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The Financial Firm That Cornered the Market on Jails

Source: The Nation

Thousands of arrestees a year are forced into get-out-of-jail-broke cards that are loaded up with deceptive fees.

A year and a half ago, after a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, protests swept the nation. Portland, Oregon, was no exception. More than 2,000 people rallied outside the Multnomah County Justice Center the day after the decision was announced. Danica Brown, 48, joined hundreds who swarmed the streets, blocking traffic and bridges. A PhD candidate at Portland State University and a seasoned activist, Brown was one of seven protesters arrested that day. read more

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What Became of Occupy Wall Street?

Source: TeleSUR

Far from fizzling, the movement has a contested legacy that continues to shape the political landscape

One of the more puzzling aspects about Occupy Wall Street is not that there was a moment when millions of people hoped or feared it might overthrow the rule of the banks, but that so little is said about it four years on.

Its anniversaries come and go without comment: Occupy’s founding on September 17, 2011, the high-water mark of the Oakland general strike on November 2, the eviction of of the New York camp on November 15, the creation of Occupy Sandy after the superstorm walloped the Northeast on October 29, 2012. read more

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How the Democrats Became The Party of Neoliberalism

Source: TeleSUR English

There is a standard critique of the U.S. political system that seemingly explains why right-wing ideas drive the national agenda even when Democrats control the White House: the Democratic Party does not stand for anything and the Republicans are the party of ideologues.

The six years of Obama’s presidency are exhibit A in the case. During his winning campaign in 2008, Obama presented himself as a blank slate promising amorphous “hope and change.” His campaign encouraged voters to see Obama as a transformational candidate who would wind down bloody U.S. wars, revive the economy with a Green New Deal, open space for labor organizing, resolve the immigration crisis, and take bold steps to alleviate climate change.  read more

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What To Make of Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Plan

Source: In These Times

If you’re a low-wage worker in Seattle good luck figuring out how much you will earn under Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In a news conference on May 1, an international day of worker protest and celebration, Murray unveiled a “minimum wage plan so complicated reporters can’t understand it,” as described by The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly.

Kshama Sawant, a socialist elected to the Seattle City Council last fall on a platform of a $15-per-hour minimum wage, says the proposal is a step forward, but notes that it contains numerous loopholes and could take more than a decade to come into effect. “If we don’t remain unrelenting, we’re going to get very little,” she says. read more