Tag Archives: slides

Will Obama Fight ISIS Without Allies? Obama’s No-Win War on ISIS

Shamus Cooke

The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria, after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic […]

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An Addition to the Article: Missing in Action, AFL-CIO Should Be in Ferguson

Paul Colvin

Carl Finamore’s article, “Missing in Action, AFL-CIO Should Be in Ferguson” is an accurate and indispensable description of current day unions’ disconnect with the struggles and aspirations of communities of color in a society with embedded racism, both subtle and not so subtle. When a white policeman murdered unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the […]

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How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy

How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy Shamus Cooke August 9, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Suddenly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become a threat worthy of American missiles. For years Obama completely ignored the biggest and most brutal terror group in the Middle East, allowing it to balloon into a regional power. No matter how many heads it severed or how much territory it conquered, ISIS just couldn’t […]

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How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S.

How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S. Shamus Cooke August 7, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Blasting Gaza into rubble has affected the average American in ways that U.S. politicians will learn to regret. The result is more than bleeding heart sympathy for dead Palestinian children (430 at last count). There is a deeper political effect happening, as young and old alike realize for the first time the cancerous lies coursing through the […]

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How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes

How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes
Shamus Cooke

To assist in a crime makes one a criminal by any legal standard. And the biggest crimes of all are war crimes, since they kill en masse and showcase the cruelest form of human behavior. The fact that Israel is actively committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not open to debate, since a cursory […]

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Obama’s Influence Abroad is Evaporating

Shamus Cooke

There was once a time, not too long ago, when the U.S. government’s ability to steer the policies of other nations was near absolute. A U.S. president needed only to make a public statement denouncing another nation’s economic or military policy, and the effects would be instant. The countries that refused U.S. instructions were labeled pariahs, […]

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The Union vs. Corporate Showdown Has Officially Begun

Shamus Cooke

The attack on the U.S. labor movement just sharpened with the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision, aimed at the heart of concentrated union power — public sector unions. When you add in the Obama-led assault on public school teachers unions and the Koch brother-funded “Right to Work” laws, the labor movement appears to be […]

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Does Capitalism Inevitably Produce Inequalities?

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In a recent New York Times op-ed article, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz theorized that capitalism does not inevitably produce inequalities in wealth. Instead, he argued, today’s inequalities result from policy decisions made by politicians on all sorts of matters that affect people’s income: the tax structure that favors the rich, the bailout of the […]

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Regional War Swallowing the Middle East

Shamus Cooke

When the Syrian war jumped its borders into Iraq, surrounding nations had a perfect chance to peacefully cooperate. They’ve thus far refused. The war in Syria now seems to be shifting to Iraq, and the big actors in the regional drama are recklessly pushing events toward more conflict that could transform a regional proxy war into […]

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California Teachers Take Another Hit From Politicians

California Teachers Take Another Hit From Politicians Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer June 29, 2014
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

With Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in office since 2011 and the Democratic Party winning a supermajority in the state legislature in 2012, one might think that organized labor was secure and riding high. At least, that is the impression organized labor projects during campaign season. But the Democratic politicians have used their supermajority to serve […]

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Who Will Save Iraq?

Who Will Save Iraq?
Shamus Cooke

“We gave Iraq a chance” – President Obama Recent events in Iraq are a tiny foreshadowing of horrors to come. A glance at smoldering Syria reveals Iraq’s fate if current events continue. And while such a crisis demands that something be done, the solutions offered will only expedite Iraq’s descent into a prolonged nightmare. The rise […]

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ISIS and Regime Change in Iraq

Shamus Cooke June 21, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Is Iraq following Syria into the genocidal abyss? There have already been reported massacres on both sides, and more should be expected as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seeks to consolidate its victories while the Iraqi government mobilizes to reclaim what was lost. But don’t believe for a second that the overwhelming […]

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How Obama Lost Iraq and the War on Terror

