February 28, 2011

Keep Keizer Livable---Stop Wal-Mart

We've all heard the problems with Walmart: forcing mom and pop stores out of business, union busting, forcing their suppliers to use the cheapest, most environmentally destructive production facilities in the world. The list goes on.

Want to help stop Wal-Mart from going into Keizer?

We only have 9 days until ballots are due for the special election in Keizer to pass measure 24-314. If we pass measure 24-314, Keizer Oregon will be the first community in Oregon to successfully limit the size of big box stores such as WalMart.

Two hours of your time either on the phones or on the doors will go a long way in seeing that a Wal-Mart stays out of your neighborhood. There are plenty of times available to help turn out voters for this very important special election.

If a few--or even just one--of the times below fit your schedule, come out and help protect your community by calling Miles at 503-780-7403, or emailing him at miles.eshaia@gmail.com.

Both the canvasses and the phone banks will be at out of our campaign headquarters in Schoolhouse Square, 5075 River Road North in Keizer.

Help get out the vote to beat Walmart!

You can make sure that every supporter of measure 24-314 gets to the polls. Help us make calls and knock on doors. Join us at one of these events:

Tuesday, March 1st at 5:00pm - phonebank

Wednesday, March 2nd at 5:00pm - phonebank

Thursday, March 3rd at 5:00pm - phonebank

Friday, March 4th at 2:00pm - canvass

Saturday, March 5th at 10:00am - canvass

Sunday, March 6th at 1:00pm - canvass and phonebank

Monday, March 7th and Tuesday, March 8th (ELECTION DAY) - These last two days we will be phonebanking and canvassing from 2pm till 8pm to make sure every last vote will count!!!

This is YOUR community! Please help to protect it!!!

Jeff Anderson
Keizer resident and Co-Chair of the Oregon Working Families Party

P.S. This is a grassroots effort led by residents of Keizer. Check out their website for more information: http://www.keepkeizerlivable.org/.

Protest AIPAC In Portland

Action Name: Protest! The Annual Oregon AIPAC Event

Date: 2011-03-06

Event Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Location: Mittleman Jewish Community Center
PORTLAND, OR, 97219-1914

Organization: Americans United For Palestinian Human Rights

Description: Protest! The Annual Oregon AIPAC Event

Please join Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR) and other groups for our annual protest of the Oregon American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) community dinner.

AIPAC is the largest and most powerful hard-line pro-Israel lobby organization in the United States and serves to tie U.S. and Oregon politicians closer to Israel's right wing policies of occupation, settlement expansion, and apartheid. Many local, state and federal politicians from across Oregon attend this event, which typically lays out AIPAC's political strategy for the coming year and serves to garner support and build community for AIPAC and Israel while ignoring injustice.

In part because of AIPAC, U.S. politicians are unwilling to take a courageous stand against Israel's policies and unwilling to hold Israel accountable for virtually any human rights violations. It is time for citizens to stand up and say "No to AIPAC, no to apartheid, and no to our politicians' complicity with Israeli human rights violations!"

AUPHR is providing many signs that say "Stop Funding Israeli Occupation and Apartheid" and ask that protesters dress in black attire. Help us send a unified message!

Time: 4-6pm
Date: Sunday, March 6th, 2011
Location: Mittleman Jewish Community Center
6651 SW Capitol Highway
Portland, Oregon 97219
Contact: Peter Miller, pmiller@auphr.org

Sponsored by Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights. Visit our web site at http://www.auphr.org

Following is a list of last year's attendees of the annual AIPAC event in Oregon on April 25, 2010. Please consider contacting your politicians and ask them not to attend this year's event. The names were announced by the AIPAC hosts at the podium. Akiva Tor, Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer, and Kurt Schrader all gave speeches at the event.

Kurt Schrader stated during his speech that, "If I want to learn about the Middle East, I know who to go to, I go to AIPAC."

Kulongoski in a speech to AIPAC in 2006 said that "Even in these partisan times, support for AIPAC is an article of faith for both political parties. This is as it should be . . ."

Israel consulate general Akiva Tor
Japan Deputy Consul General: Hirofumi Murabayashi
Ted Kulongoski
Ron Wyden
Earl Blumenauer
Kurt Schrader
From Oregon State Senate: Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin District 19), Martha Schrader (D-Canby District 20), and Chris Telfer (R-Bend District 27) (also candidate for state treasurer)
From Oregon House: Brent Barton (D-Clackamas District 51), Sal Esquivel (R-Medford District 6), Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene District 14), Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill District 24), Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver District 53) , Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville District 26), Ron Mauer (R-Grants Pass District 3) (who is also running for state superintendent of public instruction)
Clark County Commissioner Mark Bolt
Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle
Republican Candidate for Oregon Governor Allen Alley
Candidates for OR first district Republican Rob Cornilles, Republican Doug Keller, Republican John Kuzmanich, Democrat David Robinson, Republican Stephen Brodhead
Candidate for second district Democrat Joyce Segers
Candidate for fourth district Republican Jaynee Germond
Candidates for Washington's third (to replace Brian Baird): Democrat Denny Heck, Democrat Craig Pridemore
Joining Wyden, state director Lisa Rockower
Joining Earl, finance director Elizabeth Wilson
Representing Wu, field rep Brian Plinski
Accompanying Schrader, Field rep Trevor Sleeman
Representing Sam Adams: Portland Director of International Affairs Noah Siegel
Multnomah County Republican Party Chair Jay Kushner
AIPAC National President Lee Rosenberg

Oregon Single Payer Rally Friday, March 11 at 11:00am

Oregon Single Payer Rally
Friday, March 11 at 11:00am
Location: Salem, OR
Come out to Salem to support HB3510: Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Act
(Oregon's own single payer bill)

Lobby Training at 9 am, @ The First Methodist Church, 680 State St. (one block from Capitol)

RALLY at noon on the Capitol steps.

HEARING in the House Health Care Committee at 3pm!!!!

Egyptian Workers Oppose Qaddafy, Urge Consoilidation Of The Revolutions

And Shame on the Libyan Regime

We Demand Trial for Qaddafy, his Sons and Collaborators as War Criminals

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services "CTUWS" announces its deep support and solidarity with the Libyan people who are struggling very bravely in defence of its freedom, dignity and human rights against a regime whose brutality and tyranny are unprecedented in modern history.

The Libyan people suffered a lot from despotism during the past four decades during which it was subject to backwardness and deterioration. Thirty percent of the Libyans have fallen the poverty line although black gold flows abundantly under its grounds. The Libyan people, inspired by two revolutions along its eastern and western borderlines, aspired to break its bonds and to release itself from the yoke of an insane regime which destroyed everything in the country and wasted its resources and its people.

This people, led by its will to live, surprised the whole world as a volcano with its potentials and strong resistance. It moved from Beni Ghazy to Tubruk, Musrata and Zawya to launch the battle in Tripoli the capital. This people deserves the life it wants for itself. It deserves dignity, progress and the right to chose.

The mere existence of such a regime - which for four decades hampered the Libyans, destroyed their future and wasted their resources - is a violation of human rights because it made the destiny of the Libyan people dependant on the regime's lavish desires and unwise decisions. This regime, which wages war against its people and kills its citizens with military fighters, machine guns and mercenaries, commits crimes against humanity as a whole.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services "CTUWS" condemns the inhuman and brutal aggression against the Libyan protestors and demonstrations. The CTUWS condemns as well the war launched by Qaddafy's regime against the revolution and the massacre of thousands of citizens. Accordingly, this regime has lost its legality. Consequently, the human community should withdraw its recognition of the Libyan regime and dismiss it from all of the international organizations.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services "CTUWS" calls upon the world community and the Arab community to take more decisive steps to stop the massacres perpetrated by the Libyan crazy regime against innocent Libyans. Qaddafy, his sons and collaborates must be tried for the crimes they commit against humanity. The CTUWS calls upon the Egyptian workers and the Egyptian people to support and consolidate with the Libyan people until it is liberated and its victory is achieved.

Freedom for the Libyan people and Glory for the martyrs of the Libyan revolution.

Cairo,CTUWS, 24/2/2011.

The Arab Democratic Revolt--21st Century Pan-Arabism and Potential Implications by Bill Fletcher, Jr.

From The Black Commentator:

The Arab democratic revolt has highlighted a potential reshaping of Pan-Arabism for the 21st century, and it is exciting to observe.

In the period from Abdul Gamal Nasser's coup against the then King of Egypt in 1952 through the mid-1970s, there was a sense of Pan-Arabism that shook North Africa and the Middle East. This was a Pan Arabism that grew out of the anti-colonial and national liberation struggles of the period. These efforts, whether in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, or later Yemen,

South Yemen, Palestine, the Sudan and Libya, were anti-imperialist and, on the global stage largely neutralist vis a vis the two superpowers of the time (the USA and the USSR). This Pan Arabism even took the form of efforts at structural unification, such as the failed merger of Egypt and Syria (to form the United Arab Republic) and efforts to include Iraq in that process.

