September 30, 2012

Labor Unionists and Allies—“World's Most Targeted Union” Needs Your Support

The Fensuagro farm workers union is one of the most persecuted unions in the world. In almost 36 years of existence the union has lost well over 1,500 members to assassinations. Others have been “disappeared” and with its representation of workers in rural areas, it is the union most affected by displacement. Considering that Colombia leads the world in both the number of unionists murdered each year and in the number of people who are internally displaced—and considering that 70% of these internal refugees are from rural areas—it is easy to see why some make the claim that no other labor organization is more targeted for violence and repression. And the situation continues: Fensuagro has seen an increase this year in both murders and threats. These attacks are also directed against the Patriotic March (Marcha Patriotica), Colombia’s largest popular mobilization for peace, co-founded by Fensuagro. This situation has arisen in the midst of great hope as Colombia enters into negotiations to end almost 50 years of war. However, there are those who want to see peace fail—and these forces are propelling the attacks against Fensuagro and the Patriotic March.

Click Here to Send AfGJ’s Campaign for Labor Rights a Letter to Find Out What You Can Do to Help

Last July, the Alliance for Global Justice announced to our supporters that the United Steelworkers, the California Labor Federation and the South Bay Labor Federation had sent letters or passed resolutions in solidarity with Fensuagro, calling on the Colombian government to assure the union’s safety and alerting US government officials, asking that they monitor the situation, especially since the uptick in repression has coincided with the passage and implementation of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

AfGJ’s Campaign for Labor Rights mailed a letter to every AFL-CIO Central Labor Federation and Council in the United States, asking that they adopt similar resolutions of solidarity with Fensuagro. The letter also included copies of the USW letter signed by Pres. Leo Gerard, and of the California and South Bay Labor Federation resolutions.


Your regional labor federation or council should have received the AfGJ / Campaign for Labor Rights letter by now. However, in a world where offices are inundated with information, from the mail in the mailbox to the emails in the inbox, we realize that just sending a letter is not enough. This effort needs that “local push”. We need you. Are you a delegate to your labor federation or council? Do you know someone who is? Then please contact us. Click here to send an email via our web page or you can send one directly to James Jordan at or you can call  202-544-9355  ext. 3. We would like to talk to you about speaking to this resolution, or finding someone who is authorized to do so, at your upcoming October meeting. We need you to give the legs to this effort—or better, to give it voice by making sure  a motion is made in its support. If you contact us, we will make sure you get copies of the USW, CLF and SBLF documents, plus our cover letter.

We also want to encourage people to ask for similar solidarity resolutions from other organizations: your local union, church, peace group…wherever you come together with other members of your community!

Real international labor solidarity must come from the bottom up—it must be truly worker to worker, propelled by local communities. That’s why we are asking labor unionists around the country to take action to support this call for solidarity.

For many years, AfGJ has been the only US government with a program of ongoing solidarity with Fensuagro—a distinction we are happy to see come to an end. We know all too well that labor solidarity is the most powerful tool in the toolbox for worker to worker internationalism. Especially in an environment where Capital is transnational and global, workers must stay apace and learn to stand together across borders. For the most targeted union in the world, Fensuagro, this resolution is an important beginning place in building a chain of solidarity that, taken to its logical conclusion, can truly change the world.

Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Annual Conference: LABOR UNDER ATTACK: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future

Call for Presentations, Workshops, and Papers

Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Annual Conference
Portland, Oregon
May 3-5, 2013
LABOR UNDER ATTACK:  Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future

 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, whose organizing in the Northwest resulted in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia being one of the most strongly unionized regions of the US and Canada by the end of World War II.
How will we preserve the gains of the CIO era, and build a new labor movement?  What are the connections between the CIO and progressive political movements, and our own unions and popular movements like Occupy? This year’s 45th PNLHA Conference in Portland gives workers, unionists, scholars and community activists an opportunity to reflect on some of these themes and examine the prospects for a revitalized labor movement in our time.

We invite proposals for presentations, panels, workshops and papers related to this theme.  The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association strongly encourages participatory methods for program presentations, including popular education exercises, panel discussions, oral history, and the arts, as well as traditional scholarly presentations.  Proposals dealing with Canadian themes are strongly encouraged.

For the 2013 conference we are casting a broad net for proposals.  Some topics we are particularly interested in include:

  • The CIO in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon 
  • The Left-led Unions in the PNW 
  • Workers Art, Song and Culture
  • Immigrant Workers in the PNW—Then and Now
  • Independent Political Movements in the PNW:  The Commonwealth Federations
  • Labor and the Occupy Movement
  • Union Insurgent Movements
  • Labor and the New Left
  • The History of Public Employee Unions and the Current Assault on Bargaining Rights

Proposals for workshops and panels should include a 1-2 page summary, a list of presenters and/or papers to be delivered, a short biography or vitae for each participant, contact information, and any av needs.  Individual paper proposals are also welcome.

The deadline for proposals is January 15, 2013. Submitters will be notified on the status of their proposals by February 15, 2013.

Please submit proposals to:
Laurie Mercier
PNLHA Program Co-Chair
Washington State University Vancouver

Principles to assess/guide projects to build an eco-just economy

From Freedom Road:

The FRSO/OSCL Ecology Work Team has developed these principles to help us assess the wide range of on-the-ground projects that is being done in to advance eco-justice work or to build ‘sustainable’ or ‘regenerative’ economies. We hope that it will help us to clarify what kinds of work our organization wants to build that reflect our emerging line on ecology, economy and the national question. These principles were first identified at a December 2011 retreat and were revised to reflect issues raised at the summer 2012 regional meetings.
  1. Principles About Whose Needs are Centered/Addressed
The project/experiment should:
  • Be based in working class, oppressed nationality communities and spread out from there. Put women of color and children first.
  • Create work with pay/compensation that allows people to live with dignity, to sustainably meet all of their needs (housing, food, health care, education, childcare, etc. –a real living wage).
  • Think beyond ‘job creation’ to the broader question of work: what work needs done? What work can people do/do people want to do?
  • Give workers control over the conditions of employment via self-organization in unions and cooperative management structures.
  • Create access to work for people usually excluded from it (undocumented, climate refugees, formerly incarcerated).
    • E.g Co-ops can provide jobs to undocumented whereas other formations cannot.
    • E.g. National Domestic Workers Alliance: includes call for a new visa category and  path to citizenship for care workers.
  1. Principles About Rebuilding Communities/Resilience
The project/experiment should:
  • Ground projects in working class, indigenous and other oppressed nationality communities’ fight for control of land, space, resources, and jobs.
  • Revalue work that’s been made invisible (social reproductive work, care giving, organizing).
  • Reweave the social web and social networks: helping people unlearn & relearn what we need to form this new system.
    • Re-educate away from individualism and consumerism.
    • Value organizing and democratic processes.
    • Lift up and restore traditional ways and knowledge, local culture.
    • Promote work processes that build relationships and reciprocity between all community members.
  • Promote local energy, food, and water sovereignty.
  1. Principles About Restoring the Earth
The project/experiment should:
  • Do no harm to the Earth.
  • Green existing industry.
    • Include a ‘’Just Transition” for workers and communities negatively impacted.
  • Rapidly transition off fossil fuels.
    • Not validate false solutions like so-called “clean-coal.”
    • Include reparations and restoration for workers and communities negatively impacted.
  • Get renewable energy into working class communities of color.
  • Actively work to restore ecological balance/integrity: i.e. restore wet lands, make buildings green, green existing industry, replace vacant lots with community gardens.
  • NOT create environmental health problems for workers or communities, even if it is remediating an environmental problem (i.e. not like Katrina, BP Oil Spill clean-up, which had negative health impact on workers).
  • Be built on major reductions in consumption , not ‘greener’ mass consumption to feed the capitalist growth imperative.
  1. Principles About Being Scalable, Sustainable and Bridging Local/National/Global Economies:
The project/economy should
  • Have the potential to scale up and/or link up to meet the needs of millions, even as we maintain local economies and community control.
  • Be able to harness state power (via national-scale organization and demands) required to put 25 million un/underemployed people to work and meet vast ‘social wage’ gaps?
    • E.g. Federal jobs programs like New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps.
    • Mobilize government offices, schools and public resources at every level.
    • Support public sector workers especially in the South and Southwest.
  • Discussion of green economy has to include question of military budget.
    • The Bolsheviks’ Bread, Peace and Land demand: the left needs to re-assert it as part of our discussion on state power/role of the state.
    • “No War, No Warming, Build Peoples’ Economies” (from Grassroots Global Justice campaign).

