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/
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.
The Print Collective
Phil Ardery, Jr
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
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?
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
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."
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
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."
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.
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No. 55 is titled “Depleting the Planet.”.
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Pipeline,” “What Does Health Care Have To Do with the
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“West Using Depleted Uranium in Libya”
The International Movement for a Just World,
and other sources have concluded that the US and NATO have used depleted
uranium in their air assault weapons attacking Libya.
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
Recall that in Fallujah, Iraq, as reported in Green Politics
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.