Facing the Hard Facts of Long Term Unemployment, Comments on Baker and Hassett’s “The Human Disaster of Unemployment” The below op-ed piece was co-authored by liberal economist Dean Baker and published in Sunday’s (May 13, 2012) New York Times. Baker explains with compassion the horrendous effect that mass, long term employment has on both individuals and [...]
Shamus Cooke Italian translation of Why U.S. Politicians Are Quiet About Europe’s Meltdown Dopo le elezioni greche, la paura ha colpito i cuori dei bankster globali, la ricaduta rimane incerta. Se le prossime elezioni greche (17 giugno) produrranno un governo anti-austerità, la Grecia quasi certamente intraprenderà una rapida uscita dall’euro. Se ciò accadesse – e questo [...]
After the Greek elections struck fear into the hearts of the global banksters, the fallout remains uncertain. If the next Greek election produces again an anti-austerity result, Greece will almost certainly make a speedy exit from the euro. If this happens — and it is looking increasingly inevitable — the consequences for the global economy [...]
Shamus Cooke On May 5th in Portland, Oregon, a group of 80 activists from a broad array of labor and community groups met to discuss the region’s ongoing budget crises. Instead of simply complaining of cuts, however, the meeting was meant to discuss alternatives, both immediate and more structural. Groups that endorsed the event included the [...]
Shamus Cooke The big public sector unions of California and Oregon had their courage examined recently — both were found lacking. The unions backed down from a challenge from their respective Democratic governors, before any fight could be waged. The issue at stake was whether to tax the rich of both states to offset the state deficits [...]
Shamus Cooke As labor leaders across the U.S. shift resources away from defending workers and into Obama’s re-election campaign, millions of organized and non-organized workers remain unemployed and hopeless. Contrary to the “optimistic” government jobs numbers, the jobs crisis grinds onward. Some labor leaders will argue that getting Obama elected is the first step towards addressing [...]
How are government budgets created, and in whose interests? In Portland, Oregon the city recently held the second and last of its public budget forums, where the community could offer feedback to help craft the city’s budget. Over 200 people attended the meeting at Cleveland High School, much more than city officials anticipated based on the [...]
“What is Obama promising unions this election? Nothing. Why make promises to organizations like labor that don’t seem to care if you break them?”
Shamus Cooke The Occupy movement’s national day of action — “Shut Down the Corporations” — is a difficult action to assess. Was the action a success or a failure? The first question that needs to be answered is, what were the action’s goals? Many of the activists who performed civil disobedience during the day likely acted [...]
Shamus Cooke A healthy debate has finally gripped the Occupy Movement: there is now a discussion over strategy. Most Occupiers have learned that raw enthusiasm alone cannot bring victory to a social movement; ideas matter too. Action divorced from strategy equals wasted energy, divisiveness, diversions and unnecessary mistakes. Not all tactics push the movement forward.
Shamus Cooke Nello sforzo di indebolire l’Iran rovesciando il regime del suo alleato strategico, cioè la Siria, le nazioni occidentali usano i loro stati clienti del Medio Oriente per condurre un attacco su più fronti contro la Siria attraverso i mezzi di informazione, la Lega Araba, le Nazioni Unite e ora anche con forze militari [...]
Shamus Cooke In an effort to undermine Iran by overthrowing its strategic ally, Syria, western nations are using their Middle East client states to conduct a multi-pronged attack against Syria through the media, the Arab League, the United Nations and now through military proxy forces. This fact is widely recognized by many mainstream western media [...]
Shamus Cooke After meeting again to decide Syria’s fate, the Arab League again decided to extend its “monitoring mission” in Syria. However, some Arab League nations under U.S. diplomatic control are clamoring for blood. These countries — virtual sock puppets of U.S. foreign policy — want to declare the Arab League monitoring mission “a failure,” [...]
Shamus Cooke [شاموس كوك] [Translation of The Threat Against Iran and Syria is Real] أنا أدعو هؤلاء الذين يظنون أن الولايات المتحدة لن تحرض على حرب جديدة في الشرق الأوسط أن يفكروا مجدداً.. متسلحٌ بنجاحه في قصف ليبيا والدور الذي لعبته قواته في اغتيال العقيد القذافي، يسعى أوباما لتطبيق نفس الإستراتيجية في سوريّة في نفس [...]
Shamus Cooke For a movement that started with one strategy and a couple of slogans, Occupy has preformed brilliantly. Having based itself on the examples of Egypt and Wisconsin, the Occupy Movement has raised the political consciousness of millions and created a large layer of new activists. But the uninterrupted string of successes, for example, [...]
Shamus Cooke Per coloro che pensano che gli Stati Uniti non potrebbero assolutamente fomentare un’altra guerra in Medio Oriente, ripensateci. Autorizzati dal loro “successo” nei bombardamenti sulla Libia, e dalla consegunete uccisione di Muammar Gheddafi, Obama sta ora cercando di usare esattamente la stessa strategia contro la Siria, mentre usa le stesse alllarmanti minacce militari [...]
Shamus Cooke For those who think that the United States wouldn’t possibly instigate another war in the Middle East, think again. Empowered by his “success” in the mass bombing of Libya and consequent assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama is now seeking to use the exact same strategy against Syria, while using alarming military threats against Iran. In both [...]