Richard Aoki and Lessons for the Movement

From Freedom Road:

The recent releases of information about Richard Aoki have generated quite a stir. For those who haven’t been following and aren’t familiar, Aoki was a well-known Japanese-American radical starting in the 1960s and ’70s who played a key role in the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area and who died in 2009. Unexpectedly, on August 20th the journalist Seth Rosenfeld with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) announced, in conjunction with a book that he was about to publish on the FBI’s historical attacks on student radicals, that FBI documents identify Richard Aoki as an FBI informant.

Richard Aoki
Richard Aoki

The allegations raised a furor on the Left. At the center of the debate was the question of whether the evidence presented by Rosenfeld could be trusted or whether it was misinterpreted and/or manufactured. This debate was fired by the fragmentary nature of the evidence released at that point. Based on that initial evidence, it was broadly felt in the movement that Rosenfeld hadn’t proved his claims.

Subsequently, on September 7, Rosenfeld and CIR released a flood of over 200 pages of further documents from the FBI informant file in question that appear to solidify the most basic claim that Aoki was an FBI informant. There remain unanswered questions and contradictions from these files, illustrating the kind of sloppiness typical of FBI work in general.

To sum up the history, Aoki become an informant by at least 1961 after he had gotten in trouble with the law at a young age. He informed first on the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party, and then most importantly on the Black Panther Party. However, there is evidence that as Aoki involved himself more deeply in the movement and became radicalized, the FBI found his reliability as an informant to be increasingly questionable. Ultimately by the early 1970s his role apparently ceased. Various people have speculated that in the latter years of this relationship Aoki may have started acting as a double agent, providing information to the movement about the FBI at the same time he was providing information to the FBI. Aoki became an educator at UC Berkeley and Merritt College and continued for decades raising the political consciousness of subsequent generations of Asian American youth.

The most important value for the movement in discussing Richard Aoki’s history is to draw out political lessons for the future. In that vein, here are some points.

Read more here.

PSUFA to host event on Labor's Role in Resistance Movement

Local 3571 (PSUFA) is hosting “Labor in a Constellation of Resistance,” the first in a series of discussions on October 11, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., in SMSU 323, on the Portland State University campus.
Attendees will participate in an open discussion of the relationship between organized labor and other social/political/environment issues today. They will learn the role that labor has played in global resistance movements in the last year. And discuss how unions (including PSUFA) can participate more meaningfully in these struggles.

For more information, contact: Ben Cushing

No Attack on Iran - Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement - from Iranian Women's and Peace Organizations

Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement
By Raha: Iranian Feminist Collective and Havaar
Introduction by Bill Fletcher, Jr., BC Editorial Board

The Black Commentator
Sept 27, 2012- Issue 487


By Bill Fletcher, Jr., BC Editorial Board

In the context of repeated threats by Israel to attack Iran and discussions in the USA - particularly within the Israeli lobby - about the need for US involvement in such an attack,  it may at first glance seem odd to pay any attention to the internal situation in Iran. After all, an attack on Iran would be blatant aggression under the pretext of stopping a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Note: Iran) from developing nuclear power that could, under certain circumstances, be used to produce the sorts of nuclear weapons possessed by a non- signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Note: Israel).

Yet politics is never linear. At each moment an actual situation is layered and so it is in the case of Iran. A regime that frequently uses anti-imperialist rhetoric also crushes internal opponents, be they ethnic minorities or political dissidents. The Iranian regime will preach against the threats to Iran's sovereignty, but undermines the right of workers to form and join labor unions. This same regime will denounce Western imperialism, but go forward enthusiastically in embracing neo-liberal economics and attempting to cut the best deals that it can with Western corporations.

Politics is always complicated.

We are reminded of this in reading the open-letter from the Raha Iranian Feminist Collective to the anti-war movement in the USA. All too often those in the USA who will speak out against aggression by US imperialism and the tyranny of many of the allies of Western imperialism, will remain strangely silent about injustice, inequality and tyranny when perpetrated by countries that utilize anti-imperialist rhetoric. Instead of examining the content of policies, many US progressives remain satisfied that if, as in this case, Iranian President Ahmadinejad denounces Western imperialism that this means that he is a supporter of social justice and freedom. The story does not stop with Ahmadinejad. There are various leaders, countries and movements that sing a certain political tune, and many US progressives are ready to embrace them without stopping to examine the all-round dimensions of the situation.

The Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, then, poses a challenge to US progressives. On the one hand, and without qualification, they implore us to actively oppose any aggression against Iran. They want to ensure that people of good will are not tricked into believing that attacks on Iran will somehow advance the cause of democracy and liberation. If anything, attacks will harden the stance and position of the Iranian theocracy.

At the same time, the Collective wishes that we in the USA better understand that the internal situation, with high levels of repression and injustice, necessitates attention and global solidarity. In other words, the movements for justice in Iran need the support of people - not governments - as they fight to transform Iran. In that sense it is no different than one offering solidarity to workers in Mexico fighting neo- liberal governments, popular movements in Algeria fighting corruption and tyranny, or movements in Greece against austerity and growing authoritarianism. The movements in each of these places - and many more - need to settle accounts with their own elites, but in so doing they need global attention and global solidarity in their struggle. Such solidarity, however, does not include military strikes by duplicitous

There are those who believe that the position taken by organizations such as the Raha Iranian Feminist Collective are off-base and naive, somehow providing excuses for external
aggression. Those who believe that are themselves naive and are falling prey to the simplicity of rhetoric when what is called for is independent judgment and analysis, looking at the concrete conditions, and doing what we can to support our friends in other countries who all too often engage in uphill struggles feeling very much alone.

Reading the statement by the Collective, then, is sobering and leads one to move to real discussions about political action, rather than knee-jerk anti-imperialism. We are compelled to
think about how, on the one hand, to stop the threat of war being waged against Iran while at the same time paying close attention to those who seek to transform Iran as part of a larger struggle for global justice.


The upcoming anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan is a crucial time for activists to reflect on the urgent need for an anti-war movement that is committed to opposing systematic
oppression, domination and violence. In the spirit of moving us towards this goal, we feel compelled to respond when individuals and organizations within the movement are harassing and maligning other members of the movement. We need to ask how this reflects on the political and ethical commitments underlying our activism. We need to ask when enough is enough and some kind of collective action is necessary to address an untenable situation.

To read more go here.

Responding to the crackdown on human rights in Turkey

From Bianet:

Anthropologist Tuzcuoğlu and Eight More Released

A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır ruled to release anthropologist Müge Tuzcuoğlu and eight more suspects pending trial in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) suit. Tuzcuoğlu criticized efforts to garner support against such trials through the use of personal imagery and emphasized the institutional nature of such crackdowns.
Diyarbakır - BIA News Center
28 September 2012, Friday

The Diyarbakır Sixth High Criminal Court ruled to release anthropologist Müge Tuzcuoğlu and eight other suspects pending trial in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) suit on Tuesday. The court adjourned the trial for Dec. 14, 2012.

A total of 27 suspects, 19 of them arrested pending trial, are facing charges in the suit that began after law enforcement officials raided the Politics Academy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on March 8, 2012.
The court released Ramazan Kızıltepe, Mehmet Çetin, Müge Tuzcuoğlu, Cavidan Yaman, Mehmet Ekici, Mehmet Salih Yalçınkaya and Türki Gültekin, as well as two other suspects whose names have not yet been disclosed.

