International Day of Solidarity with Central American Refugees

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The Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition in San Diego made an International Call to Action for a Day of Solidarity with the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus. Dozens of organizations around our region and worldwide endorsed the Call to Action and demonstrations were held in eleven cities across the USA on November 25, 2018. Emergency support for the temporary shelters in Tijuana and in San Diego is being mobilized. 

Information about making donations to support the temporary refugee shelters: 
for the shelters in Tijuana
https://www.facebook.com/SDMRSC/photos/a.2137167843204479/2137163909871539/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/SDMRSC/photos/a.2137167843204479/2137163936538203/?type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/SDMRSC/photos/a.2137167843204479/2137163926538204/?type=3&the ater
for the shelter in San Diego
http://www.rapidresponsesd.org/documents/Migrant-Shelter-Press-Release.pdf 
See more information also at http://www.rapidresponsesd.org/ 

 

Cities which participated in the November 25 Day of Solidarity with Central American Refugees

NOV25
Seattle, WA
NOV25
Sun 5:30 PM EST · 266 guests
Athens County Courthouse
NOV25
Sun 3 PM MST · 1,223 guests
NOV25
Sun 2 PM · 572 guests
NOV25
NOV25
Pittsburgh, PA
NOV25
Chicago, IL
NOV25
Fruitvale Village, 34th Ave, Oakland
NOV25
San Ysidro, CA
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Over 600 people demonstrated solidarity on the San Diego side of the border wall and demanded demilitarization of our border communities and respect for the human rights of refugees and immigrants. Simultaneously thousands of people protested on the Tijuana side of the border wall, demanding that the Trump regime obey international and U.S. refugee law and stop blocking asylum seekers from entering the USA.

International Call to Action for the Refugee Caravan and Central American Exodus

As thousands of our refugee relatives—children, elders, brothers, sisters, LGBTQI+ siblings and people with disabilities—make their way to the border, we are calling for an International Day of Action in Solidarity with the Caravan and Exodus from Central America on Sunday, November 25th, 2018. We, the San Diego Migrant and Refugee Solidarity Coalition, composed of migrant rights and social justice groups, invite individuals and organizations across the country and globe to organize demonstrations in their cities, and if they have the capacity, to join our rally and march to the border.  

We call for an action on November 25th to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 Honduran election stolen by the US government-backed, right-wing military dictator Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). We are demonstrating on this day to acknowledge and draw attention to the current social and political crises driving the exodus from Central America. We understand that these crises—drug wars, military coups, destruction of indigenous lands for the benefit of corporations, and environmental catastrophe in the region—are all symptoms of US foreign policy, corporate profiteering and war-making.

Moreover, we see that the Trump administration is creating a warlike atmosphere against the caravan. It should be clear that they are not just acting with the support of a cabinet of white supremacists and a majority GOP in the Senate but are also emboldened by the last few decades of bipartisan militarization of the border, mass raids, expansion of for-profit detention centers, and mass deportations—with more than 2.5 million migrants under Obama and Trump alone. Further, these policies are a continuation of a long history of anti-Indigenous colonial violence and genocide.

These attacks have been complemented by decades of pushback against the migrants’ rights movement and years of terror against all who participated in the mega marches for Migrant’s Rights back in 2006 and since. We must continue to build and consolidate our gains no matter how large or small.

Legal precedent, “civility,” regard for life: the administration has no respect for any of it. The only thing that it responds to is resistance from below.

           The US government, as with all governments, and the people of the United States have a choice: We can reject the humanity of the refugees and buy into the racist anti-migrant rhetoric of the Administration and the media. OR, we can do what humans have an obligation to do and what the US government owes the people of Central America: insist on allowing all the refugees the right to seek asylum!

Demands

  1. Respect for the right of asylum for all members of the Central American Exodus. Stop the profiling and criminalization of refugees; lift the executive order limiting access to asylum.
  2. Process all asylum claims made at Ports of Entry with expediency. We reject Custom and Border Protection’s claim that Port of Entries lack capacity to let in refugees. We also reject the shift away from decades of international asylum agreements that allow for requests to be made anywhere on the border.
  3. The US government must publicly acknowledge a) its role in Honduran Coup in 2009, b) that the Honduran government is a US supported dictatorship, and c) recognize the political and social crises throughout Central America as caused by US foreign policy.
  4. Call for international solidarity beyond the US and Mexico. The United Nations and Red Cross must also recognize the Humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico Border.
  5. We demand freedom for incarcerated migrants now and free movement for asylum seekers. No incarceration of migrants in shelters or for-profit detention centers.
  6. No impunity for governments that violate international asylum agreements and processes. Prosecute officials who violate the human right to seek asylum in any country of their preference.

