Protests, international assembly in the Philippines challenge global apartheid

first_imgMetro Manila, Philippines, Nov. 19 — The capital city of the Philippines became a front line in the global class war this November. President Barack Obama and 18 other heads of state and government joined 7,000 corporate CEOs for the Asia Pacific Economic Summit held Nov. 18-19. Obama in particular came to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a giant “free trade” zone, which will drive down wages, destroy small farmers and force Pacific Asian countries to further open their economies to U.S. and Canadian monopoly capital.Tens of thousands of ordinary people also came to Manila: Indigenous people, workers, farmers, fishers, students and urban poor from around the Philippines and around the world. They came to protest “neoliberal” austerity, displacement and global apartheid.The U.S.-paid Philippine state did not want them there. The military blocked roads leading to Manila and locked thousands of street dwellers and urban poor in detention centers. It deployed armies of police. But clubs and water cannon could not stop the people from bringing their demands and grievances to the gates of the International Conference Center.“You are so tough when you are up against protesting Filipinos,” Joms Salvador, general secretary of the Philippine women’s organization Gabriela, cried out. “But when it comes to foreign troops coming to our land to build military bases, you welcome them with open arms.”Many protesters came from Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines, where corporate mining and logging operations are driving people from their land. Among them were Lumad people, an Indigenous people of Mindanao who are being murdered and displaced by U.S.-armed Philippine military and state death squads. Hundreds of Lumads have camped out in Manila despite police brutality and harassment. Others came from farther away, from Palestine and Kurdistan, from South Korea and West Papua, Malaysia, Mexico, Senegal, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Canada, Guatemala and the front lines of the battle against police terror in the United States. Leila Khaled, Palestinian freedom fighter.Famed Palestinian freedom fighter Leila Khaled told the crowd, “We are fighting the same enemy — the imperialists, Zionists, capitalists. We have every right to be here!”“I will tell our people that we are not alone! Palestinians, like Filipinos, are ready to pay the high price for our freedom,” she said. A global people’s assemblyThe APEC summit was not the only powerful gathering of people in Metro Manila that week. Over 400 delegates and observers from 180 organizations from 39 countries, territories and autonomous regions attended the Fifth International Assembly of the International League of People’s Struggle on Nov. 14-16. They were from workers’ unions and organizations of peasants, Indigenous people, migrants, women, urban poor, students, LGBTQ people, tenants, teachers, medical workers, cultural workers,  lawyers, scientists and others. They represented the power of the workers and oppressed, those who produce the wealth of the world. ILPS describes itself as the largest international anti-imperialist alliance existing today. Its assembly was preceded by assemblies of the International Women’s Alliance and the International Migrants’ Alliance and followed by the International Festival of People’s Rights and Struggles. The theme of the Fifth Assembly was “For a Socially Just World, Strengthen Peoples’ Solidarity and Intensify the Struggle Against Imperialist Plunder, Crisis and War!” The assembly opened with keynote speeches by former U.S. Rep. Dr. Cynthia McKinney and Palestinian revolutionary Leila Khaled. McKinney exposed the history of U.S. imperialism in Asia and warned, “Beware President Obama’s pivot to Asia! Don’t get tricked and don’t be fooled.”Khaled spoke of the Intifada emerging in Palestine today, “an Intifada that, like its predecessors, is based among those who are most marginalized, most oppressed and most determined to seek their freedom.”  She called on the international movement of the peoples of the world to support the Palestinian people in materially changing the balance of power and escalating the cost of occupation.ILPS chairperson, exiled Filipino revolutionary hero Jose Maria Sison, addressed the assembly by video recording. Sison said that the assembly is deliberately timed to oppose the APEC summit and neoliberal imperialist globalization schemes that brutally exploit working people and drive the world into a worsening economic and social crisis.  He spoke of the current global crisis of the capitalist system, the intensifying exploitation and oppression of the people by monopoly capital and growing people’s resistance. Deliberative meetings of the League’s 17 commissions were punctuated by powerful internationalist plenaries. It was also a fighting assembly.  Delegates joined mass actions in solidarity with the Lumad people of Mindanao, with farmworkers on the 11th anniversary of the Hacienda Lusita massacre and an anti-imperialist vigil for the victims of ISIS attacks in Beirut and Paris. Among the delegates was Malick Sy of the National Confederation of Workers of Senegal. He said, “As a trade unionist, we must stand with all people who are fighting imperishable neoliberal economic policies.” He compared APEC to the Africa Europe Trade Zone, which is worsening people’s lives through privatization, deregulation and destroying agricultural production.Orly Marcellana is a regional general secretary of the Peasant Movement of the Philippines. His wife, Eden, was murdered 12 years ago by a military death squad.  He described how peasants in the southern Tagalog region are driven from the land to make room for multinational-owned malls, golf courses and “special economic zones.” Those who resist are targeted by the military. He said: “Coming here I learned that people in other countries are suffering the same things or even worse. The peasants in the Philippines must fight harder and join with people all over the world resisting U.S. imperialism.”On its last day, the assembly approved a general declaration and elected a new International Coordinating Committee. That night, delegates and guests from the countries represented joined with mass organizations in the Philippines and sang, rapped, recited poetry and danced to celebrate international solidarity and the spirit of resistance. Highlights included a duet between a rapper from the U.S. and a young Lumad boy, along with a performance remembering the Ayotzinapa 43 in Mexico. The 40-strong U.S. delegation, mostly youth of color, performed the “I Can’t Breathe” song. Jason Martinez of the Indigenous Defense and Resistance Unity Movement (IDRUM) sang and drummed the AIM song.Said Martinez of the assembly, “I was honored to be able to share war stories and learn about struggles that are happening in Latin America, the Philippines, Indonesia, and even within the U.S. and more.”The writer is second deputy general secretary of the International League of People’s Struggle and represents the International Action Center on the ILPS’s International Coordinating Committee. The resolutions, declaration and some of the talks from the League’s Fifth International Assembly may be found at www.ilps.infoFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Washington offers pittance for monstrous crimes against Laos

