patrones sigan las que los protegen de salarios de miseria y condiciones laborales inhumanas.

El New York Times está en lo cierto al denunciar las falsas políticas de "aplicación de la ley" de Trump que encarcelan y deportan a trabajadores inmigrantes mientras ignoran los crímenes mucho más graves de sus jefes.

Pero la solución no es castigar a los empleadores por violar la ley de inmigración, sino descriminalizar la inmigración por completo y dejar de perseguir a la gente por emigrar a países donde puedan mejorar su vida, y además, por supuesto, castigar a los empleadores por violar el derecho laboral.

Como dijo un activista sindical, nativo de este país, en un mitin de solidaridad con los trabajadores de Tom Cat, "No importa sus estatus, si trabajan aquí merecen respeto y derechos."

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LA CRECIENTE resistencia a Trump probablemente dará un gran paso adelante el 1° de mayo, con grandes protestas y posibles huelgas en ciudades de todo el país.

Los derechos de los inmigrantes estarán al frente y al centro de este histórico día de protesta, lo que significa que este es un momento importante para que el movimiento debata y discuta no sólo contra qué, sino también por qué estamos luchando; y figurar cómo convencer a millones de apoyarnos.

Proponemos comenzar con dos principios básicos: Cada uno de nosotros merece los mismos derechos independientemente de dónde hayamos nacido; y, los seres humanos tenemos el mismo, si no más, derecho que las empresas para cruzar las fronteras. Estos son conceptos con los que una gran mayoría puede acordar, pero que desafían la habilidad de los patrones de debilitarnos y dividirnos.

Sobre la base de estos principios, muchas de las medidas propuestas por los supuestos aliados de los inmigrantes, en el Partido Demócrata--como los programas de trabajadores huéspedes, la deportación de inmigrantes con antecedentes penales, un larguísimo (quizá interminable) camino a la ciudadanía y hacer más difícil la futura inmigración--no son pasos hacia la justicia, sino nuevas formas de regular la desigualdad y proporcionar a los patrones trabajadores precarios.

Esto no significa que nuestro movimiento debe rechazar todo compromiso que no sea crear un mundo sin fronteras. La preocupación inmediata debe ser, por supuesto, parar las deportaciones.

Pero sí significa que debemos rechazar el callejón sin salida que es "reforma migratoria integral," impulsada durante años por demócratas y republicanos "moderados." La última versión de esta, en 2013, presentada por el demócrata de Nueva York Chuck Schumer, estaba llenas de medidas que harían a Trump feliz, como la adición de 40.000 agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza y el despliegue de la Guardia Nacional en la frontera.

Los demócratas insisten en que sólo respaldan estas horribles medidas para obtener algo que podría ayudar a los inmigrantes indocumentados en el país, pero la reciente editorial del Times lo desmiente.

En momentos en que no puede haber compromiso alguno con Trump, el establecimiento liberal sigue buscando formas de detener el "flujo de inmigrantes indocumentados" que considera claramente un problema, pero no tiene nada que decir sobre la guerra contra las drogas y los acuerdos comerciales que crean la violencia y la pobreza que empuja a la gente a cruzar la frontera, a pesar de la "despiadada represión" de Trump.

A medida que construimos para el Primero de Mayo, nuestro objetivo debe ser fortalecer el movimiento para decir "no, gracias" a estos sollamados aliados, y afirmar que queremos nada menos que la plena libertad e igualdad para todos nosotros, nuestros seres queridos y nuestros vecinos.

Traducido por Orlando Sepúlveda

Categories: Political Action

Victory for Now: California Hits Pause on A.B. 165, Bill that Sought to Undermine Student Privacy

Deep Links - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 21:02

It's a great day for digital privacy in California. Confronted with opposition from a powerful and diverse coalition, Assemblymember Jim Cooper has pulled his legislation, A.B. 165, from consideration by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. EFF joined over 60 civil rights organizations, technology companies, and school community groups in fighting A.B. 165, and we thank all the EFF members and friends who joined us in speaking out. The unrelenting, principled opposition to this anti-privacy bill stopped it from reaching its first committee hearing.

A.B. 165 attempted to create a carve-out in the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), one of the strongest digital privacy bills in the nation. If A.B. 165 had passed, it would have left millions of Californians who attend our schools without strong protections against invasive digital searches.

California students need privacy on their digital devices in order to research sensitive topics, explore political issues, and connect with friends and family members. That’s especially true in this political moment when many students who come from immigrant families, are exploring their sexuality, or who are engaging in political protest may feel heightened concern around government access to their digital data.

The students of today will be the voters, creators, and policymakers of tomorrow. By teaching students that our laws respect and uphold their digital privacy from a young age, we can help create a future generation of engaged citizens who understand the value of digital privacy.

