Alternatives

Check out these articles by and about our allies, who are creating vibrant grassroots alternatives everyday.

Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow

February 10, 2015

By Leah Penniman

Reposted from http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/radical-farmers-use-fresh-food-fight-racial-injustice-black-lives-matter on January 28, 2015

In August, five young men showed up at Soul Fire Farm, a sustainable farm near Albany, New York, where I work as educator and food justice coordinator. It was the first day of a new restorative justice program, in partnership with the county’s Department of Law. The teens had been convicted of theft, and, as an alternative to incarceration, chose this opportunity to earn money to pay back their victims while gaining farm skills. They looked wary and unprepared, with gleaming sneakers and averted eyes.

Haitian Communities File Complaint about World Bank- Supported Mining Law

February 6, 2015

By The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law

Reposted from http://chrgj.org/haitian-communities-file-complaint-about-world-bank-supported-mining-law/ on January 7, 2015

(NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, PORT-AU-PRINCE Jan. 7, 2015)—Haitian communities and organizations filed a complaint with the World Bank regarding Bank-supported activities to develop Haiti’s mining sector today.[1]  The complaint alleges that the Haitian populace has been left out of World Bank-funded efforts by the Haitian government to draft new mining legislation intended to attract foreign investors to exploit Haiti’s gold and other minerals.  Complainants contend that the Bank has failed to follow its own social and environmental safeguard policies or ensure that the new legal framework adheres to international best practices.  They fear that allowing the mineral sector to develop without much-needed human rights and environmental protections and without public consultation could harm rather than help Haiti.

A Love Note to Our Folks: Alicia Garza on the Organizing of #BlackLivesMatter

January 30, 2015

By L.A. Kauffman

Reposted from N+1 on January 20, 2015

When protests erupted across the United States late last year, after grand juries failed to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a friend who works for a prominent media outlet wrote to me wondering “if it’s all just the internet organizing itself.” The nationwide marches and freeway blockades seemed spontaneous, after all, with the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter being widely used to publicize gathering spots and share images of the demonstrations.

The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

January 30, 2015

The First Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion

by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO

reposted from Counterpunch, January 26, 2015

Organized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the first annual Festival Mundial de las Resistencias y Rebeldías contra el Capitalismo, or the Global Festival for Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Rebellion, was held in central and southern Mexico over a two-week period at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. The event’s subtitle sums up its purpose well: “While those from above destroy, those from below rebuild.”

THE ATTACK ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN HAITI

January 28, 2015

An Interview with Jackson Doliscar, Part II

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar organizing earthquake-displaced people to claim their right to housing. His work almost cost him his life. Photo: Ed Kashi, American Jewish World Service

Community organizer and rights defender Jackson Doliscar speaks to efforts of the Haitian government to silence advocates of human rights and land and housing rights, (See part I of Doliscar’s interview.) The attacks are part of the government’s strategy to leave opposition movements defenseless.

The cases that Doliscar discusses here are only a few of the many instances of violence and illegal imprisonment that the government of Michel Martelly has perpetrated since taking power in a fraudulent election three years ago. Other cases even include the public assassination of the coordinator of the Coalition of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH by its Creole acronym), Daniel Dorsainvil, and his wife, Girldy Larêche, on February 8, 2014.

The Martelly Administration is becoming increasingly autocratic, including disregarding elections and instead ruling by decree. Nevertheless, the US government continues to provide political and financial support, even including assistance to the lawless police.

The New Disruption: Only rank-and-file workers can build a better labor movement.

January 21, 2015

By Chris Maisano

Cross-posted from Jacobin

Originally posted on January 19, 2015

Michigan timber workers reading the bulletin board at strike headquarters in 1937.

Ted Fertik is terrified by the possibility that US unions may soon lose the agency shop. I don’t blame him — it’s a pretty scary prospect. Most unions today are not well positioned to mitigate the potential impact on their organizational and financial wherewithal.

If the recent experience of AFSCME in Wisconsin is any guide, they should expect to see a substantial portion of their membership base evaporate more or less overnight. Income from dues and fees would be drastically reduced, and unions would struggle to fund many of their current day-to-day activities. I certainly don’t relish the thought that this could happen sometime in the very near future.

Despite these completely valid fears, one should not make the claim, as Fertik does, that “the possibility of the demise of the Wagner Act might mean the demise of worker organization tout court.” To begin with, the end of agency shop would not spell the death of the Wagner Act, which would still allow workers (union and non-union alike) to engage in protected concerted activity, as well as the recognition of members-only unions.

It’s been five years since Haiti’s earthquake. And the ‘redevelopment’ hasn’t been about helping Haitians.

January 16, 2015

The rebuilding of Haiti is not working.

By Nixon Boumba

Cross-posted from Washington Post

Orignially released on January 12, 2015

Anti-government protesters in Port-au-Prince last month called for President Michel Martelly’s resignation. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Five years ago this month, a terrible earthquake struck my country. I was in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, when suddenly the earth shook and buildings around me and across the city collapsed—taking with them hundreds of thousands of lives and the hopes of my nation. The world stood with us that day and in the weeks and months that followed. Donations poured in; the United States and many other governments pledged to help us rebuild Haiti. But five years into the reconstruction, as a Haitian, I must ask: For whom are we rebuilding our country?

Duluth City Council Unanimously Passes Seed Sharing Resolution

January 15, 2015

By Cat Johnson

Cross-posted from Shareable

Originally posted December 22, 2014

Photo by Dan Kraker/MPR News

Seed activists can put a mark in the win column. Recently, the city council in Duluth, Minnesota passed a resolution supporting seed saving and sharing in the city (see video below of the council meeting). They also requested changes in state seed law to allow seed sharing without cost or germination testing.

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, THE SAD STATE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

January 11, 2015

An Interview with Human Rights Organizer Jackson Doliscar

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar, community organizer and human rights defender.

Some things never change. In Haiti, no matter the century or decade in question, one can be certain that: the state and elite are trouncing the rights and needs of the majority, the population is protesting to demand land and justice, and the international community is taking the wrong side.

Five years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 (no one knows for sure) and rendered 1.9 million more people homeless, the fraudulently elected administration of Michel Martelly has abandoned any pretense of democracy. Having failed to hold elections three years in a row, instead letting national and local elective seats become vacant, the government now rules by decree. It is also attacking and killing human rights defenders. The elite, in combination with foreign corporations, are seizing land for agribusiness, mining, tourism, and free trade zones. The grassroots has taken to the streets to demand democratic government and an end to foreign occupation by the UN. Social movements are also mobilizing for defense of land, housing, and rights. The US has, until recent months, staunchly supported the government. It has backed this support with “security” funding, including more than $7 million for the police in 2015, for a nation not at war against anyone but its own people.

Jackson Doliscar is a community organizer and human rights defender. Since the earthquake, he has been the primary outreach worker in an international campaign for the right to housing for those left languishing under tents, through the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA, by its Creole acronym). This is the first in a two-part series.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fresh Market Announce Partnership for Fair Food

January 9, 2015

Specialty Grocer to Join CIW’s Fair Food Program, Increase Purchases from Participating Florida Growers in Support of Groundbreaking Human Rights Initiative

PRESS RELEASE: JANUARY 8, 2015

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Agreement breaks important ground with two critical new provisions — increased purchases from Florida growers and commitment to support the Fair Food Standard Council’s work monitoring and enforcing the Fair Food Code of Conduct!

IMMOKALEE, FL – The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market are proud to announce their national partnership to support fair farm labor conditions and verifiable, worker-driven social responsibility in US agriculture.

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