April 29, 2010


SEIU Executive Vice President Mary Kay Henry
Mary Kay Henry will lead SEIU's 2.2 million workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. She has defeated Anna Burger, the preferred successor of Andy Stern. Mary Kay is currently the leader of the one million member Health Care Division. She will be the first woman and the first openly Gay person to lead a major union.

She began working for the International under Andy Stern's predecessor John Sweeney (1980-1995). She was openly gay and primarily responsible for educating him about why Gay rights are an important Union issue. Mary Kay was one of the founding members of SEIU's LGBT Lavender Caucus. She is a strong advocate for developing LGBT leaders within locals and integrating our legislative issues into the overall political program of SEIU.

When she announced her candidacy she was immediately supported by four Executive Vice Presidents who issued a statement, "Mary Kay's greatest strength is her ability to build consensus and create a highly effective team." The New York Times reported that many local leaders were concerned that Anna Burger would take a top down approach similar to the leadership style of Andy Stern. Mary Kay had stated that she shared the view of many that local unions should drive the national priorities and not the other way around. Many characterize her candidacy as advocating the priority of organizing workers and wonder if there will be a change in the amount of resources going into the political program.

Once Mary Kay had the support of 60% of the locals Anna Burger withdrew saying she looked forward to working with Mary Kay. The actual vote is scheduled for May 8th.

I have no doubt that she will be a successful and progressive leader for our union. Like many others I look forward to more resources going into organizing workers and less into the pockets of Washington D.C. politicians. We also would like to see her use her skills to unite locals where division exists, resolve jurisdictional disputes with fairness and re unite SEIU with our brothers and sisters in the AFL-CIO.

When I wrote and congratulated Mary Kay on her victory I said that I hoped she would "spend more time in the streets than in the swamp of the Democratic Party". That being said - when she has her first obligatory meeting with President Obama I hope there are two acronyms on her lips..- ENDA and EFCA!!!

April 25, 2010

A Peoples' Chautauqua

A few of us in conjunction with the Macleay Grange Hall will be hosting an ongoing series of talks which we are calling, "The Peoples' Chautuaqua". Topics will range from a discussion of current political issues effecting us all to home and community skills/techniques aimed at enhancing the our shared sustainability. To date, the following talks (about once per month) are on the board:

Thursday April 29, 6:30pm: "How to Form a Union at Your Workplace": Presenter will be me, Chuck Wynns.

Thursday June 3, 6:30pm: "Square Foot Gardening": Presenter is Pat McCaftry who will be describing the type of gardening even the most die-hard of urbanists can practice.

Thursday July 1, 6:30pm: "Gleaning": Presenter Aaron Embree. Gleaning being the fine art of making good use of the leftovers on land and field... Leftovers which otherwise gets left as waste.

All talks will be held at the Macleay Grange Hall, located at 8312 Macleay Rd a coup;e of miles east of Cordon Rd. All talks are potluck dinners too, so please bring what you can.

Hope to see you there.

April 22, 2010

Economists Tackle the Economic Crisis

A good, old-fashioned crisis of capitalism – a disruption that rocks the whole system – produces one salutary result: wiser heads, serious students begin to re-examine widely held assumptions and popular theories of political economy. For those few, this may mean dusting off old copies of the works of Keynes, Schumpeter, or Minsky, and – only too rarely – Marx. For the honest observer, the crisis is an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the capitalist mechanism and its direction.

But others cling to the comforting views of infallible markets and perfect rationality that prevailed until recently, while amending their theories with warning labels touting the current crisis is a special case falling outside of the economic canon. Most economists, pundits, and policy makers fall into this latter category. They got it wrong and they continue to get it wrong. They have too great of an investment in the ideologies, careers, and honors of the past.

Read more here.

Rally to Support Portland Classified School Employees

Rally to Support Classified School Employees

Blanchard Educational Service Center

501 N Dixon 6 pm

Monday, April 26 2010

The special education paraeducators in Portland Public Schools are having their seven hour work days cut by thirty minutes starting in September so that more paraeducators can be hired. This cut equates to 11 furlough days for long-time, committed school district employees. Come stand with paraeducators as they tell the School Board and the Superintendent that all classified employees deserve a fair living wage!