We thank the California Assemblymembers who responded to the privacy concerns with AB 165 and halted this bill in response to the public outcry, especially Assemblymember Ed Chau, Chair of the Committee.

While we are celebrating today, this fight isn’t over. A.B. 165 could be revived at some point during this two-year legislative cycle. If you haven’t already, please tell your California representative you stand for privacy.

The price of freedom is vigilance, and EFF relies on individual donations to vigilantly defend digital privacy. Please support our work.

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Categories: Political Action

MoveOn Statement on Trump’s Bellicose Rhetoric, Increasingly Aggressive U.S. Military Posture

Move On - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 15:36

MoveOn.org Civic Action Executive Director Anna Galland issued the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s bellicose rhetoric and an increasingly aggressive U.S. military posture:

“Not yet 100 days into his presidency, Donald Trump has sent U.S. missiles into Syria without congressional authorization. Civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes have spiked. He’s considering ramping up our military involvement in Yemen, has dropped the so-called ‘mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan, and has threatened a preemptive strike on North Korea—inflaming an already tense situation. He must be reined in.

“Our Constitution requires that Trump go to Congress before initiating preemptive military action. All members of Congress must make clear that they demand a considered congressional debate prior to the use of force, while also making clear that they oppose preemptive war as well as the use of our nuclear arsenal.

“Trump’s dangerous military actions and explosive rhetoric and posturing are escalating the U.S.’s involvement in existing war zones, and risk sparking devastating new hot wars around the world. MoveOn’s millions of members will resist this frightening and potentially disastrous emerging front in Trump’s agenda.”


Categories: Political Action

Spheres of Open: strengthening ties across the movement

Creative Commons - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 13:09

Sessions in the “Spheres of Open” track will focus on meaningful discussions about how we can work together to enhance, promote and move further the premises of CC in different areas of Open, such as Open GLAM, Open Education and Open Culture. Be prepared not only to learn from global practitioners, but also to be involved in a collective journey to search for the common questions regarding how we can make the world a better place with the CC community, its values, licenses and tools. This is an important year for the Creative Commons (CC) community gathering at the CC Summit, as we’re in the middle of discussing our new strategy, so be sure to drop by and join us!

Some of the questions that we’ll be exploring include:

  • How can we celebrate and strengthen our ties to creators of culture who make the Commons visible and real to people?
  • How might we ensure Open Access initiatives meet the knowledge and information needs of the public?
  • How can we shape the future of the GLAM sector in a world with imbalanced copyright laws?
  • How do we open up government archives and advance Open Data initiatives?
  • Should we create an annual a CC film festival?
  • How do we mainstream Open Education?
  • How can open education be aligned with the global grand challenges we all face?

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring as the CC network shifts from its role as a set of legal tools and licenses to a community that focus on people, sharing, and gratitude.

The post Spheres of Open: strengthening ties across the movement appeared first on Creative Commons.

Categories: Political Action

Halfway through April’s ‘Resistance Recess,’ GOP electeds facing growing backlash

Move On - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 12:46

NEW THIS MORNING: Sen. Jeff Flake weathers brutal, 2 1/2-hour Mesa town hall

Flake was battered with questions about that issue as well as President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall; his resolution to stop an Obama administration-era rule on internet privacy; his opposition to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood; and his support for eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees to secure the confirmation of Trump’s pick, Neil Gorsuch.

But the conversation kept coming back to health care. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which they derisively call “Obamacare.”


MUST-SEE: Teacher confronts Sen. Flake over ‘Trump effect,’ failure to stand up to Trump [Twitter]

VIDEO: “Senator, my question is: when are you going to choose your country over your party? [Twitter/Kyle Griffin]

“You work for us”: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake faces hostile town hall [Slate]

‘SHAME ON YOU!’: Republican senator who opposed Trump gets grilled in a raucous town-hall meeting [Business Insider]

As Congress nears the halfway point of its two-week April recess, Republican lawmakers nationwide are facing growing backlash for refusing to stand up to Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda, with constituents voicing concern over failed GOP-led efforts to revoke health care from millions and Republican leaders’ refusal to launch full, independent investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.

***On this week’s Showtime’s “The Circus” with John Heilemann: A visit to the MoveOn-led Resistance Recess action outside Sen. David Perdue’s fundraiser in Atlanta.
Preview: https://twitter.com/SHO_TheCircus/status/852653897042632704/video/1

Pic: Perdue’s constituents gather outside his fundraiser:

CNN: GOP lawmakers brace for new round of town hall backlash

Groups like Indivisible and MoveOn.org are urging local progressives to attend the meetings. And the intensity of the interest around the events has lawmakers — especially moderate Republicans in competitive districts facing tough re-election battles in 2018 — paying close attention.