The disastrous June 1967 war with Israel, along with the failure of the Arab states to develop a coherent and implementable strategy to support Palestinian liberation, compounded by the debt crisis (and rise of neo-liberalism) undermined the progressive impulse that was Pan Arabism. All that was left was the rhetoric and a few political "outposts" attempting to keep the flag of Pan Arabism flying.

The failure of Pan Arabism to fulfill a revolutionary mission, both in terms of truly liberating the people, eliminating corruption and authoritarianism, as well as keeping Western imperialism at bay, resulted in the creation of a void. This void began to be filled by various forms of what came to be known as political Islam (or Islamism). It is important to clarify that Pan Arabism always contained an Islamic `flavor', but it included within it non-Muslims. For that matter, it included within its tent peoples who would not necessarily see themselves as Arabs or be seen as Arabs. Political Islam emerged, in both its right-wing and left-wing variants, as a challenge to what was by the 1980s a decrepit Pan Arabism, and substituted a more global Islamic mission.

The Arab democratic revolt of 2011 represents the potential for a renewal and transformation of Pan-Arabism. First, it is a popular movement that is relying on the masses of people not as instruments of someone's agenda but as self-conscious political forces who are seeking freedom. As many people have noted, this is a movement without leaders, but, as I have said previously, it is not a movement without organizations.

It represents an effort by social movements of the people to find their own voices. Hopefully clear leadership will emerge and the necessary organization in order to transform the revolts into revolutions, but that said, the movements have themselves proven to be transformative. If one compares this with even the most progressive coups that took place in the Arab World, e.g., 1952 Egypt; 1958 Iraq, those coups were not what one could call popular democratic revolutions. Though they were generally supported by masses of people, they were engineered by small groups. The Algerian Revolution (1954-1962), of course, stands in contrast given the mass nature of the war against the French.

The 2011 Arab democratic revolt, in transforming Pan-Arabism, could also have a major impact on the rest of Africa. It is important to remember that the earlier generation of Pan Arabism emerged in the context of the broader struggles, not just in the Arab World, but in what we call today the "global South." Egypt's Nasser, for instance, was not simply seen as an Arab leader, but as an African leader (including by African Americans in the USA). The Algerian Revolution was not viewed as an Arab/ Berber uprising against the French, but part of a wave of national liberation struggles throughout Africa and the Arab World. In fact, after the victory of the Algerian Revolution, Algeria undertook efforts to support other struggles for liberation within Africa and saw itself as part of the progressive Pan Africanist movement.

To the extent to which the renewed Pan Arabism retains its democratic impulse, it can address not only tyrannies, such as the northern Sudan under Al Bashir, but also represent an example of mass democratic movements against corrupt neo-colonial/post-colonial regimes that have plagued the continent. In this sense the Arab democratic revolt , though shaped by the Arab experience, need not be exclusive to the Arab World.

In far too many countries on the Continent regimes have arisen that have become retrograde. In other cases, regimes have come into existence that have, irrespective of their rhetoric, aligned themselves with an anti-people, neo-liberal agenda that benefits a small minority. The current global economic crisis is exacerbating these divisions and can produce disastrous explosions, e.g., 1994 Rwanda, or mass democratic eruptions as witnessed in the Arab World.

For these and many other reasons the Arab democratic revolt needs to be embraced as very much a North AFRICAN democratic revolt that holds lessons for the rest of the continent and with which progressive Africans and progressive Pan Africanists throughout the Continent and the African Diaspora should express solidarity.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that the Arab democratic revolt has the potential to shift global politics. Perhaps it can not only shift politics in the rest of Africa but also contribute to a 21st century renewal of Pan Africanism.

Egyptian Workers Occupy Plants

Press Release

Sit-in of the Airplane and Coke Factories Workers

The Center for Trade Union and workers Services “CTUWS”, 28 February 2011:

Over 1500 workers of the Airplane factory (of the Arab Industrialization Authority) continued their sit-in at the company’s premises in Helwan for the second day successively. The sit-in started at 3 pm yesterday demanding wage increase and restructure, increasing the incentives from 15 to 30 days similar to the other factories of the Arab Industrialization Authority, disbursing the meal allowance which the company had promised but did not fulfill its promise, disbursing allowance for special assignments and doing without the consultants who charge hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds every month without any noticeable gain.

In the same context, workers of the Coke Factory of Tibeen started a strike calling for the resignation of the company’s chairman, the accountability of those responsible for deterioration of the company’s conditions, improving the workers work conditions and disbursing the overdue profits and incentives which the company has ignored in spite of the profits which the company has realized. The Coke workers gathered in front of the company premises calling for increasing their wages, providing temporary workers with labour contracts and disbursing incentives for ‘exportation’. They cheered against corruption, saluted the revolution of the youth and called upon the officials to intervene in order to put an end to the unfair treatment of the management, to improve their income and to implement the promotion movement in the company. They shouted: “ where is the media? We are the unfairly treated Coke workers. We demand our rights”. They also called for investigation in the financial and administrative violations which the Central Accounting Authority had discovered earlier. They criticized transferring all the company’s profits to the holding company without concern to the improvement of the life conditions of the workers who achieved these profits in spite of their bad work conditions.

The workers

They presented their written demands to one of the army leaders. Their demands came as follows: to hold the corrupt managers of the company responsible for their deeds, to dismantle the third battery and restructure it as soon as possible in order to add to the company’s productivity, to operate the Ammonia Section of the Fertilizers Factory which was stopped in order to save the millions of pounds used to import ammonia from abroad, to cover the workers deficit in the production sections, not to assign work for the contractor’s loaders and vehicles and to rely on the company’s loaders, to disperse the end of service compensation as stipulated by Article 72 of the executive regulations, to amend the wages table as from1/3/2011, to increase the monthly incentives by 30%, to improve the monthly ration (3 liter of edible oil and ¼ kg tea), to make labour contracts for all the workers, to employ the sons of the workers, to terminate the contracts of all who are 60 years old or more and to activate the idled articles of the company’s regulations according to Law No. 12 for 2003.



Date: 2011-03-03

Event Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Organization: Corvallis Alternatives to War

Description: Firebrand Speaker David Cobb will Take On Corporate Power and the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" Decision

David Cobb, a fiery speaker and former Green Party presidential candidate, will be in Corvallis on Thursday, March 3, to talk about "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule." The presentation will take place at the Corvallis Public Library at
7 p.m. and is open to the public. Admission free, donations accepted . Cobb will lead a workshop for local citizens interested in working on these issues following the talk.

Cobb is an organizer with Move to Amend.org, a coalition of over 100,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the United States Constitution to restrict corporate power. Last year, in its "Citizens United" decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can make unlimited financial contributions to candidates for federal office. The decision, which President Obama pointedly criticized in his State of the Union message, led to an astronomical increase in corporate spending during the mid-term elections.

Cobb will be speaking on the same topic as part of a panel discussion on Friday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m., at the University of Oregon Law School's Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The panel, "Green Politics and the Green Future," will also feature Corvallis attorney and Pacific Green Party co-founder Blair Bobier.

Refounding Gay Liberation

From Freedom Road:

It is interesting that you said that gender oppression exists within capitalism but not because of capitalism. Orthodox Marxists say something similar to this. Engels wrote that patriarchy arose due to the advent of private property. Men needed to control women so that they could ensure inheritance benefited them. Private property predates capitalism2. But the thing that always bugged me about that shit is that it already assumes there was a binary gender system in place. It already assumes that there were two genders (men/women) and one gender just needed to oppress the other and try to own them. We know from research and theory that has come out since the 90s, that the way we understand gender now is not the same as even 25 years ago. It is a historical category that has evolved. All places during all times didn't have just two genders that were constructed in the same way where women=weak, men=strong. There were differences in how gender was enacted in other historical periods and societies. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that the rise of class systems imposed a rigid binary gender system because it required greater control over every aspect of individuals' lives and gender was one of those aspects, not that it created patriarchy. But who knows. I think it is dangerous to search for an "origin" of patriarchy because that kind of thinking leads to the assertion that if we just overthrow the class system then gender oppression will end. Well, it ain't that simple and patriarchy will never end until we stop thinking of men/women as opposites on a binary gender system.

Read more here.

People Support Public Workers And Public Services

From a friend at work:

Maybe someone should share this w/ our friends across the table. By almost 2 to 1 (60 - 33), Americans believe collective bargaining rights of public employees should not be reduced, and by a similar margin, people are against ( 56 to 37) reducing pay and benefits of state employees to reduce deficits. Then there is this:

"Asked how they would choose to reduce their state's deficits, those polled preferred tax increases over benefit cuts for state workers by nearly two to one. Given a list of options to reduce the deficit, 40 percent said they would increase taxes, 22 percent chose decreasing the benefits of public employees, 20 percent said they would cut financing for roads and 3 percent said they would cut financing for education."


