Sunday, November 30, 2014

End the New Jim Crow - Ferguson

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is outraged but not surprised at the failure of the St. Louis County grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. The structural bias in our judicial and criminal justice system in favor of police who engage in violent action against unarmed Black and Brown people rendered the outcome unsurprising, yet still enraging. How can an unarmed person be killed by an armed police officer without there being a case for a criminal prosecution? The glaring injustice of  the grand jury verdict is why tens of thousands of individuals across the country stormed into the streets after the announcement of the grand jury verdict. DSA joins others in demanding that the Federal Department of Justice continue its investigation into the conduct of the Ferguson police department and the possible violation of Michael Brown's civil rights by Officer Wilson and the department. Read more...

antiracismdsa: Dr. Martin Luther King- Race Riots and The Other ...

antiracismdsa: Dr. Martin Luther King- Race Riots and The Other ...: " The Other America " - Speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Grosse Pointe High School - March 14, 1968 ] Rev. Dr. Har...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Why I won't step foot in a Walmart

by Dan Bacher

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is asking people to not step foot in a Walmart today in solidarity with the workers of the retail giant who are now striking for better wages and working conditions.

I won't step foot in a Walmart for that reason and a multitude of other reasons including the following:

1. Walmart funds corporate "environmental" NGOs that support neo-liberal environmental policies including fake "marine protected areas" and "catch shares" programs that devastate fishing families around the world. Don't support any group, such as the Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and EDF, that receives Walton Family Foundation money! If you're an angler, why support anti-fishing groups by buying garbage at Walmart? (

2. Walmart funds the school privatization "charter school" movement, awarding behests to organizations run and promoted by corrupt politicians like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife Michelle Rhee.

3. Walmart drives sustainable, family-owned businesses out of communities around the world, replacing local businesses with its ugly, junk-filled mega-stores.

4. Walmart underpays and badly treats its workers, as documented in numerous reports.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mobilize, educate, organize

Did you hear about the first-ever sit-down strikes in Walmart stores the last two weeks, demanding $15 an hour and consistent full-time schedules? After two hours in the store at the first strike, in Los Angeles, the strikers took to the streets and 23 were arrested for their civil disobedience.
What about the arrest this past weekend of a law-abiding journalist covering peaceful protests in Ferguson? Tensions are high as the community and allies from around the country await a grand jury decision in the Mike Brown case.
The fight for justice doesn't take holidays. While you are hopefully spending this Thanksgiving with family or friends, please consider standing in solidarity with low-wage workers at the largest employer in the U.S. and those most targeted for police racial profiling in Ferguson and across the country.
Walmart workers are holding a day of action on Black Friday. Click here to find a picket line near you.
Racial justice activists plan to mobilize, tonight, in response to the grand jury decision about Darren Wilson. Click here to find out when it's happening in your community.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama to take Executive Action on Immigration

by Harold Meyerson.  Washington Post

Angela Navarro, an undocumented Honduran born immigrant with a deportation order, poses with her family - her husband Ermer and two U.S. born children, Angela, 8, and Arturo, 11, after moving into West Kensington Ministry Church with her family, as construction workers renovating their new housing quarters work in the background, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 18, 2014. (Mark Makela/Reuters)
Of the thousands of words written lately on President Obama’s impending order to exempt some undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation, most have dealt with the politics of the issue, not the humanity behind it. What the media have largely failed to emphasize is that Obama’s order will be shaped almost entirely by the imperative of keeping parents with their children. The administration is planning to allow the undocumented parents of children born here (and who are, thus, U.S. citizens) to stay and receive work permits. Unfortunately, this will not include parents of the “dreamers” who are already protected by executive order from deportation.
What the pundits have tended to overlook, as well, is the humanity behind Obama’s apparent willingness to act without congressional approval. Every year since Obama became president, the government has deported roughly 400,000 undocumented immigrants, with little regard to whether they’ve broken any law save crossing the border without papers or overstaying their visas — or whether their kids are wondering where their parents have gone. On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center reported that in 2012, some 13 percent of schoolchildren in both Texas and California had at least one undocumented parent. That’s a lot of parents, a lot of kids.