Huffington Post: House Republicans Are Having The Worst Spring Break Ever

WASHINGTON ― When House Republicans returned home this week for a long Easter recess, they found themselves facing rooms packed with loud, furious constituents — and in some cases relied on extra security.

It turns out, governing with complete control of the federal government is harder than Republicans may have expected. After failing to rally enough support to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last month, the party has struggled to come up with a coherent legislative agenda, and the scandal-ridden Trump administration isn’t helping.

Despite the hostile atmosphere, a number of rank-and-file Republicans held town hall meetings in their districts. Health care dominated the conversation. But constituents also wanted answers on immigration, climate change, Russia, and whether lawmakers were going to demand President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

USA Today: Republicans avoid town halls after health care votes

WASHINGTON — Reps. Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania appear to be the only swing-district Republicans who voted for their party’s bill to replace Obamacare who will directly face constituents over the April recess, according to a USA TODAY analysis of scheduled town halls compiled by Townhallproject.com.

…The migration away from public forums has been going on for months, despite complaints from constituents and local media. There have been roughly 30 recent newspaper editorials slamming lawmakers for avoiding town halls and calling on members to face their voters, not only in bluer portions of the country like New York but also in critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania’s 6th and 7th districts, represented by Reps. Pat Meehan and Costello.

…While the strategy may be smart in the short term, allowing members to avoid images of themselves on the defensive, in the longer term it could hurt, said Ross Baker, a political science professor who specializes in Congress at Rutgers University. Just like the Tea Party-driven protests against Obamacare in 2009 came with a price for House Democrats, who lost control of the House in 2010, Republicans should not ignore the current backlash, he said. “If there’s anything worse than being on the wrong side of a political issue it’s appearing cowardly and not facing your constituents,” said Baker. “Politics is all about accountability.”

AP/CBS: House Republicans on recess face angry constituents at local town halls

Fox News: GOP Lawmakers Face Backlash at Town Halls During 2-Week Recess

At Resistance Recess events, MoveOn members are demanding that their elected officials stand up to Trump’s dangerous and unconstitutional agenda, investigate Trump/Russia, and prevent a war with Syria. The GOP-led effort to unravel the Affordable Care Act, and revoke health care from millions, is continuing to draw the strongest responses, with constituents confronting elected officials who supported the Republican health care bill.

Politico: Coffman pummeled at town hall over GOP Obamacare repeal

The chaotic scene that unfolded Wednesday foreshadows the problem dozens of centrist Republicans will face during the 2018 midterm elections in swing districts across the country. While Coffman was one of the few moderates to brave a town-hall setting during the two-week Easter recess, his colleagues won’t be able to dodge constituent blowback at the polls.

CNN: At raucous town hall, GOP congressman confronts anger about Trump

One woman who described herself as a health care worker with pre-existing conditions said the health care bill that Trump endorsed would eliminate protections for people with medical histories.

“Are you going to side with Trump or are you going to … stand with your constituents?” the woman wanted to know.

The Hill: Inside a NJ Republican’s furious town hall

“I don’t feel that you’ve represented my interests or the majority of the constituents that are in your district, ” Janet Katz, a Chester Township resident, told Lance. “I want this repeal crap to stop!”

Lance pledged that he wouldn’t support any GOP health bill that rolled back coverage for people with pre-existing conditions or eliminated ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” which dictate what services insurer must provide. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus specifically targeted that provision during negotiations over the House GOP’s healthcare bill.

Huffington Post: Congressman Who Shouted ‘You Lie’ At Obama Gets A Taste Of His Own Medicine

When [Rep. Joe Wilson], who voted against extending the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, claimed he’d worked to prevent violence against women, audience members chanted “You lie!” They did it again when he tried to outline problems with the Affordable Care Act, according to WJBF.

The crowd also booed when Wilson said he supported President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missiles against Syria after it used chemical weapons, according to the Post and Courier. Wilson said he would have supported Obama if he’d made the same decision as president.

Monday’s exchange was only the latest confrontation between a Republican lawmaker and his or her constituents at home. In February, members of Congress intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act took heat at town halls across the country for their positions. Republicans came close to repealing Obama’s health care law last month, but ultimately pulled the bill because they could not muster enough support.

Michigan Live: Crowd grills congressman on health care in another intense town hall

Things got heated within the crowd when Shreena Gandhi of Okemos said she was recently called “sand and the N-word” and was told to “get out of my country” by a man at a coffee shop.

She said the man’s truck had a Bishop yard sign in the window, a Trump bumper sticker and another bumper sticker that read “Don’t tread on me.”

Another attendee next to her claimed she was “being ridiculous.”

“I felt like I was being silenced. He just kept talking,” Gandhi said of the attendee.

She asked Bishop how he will hold President Donald Trump “accountable on his white supremacy.”

