Since I first read about him two decades ago, the oversized figure of John Brown has held a steady, awkward place in my conscience. As a white man who was willing discard his racial privilege and lay down his life to end slavery, I can think of no better inspiration with whom to identify. His daring acts were the kind I can only wish I’d have the fortitude to carry out if they made sense today.
I spent 12 years of my life in St. Louis. I went to college there. Got married. Landed my first teaching job. Bought my first house. Between door-knocking for candidates and causes, driving around on ice cold nights in a homeless shelter van, and breaking bread in people’s homes and churches and synagogues, I came to know the metropolis well. I came to love and admire its many communities — including Ferguson: so tenacious, so full of hardworking families trying to stay afloat, trying to dismantle racial apartheid and make a better life for their children.
In the days after Michael Brown’s death, we watched a sadly familiar story play out. The media ran pictures of him staring sullenly into the camera and making “gang” signs with his hands. They emphasized his weight and large frame, listened to his music and declared it “violent hip hop.” For their part, the police made certain to pair pertinent details about his death with seemingly irrelevant details about his life: releasing the long demanded name of the officer who shot him alongside surveillance footage of an unrelated shoplifting incident, leaking a toxicology report indicating that Brown had “marijuana in his system” at the same time they released an autopsy confirming that he’d been shot six times.
This past spring, Cecily McMillan rode a bus across a bridge to Rikers Island, home of the notorious New York City jail. When the Occupy Wall Street activist was released nearly two months later, she had left her old self behind.
A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student-anarchist group is again holding an anarchism-awareness event series this year. It’s the second year for the series, which the group said they started last fall after a dispute arose over funding for college groups.
A week ago I responded to a call for experienced street medics to come to Ferguson, Missouri to provide emergency first aid at the spectacular protests that have captured the imagination of the whole country and beyond. In addition to that mission of directly providing care, I’ve had two objectives: teach protesters how to stay safe and take care of each other in the streets when the cops get extra nasty, and to train locals to take over the provision of street first aid and health & safety trainings.
When Hien started working at La Lot she was told that things there worked a little differently: management would retain 60% of any tips she earned. She had never worked in a restaurant before, didn't know anything about the relevant labor laws, and needed a job-- so she agreed. She quickly learned that most of her co-workers were also working under similar or even more exploitative arrangements. To make matters worse, managers routinely belittled and disrespected their under-paid workforce. As time passed, and Hien began to compare what her paychecks should be to the meager sums she was actually receiving, she decided she needed to do something. She approached some of her co-workers about the issue, and two of them agreed to go with her to confront the owner about her unfair and illegal practice.
Word spread quickly in Bloomington last night (8/16) that the governor of Missouri had declared a state of emergency and curfew in Ferguson. Within an hour, a spontaneous demo came together, starting at People’s Park, where we discussed the situation and shared our anger. 30 people, anarchists and others, then took the streets, circling downtown, chanting and distributing more than 700 flyers.
Outside of coffee shops and bookstores, crowded Whole Foods stores and worker-run co-ops nationwide, you‘re bound to find canvassers asking for donations or signatures in support of a host of causes. They’re often young people shaking the can for high-profile nonprofits. But as we get deeper into the post-crash precarious economy, the image of canvassers as idealistic college students making a few extra bucks on summer break quickly disintegrates. People are turning to this occupation as their primary source of income, according to many active campaigners. They are hired by independently contracted companies to canvas for nonprofits. The quotas are demanding, making the work one of the most difficult low-wage jobs to hold on to.
Yesterday, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and instead of the usual IG fare of selfies, food, weekend scenery, art, and fashion, I spied a plethora of videos in which people dumped ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS. Now if you don’t know about the ice water bucket challenge, it has gripped social media like crazy, garnering popularity and 15.6 million in donations in less than a month, all in the name of ALS research and awareness. Celebrities have really taken to this challenge, with powerhouses like LeBron James, Oprah, and even Joseline Hernandez and Stevie J participating.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, however, is different, because it’s not going away. The challenge started in July, at least in its present incarnation, but it wasn’t until Aug. 13 that the ALS Association put out its first press release about the phenomenon. The charity tallied $5.7 million in donations in the two weeks between July 29 (when my friend John Carney took the challenge) and Aug. 13; it boasted that “everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake” had participated.
The war Israel started with the Hamas was intended to keep it weaker but independent of the west bank authority. A month and a half and Israel cannot stop the Hamas firing of rockets on Israel. The Hamas raised its demand about the lifting of the siege (closer) and the Israeli prime minister failed go get the support of his coalition for the needed compromise. To diminish the losses and to save face Israel with US backing are passing the decision to the UN security council the Israeli ruling elite evaded successfully so many years. The mounting economic pressures create cracks in the Israeli ruling elite and even the populist coalition party head - the foreign minister, start to promote the end of the 1967 occupation. And the joint popular grass root struggle continue - within Israel at the Arkib Bedouins as focus, Bil'in, Ma'asara, Neby Saleh, Ni'ilin, Qaddum, Sheikh Jarrah, South Hebron Hills.
This year’s RDTW is coming up fast and we need you to organize a run of your own. If you have sandals or better, than you can, at the very least walk down the walls with us on Sunday September 7th at 10A.M. To organize a Running Down The Walls, you should get as many comrades as you can, find a nice cool area, get people to sponsor you for a couple bucks, hydrate, then run!