first_imgCluster bomb: A spinning canister sprays 200 bomblets, each loaded with hundreds of metal fragments that explode over a wide area when detonated.“We flew in real low, in front of that bastard’s house, and I threw the head so it bounced right on his porch and into his front door.” (Anthony A. “Tony Poe” Poshepny, quoted in Asia Times, July 8, 2003)Tony Poe was a CIA operative who was part of U.S. imperialism’s “secret war” in Laos in the 1960s and 1970s. Not only did he hurl severed heads of Pathet Lao liberation fighters out of aircraft, he also placed their heads on spikes to spread terror.Poe paid a dollar for every severed ear that his mercenaries collected. He placed them in plastic bags and sent them to the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos’s capital. For his efforts, Poe twice received the CIA Star — the agency’s highest award.On a visit to Laos this Sept. 6, President Barack Obama finally acknowledged — but didn’t apologize for — the U.S. “secret war” against that country. “Villages and entire valleys were obliterated,” Obama said. “Countless civilians were killed. That conflict was another reminder that, whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts a wrenching toll, especially on innocent men, women and children.” (nytimes.com, Sep. 6)270 million bombs over nine yearsThe “cause” that Obama failed to specify was Washington’s brutal and ultimately futile attempt to stop the liberation struggles in Vietnam, Cambodia and the small nation of Laos, with its population of just 6 million people. In March 1965, after massive numbers of U.S. troops invaded Vietnam, the Pentagon unleashed a devastating bombing campaign on Laos. Some 270 million bombs were dropped on Laos over a nine-year period. Some 580,000 bombing missions were directed at that tiny country — a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. (legaciesofwar.org, Sept. 6)Thousands were killed, whole villages were destroyed, hundreds of thousands of Lao people were driven from their homes, and the country was left desperately poor.Unexploded bombs in Laos.A third of the U.S. bombs did not explode, including some 80 million small cluster bombs. Since the war ended, over 20,000 people have been killed by these bombs, 40 percent of them children, who are attracted by the bombs’ toy-like shape. While the Laotian people have spent decades trying to collect and disarm the bombs, experts estimate that less than 1 percent of the land has been cleared.On his visit, Obama offered the paltry sum of $30 million per year for three years to help Laos clear the land of U.S. bombs. Experts say that is a fraction of what is necessary to eliminate this deadly threat. The U.S. spent $18 million per day to drop bombs on Laos, every day, for nine years. In 2014, the Pentagon received $600 billion to acquire new weapons with which to wage war.The U.S. imperialist government’s gesture is not a genuine effort to remove the unexploded bombs from Laos. It is “window dressing” designed to help promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership program, so that workers in Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and other Asian countries can be intensely exploited by U.S. corporations while the Pentagon keeps control of the Pacific Rim.The Laotian people see right through this scam. Restaurant owner Dalaseng told a reporter that he is unable to forgive. “The only way the U.S. can make amends is to clear this country, build roads, schools and hospitals,” he said. “Their bombs are still killing our people every day.” (theguardian.com, Jan. 31, 2015)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Venezuela stymies regime change