“He discriminates against women,” she alleged. “He’s bragged about sexual assaulting people. If I wasn’t a woman of color, I don’t know that he would speak to me the way he’s been speaking to me this entire time.”

** More on Rep. Mike Bishop town hall from Free Press and a “Flat Mike” cardboard cut-out town hall that Rep. Bishop declined to attend in the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

In addition to health care, constituents pushed members of Congress to stand up to Trump on climate change, immigration, and foreign policy:

Independent Florida Alligator: Tension, disagreements at second Yoho town hall

Do you believe human activity is the leading cause of climate change?” Reaver, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in environmental science, asked.

“No,” the congressman immediately interjected.

“Please explain why your personal opinion as a nonexpert in the field is more valuable than the evidence of 97 percent of scientists,” Reaver pressed.

Her rebuttal received a standing ovation.

Oregon Live: Angry crowds blast Greg Walden at Columbia Gorge town halls

The crowd in The Dalles got vocal when Ian Chandler, who works in the fruit industry, told Walden that the Republican position on immigration was not only unfair to immigrants but also creating a damaging labor shortage for local growers.

“Republicans are issuing a lot of negative rhetoric about immigrants,” Chandler said. “Kids are hearing a lot of terrible things about their parents and their people. Immigrant labor is 99 percent of our labor.”

Gretchen Kimsey, a 50-year resident of The Dalles, told Walden that she had voted for him like clockwork every two years. But no more.

“I feel you’ve abandoned me for the right, the far right,” she said. “Where are you Greg Walden? You have abandoned the middle way. You no longer represent many of your constituents. Come back to the middle.

KOIN: Walden gets tough questions at The Dalles town hall

Orchardist Ian Chandler, who is a Republican himself, said he wants the congressman to protect the area’s immigrant population.

“People are afraid,” Chandler said. “There’s genuine fear of what’s going to happen with immigration crackdowns. There’s fear of families being broken apart.”

CNN: Rep. McClintock’s town hall gets personal

Republican Rep. Tom McClintock faced jeers, boos and shouts of “do your job” at a town hall meeting in his California district Saturday, but one thing the crowd liked was his stance on Syria — precisely because he criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to strike an air base in that country on Thursday.

Colorado Gazette:  Lamborn jeered at GOP congressman’s first town hall meeting in Colorado Springs

MoveOn members are also applauding Senate Democrats for standing united and refusing to normalize Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and reminding them that they must continue to stand united and use every available tool to block Trump’s toxic agenda that would bankrupt our country and divide our community for the benefit of billionaires and corporations.

“The energy from February recess that derailed TrumpCare has not abated,” said Katherine Werner, MoveOn.org Field Campaign Manager. “Republicans and Democrats alike continue to be held accountable to their constituents. Trump remains under investigation, and Congress has broken decades-old rules to push through Trump’s dangerous agenda. Now is not the time for our elected officials to capitulate to Trump—now is the time for a full-throated independent investigation into Trump’s Administration’s ties with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, and now is the time to block Trump’s dangerous, unconstitutional agenda and illegal escalation of war in the Middle East.”

Categories: Political Action

Sen. Warren, MoveOn.org Release New Trump Tax Video Before Tax Marches: ‘Donald: The Time for Hiding Is Over’

Move On - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 10:10

As thousands of people nationwide prepare to join more than 150 Tax Marches this weekend to ask members of Congress to force Donald Trump to reveal what he’s hiding in his taxes, Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes on the issue—again.

*** See the video here: https://www.facebook.com/moveon/videos/10154314702610493/ ***

In a new video from MoveOn.org Civic Action, Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts Donald Trump for his continued refusal to release his tax returns and makes the case that Americans deserve to see Trump’s taxes to know what he’s hiding.

“Donald Trump is hiding something,” the senior senator from Massachusetts says in the video. “And we know where he’s hiding it—not in a safe, not in a vault. Nope, he’s hiding it in his taxes.”

Watch: “The Cover-Up In Trump’s Taxes”
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoveOn/status/852885042741248000
YouTube: https://youtu.be/VCgkqwXHXYk

Sen. Warren initially recorded a viral video on Trump’s taxes in June 2016 with MoveOn.org, which garnered more than 37 million views on Facebook.

The new video is being released in advance of the nationwide Tax March on April 15, when thousands of people nationwide will join hundreds of marches to draw attention to Trump’s refusal to show what’s hiding in his taxes. Trump was the first major presidential candidate to refuse to release his taxes in 40 years, breaking a precedent designed to ensure the American people had visibility into their president’s business dealings.

“Now, we don’t know much, but we do know that Trump hotels owe hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, the Bank of China,” Warren says. “We know he’s done business with Saudi princes, and even investors allegedly tied to the Russian mob. The American people definitely didn’t elect Wall Street, or Saudi Arabia, or Russia to run our country—but it seems like they’ve been renting ‘TRUMP’ for years. And that’s where the problem is: Not just an ethical problem, but who exercises influence—who really calls the shots—over the man who now sits in the White House.”