For more information call Portland Federation of Technical and Classified Employees at 503-236-3497.

April 21, 2010

Communists in the UK

On the BBC: Communist leader Robert Griffiths talks about the party's bid for power across the United Kingdom and how it plays a part in some international governments. See the video here.

"Worker's Right Board Hearing" in Portland on Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00pm

United Students Against Sweatshops has asked the Portland Area Workers' Rights Board to investigate the situation faced by 1700 laid off workers in Honduras. The Workers' Rights Board will hear testimony from workers from two factories in Honduras which closed in 2009 after, USAS tells us, years of making clothing for Nike. The workers were entitled to severance pay under Honduran law, which they never received. The panel will also hear about how Russell Athletic was successfully encouraged to make sure that severance was paid and unions were recognized in their Honduran plants.

Event: Worker's Right Board Hearing
Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00pm
Where: Portland State University, Mulitcultural Center

April 20, 2010

Cross-cultural organizing workshop offered in Newport

ACTION NAME: Cross-cultural organizing workshop

DATES: Apr 24, 2010 through Apr 24, 2010

TIME: 10:00 am

ORGANIZATION: Coastal Progressives of Lincoln and South Tillamook Counties

DESCRIPTION: Cross-cultural organizing workshop offered in Newport

Coastal Progressives of Lincoln County, Centro de Ayuda and the Rural Organizing Project invite community members to a free half-day popular education workshop presented by Equipo Maiz, our friends from El Salvador, on Saturday, April 24. Nelson Orellana of Equipo Maiz will facilitate a workshop that provides a space for reflection and mutual learning across race and culture lines. Participants will learn about popular education methodology as an opportunity to pool our collective knowledge and experience and then take action for positive change
Founded In 1983, in the midst of El Salvador's brutal civil war, Equipo Maiz facilitates popular education workshops and training programs for grassroots organizations and the general population of El Salvador, focusing on leadership development, economic justice, gender equality, environmental issues and civic participation. They also develop educational materials that seek to explain, through simple text and lively, evocative drawings, issues of political and social relevance.

Popular education is a highly participatory learning process that empowers people to understand their experiences within a broader context and then take action for social change. Add your voice on Saturday April 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Come and be a part of this process! For the location and more information, please RSVP to Kari Koch kari@rop.org. or 503.543.8417.

Momentum for a comprehensive federal jobs bill is growing

From Scott Marshall:

Despite some new jobs created by the Census and in the South, unemployment remains at just under 10 percent. Millions of U.S. working people are jobless and increasingly hopeless. At the same time the movement and momentum for a comprehensive federal jobs bill is growing.

Below is some information on new important developments and some easy things you can do to fight for jobs today.

Miller Jobs Bill Reaches 139 Co-Sponsors
The Local Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4812), sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), is building momentum as working people push their Representatives to co-sponsor legislation to get us out of the "Great Recession." To see if your member of Congress has co-sponsored the bill, click here. If your Representative is not yet a co-sponsor, please Take Action at this link.

Another way to support the bill is to sign the petition at Change.org, and to learn more about the bill, visit Miller's blog on the Committee on Education and Labor website.

Jobs are "America's Most Pressing Need" - People's World
This week the People's World has an article by Jim Lane which is a "call to action on jobs." In it is a five point plant from the AFL-CIO on how to repair the economy, of which the Miller Jobs Bill is one vital piece. The article also has links to other organizations focusing on making improvements for working families.

Unemployment Extension Passes in Senate
Last week we wrote about the need to continue unemployment benefits - and how the right-wing Senator Coburn was stalling the process. This week we are happy to note that the extension has made it through the Senate. It still needs to pass the House, which should be a minor hurdle. The problem is, it's only a stop-gap measure that only extends benefits on a month-by-month basis. Congress should stop playing games with lifeline of the unemployed and pass an extension that will give unemployed workers some breathing room.