It’s not as if Obama hasn’t waited for Congress to address the immigration conundrum. Nearly 18 months ago, a bipartisan majority of 68 senators passed an Obama-backed bill that would have significantly augmented our border security forces and provided a long and tortuous pathway to legalization for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. The Republican-controlled House refused to take up the bill, however, though it likely would have passed. Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders declined to risk the ire of the nativists in their ranks.
So long as Republicans — many of them from heavily gerrymandered districts with few Latino voters — continue to control the House, that chamber isn’t likely to enact any serious immigration reform. It is likely, however, that the House will stay in Republican hands until at least the first election following the next decennial redistricting — that is, until 2023. Should the wave of deportations without regard to family status continue until then, the number of broken families could easily rise into the millions.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guess Who used Executive Action to suspend deportations ?

Executive Action
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's anticipated order that would shield millions of immigrants now living illegally in the U.S. from deportation is not without precedent.

Two of the last three Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — did the same thing in extending amnesty to family members who were not covered by the last major overhaul of immigration law in 1986.
There was no political explosion then comparable to the one Republicans are threatening now.

A tea party-influenced GOP is poised to erupt if and when Obama follows through on his promise. He wants to extend protection from deportation to millions of immigrant parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and expand his 2-year-old program that shields immigrants brought illegally to this country as children.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What a Labor Leader Said in Response to a Social Security Lie

Note; October. 2013. 

Walmart Workers Plan Black Friday Protests

Walmart employees who are organizing as part of OUR Walmart are promising the biggest strikes ever on Black Friday, saying more employees will participate than the previous two years.
Barbara Gertz, an employee from Denver, Colorado, said organizers are expecting to see protests in 1,600 stores. While they don’t yet have a headcount of how many workers will strike or in how many cities, she said they’ve gotten calls “every day” from employees who want to join in. Protests will hit Los Angeles and a number of other major metropolitan areas. Employees at more than 2,100 Walmart stores across the country have signed an online petition asking for higher wages and better working conditions.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stop Fast Track - Stop TPP

I’m sure I don’t need to convince you that transparency is important when it comes to making decisions about our economy, jobs, safety and the environment. Unfortunately, in this lame-duck session, we expect corporations to push for a policy that undercuts the public’s voice on free trade agreements through what they call “fast-track” legislation.

Tell Congress - No Fast track.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. And legislation granting fast-track authority would enable corporate power-grabs like the TPP to be rushed through Congress, circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.

The TPP will create rules and obligations that govern an estimated 40 percent of the world’s economy, yet few Americans are aware of its impact or even its existence. Unfortunately, the last 20 years of corporate-driven free trade policy have created a downward spiral in which jobs have been shipped overseas and worker, environmental and consumer protections have been eroded.

The TPP has the potential to:
  • Lock in the future privatization of public services;
  • Create corporate courts that offer foreign investors due process for profits; and
  • Undermine local, state and the federal government’s ability to regulate consumer goods or financial markets in the public interest.

No wonder members of Congress aligned with big business are trying to rush this through. If Americans knew the potential damage, they would certainly object. 

What ever happened to solidarity ?

by Duane Campbell
On November 11, 2014, the California Nurses Association ( AFL-CIO) goes on strike while SEIU ( CTW) sends its members into work across the picket lines. The ILWU prepares for a possible West Coast strike that could close the ports. What will other unions do?
I recognize the arguments about strategic plans and contract obligations for an advance notice for a strike.
But, when unions members are encouraged to cross picket lines – what do you have? While critics write essays about the internal conflicts in national union offices and new directions, if union members are not organized and led to not cross picket lines then all the rest is B.S.
In campaigns we call for international solidarity with workers across the globe ( a worthy goal) but many union leaders do not encourage solidarity with the worker down the street.
When national union leaders act as if union solidarity is of little importance, not much more than office politics, then it is no wonder that unions can’t win a contract nor an election in Tennessee. These unions are not  demonstrating  that solidarity works and workers in non union plants and non union states learn from their example.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stop Fast Track on the Trade Agreement

SEIU Local 1000 - 1325 S St. Sacramento, CA 95811


There IS something you can do about it.

Doors open at 5:30pm *Light Refreshments*
Event starts at 6:00pm

Join Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America, Food & Water Watch and others to learn about what CAN BE DONE to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Speakers include:

Robert Longer, CWA Local 9421
Xiomara Castro, Citizens Trade Campaign
Tia Lebherz, Food & Water Watch
Nancy Price, TPP-Free Zones

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, frequently referred to as “TPP”, is a trade agreement initiated in 2005 and begin negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other countries. The negotiations have mostly been secret, are a threat to labor rights, the environment, could weaken or limit food safety standards, as well as consumer-right-to-know regulations and threaten internet freedom.

