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May 2011
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THE GREENS / GREEN PARTY USA (G/GPUSA)
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Publishing Green Politics Since 1992

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Dear Reader,

The article on the Riverview Gardens School District in St. Louis, along with the discussion of recent events in Wisconsin, form a pattern on how public employees are scapegoats for the ills of the present economic system. Unions are notably pressured to give up more of workers' benefits and rights. This is discussed in the interview with Paul Pechter, where he feared that the attacks on unions would be successful, and lamented the failed strategy and tactics of the unions in the past.

In "The Myth of the Happy Worker" Paul Kessler identifies the "be positive" mantra as a satisfaction with the status quo. As Paul states, "dissent" does not partake in optimism.

Nuclear power is neither safe nor clean, and there is no safe dose of radiation. This is terrifyingly illustrated in the nuclear catastrophe in Japan. The continuing use of depleted uranium in the assault weapons used by US/NATO poses a similar threat of radiation exposure, this time for the people of Libya.

Although this seems a dismal list of events, we are beginning to see rays of hope. People are fighting back in rallies throughout the country. These rallies, though often small, are locally organized. Here are some web sites that you might want to visit: http://www.npa-us.org/ and http://www.usuncut.org/

Don't forget to give us your ideas and suggestions for Green Politics: articles and news about your community. You can reach us at http://www. greenparty.org/newsletter/contact_us.php.

In solidarity
The Print Collective

Phil Ardery, Jr
Barbara Chicherio
Devin Ceartas
Elizabeth Fattah
Wes Wagar

Wisconsin, the Fight for Unions

The following is an interview with Paul Pechter, a long time labor activist. He became active in his union in San Diego in 1980 and has since participated as a rank and file activist, a chair of education committees responsible for the production and distribution of local union newsletters, an elected member of his local bargaining committee, an elected business agent, a hired field representative. He has twenty-five years of past experience in the movement.

He is interviewed by Elizabeth Fattah from the Green Politics Print Collective.

EF: The left was encouraged to see workers and their supporters take on Governor Walker and the Republicans on the issue of collective bargaining. What were your initial thoughts on the Wisconsin situation?

Demonstrators occupying the Wisconsin state capitol building. Photograph from Solidarity — http://solidarity-us.org.

PP: Initially I experienced conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I dreaded the thought that the forces of reaction had been able to mount a serious attack on public workers and our unions, for fear they may very well be successful. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but imagine another, more gratifying, scenario. I dreamt that when the working class across the country was confronted with a dagger pointed at the heart of organized labor, they would retaliate swiftly and decisively with a program that would not only defend against and defeat the immediate attack, but also set the stage for a true renewal of the U.S. workers’ movement. A renewal that would discard the failed strategy and tactics of the past which have led us to this point in the decades long decline of worker power. Frankly, based on my experience working in the union movement, I considered the latter an unlikely scenario.

EF: How would you describe the failed strategy and tactics of the past?

Interview continues here.

How To Create Chaos and Destroy Public Schools

By Barbara Chicherio

Riverview Gardens School District (RGSD) is one of many school districts in St. Louis County. St. Louis County reflects the economic disparity that plagues the US. Some of the municipalities in St. Louis County are very wealthy, some are not. The area that RGSD serves is economically depressed, and the demographics note that the majority of the population is African American.

The crisis at Riverview Gardens reached a crescendo at the end of the 2009–10 school year when the staff was summoned to the high school and informed that our district had officially lost its accreditation and that the state take-over of our district was now a reality. Our elected board was no longer in control of the district and a three-person appointed board would be at the helm. We were told that there would be many changes over the next year but to remain calm and just keep working.

After the take-over, 1 of 3 turnaround plans had to be chosen. Mr. Clive Coleman (our current superintendent) and the state appointed board (SAB) chose the most disruptive plan. All teachers and administrators were pink slipped (fired). During the eight-week summer about 2,000 applications had to be processed and evaluated and interviews arranged in order to hire about 600 teachers and administrators.

One of the most critical aspects of working with young people is the relationships that staff establish with them. By firing staff and replacing principals, students returned this school year to adults with whom they had little or no history.

In October, 2010 the students at Riverview Gardens Central Middle School (CMS) rioted in the school gym. There were so many fights before and after the event that police were called in to regain control. I witnessed two very serious fights later the same day

Continue reading here.

The Myth of the “Happy Worker”
(or, How Consciousness Trumps Environment)

by Paul Kesler

It’s no accident that corporate culture, considering its authoritarian status, should glorify “optimism” and “positive thinking.” Strictly as a personality trait, optimism is fine so long as it does not reflect delusion. But when optimism is advocated as one element in a formula for success, it is, for that very reason, no longer a spontaneous expression of being. For want of a better phrase, we might call this “strategic optimism,” since, unlike true optimism, it is a response to a social agenda.

