Smash rape culture and capitalism!

first_imgMonica MooreheadThis is a slightly edited version of a talk given at a Workers World Party forum on Feb. 3, titled “Women and the Struggle for Socialism,” in New York City.How could you have not been horrified at hearing woman after woman share their painful experiences of being sexually assaulted by Michigan State University’s Dr. Larry Nassar.  He was sentenced to a prison term of over 100 years after pleading guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges, mainly on behalf of gymnasts — some as young as six years old — through “medical examinations.”  His final sentencing was on Feb. 5.With all the horror these women expressed to the world, you can’t help but be inspired by their courage in speaking out.  Many of them stated how grateful they were to the #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns for giving them the strength to speak out.CNN showed Randall Margraves, a father of three gymnasts whom Nassar assaulted, attempting to lunge at him as he was being sentenced on Feb. 2, directly after two of his daughters’ testimony. Margraves, wearing an International Electrical Workers shirt, showed much anguish on his face.  He wanted to mete out personal justice for what this sexual predator had done to his daughters. Who could blame him? Margraves later apologized and stated that he had no intention of upstaging his daughters.Since the Nassar trial and sentencing, it has been reported that he sexually assaulted 265 gymnasts over a period of 25 years or more at MSU.  These women will be dealing with post-traumatic stress and depression forever. A major question has arisen: How can just one person get away with so much sexual violence without being caught and only now brought to justice?Gymnast Rachael Denhollander stated in court: “You don’t get someone like Larry Nassar, you don’t get a pedophile that is able to abuse without there being a culture surrounding him in that place.” When the gymnasts and their families attempted years before to expose Nassar, they were either dismissed or given the run-around.It has now been documented that Nassar’s crimes were well protected by a rape culture festering at MSU.  Part of this culture involved MSU’s president, gymnast coach and athletics director, members of the U.S. Olympics Gymnastics Committee and others. They have all resigned from their positions, and there will probably be more resignations before all is said and done.The tip of the icebergBut the Nassar scandal, as horrific and heinous as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg. On the heels of these developments was an investigation made by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” program of sexual assaults carried out against young women at MSU by basketball and football players since 2009.  These assaults were not new, but the Nassar case helped to shine an even brighter light on them.Workers World newspaper published an article by Megan Spencer, a MSU graduate on Oct. 21, 2010, titled “Activists protest handling of rape charges.” She wrote: “The university administration has failed to suspend or expel the players from MSU, and has not even released a statement condemning the assault. In addition, Residence Life, the department in charge of on-campus housing, has failed to remove the players from their dorm room, further endangering women at MSU. Neither the director of MSU’s Athletic Department, Mark Hollis, nor men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has commented publicly on the assault.”Spencer continued: “By failing to take action, punish the assailants or respond to this act of violence, MSU’s administration, Residence Life and the Athletic Department send the message that students can commit acts of sexual violence against other students without consequence. It also sends the message to survivors of sexual assault that their experiences are not significant to administrators, prosecutors and others with authority, thus discouraging future survivors from reporting assaults.”Today Mark Dantonio, MSU football coach, and Izzo are once again on the hot seat for covering up for their players’ acts, while women continue to suffer for these crimes, even to the point of committing suicide.  Meanwhile, students and faculty members have organized protests in solidarity with the women survivors of these sexual assaults and to expose everyone involved with the cover-up. Also, students protested naming Michigan’s former reactionary governor, John Engler, to fill the interim MSU president’s seat. It was revealed that even National College Athletic Association President Mark Emmert was aware of what was happening at MSU before it became public.No isolated incidents The bigger question is: Are the sexual assaults at MSU isolated cases? What about similar assaults at Baylor University in 2014? Or at Oklahoma University in 2014?  Or at the University of Missouri? What about the Duke Lacrosse rape case in the early 2000s? Are any of these incidents isolated? Hell, no! In fact, even sports analysts say that sexual assaults against women are systemic, especially at schools with large athletic programs that  each year bring millions of dollars into the coffers of these institutions — which are run more like corporations than schools. These programs will do anything and everything to protect their reputations and profits, including covering up sexual assaults by their players. At the same time, these unpaid athletes are super-exploited like other workers.When these universities seek the most talented players, many of whom are players of color and come from struggling families, they use sexual favors to recruit them — a common practice.  