"The government is now trying to establish its own system via the judiciary. The profile of other cases across various locations in Turkey also attests to this. We are going to continue facing such legal oppression for as long as the judiciary retains its current mentality," Sezgin Tanrıkulu, an Istanbul deputy of the main opposition People's Republican Party (CHP,) told bianet.

Turkey's current jurisprudence is not fit to bring about a truly fair judicial system, he said, adding that it did not matter whichever judge may be in charge of a trial for as long as the dominant mindset did not change.

"While a certain section of society used to suffer in Turkey due to the [previous] judicial system, now everyone takes their fair share of this cruelty with the broadening scope [of these trials...] There is no reason to make merry because Tuzcuoğlu was released. There are still thousands who remain behind bars," he said.

"An institutional attack against the BDP's academy"

Meanwhile, Tuzcuoğlu told bianet that she was still in a state of shock due to her sudden release, after her life had turned upside down following her arrest on March 8, 2012.
Tuzcuoğlu, an anthropologist who penned the book "Ben Bir Taşım" ("I Am a Stone,") also added that she felt bittersweet despite her release, as a number of her friends still remained locked up behind bars.

"There is not much I can say with respect to the legal aspect [of this situation. Our lawyer] friends do not know how to make sense of anything in this case either," she said.

Tuzcuoğlu also thanked all those who supported her and said their backing showed both the validity of their work, as well as how much the truth of their work unsettled certain people.
"[Authorities] had not released such a large number of people at once in the KCK trials for a long time. I hope this process continues on after this point," she said.

"The only political inmates in the Diyarbakır Prison were women and children. The most fundamental issue is that this is a prison that witnessed grave incidents of the past. You feel the weight of all those years the moment you step in through the door," Tuzcuoğlu said, adding that the prison population was also more than twice its capacity.

"I agree with the criticism against referring to these trials over [the names of specific] persons. There was an institutional attack against the BDP's Diyarbakır Politics Academy, rather than [against individual] persons who were put on trial. That was the context in which we were arrested," she said.

"I wanted the campaigns against my arrest to be directed toward the academia from the start. I wanted the petition campaigns to be conducted not over my person but so as to support the institutions where we worked. Since these attacks were directed against our work, then I think support campaigns should also be conducted with the purpose of reinforcing that work," she added.

Criminal bent or resisting destitution?

"I ended up experiencing the desperation of people up against a world of their own creation in two different circumstances. In both of these situations, I came to realize that understanding the mechanisms that oppress people, or analyzing them in other words, offer real support to the oppressed. I have no doubts that shedding light on [such] monsters constitutes an effective way to chase them out of our lives. This is because anthropology is obliged to [seek its answers] not in texts but among real people," Tuzcuoğlu said in her defense on Tuesday's hearing, according to the daily Evrensel.

"I was arrested seven months ago by [armed people.] This arrest has to do with what a social scientist, a police officer or a legal expert sees when they look at a poor neighborhood. Is that a community with a penchant for criminal activity, or is it the lives of people resisting against being drawn into destitution that seem so perplexing to us?" she said.

"Where should the law or social scientists stand with respect to any act undertaken following a traumatic incident? I believe prison should not be the answer to all my questions," she added.
"So what does the court delegation want? They want me to be put on trial and punished for participating in a four day long education [seminar] on the history of civilization, a subject we had studied in the department of anthropology and for which reason I was called in [to this seminar.] I want people to be free from being put on trial for generating [new] ideas, speaking up or participating in debates in my country. Even the most controversial views distance themselves from violence when [people] can get them across through speech," she said. (EKN)

September 29, 2012


There have been a number of articles throughout the media recently on Washington's dramatic increase in war mongering against China.  They are talking about the "threat" from China and about "redeploying" military personnel and materiel.  Of course like the obedient dog it always is to the capitalist class the AFL-CIO bureaucracy is doing its part with a slimy piece of propaganda.  It even claims that if "we" don't halt China's attack on "our" jobs, trade conflict must lead to armed conflict!

It is particularly disgusting that it is coming out the day after the Chinese working class showed once again at Foxconn their courageous determination to resist exploitation.  Their spirit matches that of Madison, Chicago and Tahrir - but of course there is no working class spirit in the marble halls of the Union Bureaucracy. Class collaboration is always job number one! As it was in the McCarthy era witch hunts and the 1980's support for Central American dictators' repression of democratic unions and of course the silence and zero solidarity for the Chicago Teachers Union Strike because they see their job is to protect the Democratic Party and its support of corporatizing the public education system in this country.

For more information about the propaganda film "Death By China" see the review elsewhere on this website.

September 27, 2012

SOA Watch News & Updates

Two human rights lawyers assassinated in Honduras: take action!

This past Sunday and Monday, two human rights lawyers, Antonio Trejo and Eduardo Diaz, were brutally murdered in Honduras, bringing to over 60 the number of victims caught in the struggle for life and land in the Bajo Aguan in Honduras. The debate over the production of food for families versus bio-fuels for corporations has reached a high note

After the 2009 coup that was led by SOA graduates, massive privatization has become the order of the day for Honduras, with almost everything, from land to entire cities, on the docket for privatization.

Lawyer Antonio Trejo had the valor to take a stand against this. He was defending the right of the MARCA peasant collective to the restoration of their lands in the Lower Aguan valley. These lands were seized 18 years earlier by Honduras’ wealthiest man: Miguel Facussé. Facusse’s Dinant Corporation was using this land to produce African palms, a source of bio fuel .

Trejo’s efforts led to initial success, with a June court decision calling for the return the land to the campesinos, However, pressure from the private corporation led to an overthrow of the court order, as well as the arrest of Trejo and other campesinos protesting the reversal.

Saturday night unknown assailants riddled Trejo's body and car with bullets as he left a wedding. On several occasions, Trejo denounced the threats he had received to the media and had publicly said that if he were killed, Facusse would be responsible.

Trejo had also taken a stand on the controversial proposal by the Honduran government, in conjunction with a US company, MGK Group, to build three privately run cities with their own police, laws and tax systems. Just hours before his murder, Trejo had participated in a televised debate in which he accused congressional leaders of using the private city projects to raise campaign funds.

Only hours after Trejo’s assassination, another human rights lawyer, Eduardo Diaz Madariaga was killed in Choluteca, 84 miles (135 kilometers) south of the capital.

Lawyers Antonio Trejo and Eduardo Diaz lost gave their lives to the struggle for dignity. If you have at least 3 minutes to spare or a 3 cents in your pocket, this is what you can do:

- 3 minutes to spare? Contact your Member of Congress and demand an end to US military aid to Honduras.

- 10 minutes to spare? Learn how Nicaragua found the courage to withdraw their troops from the SOA last month, while neighboring Honduras continues to pay the price for actions of SOA graduates, by reading the report from a recent SOA Watch delegation.

- 3 days to spare? Go to Honduras as an election observer. The National Popular Resistance Front formed a political party, LIBRE, to compete in next years national elections, and primary elections for LIBRE and Honduras’ traditional parties will be held this November. Four LIBRE primary candidates have been killed to date and violence against FNRP activists and members is committed daily

- 10 days to spare? Join Witness for Peace and the Friendship Office of the Americas to see the effects of militarization in Honduras and then take action at the SOA Watch vigil in Georgia.

- No time, but some pocket change? Help sponsor SOA Watch' Human Rights Accompanier with the PROAH Accompaniment Program of Honduras

“Oligarchs beware: the Honduran people of struggle will continue to place our bet on the construction of a dignified life, until we achieve a new society and a new country that we will refound with equality, justice, peace and sovereignty”
- statement by COPIHN, September 25, 2012

Support high quality addictions treatment in your community!