Consider the declaration: “be positive.” On one level, this may seem a merely innocuous form of advice to put a good face on things. But if we view it in an organizational context, it’s only incidentally what psychologists would term a “coping strategy”; at a broader level it’s endorsed because it signals, however superficially, a kind of breezy satisfaction with the status quo.

The glorification of optimism goes hand in hand with the promotion of entrepreneuership and “rugged individualism,” since it’s grounded in consciousness rather than environment. Authorities, after all, have every reason to divorce themselves from their political and economic agenda, and want everyone else to do so as well. If everything can be reduced to “perception” and “willpower” (i.e., aspects of consciousness), then the more oppressive aspects of policy can be readily shoved aside. In this manner, leaders can never be held accountable for their actions; instead, poverty can be conveniently blamed on “laziness” or “character,” and the elite can reside in the smug satisfaction that it’s not their problem.

Continue reading here.

Time To Do Something about Monsanto and GMO's in Food

It won't be easy. Monsanto's relationship with the U.S. Government is more than that of a successful lobbyist. Since 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama installed former Monsanto Vice President Michael Taylor in a newly created position as U.S. Food Safety Czar, all boundaries between the U.S. Government and Monsanto have collapsed. In 2010, Jeremy Scahill and The Nation got their hands on documents revealing that Blackwater, the CIA's discredited paramilitary contractor in Iraq, has "sought to become the 'intel arm' of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm."

But despite the odds and the perils of opposing Monsanto, the stakes are too high to back down. Organic Consumers Association continues its efforts to inform, as in the recent Organic Bytes article "Monsanto Is Poisoning Us All" that reports on "a newly discovered virulent pathogen that proliferates in soil treated with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide."

Monsanto_pic.jpg

Now, the Association is organizing a World Food Day mass action October 16 "to get genetically engineered organisms out of our food." Read more about the "Millions Against Monsanto" action, and get involved.

Libya – A Pan-African Perspective

By Gerald A. Perreira

Writing for Black Agenda Report, Gerald A. Perreira maintains that "the battle that is being waged in Libya is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi's vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi's vision of Libya as part of a united Africa and want to ally themselves instead with the EU and look toward Europe and the Arab World for Libya's future."

Libya_pic.jpg

Read Perreira's entire article here.

Japan’s Nuclear Kamikazes: A Morality Tale of Energy Madness

By Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin

As the Green Politics Print Collective searched for material that accurately characterizes the disastrous nuclear power initiatives still promoted by so-called world leaders, we were gratified to see that at least one mainstream think tank understands the flaws in pro-nuclear thinking and seeks to rally the public to stop more nuclear plant construction and to decommission existing plants.

Rinaldo Brutoco, Founding President of the World Business Academy, in collaboration with Madeleine Austin, writes, “The real marvel is the public’s willingness to abide the global nuclear power industry’s ability to translate its influence and government connections into taxpayer subsidies, liability caps, and lax regulatory regimes that demonstrate governments’ cavalier disregard for public safety. Why is the public willing to subsidize and cap the liability of an industry that is afraid it may cause so much harm it cannot afford to pay for it? ”

Read Brutoco's and Austin's entire article (.pdf format) here.

Synthesis/Regeneration is produced in St. Louis and sent to members of the Greens/Green Party USA. S/R No. 55 is titled “Depleting the Planet.”.

Titles of the pointed and powerful articles in S/R No. 55 include “Ecology and Islam,” “The Appalling BC Tar Sands Pipeline,” “What Does Health Care Have To Do with the Environment?” and “A Union Activist's Call for Change.”

Rates for S/R are:
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Did you know that membership in The Greens/Green Party USA brings with it a free subscription to Synthesis/Regeneration? You can join by clicking here.

“West Using Depleted Uranium in Libya”

The International Movement for a Just World, AllAfrica.com, PressTV, and other sources have concluded that the US and NATO have used depleted uranium in their air assault weapons attacking Libya.

depleted_uranium_pic.jpg

Because of its high density and metallic properties, depleted uranium self-sharpens as it penetrates armor. In contrast, antitank munitions made from other materials (tungsten compounds) tend to mushroom and become blunt as they penetrate. (Source http://www.balkansyndrome.com/depleteduranium.html)

Recall that in Fallujah, Iraq, as reported in Green Politics and elsewhere, high rates of infections, birth defects and cancers have been reported as a direct result of American use of DU weapons there.

The evidence of DU use in Libya derives in part from analysis of video evidence of tank punctures inflicted in the Western attacks. Here is a link to an interview with Conn Hallinan, the journalist quoted in the PressTV article.

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