Warren continues: “On April 15, I hope Donald Trump looks outside his window. Thousands of Americans will be joining the Tax March for economic justice. People will be marching to demand that Washington stop working for the lobbyists and lawyers and billionaires and start working for the American people. People will be marching to tell Donald Trump they want to know who he is really working for and for Congress to force Donald Trump to release his taxes. Donald: The time for hiding is over.”

A new poll released Thursday by Global Strategy Group showed that 4 in 5 voters believe Trump should release his tax returns and are overwhelmingly “opposed to tax policies that benefit corporations and the rich,” with 90 percent of respondents agreeing there are “already too many special tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans.” See the poll here.

Categories: Political Action

A voice for socialism for 40 years

Socialist Worker - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 01:00

On the 40th anniversary of Socialist Worker, Elizabeth Schulte looks back at its history--and how socialists have used a revolutionary press to build the struggle for a better world.

WHEREVER THERE has been a socialist or radical movement, there has been a newspaper to help spreads its ideas and build the cause.

When the likes of Eugene Debs, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Big Bill Haywood sought to build an audience for socialism and workers' organization at the beginning of the 19th century, they found their audience through the Socialist Party's Appeal to Reason, the IWW's Industrial Worker or another of the dozens of radical, multi-language publications of the day.

When Minneapolis truck drivers went out on strike for a union in 1934, they had their own newspaper to counter the bosses' lies about the strike and to knit together solidarity for their side. The Organizer became the first daily strike newspaper produced in the U.S.

When soldiers protested the war in Vietnam, they built up their resistance with GI newspapers. Some 300 underground newspapers, such as Fed Up and G.I. Voice, were produced and circulated during the course of the war to spread a message of dissent, even though it could mean severe disciplinary actions against active-duty soldiers.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense put its weekly newspaper at the center of its organizing, using it to provide a voice for the Black Power struggle and to organize members around a set of revolutionary politics. At its high point, the Black Panther had a weekly circulation of a quarter of a million copies.

Even in the Internet age, activists in the Occupy movement in 2011 turned to newspapers to send their message against the greed of the 1 Percent. With names like the Occupied Wall Street Journal and Occupied Chicago Tribune, these papers reflected the ideas and debates in the movement.

The importance of a media for our side is clear. The New York Times or the Washington Post may claim that they provide the facts without bias, but it's clear that they actually do take sides--and it's not the side of the workers.

This doesn't mean there's nothing of interest in the mainstream press. They sometimes reflect the changing opinions in the world around them.

For instance, in 2001, when the death penalty was being discredited by a growing list of death row prisoners who were found innocent, the Republican Chicago Tribune ran articles supporting a moratorium and even abolition. Protest and public outcry over the scandalous facts about the death penalty changed many opinions, even those of the conservative Tribune.

But by and large, mainstream newspapers don't venture far from their main job of defending the status quo--the police in instances of police brutality, management in times of strike, and the U.S. government when it declares war.

That's why we need to have a voice for our side. Former Black Panther David Hilliard explained what that meant:

We knew from the beginning how critical it was to have our own publication, to set forth our own agenda for freedom, to raise political consciousness among our people as to their oppressed state, to rebut government lies, to tell the truth, to urge change, to use the pen alongside the sword.

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FOR SOCIALISTS and their organizations, the revolutionary newspaper plays a key role not just in circulating reports and commentary to further struggles for justice that can't be found in the mainstream media, but also in contributing to building organizations that can challenge the system as a whole.

Throughout the history of the socialist movement, revolutionaries have produced and written for newspapers with the aim of finding an audience of people who can be won to socialist ideas and who see themselves part of building socialist organization.

Neue Rheinische Zeitung was the paper of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and the German revolutionary movement of 1848. Die Rote Fahne was the paper of Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and the German Revolution of 1918. Iskra and other papers provided Lenin and the Russian revolutionaries with a platform in the years before the 1917 revolution. These are just a few of the examples.

Writing about the role of the revolutionary newspaper, Italian socialist and editor of L'Ordine Nuovo Antonio Gramsci explained how the act of a worker choosing a socialist paper is a step toward recognizing the real role of the bourgeois press:

[E]very day, this same worker is able to personally see that the bourgeois newspapers tell even the simplest of facts in a way that favors the bourgeois class and damns the working class and its politics.

Has a strike broken out? The workers are always wrong as far as the bourgeois newspapers are concerned. Is there a demonstration? The demonstrators are always wrong, solely because they are workers they are always hotheads, rioters, hoodlums. The government passes a law? It's always good, useful and just, even if it's...not. And if there's an electoral, political or administrative struggle? The best programs and candidates are always those of the bourgeois parties.