This was just exposed at the University of Louisville when basketball coach Rick Pitino was forced to resign.What analysts do not say is that rape culture against women is systemic to capitalism and is rooted in class society which gave rise to patriarchy. Women’s oppression has been institutionalized throughout the various stages of class society — during ancient slavery, feudalism and the current stage of capitalism. But under capitalism, where all human interactions are defined by the buying and selling of commodities to make profits, women are treated like commodities — to be exploited on the job and objectified in mass culture.  Sports culture, whether amateur or professional, is one of the greatest culprits in the exploitation of women.This is not to excuse the unspeakable criminal behavior of these athletes, who, truthfully, are products of this rape culture.  Like the Ray Rices and the O.J. Simpsons of the world, it’s important to keep in mind that they did not create this culture, but they perpetuate it.We cannot forget the repressive role of the state when it comes to sexual assaults and rape. While so many women depend on the police to help them get justice, the police get away with sexual assaults — even more so than athletes. Cops are the biggest culprits when it comes to domestic violence.Courts work in tandem with the cops to systematically deny women justice, almost always siding with athletes, spouses and boyfriends.  When white men assault women of color, justice is denied in disproportionately large numbers.Recy Taylor’s fight for justiceFor example, Oprah Winfrey raised in her Golden Globes speech the kidnapping and gang rape of Recy Taylor, a Black woman, by six white men in 1944 in Alabama. A grand jury refused to indict any of these racist, sexist predators. Taylor fought for justice until her death in December at the age of 97. Her name and many others should be etched in our memories forever. Indigenous women and girls in this country have disappeared at an alarming rate, many of them found raped and murdered.If the repressive state apparatus cannot end violence against women, how can we expect other capitalist institutions like MSU and Baylor University to end it?  We fight for justice for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, people with disabilities and any sector of our class under attack, because, as a revolutionary party, we know it is key to building class unity.However, we also understand that capitalism cannot be reformed in order to bring lasting justice for oppressed sectors of our class because this economic system is inherently anti-people of color, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-queer, anti-those with disabilities. In other words, capitalism is anti-human.This is why we must continue to fight for socialism. The advancement of any society is measured by the advancement of women.  Despite their lower level of production, the Cuban revolution and the former Soviet Union, in existence for 75 years, were able to liberate women so they could become full participants in society and not relegated to second-class status. Why can’t we do the same in the richest country in the world?What these countries have and had that we don’t have is a revolution for socialism. This means that the old repressive state that exists to keep people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and workers downtrodden, and the ruling class on top, must be smashed so a new state can replace it. This new state must be run by the vast majority of workers of many nationalities, both women and men with equal authority,  in order to produce everything we need to become productive human beings.‘Capitalism’s war on women’I quote an article I wrote in a 1995 pamphlet published by World View Forum, titled “Capitalism’s war on women: Why the system is responsible for violence against women.” The article, “Domestic violence, racism and the state,” was prompted by the original O.J. Simpson case. It reads: “The state is a naked admission that not only do class contradictions exist between the working class and the ruling class, but that these contradictions cannot be reconciled with the intervention of the class struggle.”The article asks: “How can young women, women of color, poor women, lesbians, [trans women,] and working-class women realize their full potential in capitalist society when all they face is violence, unemployment, exploitation, and oppression in their lives?”Additionally, it explains: “[The] capitalist state cannot be reformed and will not change its class orientation without the intervention of the working class.  The state, based on cruel and unjust laws, must be smashed as it was in Czarist Russia in 1917, in China in 1949 and in Cuba in 1959, and replaced with a worker’s state that will defend the interests of all the workers of all nationalities in the name of soclalist reconstruction and harmony.”The article concludes, “Only through the class struggle and the overthrow of class oppression will women be liberated, along with their class brothers, from centuries of sexism and backward ideas. Smash women’s oppression!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Workers challenge Walt Disney’s evil kingdom