Anti-Austerity Protests Hit Bank Of America In Portland

Anna Becker looks tired. Becker is leaning against the brick wall beside the entrance to Bank of America's Pearl District branch in Portland, Oregon, where one of over 50 nationwide protests by US Uncut has been underway for nearly two hours.

But Becker, a retired teacher, is just as energized as the protesters at the front of the crowd of about 60, who spill into the street and draw long, loud honks from the stream of cars driving toward the Willamette River. "I have been waiting for 20 years for something like this to happen in America," says Becker. The words she has spoken in private for years are now plastered onto the canary yellow poster board she holds up like a shield: "B of A is al-Qaeda: financial terrorists."

Bank of America (B of A) is the first corporation to be targeted by US Uncut, the transatlantic offspring of the United Kingdom-based anti-austerity group UK Uncut, which held its first demonstration to protest corporate tax evasion in late 2010.

Read more here.

February 26, 2011

State Capitol Rally in Support of Wisconsin Workers

A second rally in one week in Support of Wisconsin workers was held in front of the Oregon State Capitol today. The rally was very well attended with 1000 plus people present. Most folks attending were union members with both private and public sector unions well represented.

This was a good event! Solidarity and fight back were in the air in a way I haven't felt in a long time. The crowd was very interactive. Public sector workers from AFSCME, SEIU and teachers unions were demonstrating and engaging with Teamsters, Laborers, and Electrical Workers. I personally talked to members from SEIU, the Carpenters' Union, Teamsters and OEA. Across the board, all these union members reflected the idea that the attack on Wisconsin's public sector workers is an attack on all of us.

This was a class conscious event as well. The event's speakers spoke to the reality that workers, their livelihood and rights are about to be abolished by the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Wall Street, and their bankrolled politicians such as Scott Walker. Instead of "doom and gloom" however, there was a strong sense of fight-back and optimism; optimism in the sense that if people are united they can win, even against the power of Wall Street and America's corporate culture.

Who Wasn't There and How It Helped

Strangely, in spite of this event being very much a union event, there was a decided absence of speakers and attendance from Oregon's official labor leadership. Indeed, the impetus for today's rally came not from the AFL-CIO or the Oregon AFL-CIO State Fed, but instead through an e-mail recruitment drive run by the local Move-On chapter and shop floor recruitment through a number of local area unions.

As such, the rank and file composition gave today's event a somewhat unfocused feel and a small host of unpolished speakers. All the same, if the official labor leadership had shown there would have been a much stronger attention to political/legislative "speak" that might have seriously blunted the raw outrage and willingness to fight back that was so clearly present at today's rally.

What Next?

A key question in my mind and the minds of many of those in attendance is, Will workers continue to take action and do more as the fight with the "big boys" intensifies? Here time will tell. For the present I'm inclined to trust that people will carry forward as long as each is able to identify the struggle as their own struggle.

The second question in my mind is whether labor's class consciousness will grow as events intensify. One speaker, the dynamic Marilyn Sanchez, posed the question of whether labor is willing to fight to include those workers who by law are barred from organizing. Here sister Sanchez referred to agricultural and domestic workers, who as workers of color have been excluded from the economic rights given to white workers. The question here is whether unions and organized workers see themselves as a social and political movement, or merely as collective bargaining agents.

Stay tuned as events continue...

February 25, 2011

"Abu Atris"---Against Neoliberalism In Egypt

From Al-Jazeera:

A neoliberal fix would, however, be a tragedy for the pro- democracy movement. The demands of the protesters were clear and largely political: remove the regime; end the emergency law; stop state torture; hold free and fair elections. But implicit in these demands from the beginning (and decisive by the end) was an expectation of greater social and economic justice. Social media may have helped organise the kernel of a movement that eventually overthrew Mubarak, but a large element of what got enough people into the streets to finally overwhelm the state security forces was economic grievances that are intrinsic to neoliberalism. These grievances cannot be reduced to grinding poverty, for revolutions are never carried out by the poorest of the poor. It was rather the erosion of a sense that some human spheres should be outside the logic of markets. Mubarak's Egypt degraded schools and hospitals, and guaranteed grossly inadequate wages, particularly in the ever-expanding private sector. This was what turned hundreds of dedicated activists into millions of determined protestors.

Read more here.

Tremendous, mass, successful strike demonstrations of PAME in Greece

February 24, 2011

Revolts In "The Mideast"---How Maps Fool Us & The Revolt In Greece

We look at a map of Northern Africa and the so-called "Mideast" and we see something that is not there---Arab-, tribal- and Persian-speaking regions called a "mideast" and somehow disconnected from the rest of the African continent, the southern Balkans and points eastward. These countries have spent more time in relationship with the rest of Africa, southern Italy, Malta, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbijan and Bukhara than they have with western Europe and the United States, but the designations "mideast" and "northern Africa" situate them only in relationship to the modern imperialist powers. The peoples of these countries have their own histories and their own associations.

The rebellions underway in Greece and Albania, barely mentioned in the US press, are seen as something quite separate from what is taking place across the region. The slowly building protest movements in Armenia and Azerbijan don't even get that much notice.

We need to rethink geography and language if we're going to understand what's going on.

Meanwhile, go here for a great report on what's happening in Greece.

Salem Forum On The State Bank

Salem Forum about the Oregon State Bank
Saturday, Feb. 26th
2 pm - 3:30 pm
At the Center 50+
(2615 Portland Rd. NE, Salem)

Speakers will include:
Jose Gonzalez, President of the Latino Business Alliance, will share the perspective of small business owners struggling to get access to credit in today's marketplace.

Dan Lombardi, staff of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, will share the results of survey work done assessing the needs of small businesses around the state, and the opinions of small business owners about the Oregon State Bank.

Steve Hughes, (yours truly) the State Director of the Oregon Working Families Party, will discuss the "virtual" state bank bill supported by Treasurer Ted Wheeler and the history of the Oregon State Bank campaign.

The event will be emceed by Jeff Anderson, Secretary Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers and Co-chair of the Oregon Working Families Party.

Everyone is welcome!

Single-Payer Rally In Salem

Oregon Single Payer Campaign Legislative Action Day to support HB 3510, Oregon's Single Payer Health Care Bill (go here to see what the bill will do.)
Friday, March 11
State Capitol, Salem

LOBBY your state representatives. Meet for training at 9 am, MICAH Hall, First Methodist
Church, 680 State St. (one block from Capitol)

RALLY at noon on the Capitol steps.

HEARING House Health Care Committee takes testimony on the bill, 3 pm

Everybody In, Nobody Out--
Let Your Voice Be Heard!
More information at www.singlepayeroregon.org or (503) 262-4970

UNAC Goes To Madison

Dear United National Antiwar Committee Supporters,

As Governor Walker in Wisconsin attacks the very right of unions to exist, workers there have taken a page from the rebellions in Northern Africa and the Middle East and are fighting back. This weekend the labor movement will be mobilizing in support of the Wisconsin workers throughout the country while in Madison the largest protest yet is expected to occur.

At today’s UNAC steering committee meeting, we decided to support the Wisconsin workers and send a team of people to the Wisconsin rally on Saturday. Our team will be headed up by Ashley Smith (cell number: 802-2382765) and Phil Wilayto (cell number: 804-247-3731). If you are in Madison or can get there, please join us. UNAC will have placards and a banner and will pass out thousands of leaflets for April 9th with the UNAC statement on the Wisconsin fight on the back (Click here for the UNAC statement on the Wisconsin fight).

Please join us. If you can help with the UNAC antiwar contingent in the Wisconsin demonstration, please let us know by email at UNACpeace@gmail.com or by calling the number for Ashley or Phil listed above. The location where UNAC and other antiwar people can meet will be listed on the UNAC web site on Friday (www.UNACpeace.org).

In solidarity,

Joe Lombardo and Marilyn Levin

UNAC co-coordinators


I recently posted a picture of an Egyptian demonstrator holding a sign showing solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. But this does not tell the whole story. This was not just an individual holding a sign to have his picture taken. Actually, Kamal Abbas is the General Coordinator of CTUWS - the umbrella group for Independent unions in Egypt. He issued an official statement for the entire organization. Which ended, "We salute you American workers! You will be victorious! Victory belongs to all the people who are fighting against exploitation and for their just rights!" It was signed by the heads of the 40 different unions in their coalition.

But that is not all. When you look at the Egyptian Workers' demands for the Egyptian Revolution they look oh so familiar!!

1. Raise the minimum wage and pension to narrow the wage gap. Payment of unemployment benefits (no 99ers) and regular increases with rising prices

2. Freedom to organize independent trade unions without restrictions (remember EFCA, anyone?)

3. The right of workers to job security. All temporary workers are to be made permanent

4. The end to the infamous privatization which wrecked our national economy (this is one of my favorites for they see the wide spread privatization that Hosni Mubarak allowed as stealing from the people of Egypt. If I can interpret - they see the selling off for private profit to private corporations as stealing the wealth of the country that should be distributed to the people)

I wonder if they will get these things before we do!!!