 Support the union members at CODA

Click here to take action now signing a letter to management

Workers at CODA provide mental health and addictions counseling for inpatient and outpatient clients and participate in the drug court for Washington County, saving millions in tax dollars.

High turnover has been a problem at CODA. In the past 16 months, nearly 40% of unionized staff have left, because they can’t afford to work there any longer.  Clients need and expect consistent support from CODA employees in order to achieve their goals. High turnover puts quality outcomes at risk.

Union members are currently in negotiations with CODA. They are asking for respect, dignity and a fair raise to bring them up to the industry standard for their work. Unfortunately, management is proposing a wage freeze, an increase in employee health insurance costs, and a dose of disrespect — management says union members are overpaid because they are “non-professionals.”

SEIU Local 503 members at CODA are asking for your help. Tell Executive Director Tim Hartnett and HR Director Wendi Martin that you support quality addictions treatment in your community and that you support union members at CODA.  Click here to sign the letter.

Movie Review: “Death by China,” a film by Peter Navarro

New Politics September 20, 2012
Dan La Botz

To call this feature-length film xenophobic, fear-mongering and hysterical almost understates the case. The whole thing is so over-the-top that, like a bad horror movie where you can see the strings moving the monster, it leaves us numbed and bored or perhaps laughing. Yet it’s not funny.

"Death by China” opens with shoppers happily buying cheap Chinese products, turns to closed American factories, then to unemployed workers. Talking heads tell us that China, without workers’ rights or environmental controls, competes unfairly with American workers. The animation shows jobs rolling away to Chinese factories, as Chinese bombers, labeled “money manipulation” or “trade deficit,” bomb the American capitol repeatedly. Someone comments, “One day they’re going to own us.”

China is shown as the conqueror of Tibet, as the persecutor of the Falun Gong (imprisoning its believers and harvesting their organs), and as the power behind Iran and Pakistan. Chinese products shown in graphic images threaten the lives and health of Americans, including poisoning American children, as well as killing American pets. Chinese pollution, dragged across the Pacific by a Chinese bomber, covers the United States with smog while dropping particulate matter. We see Chinese preparations for massive military buildup and the troops strutting and missiles rolling through Tiananmen Square, as an authority tell us that China “is the only country in the world preparing to kill Americans.” A Chinese knife stabs into the heart of a stars-and-stripes map of America, and the blood and life ooze out. (For a taste of this film, see the trailer.)

While most of the incidents in the film are true, simply turning from one to another does not help us understand the situation any better. When the movie’s over, we don’t know more about China than most of us did when we went in, and in fact, its oversimplifications of the reality of China and its impact on the world would leave us knowing less, if we could have believed them.

The film seems to be modeled on those 1950s anti-Communist films that mixed cartoons, historical footage and expert voices in the same way. In the end, the film may be so crude that it becomes almost comic, but the sentiments in it and the fears it plays to could lead to tragic consequences if its virulent nationalism were to take hold in the minds of anxious people and find expression in ambitious parties and politicians.

AFL-CIO Sponsors Showings

Who’s promoting this bizarre film with its crude cartoons and Cold War rhetoric? Organized labor. This month, in big cities and small towns throughout Ohio the AFL-CIO’s local labor councils are sponsoring a tour of Peter Navarro and showing of his feature length film “Death by China,” based on the premise that America’s central problem is an on-going and losing trade war with China, a conflict every bit as serious as a genuine military conflict. And failure to deal with trade policy now, Navarro suggests will almost inevitably lead to real military conflict in the not too distant future. America’s trade policy, the film argues, has permitted the Chinese to take over American markets, become America’s chief creditor, and undermine American security. Both at the opening and the end of the film there were brief statements that America’s enemy is the Chinese government, not the Chinese people, but those comments could not begin to temper the dominant message: that the Chinese nation threatens the American nation, and thatwe have to unite to stop them.

Only in the last third of the film does Navarro begin to argue that the real problem is multinational corporations such as Cisco, Ford, Motorola, Intel, Apple, Boeing and GE that move their facilities to China to take advantage of low wages, lack of environmental controls, and China’s undervalued Yuan currency in order to reap enormous profits. These corporations and the National Association of Manufacturers, we are told, use their wealth to influence Congress and to shape America’s trade policies, taking their plants, technology, and jobs to China. But, we are told by Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO’s Policy Director and Chief Economist, corporations are supposed to make a profit: that’s their job. Our job is to get the government to force corporations to behave. To do so, it is suggested, we need a political movement that can force the government to change our trade policy. Various speakers also suggest that we might also need a movement to lead a boycott of Chinese goods.

Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California at Irvine who has run and lost three times as a Democratic Party candidate in San Diego, calls his film non-partisan. Bill Clinton and both Bushes are castigated for their roles in bringing China into the World Trade Organization. Both Republicans and Democrats are featured in the film speaking out against China’s trade policies. Liberal activist actor Martin Sheen narrates the film. Tim Ryan, a Democratic congressman from Youngstown, Ohio, who has introduced bipartisan legislation to stop China’s currency manipulation, is balanced by Dana Rohrabacher, an arch-conservative Republican congressman from California. Many of the talking heads come from the U.S. government’s U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and hold a variety of mostly conservative views. At the same time Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, is prominently featured at a couple of points in the film and policy director Thea Lee more frequently. And clearly the AFL-CIO sees the film as raising their issues, or they wouldn’t be promoting it.

“My goal,” Navarro told the Cincinnati audience, “is to get this issue out there and to get both presidential candidates talking about it and promising to do something about it. If Mitt Romney and Barack Obama promise to deal with our China trade policy, then my job is done,” he told a mostly labor union audience at the Esquire Theater in Cincinnati. Navarro’s film hardly seemed necessary to do that, as both candidates have featured China trade policy in their campaign advertising. Some of those in the audience suggested that politicians will promise anything.

If trade policy is the central point of the film, the maintenance and expansion of manufacturing is the film’s secondary theme. With multinational corporations as the villains, the heroes are small- and medium-sized business owners who the film argues are the country’s job creators. A number of small business owners, men and women, commented on the ways in which Chinese competition and U.S. trade policy had led to the failure or decline of their business, or left them wondering how they would be able to continue. There is the suggestion that this group, the small business class, would be the ones to lead the fight for the future. Business men and women are the heroes. And the workers?

What’s Missing?

Surprisingly for a film being promoted by the AFL-CIO, unions and workers hardly appear except as officials speaking up for policy changes or as workers being laid off. Unions nowhere appear as leading a social movement to fight the multinational corporations or government policies, nor are workers shown anywhere in the film in collective action. While there is from time to time talk of a need for a movement, we don’t see workers occupying the capitol building in Madison in 2011, and we don’t see the Occupy Wall Street movement that followed it. (Actually, a couple of the people in the film appear to have been interviewed at Occupy Wall Street, though the videography lifts them out of the occupation or demonstration, and Navarro carefully avoids mentioning the Occupy movement.) Demonstrations of real power that might lead to changes in policy are nowhere to be seen in this movie.

Also missing are the Chinese workers. The film’s Cold War approach, where China is simply described as a Communist totalitarian country fails to take into account the profound political, economic and social changes of the last few decades. Most important it leaves out of the account altogether the enormous Chinese labor movement that has arisen in the last few years. Every year China sees tens of thousands of protests involving workers and peasants, and those struggles have led both to immediate relief in some cases and to structural reforms that have given workers slightly more leeway. (See Eli Friedman, “China in Revolt.”)

Talking to the audience in the Esquire Theater after the film’s showing, Peter Navarro suggested that we in America need to get together and change trade policy. We need, he said, to be able to compete. The film’s goal is to build a fortress America that can resist the Chinese bombers. To bring together Democrats and Republicans, small business and labor to change U.S. trade policy. Nowhere is there a suggestion of the need for a struggle to defeat the multinational corporations or to deal with the capitalist system. China, not capitalism is the problem. That's a message that should make the multinational corporate executives and medium- and small-businesspeople sleep better. Though those Chinese bombers flying toward the capitol will steal the sleep from some.

