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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 01:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,869

About Me

The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

Happy Earth Day -

Toward Cyborg Socialism
Issue 13: Alive in the Sunshine
by Alyssa Battistoni

The failure of the American left to engage more substantially on environmental issues at home has real consequences for the expansion of neoliberalism worldwide

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. It was also Lenin’s hundredth birthday. The coincidence was not intentional.

In fact, part of the point of Earth Day was to distance the nascent environmentalist movement from New Left critiques of consumer society, suburban development, and nuclear waste. In an attempt to avoid charges of “watermelon” politics — green on the outside, red on the inside — the message of the early environmental movement, as one Greenpeace slogan explicitly stated, was “I’m not a Red, I’m a Green.” As environmentalism went mainstream, green nonprofits grew rich and powerful on corporate donations and adopted conciliatory strategies aimed at greening the world one brand name at a time.

These days, environmentalism can rival the Left’s big-tent eclecticism: rugged wilderness fantasies, New Age mysticism, and middle-class romanticism exist side-by-side with indigenous anti-nuclear protests, campaigns against urban smog, back-to-the-land agrarian nostalgia, and entrepreneurial green tech. But lately, militant environmentalism is staging a comeback — as are state crackdowns. And even the most mainstream varieties of environmentalism are inching leftward. Climate change in particular has radicalizing potential, as more and more people are beginning to question the prevailing economic system’s destructive effect on the environment. But mainstream environmental groups aren’t going to offer a coherent critique of capitalism’s ecological consequences or do the work of theorizing alternatives.

It’s ridiculous that we still bracket climate change and water supplies as specifically “environmental” issues: the questions at hand are ones of political economy and collective action ...

Much more here -- https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/01/toward-cyborg-socialism/

The Eggs that led to Revolution -

The ever more ornate eggs came to be a symbol of a ruler hopelessly out of touch ...

Faberge eggs become symbols of power in new Russia
By Stephen Smith BBC
June 19, 2013

In the annals of human folly, it is doubtful if blood and cash have ever been splashed over anything quite so fabulous and frivolous as Faberge eggs.

The story of these diamond-festooned treasures, the glorified Easter eggs of the Russian tsars, is one of imperial might, revolution and assassination.
15th anniversary Faberge egg The exquisite jewelled eggs were annual Easter gifts to family members from the Russian tsar

It is also the story of the ambition and incalculable riches of the new rulers of Russia and the oligarchs.

The jeweller and entrepreneur Carl Faberge fashioned his eponymous eggs from gems and precious metals in his St Petersburg workshop.

The first one was presented by Tsar Alexander III to his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna, at Easter in 1885, an annual tradition which his son Nicholas II followed with eggs for his mother and wife each Easter Sunday.

Of the approximately 50 eggs made for the imperial family between 1885 and 1916, 42 have survive ...

More here -- http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-22956394

Safe passage brother Gabriel García Márquez -

Gabriel García Márquez, Conjurer of Literary Magic, Dies at 87


Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose “One Hundred Years of Solitude” established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

Cristóbal Pera, his former editor at Random House, confirmed the death. Mr. García Márquez learned he had lymphatic cancer in 1999, and a brother said in 2012 that he had developed senile dementia.

Mr. García Márquez, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal. His books were translated into dozens of languages. He was among a select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.

More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/books/gabriel-garcia-marquez-literary-pioneer-dies-at-87.html?_r=0

Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Fidel Castro: A controversial friendship
By AFP | 18 Apr, 2014, 03.58AM IST

HAVANA: Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez met Fidel Castro after the Cuban leader grabbed power in the 1959 revolution -- the beginning of a decades-long and controversial friendship.

Garcia Marquez, who died in Mexico City on Thursday aged 87, had arrived in the Caribbean island as a journalist to cover Castro's band of bearded guerrillas who ousted right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista in January 1959.

They quickly became friends, bringing together two of Latin Ame ..

Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/et-cetera/gabriel-garcia-marquez-and-fidel-castro-a-controversial-friendship/articleshow/33876425.cms

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

The more things change the more they stay the same ... when you read these paragraphs it will remind you of things you currently hear in the MSM - they are repeating the same lame excuses they always have:

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938:
Maximum Struggle for a Minimum Wage

By Jonathan Grossman

When he felt the time was ripe,
President Roosevelt asked
Secretary of Labor Perkins,
'What happened to that
nice unconstitutional bill
you had tucked away?'

On Saturday, June 25, 1938, to avoid pocket vetoes 9 days after Congress had adjourned, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed 121 bills. Among these bills was a landmark law in the Nation's social and economic development -- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). Against a history of judicial opposition, the depression-born FLSA had survived, not unscathed, more than a year of Congressional altercation. In its final form, the act applied to industries whose combined employment represented only about one-fifth of the labor force. In these industries, it banned oppressive child labor and set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents, and the maximum workweek at 44 hours.

Forty years later, a distinguished news commentator asked incredulously: "My God! 25 cents an hour! Why all the fuss?" President Roosevelt expressed a similar sentiment in a "fireside chat" the night before the signing. He warned: "Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, ...tell you...that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry." In light of the social legislation of 1978, Americans today may be astonished that a law with such moderate standards could have been thought so revolutionary.

Courting disaster

The Supreme Court had been one of the major obstacles to wage-hour and child-labor laws. Among notable cases is the 1918 case of Hammer v. Dagenhart in which the Court by one vote held unconstitutional a Federal child-labor law. Similarly in Adkins v. Children's Hospital in 1923, the Court by a narrow margin voided the District of Columbia law that set minimum wages for women. During the 1930's, the Court's action on social legislation was even more devastating ...