May 27 — The Walt Disney Company is an entertainment conglomerate with two famous amusement parks and resorts, Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.) and Disney World (Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Fla.). While both locations are touted by the company as “the happiest place on earth,” this slogan is challenged by workers struggling to make ends meet.  As reported in the “Corporate Rap Sheet” compiled by the Corporate Research Project, Disney “has a history of anti-union animus going back to its early years, has also faced criticism over its U.S. labor practices and has recently emerged as one of the leading corporate opponents of the campaign to enact paid sick days laws.” (www.corp-research.org/disney)A survey published in February titled “Working for the Mouse” (referring to the company’s iconic mascot Mickey Mouse) describes the daily struggles facing roughly 30,000 Disneyland workers. According to the survey, 85 percent of Disneyland’s hourly employees do not make a living wage of $15 an hour. Many workers cannot afford such basic needs as food, shelter and affordable health care.Another disturbing finding is that 11 percent of Disneyland workers are either homeless or have been homeless in the last few years. In addition, 56 percent of employees “are worried about being evicted from their homes or apartments.”The survey was underwritten by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, comprised of 11 unions in various stages of negotiating contracts on behalf of Disneyland workers. One of the largest unions in this coalition is UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents nearly 5,000 food service and hotel workers, with 2,700 currently in bargaining.Local 11 Press Secretary Andrew Cohen was a hotel worker during the last labor dispute with Disney, which involved negotiations from 2008 to 2012. He joined the union in 2009 and two years later helped organize union drives at restaurants and hotels in Hollywood. He joined the Disneyland campaign last October.Cohen told Workers World: “The company is making record profits, but conditions for Disneyland’s workers have never been worse. Like so many places, workers are being squeezed by a rich company, and the entire city of Anaheim reflects it.”A similar fight has been raging at Disney World, which has over 62,000 employees. The company agreed to a minimum wage of $15 an hour for union workers by 2021 and to $1,000 bonuses that had been withheld by the company from Service Trades Council Union workers during contract negotiations.  But Disney’s proposal includes the dropping of “key union protections” involving grievance procedures, holiday pay, overtime and scheduling.Food and Commercial Workers Local 1625 President Ed Chambers told the Orlando Weekly: “Almost every one of those proposals was taking back benefits or conditions on employment we had bargained for over the last 45 years. They’re basically wiping out 45 years of progress.” (May 2)According to Cohen, both Disneyland and Disney World have “seen a similar coalition formed between most of the unions at the respective resorts, and we have been working closely together. Many of our issues are nearly the same. The goal in both resorts is to stop the poverty at Disneyland and Disney World. Wages need to go up.  Disney can afford to pay all its workers a living wage.”Disney CEO and Chairman Robert Iger has continued to apply the anti-worker convictions of company founder Walt Disney. “Uncle Walt,” as he is known in company lore, had a history of anti-Semitism, racism and labor abuse. He was also an enemy of unions. According to Marc Eliot, author of “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince,” “Disney discovered how the passions and power of political activism could be used as weapons for personal gain.”In addition to continuing to organize and push for a fair contract, Disney unions also will be advocating for the Anaheim Living Wage initiative that may be on the ballot in November. As reported by the Orange County Register, “The measure proposes to raise the minimum wage for those businesses to $15 an hour next year, then rising in $1 increments annually, reaching $18 an hour by 2022.” (May 1)“It’s ongoing,” Cohen said. “There is hope and workers are still asking Disney to do the right thing.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this read more