 

 

Endorsing Organizations:


Activist San Diego

Af3irm SD

AIM OTIPEMISIWAK

American Friends Service Committee

American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931

American Indian Movement Southern California

Anakbayan San Diego

Alíanza de Salvadoreños Retornados

Asamblea de Solidaridad con México – País Valencià

Binational Conference Organizing Committee

Binational Conference on Border Issues Organizing Committee

Border Angels, San Diego

Brown Beret National Organization and all Texas Brown Berets

Caravan Support Network

California for Progress

Campus Antifascist Network

CARECEN

Centro Cultural De la Raza

Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Justice

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft

Coalición Fronteriza de Centro Americanxs

Colectivo Zapatista

Colectivo Somos Migrantes – España

Colectivo Ollin Calli Tijuana

Defend Boyle Heights

Democratic Autonomous Federation

Democratic Socialists of America- San Diego Chapter

Democrat Socialists of America

Employee Rights Center  (ERC)

Enclave Caracol

Enclave Caracol TJ

Enlace

Food Not Bombs

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Halifax in Solidarity with the Migrant Caravan

Honduro-Canada Solidarity Community

Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families

Immigrant Justice League

International Socialist Organization

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) San Diego Local 13

Indivisible (Normal Heights/Hillcrest, San Diego)

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

John Brown Prisoner Solidarity Project

La Diáspora Hondureña

Labor for Palestine

Las Luchonas

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Legalization 4 All

Mark Brazil

Migrante San Diego

Movimiento Cosecha

Mujeres en Resistencia Chicago

Mujeres en Resistencia- San Diego

New Indicator Collective – newindicator.org

No Space for Hate

Otay Mesa Detention Resistance

Our Revolution SoCal OC

Palestinian Youth Movement-San Diego

Party For Socialism and Liberation

PSL Salt Lake – Party for Socialism and Liberation

People over Profits- SD

Pueblo Sin Fronteras

QTPOC colectivo

Raices sin Fronteras

Racial Justice Coalition

San Diego Committee Against Police Brutality

San Diego County Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party

SAN DIEGO BORDER DREAMERS

San Diego Workers World Party

San Diego Ground Zero Players

School of the Americas Watch-L.A.

Showing Up for Racial Justice, San Diego

Stop Tribal Genocide

Students for Justice in Palestine, San Diego

Students for Justice in Palestine @ UCSD

The Coalition to Free Mumia Abu Jamal and All Political Prisoners

The Freedom Socialist Party

Transfronterizx Alliance Student Organization (TASO) UCLA

UMAS y MEXA de CU Boulder

Union Del Barrio

Union de Vecinos

Undocutravelers

Uaptsd San Diego Copwatch

Veterans for Peace, San Diego

Veterans for Peace, Chapter 72 Portland, OR

Veterans For Peace (national)

Women’s Labor Network

Women Occupy San Diego

43 San Diego

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Related image

The current international border between Mexico and the USA actually runs through the middle of the land of the Kumeyaay Nation. No treaty has ever been ratified by the U.S. Senate regarding any land being ceded by the Kumeyaay Nation.

NLG & Al Otro Lado Mobilizing Legal Support for Central American Refugee Caravan at Mexico-US Border
by National Lawyers Guild
November 20, 2018

TIJUANA, Mexico—Since last Thursday, a Central American exodus of 4,000-5,000 asylum seekers have been arriving at the Tijuana/San Ysidro Port of Entry. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and Al Otro Lado (AOL) are mobilizing legal support on both sides of the border to help protect and uphold the human rights of these refugees fleeing violence and political crisis.

The NLG and AOL are calling on attorneys, law students, and other legal workers to travel to the border and volunteer to Legal Observe (LO) refugee arrivals, lead know your rights trainings, and staff legal clinics. Volunteers must already be trained NLG Legal Observers, have some proficiency in Spanish, and above all, practice cultural sensitivity and remain aware of their privileged status as a guest in a space in which families are fighting for their lives.

On the Mexican side of the border in Tijuana, the first priority for volunteers is to ensure that particularly vulnerable people are allowed access to the Port of Entry to make their claim for asylum. We also will be expanding legal rights presentations in shelters immediately and anticipate a constant need for attorneys and legal workers for three or more months. Volunteers may sign up at this form, and by doing so acknowledge that you are participating at your own risk. For questions, please contact volunteer@alotrolado.org.

“The US government’s refusal to prepare to receive refugees, which it knew about for some time, has created a humanitarian crisis in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities. It is inconceivable that a government, one arguably among the most powerful and wealthiest in the world, chose to install barbed wire and soldiers in place of developing strategies and spaces to process refugees expeditiously, and with the human dignity that all human beings deserve. This response greatly diminishes the United States’ reputation as a champion for human rights,” said Al Otro Lado Border Rights Project Director Nicole Ramos.

Multiple NLG entities are contributing to the effort, including our International and Mass Defense Committees. The National Immigration Project of the NLG is also lining up volunteer immigration attorneys. Local NLG chapters in California including Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego will be ready to provide legal support on the US side, building upon work done during the previous migrant caravan with Pueblo Sin Fronteras that arrived in April earlier this year.

“On our 2016 Mexican delegation, we interviewed migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, who described their harrowing journeys of rape, robbery and murder. These refugees have an absolute right to come to the US under US and International law,” said NLG member Jose Luis Fuentes.

In addition, the Military Law Task Force (MLTF) of the NLG condemns the deployment of US military forces to the border in what MLTF Executive Director Kathleen Gilberd calls “an immoral and illegitimate use of US troops.”

Says Michael Galvan, NLG Queer Caucus Co-Chair: “My work with the caravan exodus began when a contingent of about 70+ LGBTQ persons split off and arrived in Tijuana sooner than most had anticipated. I’m amazed by the folks in the caravan, who though frustrated and tired, are showing tremendous patience, gratitude, and determination.”

# # #

Al Otro Lado is a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

Contact: communications@nlg.org, 212-679-5100, ext. 15

Extinction or Revolution?

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Mass extinctions, global warming and nuclear weapons are growing threats not only to organized human life, but even to much of life on the planet. Noam Chomsky was recently interviewed by Democracy Now! (broadcast November 2 and 5). He talked about the most recent news and science.

