Tag Archives: slides

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

Using Ballot Initiatives to Build Power: Two Different Approaches Mark Vorpahl March 20, 2104
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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Last Chance for Peace in Syria: Will Obama Sabotage the Geneva II Syria Peace Talks?

Shamus Cooke

The war in Syria grinds on, an endless wreckage of shattered limbs and lives. The blood flows across borders, fueling the religious sectarian killing across the Middle East that is the life-blood of the Syrian conflict. Hopes rose in Syria after Obama’s last minute decision not to “punish Assad” with a missile attack. Then came the U.S.-Iran […]

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For Our Votes to Make a Difference, It’s Time to Try New Tactics

Mark Vorpahl

This article is co-published with Occupy.com. In the 2012 national elections, despite an increase of over 8 million eligible voters from 2008, voter turnout declined from 131 million to 126 million, with 93 million not voting. These figures alone demonstrate a growing disbelief that people have any voice in the two-party political game. In addition, […]

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Income Inequality: An Organic Part of Capitalism

Brad Forrest

On Wednesday, December 4th, President Obama made a speech to the American people castigating the growth of social inequality. Obama called the fight against inequality the “defining challenge of our time.” Brave and heroic words. Even Pope Francis has railed against the dehumanization of the current economic system. In his first “exhortation” the pope said […]

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Fraud in Honduran Elections − An Eyewitness Account

Allan Fisher

As an election observer in Honduras, it is painful and disappointing to hear the U.S. ambassador make a statement on election night praising the transparency and fairness of the election process in Honduras.  In the days before the November 24 election, I was part of a delegation that visited different communities in struggle for social justice. […]

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Ohioans Elect Two Dozen City Councilors on Independent Labor Ticket

Bruce Bostick

This article first appeared in Labor Notes. Union-dense Lorain County, Ohio, is now home to an independent labor slate of two dozen newly elected city councilors—recruited and run by the central labor council there. All labor’s candidates had strong showings last month, and all but two were elected. “This was a step we took reluctantly,” […]

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Are Obama’s Middle East Peace Talks Sincere?

Shamus Cooke

Should we trust Obama to be honest in his peace talks with Iran and Syria? His lightning shift from warmonger to peacemaker surprised everyone, including his closest regional allies — Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — not to mention the entire U.S. congress, many of whom seem intent on sabotaging the Iran peace talks by […]

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The Super Rich Reinvent U.S. Capitalism

Shamus Cooke

As U.S. corporate profits soar to record highs, food stamps for the neediest were quietly cut. The politicians who are demanding endless cuts to social programs — Democrats and Republicans alike — insist that the U.S. is broke, all the while conveniently ignoring the mountains of tax-free wealth piling up in the pockets of the super […]

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The Time Has Come For $15 Minimum Wage

Mark Vorpahl

A version of this article also appeared on Occupy.com. In one of comedian Chris Rock’s routines, he observes: “You know what that means when someone pays you a minimum wage? You know what your boss is trying to say? ‘Hey, if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.’” The humor […]

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An Open Letter to Our Brother and Sister Trade Unionists

Emergency Labor Network

Note: unions and community organizations that agree with this Open Letter  are urged to fill out the form on the Labor Fightback Network’s web page. With the lockout of federal workers finally ended and with social programs being restored, attention is now being focused on what will happen next. The divide between the major political […]

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Is Obama Fundamentally Shifting His Middle East Strategy?

Shamus Cooke

The Saudis and Israelis are fuming. Obama’s talks with Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani point to a possible new direction in U.S.-Middle East policy. Iran is the regional archrival of the Saudis and Israelis, who for decades have shared the mantle as the main U.S. allies in the Middle East. The Arab Spring has — along with […]

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Protest Underscores Continuing Privatization of Oregon Schools

Pete Shaw

This article originally appeared in Portland Occupier. Story and photos by Pete Shaw. The Oregon Business Association (OBA) held its annual Statesman Dinner on October 17 to honor the Statesman of the Year. The event was fraught with anomalies, not least of which was the fact that the award went to Sue Levin, the Executive Director of Stand for Children Oregon. According […]

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Movie Review: Dirty Wars

Brad Forrest

Jeremy Scahill, reporter for such outlets as The Nation and Democracy Now, has come out with the most hard hitting documentary of recent years entitled, “Dirty Wars.” He takes us around the globe from Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia documenting the crimes of U.S imperialistic foreign policy in tragic detail. The documentary starts off in Gardez, […]

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The Coming Grand Bargain: “We’re All Neoliberals Now”

Shamus Cooke

After the U.S. government shutdown you’d expect Republicans and Democrats to remain at each others’ throats, so different was their vision for the country, or so it appeared. In reality, however, only a bit of the political theater was reserved for “Tea Party” Republicans to invest in their political future by denouncing Obamacare, which they […]

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Labor Needs to Recalibrate and Fight

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

While the U.S. media has been obsessed with the in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans, as well as the recent government shutdown and the global/domestic ramifications of a possible government default, little attention has been paid to a looming disaster confronting working people: Obama is again threatening to cut “entitlement” programs, meaning Social Security and Medicare. […]

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The UAW Takes One Step Forward, and One Backward

The UAW Takes One Step Forward, and One Backward By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Trying to rebound off the ropes, where it has been pummeled for the past several decades, The United Auto Workers (UAW) has launched an aggressive organizing campaign in the South, in line with an AFL-CIO resolution emphasizing organizing there, where unionization rates are weak across the board. As reported in The New York Times, the UAW […]

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Fast Food Workers Win a Union…through Zoolidarity

Shamus Cooke

This article originally appeared in Labor Notes.  Union members have watched in awe as fast food workers struck over the last year, calling for “$15 and a union.” Despite the slogan, however, the prevailing wisdom has been that union recognition isn’t really the goal; that’s too hard against giant employers insulated by a layer of franchises, […]

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Talented Mr. Kerry Backslides on Russian Deal over Syrian Chemicals

Finian Cunningham

This article first appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation Online Journal.  Observers of John F Kerry’s more than 40-year career as a successful politician on Capitol Hill note a consummate chameleonic quality in his wheeling and dealing. This dubious quality has helped him ascend from a callow anti-Vietnam war spokesman in the early 1970s to become […]

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Is Capitalism to Blame for the Syrian War Drive?

Shamus Cooke

Obama’s push for war in Syria seemed so deeply irrational, so crazed, that many people naturally asked, “Why is this happening?” And “who” wants it to happen? Few Americans actually believed that Nobel Peace Prizing winning Obama suddenly wanted to bomb Syria because “Assad gassed his own people” (especially when zero evidence was given to […]

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Labor Leaders, Obamacare, and the Fate of the Unions

Shamus Cooke

A funny thing happened a couple of months ago: labor leaders finally awoke from their coma and realized that Obamacare was not only bad for unions, but for working families in general. Once the biggest salespeople of the bill’s passage, union leaders are suddenly full of rage and “shock” at the realities of Obamacare. The […]

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At the AFL-CIO Convention, Leaders Ask: What Direction for Labor?

Mark Vorpahl

A version of this article also appeared on Occupy.com. The acknowledgment of Labor’s existential crisis and the recognition that something must be done to resolve it is the key issue at the AFL-CIO’s four-day quadrennial convention in Los Angeles. The urgency of the situation has compelled Labor’s top officials to experiment in a search for […]

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