To all who served in the war in Iraq, I say, simply, thank you – and welcome home.
To all who served in the war in Iraq, I say, simply, thank you – and welcome home.
Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism, writes in the New York Times about a possible trend toward economic democracy.
Worker-Owners of America, Unite! [NYTimes.com] – Some 130 million Americans now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions. More than 13 million Americans have become worker-owners of more than 11,000 employee-owned companies, six million more than belong to private-sector unions.
Alperovitz also appeared on Democracy Now! this week to discuss his notion that we may be in the midst of a profound transition towards an economy characterized by more democratic structures of ownership.
Here’s a link to some fairly thorough reporting and explanation from The Christian Science Monitor concerning the National Defense Authorization Act anti-terrorist provisions. Highly recommended…
Does defense bill’s anti-terror provision deprive Americans of key rights? [CSMonitor.com] – The US Senate on Thursday approved a controversial measure that affirms broad authority for the nation’s military to indefinitely detain suspected Al Qaeda members and associates captured in the United States.
Today marks the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. If ever there was a time that called for us to understand and to honor these sacred limits against tyranny, that time is now.
Here is the text of the Bill of Rights, originally proposed on March 4th, 1789 and ratified on December 15th, 1791, as transcribed by the National Archives.
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
I’ve said in the past that I felt that provisions of this National Defense Authorization Act would mark the end of The Republic. Whether or not that is the case, if the President signs it into law it will mark the end of my support for his candidacy in 2012.
White House says no veto of defense bill. [WASHINGTON (AP)] – The White House on Wednesday abandoned its threat that President Barack Obama would veto a defense bill over provisions on how to handle suspected terrorists as Congress raced to finish the legislation.
Full text of the Press Secretary’s statement is not on the White House Website yet, but you can read it on the Lawfare Blog.
Although he says that both freedom of speech and law and order will prevail in the city, somehow I doubt it.
Emanuel Wants Big Fine Increases for G8 Protesters [Chicago Tribune] – Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to raise fines for resisting police as the city gears up for anticipated protests that will come with the G8 and NATO summits to be held in Chicago next May.
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign [Salon.com] – More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011.
Yesterday’s direct action at the West Coast ports, though it failed to completely shut down shipping as was hoped, did cause significant disruption to business in many locations from San Diego to Anchorage. The protestors were able to cause a major marine terminal (Portland) to close. They brought things to a standstill for a time in Oakland and in Longview, Washington. They slowed business in Long Beach, in Seattle and elsewhere.
Much of the media coverage of this action has centered on how the protests were viewed by organized labor, and on the broader issue of the relationship between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the unions. Some reports even played-up rifts between the protestors and workers. Mid-morning yesterday, a story from CBS News showed up in my aggregator with this summary. “Anti-Wall Street activists plan blockades to support dockworkers’ labor struggle, but union doesn’t want their help.”
Later in the day a lot of OWS supporters were linking to this post from CleanAndSafePorts.org that’s titled An Open Letter from America’s Port Truck Drivers on Occupy the Ports. It’s signed by drivers of many years standing who were elected to speak on behalf of local committees from Long Beach, Seattle & Tacoma, Los Angeles, Oakland and New York & New Jersey. It presents a fairly nuanced description of their issues and their feelings about the OWS Action. Here’s an excerpt.
We are inspired that a non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. Thank you “99 Percenters” for hearing our call for justice. We are humbled and overwhelmed by recent attention. Normally we are invisible.
I would encourage you to read the entire letter to learn more about these workers’ lives and the difficulties that they face each day, as well as their (somewhat ambivalent) feelings about the direct action yesterday.
In parts of the country, there have been rather rocky relations between some organized labor groups and the OWS protestors from the very beginning. One need only read a few of the local General Assembly minutes to notice that. Some union leaders seemed suspicious (and perhaps even a little jealous) of a “Johnny come lately” grassroots populist movement shouting about issues of economic injustice around which Labor has been organizing for more than a century. By the same turn, many folks in the Occupy movement seemed suspicious of any of the big institutions of our society, labor unions included. Though there have been many instances of mutual support for causes and actions, it sometimes remains an uneasy alliance.
The sound bites and the headlines miss a lot of the underlying issues – structural, legal and ideological – that have set the stage for the interaction between OWS and the unions. Some of those issues have as much to do with the history of the Labor Movement in the United States as they do with any unique current conditions.
I would highly recommend an article from Richard Myers over on Daily Kos titled Unions, OWS, and Blocking The Ports. He observes that “the union roots of OWS are much broader and deeper than most observers realize.” He particularly notes the similarity in philosophy and tactics shared by OWS and the Industrial Workers of the World (horizontal democratic structure, emphasis on direct action, etc.).
As Richard notes, part of what may be playing out here is the tension between an increasingly radical local rank and file, and the stodgy reactionism of their national union leaders. He concludes, “There is no reason in the world to turn against OWS on the false basis that OWS doesn’t respect workers’ rights. OWS is all about workers’ rights. The really big question is: how far will national leaders of business unions go for the workers?”
It seems to me that he hits the nail directly on the head.
Learn more about the West Coast ports direct action.
Find out about the IWW.
Thousands of activists began to gather in the early morning hours today to protest at ports along the West Coast of the United States. Events are planned throughout the day from San Diego to Seattle.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.