The act of reporting on the struggles of workers and the oppressed and drawing socialist conclusions is just as "political" as an editorial. In fact, for a socialist paper, there's a premium on drawing out the lessons of a struggle and sharing it with a wider audience of fellow activists.

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IN SOCIALIST Worker's 40 years of publishing, it has told many of these stories of workers' fights. From the start, the pages of SW were filled with reporting from picket lines, like coal miners' strike against the Taft-Harley Act in 1977-78. This was the last era before the employers' offensive really revved up.

But even when the class struggle receded, SW continued to report on labor issues, with an attention to the rank-and-file activists behind them. For example, our coverage of the bitter "War Zone" struggles in Decatur, Illinois, in the mid-1990s gave a voice to the workers who were leading that fight, telling the story of the obstacles they faced and the strategies they used, their conflict with their International union, and how they organized co-workers inside the plant.

When SW reported on the Wisconsin uprising against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's assault on public-sector workers in 2011, it told the story of the spirited and creative organizing inside the Capitol occupation that kept it going for weeks--but also the betrayal of the Democrats that ended it.

In this way, Socialist Worker reported the facts about struggles that couldn't be found elsewhere, but it also drew out the lessons of each fight to share with others fighting for changes.

Writing about the revolutionary paper, the Russian revolutionary Lenin talked about the importance of "exposures"--articles exposing the crimes of capitalism. In the hands of bourgeois newspapers, these stories often mean very little beyond the stated facts, but when reported on in the socialist press, they can become powerful condemnations of the system we live under.

When it was revealed that dozens of Black children were being murdered in the city of Atlanta in the early 1980s, SW carried a special feature that gave expression to the horror and fear felt by Black families in that city, but also revealed the negligence of city officials and the systematic racism that underpinned it all.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, our writers reported on the storm's impact, but also told the untold stories of survivors who came to each others' aid and exposed the roots of the manmade disaster that followed the storm.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

INSTEAD OF standing removed from the struggles, the revolutionary press's job is to help make those struggles stronger and ultimately to help others reach socialist conclusions. Writing on the importance of the paper taking up theoretical questions, Lenin explained:

It is necessary to combine all the concrete facts and manifestations of the working-class movement with the indicated questions; the light of theory must be cast upon every separate fact; propaganda on questions of politics and party organization must be carried on among the broad masses of the working class; and these questions must be dealt with in the work of agitation.

So when there are debates about the way forward in a struggle, SW want to be part of the discussion.

When pro-Palestinian activists come under attack, SW proposes ways and strategies to defend them. When the right wing tries to spread its racist ideas on college campuses, SW analyzes the best way to confront and defeat them. When both the right and the left are calling for protectionist trade measures, SW offers an argument to make the international working-class movement stronger.

Those debates, of course, extend beyond the confines of activist struggle to how socialists look at the world. So an article in SW about those on the left who support voting for a Democrat may take up the problems with individual candidates, but it also further--to talk about the role of the Democratic Party itself in weakening struggles for justice.

With the collapse of the Stalinist regimes of Eastern Europe in 1989, demoralization hit some on the left when regimes they had long considered "socialist" were overthrown. Likewise, for the right, this was a sign that "socialism was dead."

But for Socialist Worker and the ISO, this wave of revolt was a sign that the rebuilding of the socialist tradition--socialist from below, not Stalinism--was possible. Our headline was: "The old order crumbles."

In September 2001, activists were preparing for what looked to be the biggest protests of the anti-globalization movement yet coming at the end of the month. The terrorist attacks on September 11 changed all that, as much of burgeoning movement went into disarray. The ISO's response was to stand by our anti-imperialist principles and challenge the chorus of people in favor of the "war on terror."

Amid the hysteria, racism and saber-rattling, we made an argument against the war with the hope of reaching a wider audience: "Don't turn tragedy into war." This uncompromising but sober slogan helped set the tone for the argument that socialists would have to make as we faced a tide of nationalism and Islamophobia.

This shows how socialist organizations and their newspapers are constantly looking at their audience, the world around us and the prospects for taking movement a step in the direction of solidarity and self-activity.

Using the revolutionary newspaper, socialists can challenge the rotten ideas that weaken the working-class struggle, like racism, sexism, Islamophobia and anti-LGBTQ, or support for wars and laws that only benefit our rulers. We need to make the patient arguments to people who may not have heard them before.

But when the struggle is on the rise, our media can provide the information and ideas that can help growing movements forge ahead.

Ultimately, we want convince people why a completely different society--socialism--is not only a better idea, but one worth organizing for. The paper plays a role in training a new layer of socialists in our politics and traditions--and in how to take those politics to the rest on the world.