February 23, 2011

What YOU Can Do To Support Wisconsin Workers

People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor's plans. Most teachers have had to/have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters. There are many private citizens, often seniors. Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation, housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome:

ONLINE: The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go to http://wisaflcio.org for the link.

CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213 (Please indicate the purpose, e.g. "Capitol protests" or "Madison rally", on your check.)
* * * *

These two close-by shops will supply food and water to those in the Capitol or on the picket line:
Ian's Pizza 608-442-3535 minimum order $20.00 These folks are now taking orders only for delivery to the resistance, they've stopped all delivery to the general public. They tell me they deliver to wherever the people are -- if they're inside the Capitol, they go in. If people are marching and picketing, they take the food to the picket line.
Subway on the Square 608-255-1636 NOTE: minimum order $100.00 They have set up a fund there for your orders, and they are giving free food from that fund to any union member or pro-union demonstrator who requests food. Thank Pat for arranging that, I'm sure this is the first time they've done anything like this.
* * * *

This legislation can be stopped in the Wisconsin Senate. The state has shut down the Legislative Hotline (!) through which you could reach the Wisconsin Senators. So each needs to be contacted directly.

The Republicans
We need only 3 Republicans to vote "no" to stop this. I'm listing here Republicans who may be willing to listen:
Eau Claire area -- Terry Moulton Sen.moulton@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266- 7511 District 23
Green Bay area -- Rob Cowles Sen.cowles@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-0484 District 2
LaCrosse area -- Dan Kapanke Sen.kapanke@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-5490 District 32
Ripon area -- Luther Olsen Sen.olsen@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-0751 District 14
Richland County -- Dale Schultz Sen.schultz@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-0703 District 17
Racine area -- Van Wanggaard Sen.Wanggaard@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-1832 District 21
Sheboygan area -- Joe Leibham Sen.liebham@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-2056 District 9
Menasha/Fox Valley -- Michael Ellis Sen.ellis@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-0718 District 19
Fond du Lac area -- Randy Hopper Sen.Hopper@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-5300 District 18
Dodge County -- Scott Fitzgerald Sen.fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov (608) 266-5660 District 13

To contact other Republican Senators, or if a voice mailbox is full, try sending an email. Email addresses are above, or at the senate home pages. Try this link: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate.

If you live here or if you vacation here, contact the Senator from your District and urge a "no" vote on this legislation. If you know someone who lives or vacations in Wisconsin, ask them to contact the appropriate Senator. If you don't live here, contact as many of the Republicans on the list as you can with your opposition to the legislation. ("The Whole World is Watching").

The Governor: Gov. Walker is not listening to us, and is in fact bragging about having received 19,000 emails in favor of the legislation to get rid of unions. So we need him to hear us. Try his phone 608-266-1212. That mailbox will probably be full. There are several email routes, I've used them both. Email him directly at govgeneral@wisconsin.gov or go to http://walker.wi.gov and scroll down to the "Citizen Suggestion" box and give him your suggestion.
* * * *

* Participate in a protest rally
Come to Wisconsin or urge those you know who live here to get involved. The Capitol in Madison is occupied 24 hours a day, with pickets outside at all hours. Come on down!
Daily rallies and protest activities are happening throughout Wisconsin. Join in the activities near you. Two sources for detailed and timely information are http://wisaflcio.org [scroll down to Capitol and to In District Events] and http://www.wiafscme.org/ [scroll down to the Activities List]
* Organize a rally, a protest, an act of solidarity or civil disobedience wherever you are in support of Wisconsin workers and our cause. Alert the local media that you are acting in support of public employees' right to keep their unions in Wisconsin.
* Spread the word in whatever way you can: postal mail, email, Facebook, twitter.
* Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and to the editorial directors of your local TV and radio stations.
* Send this email on to anyone who might help with this fight, via email or postal mail.

* * * *


In a remarkable act of civil disobedience and courage, the 14 Democratic Senators have left the state to deny the Senate a quorum. Without at least one of them, the Senate cannot pass this particular legislation. Their leaving had to be done quickly and some left, literally, with just the clothes on their backs.

Contact information for the "Wisconsin 14" is listed below. I suggest:

** Send them messages of solidarity and support, and urge them on.

** Most of these folks are not wealthy. Consider writing a check to their campaign committee to help with these extraordinary expenses. Send it to their home addresses and be sure to write it to "The Campaign Committee of Senator xxxx" -- home addresses are on their senate web pages ("voting address") which you reach via http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate (The Government Accountability Board here has ruled that campaign contribution funds can be used for these expenses. No personal gifts are allowed, and they will be returned.)

Tim Carpenter Dist 3 Sen.carpenter@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-8535
Spencer Coggs Dist 6 Sen.coggs@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-2500
Tim Cullen Dist 15 Sen.cullen@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-2253
Jon Erpenbach Dist 27 Sen.erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-6670
Dave Hansen Dist 30 Sen.hansen@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-5670
Jim Holperin Dist 12 Sen.holperin@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-2509
Bob Jauch Dist 25 Sen.jauch@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-3510
Chris Larson Dist 7 Sen.larson@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-7505
Julie Lassa Dist 24 Sen.lassa@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-3123
Mark Miller Dist 16 Sen.miller@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-9170
Fred Risser Dist 26 Sen.risser@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-1627
Lena Taylor Dist 4 Sen.taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-5810
Kathleen Vinehout Dist 31 Sen.vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-8546
Bob Wirch Dist 22 Sen.wirch@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-266-8979

Socialist Worker: Conversation With An Egyptian Socialist

Members of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt endured years of police-state repression while organizing for democracy and labor rights. Because of these courageous efforts, the socialists were able to play a critical role in organizing the first demonstrations on January 25 that galvanized the successful uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak. Their central place continued as the movement grew.

Sameh Naguib is a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists. He talked to Mostafa Omar in Cairo about the dynamics of the Egyptian revolution and what lies ahead.

Egyptians celebrate the downfall of dictator Hosni Mubarak (Ahmed Al-Hilali)

THESE ARE incredible times for all revolutionaries in Egypt. But as January 25 approached, did you expect any of this to happen?

OF COURSE, we understood theoretically that the political situation has been volatile for a number of years, and that an outbreak of revolution was a possibility. But we had no idea it would happen on the 25th. The massive numbers of demonstrators who took part in the protests of that day and their militancy was unprecedented.

We were used to people putting out calls for mass days of action, only to have 100 or 200 people show up, and quickly get routed by the security forces. But on January 25, the numbers of protesters swelled in Cairo, Alexandria and city after city as the day went on.

Protesters successfully fended off one attack after another by police. They were throwing rocks at the police. People were coming out of their homes to join us. Women were ululating and throwing candy at us. By the end of the 25th, we realized that a revolutionary moment had begun.

Read more here.

Hidden Credit Card Fees--Check Out What Some Oregonians Are Doing About Them

Check out the new Economic Fairness Oregon website on organizing against hidden credit card fees here.

This in another example of Gotcha Capitalism which we have written about previously.

With the onset of the global capitalist crisis and the pressure here in Oregon to close the rip-off check-cashing and pay-day loan joints the capitalists are always searching for ways to get more out of us.

Solidarity With Iranian Trade Unionists

Dear friends,

Mansour Osanloo is celebrating his 51st birthday today on 23 February, without his family, friends and colleagues for the fourth consecutive year in prison. The only crime he ever committed was to create an independent workers' union in Iran.

He was beaten badly when he was abducted by the security forces from a bus on his way home in Tehran on 10 July 2007. He suffered from cataracts as a result, but it took a major international campaign simply to let him have surgery just in time to save him from losing the sight in his left eye.

From time to time, he is sent to solitary confinement. Some inmates have attacked him. More recently, opportunities for him to contact his family or to go out of his cell have been reduced deliberately and increasingly he is in a "prison within a prison" acccording to his family.

Under these conditions, he developed a heart problem and was taken out of prison for brief medical treatment after complaining of chest pain. Still, he was sent back to prison within three days and there is no guarantee that his health has recovered fully.

On his 51st birthday, we want you to send him a message of encouragement that the world has not forgotten about him. Rather, our campaign to promote genuine workers' rights in Iran is firmly rooted in the international trade union movement and we continue to put pressure on the Iranian government to release all trade unionists who are jailed including Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi and Gholamreza Gholamhosseini .

You can post your message to Osanloo on our Facebook Group

or send it by email to info@justiceforiranianworkers.org.

Visit our website at www.justiceforiranianworkers.org.

Salem Demonstration In Support Of Wisconsin Workers

There is a nationwide effort by many progressive organizations to rally this Saturday at noon, in each state capitol, to support workers in Wisconsin and other states. In Oregon, the rally will be at the Capitol Building in Salem.

Three Portland Demonstrations Coming

Informational Picket in Support of ATU 757---Wednesday, Feb 23rd, 8am---Prior to the TriMet board meeting at 9am, Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Ave.