“We have to make decisions now which will literally determine whether organized human life can survive in any decent form. You can just imagine what the world would be like if the sea level rises, say, 10 or 20 feet or even higher, which is within the range—easily within the range of predictions. I mean, the consequences are unimaginable. But it’s as if we’re kind of like the proverbial lemmings just happily marching off the cliff, led by leaders who understand very well what they’re doing, but are so dedicated to enriching themselves and their friends in the near future that it simply doesn’t matter what happens to the human species. There’s nothing like this in all of human history. There have been plenty of monsters in the past, plenty of them. But you can’t find one who was dedicated, with passion, to destroying the prospects for organized human life. Hitler was horrible enough, but not that.”

Nothing that people have done until now has succeeded in eliminating the existential threats of nuclear weapons and mass extinctions and global warming. What can we do?

AN OPEN FORUM: Extinction or Revolution?

New Indicator is asking individuals and organizations to contribute your answers to “what can we do?” New Indicator wants to contribute to ongoing improvement of movement theory and action and effectiveness, by asking you these questions and by publishing your answers here. We will not edit your writing without your prior written consent.

Please write to info@newindicator.org

IWW Wins Representation of Staff at UC Student-Workers Union

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A New Indicator interview with IWW member Lola Ruiz Spears

Lola Ruiz Spears is a labor organizer for UAW 2865. Previously, she was an adjunct professor in San Diego, CA, where she served on the Executive board of AFT 1931. Lola has been an active organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation for several years.
In January of 2018 the Los Angeles branch of IWW was contacted by a group of staff organizers and clerical staff who work for UAW Local 2865. The local is state-wide and represents graduate student workers at nine University of California campuses. The union staff had decided to organize a union with the intention of securing a contract, and reached out to the IWW branch for assistance and questions about affiliating.
The organizing committee won voluntary recognition quickly. Bargaining sessions commenced between the new IWW job branch and the UAW 2865 executive board soon after that. The new contract between Industrial Workers of the World – General, Legal, Public Interest, and Financial Office Workers Industrial Union 650 and United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local 2865 – University of California Student-Workers Union was ratified by both parties May 2018. The job branch has elected two “delegates” (shop stewards), one in San Diego for the southern region and one in Berkeley for the northern region. Lola Ruiz Spears is the southern region delegate.
New Indicator asked Lola Ruiz Spears these questions:
What were the conditions which motivated the employees of UAW 2865 to organize?
What was the thinking and conversation behind going with IWW?
What are your hopes for building your shop local?
Networking with other staff unions?
What are your hopes for building the labor movement?

Before organizing, our wages were far below market value, and in fact a violation of UAW 2865’s own bylaws. This was a bit of a sore spot, but it wasn’t the driving factor behind our unionization. I personally was a survivor of both sexual harassment and sexism while on the job from a member of the local I work for. After informing management of this and repeatedly asking for a sexual harassment policy and procedure, they consistently kept putting our request on the back burner, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. Besides, who is more equipped to develop a policy that will directly affect workers other than the workers themselves?

We work for a union (UAW 2865) that prides itself on being militant, member-driven, and democratic. We knew that in order for them to take us seriously and have respect for us, we needed to demonstrate to them that we, too, were radical–perhaps even more radical than they were. We chose to organize as IWW because their long-standing anti-capitalist stance and militant tactics of fighting the bosses, while organizing workers under the most dire of circumstances not only shielded us from criticism from those who might call us “careerists”, but because we too are militant and anti-capitalist, not just in words but in praxis. Our negotiating reflected this in that we stood together as one and would not budge if one worker was offered something better than another, a time honored tactic to divide a shop. Our IWW shop understands that solidarity leads to power.

As for building our shop local, I’m not sure that I have any visions for the future as of right now. We negotiated ourselves a pretty sweet contract! I guess that’s what happens when a bunch of organizers create a staff union! I suppose having more organizers would greatly help. With only three full time field organizers for nine UC campuses, we’re extremely overworked. One thing I’m really proud of that we’ve negotiated in our contract is our closed shop–any new full-time staff must join our union. Also 100% health insurance coverage, which is unheard of this day and age.

We haven’t really networked with other staff unions, partially because we’re really busy between organizing for the union that we work for while also organizing and maintaining our own union, in addition to the organizing in the political organizations that many of us belong to outside of work. Still, I’m curious to hear their stories and learn from them and their struggle. Staff organizers are workers, too!

Since I’ve started labor organizing, I’ve come to the realization that the most meaningful and revolutionary organizing happens in the workplace. Worker power comes from our labor, so focusing on organizing workers is the key to our collective liberation from capitalism. After Janus vs. AFSCME, and along with the anti-working class Trump administration, we might see public sector unions further eroded, but as a Marxist, I look to history as my laboratory for future hypotheses, and history shows us its cyclical nature of the rise and fall of people’s movements. Still, despite wins and losses, we have and continue to push worker’s rights further into the future than they’ve ever been before in the long history of humanity. Two steps forward, one step back is the dance of the struggle. When Janus inevitably takes away the rights we’ve come to take for granted, the rights former workers won with their own blood, the collective spirit of the workers will coalesce again. Things might have to get real bad for us to respond in kind, but respond in kind we will. With the rise of neo-fascism and our present history echoing the 1930s in both Hitler’s Germany and the Great Depression in the U.S., we will have no other choice than to tear the fascists down. Yet this time we will learn from our past mistakes and reject any kind of “new deal” type offers that would quell our rebellion and inevitable victory, allowing a new age organized by working people, for working people, to emerge.