Together we can make a different. Spread the word by forwarding this email to friends, family and coworkers.

Slavery-Denial in Ol' Virginny

April 2011 will mark the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. There will undoubtedly be new books published, speeches made and commentaries written to mark this watershed event. That is as it should be, but the governor of Virginia has given us a preview of the ugly sentiments that will be celebrated and lies that will become accepted as truth if they are not responded to swiftly.

Despite the fact that his last two predecessors had ignored the tradition, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell felt compelled to resurrect the celebration of Confederate History Month. His declaration of the commemoration began as follows:“WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four-year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse;…”

Read more here.

April 19, 2010


"GET EQUAL" interrupted the President tonight at a Democratic Fundraiser to express the frustration of the LGBT Community over recent stories that the White House does not want a vote on Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in 2010. "What about DADT?" One protester shouted. "We are going to do that", The President responded. Four minutes later the President was interrupted again. "It is time for equality for all Americans". The President cut short his remarks as attendees yelled "Be quiet"and "Yes We Can" to try to drown out the protesters. Stupid reaction as clearly the protesters were saying, "When?"
This is all happening within the current debate about the elitist tactics of HRC and the frustration with Joe Salmonese who is paid $300,000.00 a year to head the Human Rights Campaign and has had 100% failure in repeal of DADT and DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) or passage of ENDA. This protest sends a message as Michaelangelo Signorile has initiated an LGBT Community On Line Forum on Thursday to discuss strategy. If DOMA, DADT and ENDA are not brought to a vote before November our window of opportunity may be lost for many years. As the White House moves forward on Financial Reform and Immigration Reform, once again we will be kicked off the bus by the Democrats. The only thing that can change this is militant activism.
The six protesters were escorted out by the Secret Service. But it is sure to be just the beginning of many actions.

April 15, 2010

Workers At Oregon State Hospital Protest

I participated in the march and worker action at the State Hospital yesterday. The Statesman Journal did a mostly good article on the action and you can read that article here.

The protest was the result of justifiable and long-standing grievances felt by many workers at the State Hospital, but it's clear that the lead issue now and the spark for the protests is low staffing and a management team who are not addressing the issues faced by staff and patients in acceptable and concrete ways. The protest followed by one day a program on OPB dealing with some of these problems and featuring a representative of Oregon NAMI. Clearly OSH is at the center of a wide public debate and scrutiny and the management team at OSH has been unable to deflect this unwanted attention.

The problems at OSH are bigger than the institution, of course. The on-going state budget and economic crisis have squeezed each state agency's budget and have forced workers to take furlough days. In operations which run around the clock the state budget crisis and the furlough days have created particular problems which state government has been unable to address. These problems will continue so long as unemployment and under-employment, home foreclosures and underfunding for social services remain in place.

The protest took an unexpected turn when workers and allies marched into one of the OSH administration buildings as part of their protest. Once again we see that many workers will push the envelope if the issues are right, if they have support and if there is a sense of movement and militancy. The local union leaders at OSH once more have shown how to lead a fight for services and workers' rights. Their challenge now is to deepen their support with their co-workers and continue to push forward.

The OSH workers now have to decide what to do next. There are indications that their protests have gotten management's attention and their demands can win broad public support.

As socialists we want to see the broadest possible unity in place to support the workers and the patients and a path open which will allow society to rethink how mental health, healthcare and crime are thought about and dealt with. The present system is broken and flawed.

April 14, 2010

Portland: Marcha del Primero de Mayo

NOTE:  FOR 2011 events CLICK HERE.

Noon, May 1, South Park Blocks, Portland, Oregon.