Categories: Political Action

EFF Urges Court to Roll Back Ruling Allowing Remote-Control Spying

Deep Links - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 16:20
Recent Decision Would Allow Foreign Governments to Wiretap Americans on U.S. Soil

Washington, D.C. – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged an appeals court today to review a dangerous decision by a three-judge panel that would allow foreign governments to spy on Americans on U.S. soil—just as long as they use technology instead of human agents.

In Kidane v. Ethiopia, an American living in Maryland had his family computer infiltrated by the Ethiopian government. Agents sent an infected email that made its way to Mr. Kidane, and the attached Microsoft Word document carried a malicious computer program called FinSpy that’s sold only to governments. The spyware took control of the machine, making copies of every keystroke and Skype call, and sending them back to Ethiopia as part of its crackdown on critics.

But last month, a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Mr. Kidane could not seek justice for this surveillance in an American court because the spying was carried out without a human agent of the Ethiopian government setting foot in the U.S. In essence, this would mean governments around the world have immunity for spying, attacking, and even murdering Americans on American soil, as long as the activity is performed with software, robots, drones, or other digital tools.

“We already know about technology that will let attackers drive your car off the road, turn off your pacemaker, or watch every communication from your computer or your phone. As our lives become even more digital, the risks will only grow,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. “The law must make it clear to governments around the world that any illegal attack in the United States will be answered in court in the United States.”

In a petition filed today, EFF and our co-counsel Scott Gilmore plus attorneys at the law firms of Jones Day and Robins Kaplan asked the appeals court to rehear this case en banc, arguing that last month’s panel decision puts the U.S. in the absurd situation where the American government must follow strict requirements for wiretapping and surveillance, but foreign governments don’t have the same legal obligations.

“American citizens deserve to feel safe and secure in their own homes using their own computers,” said EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn. “The appeals court should vacate this decision, and ensure that the use of robots or remote controlled tools doesn’t prevent people who have been harmed by foreign government attacks from seeking justice.”

For the full petition for rehearing:

For more on this case:

Contact:  NateCardozoSenior Staff Attorneynate@eff.org CindyCohnExecutive Directorcindy@eff.org
Share this: Join EFF
Categories: Political Action

Future living with SPACE10: Open Source innovation for a local food system

Creative Commons - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:19
Photo by Alona Vibe, Munchies Festival

SPACE10 is a Danish “future living lab” with an open source twist. Founded by IKEA in 2015, the lab is focused on innovative design to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. To that end, in February 2017, the lab licensed their popular Growroom design under CC BY in order to provide the maximum impact possible. This attractive, sustainable indoor circular garden quickly grows a massive amount of food in only a few square feet by utilizing vertical space, urban architecture, and hydroponics. In the words of director Carla Cammilla Hjort, “At Space10, we envision a future where we grow much more food inside our cities. Food producing architecture could enable us to do so.”

The Growroom can be downloaded and fabricated for free at the SPACE10 website and you can find out more about the project via their “Conversational Form.” Thanks to SPACE10 Communications Director Simon Caspersen for the interview.

Photo by Alona Vibe

The Growroom was launched in 2016 and open-sourced in February 2017. The expressed impetus for open sourcing the design was to encourage local production and materials. How did you come to that conclusion, and how has the project changed since it was open sourced? Why is open sourcing the plans vital to local food production?

We feel it makes complete sense because both our global food production system and our global supply chain of goods are based on the same model.

We produce everything on massive scale far away from where we live and ship everything halfway across the planet and into our cities, where we consume it before we export the waste.

This model has served us well. Humans have never been more food secure in the history of mankind and it would probably not by overreaching to claim that much of the living standards and material prosperity of modern society can be traced back to our current industrial model. The model, however, also has its physical limits, and these have been reached.

Our food system is driven by scale, chemicals, and fuel. It is one of the most crucial drivers of climate change. It is a critical user of our dwindling supplies of fresh water, the process compromises the nutritional value of our food severely, and 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste due to spoilage and overproduction. Furthermore, we each year note the date when humanity exhausts a year’s supply of the earth’s natural resources. In 2006 that date fell in October. In 2016 it was in August. All the evidence suggests that if we continue at our current rate, we’ll soon need a second planet…

We wanted to explore alternatives. The Growroom started as an architecture competition that we launched together with CHART. We wanted to explore how cities can feed themselves through food producing architecture. The winner was two Danish architects: Sine Lindholm and Mads Ulrik Husum, who created The Growroom as a one-off pavilion for the festival. The ideas was to spark conversations about this local food production.

The Growroom ended up sparking excitement from Taipei to Helsinki, from Rio de Janeiro to San Francisco, where people reached out and wanted to buy or exhibit The Growroom. But we didn’t feel it made sense to promote local food production and then start a centralised production of The Growroom and ship this large structure across oceans and continents.