DEFEND WISCONSIN! Portland Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers!---This Friday @ 4pm---DIRECTOR PARK (SW Yamhill and SW Park)

Eight Years in Iraq - Nine Years in Afghanistan: How is the War Economy Working for You?---Saturday, March 19, 2011---1:00 PM Rally - 1:30 PM March---Portland, Pioneer Court House Square

Class Solidarity: The Road to Unity

Some see the description “Marxist” as an anachronism. Certainly much has changed in the world since the times of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Indeed, capitalism – the object of their study – has evolved strickingly from the socio-economic order they sought to understand in the nineteenth century. Yet we are constantly reminded of the fruitfulness of their key analytical tools: class, exploitation and profits.

We find these tools useful in some of the most unlikely places, as demonstrated by a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Writing on the Journal’s refreshingly eccentric sports page, author Matthew Futterman tackles the political economy of the National Football League (The NFL’s $1 Billion Game of Chicken (2-17-11). Futterman states: “The League has run out of new ways new ways to make another quick $1 billion, so its turning its focus to the biggest piggy bank of all: its own players.” Within the next two weeks, the player contract expires and NFL management will likely lock out – call a management strike on – the players and their union.

To read more, go here.

February 22, 2011

The Left And The Practice And Theory Of Revolt Right Now

We recently asked readers to read and comment on a new article by Sam Webb of the Community Party USA. The article drew many readers but no comments.

Marxism-Leninism Today has run a series of articles responding to Sam Webb. The most coherent responses are here, here and here.

David Bell sent in the following letter to the Communist Party:

Given that Sam is the National Chair of the CPUSA, I believe his article on 21st century socialism carries much more weight than some casual writer. In this light, to suggest that it is simply something for discussion and nothing else, tends to diminish its impact on the CPUSA and the communist parties around the world.

I believe that this article represents a major departure from the CPUSA's onstitution, principles of organization, and a Marxist-Leninist line that go beyond the tactical and strategic line of the Party. It is a continuation of a well thought out process of reforming the Party without a formal discussion or decision-making rocess. If it were simply a shift in strategy, one may see it as a routine document easily handled by the NC.

However, the document goes well beyond that. The tone set by Sam gives the impression that not accepting his strategic line will doom the Party and those of us who disagree with Sam also believe that adopting it would doom the Party. Either way, a broad democratic discussion and decision making process are in order.

That is why I strongly urge the NC to call for a special convention with the power to make policy and elect leadership. Given that Sam's "thoughts" bypassed the last convention, I am concerned that what he projects will simply creep into the realm of policy without the democracy and transparency that Sam himself advocates.

Why does any of this matter?

It matters because revolutions and movements of the kinds we are now seeing from Bahrain to Wisconsin always force us to reexamine our thinking. We believe, after all, that human consciousness and human activity cannot be separated from one another except as abstractions. Put more simply, theory and practice are always joined in real, living human beings and in the material world.

Let's go one step further. We also believe that theory and practice mirror one another and each becomes something of the other while maintaining their distinct characteristics. Theory is a form of practice and practice is a form of theory: each births the other. How you think and what you think about matters as much as what you do.

Revolutions and social movements cannot occur without theory and practice. The Arab and North African masses no less than the workers in Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana are developing new theories of revolt and expressing these in their actions. If the left is not deeply affected by this and does change in response to this movement of people and workers then the left will ossify. If the left again grasps the intimate connection between theory and practice and makes it real in itself it can assume a leading role in society.

Sometimes the theory and practice of the masses is quite unconscious or is hardly noticed. But even then it can seep into left discourse and effect what the left does and how it thinks. Sam Webb expressed some aspects of the movement of the masses in his piece. His best critics have the advantage of just a few weeks' or a few days' time--weeks and days which should be teaching us all about social movements and revolutions.

It is a time for refoundation and rejuvenation, whether we are prepared for that or not.

A Summary Of Oregon's Single Payer Health Insurance Bill

Can you get with this?

An Act for Affordable Health Care for All Oregon 2011

A Summary

The purpose of the Act is to insure access to quality, patient-centered, and affordable health care for all Oregonians, to improve population health, and to control the cost of health care for the benefit of individuals, families, business, and society.

The Act covers all persons residing or working in Oregon.

There will be no co-payments and no deductibles under the Act.

The provider must accept as payment in full amounts received from the Plan and not bill enrollees for those services.

Patients are free to choose any health care providers licensed in the state of Oregon and practicing within the scope of their license.

Medically necessary benefits in each of the following categories:
Primary and preventive care, including health education; Specialty care other than elective cosmetic care; Inpatient care; Outpatient care; Emergency care; Home health; Prescription drugs (formulary); Durable medical equipment; Mental health services; Substance abuse treatment; Dental services other than elective cosmetic dentistry; Chiropractic services; Basic vision and vision correction;
Diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and other diagnostic and evaluation services; Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative services; Emergency transportation; Language interpretation and translation services; Hospice care; Podiatry; Acupuncture; and Dialysis.

Benefits shall also include long-term care, following completion of a plan by the Board to be submitted to the Legislature by 2016.

The Board of Directors shall consist of nine voting members, appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. One of the members shall be a licensed health care provider, one shall be a public health official, and one each shall be from labor and business.

The Board is responsible for the development of the Plan and the oversight of its implementation and management. The Board’s responsibilities in regard to the Plan include, but are not limited to:
Determining policies and adopting administrative rules; Establishing a balanced budget; Determining the specific benefits package; Overseeing management of the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Fund; Ensuring that health services reimbursed by the Plan are evidence-based and cost-effective in promoting health; Ensuring access to quality health services; Emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion; Establishing a process by which proposed major capital expenditures will be evaluated for approval; Seeking all waivers, exemptions, and agreements from federal, state, and local government sources that are necessary to provide funding for the Plan; Partnering with public health agencies to improve population health; Submitting to the State Legislature the funding goal required from State taxes to adequately fund the Plan; Assuring that implementation of the Act shall affect all individuals equally, regardless of classifications such as health status, age, disability, employment status, and income; Developing a plan for long term care by 2016; Reporting, at least annually, to the Legislature and the public on the performance of the Plan and recommending needed amendments to this Act and related legislation.

District Advisory Committees will solicit input, receive complaints, conduct public hearings, facilitate accountability, and assist the Board with planning for health service needs. Board members elected to represent each region shall convene the committees.

The Oregon Health Authority shall implement and administer the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Plan under the general direction, policies, and oversight of the Board.

In lieu of premiums, co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles, the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Act will be funded by a system of dedicated taxes, progressive in nature, and based on ability to pay, which will be paid directly to “The Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Fund.” Following arrangements for necessary waivers, exemptions, and agreements, the Legislative Assembly shall enact legislation necessary to provide that all payments for health care services provided to participants from federal, state, county, and local government sources will also be paid directly to the “The Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Fund.” All money in the Fund shall be used only for payments to health care providers, for administrative overhead, and for temporary payments and retraining for workers displaced by the Plan.

Once the Plan is operational, there shall be a cap on administrative costs of 12% for the first two years of the Plan’s operation, 8% for the next two years, and 5% thereafter.

Cesar Chavez Exhibit At Western Oregon University

Beginning February 21, the Hamersly Library at Western Oregon University will present "In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez," an exhibition of photographs and autobiographical reflections. Dr. John C. Hammerback, emeritus faculty from the University of Washington, will present a guest lecture titled "To Enable Common People to do Uncommon Things: The Rhetorical Career of César Chávez" on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. in room 211 of the Instructional Technology Center. A reception will immediately follow the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in room 205 of Hamersly Library. Please take a minute to stop by and see this wonderful exhibit.

An Urgent Call From Egypt

Dear friend,

Please, find attached an urgent call from CTUWS.

Read it on CTUWS website on the link: http://www.ctuws.com/Default.aspx?item=812

To read it in Arabic, Click on: http://www.ctuws.com/default.aspx?item=811

Urgent Call

The website of Al Yaum Al Sabei' Newspaper announced from learned sources that Ismail Fahmy Treasurer of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation "the official federation' is nominated for the post of the Minister of Manpower and Immigration to replace Mrs. Aisha Abdel Hady in stead of Dr, Ahmed Hassan el Boare'i the expert of labour relations who was nominated for the same post yesterday.

The Egyptian Trade Union Federation "ETUF", according to the Newspaper, "held an extraordinary meeting yesterday chaired by Hussein Megawer after the announcement of Dr. el Borae'i as a nominee for this post. Board members of ETUF refused their full refusal of Dr. el Borae'i who is known for supporting trade union plurality. The ETUF considered this attitude a threat to the workers' interests". Then the ETUF sent a memorandum to General Ahmed Shafik head of the interim government in which they nominated Ismail Fahmy for the Ministry of Manpower".

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services "CTUWS" was surprised by the insistence of the government to follow the same infamous trend of the previous regime which combined the official trade union federation with the Ministry of Manpower to the extent that both of them became two administrations subject to the political authority. Consequently both of them lost their efficiency and effectiveness. The CTUWS warns against the serious repercussions of defying the workers' will and legal right to enjoy their trade union freedoms.