first_imgFrom Argentina to Yemen, from Brazil to Syria, from the Democratic Republic of Korea to Iran, U.S. imperialism has conducted non-stop “regime change” campaigns. These political, economic and often military campaigns are all designed to do one thing: overturn those governments that put up an obstacle to the rapacious greed of U.S. banks and corporations.For the last 19 years U.S. imperialism has tried to overturn Venezuela’s pro-socialist government now led by President Nicolás Maduro. In 2002 it masterminded a military coup against President Hugo Chávez, whose seizure by rightists sparked a huge popular uprising that stopped the coup leaders and the Pentagon in their tracks. Washington and the Venezuelan rightists have never stopped their subversion.The latest attempt was a right-wing signature drive for a recall election of President Maduro. An Oct. 21 ruling by the Venezuelan National Electoral Council cancelling the recall for 2016 has stymied U.S. imperialism’s plans. For now. The initial petition drive, the council announced, contained 605,727 irregularities, over 30 percent, including signatures from over 10,000 deceased people. (telesurtv.net, Oct. 21)This is a key setback. It means that even if the recall campaign succeeds next year, the pro-socialist vice president would take over when Maduro would be forced to step down. This would leave progressive forces in office at least until regular elections are held in 2018.Because presenting false signatures on a petition is a criminal offense, the government has ruled that eight right-wing politicians, responsible for the recall campaign, cannot leave the country.Frothing at the mouth, the right-wing leaders have gone so far as to press the military to stage a coup. “Hopefully the armed forces will have people respect the constitution,” said Henrique Capriles, head of Justice First and one of the leaders of the rightist MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) coalition.Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio is leading the U.S. charge to overturn the Venezuelan government, promising “concrete consequences” for “violating democratic norms.” (abcnews.go.com, Oct. 22)Comparison with U.S. Pinkney caseRight now the Rev. Edward Pinkney rots in a Michigan prison. He was sentenced to up to 10 years because some of the signatures on the recall petitions for Benton Harbor’s mayor contained the wrong dates. Unlike what happened in Venezuela, none of the signatures in Michigan were found to be invalid. And no evidence was presented that Rev. Pinkney had anything to do with discrepancies on the petitions.But Rev. Pinkney was standing up to the giant multinational Whirlpool Corporation, which runs the politics and courts in Benton Harbor. He was supporting the oppressed African-American community there. Those were his crimes in the eyes of Wall Street and its minions.The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela has used revenue from the country’s vast oil reserves to fund key social programs that have greatly lifted the living standard of the country’s poor people. Chávez won election after election until he died in 2013.Venezuelans elected Maduro to a five-year term as president that year. But then the world price of oil collapsed, causing extreme economic problems for Venezuela, including a spike in inflation. The Maduro government has struggled to preserve gains for the workers and poor, including proclaiming a 50 percent pay increase for workers and debit cards with emergency cash for the poorest Venezuelans.Venezuela’s reactionary capitalists have used the problems, seeing in them an opportunity to further destabilize the country’s economy and government. Factory owners have restricted production and diverted up to 40 percent of needed commodities to illegal street sales and even to other countries. Some organized gangs have been hired to firebomb government buildings and attack government security forces.In response to the rightist offensive, on Sept. 1 thousands of Venezuelans packed Avenida Bolivar in the capital city of Caracas to support Maduro. The workers and poor have a right to defend their sovereign country from attack by Venezuelan capitalists and the imperialist colossus that stands behind them.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