Shamus Cooke

The fall of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, to an al-Qaeda linked militia elicited a curiously muted response from the Obama administration. Yes, Obama “denounced” the terrorist invasion, but when the Iraqi government asked for U.S. airstrikes to repel perhaps the most powerful terrorist group in the world, Obama thus far refused, only hinting at some […]

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Obama’s Syrian Policy Vetoed by Assad Election Victory

Shamus Cooke

“Assad’s days are numbered” – President Obama, February 2012 Living in denial is the easiest way to avoid hard truths, but it’s a horrible way for a government to conduct foreign policy. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry recently scoffed at the elections in Syria, calling them “meaningless.” The U.S. media obediently agreed, while the rest of […]

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The Democrats’ New Fake Populism

Shamus Cooke

It would have been hilarious were it not so nauseating. One could only watch the “New Populism” conference with pity-induced discomfort, as stale Democratic politicians did their awkward best to adjust themselves to the fad of “populism.” A boring litany of Democratic politicians — or those closely associated — gave bland speeches that aroused little […]

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Socialists Trip Over Class Line in Electoral Politics

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

With the election season beginning to gear up, some socialist groups are starting to weigh in on the debate over which candidates should be supported and why it is important to support them. In this context, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) has posted an article (May 21, 2014) urging support for politically “independent” candidates. In defense of […]

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Oregon Zoo Workers Bargain for $15

Shamus Cooke

The food service workers at the Oregon Zoo just raised the bar for the labor movement, organized and unorganized alike. The newly organized zoo workers recently joined the Portland Laborers Union Local 483, and for their first union contract they are insisting on $15 an hour. They currently make $9.10, Oregon’s minimum wage. The $15 proposal might […]

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San Francisco Rides the $15 Wave

San Francisco Rides the $15 Wave By Shamus Cooke
Shamus Cooke

It seems that Seattle has officially passed the $15 baton to San Francisco, and they’re running with it. On May 10th San Francisco had its first public organizing meeting to prepare for a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $15. The Labor movement and broader community organizations were well represented, and with them all the potential […]

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The Myth of the Pro-Labor Democrat

The Myth of the Pro-Labor Democrat, by Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer, April 20, 2014
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

As the standard of living of working people continues its four-decades-long steady decline, the number of people who classify themselves as “middle class” has correspondingly dropped, including by almost 10 percent in the past six years alone. Under the circumstances one might assume that leaders of organized labor are furiously rethinking their single-minded, long-held strategy […]

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More Seattles, Please

More Seattles, Please by Shamus Cooke, April 17, 2014
Shamus Cooke

You’d think unions would accept the enthusiastic public support for a $15 minimum wage as a gift-wrapped campaign sent from the heavens. If unions organized campaigns for $15 nationwide, they’d win the support and admiration of hundreds of thousands, who would then be ripe for joining. A labor movement on life support would receive a […]

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New Lows for Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy

New Lows for Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy By Shamus Cooke
Shamus Cooke

Obama seemed so traumatized by his Middle East blunders he decided to take a break, giving Ukraine a try instead. The distraction was just what the president needed. And the U.S. media followed obediently, while barely glancing at the flames in the rear-view mirror — until another explosion piqued their interest. The predictable break down of peace talks […]

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The Fight for $15 Finally Comes to Portland

Shamus Cooke

Like the Occupy movement before it, the “fight for $15” came to Portland as a transplant. Portland activists watched events in Seattle with a skeptical eye, but Seattle’s “fantasy” of $15 was transformed into an emerging reality, now replete with the support of the Mayor and City Council who are working on a plan to implement […]

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Using Ballot Initiatives to Build Power: Two Different Approaches

Mark Vorpahl

In numerous states, counties and cities, union and community organizers are considering ballot initiatives for November. Whether they are facing a fight against corporate-backed initiatives that will bleed workers while gorging big business, or considering their own initiatives that will benefit the 99%, activists and labor leaders are weighing how to use the election season […]

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Obama’s Far Right Foreign Policy