It makes sense that Americans should unite in a single health care constituency. Medicare cannot be defended by only current Medicare recipients; nor can Medicaid be saved by current benefactors. In order to unite all working Americans into a powerful coalition, Medicare for All should be demanded, so that all Americans will see their interests reflected in the fight. Few issues so directly affect so many people, but to expand the fight still further, a coalition could be formed that demands jobs, peace, and education, the other “big” issues that — when put together — directly affect nearly every single person.
Shamus Cooke The Occupy Movement couldn’t have come along at a worse time, from the viewpoint of the Democrats. Election season is just getting started and Occupy has thrown a giant wrench into the political machinery. Some labor leaders too are sensing “politics as usual” shifting under their feet; the “get out the vote” for [...]
Occupy Portland has been given a reprieve by working people, but it must learn from the above mistakes. “We are the 99%” is a powerful uniting slogan, but the various issue-based activism of years past directly contradict the uniting principles of the larger Occupy Movement. Most of the issue-based activists have not yet realized their ideas are not those that the 99% view as most important. The attempt at trying to re-assert their organizing around a hundred separate left issues, most of which working people know very little about, has fallen flat.
Action in this case means the dirty work of organizing working people, based on the issues that they care most about. Organizing a new union is a perfect example — on a smaller scale — of what needs to happen in the Occupy movement nationwide. When organizers come to a work site to form a union, they do not simply pass out pro-union propaganda in the parking lot until workers decide to join up. Instead, organizers use agitation based on the key problems of the work site — low wages, no rights, etc. — to spur the workplace to action. Only when workers are motivated in this way and united to achieve their common demands do they feel empowered enough to take on the boss and form a union, transforming themselves and their workplaces in the process.
Shamus Cooke In Portland, Oregon, all the promise and pitfalls of the Occupy Movement are on public display. Portland is second only to New York when it comes to sustained Occupy power, but in a newly born social movement strength is not something to take for granted. The vast amounts of public support in Portland, earned through [...]
The modern far-right’s populist demands can be discredited by the Occupy Movement with one stroke; if we make class-specific demands that clearly benefit working people at the expense of the wealthy and the big corporations, the right wing will be disarmed. For example, instead of simply being anti Wall Street, the Occupy Movement should demand that the wealthiest 1% be taxed at 90%, as they were under Republican President Eisenhower who dared not challenge the powerful labor/social movement at the time.
di Shamus Cooke Italian translation of “The Way Forward for Occupy Portland 18 ottobre 2011 Mentre il Movimento “Occupiamo” guadagna forza in campo nazionale e internazionale, ci si comincia chiedere che cosa c’è da fare prossimamente. Sebbene non ci siano risposte facili e ricette pronte per andare avanti, ci sono delle idee generali che possono [...]
Shamus Cooke As the Occupy Movement gains strength nationally and internationally, questions of “what next” are popping up. Although there are no easy answers or ready-to-order recipes for moving forward, there are general ideas that can help unite the Occupy Movements with the broader community of the 99% — which is the most urgent need [...]
Shamus Cooke It should be no surprise that a city dubbed “Little Beirut” by President Bush Senior — due to the large protests against him — began its “occupation” on a level on par with Wall Street. On October 6th, in Portland, Oregon, ten thousand people assembled at noon at Waterfront Park on a workday, [...]
Shamus Cooke Every social movement faces countless obstacles by those in power. Although brute force is used to stifle movements when they become especially effective, more subtle methods are typically employed. Diverting movements to adopt ineffective strategies and “safe” ideas is a typical way people in power keep others powerless. When applied to the barely-moving [...]
All working people have an interest in ensuring that their children and grandchildren can live a life without such carnage. Some, however, are tricked into thinking that the immediate need for jobs overrules any consideration for the environment, since not eating today is more important than a global environmental crisis that will strike tomorrow. In reality there is no such contradiction. Now is actually the perfect time to brush this corporate-created myth aside and demand what is sorely overdue for both working people and the environment.
Shamus Cooke The health care crisis in the United States is getting worse with no visible end. The popular anger over unattainable or unaffordable health care has been diverted away from corporations by crafty politicians, always seeking to exploit a social disaster for their benefactors. Instead of making health care more affordable for the average [...]
Shamus Cooke As the seeds of Obama’s 2012 electoral campaign begin to sprout, labor unions are being forced either to pledge their allegiance or distance themselves from the incumbent president. There has already emerged some hefty splits in the labor movement over the issue, based on the President’s complete lack of action on creating jobs [...]
Shamus Cooke “Karl Marx got it right, at some point capitalism can destroy itself,” said Mr. Roubini, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We thought markets worked. They’re not working.” The world economy is in shambles and about to get worse, according to even mainstream economists. How bad is anybody’s guess. Some things, [...]
Shamus Cooke When the big banks screamed “crisis,” they were instantly rewarded with trillions of taxpayer money. Likewise, when rich bondholders — some of them bailout beneficiaries — yelled “crisis” at the U.S. debt, they were immediately rewarded with trillions of dollars taken from social programs for the poor. The jobs crisis, however, staggers on [...]
Shamus Cooke The debt crisis has been averted and people across the globe are breathing sighs of relief. But in the back rooms of Congress politicians are celebrating for a different reason. It’s the kind of celebration that erupts when a group executes a complicated plan to perfection. The objective in this case was to [...]
Public sector unions must mobilize their members and the community they serve to fight back. They have no other choice if they are to remain powerful or even relevant. Making the above concessions without organizing a statewide fightback will demoralize the membership and thus substantially weaken the unions. A critically weakened union would then be open to future attacks that could potentially erase collective bargaining rights.