Belgian unions stage general strike

first_imgOver 50 percent of Belgian workers are unionized, so when the unions went out on a 24-hour strike on the evening of Feb. 12, they shut the country down.Air traffic controllers struck, so airplanes had to fly around Belgian airspace. Some 30 ships in the port of Antwerp, among the busiest in Europe, had to wait to be unloaded. Buses and trains didn’t run; schools and day care centers didn’t open. Police replaced prison guards who walked out. Most supermarkets closed.Factories closed. The country lost millions of euros in canceled production.The strike coincided with a NATO defense ministers’ meeting. Even the NATO officials were not exempt. They had to land in nearby countries and drive to their meeting.Robert Verteneuil, president of the General Federation of Belgian Labor, a trade union with about 1.2 million members, said in a 15-minute interview on public radio: “What we want is to tell employers, whoever they are, that we’re sick of them putting all the dough that we create in their pockets. It’s time to give some of it back to the workers.”If Belgian workers don’t get a raise, there will be more strikes, according to Verteneuil.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Iran stays firm as U.S. threatens attack

first_imgAre the days over when Washington could shake its big stick and the rest of the imperialist world would immediately fall in line?The Pompeo-Bolton-Trump gang of conspirators in Washington seems to be having a hard time lining up their imperialist partners/rivals behind an attack on Iran. Their attempt to create a global crisis over the damage inflicted on June 13 on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which suffered no loss of life and were in no danger of sinking, was met with much skepticism — not only from the general public but from West European heads of state. Even these fellow imperialists are well aware that U.S. preparations for an assault on Iran are based on a pack of lies — and to go along with them would put their own interests at stake. The so-called “proof” offered by Washington that Iran was behind the attacks has been widely rejected, including by the owner of at least one of the tankers.That ship, the Kakura Courageous, is owned by a Japanese company. It was attacked while the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was actually making a state visit to Iran, despite U.S. sanctions. The idea that Iran would choose such a moment to attack a Japanese ship is ludicrous, to say the least.Nevertheless, as flimsy as the U.S. arguments to attack Iran are, Washington has been going ahead, trying to line up support from at least some of the European imperialist powers for an aggressive move against the oil-rich country. And on June 17, Trump ordered another 1,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East.In this map of Iran, the U.S. flags surrounding that county represent U.S. military bases.War threats haven’t workedIran has defied the pressure. On the same day, Iran announced that it intends to resume its production of nuclear fuel, which it had agreed to suspend in 2015 in exchange for lifting severe economic sanctions. Iran’s move should come as no surprise. The Trump administration had already announced — a whole year ago — that it was pulling out of the 2015 agreement. It has since doubled down on the sanctions, trying to starve the Iranians into submission. So why should Iran continue to honor the deal when the U.S. had already killed it?At the time that Washington pulled out of the deal, the German, French and British governments said in a joint statement that the U.S. decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran was “deeply regretful.” It was an early sign that the U.S. ruling class could no longer just snap its fingers and round up its imperialist allies — which are also rivals — to rubber stamp its every act of aggression.Nevertheless, the war danger remains. The Pentagon is moving more troops to the area, and the Trump administration is ratcheting up its threats against Iran. It is the duty of anti-war forces in this country to view this seriously and take to the streets to resist this blatant aggression. Where is Congress?Where is the U.S. Congress in all this? This is the season when all eyes are supposedly focused on next year’s elections for both the presidency and the Congress, as though that will determine what happens in the future. The U.S. Constitution is absolutely clear: Only Congress can declare war. But the last time that happened was in 1942, in the middle of World War II, when the U.S. declared war on Nazi-occupied Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. In the 77 years since then, U.S. presidents have sent young people to kill, die or be permanently maimed in dozens of undeclared wars.All those who hold up the U.S. political system as a model of “democracy” should be held to account for this usurpation of power by the executive. Of all the branches of government in this country, the U.S. House of Representatives is presumably the most democratic. But in fact both houses of Congress have long been a rubber stamp for military aggressions demanded by the rapacious billionaire class, which has ground up the bodies of so many, here and abroad, in its insatiable drive for super-profits.War and economic crisisThis threat of war is playing out at a time when most governments are bracing themselves for a major downturn in the global capitalist economy. This decline has already started in important areas of production and in the deepening trade