Much more here: http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/flsa1938.htm

Minnesota marches forward while Oklahoma falls back -

At a time when many states and cities are working passing minimum wage increases, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has gone in the opposite direction and signed a law banning cities from passing higher wages. The bill also bans them from enacting paid sick days or vacation requirements.

The law will stymie the efforts of activists in Oklahoma City, where a labor federation has led the push on a petition to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state’s current minimum has been set at the federal level of $7.25. In 2012, 64,000 workers in the state earned $7.25 an hour or less, making up 7.2 percent of all hourly workers, a larger share than the 4.7 percent figure for the country as a whole.

Fallin said she signed the bill out of the worry that higher local minimum wages “would drive businesses to other communities and states, and would raise prices for consumers.” She also argued that “most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry level jobs” and that “many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.” She warned that increasing the minimum wage “would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers” and harm job creation ...

More here: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/15/3426716/oklahoma-ban-minimum-wage-paid-sick-leave/

And the Minnesota story:

Minnesota makes history with largest minimum wage hike

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
Updated: April 14, 2014 - 10:18 PM

The bill, signed into law Monday, will raise the base wage from $6.15 to $9.50 an hour and give raises to more than 325,000 Minnesotans.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the largest minimum wage increase in state history Monday, giving raises to more than 325,000 Minnesotans and making good on a signature Democratic pledge during an election year.

The move to a $9.50 base hourly wage catapults the state from one of the lowest minimum wages to one of the highest once it is fully phased in by 2016. The state’s base wage will be tied to inflation starting in 2018, ensuring the buying power of the state’s lowest-paid workers keeps better pace with the cost of living.

“Minnesotans who work full time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty, and through hard work and additional training, achieve the middle-class American dream,” the DFL governor said, surrounded by legislators, workers and labor leaders at a ceremonial bill-signing in the State Capitol rotunda. “These are people, good Minnesotans all over the state, who just want to work and get paid something that is fair.”

More here: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/255265041.html

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography

Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All
April 14, 2014 / Mark R. Day

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, by Miriam Pawel, 2014.

Book: The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, by Miriam Pawel, 2014.

“Cesar was not a humble man,” narrator Luis Valdez says at the conclusion of the new documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast,” about the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. “Nor was he a simple man.”

Indeed, Chavez was a controversial and complex figure. That’s the problem with Diego Luna’s feature film “Cesar Chavez,” whose release coincided with the charismatic leader’s March 31 birthday.

Chavez was, of course, a genius and a master organizer. His successes in the vineyards and lettuce fields of California came about as a result of enormous personal sacrifice and his ability to reach out to a wide audience: students, priests, nuns, ministers, labor leaders, and average housewives who made up their minds not to buy grapes ...

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/blogs/2014/04/review-cesar-chavez-remembered-warts-and-all#sthash.bzKLUKk1.dpuf

US fracking companies & Ukraine

Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Thursday 10 April 2014 14.12 EDT

The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, "opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies". And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.


Or the fact that for years the industry has been selling the message that Americans must accept the risks to their land, water and air that come with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in order to help their country achieve "energy independence". And now, suddenly and slyly, the goal has been switched to "energy security", which apparently means selling a temporary glut of fracked gas on the world market, thereby creating energy dependencies abroad ...

Much more here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/10/us-fracking-companies-climate-change-crisis-shock-doctrine

Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?

Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?
Sunday, 13 April 2014 00:00 By Richard D Wolff, Truthout | Op-Ed

May Day 2912 protests in Chicago.May Day 2912 protests in Chicago. The organized post-1945 destruction of the New Deal coalition - unionists, socialists and communists - and the failure to replace those organizations helps explain the muted reaction to the bailouts, austerity and other anti-democratic policies pursued by US governments at all levels.

The post-1945 destruction of the New Deal coalition - unionists, socialists and communists - keeps influencing Americans' lives. Today, its effects help explain why popular actions have been so muted against US economic changes since the 1970s and especially against the bailouts and austerity since the crash of 2008. Those effects also suggest what could reignite sustained protests and demands for change.

First to be destroyed after 1945 were the communists. Coordinated attacks came from business, conservatives, government and media. Most academics and liberals (including many who had supported the New Deal coalition) were complicit in that destruction. Once again we witnessed that old repressive tool: rebranding domestic social movements as mere agents of an evil foreign puppet-master. More important, demonizing the communists served to tar other social criticism that included the capitalist economic system with much the same brush.

Second went the socialists ...

More here: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/23026-why-no-sustained-protests-yet

More on Ukraine ...

There are some good articles right now on L'Humanite discussing the situation in Ukraine.

Winners and Losers
Translated Wednesday 19 March 2014, by Georgie O’Neil

“There is a very real danger of a rise in Russian nationalism in eastern and southern regions, in response to Ukrainian nationalism. We’ve opened Pandora’s box. Almost a quarter of a century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is a huge risk of witnessing the further breaking-up of ex-republics, which have been united until now.”

Who will prevail? Who is already losing in the Ukrainian crisis of one-upmanship, rushed into by the US and the EU on the one hand, and Russia on the other? We are currently seeing the results of the confusing lightness displayed by Western diplomacy, when they let the Ukrainian public and political powers believe that it was possible to overcome the difficult eventualities of the negotiation, and that they could impose a major geopolitical change ...

More here - http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article2448

And here - http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article2447

Why Wendy Can Win:

She is running against an idiot. Here is the Wendy Davis campaign on Facebook today:

Wendy Davis
12:11pm (27 minutes ago)
Standardized tests for 4-year-olds? Really, Greg Abbott?

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