Facebook, Google, corporate suppression of Alternative Media
“One really important thing that happened last April was that the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, issued a report on this very subject, where he talked both about the danger of having governments involved in content moderation, because that will only go wrong, and the dangers of platforms doing it themselves in a way that is haphazard and unclear. And he, too, endorsed a set of voluntary practices that that mirror human rights conditions. So, that [is] where I think we need to go and that’s certainly where we’re putting our efforts into.”
— 
David Greene, Senior Staff Attorney and the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

Facebook and Twitter just deleted hundreds of alternative media sites, and gave only vague explanation for it.

The Real News Network published this report about Facebook suppression of sites on October 18, 2018 https://therealnews.com/series/social-media-purge

In July 2017, World Socialist Website and Monthly Review reported on Google suppression of sites
https://mronline.org/2017/07/28/new-google-algorithm-restricts-access-to-left-wing-progressive-web-sites/

Recently, the Indymedia Montreal 2016 Convergence Working Group published “Holding Out for Un-alienated Communication”. It should be more widely discussed on the left and is timely to read now in the wake of the new corporate action by Facebook.
https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/holding-out-for-un-alienated-communication

We have only 12 years: U.N. 2018 Special Report on Global Warming
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“The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.” 

 

Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, approved by governments

 

Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8 – Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15 or www.ipcc.ch.

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)

133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

For more information, contact:
IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int
Werani Zabula +41 79 108 3157 or Nina Peeva +41 79 516 7068

Notes for editorsThe Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, known as SR15, is being prepared in response to an invitation from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, when they reached the Paris Agreement, and will inform the Talanoa Dialogue at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24). The Talanoa Dialogue will take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions. Details of the report, including the approved outline, can be found on the report page. The report was prepared under the joint scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups, with support from the Working Group I Technical Support Unit.

What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.

The IPCC assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don’t know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed. It does not conduct its own research.

To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.

IPCC Assessment Reports consist of contributions from each of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. Special Reports undertake an assessment of cross-disciplinary issues that span more than one working group and are shorter and more focused than the main assessments.

Sixth Assessment Cycle
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.

The Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories will be delivered in 2019. Besides Global Warming of 1.5°C, the IPCC will finalize two further special reports in 2019: the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The AR6 Synthesis Report will be finalized in the first half of 2022, following the three working group contributions to AR6 in 2021.

For more information, including links to the IPCC reports, go to: www.ipcc.ch

draft. 2020 vision, change the world leaflet, full spectrum cooperation.

The Peace Table, Megiddo Peace Project

an open letter by Odile Hugonot Haber and  Alan Haber

Dear Friends in the Peace movements

This introduction letter is an invitation into a hopeful peace initiative  long percolating… The action begins circulating a one page,”change the world,” leaflet  (draft.3, at the end, adapted from “Greetings” circulated at the 2018 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Congress, Accra, Ghana.)

The intent is a 2 year strategic plan to identify “the war system” as a “system,” and to introduce into politics a high-drama of the “people of the world” calling the “powers that be,” the war powers, to the table to negotiate peace, “a new social-political-economic contract” ending the war system.

Naming the System is a beginning

In 1965, at the first US national demonstration against the Vietnam war, organized by the Students for a Democratic Society, our keynote talk challenged that we “name the system.”

In the 1980’s, peace activists working the United States suffered “solidarity whip-lash” shifting from calls for help from El Salvador, South Africa, Nicaragua, while it was clear the same system and dynamics underlay all these wars.

Naming the system… remains a challenge,  capitalism? patriarchy? corporatism? neo-liberalism? imperialism? empire? military-industrial-complex? what?

This initiative urges that we roll these all into one and call it what, in effect,  it is: a “war system.” and to demand it be ended.

The war system  […another telling of the sorry story.  skip ahead if need be] The people of the world have suffered under the war system for at least the last 5000 years.  The boundaries of our countries are drawn in blood and the agonies of soldiers contending in violence, and of the innocents swept in its tides.

History, (his story,) is often taught pre-war, post-war, between the wars, cold war…the war of roses and a hundred years.   Entertainments tell its glories and horrors, Wall Street records its profits.

States are defined by Constitutions and Laws often imposed by violence and sustained by pacifications of uprisings and the umbrellas of “protection” like old feudal barons lording it over vassals and serfs.

A culture of war has permeated all aspects of our common life.

 

The War System  is a system of power based on domination, hierarchy, command, imposition, impunity, and ultimately violence to keep in power those who often got into power by those means, including aggression, corruption, deceit, bullying, and manipulations of democracy and fear..

The war system exists in a concurrent consensus among the powerful on the divisions of resources,  terms of trade and alliances to keep things relatively stable,… until there is a rift in the fabric and arms are called to re-establish order.

The war system is a siphon that sucks money and wealth and the fruit of labor from the poor and the working many to the coffers of the gun makers, financiers  and politicians who profit from the mayhem.

The war system is hot now in 40 plus  places on this planet., and simmering in many more. creating sufferings beyond measure.  Nations have bonded into huge coalitions and are making war in some of the poorest nations like Yemen.

So it has been, beyond memory. People endure, persevere  People resist, organize, protest all over the world, on a thousand and ten thousand local fronts…advances are made, humanity keeps hope alive.

However,  even in our victories the war system has maintained itself and two looming realities send alarms that make perseverance and steadfastness not enough.

