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Taco Bell Boycott Victory—A Model of Strategic Organizing : An interview with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

By: 
David Solnit
Date Published: 
August 01, 2005
    The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based worker organization. Their members are largely Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. They recently won a huge victory in their national boycott of Taco Bell this March 2005 when amidst growing pressure from students, churches and communities throughout the country, Taco Bell agreed to meet all their demands to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers in its supply chain.

The March 8, 2005 Taco Bell boycott victory of Immokalee farmworkers and their allies against the biggest fast food corporation on the planet is one of the most significant victories for social movements in the United States in recent history.

Grass Roots Voices & the New Labor Movement

By: 
Lenore Palladino
Date Published: 
August 01, 2005
    In the following forum, Lenore Palladino seeks out the voices of the ‘ordinary people’ of the labor movement: workers, organizers, researchers, and allies. These voices are largely absent from the recent debates among the leadership of the member unions of the AFL-CIO. Still, these are the stories that are most important for us, as radicals working for a grassroots democratic labor movement, to hear.

When activists inside and outside the labor movement criticize unions for being too out of touch with social movement organizing, we are right: we know that labor is stalled as a national movement for social change, and many of us have written off labor as a force for revolution and revelation.

Students & Workers United: Living Wage Campaign Victory at Georgetown University

By: 
Rachel Murray
Date Published: 
August 01, 2005
    After three years of hard work by students, workers and their allies, Georgetown University (GU) finally committed to a Living Wage policy on March 24, 2005.

When students first decided to begin a living wage campaign at GU through the Georgetown Solidarity Committee (GSC) – the labor rights group on campus – we started talking to campus workers to find out their situation. We found out that some were making as low as $6.60 an hour at a time when $12 was a living wage.

So in March 2003 we independently produced the Georgetown Living Wage Report. It consisted of what a living wage is and why GU as a Jesuit school should follow it ideals. It also contained data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) on how a living wage in Washington, DC is calculated.

Opening Space: Social Movements and the State in Venezuela

By: 
Peter Brogan
Date Published: 
August 01, 2005
    Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution has reignited debate about how movements should relate to state power within strategies for social change.

The Cuban Experiment

By: 
Mike McGuire
Date Published: 
August 01, 2005
    As the debates have raged through the global justice movement over whether or not to fight for state power, much focus has been given to movements in Argentina and Venezuela

In spite of its relative historic novelty and its position 90 miles off the US coast, many of us Seattle generation have ignored the island’s experience.

Modern Allegory - A Review of Ridley Scott's King's Kingdom of Heaven

By: 
Zein El-Amine
Date Published: 
November 01, 2005

When I first saw previews for Kingdom of Heaven, I thought at best it was going to be just like Gladiator, and at worst, another Hollywood film that would villainize Muslims and turn the history of the Crusades upside down. Then the director, Ridley Scott, was confronted by a reporter on TV about making the Crusaders look like the bad guys. The segment also gave the Syrian star that plays Saladin an opportunity to talk about the rich Islamic history and his lifelong dream of playing this role. The report ended with an archival clip of the White House Chief of Staff apologizing for Bush's use of the word "crusade" in talking about the war on Iraq.

On Point - A Review of Head-Roc's Negrophobia

By: 
Sensimellia Gardner
Date Published: 
November 01, 2005

In the year since Washington, DC's hardest working MC, Head-Roc, dropped his solo debut project, The Return of Black Broadway, the "Broadway" got whiter. U Street's most prominent apartment building, The Ellington, is way out of the financial league of the city's majority blacks who are reeling from a reported 10-14 percent unemployment rate. A tanning salon now sits on the once famed black corridor and the organized new residents have successfully banned live hip-hop performance from all clubs in the neighborhood. All that's left of the Black Broadway are a hodge-podge of informational walking tour street signs saying that it used to be there. What's behind all of this?

Urgency for Change: Labor Troubles and the New Unity Partnership

By: 
Marc Rodrigues
Date Published: 
May 01, 2005

Recent debates concerning how to restructure unions look to bring about fundamental change in the US labor movement amidst decades of decline and threats from Bush to Wal-Mart. Are the new proposals the keys to reversing labor's decline or more of the same? What role will rank-and-file workers have in the process of reexamination and transformation?

2005 may mark a turning point for the US labor movement, as the efforts of the New Unity Partnership (NUP) may bring about drastic structural changes. The NUP is a grouping of the leaders of four unions: Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the recently merged needletrade and hotel workers union UNITE-HERE, the Laborers' union, and the Carpenters' union.

Tip of the Iceberg

By: 
Bilal El-Amine
Date Published: 
February 01, 2005
    The US elections revealed the unfortunate fact that a large section of the American population does not appreciate the profound mess created by the Bush administration in Iraq. Fresh figures of US casualties for November easily matched the record set last April (2003) when occupation forces besieged Najaf and Falluja. And December looks just as grim - the first weekend alone harvested 80 Iraqi deaths, mostly national guardsmen or police, who are being slaughtered by the dozens at the hands of the resistance. No doubt, the road to the Iraqi elections set for the end of January will be paved with blood. Much of the American public's ignorance is probably due to media manipulation or Pentagon spin.

Demonstrating Democracy in Afghanistan

By: 
Pranjal Tiwari
Date Published: 
February 01, 2005
    The corporate media in the US fondly use the term ‘election season’ to build up to that grandest of spectacles which takes place once every four years. This year, flanking the domestic main event, we have seen — so we are told — free and fair elections taking place to finally express the will of the ‘newly liberated’ people of the world, in areas such as Afghanistan. Indeed, if we were to believe the words of power, we should be giddy with joy to find ourselves inundated with stories of democracy and freedom bestowed upon others from above by our benevolent rulers.

Looking at the facts, however, gives a perhaps more sobering picture.