The adoption by the new government of ETUF's nominee indicates that the government adopts the same position of ETUF which stands completely against trade union plurality. It is a denial of the Egyptian workers right to choose their trade unions freely and a continuation of the restrictions imposed on this right which caused congestion in the labour arena and resulted in the situation we are undergoing at the present time.

Choosing Ismail Fahmy Treasurer of ETUF instead of Hussein Megawer will not change the situation. It will not reduce the indignation of the Egyptian workers who suffered a lot from the attachment of ETUF to the despotic regime for many years. The ETUF was one of the tools of oppression used by the regime to deprive then from their rights, to monopolize their representation and forge their votes. This action will not appease the youth who were victims of the inhuman massacre of the second of February 2011 which was plotted in collaboration with the ETUF.

The CTUWS warns against this infamous choice which will increase congestion at the labour arena and will block the way to the opportunities for dialogue and negotiations between the social parties which cannot be attained without democratic representation of all the parties. The CTUWS calls upon all the democratic and active powers of the society to address an urgent call to the Higher Military Council to halt this governmental approach which lacks rationality and good choice.


February 22, 2011

The Turkish Model As The Alternative In North Africa And Across The Arab World?

There is much talk in the media outside the US about Turkey's role in the revolutions sweeping through North Africa and across the Arab world. It is often said that these revolutions will (or should) adopt "the Turkish model"---supposedly a democratic and conservative Islamic state balanced by a strong and secular military. Wealthy Turkish forces and the Turkish government, which is increasingly exercising political power and influence through the Balkans and across the Arab world and Northern Africa, have an obvious and strong interest in making this case. They can counterpose their own model, real or imagined, to whatever the US and the IMF have to offer and count on the reflexively anti-imperialist component of the Arab and North African revolutions to at least consider their proposals and proferred support. What follows is an article from our comrades in Turkey dealing with these issues.

Popular revolts across the Middle East continue to be a source of hope and inspiration. But there is cause for concern. Imperialism is maneuvering to subvert the will for change. While the situation is still in flux, it looks increasingly likely that the maneuvers will succeed.

When the unemployed Tunisian university graduate Muhammed Bouazizi self-immolated to protest the confiscation of the fruit stall that was his sole means of subsistence, he could not have imagined his final act of desperation would trigger an upswelling of region-wide riots.

But the spark that was lit in Tunisia fired up the peoples of the Middle East. Bin Ali was forced to flee his country in disgrace, Hosni Mubarak was toppled and sent into involuntary retirement. A whole series of countries including Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, Iran, even Saudi Arabia, and more, are currently resonating with persistent protests.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the two countries so far where the revolts scored a tangible gain by bringing down the heads of state, broad masses of public led a protracted struggle. Even if no organization or political movement stood out, the masses were far from disorganized. In both countries, the working class played a major part in carrying the revolts to eventual success.

Moreover, both countries had pro-Western governments in power. Comfortable with the status quo, at first the US and its allies as well as the Western media reacted to the revolts with apprehension. Secularism would dissolve and Tunisia would be lost to Islamists if Bin Ali fell, claimed the media organs of the West; similarly, headlines raised the outcry that Egyptian rioters were looting the National Museum in glaring contradiction of eyewitness accounts.

Washington: Observing From a Distance

While Western media took its time noticing and characterizing the revolts, the US appeared to be ‘observing from a distance’ and avoided taking a clear stand.

In Tunisia, the ouster of Bin Ali was managed under the control of the army in collaboration with the West, facilitated by last minute tutelage from Western European countries including the country’s former colonizer France, eliminating ‘unwanted’ consequences. Once the new government was settled in, the army withdrew its protection over the steadfast activists in the capital city allowing them to be violently removed from Kasbah Square.

Egypt was larger and more complicated than Tunisia, compelling Washington to act with greater wariness. On October 28 Hillary Clinton suggested that Mubarak should “listen to his people”, giving the first hint of a possible shift in the US position.

Subsequent statements from the US side offer a clear picture of how Washington strived to stay on top of the developments.

Obama (February 1): (to Mubarak) Do not run again.

Special envoy Frank Wisner (February 2): (Private meeting with Mubarak) Your presidency is at an end. You should prepare for an orderly transition.

Obama (February 2): (phone call with Mubarak) An orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. Praises to Egypt’s military for showing restraint.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (February 2): Time for transition in Egypt is now.

Obama (February 3): Egypt should have a system of government that will meet the aspirations of its people.

US officials (February 4): Mubarak must transfer power to a transitional government run by the VP Omar Suleiman and supported by the military.

First US tweet in Arabic (February 9): President Obama is committed to the view that Egyptians are the ones who need to decide their own fate.

Having spent the early weeks frantically lobbying world governments on Mubarak’s behalf, the government of Israel would also get in stride with Washington’s changed position after a while and proclaim its support for a smooth transition in Egypt.

US pressing for the same script in other countries

The extent of change achieved so far by the popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia seems to have assuaged imperialistic qualms. In both countries, the will for revolution was evident from the start. But the mass movements lacked focus as well as a commonly shared vision that went beyond the toppling of the individual dictators, and this critical failing has prevented the formulation of a strategy that could pursue qualitative transformation. Pent-up frustration was released at little or no cost to global interests, and power was transferred to figures who enjoy wholehearted imperialist approval.

The vague promise of ‘orderly transition’ won the day, whetting US appetite for more change. On February 12, Obama declared Mubarak’s ouster in Egypt “was only the beginning.”

February 14 saw the US proclaim open support to regime opponents in Iran. Two days later Obama stated his hope that “the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government."

Considering the reticence displayed a year ago when Washington was careful to assume a ‘neutral stance’ during weeks of protests in post-election Iran, one can observe that the US feels emboldened by recent developments in the Middle East and is more prepared to take decisive steps.

What role for Turkey in the scenario?

In his visit to Iran last week, addressing the host country on a live TV broadcast, Turkish president Abdullah Gül drew attention to ongoing popular revolts in the region and asserted that peoples’ demands had to be recognized. Radical reforms might be called for, he said.

When the always calculating Gül voices a pro-reform message in a country on edge where members of parliament are demanding the execution of opposition leaders, one has to wonder if the Justice and Democracy Party is auditioning for a part in Washington’s game. Likewise, after avoiding any mention of events in Tunisia at a time when a series of localized protest rallies in Turkey were being crushed by customary police violence, Erdoğan would quickly jump on the bandwagon once Obama’s position became evident and make several well publicized statements endorsing the protestors in Egypt.

Touting the ‘Turkish model’

In Tunisia and Egypt the revolts appear successfully contained for the time being, with power entrusted to transitional governments loyal to the West. The regimes have gained time to put together a ‘democratic’ façade behind which exploitation can be further modernized and hated market reforms can pick up speed.

Rampant privatizations, ruthless erosion of social security, disregard of labor laws, youth unemployment at rates to rival anywhere on the globe...

A posture of defiance, and a pandemonium of ‘change’ that somehow only serves to consolidate allegiance to international dictates... That is the kind of free market democracy that imperialism would like to prescribe to the rebellious Middle East, and it has a tried and tested model at hand.

“Take your cues from the Justice and Democracy Party of Turkey,” is the call raised from capital cities of the West. Hence, the renewed interest in Turkey in these past few weeks as a ‘democratic moderate Islamic country’, and accolades for the JDP that were rehashed most recently by David Lidington, UK’s Minister of State for Europe and NATO, when he asserted that he would “far rather the Islamic world, and particularly the young people of the Arab and the wider Muslim world, looked to Prime Minister Erdogan as their model political leader rather than to a Mr. Ahmadinejad.”

Not content with merely promoting the JDP as a model, opinion makers have lately taken to suggesting that the party could help negotiate with Egypt’s Moslem Brothers. Reliably pro-Western, market friendly Islamists appear to be a winning formula as far as imperialism is concerned.

Peace Rally and March Marking 8th Anniversary of US Invasion of Iraq

Peace Network - Portland, Oregon / 503.888.7455


EVENT: Peace Rally and March Marking Eighth Anniversary of US Invasion of Iraq
DATE: Saturday, March 19, 2011
TIME: 12:30pm Music / 1:00pm Rally / 1:30pm Peace March
PLACE: Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Yamhill & Broadway, downtown Portland, Oregon

CONTACT 1: Dan Handelman
Peace and Justice Works
(503) 236-3065 (Office)

CONTACT 2: William Seaman
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition
(503) 888-7455 (cell)

For Immediate Release

Eight Years in Iraq - Nine Years in Afghanistan: How is the War Economy Working for You?


On Saturday, March 19, 2011, there will be a peace march and rally to mark the 8th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, tying the nation's failing economy to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. "Eight Years in Iraq--Nine Years in Afghanistan: How is the War Economy Working for You?" will take place at Pioneer Courthouse Square (SW 6th and Yamhill) in Portland, Oregon, featuring music, speakers, and a march through downtown Portland. The rally is set to begin at 1:00 PM with the march at 1:30 PM; music will begin at 12:30 PM.

