First Singalong is on May Day at FEED

Posted in General on April 16th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The first Key City Singalong will be held on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 from 7PM to 9PM at FEED Arts Center, 259 S. Schuyler Avenue, Kankakee.

Bring your voice, your old songbooks and whatever instruments you’d like. I am told there will be refreshments.

Via The Key City Singalong | feed.

First Videos from Labor Notes 2014

Posted in Curated Links on April 10th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Labor Notes 2014 in Chicago was an incredible weekend of inspiration and activism. This was my first Labor Notes, and I hope to make in an annual ritual. Highlights, for me, were the Friday afternoon Chicago Labor history tour (conducted by the ILHS), the Saturday afternoon STOP Staples protest, and (of course) the Friday and Saturday night Folk Music singalongs, spearheaded by members of the Seattle Labor Chorus and Anne Feeney.

How could I forget to mention the incredible and boisterous impromptu singalong in the Crowne Plaza lobby into the wee hours of Sunday morning with young Wobblies and Occupy kids from Portland, Chicago and the Twin Cities?

Labor Notes has the first videos from the conference posted on their site now. I’m looking forward to more.

Need an inspiration fix? Here are a few video highlights for those who couldn’t make it to the record-breaking 2014 Labor Notes Conference—or those already ready to relive it.

See them here: First Videos from the 2014 Labor Notes Conference | Labor Notes.

Our Lives Literally Aren’t Worth 57 Cents to the Corporations

Posted in Curated Links on April 8th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Elizabeth Schulte reports on the toll from corporate negligence at GM.

FIFTY-SEVEN cents. That’s what it would have cost General Motors (GM) to change a faulty part to blame for crashes that have killed at least 13 people.

The calculation comes from a 2005 internal company document obtained by congressional investigators, who provided the evidence for an April 1 congressional hearing on GM.

Read More: Their lives weren’t worth 57 cents to GM |

How We Almost Went To War In Syria

Posted in Curated Links on April 8th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

In a report that has been largely ignored or repressed by our corporate media, Pulitzer Prize winner Sy Hersch unravels the truth of those sarin gas attacks against innocent children that almost took us into war in Syria.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

Read the full article at London Review of BooksSeymour M. Hersh · The Red Line and the Rat Line · LRB 6 April 2014.

“Stop Staples” Protest

Posted in News on April 7th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

It was one of the pleasures of my life to join together with union sisters and brothers on Saturday to protest the plan to outsource mail services to Staples stores.

Several hundred of us came to the Staples in Elmwood Park for the protest.

Follow these links for more information.

APWU Press Release

STOP Staples

Community and Postal Workers United

The Center of Hope

Posted in Essays on April 3rd, 2014 by Noebie – 2 Comments

Awhile back I became familiar with the Catholic Worker movement. A part of their philosophy involves voluntary poverty, and sharing everything in our lives with people in need. The credo is “if you have a coat on your back, and a coat in your closet, one of them belongs to someone else.”

This is a hard teaching for me.

I grew up in a family of modest means. My father died when I was six years old, so I was raised by a single mom who worked part time. Yet we always had adequate housing, decent clothes to wear and I cannot remember ever going to bed hungry. I now suspect that my mother sometimes did without things that she would have liked in order to provide for me, but I never heard her complain about it, and I don’t recall her ever being in any sort of true physical deprivation. I was afforded every opportunity in terms of education, despite our limited resources, and I was not saddled with the crushing student debt which is so common today.

I have lived “from hand to mouth” at many points in my life as an adult, but I have not yet ever experienced the desperation of poverty that afflicts tens of millions in the United States. At the age of 56, I am not wealthy, but I finally enjoy what might be called a “solid middle class” standard of living.

In short, for most of my life I have thought of myself as one who was struggling to get by, not as one living in relative abundance. Like many who share my status, I felt that I was “doing the best I can” to help others by making regular donations to various charities.

At long last it has occurred to me that it’s not truly “the best I can do.”