* Immigrant rights are human rights
* Employment for all
* We want just and humane immigration reform
* This fight is your fight!  Don't leave it to your children!
* No separation of families!
* Wear white, bring your own water, and an American flag

Dia internacional del Trabajo
El Día Internacional del Trabajo comenzó en los 1880 en
los Estados Unidos con la lucha por una jornada laboral de
ocho horas. Hoy conmemoramos la lucha de los trabaja-
dores y los pobres de todo el mundo por la justicia económi-
ca. Estamos unidos contra el racismo, la violencia policial, y
los ataques a inmigrantes a través de las redadas y deten-
ciones de ICE. Nadie es ilegal. Nuestro objetivo es acabar
con la discriminación por orientación sexual e identidad de
género. A través de la solidaridad vamos a reformar nuestra
inmigración, la justicia penal, y los sistemas económicos
para satisfacer las necesidades humanas. Exigimos un
aumento al gasto público, no más recortes a la educación,
al transporte público, y servicios sociales. Exigimos una
vivienda digna accesible, no perdidas hipotecarias y desa-
lojos. Exigimos atención de la salud con un solo pago para
todos. Exigimos empleos con salarios justos, trabajos para
todos, y la restauración de nuestro derecho de organizar
en los lugares de trabajo. Podemos lograr estos objetivos
mediante impuestos a los ricos y a las corporaciones en vez
de fináncialos. Podemos parar los acuerdos de libre comer-
cio que aquí ha externalizado los empleos y mantenido los
bajos salarios, mientras crean fábricas de explotación y la
destrucción de los recursos en otra parte. Podemos acabar
con las guerras y ocupaciones, así como las catástrofes
ambientales que sirven para mantener a las corporaciones
más ricas y la gente en la pobreza.
Solidaridad por siempre.
Sí se puede.

Salem: May Day Rally for Immigration Reform and Homage to Latino Workers

May Day Rally and Celebration to take place in Salem

On May 1st, in commemoration of International Workers' Day, Immigrant and Labor Rights supporters will gather for an all day celebration at the Oregon State Fair Grounds in Salem.

During this year's May Day festivities, allied organizations will hold a Rally for Immigration Reform and pay homage to Latino workers -- celebrating their contributions to the State of Oregon.

May Day Rally for Immigration Reform and Homage to Latino Workers

WHEN:Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 12:00 Noon
Oregon State Fair Grounds
2330 17th Street Northeast
Salem, Oregon 97301

There will be music and dance throughout the day including performances by Los 4 de Mexico, Arrazado, Chris Mesa, Samuel Davila, Los Diablitos, Chinelos, APANO (Asian) Floklorico, Los PCUNCitos, and Mixy Brakers Chapter 2.

A full schedule of performances and speakers for the day will be posted at CAUSA's website (www.causaoregon.org) in the weeks to come.

May Day 2010 Celebration sponsors: CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Radio Movimiento 95.9FM, Latinos Unidos Siempre.

April 10, 2010

"What We Choose to Remember" conference in Portland

History (1933-1948): What We Choose to Remember
This three-day conference, April 15-17, examines the ideas - legal, philosophical, religious, medical, and scientific - and the institutions - secular and sacred - that informed and directed as well as opposed and thwarted the unfolding of events from the rise of the dictatorships in the western world to the establishment of the state of Israel so the lessons of history can guide the future.

Keynote Lecture: Archbishop Elias Chacour of Galilee

The Things That Make For Peace
7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 15
Buckley Center Auditorium (University of Portland)
FREE and open to the public

Elias Chacour is the Archbishop of Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. He is a noted author and peace activist promoting reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. He has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. His two bestselling books, Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land, cover his childhood in the village of Biram in the Galilee before and following the 1948 war and establishment of the state of Israel. 

Archbishop Chacour is vice-president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.

Registration fee for the remainder of the conference is $200.
$75 discounted rate for UP alumni.
Call for info:  (503) 653-6625

Conference website for schedule, speakers, registration, directions:  

For more information or to register, contact Jamie Powell, Garaventa Center director at powell@up.edu or (503) 943-7702.