wars, but has yet to be reflected in the major stock markets.Tellingly, the futures price of Brent crude oil, which had hit a five-month low of less than $60 a barrel the day before the attacks, had a brief but sharp rise on June 13, when it looked like a U.S. war on oil-producing Iran was imminent. When the prospects of that ebbed, as other Western imperialist countries refrained from endorsing Washington’s claims, the price of oil sank again the next day. Nothing makes the profiteers salivate more than a juicy military intervention. For now, that hasn’t happened, and the markets as of June 15 reflected that. But there are no guarantees that the reckless cabal in Washington will back off from its threats against Iran.At $60 a barrel, U.S. companies that produce oil through the expensive — and environmentally horrendous — extraction method of fracking can’t compete with oil pumped from wells. These companies want higher prices, and they want them now.But the sinking commodity prices are a sign of capitalist overproduction on a global scale, and overproduction intensifies the fierce inter-capitalist competition for markets. A decline in the price of oil can also reflect pessimism about future economic activity. Environment takes a back seat to profitsEven in this day and age, when the burning of fossil fuels has been proven beyond a doubt to be warming the planet and causing more and more deadly extremes of weather, the struggle over oil profits continues to be a major driver of capitalist competition and national antagonisms. It is shocking to think that another war could be started in order to control the profits from a resource that is hazardous to the future of the whole world. But should anyone expect the capitalist rulers to be sensitive and caring about long-term global warming, when their system is driven by the dog-eat-dog daily struggle for profit and they are willing to create enormous human and environmental catastrophes with their wars?U.S. targets oil-producing nationsIt is no coincidence that the vast majority of countries subjected to U.S. military attacks over the past several decades have been oil-producing nations. Just think about what the Pentagon and CIA have been doing: 1991, bombing attack and partial invasion of Iraq; 1998, cruise missile strikes on Sudan; 2003, invasion and occupation of Iraq; 2011, bombing of Libya and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi; 2012, beginning of war against Syria; 2014, airstrikes on Iraq and Syria. Not to speak of the ongoing U.S. efforts to bring down the Venezuelan government with sanctions and coup attempts.All of them are oil-producing countries. But not only that. They are all countries that had been oppressed and exploited by European colonial powers. They had achieved a measure of sovereignty after a wave of liberation struggles brought about decolonization. And precisely because they are oil producers, they had the wherewithal to successfully build up their national economies. However, because of imperialist interventions in the Middle East, led by the U.S. but also participated in by the European NATO powers, many of these countries are today in tatters, their economies destroyed by war and their people traumatized to such a degree that they have no future and are fleeing by the millions.This is the cause of the im/migration crisis facing much of Europe today, and that is a factor in the reluctance of these imperialist countries to be dragged into yet another war.Iran’s tortured pastThe latest threats against Iran are nothing new. U.S. imperialist governments, both Republican and Democrat, have had the country in their crosshairs since 1951, when a movement for national sovereignty led by Mohammad Mossadegh nationalized what had been the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Two years later, a CIA coup led by Kermit Roosevelt Jr. overthrew the nationalist government and installed the Shah, who allowed U.S. and British companies to take over the oil again. Roosevelt himself soon became an executive of Gulf Oil.Bloody repression under the hated Shah eventually led to a mass uprising in 1979 that overthrew this oil-company puppet. A struggle among various class forces in that uprising resulted in today’s Islamic government. While conservative in some areas, this government renationalized the oil and has used much of the proceeds to raise the standard of living of the Iranian people. At the same time, the U.S. has tried to stunt Iran’s development by imposing economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions on Iran, off and on, ever since the 1979 revolution. As one important measure of its progress, today women make up the majority of college students in Iran and can be found in skilled jobs at every level. Compare that to conditions in Saudi Arabia, which is ruled by the billionaire Saud family and has the most draconian anti-women laws on the planet. The Saud monarchs get a royal welcome in Washington, while one of Donald Trump’s first trips abroad after becoming president was to visit King Salman at the luxurious Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia, where dissidents are hacked to death and immigrants do all the dirty work while being treated like slaves, is in tight with the “leader of the free world.”All the more reason for anti-war forces here to mobilize and state clearly to the world: Money for jobs, education and health care, not war! End the sanctions on Iran! No blood for oil profits! FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Bust the filibuster! Pass the PRO Act!