Portland Workers' Rights Board Hearing--the high cost of low wage temporary work

Thursday, October 4th, 6:30 pm

Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N Foss

Workers at the City of Portland and Metro who are classified as seasonal or temporary face lower standards and fewer rights than do other workers. The Workers' Rights Board panel will hear some very compelling stories. Many seasonal and temporary workers are neither seasonal nor temporary, but work regularly for public bodies for decades. Some don't have union representation, some do. All face less security, no just cause, and the threat of not being brought back during the next season. WRB panel members include State Representative Michael Dembrow, Rev. Dr. David Wheeler, Dr Veronica Dujon, Rev. Kate Lore, Joel Rosenblit, and Francisco Lopez. Our City and Metro can do better than this. Come out and hear these workers' stories.

Come out for these important actions on Saturday October 6 and 7

'Occupy Portland, Not Afghanistan'. Rally and march on October 6. Teach-in on October 7.

Rally For Paid Sick Days Now! Rally October 6
Our work is made possible due to the generosity of people like you. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

"Occupy Portland, Not Afghanistan" Events Planned October 6 & 7 to Connect Economic Justice and Peace Issues
Saturday: Shemanski Park (South Park Blocks at Salmon)
Sunday: PCC Cascade (N Albina & Killingsworth)
12 noon - 5:00 PM both days

Momentum is building for two days of action protesting the 11th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan and marking one year since the start of Occupy Portland on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7, 2012. At least 50 organizations are now supporting these "Occupy Portland, not Afghanistan" events. On Saturday, a march and rally will begin in Shemanski Park (the South Park Blocks at Salmon St) and on Sunday, workshops will be held at Portland Community College's Cascade Campus (N Albina and Killingsworth). Events on both days will run from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM.

The events revive a collaboration between Occupy Portland and peace and social justice groups established in 2011 when the 10 years in Afghanistan march and rally coincided with the occupations of Lownsdale and Chapman Squares downtown.

For more information or for your organization to get involved, contact Peace and Justice Works (PJW) at 503-236-3065 or go to the Occupy Portland, Not Afghanistan facebook page.

Rally For Paid Sick Days Now!
Hosted by the Portland IWW
Saturday, October 6
4:00 – 6:00pm
at Holladay Park (near Lloyd Center)

“An Illness to One Is Contagious to All!”
The Portland Branch of the Industrial Workers Of The World and the IWW's Food & Retail Workers United will hold a rally as part of our Paid Sick Days Now campaign to win paid sick days for all workers in Portland, Oregon.

Join Us For:
Music: Mic Crenshaw, The Crossettes, and I Wobble Wobble.
Testimony: Workers speaking out about the importance of paid sick days.
Community in Action: Meet other workers and families speaking out together on an issue that affects us all.

Paid sick and safe days are not only vitally important because they allow us to take care to ourselves and our loved ones, they also allow us to priotize our health and safety over making profits for the boses.

In Oregon, 40% of all private sector workers lack paid sick leave and nationally nearly 80% of low income workers have no paid sick leave. This is not merely about our health as workers; only 23% of all food service workers have access to paid sick days, creating a serious public health risk.

If you stand on the side of the working class, and if you believe paid sick days are our right, then come to Holladay Park from 4-6pm on October 6th! Let us stand together and declare, 'An illness to one, is contagious to all'!

Support STRIKE FUND for Walmart Warehouse Workers

We are warehouse workers from Elwood, Illinois where we move goods to the rest of the country for the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart. We are asking for your support in our fight for better jobs.

As it is now, we never know how long our shifts will be or even if we have a job at all. When we do get work, we often have wages stolen and can be fired for any reason, at any time. Many of us have been injured by broken equipment and heavy boxes, have become ill from harmful dust, and management often harasses and discriminates against women. With our livelihoods at stake, we cannot afford the fear of retaliation when reporting these grievances.

Support Our Strike Fund
Sign our Petition
Stand with Us on Oct 1 in Elwood, IL

While working for poverty wages with no benefits, we could no longer take it. A group of us approached management with a list of our concerns including retaliation towards a co-worker who is suing over stolen wages. In response, management in the Walmart warehouse drove a forklift into our group forcing us to scatter or be hit, and then they threatened us and fired our leaders. That's when we walked off the job in protest of these unfair labor practices.

Our work is invisible, and so are the horrible conditions we work under, but we need your help to expose what is happening at the Walmart warehouse and keep up our strike.  We are growing and together we can put a stop to the abuse in Walmart's distribution centers.

Please support our fight by contributing to our strike fund and signing our petition.

In struggle,
Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee

September 26, 2012


La Mariposa and Nicaragua Network
January 2 to 14, 2013

We invite young people to join us in Nicaragua to consider the question..


Social projects, economic development, protection of the environment – are all three possible simultaneously?

Experience, learn and consider the issues through an exciting and powerful combination of--

• Hands on service work in a local school, on an organic farm, on an eco build construction project or helping teach English;
• Visiting a range of social projects, eg. the Managua garbage dump clean up, local housing projects, youth environmental groups;
• A couple of days on the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe to learn whilst swimming, climbing a volcano or just relaxing!
• Talking directly with young Nicaraguans to share their views on the future of the economy and the environment;
• Taking time each day to watch a film, reflect and join in led discussions;
• Staying in an environment where every care has been taken to protect and enhance the local environment – from using solar heated water, eating meals of organic veggies grown on our community garden scheme in a dining hall built of straw to caring for rescued dogs and horses.

Price $1050 (includes lodging, all meals, translation, and in country travel; excludes international air fare) Minimum age is 16 years.

Accommodation in the Mariposa Study Centre will be in single sex dormitories. Two adults will be present at all times. No alcohol.

Situated in the pueblo of La Concepcion (in the Department of Masaya), La Mariposa is a Spanish school, ecohotel, animal rescue centre and as a nonprofit we fund a wide range of community and environmental projects. Check our webpage and tripadvisor reviews.

The Nicaragua Network is a US-based organization that has been working in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua for 33 years. Visit our web page at: To sign up for the weekly Nicaragua News Bulletin in English, go here:

For more information and to apply contact

Global Justice Monitor, September/October 2012

Alliance for Global Justice, Global Justice Monitor, September/October 2012

The Global Justice Monitor is published by the Alliance for Global Justice to educate U.S. citizens about the effects of US policy on the people of Latin America and to build ties of peace and friendship between our two peoples.

Optimism and Hope in Nicaragua: A report back from a recent delegation

by Chuck Kaufman (Alliance for Global Justice)

With the exception of my first trip to Nicaragua to pick coffee in 1987, the Aug. 27-Sept. 5, 2012, delegation which Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice co-sponsored with SOA Watch, had the greatest impact on me. Continue Reading...

Colombian Prison Strikes Continue-Inhumane Conditions “Made in the USA”

by James Patrick Jordan (Alliance for Global Justice)

Strikes involving thousands of prisoners at 21 institutions continue in Colombia against the humanitarian crisis in the jails. Overcrowding is rampant and in many prisons the availability of potable water and clean, unspoiled food is severely restricted. There is little adequate health care, especially for the seriously ill. Continue Reading

THE WORLD’S FIRST CHARTER CITIES IN HONDURAS: From neo-liberalism to neo-colonialism
by Annie Bird (Rights Action)

The Honduran National Congress is currently reviewing the law to geographically define the first four “Charter Cities” in the world, three sites along the Caribbean coast in Garifuna afro-indigenous territory, Trujillo, the Valle de Cuyamel and the Sico-Paulaya Valley, which includes Miskitu indigenous territory. Continue reading...