Shamus Cooke

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” — ancient proverb The conflicts in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Syria have one thing in common: the U.S. government is in favor of the groups who aspire to topple — or who have toppled — the government in power. Thus, U.S. politicians are […]

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The Murky Politics of the $15 Minimum Wage

Shamus Cooke

Seattle now resembles a mini-Venezuela. It’s not a perfect comparison, but like the average Venezuelan the people of Seattle are experiencing an explosion of political consciousness. Recently I took the three-hour drive from Portland, and although Seattle is only a couple of hundred miles away, it’s politically thousands of miles ahead of “progressive” Portland.  The “fight for […]

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Book Review: How to Jump-Start Your Union

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

HOW TO JUMP-START YOUR UNION, just released by Labor Notes, is an invaluable book for any union activist. It details the successful 2010 strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), starting with the formation of CORE (Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators) back in 2008 when they had only 22 members; their election to union leadership positions […]

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SEIU 503 Rank and File Defeats Mega-Local Merger

Shamus Cooke

This article also appeared on Labor Notes. Union democracy triumphed in Oregon February 1 when rank-and-file members of Service Employees Local 503 organized to reject a top-down merger with SEIU Local 49. The merger would have created a two-state, 65,000-member mega-local in the Pacific Northwest. Union leaders—the upper echelon of elected leaders taking their marching […]

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A Wholesale Attack on Our Union

Jason Redrup

Reposted from Counterpunch. Why the Boeing Contract is a Threat to the Labor Movement as a Whole A Wholesale Attack on Our Union [Note: Following is a statement by Jason Redrup, an elected Business Representative in IAM District 751 at Boeing. He represents 2,500 workers on the 787 line at the Everett facility. Brother Redrup […]

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Top Three Media Lies About the Syrian Peace Talks

Shamus Cooke

The media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding goal of Syrian regime […]

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Cambodia: The Working Class Flexes its Muscles

Brad Forrest

The class struggle is heating up in Cambodia. Currently the country is a constitutional monarchy under the king Norodom Sihamoni. A 1997 coup placed effective power in the hands of the president and strongman Hun Sen and his Cambodian Peoples Party. It is commonly acknowledged that Sen and his cronies rule with excessive amounts of force and violence. […]

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Support for the $15 Minimum Wage − Solidarity with the Fast Food Workers!

Labor Fightback Network

Fast food workers’ nationwide strikes, walkouts, and protests have accelerated the push for raising the federal minimum wage to a $15 national level. The highly visible protests on December 5th, 2013 were the latest in a series of protests organized by Fast Food Forward, Fight for 15, Low Pay Is Not OK, and others. The […]

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San Francisco Labor Council Resolution for $15 Minimum Wage

San Francisco Labor Council

Below is a resolution passed unanimously by the San Francisco Labor Council on January 13, 2014 calling for a $15 minimum wage in San Francisco. Following the text of the resolution are the arguments that were used to support the resolution at the meeting. Resolution: Whereas, inequalities continue to grow with the top 1% now […]

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What’s At Stake in Privatizing Education

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Forms of Privatization in Public Education The idea that government can’t do anything right has been trumpeted by the right wing for decades, particularly by its recently deceased leader Milton Friedman, a former economist at the University of Chicago. He campaigned to reduce government functions to a minimum while letting private enterprise step in and […]

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The Left after the Failure of Obamacare

Shamus Cooke

It’s satisfying to watch rats flee a sinking ship. This is because onlookers knew the ship was doomed long ago, and swimming rats signify that the drawn-out tragedy is nearing an end. A collective sense of relief is a natural response. The rats who propped up the broken boat of Obamacare are a collection of liberal […]

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Boeing Workers Take a Stand and Take the Heat

Boeing Workers Take a Stand and Take the Heat
Carl Finamore

This article was originally published on Portside.  Local IAM District 751 union leaders in the state of Washington are feeling the fallout of Boeing’s extremely well-orchestrated counteroffensive begun immediately after Nov. 13 when 67% of union members rejected the company’s concessionary contract extension through 2024 of an existing agreement that does not actually expire until […]

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