A tax in sheep’s clothing

first_imgTaxes paid to the federal government will go up this week, by a yearly total of about $6 billion, if Trump goes ahead and signs an order imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. That comes to an average of about $78 per year for a family of four.  It’s not a huge amount, but it adds up.If Trump had said, “I’m raising your taxes,” he might have been denounced even by many of those who supported him. But he didn’t say that. He said he was protecting jobs.Most of the media commentary on the president’s announcement concerned whether or not raising the prices of these imported commodities would encourage more production here. The consensus was that it won’t. Steel and aluminum plants have been shedding workers mainly because of changes in technology that eliminate jobs, not foreign competition.But imposing import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum will raise the prices of goods made from them. It is also likely to set off a global trade war as other countries impose tariffs on U.S. goods — and that could lead to an actual loss of jobs here.So why is Trump imposing this hidden tax on the people?Is he scraping the bottom of the barrel for government revenue so as to make a little dent in the huge budget deficit? It has really ballooned since the capitalist political establishment cut taxes on the rich while raising the military budget sky high.The national debt has now exceeded 20 TRILLION dollars. Paying just the interest on the debt is now the fourth-largest item in the federal budget. The financial institutions are laughing all the way to the bank, even as payments on this huge debt eat up any useful social programs.We can’t know exactly what Trump’s motives are (assuming that he knows himself) without getting into the mind of this scheming billionaire, and who wants to go there?FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