 

First: Alarm  The destructive capacity of the weapons of war and the instability of power, and people in power, pressed by distress everywhere, make urgent a reversal of increasing militarization… and a ban against the  bomb and weapons of mass destruction.

nucleartesting

And Second Alarm, The planetary climate change consequences of human activity, threatening the life system as a whole, require economic and political shifts in policies and cooperation hardly conceivable in the world of war, with the war system itself contributing mightily to the fossil fuel dependence and pollution.

The peace movements are rising, reasons for hope.   Often our movements have been  separated and siloed in different specialties, localities and vocabularies…(and ideologies, identities  and egos, too.) No longer need it be so,

The basis of unity in the Call of Life for Peace is far deeper than the particulars of difference, and cooperation is a way differences are resolved.

 

First, the movements  for peace and justice and freedom and liberation have never been more diverse, extensive, stronger, active.  Every identity has become more conscious of itself and its history and dignity. Increasingly, every facet of repression and oppression is resisted and challenged. People inspire one another across boundaries. Incredible work has already been done.

Second, the capacity for communication with the world wide web, internet and social media allows a degree of cooperation, information sharing and thinking and planning together, never possible before.

Third, this is a new time in the whole human story.  Now, for the first time since humans first came out of Africa and populated the world, or however it happened, for the first time since the old book said, “the sins and iniquities of the fathers are on to the 3rd and 4th generation,”  that there are actually 3 and 4 generations active and conscious and trying to figure out our human predicament and to extricate ourselves from the consequences of the actions of the past generations which we have inherited. The opportunity for four intergeneration thinking might point a strategic path that does not reproduce the problems that got humanity to this mess in the first place.

Fourth, there is a new generation of courage and honesty, individuals who have it together and speak authentic truth… and challenge power right in its face, and have compassion and understanding too.  Women and those schooled in the worlds of oppression and carriers of the ancient wisdoms are in new prominence.

Fifth, there are the continuing movements of consciousness and spirit and human potential, general systems thinking, trauma recovery and healing, and permaculture that allow a wider global life system perspective in political work.

Six,   almost everyone, in every country feels an apprehension…people are alert.  not yet enough, but more than ever, restless, like animals before a storm, possibly receptive.

And Seventh: a viable alternative exists.  A set of policies and best practices that could set in motion a transition out of the economy and culture of war, into a culture of peace and non-violence, reproachement and a wider justice and freer life for all.

And Eight, war is not anywhere necessary. It is not good for children and other living things. Everyone could be better off if the whole enterprise were closed down, money reallocated, swords beaten into plowshares,  and people set to doing better things for human needs. Past belligerents can agree on mutual recognition.

So, given the necessity imposed by the First and Second Alarm, , and the strengths and potentialities suggested by 1 through 8, what can be done….

 

System change

Challenge the war system as a system.

How?

every way we have, and are doing

and adding one new way: provide the warriors an exit option, and the people a way of participating.

.

Stage, choreograph and act out a mythic meta-drama of the “people of the world” challenging the “old powers that have been,” to give up their wars, put down their guns,  to let their hearts be touched, and turned, and come to the table to talk…to face the people of the world

Every person, every human in the world, to the extent we can,  is invited to the peace table, to become a living character in this drama, a passion play for our time, to put their voice in the “one human voice”…(or taking on  the voice of the masters of war and makers of the big guns,) …or to be spectators, … or perhaps members of a chorus of lamentation, or silent.

On the everyday level of organization actions and missions, everyone keeps doing what we do, …forward on all fronts. Resisting  and proposing. Advancing coordinated direct action demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience. Struggling for the commons and democratic space.

VFP San Diego Chapter 91

On the meta level of system change: First, create an open public process to invite the self expression of the “one human voice,” and, then, compose out of the particulars of response, a draft of a “new social-political-economic contract,” for after the wars, and for the transition time to after the wars,  that the “people of the world” call the “powers that have been” to the table negotiate…. and to agree..

Make it “News” and loud by the 2020 political campaigns, in America, and all over the world, wherever there are elections..

Challenge in the United States the wars powers long announced plan of “full spectrum dominance” with the people power plan of “full spectrum cooperation,”  beginning now with cooperation among peace organizations in sharing in “crowdsourcing” the peoples’ voice, and in composing a document —and video and song and whatever in its expression.

Create a bank of win-win solutions that have occured. Problems versus solutions so all could access possibilities that have worked and won the day lessening dispute or wars, that help also to create long term decisions.

“Time Line”    2 year plan

  1.    Now through Peace  Day, 2018:

>send out draft “leaflet” and introductory letter for responses. and rework for better                   expression, WILPF, WBW, others 2 questions:

What would help make peace in the world where you live, from what you know?            Who are the people and powers you are up against?

>invite a “reception committee” to design a way of receiving, organizing and sharing responses

>invite a “software committee” to help

  1.    September 2018 through February, Presidents Day, 2019

>open Megiddo web site portal as initial reception point of responses

>seek co-initiators, and proliferators and pollinators

>begin general distribution, promotion of the initiative,

22 friends

Meeting in the Fall: Nuclear Accountability Boulder meeting

World Beyond War Toronto meetings

Women’s March  Washington

Armistice Day veterans rallies Washington  November 9-11

1400 organizations in Housemans World Peace Directory

others

 

  1. Presidents Day 2019 through Summer 2019

> reception committee continues to receive and organize responses

> invite a “presentation committee” to undertake reading, synthesis,   writing and other expressions to present the Demand

 

 considering:

207 country codes, and “world citizens”

40 war zones and displaced persons, and people without documents

recurrent questions: land, water, security, privilege, power,

care of life system, traditional enemities and historic memories

whole system elements: justice, governance, infrastructure,  economics environment,          science, education, media, health, relations, spirituality, arts

“revolution of values:”   racism, materialism, militarism  nationalism

questions of morals, bigotry, greed, brutality, arrogance…

what peace looks like …actual on the ground projects and pieces of the peace,

next system economic transition policies

gender and transgender perspectives

4 generational perspectives,  young and youth, and old and elder,  and two generations between.