first_imgOn March 9 the House of Representatives passed the Protect the Right to Organize Act, the most sweeping amendment to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act since the notorious, union-busting Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Unions are now demanding the Senate pass the PRO Act, which undoes parts of Taft-Hartley and strengthens the legal right to unionize. The legislation is comprehensive compared to the more narrowly focused 1995 “anti-scab” bill, or the 2007 Employee Free Choice Act, both of which Congress failed to pass.The PRO Act includes a ban on permanently replacing strikers. The fear that someone who crosses your picket line will be hired in your place, leaving you without employment, is a major deterrent to utilizing the strike weapon when bosses demand concessions. Current labor law only outlaws permanent replacements when the strike is called over an Unfair Labor Practice.The most important provision  of the EFCA was that it allowed unions to win recognition through “card check” — meaning if a majority of workers at a given workplace (or unit within it) sign cards authorizing a union to represent them, they don’t have to go through a National Labor Relations Board-supervised election. PRO takes a step back from EFCA in this regard. But PRO stipulates if a union loses an election due to proven company interference, and a majority of workers have signed cards, the union wins on the basis of a card check.This is huge! If the PRO Act were to be passed before voting at the Alabama Amazon warehouse ended, and Amazon’s proven illegal union-busting tactics caused the union to lose the vote, the company would still have to recognize the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union!Filibustering away workers’ rightsThere are many strengths and weaknesses in PRO, but a review of both the highlights and lowlights makes it clear that its passage would be a big win for the labor movement. Union membership could shoot upward from its current historic low point of just over 10% of the U.S. working class. This happened in the 1930s after the 1935 National Labor Relations Act — the Wagner Act — codified the legal right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.Right now PRO’s chance of passing in the Senate seems slim-to-none. This is because of an enshrined antidemocratic practice known as the filibuster. It basically allows the minority party — in this case the Republicans, none of whom voted for the inadequate “stimulus” bill even with the minimum wage hike yanked out — to block passage of progressive legislation that can’t get a supermajority of 60 votes in favor.The Senate is often referred to as a “millionaires club”; senators’ class allegiance is to capital, not labor. Now a much needed bill — one President Joe Biden has pledged to sign and that, as its name says, protects the right to organize — faces defeat if the Democrats cannot get enough Republican senators to vote with them. Essentially, the First Amendment rights of organized labor are being trampled — you could say Trumped — by way of the Senate’s standard operating procedure.Devil in the details“Captive audience” meetings — where workers are forced to listen to anti-union propaganda, as they have had to do at Amazon and previously at Walmart, Volkswagen, Nissan and other corporations too numerous to mention — are explicitly banned by the PRO Act. “Offensive lockouts,” imposed when workers won’t agree to concessionary contracts, are illegal. For the first time since 1935, there would be actual financial penalties for egregious union-busting acts, such as firing or disciplining workers for organizing. These fines amount to pocket change for huge corporations like Amazon. But they might deter union busting at a small upstart auto parts company, or at a private liberal arts college like Kenyon College where student workers are currently on strike.There is also an important provision that applies the law’s protections regardless of a worker’s immigration status.With the passage of PRO, Taft-Hartley would be undermined, including its blessing of the so-called “right-to-work” laws that spread like wildfire throughout the Jim Crow South. These state laws weaken unions by making it illegal to have a closed shop, where every worker under union contract must be a union member. They prohibit “fair share” fees charged to nonmembers, who the union is still legally required to represent and who benefit from what the union negotiates. PRO restores the right to charge fair share fees in states unions call “right-to-work-for-less,” which now number 28. Many nonunion workers will join the union once they have to pay for representation. But an open shop is still permissible.“Secondary” strikes and boycotts are again legal under PRO. For over six decades, Taft-Hartley has hamstrung unions by banning these tactics — such as boycotting a store that sells strikebreaker-produced merchandise, or a strike by workers in a plant to keep out parts made at a strikebound factory.However, Taft-Hartley language and state laws used to block mass picketing, and allow court injunctions limiting the number of picketers during a strike, are left intact. That makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to stop someone from crossing a picket line — moral appeals are often inadequate! Nor does PRO return to workers the right to engage in sit-down strikes, even when the boss deliberately engages in illegal union busting.Racism and U.S. labor lawOne of the most important deficiencies of the Wagner Act was who it excluded: agricultural workers, domestic workers, public sector workers and others, many of whom are workers of color. This historic and racist denial of rights to oppressed workers remains unaddressed in the PRO Act — which also leaves many gig workers unprotected.Nevertheless, the PRO Act could stimulate a resurgence in militant, anti-racist unionism, especially where it is most needed: in the South, where union density is the lowest and where white supremacy is used to keep Black workers down and the whole working class divided. This is where, historically, “right-to-work” was used as a club against unions that fought racist segregation on and off the job; the laws’ early proponents made open appeals to backward racist attitudes.“Unions benefit all workers, but especially women and workers of color,” said Rep. Nikema Williams, a Georgia Democrat who cosponsored the PRO Act. (Portside, March 11)Now Black workers in Bessemer, Ala., are showing the way forward with their drive for union recognition. Their fight has inspired workers all over the world, with demonstrations and other expressions of solidarity springing up across the country and outside the U.S. With or without Congressional action, a win in Bessemer would be a huge boost to class struggles everywhere.Class solidarity vs. the filibusterIt’s certainly possible for Senate Democrats to introduce motions to do away with the antidemocratic filibuster that now stands in the way of the fundamental human right to have a union. But what will it take to force the Senators’ hands?There is a lesson from the 1930s. Then a big section of the ruling class wanted to overturn the Wagner Act. The case of National Labor Relations Board v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This court was so conservative that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was considering increasing the number of justices to create a more liberal majority.But the year was 1937, the year when the Detroit News moaned that sit-down strikes were “replacing baseball as the national pastime.” There were over 500 workplace occupations. Cooler heads within the ruling class knew they had to make some concessions to buy class peace. The Supreme Court upheld the Wagner Act. It is only by escalating the class struggle that working-class and oppressed people can break the capitalist filibuster and force the Senate to pass the PRO act. Whatever Congress does, the workers, who want and need unions, will ultimately be the force that protects the right to organize. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Philadelphia Asian community speaks