April 9, 2010

Silverton Grange to Host Candidates Forum on Marion County Commissioners

As the first forum of the 2010 Election Season, The Silverton Grange is pleased to host a Candidates Forum featuring the two contenders for one of the Marion County Commissioner seats. Incumbent Republican Commissioner Patti Milne and Democratic challenger Jason Freilinger will both be on hand to introduce themselves, their positions on the future of Marion County, and will take questions from the audience.

Since this is the primary election, and both Candidates are running unopposed. They will square off with one another next November during the general election. Come with your questions! Refreshments provided! All are welcome!

More details: http://SilvertonGrange.org/.

Doors open at 6:00 - Candidates Speak at 7:00.

The Silverton Grange Hall is located at 201 Division St., Silverton. From Main & Water, head south 1.7 miles on Water St. towards the Falls, and turn left on Division St. Web: www.SilvertonGrange.org.

April 7, 2010

Thoughts on a Mine Disaster

25 dead have been removed, 14 bodies still down there with four others, probably dead, but maybe not. This is the death toll of yesterday's Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Meanwhile I'm listening to NPR today. A miner's quote is played. "We'd die for each other", this miner says. I want to yell at the radio... "You idiot, you didn't die for each other, you died for the Massey Energy Company!"

Meanwhile, my wife is showing me a long New York Times list of the bonuses handed out to the 12 top hedge fund managers. 85 million here, 50 million there. I can't even think how I'd spend the money if it was mine; the scale is too enormous.

Acquaintances, chance conversations; over and over again I hear people say about these high rollers, "Well, I guess they should have their big bonuses; they earned them".

"Yeah, they earned them, right..." So how many of these hedge fund managers run the risk of getting burned and suffocated a half mile underground? How many of these managers run the risk of a quiet sleepy death in a confined space? How many of these managers per year get mushed down to protoplasm by a faulty stamp press? How many run the risk of getting burned down to a thimble full of ashes (as happens to workers in steel mills for instance)?

Let's not forget the routine either. How many fund managers work 70 hours a week in back breaking labor. This is the routine of average US autoworkers; those that are still working at any rate. Or, how many of these high rollers work hours so weird and spread across the day that it's a chore keeping track of when day and night are?

"They earned them..." What a lot of hooey. These CEO types, fund managers, bank execs, etc. don't earn a damned thing. OK, they do connive and cleverly come up with schemes. And so what if these schemes are new clever ways to defraud either their productive workers (for instance, cutting corners and cheating on safety standards) or customers (like sub-prime mortgage lending). What matters is that these guys do come up with new and novel ways to increase their personal wealth and the wealth of their companies . And they do it by going to meetings, milking the high roller network, going on exotic vacations and buying/owning multiple homes in multiple cities. I mean, what else can be said?

There are sometimes where this world really doesn't make sense. I guess for me, Upper Big Branch is one of those events which calls our schizo-world into question...

Note: Anybody who works in a mine and isn't a member of the Mine Workers Union is an idiot with a death wish (yes, Upper Big Branch is non-union. So was the Sago mine with its 2006 disaster). This level of idiocy is doubled given the long history Of Massey and Upper Big Branch's gross safety violations. These guys might very well still be alive if they were union and held Massey to safety standards the way union miners do. Now the best they can get is the following epitaph on their tombstones:

"Never had to Pay Dues"

Deadly explosions kill 31 energy workers in one week

ANACORTES, Wash.---Families and co-workers of six oil workers killed in a refinery explosion here April 2 were mourning their dead when three days later another explosion, this one in a West Virginia coal mine killed 25 miners, a deadly toll of 31 energy workers in less than a week.

Read more here.

April 6, 2010

Lange's Oregon photos held over (again) in Bay City‏

From Michael Munk:

Turns out the exhibit of Dorothea Lange's Oregon photos at the Peoples Museum of Peoples Art in Bay City has been held over again until May 31, with extended hours every day from 8AM to 3PM. Highway 101 & 5th Street, Bay City. Info at 503.377.2782. The exhibit then moves to the Washington County Historical Museum June 10- August 10.

visit my website www.michaelmunk.com


I love a story with a happy ending. There were a couple of months there when he was 6 years old and a prisoner of the Anti-Castro Cuban community in Miami that I was worried. But his return to his father in Cuba was a personal victory for his family and ultimately a major defeat for CANF the political and military wing of Miami Cubans. Our whole country got to see these whacked jobs 24/7 on CNN.