U.S.’s Prison Imperialism In The Outskirts of the Empire

by Nasim Chatha (former Alliance for Global Justice intern)

The United States today uses an extensive and unprecedented form of imprisonment and policing as social control of its most marginalized communities. It is a unique culture of incarceration: no other country locks up their population to the same degree that we do, nor has so perfected imprisonment as a tool of innocuously perpetuating racial division. (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow)... Continue reading...

AfGJ Statement on Colombia’s Peace Process
by James Patrick Jordan (Alliance for Global Justice)

The Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) have agreed to begin formal negotiations in October, in Norway. The People’s Liberation Army (ELN) is also expected to participate. The Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) have agreed to begin formal negotiations in October, in Norway. The People’s Liberation Army (ELN) is also expected to participate. Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed this in an August 27, 2012 press statement. According to a media release by the Patriotic March (Marcha Patriótica), “This is an important step in the search for peace, a decision that takes up the demands of thousands of Colombians who raise the banner of the political solution and dialogue as the route forward in search of the end of the armed conflict.”  Continue Reading...

Goldcorp on Trial: First Ever People’s Health Tribunal Shows Commonalities Throughout Mesoamerica

by Beth Geglia and Cyril Mychalejko

“A few years ago, our people, the people you can see around you, we began to realize what was happening,” Maudilia López told the hundreds gathered to attend the first ever People’s Health Tribunal in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala. The event was packed, even as some attendees spilled out of the entrance of the crowded room, others shuffled to find a spot. Continue reading...

New Global Justice Monitor Feature:

Introducing AfGJ's Fiscally Sponsored Projects: Courage to Resist

Courage to Resist joined the Alliance for Global Justice fiscal sponsorship network from their former sponsor, the International Humanities Center. Many people in the fiscal sponsorship world recognize that name as the organization that went under last year and collectively lost over a million dollars of their projects’ money. Fortunately Courage to Resist got out just before this collapse.

I spoke with Jeff Paterson, co-founder and current Project Director and asked him about their history – where they came from and where they are going. I asked about their challenges and set-back, their current big campaigns and projects and about their organizational principles. Their story follows...

About AfGJ fiscal Sponsorship: In the spirit of movement-building, the Alliance for Global Justice began fiscally sponsoring organizations and actions back in the 90s.  We now act as fiscal sponsor for 51 groups, locally, nationally, and internationally based, ranging from Occupy groups, to material aid projects in Latin America, as well as international groups working for peace and justice in the Middle East. We provide tax-deductibility, payroll, health insurance and other administrative services to the fiscally sponsored projects. Through it all we keep a sharp focus on our mission “to achieve social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement.” For more information about fiscal sponsorship or to see a list of the projects we sponsor click here.

Human Rights Accompaniment in Honduras, Nov. 2012

Since the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya June 28, 2009, a vibrant, nonviolent democratic resistance has demanded a “refounding” of the State. Democratic popular movements including unions, teachers, students, indigenous and Afro-descended, human rights, LGBTQ, and campesino groups united to form the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP). The FNRP last year formed a political party, LIBRE, to compete in the national elections of November 2013. Primary elections for LIBRE and Honduras’ traditional parties will be held November 18, 2012. Four LIBRE primary candidates have been killed to date and violence against FNRP activists and members is committed daily, with total impunity by the private armies of rich Hondurans and the police and army of defacto president Porfirio Lobo.

North American governments have continued their economic and political support of the Pepe Lobo regime despite ongoing human rights violations against members of the FNRP and the LIBRE party. In the context of the elections, delegation members will examine the role that their government has played in the human rights situation in Honduras.

International human rights accompaniment has been proven to save lives and reduce violence in many areas of the world. The LIBRE party has asked the US Honduras Solidarity Network to organize an accompaniment delegation for the Nov. 18 primary election and we’ve accepted the challenge.

HSN member group Alliance for Global Justice is administering the delegation which will be led by staffer Elane Spivak Rodriguez and Rights Action Honduras expert Karen Spring. Prospective delegates will have two options:

Full Delegation: Nov. 12-21, 2012 - $850
Delegates choosing this option will investigate the human rights situation in the context of the election in the capital city of Tegucigalpa and at least two trips to rural areas including the Siria Valley and Zacate Grande. The delegation will meet with human rights defenders and the many groups that make up the Resistance. On election day, Nov. 18, delegates will be divided into small groups to monitor human rights at several Tegucigalpa polling sites. Following the election the delegation will gather testimony on any violations of human rights and write a report for activists and policy-makers. The price includes double occupancy hotel, two meals a day, in-country transportation, and translation. It does not include international airfare.

Election Week-end Delegation: Nov. 16-19 - $300
Delegates will arrive on Nov. 16 and join the full delegation. They will receive a briefing on the state of human rights in the context of the election and training on accompanying the voting on Nov. 18. They will participate in scheduled meetings with FNRP member groups and on election day will be divided in small groups to monitor human rights at several Tegucigalpa polling sites. Before leaving on Monday, Nov. 19, they will join the full delegation in hearing an analysis of the election from a LIBRE leader. The price includes double occupancy hotel, two meals a day, in-country transportation, and translation. It does not include international airfare.

For more information or to request an application, send an email to

September 25, 2012

COSATU came back to its family

Johannesburg, South Africa, September 19th, 2012

At the 11th National Congress of COSATU that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17-20th September 2012, during a robust debate for the WFTU and the ITUC, the working class and the International class-oriented trade union movement achieved a great victory that shifted the international trade union arena.

The delegates decided that COSATU shall affiliate with the WFTU.

The debate was vivid and substantial with ideological and trade union arguments.

Before the resolution the delegates were addressed by two speeches delivered by the General Secretary of WFTU, comrade George Mavrikos and the General Secretary of ITUC, Mrs Sharan Burrow.

Great militant South African trade unionists, cadres of the heroic South African Communist Party (SACP) decisively supported the need for COSATU to become a member of WFTU and join its class-oriented brothers and sisters in the whole world.

The WFTU salutes this decision, thanks the delegates and all the militants that struggled these last seven years to prepare the momentum for this important resolution.

With this resolution, which is a first positive step, COSATU comes back to its family, to its big family that struggles against the capitalist exploitation and the imperialist barbarity. From today our struggles, the struggles of the international class-oriented movement will be stronger.

The Secretariat
TEL. (+30) 2109214417, (+30) 2109236700, FAX (+30) 210 9214517 E-MAILS :,

Folksinger George Mann To Play In Oregon

Folksinger George Mann has been a union organizer and producer of protest and anti-war music for many years. He has toured extensively and produced the anti-Bush CD compilation "Hail to the Thief!" series. He has also spent much time singing for and producing music for veterans and raising awareness about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, one of the many by-products of a decade of war.

websites: and

Wednesday, September 26
George Mann in Concert, Corvallis, OR
Concert at Troubadour Music Center, 521 SW 2nd Street in Corvallis, OR
A benefit concert for "Move to Amend."

Friday, September 28
George Mann in Concert, Portland, OR
Concert, Portland, OR (map)
A house concert and dinner party/potluck hosted by Ann Cookman in NE Portland. RSVP to Ann at: for info, address

Saturday, September 29
George Mann in Concert, Cafe Zippy, Everett, WA
Concert, Cafe Zippy, 2811 Wetmore, Everett, WA
Two sets, starting at 2 PM. Zippy's is a great coffeehouse with wonderful, vegetarian lunches, salads, pastries and good coffee. Link:

Saturday, September 29
George Mann in Concert, Seattle, WA
Couth Buzzard Books and Cafe, 8310 Greenwood Ave North, Seattle, WA (map)
George will be doing two sets, starting at 7:30 PM, at this great coffeehouse, bookstore and folk music mecca! Link:

Details at under "News and Gigs" button.

Three Left Parties To Unite In Pakistan

Statement by the Awami Party Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan and the Workers Party Pakistan

September 19, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few months, three left political parties have been holding meetings to discuss the possibility of a merger and creation of a new progressive force in Pakistan politics. Many of us have been striving for left unity for years, even decades.

The challenges that working people and progressive political forces face both within this country and in the form of imperialist intrigue cannot be meaningfully confronted without such unity. In the past, efforts to bring the left together have both succeeded and failed, and it is in the spirit of learning from such experiences that this present attempt is being made.

We do not expect to suddenly emerge as a "third" force in Pakistan politics, because we do not enjoy the kind of patronage of state and non-state powers as the right-wing parties. Yet we do believe that the people of Pakistan want to see new alternatives emerging and we expect that a merger of existing left groups will be a giant step forward in building such an alternative.

It is true that a majority of the Pakistani population is young, and many of these youth are fed up with the existing political options at their disposal. We believe that a left political party can be the face of this young and struggling population, not on the basis of hollow slogans, but in the form of a workable anti-imperialist, secular, anti-feudal and democratic socialist program.

We want to harness the countervailing power of the people of Pakistan to take on and displace all status quo forces.

Baluchistan is burning, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continues to be caught in the throes of a war between two fundamentalisms (imperialist and religious) and our biggest city Karachi is engulfed in a mini-civil war ... the list could go on.

None of our existing political parties acknowledges or tries to address these divisions. We believe that only a mass left party can bring Pakistan’s divided nations together by bringing to the fore the shared interests of working people of all of these nations, and by accepting the rights of nations of self-determination including the right of secession. We will struggle to affirm Pakistan’s multinational character, and will try and revive the historic alliances of the left and progressive ethno-nationalists. This is the most urgent task facing all progressives and we believe our new party will be at the forefront of this struggle.

While the merger process to date has included only our three parties, we are circulating this message to clarify that we want all those who share our goals to join us. We believe that the building of a democratic socialist Pakistan is possible only if the means we employ are inclusive from the outset. We invite you all to be part of his historic effort.

It is been agreed that a federal conference consisting of delegates from all three parties will take place on November 4, 2012, in Lahore. An interim body will be elected for the next six months. A congress of the new party will take place in the middle of next year to elect all the bodies and to set the political and organisational priorities.

We would also be happy to invite those who are not part of the party to take part in the first federal conference as observers and decide for themselves if they want to be part of the new party.

In solidarity,

Awami Party Pakistan

Labour Party Pakistan

Workers Party Pakistan


Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 8:30pm


Whitsell Auditorium
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon

NW Film Center's Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film

"Five broken cameras-and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil'in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements.

Gibreel's loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and-from the wreckage of five broken cameras-two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art."
- Sundance Film Festival, where FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award.

Sponsored by Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR)

For more information including tickets, see

Community Forum on Pay Equity to be held October 2

Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Oregon Council on Civil Rights invite you to join us for a Community Forum on Pay Equity

Come learn about pay inequity in Oregon, share your personal experiences and provide your feedback on several approaches used in other countries to close the wage gap.

October 2, 2012, from 5:30 to 7:30pm

AFL-CIO Oregon Labor Center
3645 SE 32nd Avenue, Portland

The Oregon Council on Civil Rights is developing a statewide action plan to fight
pay disparity and ultimately ensure equal pay for equal work throughout our state.
They have researched pay equity models and laws from around the world and will be looking for your comments and feedback on several approaches which will help guide strong action in Oregon.

Stay tuned to for summaries of the
reviewed plans, including approaches used in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and nationally in Canada, Sweden and Switzerland.

Please call Donna Brown at 971-673-0781 with questions.


On Labor Day, 2012, 300 trade unionists, workers and community activists packed the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in the Southern Workers Assembly. The purpose of this gathering was to promote organizing the South, repealing anti-labor legislation, and strengthening the fight against racism.

By all accounts, this was an historic gathering and attendees left it united and in high spirits. The event received wide media coverage.

Below are the opening remarks by Saladin Muhammad, Coordinator of the Southern Workers Assembly, recently retired International Representative for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and member of Black Workers for Justice.

Southern Workers Assembly: A Call to Action for Workers to Organize Labor in the South!

Why are we here? And what is our charge as Southern workers? Are we here mainly as a form of protest against the failed policies of the Democratic Party regarding worker rights? Both parties have failed the working class in this regard and more.

The Southern Workers Assembly is a call to action by rank-and-file workers to unite, organize the South and speak in our own name. Southern workers cannot wait for the Democratic Party and certainly not the Republican Party, to enact some progressive labor laws before we can begin a serious effort to organize ourselves into a labor movement. Unfortunately, this has been a serious error on the part of the U.S. labor movement for too many years.

During the 1950s and '60s, the power of an organized and united labor movement in the South was needed to help fight against the racist system of Jim Crow, which greatly divided and created deep wounds and lasting scars within the working class that capital will always try to exploit. This is why a social movement is needed to organize labor and the working class in the South. We want the Southern Workers Assembly to be a launching pad that begins a process of building a South-wide social movement to organize labor.

In an economy and society where having a job is a requirement for providing ourselves and families with the basic necessities of life, worker rights become human rights. Thus a social movement to organize labor in the South must become a major part of the human rights movement, and must be organized with the same energy and sacrifice of the civil rights movement that helped to bring about some progressive reforms for Black and working people.

However, a human rights labor movement must also be a transformative movement that seeks to reorganize the economic, social and political relationships that determine the value of labor, the distribution of the wealth created by labor and technology, and that protects the lives of the people and sustainability of the planet. Capitalist globalization and its impact require that our labor movement have a basic vision of transformation as we organize to build power.

History has also shown that the failure of the U.S. national labor movement to make a concerted and coordinated effort to organize labor in the South has been a major factor allowing the most conservative political base within the U.S. from being effectively challenged by the organized power of Southern workers.

This has affected the class consciousness and confidence of Southern workers about our power to challenge corporate power, which clearly dominates and dictates the decisions and policies of the state and local governments throughout the South.

Corporate power has not only super- exploited the labor of Southern workers, it is also responsible for the underdevelopment and negative environmental impact on many working class communities, especially African American, Latino, Native American and poor white, because of the billions in incentives and tax breaks that were diverted from community development and given to the corporations to locate in the South.

The massive disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in parts of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005 is an example of what happens when corporate wants are prioritized over the infrastructure and human needs of the people.

Now that the South has reemerged as a major region in the global economy, where U.S. manufacturing, foreign direct investment and finance capital is becoming concentrated -- a Wall Street South -- the South will be a major force in the shaping of U.S. labor and social policies. Efforts to pass anti-immigration laws are developing rapidly in the South, to create another source of super-exploitation that is based on the race and ethnicity of the working class.

The U.S. prison industrial complex, in addition to jailing mainly the unemployed from the Black and Latino working class communities, provides super-exploited labor for major corporations. This is largely why there have been draconian laws such as 3-strikes, you're out, and crime bills enacted over the past 20 years by both Democratic and Republican administrations. The so-called “legal status” and stigma permanently branding the formerly incarcerated forces many to have to work for little or nothing, if they can get hired at all. This is a major reason forcing many back into crime and the high rates of recidivism.

Dividing the working class and the oppressed peoples in every way possible is the main strategy of corporate power. The U.S. labor movement must not see the independent worker-led organizations and initiatives of the oppressed peoples as something that divides the working class. They exist to take up the struggles against the special forms of oppression and exploitation that impact our lives, and that have not been taken up effectively within and by many of the trade unions.

The struggle to respect the right of these organizations to exist as part of the labor movement -- while they are also leading the fight for self-determination as oppressed peoples -- must be a main aspect of the struggle against racism to be waged within the U.S. labor movement and the working class, if we are to build a powerful and transformative labor movement inside the U.S.

Of the 100 million people living in the South, the largest region of the U.S., African American and Latino together make up close to 40%. Fifty seven percent or more than 20 million Black people, and 40% or more than 18 million Latinos, live in the South. Black and Brown unity is therefore critical to forging and anchoring the unity of a strong Southern labor and working class movement.

