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Workers play a big role in global ‘middle-class’ revolutions

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Writing on the protests in Brazil recently, a New Yorker columnist posed the conundrum of “revolt in the midst of relative prosperity“: “Since 2003, some 40 million Brazilians have joined the middle class … the protests have been widespread, popular and, most striking of all, dominated by the middle class.” The explanation, he said, was that Brazil is a middle-class country with the infrastructure of a poor country.

This is not a new trope. According to the UN assistant secretary general, Heraldo Muñoz, a “new middle class” is responsible for a wave of protests across Latin America. Francis Fukuyama, seer of “the end of history”, says we’re in the middle of a global middle-class revolution. This analysis suggests that protest arises from the thwarted aspirations of a thrusting new petty bourgeoisie. The UN says a member of the new global middle class earns between $10 and $100 a day, and thus has spare income for consumption. On this basis, it estimates the middle class will grow from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 3.2 billion in 2020. read more

Food for Body, Food for Thought, Food for Justice: People’s Grocery in Oakland, California

The neighborhood of West Oakland in California has long been without a large grocery store, let alone one that offers healthy, fresh food. With unemployment at about 10% and nearly half the population of 30,000 residents living at or below the poverty line, West Oakland is a neighborhood that grocery store chains have claimed isn't able to sustain a full-functioning store.

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Garry Davis, Man of No Nation Who Saw One World of No War, Dies at 91

Source: The New York Times

On May 25, 1948, a former United States Army flier entered the American Embassy in Paris, renounced his American citizenship and, as astonished officials looked on, declared himself a citizen of the world.

In the decades that followed, until the end of his long life last week, he remained by choice a stateless man — entering, leaving, being regularly expelled from and frequently arrested in a spate of countries, carrying a passport of his own devising, as the international news media chronicled his every move. read more

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Fisk: Egyptian violence was a massacre, not a ‘post-revolution transition’

Source: The Independent

What has happened to Egypt? The dead are being called “terrorists”, the word the Israelis use of their enemies. The word the Americans use. The Egyptian press talks of “clashes”, as if armed Muslim Brothers fought the police. Yesterday morning, I met an old Egyptian friend who said he looked at his country’s flag and began to cry.

I can understand why. Why did so many die? Who killed them? There are many Egyptians today, anti-Morsi people, to be sure, who told me yesterday that they could not believe this, that the Brotherhood folk were all holding guns, as one was indeed holding a Kalashnikov near the hospital – a man I saw – but the truth is that the police shot down the unarmed men and not a single policeman died. This was a massacre. This was a mass killing. There is no other word for it. read more