Meanwhile Elian has led a pretty normal life as was promised when he was returned to Cuba. He has had limited public exposure. The only exception was when he addressed a rally in support of the Cuban Five. He joined the Young Communist Union (UJC) in 2008. He was admitted to the EMCC (Escuela Militar de Camilo Cienfuegos. Few Cuban students are selected due to high academic standards. They are affectionately known as "Camelitos".

No Crystal Staircase: Working-Class Lives Under The Recession

From Working-Class Perspectives:

In the past, economic recessions have primarily affected blue collar and low-level retail jobs, but as Greg’s story reveals, the current economic recession has affected many professional and skilled white-collar jobs as well. Yet, as troubling as they are, stories like Greg’s pale against the stories of many working-class and poor people who are struggling to survive after losing jobs under the so- called jobless economic recovery. Though clearly underemployed as a hotel bus driver, Greg is among the luckier workers today; at least he had secured a job—any job—after being laid off. But what about the 40% of unemployed people who suffer from long-term joblessness of six months or longer? According to data published by the Economic Policy Institute, people suffering from long-term joblessness are disproportionately blue-collar workers. And the current unemployment rate for blue-collar workers (17.4%) is more than two and half times higher than the rate for white-collar workers (6.5%).

Read more here.

Yegparian: My Employer

From the Armenian Weekly. Many of our Oregon readers will appreciate this.

I work for a large city in California.

Late last fiscal year (spring 2009), in a fit of spite-laced “cost-cutting,” my employer decided to furlough, one day out of every two-week pay period, the roughly 7,500 members of the union to which I belong. I suspect we were the first hit because we actually had the “temerity” to go on strike a few years ago.

The next step was an early retirement program that would hopefully remove 2,400 employees from the city’s payroll. But this becomes a significant hit on the pension plan’s funds, so those still working have to pay more into it. Plus, since this program applied to all employees, it should have been voted on by all those impacted, not, as occurred, by only members of certain favored unions.

Later, and separately, my employer started applying the screws to these unions’ members too, through their more loosely written contracts. Obviously, being the “good slaves” didn’t get them much. In this case, it was a few hours of furlough, plus late payment of some components of compensation packages, and probably a few other bits I don’t now remember.

In the last two to three months, as the city’s financial crisis has deepened (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the leadership has realized how deep it is, and most likely both), talk of and now implementation of layoffs have commenced. First it was 1,000 employees. Then 2,000 more. And now the total figure stands at 4,000.

As this became clear, many people were encouraged to—and did—move to sections, divisions, and departments that are “special funded.” This means the money for the doings of the particular agency come from sources that are not susceptible to the vagaries of what the state provides the cities, or is property based, or is otherwise fixed. Where those monies come from and what they’re spent on cannot be changed. You see, it’s the “General Fund” that’s in trouble. This is the case with all cities. This is usually where police, fire, parks, senior, health, social, and other services get their money.

Now we get to the part that renders the decision makers similar to a bunch of cartoon characters.

Read more here.

Climate Change Speakers in Eugene

Climate Change Speakers in Eugene

DATES: Apr 07, 2010

TIME: 7:00 pm

ORGANIZATION: Helios Resource Network

MORE INFO: heliosnetwork.org

DESCRIPTION: CLIMATE CHANGE: What are Our Representatives Doing?

Wednesday, April 7
Harris Hall,
125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene

Climate Crisis Working Group and Oregon Women's Action for New Directions invite everyone to a free public forum, "Climate Change: What Are Your Representatives Doing?"

Legislators and community leaders from city, county, state, and federal levels will discuss planned climate legislation, with time for questions from the audience and signing letters to legislators. Mary Wood, Professor of Law at the University of Oregon, will moderate and introduce the event.