SMASH WHITE SUPREMACY! Trump, capitalism incite mass shootings

first_imgBetween July 31 and August 3, three different white-identified male terrorists killed and wounded dozens of people in Gilroy, Calif.; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. Three mass shootings in the U.S. in one week.TV announcers blared that this brought the number of U.S. mass shootings in 2019 to over 250. Wikipedia and news articles everywhere put out complete or partial accounts of the heinous crimes.Yet nowhere in the big business media was the overwhelming reason for the killings named. Not “lack of gun control.” Not “mental illness.”But the fact is that the U.S., all of its formal institutions and its “rule of law” are sunk deep in foundations of white supremacy, xenophobia, misogyny, Christian nationalism and anti-LGBTQ2S+ hatred and a system of murderous capitalism. Those encouraged and practiced hatreds inflicted a terrible toll last week.Just before the assault in Gilroy, the killer went on Instagram to recommend a book glorified by white supremacists and used to justify racism, slavery and colonialism. Then he went out and murdered one African-American person and two Latinx children —  6 and 13 years old — and wounded many others.The El Paso shooter posted a long manifesto, beginning with a statement that his attack was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” He then drove 9 hours across Texas, which was indisputably part of Mexico until the U.S. stole it in 1848, to the predominantly Latinx area of El Paso, just across the border from Juarez, Mexico. There he shot and killed 22 people and wounded at least 26 more, many gravely. Identifications of those killed are not complete, but at least six Mexican nationals died, according to their embassy, as well as 72-year-old former city bus driver Arturo Benavides and 15-year-old high school student Javier Rodriguez.  It was also reported that some of the wounded did not go to hospitals for fear of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s possible that others, for the same reason, did not go to the morgue to identify their loved ones. No information has yet emerged about the ideology of the Dayton killer. But the identity of his victims brutally exposed his hatreds.  The nine people he shot included his 22-year-old sibling, who was a trans man, and six African-American men and women standing nearby.  After the massacres, Trump tweeted the obligatory “thoughts and prayers.” But his real function as the preeminent governmental flag-bearer of divide-and-conquer hatred is on display constantly. At a May 19 Florida rally, he lamented that agents of the Border Patrol are not allowed to turn their guns on im/migrants and demanded, “How do you stop these people?” When someone in the crowd shouted, “Shoot them,” he made a “joke” of that. Our question is: How do we stop him? And the racist murderers, the anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic murderers, the killers of migrants, those who kill queer and trans people, those who kill in domestic violence incidents? According to an Everytown for Gun Safety analysis, of 156 mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, 54 percent were related to domestic or family violence. (tinyurl.com/y5oyujxa) Nine African-American people were shot to death in a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015. Fifty mostly Latinx, mostly LGBTQ2S+ people were killed at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub in 2016. Eleven people were shot to death in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. And on and on. This is the deeply murderous U.S. system we live in. And those are only a few of the mass shooting deaths here. That doesn’t count the millions U.S. wars have killed.What will it take to end this? The most moderate elements in the Democratic Party are too timid to even impeach Trump. Progressives unsuccessfully proposed impeachment for racism after his violent tweets against four Congresswomen of color. But impeachment alone would not do justice to the victims of these horrific massacres. Legal formalities now supposedly bar the arrest of a sitting president. But murder is murder! The mounting wave of resistance against white supremacy in the U.S. wants to see Trump brought to justice.Why would we look to the Democratic Party to save us? Look at the history of the U.S. Nothing has ever moved the ruling parties in power, whatever name they pass under, except independent mass mobilization by the people. Let’s impeach the capitalist system instead!The question is no longer the hypothetical: “What if they came for (fill in the blank)?” The massacres underscore the truth that Jewish anti-ICE demonstrators have proclaimed: “Never Again is Now!” Now is the time to organize and be in the streets to demand a stop to the deadly attacks on Black and Brown people and im/migrants — and the hate-filled rhetoric that inspires them. Every action in solidarity with people of color and with immigrants is important — no matter how small. Wear a button that says: “Come out against racism” and strengthen everyone who sees you. Organize a town rally or neighborhood gathering in support of im/migrants and create a place for anti-racists to gather. Let’s reach out to those we work with, to members of our union and other unions, to our neighborhood and community groups, and form coalitions to defend the im/migrants in our lives. Watch for local actions by FIRE (Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere) and join in. (facebook.com/fightformigrants/) Follow the International Workers’ Solidarity Network (workersolidarity.net) which is building working-class consciousness and collectivity.  Let’s make Labor Day 2019 a day of solidarity with im/migrants!  If we find our strength together now, that is another step toward breaking the bloody grip of oppression, to ending the murders caused by white-supremacist, patriarchal capitalism. We can begin to build the long but hopeful road to revolutionary socialism where “the earth shall rise on new foundations.”“Solidarity Forever” begins with solidarity today.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Seattle: Workers need health care, not Trumpcare! WW commentary

first_imgSeattleMarch 9 — In Washington state, there were 15 deaths from COVID-19 (coronavirus) and 79 diagnosed cases of the disease as of March 6.  With the epidemic growing there, the state’s Department of Health reported 22 deaths and 162 cases as of today.Most fatalities have occurred at the Life Care Center, a nursing home located outside Seattle in Kirkland. There, 19 patients died of the virus between Feb. 19 and March 9.  It is likely there will be more tragic deaths there. Today, positive test results for 31 of 35 patients were reported.  Seven of the facility’s 55 current residents already have COVID-19 symptoms. Results are unknown for the remaining 20 patients.SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members on the picket line for patient safety, Jan. 28. credit: SEIUTimothy Killian, Life Care spokesperson, says the nursing home received only 45 test kits on March 5 for its then 120 residents.  That was 15 days after the first COVID-19 death there! This crisis is the fault of the Trump government, which should have produced enough test kits for Life Care — as well as for all people and medical facilities that need them nationally.Patients’ visitors are frustrated at the lack of communication from Life Care officials about their relatives’ health. Killian says no other facilities are willing to take ill Life Care residents.Impact of virus on workersOf the 180 workers employed at Life Care, 65 have been self-quarantined at home since Feb.19 because they have symptoms of COVID-19. Killian did not know how many workers have been tested or hospitalized, nor has he confirmed if those confined at home are being paid.Like other cities, Seattle has huge medical complexes and foundations for research and training.  But health care for the working class is rapidly declining, and the system is badly equipped to deal with COVID-19. Workers need health care, not neglect — or the nothing that is Trumpcare.The health care industry’s goal is to maximize profits, not to meet the needs of the multinational working class.  This situation is even worse when a challenge arises, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, as millions of people have no health insurance or providers.Life Care puts profits before people’s livesLife Care Centers of America, Inc. is “a closely held” for-profit corporation with 200 facilities in 28 states and a total of 40,000 workers.  The company has 14 facilities in Washington state.Between the great resources at Life Care centers and the government, there can certainly be more aggressive treatment and isolation measures to save patients’ lives. Company officials could bring in additional health care workers to relieve the facility’s employees who are putting their lives on the line.Life Care is only the latest case showing how this for-profit industry harms workers and patients by having an insufficient workforce — even in an emergency.  But workers are fighting back.From Jan. 28-30, 7,800 members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW struck seven Swedish-Providence hospitals in the Seattle area. Their main demand was: Fill the 900 vacant workers’ positions.  The lack of sufficient staff has affected patients’ health care and exhausted many workers.Also, government workers have protested over the 500 vacant positions at the Seattle Veterans Hospital.Another problem: Not enough masks are available. They are essential because they protect people from getting sick.  Few people are wearing them outside. Retail workers in stores aren’t wearing them; some report the bosses won’t allow them to do so.Masks are even being rationed in local hospitals. Health care workers are demanding more of them. The transnational 3M Company is surely anticipating huge profits from sales of these masks, which have been pumped out at plants in South Dakota, Latin America and China.  But the U.S. government didn’t stockpile nearly enough — and there’s a worldwide need for them.Rally warns of dangers at prisons, sheltersThere is a looming threat of COVID-19 among workers in prisons and homeless shelters.  At a rally on May 7 in front of the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center, an immigration prison, speakers warned of the virus’ threat to prisoners. They explained how a disease can rapidly move through a prison with inmates living in close quarters, while health care inside is almost nonexistent. If an epidemic is severe, it can even breach the prison walls. The Tacoma prison has already had outbreaks of such contagious diseases as mumps and chickenpox.La Resistencia, the rally’s organizer, asks supporters to call the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and politicians to demand an inspection of the prison and the release of all elderly and sick prisoners and those with chronic medical conditions.The response to the COVID-19 health care crisis could be strongly affected by the demands and mobilization of workers and communities.  An aroused and united working class demanding the right to essential medical care would make health care industry moguls lose profits, but it would save many lives.The call for free, universal medical care for people of all nationalities and genders, prisoners, undocumented im/migrants, refugees and the homeless must be raised — and implemented all over the U.S.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

‘We are workers and we have power!’

first_imgWW PHOTO:  Sara FloundersFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this The following talk was given at the May Day Union Square rally in New York City on May 1, 2021.  Clarissa, WAAR speaker.Hi! My name is Clarissa and I’m with the Workers Assembly Against Racism, WAAR.I want to thank our comrades in Bessemer, Alabama, who worked tirelessly to begin a union drive at their Amazon warehouse, a victory in itself. Although the vote was a “no,” this does not mean we have lost against [Jeff] Bezos and his empire – willing to spend $10,000 a DAY to union bust.  It simply means what we already knew: that our capitalist oppressors will stop at nothing to try and snuff out the revolution. The capitalists and gatekeepers of our happiness and security are terrified. What these pigs don’t realize, however, is that their fear is like oxygen to our collective fire — it makes our power grow and we become stronger!I would next like to thank the Congress of Essential Workers who have picked up the torch, reignited it and just last week began a union drive at our very own Staten Island Amazon Warehouse, JFK 8! Right now only 22 percent of workers in New York City are unionized and organizing the Staten Island warehouse would pave the way for every warehouse in the city to unionize.Today is International Workers Day, born of the struggle for the eight-hour workday back in the late 1800s, and revitalized here in NYC in 2006 by migrant workers. You might be wondering, what exactly is a worker? Or “am I a worker?”If you’re asking these questions and you’re not a cop or landlord or a politician like Chuck Schumer, the answer is probably yes! Health home aides working exploitative 24-hour shifts are workers, cab drivers paying off $800,000 loans for their medallions are workers, adjunct faculty providing labor that keeps universities profitable are workers, Uber and Lyft drivers are workers, sex workers are workers, homeless and unemployed people are workers, incarcerated people subjugated under the prison-industrial complex are workers! We are workers and we have power! None of us are expendable, unlike what capitalism and white supremacy want us to think. We all deserve to have a good, safe, healthy life. And each and every one of us carries a spark that can burn this whole racist, sexist, exploitative, capitalist system down!last_img read more

Senate Begins Farm Bill Markup

first_img The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry rescheduled the markup of proposed farm bill legislation for Thursday morning after a Wednesday postponement announcement. The National Corn Growers Association applauded the decision, saying in a statement, “a joint letter sent by the National Corn Growers Association and more than 70 other ag organizations to leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday night urged an end to delay and quick movement on passage of the 2012 farm bill.“It is imperative that Congress complete this vital legislation as soon as possible so farmers know what risk management tools will be available and to avoid potential further reductions in funding for farm programs,” the letter states. “The farm program proposals included in the Commodities and Crop Insurance Titles of the bipartisan mark released last week reflect policies that have been debated in both Congressional Agriculture Committees and among farm organizations since early last fall.”The opening statement for the 2012 Farm Bill Mark-Up from Indiana Senator Richard Lugar follows:Thank you, Madam Chairwoman and Ranking Member Roberts.Before I begin, let me also thank the staff of the Senate Legislative Council and the Congressional Budget Office for their assistance during this hurried process, and I also appreciate the work of Committee staff.  However, with major revisions to the commodity title being offered only late last night and no score being made available as of this morning, I share concerns that Members of this Committee have not been given appropriate opportunity to review the new manager’s amendment.As a previous Chairman and Ranking Member of this Committee, I recognize the challenge of writing a Farm Bill that meets the needs of policy reform and fiscal responsibility.  As a farmer, I also recognize the need for policy certainty.  Farmers have enough challenges in meeting market demands and dealing with weather uncertainty.  The Congress should not make their operations even more difficult by allowing political impasses to undercut efficient policy.I commend the Chair and Ranking Member for including in the draft bill several policy proposals that I advocated as part my Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act.  These include:A strengthening of the federal crop insurance program;Elimination of direct payments and counter-cyclical payments;A shallow-loss revenue option for producers that assists only in times of need, not every year;A reduction in the size of the Conservation Reserve Program so that productive acres are used to produce; andConsolidation of several working land programs and consolidation of conservation easement programs.I note, however, that while the Committee draft offers savings in the area of $25 billion, much more should be done.  My REFRESH Act would save $40 billion, making a substantial contribution to reducing our nation’s unstable fiscal situation.  So, while I am pleased to see that the Committee adopted some of my REFRESH provisions, I will work in this Committee markup, on the Senate floor, and with my partner Congressman Marlin Stutzman in the House Agriculture Committee to realize further taxpayer savings.Notably, the Committee mark does little to reduce waste and ensure the fiscal situation of our food and nutrition programs, which account for more than 75 percent of annual farm bill spending.  By closing loopholes in the food stamp program that grant eligibility to some who are not truly needy, we could still meet legitimate hunger and nutrition needs and also fulfill our budgetary obligations.The REFRESH Act demonstrates that substantial savings are possible, even as we fund vital programs.  In particular, the original Committee draft provided virtually no funding for energy.  Energy is an important growth area for rural jobs and the incomes of families, farms, and small businesses.  At the same time, rural Americans are rightly proud that they are improving America’s national security situation by reducing the need for foreign oil.  I thank Senator Conrad and the bipartisan majority of this Committee that has joined me in funding the energy title.I am proud that American agriculture does not need the Federal government to make its decisions.  Our Freedom to Farm Act ended many of those old controls.  In a globally competitive marketplace, American agriculture has remained on top because of efficient use of land, machinery, science, and technology.  As we debate policies today, we can celebrate the fact that America’s farmers and ranchers will continue to grow even more successful, remaining the world’s leader in feeding growing populations, if our government programs stay out of their way. SHARE By Andy Eubank – Apr 26, 2012 Home Indiana Agriculture News Senate Begins Farm Bill Markup Senate Begins Farm Bill Markup Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter SHARE Previous articleImportance of Crop Insurance Explained in New VideoNext articleHouse Ag Ranking Member on Senate Ag Farm Bill Andy Eubanklast_img read more

Growth Energy Holds 4th Executive Leadership Conference

first_img Growth Energy Holds 4th Executive Leadership Conference Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Mar 7, 2013 SHARE SHARE Growth Energy kicked off its fourth annual Executive Leadership Conference in Las Vegas yesterday (Thursday). The conference provides an excellent opportunity for Growth Energy’s members to have a frank, open discussion regarding the industry – according to Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis (bias) – as well as the successes the industry has realized in the past year and the challenges moving forward. As the organization continues to grow – Buis says the size and the scope of the conference also grows. He says this year promises to be the best yet with many in-depth conversations about how the industry moves forward on many fronts. Specifically – Buis says a number of forums are planned to discuss the global marketplace, E-15 and the path forward, the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard and the myths surrounding it – as well as market conditions ahead. He is confident the conference will help outline the strategic goals of the renewable fuels industry and how best to achieve them in these challenging times. Home Energy Growth Energy Holds 4th Executive Leadership Conference Facebook Twitter Previous articleBayer Products Gain Market Share in IndianaNext articleIssues Briefings Scheduled for Indiana Growers Gary Truittlast_img read more

Vilsack Provides Update on Farm Bill Implementation

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Vilsack Provides Update on Farm Bill Implementation Vilsack Provides Update on Farm Bill Implementation Facebook Twitter SHARE SHARE USDA is now accepting applications to create web-based tools to help provide producers information on the ARC and PLC programs – along with the protection program for dairy and non-insured crop disaster assistance program. Visit USDA dot gov slash farm bill (www.usda.gov/farmbill) for updates on the implementation process. Previous articleStudies Provide Different Perspective on Nitrogen ApplicationsNext articleGetting Indiana Soybeans Planted Important for Hoosier Economy Gary Truitt Facebook Twitter Source: NAFB News service By Gary Truitt – May 7, 2014 The President signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law on February 7th,  and since then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made progress throughout all farm bill titles – according to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. The new farm bill supports critical economic development in rural America, Vilsack says,  which is why implementation is a priority for USDA. On April 15h – USDA announced disaster relief through the Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program. In 2008 – it took more than a year to set up disaster assistance programs – but this year – it took less than 10 weeks. As of May 1st – Vilsack says approximately 33,000 applications have been received and 16.3-million dollars in payments have been distributed.last_img read more