"Our wars and our over-blown war machine don't make us safer, and they don't make us healthier, better educated, or happier either, said Curt Bell, a retired scientist and a volunteer with the Peace Action Group of Portland's First Unitarian Church, one of the many organizations planning the March 19th action. "People need to stand up and say NO to our war machine and how it misuses our precious resources."

Topics to be covered by the event include:

. End the Wars and Occupations - Bring the Troops Home Now
. Fund Jobs, Healthcare and Human Needs, Not the War Machine
. Stand for Civil Rights at Home and Abroad
. Take Action!

The growing list of cosponsors and endorsers for the March 19th action now includes Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group (503-236-3065), Portland Peaceful Response Coalition (503-344-5078), Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Peace Action Group - First Unitarian Church Portland, Military Families Speak Out-Oregon, Portland Labor for Peace and Justice, Portland Area Rethinking Schools, Alliance for Democracy - Portland Chapter, East Timor Action Network/Portland, pdxjustice Media Productions, KBOO 90.7 FM Community Radio (kboo.fm), Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church, Living Earth , Augustana Lutheran Church, People's Activist Cafe, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-Portland Branch, Families for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, Portland Jobs with Justice, Freedom Socialist Party, Veterans for
Peace Chapter 72, Iraq Veterans Against the War-Oregon Chapter, War Resisters League-Portland, Metanoia Peace Community-United Methodist Church, Northwest Veterans for Peace, Little Light of Mine Friends Worship Group, Women in Black, International Socialist Organization, No War Drum Corps, Sisters of the Road, Jewish Voice for Peace, Flying Focus Video Collective (media endorser), Shelly's Garden, Oregon Wildlife Federation, Back 2 the Wall, Recruiter Watch PDX, Mirador, Five Star Cleaners, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, and others. For an updated list of cosponsors and endorsers, please visit: http://www.pjw.info/march1911cosponsors.html

For more information or for organizations to get involved, please contact Peace and Justice Works at 503-236-3065. To arrange for interviews with event organizers or speakers, please call (503) 888-7455.

February 21, 2011

On February 21st; Salem Activists Rally For: Education? For Union Rights? All of the Above?

Approximately 1000 people attended a rally at the Oregon State Capitol today (February 21) in support of education funding in Oregon and in support of Wisconsin's public sector unions. Folks attending the rally came from Oregon's teachers unions, from Oregon's public sector unions, a smattering of kids were brought in from educational lobbying organizations such as Stand for Children as well as from various school districts in the northern Willamette Valley.

While today's rally was well attended, it suffered greatly from a lack of focus and confused direction. Rally speakers came entirely from Oregon's official education establishment, and in traditional style spoke narrowly to the issue of education funding. Even the funding message was watered down for legislative and media consumption. The "deficit" paradigm was accepted by most speakers, and the call was for the Oregon Legislature to be not too rough in their cuts to the education budget.

At the same more than half of those attending today's rally were wearing red in support of Wisconsin public sector workers and unions. Many others were wearing their local union's colors. The majority of the signs people were carrying carried messages supporting worker and labor rights, and solidarity with Wisconsin workers' struggle against Governor Scott "Hosni" Walker's union-busting legislation.

Many of those I spoke to at the rally were visibly and vocally angry about the current assault on public sector unions. For those attending, including many union members, the attack on public sector unions is a gut level assault to their civil rights on the job. No union means no grievance procedure, no work rules, no bargained lay-off and recall process... No workers' rights!

Yet not one speaker spoke to what was on the mind of so many of those attending today's rally!

Today's Rally as Microcosm of What's Wrong with America's Progressive Movement:

There probably are some reasons related to the organizing of today's rally which lead to such a disconnect between those attending the rally and those organizations and their speakers who originally organized the event.

The original rally was set up by education lobbyists, legislators and school district administrations. As such, the original rally was meant to be an event by the educational establishment aimed at legislators. How a labor event with a militant purpose got grafted onto such a narrow lobbying event is beyond me, yet this is most likely the reason for the disconnect.

Regarding the disconnect, there's something else far more substantial going on I suspect.

The substance of the disconnect has a lot more to do with the widening gulf between those who are taking the brunt of the current economic collapse: the workers, teachers, and poor; and the organizations that purport to represent those taking the brunt of the punishment.

While the anger of those hurt rises, these folks' organizations instead are increasingly compromising with the right-wing assault even as they attempt to negotiate with the right-wing. This was demonstrated in today's rally with its tepid messaging aimed at lobbyists and legislators. This tendency to "cave" has demonstrated itself over the past two years in the behavior of Washington D.C.'s Democratic Party, and is currently being demonstrated by Wisconsin's public unions and their giving in to Governor Walker's economic cuts outside of the bargaining table and thus from a position of weakness.

That Which Cannot Be Named:

I suspect that those on the progressive end of things will continue to have difficulty fighting back until those of us on "Main Street" can share some common assumptions with those who purport to represent our progressive politics. Those of us on the progressive end of things and who are on "Main Street" know damned well that the rich, their corporations, and their Republican Party are out to bury us. Take away the fluffy language, and most of us know that this right-wing won't be happy until most of us are on the street, living in our cars, and willing to work for any wage no matter how low the pay or how poor the working conditions.

Our organizations however remain completely unwilling to consider the truth about the rich and their right-wing; maybe because there's a fear among our leaders that they won't be invited to "the big table" if they challenge the rules of the current paradigm or otherwise upset the national dialogue.

Either way though, we are crippled if we stand loyally by our organizations, even as they duck the fights and refuse to call the big questions.

A Few Simple Facts:

As I see it, a progressive agenda is not possible until, as a movement, we can acknowledge a few key facts: For instance:

-The wealthiest 1% of the US population owns 25% of the nation's wealth.

-Non-financial US corporations are currently sitting on $1.3 trillion in uninvested capital. This money won't be invested until it becomes profitable... Which means until the rest of us are willing to work for anything.

-Draw the conclusion that "the money" isn't in the personal bank accounts of public sector workers. That "the money" isn't with the poor either... So where is it? This is the question that progressives and their organizations need to face; directly and loudly!

February 17, 2011

Direct From Egypt...

Declaration by the Striking Workers of Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla

We, the 24 thousand striking workers of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla al-Kubra, on February 16, 2011 declare that we refuse to continue being forced to be members in the governmental Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF). Hence, we demand that the company administration stop deducting from our salaries subscriptions that are paid to the General Union of Spinning and Textile Workers, which is a member of the ETUF.

We, the workers of Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, are hereby joining the new Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, whose Constituent Body was formed on January 30, 2011.

Direct From Wisconsin....

Things are continuing to HOP here in Green Bay. We had a kickass rally yesterday in GB, about 2000 people showed up to the Courthouse. The weather has been phenomenally cooperative, warm (in the high 30s/low 40s, amazing for February!) a little damp today, but practically a heat wave. Below is my colleague Peg's report from Madison. The bill was passed out of committee despite people testifying until 3 a.m. Tuesday/Wednesday. The vote is supposed to be today and the Rs still say they have enough votes to pass it. Deb

Sisters and Brothers,

Today's rally was nearly double the size yesterday's. Historic- in a town known for capitol protests. Twenty to thirty thousand gathered at the Capitol to protest this union busting bill. Look at the Badger Herald and Madison.com for some great photos.

With Madison Schools closed today, many children came to the rally. Some with their parents. Some in groups with their teachers. I am told a group of grade school kids were chanting "What's disgusting? Union Busting!" Parents support the teacher walk out. Many are commenting, "what a great civics lesson."

I saw two children who, while waiting with their parents for the bus home at our staging area, were making little snowball-sized snow men. Lots of them. I asked what all those snowmen were up to, the boy said, "protesting."

Madison schools are closed again tomorrow. Tonight, Wisconsin's largest teacher's union (70,000) WEAC called for all members to come to Madison, tomorrow. Area TV stations are scrolling school closings as if it were a snow day tomorrow.

Tonight the Joint Finance Committee voted the union busting bill out of committee. It is expected to be voted on in the senate tomorrow where we need three Republican senators to break way to defeat the bill -passage by the Republican dominated house is assured. So, we will likely know tomorrow if this bill becomes law.

Obama Comes To Portland---We Protest

From Jobs With Justice:

Mr. President: Oregon Can't Afford Another Job-Killing Trade Deal
Speak Out Against the Korea Free Trade Agreement - the Largest Since NAFTA

Press Event & Rally
Friday, February 18 * 9:30 - 11:00 am

Main Gate at Intel's Ronler Acres Facility
2501 NW 229th Ave
Hillsboro, Oregon

President Obama will be touring an Intel plant in Hillsboro on Friday, talking about steps to make the U.S. more competitive in the global economy. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is expected to introduce the Korea Free Trade Agreement for a vote in Congress literally any day now.