SPEAKERS: Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene, Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, Phil Barnhart, Oregon State Representative, Tim Ream, University of Oregon Law School student, discussing efforts of the Obama administration and U.S. Congress

Co-sponsors: Community Alliance of Lane County, Helios Resource Network, Lane County Audubon Society, Many Rivers Group Sierra Club, Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church.


The Rich Get Richer And The Poor And Marginalized Get AIDS?

A socialist society would look at healthcare, medicine and diseases in the light of social struggles and contradictions and would look for opportunities in these contradictions and struggles to assert a collective and enlightened will. Until then, even the best science will tend to reflect the ethos of class society at a particular historic point and a political point which either moves society ahead or backwards. What do you think the article below is really saying?

Over the past two decades, HIV resistance to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) has risen to high levels in the wealthier countries of the world, which are able to afford widespread treatment. We have gained insights into the evolution and transmission dynamics of ARV resistance by designing a biologically complex multistrain network model. With this model, we traced the evolutionary history of ARV resistance in San Francisco and predict its future dynamics. By using classification and regression trees, we identified the key immunologic, virologic, and treatment factors that increase ARV resistance. Our modeling shows that 60% of the currently circulating ARV-resistant strains in San Francisco are capable of causing self-sustaining epidemics, because each individual infected with one of these strains can cause, on average, more than one new resistant infection. It is possible that a new wave of ARV-resistant strains that pose a substantial threat to global public health is emerging.

Read more here.

Give Peace A Dance

Oregon PeaceWorks is proud to announce that it will again sponsor Oregon's best peace party for the 26th straight year.

Give Peace a Dance will take place April 17 at the First Congregational Church of Salem (not the Grand Ballroom this year), 700 Marion St. NE, from 6-11 p.m. The event combines a hilarious show, oral and silent auctions and a rockin' dance for an evening of delight and camaraderie.

Featured musicians are the Kate Sullivan and Company band, offering outstanding, danceable rhythm & blues. Opening the program will be the razor-sharp political satire of Dr. Atomic's Medicine Show, always a favorite with Give Peace a Dance audiences. That will be followed by an oral auction, conducted by Executive Director Peter Bergel, featuring exciting items and experiences and a lot of fun. Dancing to Kate Sullivan and Co. will round out the evening. Available throughout the evening will be delicious appetizers and desserts, a no-host bar and a silent auction with additional exciting items and experiences.

If you have a quality auction item you'd like to donate, please call Jeanette Hardison at 541-752-5860.

This is an evening that has something for everyone and it benefits a great cause - the peace efforts of Oregon PeaceWorks.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door, which includes admission and food. To purchase tickets, call 503-585-2767 or visit www.oregonpeaceworks.org.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Peter Bergel
Executive Director

April 5, 2010

Marxist Fundamentalism

As much as things have changed since Karl Marx’s time, his fundamental insights about the nexus of labor, exploitation, and profit remain the best guide to understanding capitalism and capitalist crisis. Theorist have come and gone, spinning elaborate revisions or alternatives based upon concepts of under consumption, over production, imbalance, disequilibrium, etc. Many have found in changing features of capitalism - like monopolization, automation, vertical integration, de-centralization, chip and robot innovation, globalization, financialization, etc - the altering of the logic of capitalist production and its inclination to dysfunction. Still others have seen changes in ownership and management relations as changing the dynamics of capitalist accumulation. While all of these reflect truths and useful perspectives, they miss or obscure the engine that drives all capitalist processes: the pursuit of profits through the exploitation of labor by the capitalist enterprise.

Read more here.

April 4, 2010

Support the Graduate Employees Organization

Graduate employees at the University of Illinois are on the verge of a strike after working without a contract since last August. The Graduate Employees Organization is calling for solidarity in its struggle to preserve tuition waivers for graduate employees. Sign their petition here. To learn more about the GEO and the struggles that graduate employees face, visit the GEO website.