first_imgPhiladelphiaIn response to the brutal murders in Atlanta March 16, this statement was issued March 17 by members of the Philadelphia’s Asian community including Woori Center, VietLead, Asian Americans United, API PA, City Council Member Helen Gym, Modero & Co., Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Pejuang, CAIR Philadelphia, APALA Philadelphia, Red Umbrella Alliance, Asian Arts Initiative and PCDC.Our hearts are heavy today after the murders of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta last night, making six more people and their loved ones victims of the anti-Asian violence that has terrorized our communities in the U.S. since its genesis.The recent surge in anti-Asian violence, while horrific, is only part of the longer and larger history of systemic violence in the U.S. Anti-Asian violence, and gender-based violence against Asian and Pacific Islander women in particular, isn’t new.It is the product of interlocking systems of power that oppress marginalized communities — that strip our communities of resources that we need to live, deport our loved ones, murder our Black community members, make women and elders scared to walk alone at night, force students and teachers to go to school in toxic buildings, gentrify our immigrant neighborhoods, perpetuate unsafe working conditions, and more.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

New Study Shows Importance of Infrastructure Investments

first_img A recent study funded by the United Soybean Board and soy checkoff’s Global Opportunities program proves the deterioration of U.S. highways, bridges, rails, locks and dams continues to threaten U.S. soybean farmers’ competitive advantage in the global marketplace. The study – titled Farm to Market – A Soybean’s Journey – shows how soybeans and other ag products move from the farm to customers and the weaknesses of the system. New Study Shows Importance of Infrastructure Investments Home CROPS New Study Shows Importance of Infrastructure Investments Facebook Twitter SHARE Facebook Twitter Improvements to the transportation infrastructure would make movement of U.S. soy and other ag products more efficient – saving U.S. soybean and grain industries nearly 145.9-million dollars a year. USB Director Dale Profit says the entire transportation network has been vital to the U.S. soy industry and it must be protected for the U.S. to remain the preferred soy source around the world. By Gary Truitt – Aug 21, 2012 SHARE Source: NAFB News Service Previous articleIndiana Farmer Elected to U.S. Grains Council Board of DirectorsNext articleFarmers Back Romney Gary Truittlast_img read more

Irrigators Use App to Control Pivots

first_img SHARE Facebook Twitter Irrigators Use App to Control Pivots Facebook Twitter Not only will the system notify growers if there is a problem, it gives them remote control over their entire system, “One of the things most farmers want to monitor is how is their system running.  We can show them if the system is operating and even what their flow rate is.” In addition, DeSalle told HAT that the app can show exactly where the pivot is in a field, “We have a map that will show the direction the pivot is pointing and what area of the field is being covered.”  He added this kind of real time information is very important during the critical pollination period. Home Indiana Agriculture News Irrigators Use App to Control Pivots The technology can also prevent copper thieves from vandalizing the system. Julie Stark with Net Irrigate says there have been more than 30 arrests already this year because of the system, “Pivot irrigation systems have become a target of these burglars. They will vandalize a system to get a few hundred dollars worth of copper wire, but the damage will cost the farmer tens of thousands of dollars in damage.” A vandalized system can also cause crop damage and reduced yields.  She said the monitoring will work even when the irrigation system is shut down. Irrigators Use App to Control Pivots Previous articleLower Corn Prices in Near FutureNext articleIndiana State Fair gets Popping in Just Two Weeks Gary Truitt Irrigation systems are complex, expensive, and extremely critical for crop development this time of year.  Monitoring and controlling these systems just got easier with technology from a company in Bloomington, IN. Edward DeSalle with Net Irrigate says their app called WireRat® lets growers control their center pivots right from their Smartphones, “With that app you can get notifications about your system and its operation.” He said both farmers and dealers find this feature extremely helpful in monitoring the status and operation of their pivots. By Gary Truitt – Jul 18, 2013 SHARE Net Irrigate’s CDMA unit that works on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE NetworkNet Irrigate, LLC was founded in 2005 in Southern Indiana. The first business plan was hatched by two students who were pursuing their MBA degree fulltime at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Their respective backgrounds in agriculture, finance, software, and industrial automation led to the creation of technology which addresses the environmental, political, social, and economic issues related to rising farming costs and diminishing water resources.  The company was recently featured at a Verizon Wireless conference on wireless communication and machine-to-machine communication.last_img read more