 

  1. Peace Week 2019  Sundays September 15 to 22.  International Day of Peace Saturday September 21. Peoples of the World Convocation.

To receive and discuss the work of the “presentation committee.”   emulating the aspirations of the 1999 Hague Appeal for Peace, plus 20, and the First Hague conference, 1899 plus 120…

Invent a beautiful way of doing it, with music art and ideas, broadcast  everywhere

An inclusive peace circle with its center everywhere and circumference surrounding, embracing the whole world

>invite a “convocation planning consortium,” all organizations that want  to cooperate

>choose a central meeting site, or multiple inter-connected sites

>create a computer world wide web interconnect design so any one or group at any    peace table in the world can have a presence in the world convocation

>present “the Presentation,” seek consensus and identify continuing questions

>issue the Demand.

> Address  the Powers that have been, the Masters of War: those identified as the ones we are up against.

End of the War System, your part a the whole system.

put down the guns, come to the people’s peace table to talk. consider to accept a “new social-political contract,” articulated in minute particular at this convocation,  a better system, where everyone wins: “full spectrum cooperation.” partnership, generosity, caring, sharing, healing, helping, truth and reconciliation, demanding all governments become “governments for peace.”

In the United States, for instance, formulate a 4 year economic, political  diplomatic transition program to demobilize the military industrial complex and convert to the peace system and an alternative global security system.

  1. Peace Week 2019 to Election Days 2020, November 3, 2020 in the United States

> introduce the peace demand in political debates,

> challenge all political candidates to read and endorse the Demand and the “new social-political-economic contract.” …Press National House  and Senate candidates, State and Local candidates, and especially those contending for the Presidency

> challenge the Democratic and Republican Conventions  Seek to introduce and end the war system platform Summer 2020

> consider options for independent political action

  1.  after the elections 2020:

> re-evaluate

>press the 4 year plan on congress

>prepare for 2022 and 2024.

To the End Game

A conscious social political evolution can happen.

Awakening is possible, especially when  alarms are sounded

People can choose to change old habits, especially when help is at hand

Learned behaviors and beliefs can be unlearned, especially when  teachers are at hand

 

It is also true, not to be denied, as one woman said:

“nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom

by appealing to the moral sense, of the people, who were oppressing them”

 

Yet  ending the war system, creating a world beyond war is changing history, and changing the world as it has been since before memory.

 

One human voice speaking truth to power  Circulating this leaflet, asking people to respond and to pass it on, listening, working to synthesize one human voice of the many, …the actions here…undertakes to create an articulated public voice of the ”people of the world”, speaking directly to the powers of war and politics, demanding they come to the table to talk, demand they consider “transformational surrender,” going through the eye of the needle, accepting a new social-political-economic contract, ending the whole war system and beginning the next age of humanity, after the wars, becoming heros for the future..

Asking them to change…each of them, .  identified by the people who respond to the question, “who are the people and powers you are  up against?” Personalize the system, by names and deeds, named by the people on whose neck is their war system foot.

 

It is an appeal to the heart, and reason, and care for the children, their own, and grandchildren, and the next generations, and for the polar bears too.

Look for splinterings in the ruling class concurrent consensus that keeps the war system in place.

The Demand, distilled out of all the”Reception Committee” was able to receive, is intended to be policy specific, —local, state, national, regional, global — with  links to sources, for peace in the world and in all and each of the wars now hot and simmering. “What is needed for peace where you are?” our first basic question.

“The Presentation” will likely be in many media forms…more than words.  The words though are important, hoped to be beautifully said, clear and in big print, explicite about the minute particulars, in multiple languages. Other forms of presentation may be videos, songs, dances, tweets, who knows how the people of the world, if asked, would express it themself.

tellingstories

20/20 clear vision : full spectrum cooperation. End the war system.

In the political campaigns of 2020, the universal inclusive demand can be put to every politician in the political process, country by country, reinforcing itself across borders—changing the terms of debate globally, and helping all of us better work together.

And ideally, too,  it will help stir an increasing awakening, and a way for people, wherever they are, to participate in a conscious social evolution.., to be characters in the drama.

This initiative projects  a two year process, also ideally, that we become more the “we” that we can be, a big us…world wide…collaborating in both  intentional action, and in a big hug, of mutual recognition around the world, across boundaries of class and race and gender and age and organization and religion… to a common purpose, broad enough to embrace all our purposes.

In this effort toward full spectrum cooperation, no organization loses its autonomy or independence in what it does.

Each “co-initiator organization”  keeps connection with the responses that come through its portal to the “reception committee”   All organizations can spread the initiative invitation leaflet in their own outreach and program efforts

This work is also hoped to increase our knowledge of one another and opportunities to cooperate.