Join displaced workers, fair trade activists and others outside the Intel Ronler Acres plant's main gate to demonstrate Oregon's opposition to the Korea FTA. The Korea pact is the largest FTA since NAFTA, and is projected to displace 888,000 American jobs within just seven years. Employees in high-tech electronics industries like semiconductors and solar panels are expected to be among the biggest losers under this trade deal.

Please do your best to arrive on time so that we have the biggest crowd possible at our rally for the cameras. We'll then stick around to welcome the President. There is legal parking available at Hondo Dog Park, less than a half-mile north of our rally site, at 4499 NW 229th Ave (just north of Evergreen Parkway). From US-26 West take exit 62A for Cornelius Pass Rd South. Merge onto Cornelius Pass and travel 0.6 miles, then take a right on Evergreen Parkway and go another 0.6 miles. When you hit 229th, Hondo Dog Park will be on your right, Intel on your left.

If at all possible, please RSVP to elizabeth@oregonfairtrade.org with your email address and cell phone number. We'll then let you know the latest the night before and the morning of the rally -- including about informal "shuttle service" from the Dog Park to the rally.

Willamette University Organizes

4th Sunday at 4
February 27, 2011
490 - 19th NE (corner Breyman)


Come learn about peace, justice and sustainability, as well as newer issues on campus such as: men working against violence against women; white anti-racist groups, GLBTQ, "intersectionality," environmental justice, food justice, etc.

Students may be lower key these days than in the 60s and 70s, but they are thoughtful and engaged. Join us to hear from:
Jon Gates , Willamette University Men Against Violence Against Women
Emily Moore, Director of the 2011 Tunnel of Oppression
Ruth Ubaldo and Leigh Anne Greenfield, Anti-Racism
Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm, Peace Issues

Bring a friend and join us to learn about and discuss these issues.

4 p.m., February 27, followed by POTLUCK SUPPER.


February 16, 2011


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Class War in Wisconsin

Almost all large and mid-sized cities in the USA have a building towards the center of town called, "The Armory". We often know about the Armory in our city because these old buildings are oft the home of concerts and other large public events.

What most people don't know is the history of these buildings called, "The Armory". Armories were built in the 1870s and 1880s as a place to stash weapons and train militia for the purpose of putting down strikes with violence. Specifically, the building of Armories were a state by state response to the Great Railroad Strike of 1876.

Although it has been a lot of years since armories were used for their original purpose, Wisconsin State Governor, Scott Walker warned Wisconsin's public sector workers a few days ago that he is prepared to use the Wisconsin National Guard to suppress actions by workers and their unions in response to his bill to end collective bargaining rights and impose draconian benefit cuts:

Once again armories can be used for the original purpose! Why am I not thrilled?

Wisconsin's public sector workers are however, fighting back.

Today, in Madison Wisconsin, around 15,000 demonstrators have blocked up the Wisconsin State Capitol Building while calling on legislators to "kill the bill". Additionally, the Madison, Wisconsin school district had to cancel school today when 40% of the district's staff called in sick.

Wisconsin and the Rest of the USA:

Virtually all 50 states are having their own versions of "Wisconsin" going on right now. Depending on local circumstances, the local remedies proposed by state governments range from wage freezes and deep benefit cuts (such as here, in Oregon), to cancellation of public workers' collective bargaining rights, to legislation which would allow states to declare bankruptcy in order to void commitments to workers and citizens.

Included in every state are plans to cut vital safety net programs, cut K through 12 education and prohibitively raising the cost of a university education to levels increasingly allowing only the well-off to send their kids to college.

Workers and The Public vs. Private Sector Myth:

Right-wing state and municipal level politicians will tell the public that that the attack on public sector workers is because public workers are paid way too much. According to such types, public sector workers and their unions have been given this "red carpet" treatment because they've supported Democrats... According to these right-wing types, the same logic applies to those on the rolls of safety net programs. According to these right-wing types, it is the poor and government workers who have been "stealing" the money which the "rest of us hard working people" have worked so hard for.

Here, the right-wing is doing all it can to drive a wedge between the public sector and private sector workers. Thus, right-wing types will deny or gloss over the fact that the UAW agreed to wage cuts up to 50% for Chrysler and GM, that the right wing and centerists in Washington D.C. are gearing up for another trade agreement (with South Korea) which inevitably will lead to more job loses, that organized workers in the private sector are being faced with unprecedented and draconian cuts from their (generally profitable) private sector employers as well.

The right wing isn't leading an attack on public sector workers; instead, it's leading an attack on everybody who works and lives off a pay check.

The Big Picture:

If one were to take a wide look at things, one might suspect that many governments, here at the local level, across the USA, and in many places throughout the world, are actively doing all that they can to increase unemployment, wage devaluation and poverty throughout the world. The word "austerity" is everywhere, or so it seems...

I think the "big picture" view of things is right.

Back to Wisconsin; if Scott Walker and his Republicans have their way, "Main Street, Wisc." will erode quite a bit. Wage and benefit cuts hitting public sector workers will lead to a lot less currency rippling through the Main Street economy (harming retail and public sector related employment), Wisconsin's unemployment rate will jump as other public sector workers are laid off and programs canceled, and if you want to multiply the Wisconsin effect by 50 states, the quality of life and the economy of the lower 80% of the rest of us will deteriorate to even worse standards.

"It Ain't Over til It's Over":

The "Big Picture" is however, not inevitable.

If we think like Egyptians, we can comprehend a world where people who are mobilized and determined can upset any regime, no matter how powerful the regime seems. If we realize the obvious truism that the world works day to day, hour to hour, because billions of people make this world work through their labor, then justice can become a force to be reckoned with.

February 12, 2011


The United National Antiwar Committee has issued a statement about the recent victory in Egypt. UNAC is the coalition of local and national antiwar organizations who have been planning a National Mobilization with Bi Coastal Demonstrations around the demands of: Bring The Troops Home Now! End U.S. Wars and Occupations! Money For Jobs, Not For War! Demonstrations will be in New York on April 9th and San Francisco on April 10th.

Their statement about Egypt makes some important points about how the Egyptians ongoing struggle intersects with our special obligations as antiwar activists in the United States. "No military regime in power has ceded true democracy to their people. Obama has made clear he is solidly committed to Omar Suleiman, who has collaborated with Washington in its rendition and torture policies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted in the New York Times as saying that Washington would help organize political parties for future elections in Egypt." This makes clear what we already knew. The U.S. plans to manipulate ongoing events in

It is more important than ever that we keep up the pressure and build the upcoming demonstrations. In addition we need to expand the discussions with our friends and co workers. Those of us who are opposed to U.S. wars and U.S. occupations must not limit our sights to Iraq and Afghanistan. We must pressure for the U.S. to cut off 1.3 billion in military aid that the U.S. gives to Egypt yearly.
U.S. warships headed for Egypt must be immediately turned around.
All U.S. soldiers serving in Egypt, such as those in the Multinational Force in the Sinai must be immediately withdrawn.
From its founding, UNAC has opposed all U.S. aid to Israel. The pressure for this demand is even more important now.
For more information about upcoming events and a list of all organizations who are endorsing the upcoming demonstrations - www.unacpeace.org

February 9, 2011

Faith-Labor Breakfast To Be Held In Portland

Please join us for the 9th Annual Faith-Labor Breakfast
Tuesday March 1, 2011


St. Philip Neri Parish 2408 SE 16th Ave

The breakfast celebrates and builds on the long tradition of shared values in the struggle for justice and the common good. Particularly, in these difficult economic times, as workers' struggle to maintain health benefits, jobs, and wages, workers need community support. Our communities need workers to fight these battles as they affect the standard of living for all of us.Let us share our stories and thoughts at the breakfast.

Cost for the breakfast is $10.00 per person. No one will be turned away at the door for lack of funds. To register online please visit afl.salsalabs.com/o/4023/c/202/p/salsa/event/common/public/

If you have questions please contact Brenda at Jobs with Justice: 503-236-5573.


As the Egyptian Government threatens the Pro-Democracy protesters with possible martial law, they are bolstered by strikes, sit-ins across the nation. This is the second day of working class actions outside the major cities, including at the mouth of the Suez Canal.

Al Jazeera correspondents estimate 20,000 factory workers stayed away from work today. Some had financial demands for wage increases that had been promised and some workers added the demand that Mubarak step down.

Strikes of postal workers, textile workers, the Health Ministry and even at the government newspaper were initiated today.

Port Said - At the mouth of the Suez Canal protesters occupied the city's Central Square. 6,000 workers at 5 Service Companies owned by the Suez Canal Authority began a sit-in yesterday.

2,000 textile workers in the city of Suez demonstrated and in the city of Mohalla 1500 workers blocked roads. 2,000 workers went on strike at Sigma Pharmaceuticals in Quesna. 5,000 unemployed youth stormed the government building in Aswan.

Even the best television coverage that we are getting is only showing Tahrir Square in Cairo. How long until we hear about the Union struggles happening all over Egypt?