Learn how "Fast Track" authority will erase Congressional authority and oversight for this massive trade agreement.

Let's make our voices heard and stop the sneak attack on democracy!

Sponsored by: CWA Local 9421 (Communications Workers of America); CWA District 9; Citizens Trade Campaign; The Sierra Club, Mother Lode Chapter, Sierra Club; Global Exchange; SEIU Local 1000 Environmental Committee; Food & Water Watch; Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nurses at Kaiser Begin Strike on Tues.

Registered nurses from California to Maine will hold strikes, picketing, and other actions Wednesday, November 12 in 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia – with possible support actions globally – as National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses steps up the demand for tougher Ebola safety precautions in the nation’s hospitals.
One centerpiece of the actions will be a two-day strike by 18,000 RNs and nurse practitioners at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics who have been protesting the erosion of patient care standards in Kaiser facilities for months, and see Kaiser’s failure to adopt the optimal safeguards for Ebola as symbolic of its overall dismissal of nurses’ concerns about patient care.
Strikes will also affect some 600 RNs at two other California hospitals, Sutter Tracy and Watsonville General Hospital, and 400 RNs at Providence Hospital in Washington D.C.
The two-day California strikes begin Tuesday morning. The Providence walkout is Wednesday.
Actions are planned in California, Florida, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
In addition to the strikes, nurses will be picketing a number of hospitals (in California, for example, picketing is planned at University of California, Dignity Health and Sutter hospitals) as well as rallies at federal offices and other settings.

On Military Service

Reflections on Military Service
Weeden Nichols

I have been asked to comment on the problem of military service.  I say “problem,” as such service is problematic in many ways.  I do not believe anyone can speak or write objectively on this topic.  We all see through the lens of our own lives and times.

I should start out by saying that I was not quite two years old when the US entered World War II.  My memory goes back to 18 months of age (August 1941), and I learned to read at the age of three.  My worldview was formed in a time and a culture that did not question military service or participation in war.  I decided, while a small child during WWII, to be a soldier.  I was influenced, no doubt, by the fact that those who served were esteemed highly.  In some peculiar way, I know I was influenced by the death of the cousin I loved best, during the Battle of the Bulge.  (He was a hero, truly, but received only a plain posthumous Bronze Star – not even a “V” for Valor.  I received the same level of Bronze Star in Vietnam for merely doing my job.)  As I small child, I was not equipped to discern the distinction between the esteemed citizen soldier and the professional soldier who was tolerated as a necessity.  I did complete a full career in the US military, retiring from the Army over thirty-six years ago after serving in both the Air Force and the Army.

I remember vividly the World War II propaganda, particularly the propaganda in cartoon form, in which Germans, Italians, and Japanese were anthropomorphically represented as weasels, wolves, and the like.  I also remember seeing from my tricycle seat the truckloads of German POW's being taken from their camps to work on our roads.  They were mostly nice-looking young men, somewhat sad in demeanor, who waved back as they passed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bay Area Victories for Living Wage

by Seth Sandronsky,
On Tuesday San Francisco voters approved by a 77 to 23 percent margin Proposition J, which will increase the city’s minimum wage from the current $10.74 per hour to $12.25 per hour by May 1, 2015. The city’s minimum wage would climb to $13 per hour by July 2016; to $14 per hour by July 2017 and $15 per hour by July 2018.
“Prop. J will provide a much needed raise to $15 per hour for 140,000 of the lowest paid workers in our city,” Gordon Mar, executive director of Jobs with Justice, San Francisco, told Capital & Main. “Prop. J will also raise the bar nationally for minimum wage policies.”
The “Fight for $15” to gain a higher minimum wage for workers began in Seattle, Washington. Voters there, with Socialist Alternative city council member Kshama Sawant spearheading a grassroots movement, approved phased-in hikes to the minimum wage, eventually reaching $15 per hour, this year. That momentum in no small way encouraged people in U.S. cities such as San Francisco and Oakland to vote for increasing the pay of low-wage service workers to $15 per hour in this year’s midterm elections.

Republicans gain control of U.S. Senate

Democrats control California government.