Seattle Conference to Kick Off $15 an Hour Ballot Initiative
So popular is the demand for a $15 an hour minimum wage, the corporate establishment and virtually the entire city council of Seattle, Washington, claim to favor the hike. To ensure that these erstwhile allies don’t water down the proposal, however, the 15 Now campaign will kick of a drive, on April 26, to collect 50,000 signatures to put the wage increase on the ballot. “We have lots of different people involved: socialists, Green Party activists, community groups, Latino organizations,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for 15 Now and also a member of the Socialist Alternative party, whose local leader, Kshama Sawant, won a seat on the council, last year. “Socialist Alternative sees the need for democratic socialism to replace capitalism so that we can really deal with all the problems that face society,” said Spear.
Supreme Court Decision Renders U.S. a “Zombie Democracy”
The U.S. electoral system has entered the realm of the living dead, said Ajamu Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. The recent McCutcheon ruling, which allows the rich to spend virtually unlimited funds on political campaigns, confirms that the “system doesn’t really function, it has no internal life – but that’s been the case from the very beginnings of the Republic,” said Baraka. “The only elements in society that were allowed to participate were white men with property. What we have now is a full circle back to that reality.”
Fusion Spy Centers Target Activists
Human rights activists in 7 cities recently protested against U.S. intelligence Fusion Centers that allow local law enforcement and contractors to share information on political dissent. “There is this guise that they’re trying to keep us safe from terrorists,” said Jamie Garcia, of Stop LAPD Spying, “but we’re finding out that they’re actively targeting social justice organizers” through these “mega spy centers.”
Black Lives Endangered in Detroit, Chicago, Congo
The crowds that come to hear about the slaughter of six million Congolese since 1996 – the biggest genocide since World War Two – “don’t make a distinction between what’s taking place on the South Side of Chicago, or in Detroit, and what’s happening in the Congo,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “They immediately recognize that getting involved” in defending the lives and rights of Congolese “is an indication of the value they hold for Black life,” said Carney.
Blacks and “Bio-Sexual Politics”
David Austin, the Montreal-based activist, educator and author of Fear of a Black Nation, said “bio-sexual politics” is “a primeval fear of Black folks that is rooted in the recurring need to control Black bodies…a phenomenon that is intimately connected to fear of Black rebellion and the spread of Blackness as a political contagion.” Austin took part in “Black Folk in Dark Times: A Workshop on Sovereignty, Citizenship and Freedom,” at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville.