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What Will the Budget Cuts Mean: A View from the Grassroots

By: 
Sisters of the Road and Community Voices Heard
Date Published: 
July 30, 2011

Funding for social services in the US has never been as popular among policymakers as, say, funding the military. Since the New Deal, social service programs have been defunded, under- funded and privatized—and the people who use social services demonized by elected officials in the media. Currently the US government, through privatization and spending cuts, is looking to further cuts in funding to social services including housing, mental health care, HIV/AIDS services, services to the elderly, heating fuel assistance, and child welfare. The latest Republican budget calls for $4 trillion in spending cuts—the bulk of which come from social spending.

Housing on the Chopping Block

By: 
Ben Terrall
Date Published: 
July 30, 2011

On February 14 communities across the United States joined together in a collective day of action called by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants. From Washington, DC to Florida, from Maine to California, HUD tenants, foreclosure victims, homeless and poor people, and their supporters held press conferences and community forums to demand full funding of vital housing programs -- including poverty, homelessness, and health programs.

The San Francisco Valentine’s Day protest was co-sponsored by the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) and a broad range of Bay Area housing and social justice groups.

A People's History of the Egyptian Revolution

By: 
Rami El-Amine and Mostafa Henaway
Date Published: 
July 7, 2011

No matter how it unfolds, the Egyptian revolution will go down in the history books as a defining moment in the 21st century. Millions of Egyptians brought down one of the world’s most repressive regimes, that of the US-backed Hosni Mubarak, in just 18 days. Their bravery, perseverance, and tactfulness in the face of the regime’s brutal crackdown not only triggered uprisings across the Arab world but inspired and influenced protests against government austerity in the US, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Despite the fact that it is only a few months old, it’s important to begin piecing together a people’s history of the revolution to convey what happened and how it happened so that the lessons from this critical struggle can be disseminated.

Reclaiming Families: A Framework for the Movement

By: 
Walidah Imarisha
Date Published: 
June 27, 2011

For the last 40 years, the Right in this country has claimed ownership of the role of “protecting family values.” Along with that role came the privilege of shaping and defining what constitutes a family, both in mass culture and according to the law.

But there is a radical initiative to take back the idea of supporting family and put it in a reproductive justice frame that lifts up the voices and leadership of parents and communities who are the most under threat. It’s called Strong Families.

The Reluctant Welfare State

By: 
Morrigan Phillips
Date Published: 
June 20, 2011

Social welfare programs are easy fodder for budget debates. A mere 18 percent of the federal budget is earmarked for discretionary spending, which includes welfare programs like public housing, food stamps, and cash assistance. Yet to hear foes spin it, one might think that social welfare programs comprise the bulk of the US budget and are responsible for sinking the country into unimaginable debt.

To close the fiscal year gap and keep the government running for the rest of fiscal year 2011, Republicans recently took aim at discretionary spending with the Welfare Reform Act of 2011. When the dust settled, the cuts to social services—though less than they would have been due to the quick action of activists, advocates, and some elected officials—were stark. (See sidebar for outline of recent cuts.) These cuts are beginning to play across the country as cash-strapped cities and states have fewer funds from the federal government to use to deliver services.

The State of the Struggle: Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Arab World

By: 
Lamis Andoni and Nora Barrows-Friedman
Date Published: 
June 20, 2011

Since the spark of popular revolt electrified Tunisia in January of this year, uprisings continue to spread across the Middle East and North Africa as civil society wages pitched battles against repressive dictatorships and monarchist regimes. Largely unarmed masses from Syria to Yemen have faced down lethal attacks from state forces as they demand basic freedoms, workers’ rights, and an end to Western influence. Leaders have been driven out in Egypt and Tunisia and have left neighboring politicians shaking in their boots.

Left Turn contributing editor Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed analyst and Middle East commentator Lamis Andoni for a perspective on how Middle Eastern and North African civil society movements have initiated, expanded, and given peoples across the region the motivation to rise up to join this “Arab Spring.”

Make Yours a Happy Home: A "Back in the Day" Review

By: 
Kenyon Farrow
Date Published: 
June 20, 2011

CLAUDINE
BY JOHN BERRY

Third World Cinema, 1974

It has been well over a decade since welfare was a major political issue, regularly debated in public policy arenas and the media—and used as a wedge issue by Democrats and Republicans alike. But with an organized white mob movement called the Tea Party, who cloak a project of reasserting white national/global authority underneath a call for states’ rights and fiscal prudence, and the 1996 Welfare Reform Act coming up for re-authorization this year, we are bound to hear more rhetoric about welfare's validity and the need to forcibly compel more Black women into “appropriate” and “responsible” work, sexual, and reproductive behaviors.

Moving the Movement: A Multigenerational Ideal of Revolutionary Work

By: 
Cynthia Oka
Date Published: 
June 20, 2011

On May 7, 2011, the Breakthrough Mamas, a grassroots collective of poor/single/disabled/ (im)migrant/teen mamas of color, led a Mother’s Day Liberation Rally in coalition with other activist mamas and allies in the Committee for Single Mothers on the Move. The rally brought together a wide range of political struggles in Vancouver, British Columbia—around housing, health, living wages, transportation, childcare, status, legal support, education, and cultural integrity. It also provided a platform to demand freedom from violence against women, sexual/reproductive self-determination, and gender liberation for all peoples.

Direct Action & Elections: Wisconsin's Labor Struggle

By: 
Lee M. Abbott
Date Published: 
June 20, 2011

No one could say they'd seen it before. That’s what was so genuinely exhilarating about those first weeks of protests in Madison against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s effort to take away public workers’ right to collectively bargain. People had seen protest, confrontation, and direct action before, but now these were taking shape and combining in ways no one had ever expected. Rallies wouldn’t let up—protestors wouldn’t go home and more returned every day. An open-ended, intense confrontation between the people and the government grew day by day in the State Capitol.     

Bin Laden Assassination Emboldens Empire

By: 
Junaid Ahmad
Date Published: 
May 23, 2011

Even though weeks have passed since the US raid which killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, details surrounding his death remain murky. The most curious question remains how was he able to “hide” in Abbottabad, a militarized garrison town, eluding Pakistani and US intelligence for so long.

Apparently, the raid entailed US forces entering bin Laden’s compound, half a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy, and shooting him in the head and chest. The fact that the US altered its initial claim that bin Laden was killed in a fierce firefight to admitting that the Al Qaeda leader was unarmed tends to challenge the jingoistic superman narrative used to describe the assassination.