 

>a “collaboration consortium” of participating organizations will figure out how to proceed as we go along to the Peace Table

*******************************************************************

 

The Megiddo Peace Project,  the organizing “lets do it,” of this initiative, has, since its inception in 1986,  focused on “the peace table.” Peace requires a meeting, (or many, but one to seal it,) and a meeting requires a table, and peace requires putting down the gun and coming to the table to talk, and people have to agree on the shape of the table at which to sit and see eye to eye.  The project began with a physical table, family size, designed to be receptive to all outstanding questions, –artistically representing the coming together of the 4 corners of the square of our earthly dilemmas, rising through the eye of the needle transformed to support the circle of community— and it was given to the movement to do with what we can.   Tel Megiddo is an archeological site in the Holy Lands, the foretold place of “Armageddon” the bloody war at the “end of days”… which it is our purpose to preempt and prevent and transform. and make peace instead.

We are long time activists, Odile Hugonot Haber, a nurse, and Alan Haber a woodworker,  We call this effort an “initiative” because without our initiative it would not have been talked out, presented at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) international congress in Ghana, and now in our world of friends and colleagues in the movements… and to you.

We hope  what we do produces a positive response and generates the momentum and spread necessary for success.

Scale of this ,endeavor:

There are 7 billion people in the world and almost all of them would include their voice for peace in the one human voice, if they heard they were asked. In the short run this would overload any capacity to receive the responses.

So practically speaking, how many people responding are enough?

As many as we get is the best we can do. Looked at another way,  a psychologist of visual perception told me, there were 1.2 million neural fibers in the optic nerve, carrying information about what is out there to what is seen in the mind, giving the clarity of the human eye.

If we could among us receive 1.2 million inputs, and integrate them, we could perhaps see together. adequately enough to approach  true human vision. …of the one human family.

>We invite information engineers to join the “software committee” to help design a receiver, adequate to receive a wider world web of inputs.

****************************************************************************

money:

Run the whole project on voluntary donations of work, love and knowledge.

Money needed for postage and printing

Money needed for the Peace Week meeting 2019

Each committee and consortium would develop its own budget and fundraising plan

**************************************************************************

REPLY: Megiddo Peace Project  megiddo@umich.edu  PO Box 7213, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48107, usa

(  ) I am interested

real name, email address,  country code, age, gender and other self identification.

 

my answer to the questions, now (  ) or ( ) later

  1. what would help make peace in the world, and my life where I live, from what I know?
  2. who are the people and powers you are up against?

 

I am willing to help

(  ) Software Committee: help design reception portals, ways to share information

( )  Co-Initiating Organization: establishing a partner portal

(  ) Reception Committee:  to receive responses

( )  Presentation Committee:to integrate and to present what is received

(  ) Convocation planning consortium , peace week 2019 conference

(  ) Collaboration consortium…figuring it out as we go along.

 

*************************************************************************

copy of draft .3  leaflet

adapted from “Greetings” circulated at the 2018 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Congress, Accra, Ghana

Women, and men, of every country, and the world,  are enmeshed in the war system.

System change is what we need.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948

“It is for the people of the world to make  the peace”

The states can’t do it.  They define the war system.

>power concedes nothing without demand<

The Inclusive  Demand is Ending the whole System of War.

This Demand needs to be put at the center of the political agendas in 2020.

Wars kill, mutilate, rape, pollute, starve, do not increase human security,

and cause horrendous  moral injury.

The war powers have many nuclear bombs –and weapons and violences proliferate.

beyond tolerance

The people of the world need to transform this war worn system into a system of peace making and healing

moving forward in economics and culture to support life on our planet.

…the inclusive we …need to bring together our knowledges from  our organizations and struggles and to craft a presentation of comprehensive demands that express in one voice the  peace call of the human family

offering solutions, and putting system change demands to the politicians and powers that be.

*************

We are inviting a cooperative endeavor to harvest from the knowledge of the movements

a clear program statement of what it means, in specific policies required,  to end the war system…

and to transition, retrain and repurpose to build what will be the new, next  system that serves,

life and humanity, all species, full spectrum cooperation …the peace system.

We invite you to join this 2020 20/20 clear vision initiative.

What would help make peace in the world where you live, from what you know?

Who are the people and powers you are up against?

***************

The Megiddo Peace Project is undertaking to provide an initial “portal” to help gather these particulars of demand and solution,  calling the war powers to the peace table Much help is needed.

Please write and send your responses as part of your part in the composite one voice for Peace.                   send: your “statements of demand,” what is needed, and ideas and questions .

We will share what we receive.   We hope many organizations will become co-initiators, and a cooperative process will be invented to sort out what we learn and write what needs to be said.

An aim of this initiative is to stimulate the broad peace and justice and freedom movements in every country to become more coordinated and to press  common policy programs for each government…expressing an ideal,…to become a “government for peace.”

We are both WILPF members of Ann Arbor, Michigan US Section. Odile Hugonot Haber is a nurse, long active in the US section, and Alan Haber, a carpenter, made a peace table receptive to all questions. As the first president of Students for a Democratic Society (sds), Alan participated in the collective drafting of the 1962 sds Port Huron Statement, a manifesto of the New Left..

.

Contact Megiddo Peace project PO Box 7213 Ann Arbor Michigan 48107.

e-mails: Megiddo@umich.edu, odilehh@gmail.com  www.personal.umich.edu/~megiddo

____________________________________________________________

 

Prison Strikers Statement to the Press; August 22, 2018

End Prison Slavery with two prisoners looking out and one holding a banner that says "strike."

Strike Statement to the Press; August 22, 2018

Statement regarding the ongoing Nationwide Prison Strike
issued August 22, 2018, Day 2 of the strike.

