Tag Archives: news

Livestream: Dilma Rousseff: The Attack on Democracy & Human Rights in Brazil (4/14)

Friday, April 14th | 6:30pm
Murphy Institute
25 W. 43 Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY

Can’t make it in person? Watch the livestream here:

CUNY’s Murphy Institute is pleased to host a presentation by Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, co-organized with the Committee Defend Democracy in Brazil/New York.

Brazil’s former president, Rousseff − impeached in August 2016 in what many have called a “soft coup” based on what analysts almost universally have described as minor and highly irregular charges − will discuss the attack on, and current efforts to defend, democracy, labor rights, and social and economic justice in Brazil.

Brazil, whose young democracy was re-established in 1985 after 21 years of violent military rule, has achieved huge growth in the recent years, lifting 45 million people out of extreme poverty. Under the democratic leadership of the Workers’ Party, led initially by President Lula da Silva and subsequently by President Rousseff, Brazil saw dramatic changes towards a more equal society. Advancements under the Workers Party have included an enormous expansion of the middle class, steady increases in life expectancy, and the country’s removal in 2014 from the UN Map of Hunger.  Rousseff is currently undertaking an international tour to discuss with concerned people throughout the world what is at stake: Brazilian democracy, and the historic gains in the rights of workers, women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, communities of color and of the poor.

This event will also feature a photo exhibition highlighting important moments of the struggle from activist groups around the world.

Please join us for this historic event!

Press registration/inquiries: defenddemocracyinbrazil@gmail.com

News Roundup 8/14/15

No matter where they might fall on the political spectrum, it seems like everyone’s got something to say about the presidential candidates — and it’s only August. And in the space of it — in no small part due to the tactics of some #BlackLivesMatter activists — people are talking about racial justice. Here’s some of what’s been happening in progressive circles and beyond:

  • #BlackLivesMatter activists disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, setting off a progressive firestorm, question of allyship and tactics, and more. Dara Lind gives a good summary of the way it’s all shaken out over at Vox. The upshot, at least in the short-term? The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a racial justice platform.
  • Since then, Sanders has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls. Meanwhile, the National Nurses Union became the first trade union to endorse Sanders.
  • The one year anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO came the past week, and with it, demonstrations and arrests — including the arrest of Cornel West — over a “weekend of resistance” to the ongoing assault on black lives in the United States.
  • Meanwhile, California has banned secret juries and affirmed the right to film police (via DemocracyNow!)
  • More coverage of the toll that unpredictable schedules is taking on the lives of workers, this time in the form of a NYTimes editorial by Teresa Tritch. A choice excerpt: “being on-call, even when one is not called, decreases an employee’s well-being and increases the need for “recovery,” (read: sleep and time off).” Meanwhile, Sabri Ben-Achour at Marketplace.org asks: Will last-minute work soon be history?
  • Academic freedom may soon be a memory in the state of Wisconsin, thanks to new policies pushed forward by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature (via the Guardian).
  • 4000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike at a GM plant in Brazil in the face of ongoing layoffs (via LaborNotes)
  • Verizon contract negotiations continue, with Verizon East contract workers rallying up and down the coast. Meanwhile, AT&T faces a possible strike thanks to the expiration of a contract covering 23,000 of its union workers.
  • Ever wonder how Amazon continues to offer those low prices, that quick delivery, that effortless consumer experience? David Golumbia wrote a piece (The Amazonization of Everything) for Jacobin explaining who pays and how.
  • In NYC yesterday, protesters demonstrated outside of the offices of Paulson & Co in response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems and those who appear to be profiting off of them.

News Roundup 7/31/15

July flies by, swirls of activity and here we are: the fight for fifteen changing the landscape for low-wage workers across the country, while the deaths of Sandra Bland and Samuel Dubose make it clear that #blacklivesmatter remains as pressing as ever.

  • Greenpeace activists in Portland, Oregon suspended themselves from the St. John’s Bridge to obstruct a Shell icebreaking trip en route to the Arctic. After forcing the ship to turn around yesterday, today the activists were removed by law enforcement officers. (via DemocracyNow!)
  • The NYTimes featured a long-ish read by Ian Urbina on “sea slaves,” workers from Cambodia and Myanmar sold into forced labor on fishing boats, fueled by “lax maritime labor laws and an insatiable global demand for seafood.” A horrifying and eye-opening article.
  • Teamsters labor organizers are holding a vote to unionize Google Express, the low-wage workers who power the online empire’s shopping service (via MotherJones)
  • The Guardian US became yet another media outlet to successfully unionize, when the newsroom staffers voted unanimously on Wednesday to unionize (via HuffPost)
  • Chicago unions won a court ruling stating that pension cuts are unconstitutional
  • Last week, 1000+ protesters headed to San Diego to demonstrate against the annual meeting of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Committee, “a conservative nonprofit organization known for drafting and sharing legislation amongst politicians, thus facilitating the collusion between corporations and government” (via WagingNonviolence)
  • How can the labor movement support police unions in a time of police brutality and oppressive injustice, particularly against communities of color? According to Shawn Jude at Jacobin, we can’t.
  • Trying to make sense of the New York State wage panel’s minimum wage proposal? Here’s an explainer, courtesy of the New York Times.

Photo by Twelvizm via flickr (CC-BY-ND).

News Roundup 7/10/15

Happy hot, hot Friday. The world continues to turn — a promising week on the civil rights front, a high-intensity time on the geopolitical stage. Here’s what you might have missed:

  • South Carolina takes the confederate flag down from its state house. #finally. Check out Wanda Williams-Bailey, Strom Thurmond’s granddaughter — an interracial woman — talk about the decision on Democracy Now.
  • In somewhat related news, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the appointment of the Attorney General as a special prosecutor in all cases involving unarmed or potentially unarmed civilians killed by the police — a welcome step in the right direction. (via CNN)
  • The Obama administration is set to release new regulations on segregation “designed to repair the law’s unfulfilled promise and promote the kind of racially integrated neighborhoods that have long eluded deeply segregated cities like Chicago and Baltimore” (via Washington Post)
  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association will be tried before the Supreme Court next term, which starts in October. Learn more about the potential effects on public sector unionism at SCOTUSblog.
  • In the face of civil rights advances for same-sex couples, the culture appears to be shifting to final discussing the plight of transgender individuals. The NYTimes ran a feature this week highlighting some of their stories. Read about Joni Christian, a union member and transgender woman.
  • London Underground employees went on strike yesterday for the first time in 13 years.
  • After a resounding “No” vote by Greeks to the last deal on the table with Greece’s creditors, PM Alexis Tsipras has surprised many by offering a deal with similarly harsh austerity measures.
  • Rumors have it that the US State Department is reclassifying Malaysia’s status as a human rights violator in order to allow the Southeast Asian country to remain in TPP negotiations. If true, it would mean that human rights violations are “being trumped by corporate trade.”

Photo by Will Spaetzel via flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA).

News Roundup 7/1/15

What a couple of weeks. Civil rights tragedies and victories, both. Marriage equality, a supreme court upholding of the Affordable Care Act, direct action against the confederate flag. In the wake of the South Carolina tragedy, we want to celebrate and mourn, both. And yet, we can’t help sense the march of progress moving inexorably forward. In brief:

  • Tired of waiting for the South Carolina State Representatives to get with the program, activist Bree Newsome (she of #freebree) took direct action by climbing the flag pole in front of the State House to take the confederate flag down.
  • The Supreme Court’s been an active one. In addition to same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land, sections of the Affordable Care Act have been further upheld. In less uplifting news, the EPA’s limits on power plant emissions were deemed to be in violation of the Clean Air Act, and states have been given latitude to use questionable drugs in executions. Still coming up: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a high-stakes case that could transform public sector unions for the worse.
  • Over at Al Jazeera, Amy B. Dean draws connections between the labor movement and #BlackLivesMatter, asking: Is the fight for $15 the next civil rights movement?
  • Despite earlier setbacks and a strong opposition, after a 60-38 Senate vote in favor of the TPA, President Obama signed the bill into law — granting himself fast track authority to negotiate the forthcoming (and persistently opaque) Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
  • In These Times ran an interview by David Moberg of exiting CWA President Larry Cohen about the past and future of the labor movement. According to Cohen, “If labor is going to be just a group of unions with different strategies, it’s not going to be a movement. We need to be organizing other people.”
  • In a welcome act of common sense and dignity, New York City is banning “poor doors” — that is, developers will no longer be allowed to built separate entrances for rich and poor tenants in buildings constructed using tax breaks granted in exchange for low-income units.
  • Janitors from eight companies across the Twin Cities, representing 50 retail locations, participated in a one-day strike on July 1st, raising the profile of organizing efforts within the difficult-to-organize cleaning sector.
  • NYC is set to receive expanded wi-fi coverage with the arrival of LinkNYC, which will turn converted pay phones into wireless hubs. Three cheers for digital access and connectivity! The downside? This means the arrival of “tall, thin pillars with digital tablet interfaces and large ads slapped on the sides.” So long to the psychic environment. We hardly knew ye.
  • It’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen in Greece and Puerto Rico in the face of un-payable national debts. Stay tuned.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker via flickr (CC-BY).

News Roundup 6/12/15

Unions. What can we say — we love ‘em. And if recent news is any indication, the future’s looking (mostly) bright. Some developments from the past couple weeks…

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership was significantly set back in Congress as the House of Representative voted down fast-track authority (via Washington Post). Russell Berman over at the Atlantic credits none other than the American labor movement.
  • Gawker Media became the first digital media company to be unionized (via CBS News)
  • Contingent faculty members at Barnard have moved to organize (via Columbia Spectator)
  • About 1,300 low-wage workers gathered in Detroit to celebrate minimum-wage hikes (via Al Jazeera)
  • On Wednesday, the NYC City Council passed the Fair Chance Act, blocking private companies with 4+ employees from discriminating against applicants based on arrest or criminal record (via Colorlines)
  • Internal training materials from Walmart reveal an unfortunately not-so-shocking anti-union bias. Steven Greenhouse describes in detail over at The Atlantic. (“How Walmart Persuades Its Workers Not to Unionize”)

Photo by Mike Mozart via flickr (CC-BY).