We therefore tapped into the fab city movements idea of globally connected, locally productive cities that aspires to produce everything within our cities, went back to the drawing board and remade a version designed for open source, so we could ship the digital design files and let people build it themselves locally instead of the physical structure.

SPACE10 is a lab, a journal, and an exhibition space that explores the future of urban development. How do you think that open source plays into the future of global cities and production? How do you balance your approach to open as an Ikea project?

I think open source is one of the most exciting opportunities of our time. Open source could potentially change everything and empower people in ways we can’t even imagine. One thing is that open source and the advancements in digital fabrication will allow us to make everything locally – on demand. Whether it’s furniture, housing, cities, everything. Open source also enable us to not only share but also learn, build upon, and develop together. I deeply believe that if you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room. We need to surround ourselves with people who are smarter than us and open source allow us to learn and work together with the brightest minds out there.

In terms of IKEA, we are 100 % supported by IKEA and we work as an external future-living lab. If we weren’t looking into the opportunities of open source, we would be a pretty useless future-living lab, wouldn’t we?

We are also aware that transforming our current production system is a huge and complex issue and one of the biggest creative challenges of our time – and we also need to be aware of the social consequences if production moves out of areas where people depend on that for their livelihood. Nevertheless, it’s about getting in now, gaining learnings, and helping shape a future that is better for all of us.

Photo by Alona Vibe

How difficult is it to actually put together the Growroom? How long would it take? Have you seen any successful examples of the finished project that you’d like to share?

It is fairly simple actually. We have a very intuitive manual. No big tools needed: two rubber hammers and a screwdriver. We just exhibited in Milan for the design week and it took three people one hour, but they have also done it before and the local fab lab had a very precise CNC, so everything was like LEGO.

We are seeing different versions pop up different places using the hashtag: #space10growroom on instagram, but have also seen people who have set a little business up on top of the design – here is a nice little video from Denmark and a website in Belgium. There have also been articles in the USA and Canada. And we have been in touch with people who have concrete plans to build one in:

Lund, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden
Helsinki, Finland
Rensselaer, United States
Minneapolis, United Sates
Pittsburgh, United States
Alberta, Canada
Québec, Canada
Plymouth, UK
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is the real beauty of open source. Our version is just the beginning. People are iterating, improving it, personalizing it, scaling it and implement technology in it. We even talked with people who want to make it in mycelium and pressed dirt, so it becomes 100 % biodegradable.

Photo by Niklas Adrian Vindelev, SPACE10

What advice would you give to other architects and designers who want open source their designs? Do you have plans to openly license other designs at SPACE10 in the future?

If your aspiration in life is to design beautiful solutions that makes a difference for a lot of people, then you have a unique opportunity with open sourcing your solutions or build on top of others. We are challenged with some big questions and our current answers seems insufficient and outdated. We need collaboration and forward thinking people to work together more than ever. Open sourcing the physical world is still in early stage, so it’s about dipping your toes in the water, exploring the opportunities and seriously: how often do you have a chance to be a pioneer in a field that have the potential to change everything?

At SPACE10 we would like to open source every time it makes sense. We strongly believe that collaboration beats competition.

We launched an open source digital framework back in November called the “Conversational Form” that turns web forms into conversations —  we make it easy for developers and designers to engage with users in a more compelling and conversational way. We needed one for ourselves, but couldn’t find any suitable solutions, so we decided to build one of our own and open sourced it. A couple of months after – 200.000 people use it on daily basis on different platforms, and developers from all over the world iterate and build upon our initial framework, which benefits everyone. Imagine how much money we would have needed to build that big of a team to do the same work inhouse. Or imagine if Wikipedia had decided to build their site with an inhouse team. Imagine how your architectural design could scale, develop and improve over time if you just open sourced it.

Why did you choose to use CC BY as your license?

I was actually a bit unsure of what the right license would be. I wanted it to be as accessible as possible, but it was important that Mads-Ulrik Husum and Signe Lindholm (the designers) were credited for their work.

Photo by: Alicia Sjöström, Salone Del Mobile

Design blogs are asking if the Growroom is the urban gardening of the future, cementing its importance in the development of cutting-edge urban agriculture. How are you maintaining the project’s longevity What hopes do you have for the Growroom, and what would you like to accomplish with it in the future?

We have been very overwhelmed and incredibly happy with the positive response we have had from people, design institutions and media. For us, the ideal outcome would be that we didn’t do anything, but that people are inspired to build it themselves locally and gets joy from producing food on their own doorstep, rooftop or in their community – that it brings people together, support people’s sense of well being and provides food that is fresh, healthy, organic, and tastes better. That is what we dream of and why we open sourced it in the first place. I would also love to see people improve it, make it better and be creative with the design.

The post Future living with SPACE10: Open Source innovation for a local food system appeared first on Creative Commons.

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