Farmers Learning to Respect the Rotation

first_imgBayer’s message is simple: rotation is not just for crops, “When you rotate your crops think about rotating your herbicide tolerance and when you rotate your herbicide tolerance, you rotate your modes of action to combat weeds,” Cotie stated.  Bayer has also combined their efforts with the United Soybean Board to support the Take Action campaign, which encourages growers to take action to slow the spread of resistant weeds. SHARE By Gary Truitt – Apr 1, 2015 Previous articleCongress Pushes Back on Dietary Guidelines Recommendations”Next articleA Good Post for April Fools Day Gary Truitt Facebook Twitter Farmers Learning to Respect the Rotation Facebook Twitter SHARE Respect the Rotation will be having several field days here in Indiana this year. Watch for details here on HAT. Farmers Learning to Respect the Rotation Home Indiana Agriculture News Farmers Learning to Respect the Rotation Rotating crops is practiced by most Indiana farmers, but rotating herbicides is now also part of the program. Five years ago, Bayer Crop Science started a program to encourage growers to rotate herbicide modes of action to address the issue of weed resistance. Arlene Cotie heads Bayer’s Respect the Rotation program and says grower awareness of the issue has improved, “Five years ago we had only about 2% of growers that cared about weed resistance, but recent survey data shows us that today 58% of growers said they had glyphosate  resistance.” The survey was of 3,500 farmers representing 83 million acres. While rotation is a key component in managing weed resistance, it is not the only tool. Cotie says research is being done to find ways to deal with weeds other than using chemicals. She one project is aimed at better understanding fall weed seed control, “Looking at what weeds are present at harvest and what seeds are viable, and what can be done to reduce that harvest weed seed bank.” She says the research is focusing on tools that are outside the herbicide jug from controlling weeds.last_img read more

Era of Grand Drive Drug Testing Begins

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Era of Grand Drive Drug Testing Begins Soybean ZSN21 (JUL 21) 1508.50 -35.50 By Andy Eubank – Aug 12, 2015 SHARE Facebook Twitter Poe on drug testingMonday night during the selection of the Indiana State Fair livestock grand champions, the Indiana 4-H program’s changes on drug testing were in plain view inside the coliseum. Hoosier Ag Today spoke with fair board president Stan Poe immediately following the event about the testing being done right after each species exited the Grand Drive ring.“We’re going to test it and if you test positive you’re out,” he said. “Here at the Indiana State Fair we’re testing tonight (Monday) and we will have those results before the 23rd of August when we have our celebration award program. Anyone who tests positive through this show tonight will not be in that show.”He said it is sad that measures like this must be taken, but Poe thinks it is an important step for Indiana.“Those of us who serve on national animal health committees and places like that have made it a point that this must be cleaned up. The FDA and companies do a super job in getting products approved and we have label directions on every compound that comes out and is used in this country. But then we get into shows and some people really like to win and they start messing with this feed tags and that’s where we get in trouble.”Now the hope is simply that emotions for winning 4-H’ers aren’t over an ultimate disqualification, but rather the highs and lows of winning on Grand Drive night then saying goodbye to their animal.“It suddenly becomes a reality to some of these exhibitors that have worked a year, particularly all summer on a daily basis with these animals, whoa! This project is now complete.”There were a lot of comments from judges and others Monday night about the quality of the livestock shows. Poe agreed.“The quality of livestock here in Indiana and at the Indiana State Fair is top notch. These animals and these exhibitors can move on through here and go on to the national shows and place well, so we’re really proud of our industry in Indiana.”He told HAT the fair is off to a very good start other than some issues with rain, but he hopes that’s out of the way and it’s clear sailing ahead for Indiana State Fair visitors. Live Cattle LEM21 (JUN 21) 118.70 1.13 Facebook Twitter Previous articlePurdue Ag Center to Host Field DayNext articleMorning Outlook Andy Eubank RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR How Indiana Crops are Faring Versus Other States Battle Resistance With the Soy Checkoff ‘Take Action’ Program Era of Grand Drive Drug Testing Begins Feeder Cattle GFQ21 (AUG 21) 151.18 2.78 Corn ZCN21 (JUL 21) 684.50 -14.50 Lean Hogs HEM21 (JUN 21) 122.68 0.22 Name Sym Last Change Minor Changes in June WASDE Report Wheat ZWN21 (JUL 21) 680.75 -3.00 SHARE All quotes are delayed snapshots STAY CONNECTED5,545FansLike3,961FollowersFollow187SubscribersSubscribelast_img read more

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