Having pointed out the weaknesses of the U.S. labor movement in failing to organize the South, and the role of the South today in the global economy, it is important to make clear that this in no way is meant to suggest that workers in the South have not been organizing and resisting. Your presence at the Southern Workers Assembly is a testament that we are organizing and fighting.

However, our organizing and campaigns have been mainly local and unconnected to a broader framework that projects a South-wide movement. This has made it difficult to develop and promote workers' fight-back climate, and has weakened and discouraged sustained efforts to organize unions in the South.

There will be many challenges in building this movement that we must educate and prepare ourselves for. The crisis impacting labor over the past 30 years from the restructuring and globalization of the economy, and the attacks on unions resulting in a loss of membership by many, has led to an unhealthy competition between unions, which have divided the working class by fights over union jurisdictions, raiding and splits in federations and national unions.

A Southern labor movement must build structures that unite workers within the same sectors, regardless of the national unions or organizations they are affiliated with, to democratically work out an independent plan for concentration and organizing within those sectors. It is from this base of organizing that we must win the support from national and international unions for organizing labor in the South.

Organizing in the South greatly needs the support of a strong rank-and-file movement within the national unions who work to build support from their local and national unions for the development and sustaining of a Southern Labor Alliance, including actions of national labor solidarity as we saw with the Charleston, South Carolina dockworkers struggle and the Wisconsin public sector struggle that closed down the state's capital. Organizing the South must become a clarion call for the U.S. labor movement to go on the offensive.

We want to leave this Southern Workers Assembly with some basic framework in place that allows us to move to the next step in holding meetings to begin to map out a plan for forming a Southern Labor Alliance and launching a social movement campaign to organize the South.

Let’s get to work here today in our brief period at the Southern Workers Assembly.

Onward toward a Southern Labor Alliance!

Issued by the Emergency Labor Network (ELN)

For more information write or P.O. Box 21004, Cleveland, OH 44121 or call 216-736-4715 or visit our website at Donations gratefully accepted. Please make checks payable to the ELN and mail to the above P.O. Box.

Portland Town Hall On Housing Justice

What does housing justice in Portland look like? We have been focusing a lot on foreclosures in Portland, however the housing crisis does not end there. Many Oregonians are finding themselves without affordable housing or on the street.

Please join us this Thursday evening for a town hall on HOUSING JUSTICE.

“They’re not heavy, they’re my neighbor.” A community discussion on housing justice and housing as a human right. We’ll discuss common ground between movements, and how we can support each other for concrete wins for housing justice in Portland.The townhall will create a space for folks from houseless, homeowner, squatter and tenant communities to speak. Will include speakers from: Right to Survive, Sisters of the Road, Black Working Group, and We Are Oregon, among others. A space will also be made for community discussion. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, September 27th

705 N. Killingsworth

Convening Organizations include: Black Working Group & We Are Oregon
For more information: Ahjamu at 360-980-1409 or

In Solidarity,

Angela MacWhinnie
We Are Oregon

Major Victory for Quebec Students, Environmental Activists

Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and yesterday [September 20th] students and environmentalists won major victories.

At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Quebecois government had cancelled the university tuition fees increase imposed by the Charest Liberal government, and would repeal the repressive provisions of Law 12 (formerly Bill 78)Charest had imposed in his efforts to smash the province's massive student strike. Among other things, this will remove the restrictions on public demonstrations and the threat of decertification of student associations.

In addition, Marois has ordered the closing of Gentilly-2, Quebec's only nuclear reactor, while promising funding to promote economic diversification to offset job losses resulting from the shutdown. And she will proceed with her promise to cancel a
$58-million government loan to reopen the Jeffrey Mine, Quebec's last asbestos mining operation.

The new Natural Resources minister, Martine Ouellet, followed up by announcing an end to shale gas exploration and development in Quebec. "I do not see the day when there will be technologies that will allow their safe development," she said. Residents of dozens of Quebec communities have been mobilizing against shale gas. As of March, there were 31 wells already drilled, and 18 had been fracked. The shale gas industry, which has spent some $200-million to date in Quebec, had plans to dig up to 600 wells a year by 2015.

Go here to read more.

The Portland Alliance - NEWS & NOTES - OCCUPY FAll 2012!

The Portland Alliance

No Fear, No Compromise, & No Surrender!
A timely newsletter to keep you informed.

    "Speaking Truth to Power, Together"

Recent Changes
The Northwest Alliance family is very excited to announce new sponsorships, events, and changes at The Portland AllianceKBOO and The Alliance are sponsoring Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film This incredible film series has been collected, organized, and will be presented by NW FilmCenter. This is a revolutionary collection! 

Voices in Action: Human Rights on Film (Oct. 4-Nov. 7)

While cinema provides entertainment and escape, for many filmmakers and viewers it is a vital portal into the lives of others, a medium of engagement, and a powerful tool for social action. Tackling wide-ranging, thought-provoking issues, activist filmmakers and individuals help deepen our awareness of injustice, the values of dignity and equality, and the price of commitment as they tell passionate stories of struggle and triumph. We hope that the informative and inspirational stories presented in this year's series will broaden understanding and inspire involvement as they reveal the courage of individuals whose hearts and minds are focused on bettering our world.

Our special thanks go to Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, World Affairs Council of Oregon, and other organizations worldwide that help bring important events, issues, and media works to light.


US, 2012 
Thursday, Oct 4, 2012 at 7 PM
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Watch Trailer

WBAI radio in New York City was one of the nation's first freeform radio stations, with overnight DJ Bob Fass and his show "Radio Unnameable" pioneering its conversational, community-focused ethos. Since 1963, Fass has used his show as a cultural hub for music, politics, and audience engagement, giving voice to everyone from up-and-coming musicians like Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie to activists organizing demonstrations in the heady era of the Vietnam War. RADIO UNNAMEABLE is a fascinating, entertaining portrait of Fass and his revolutionary radio, a look at the man behind the voice that defined The City That Never Sleeps. (87 mins.)

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM
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Watch Trailer

"Five broken cameras-and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil'in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements. Gibreel's loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and from the wreckage of five broken cameras, two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art."-Sundance Film Festival, where FIVE BROKEN CAMERAS won the World Cinema

The rest of the schedule here:

Join The Northwest Alliance, We Are Your Media!

We're just like you. We're writers, teachers, business executives, parents, retirees, students, seniors, everyday name it. But the one thing we all have in common is our dedication to peace, freedom, and justice.  And the more volunteers we have, the bigger impact we can all make. Together. On Saturday, September 22, Sunday, September 23, and Saturday, September 29, please come by the Alliance at 10 am at 5926 N. Albina Ave. to help us with moving.  Our phone number is 503-697-1670. B-Media is giving us a hand on Saturday, September 22.   Learn more.

Fundraising Update

We're nowhere near our target, but our goal... with nine days left in our fund drive, is $1500 dollars.  If you've already donated, thank you, we appreciate your generosity. And if you've been meaning to make a contribution, you still have a few days left.

Please donate now.

Coming up in October!
A Fifth Monday Labor Radio Special Oct. 29th

On October 29, 2012, Fifth Monday Labor Radio on KBOO will have an hour long show, from 6-7pm:  A Forum for Third Party Candidates

Jill Stein of the Green Party, has assured us she will have a representative in the studio.  Rocky Anderson is being contacted so that the Justice Party can be represented.  Please choose an appropriate spokesperson for your party and RSVP.  Contact us at your earliest convenience if you would like to participate in this show. (a week before the election)  503-697-1670

Lane Poncey and Tim Flanagan have provided this show, just before the election, for the past three election cycles. Michael Morrow, a retired professor and union organizer, may join us in the studio during this broadcast.  If you want peace, justice, and freedom, come on down to the radio station so that our listeners understand they have a choice!  If you are a candidate for a third party or are wiling to speak on behalf of third party candidates or platforms, please write lane& or call 503-697-1670.

More information at: