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Activism is Change: A View From the Struggle in Gaza

An activist is a person who feels strongly about a cause and who is also willing to dedicate time and energy towards advancing and realizing this cause. This might be my own limited interpretation of what activism means. I was born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp where the daily struggles of the community included challenging military occupation while attempting to survive under the harshest of circumstances. Activism then involved civil disobedience, general strikes, confronting armed Israeli soldiers with stones and slingshots. But it also involved much more than that.


Banning Cluster Bombs: Light in the Darkness of Conflicts

Cluster Bombs
In a remarkable combination of civil society pressure and leadership from a small number of progressive States, a strong ban on the use, manufacture, and stocking of cluster bombs will come into force on August 1, 2010 now that 30 States have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention bans the use, production, transfer of cluster munitions and sets deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated land. The Convention obliges States to support victims and affected communities.


The Way Forward for the Movement in Defense of Public Education

On March 4, students, staff, teachers, faculty and their unions on all levels of public education created history by uniting and pouring out onto the streets to engage in what were overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations to defend public education.  The movement swept through small towns and large cities with demonstrators, including young elementary school students, carrying picket signs while yelling chants expressing their determination to fight back.

A San Francisco Civic Center rally, organized by the California Faculty Association (covering the California State University system), American Federation of Teachers Local 2121 (covering San Francisco Community College) and the United Educators of San Francisco (covering K-12), drew somewhere between 12 to 15,000 participants, far more than many of the organizers anticipated.  The rally was also sponsored and built by the San Francisco Labor Council, which called on all its affiliates to support it.  The Labor Council’s banner, which was displayed above the stage, set the theme of the rally.  It read:  “Full funding for Public Education and Social Services.  Progressive Taxation Now!” read more

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Ralph Nader Was Right About Barack Obama

Source: Truthdig

We owe Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney an apology. They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives. 

Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised us that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), however, admitted last week that banks have reduced lending at the sharpest pace since 1942. As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the FISA Reform Act that retroactively made legal the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of the loathsome legislation. He told us he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the detention facility at Guantánamo, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus and create new jobs. None of this has happened. read more


Left Forum: Lessons from Latin American Social Movements for the US

Latin American social movements have resisted the harmful effects of neoliberalism for decades. Many have also built viable alternatives to this destructive economic model. This panel and discussion will focus on such resistance and alternatives in Latin America and look at what activists and leftist in the US could learn from these movements and experiences in Latin America.

Panel is on Saturday, March 20, 10:00 AM - 11:50 PM, Pace University, W612, Organized by Toward Freedom and Between The Lines Radio

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Return of the Natives: Racist Undertones in Avatar

Source: New Stateman

Avatar’s fidelity to the old formula of creating a couple, its full trust in fantasy, and its story of a white man marrying the aboriginal princess and becoming king, make it ideologically a rather conservative, old-fashioned film. Its technical brilliance serves to cover up this basic conservatism. It is easy to discover, beneath the politically correct themes (an honest white guy siding with ecologically sound aborigines against the "military-industrial complex" of the imperialist invaders), an array of brutal racist motifs: a paraplegic outcast from earth is good enough to get the hand of abeautiful local princess, and to help the natives win the decisive battle. The film teaches us that the only choice the aborigines have is to be saved by the human beings or to be destroyed by them. In other words, they can choose either to be the victim of imperialist reality, or to play their allotted role in the white man’s fantasy. read more