Yet, it is difficult for me to imagine myself doing as Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin did in establishing Catholic Worker – forsaking even a modest level of comfort to live and serve among the most destitute in our community. There are, of course, many “practical” considerations involved. What about my wife and daughter, who have not been stricken with such a revolutionary conviction? It would be one thing for me to deprive myself, but I’m not sure that it would be just or proper to require such a thing of them.

Perhaps this is all just rationalization. Suffice it to say that I have struggled and pondered these sorts of questions for many months now. There was a particular moment where the weight of guilt came crashing down on me while hearing this story from the Gospel According to Matthew.

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

During Advent of 2013, at Reconciliation, I broke down in tears while describing this struggle of conscience to the priest. I left the rite with a determination to do more than simply write checks to charities as a way to meet my Christian obligation to others. I decided to find ways to participate directly in meeting human needs. It may not be all that is required, but it is a start.

I met with Sr. Denise, the Pastoral Associate at our church, who prayed with me and gave me information on several organizations in our community working to reduce the suffering of those in poverty. This morning, I worked for the first time at the Center of Hope, a local food pantry. It was ninety minutes of honest work, pushing a broom, mopping floors, helping to unload a truck from the food bank and breaking down boxes for recycling. I met some very fine people. Some of them have been volunteering at the Center for a decade or more. I hope that one day I will be able to look back on as many years of dedicated service.

This post is not written in a spirit of self-congratulation. To the contrary, I feel deep shame at having squandered so much of my life, turning a deaf ear toward the pleadings of the Gospel and a blind eye toward the needs of others. I am also still terribly troubled about the question of my second (and third, and fourth) coat, and all of the other comforts that I enjoy and do not yet share.

Dorothy Day said “I firmly believe that our salvation depends on the poor.”

This morning, for the first time, that statement gives me hope.

A Debate on Torture

Posted in Curated Links on March 30th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Democracy Now hosted a debate this past week between former CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo and human rights attorney Scott Horton.

The debate sheds light on the issue as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence feuds with the CIA over the declassification of its 6,000-page report on the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs.

Read the transcript or watch the video here: A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney | Democracy Now!.

Are Russian Troops Really Massing on the Border With Ukraine?

Posted in Curated Links on March 28th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

President Obama today cited a huge massing of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine, implying that they may be preparing to invade. Was he telling the truth?

I’d like to see our Western journalists do a little more digging on statements like this. I do not know whether or not the President was lying, but I don’t believe that our press should simply parrot back what government officials say.

Here’s what RT News is reporting.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement, in which it recalled four probes in March by foreign missions in Russia of regions bordering Ukraine. The ministry said that “even Ukrainian inspectors” agreed that “there were no major military activities being carried out.”

The four international missions included representatives of Latvia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Belgium, France and Ukraine. None of the missions “found ‘aggressive preparations’ and have not recorded any military activities, aside from the previously declared,” the statement said.

Again, I’m not claiming that the Russian news organizations are any more faithful to the truth, or any less subservient to their government, but they’re citing some information that could easily be verified or debunked. Should we not expect our “free press” to do so?

Read More: West ignores results of int’l missions that found no troop build-up near Ukraine borders – Moscow — RT News.

Remembering the Martyrs: A Social and Picnic

Posted in Curated Links on March 28th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Date: May 4, 2014

Time: 10:30am-3:45pm

Location: Forest Home Cemetery, Haymarket Martyr’s Monument

Join the IWW and many other radical, anti-capitalist, and labor organizations at Forest Home Cemetery to eat, drink, talk, and make new friends and connections. This will be a pot-luck style event so please bring food to share. This event is open to all who are interested and is family friendly.

Learn More: May Day Events 2014

Labor Notes Conference 2014 Schedule

Posted in Curated Links on March 27th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The full schedule of workshops, sessions, and performances for the 2014 Labor Notes Conference April 4-6, Chicago is now available online.

Get it here: Conference 2014 Schedule Now Available Online! | Labor Notes.

If you’ll be attending the conference, I’d love to meet you. Get in touch by email to