Issued by the Prison Strike Media Team

Amani Sawari
official outside media representative of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com

National Prison Strike, August 21 – September 9, 2018

Until Every Cage is Empty poster

Rebels incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives when prison officials turned their backs on a riot they provoked. We are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.

Learn more at http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike

 

Demands

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human
    shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

Endorsers

See full list of endorsers.

Add your organization’s name to the list by emailing prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com

Support the Strike

The Janus Decision: Obstacles or opportunities? American working families can’t sit on the fence any longer, in the face of this direct attack
Prince George’s County workers rally at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on August 13, 1980. D.C. Public Library, Washington Star Collection, via Jacobin.
by Dan Mariscal

As you all have either read, heard or seen on TV, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled that agency fee payers, who object to their unions’ political activity can’t be forced to pay dues to their public sector unions, even though they will also reap the contractual fruits of their member’s efforts to bargain for their benefits. The bigger national picture is a lot more serious when taken into context;

Citizen’s United vs. FEC (Federal Elections Commission) was decided in January 2010 and established that money is a form of speech and corporations, as well as unions and other organizations, could use money for speech on political and campaign issues, by way of political action committees. That decision changed the balance and landscape and gave corporations a new political tool to use against unions and organizations that support working families. And the corporations took full advantage of this.

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, decided May 2018 further advanced the corporate agenda by upholding a practice of barring class action suits by workers, as a condition of employment, which were not unionized. The “take it or leave it” kind of employment that weakens the labor movement and mitigates the job protections that were hard fought for by working families.

Janus vs. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) was decided June 2018, under the guise of another freedom of speech issue. This decision means that public sector union agency fee payers (also known as fair share payers) can opt out of paying dues to their respective unions if they object to paying them. In other words they will be “free riders”; enjoying the benefits of the bargained contract without contributing to the effort or process that provided those benefits. The loss of dues may further inhibit the unions’ ability to fight politically, and legally, on the same level as the corporations.

It is this series of SCOTUS decisions, as well as other efforts to disarm the labor movement, that should be the virtual “writing on the wall”. Make no mistake, this is a pivotal moment in our history and how we respond may determine the future direction of the labor movement…and respond we must. But, let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past and leave the workers out of the loop. This is not a time for power hungry union bosses, with catchy slogans and flowery phrases, to use this to further their own personal agendas and show loyalty to their International Executives, or Executive Boards. This fight calls for focusing on the big picture and realizing that this is not a time for anything but transparency, accountability and integrity. And, the members cannot be kept in the dark, misinformed, and left out of the process.

Yes, this is a call for all hands on deck. But, it is not a call to start throwing money at unions. Money, alone, will not save us from this fight. This fight requires…no, it demands…that we get our national labor houses in order and put the petty divisive fights over members and their dues money in the archaic trash bucket. The response should still be to organize, but let’s get our house of national labor under leadership that understands that we can’t protect and save our working families, by only throwing money at the problem. We can’t fight these battles wearing golden handcuffs. We need “both hands and feet” and we need national union leadership that doesn’t put its interests ahead of our family’s best interests.

Make no mistake that this is an overt attack on working families disguised as a worker’s rights issue. My question to you all is; how is this going to affect your family, your job, your chances of promotion, your pension and future relations with your employer? Will we see contracts where there is an erosion of so much that has been gained by all our hard efforts and sacrifice? The jury is still out on this.

This recent “Janus” decision, now, puts the onus on members in that it is now up to the individual member to decide if they want to pay dues. It will now be a voluntary dues for public sector unions. It is expected that those who felt they weren’t treated fairly by their unions will be inclined not to pay dues, which will financially weaken their respective unions. What we will have to see is if this drop in revenue will force unions to also make sacrifices for their own survival; less staff, pay cuts, less representation, less services…and to what degree. For instance, public sector unions are only obligated to service and/or enforce the bargained contract. If there is an issue that is outside of the contract language, say, an unfair labor practice action against the employer, the union is not obligated to file the action and the member may have to acquire his or her own representation. If a public sector employee is subject to suspension or discharge, the union is not obligated to represent them at the Civil Service proceedings. Yes, I know; in the past the unions have represented employees for these types of labor issues, but that could change in the current environment.

But, this is also an opportunity for local union members to hold their unions’ feet to the fire and vociferously lobby their locals to make changes that they want to see happen, or prevent, or stop current abuses. The response to these SCOTUS decisions is, still, to organize members…just not exclusively at unions halls or with the union’s staff present. Yes, let us organize and communicate with each other, but remember that we can discuss these issues among ourselves outside of union halls, where union staff control the narrative and take names. Members can still meet away from the union halls and speak freely on what they need to fight this war, and I encourage this. Rest assured that corporations will continue to do everything they can to keep us divided, misinformed and confused; and they’re getting better at it. We need fresh ideas, brainstorming, advocacy and strategic planning….and we need all hands on deck….NOW.

Enter the stewards.

Stewards have always held a unique place in unions and cost the union nothing. Stewards are the life blood of their respective unions. But, stewards shouldn’t be puppets, either. They know, more than a union staff representative, what’s really going on at the ground level. The stewards and employee activists know the members and have a better handle on what the members need.

I can’t give enough emphasis on how important the stewards are going to be in the current environment. It is a unique opportunity for stewards to represent their members when it will count the most and at a time when it is most needed. This is a pivotal moment in history, but a golden opportunity to offer more control of their locals back to the members, reinstate transparency, accountability and integrity. It’s not just about money going to unions, it’s about our families and our futures, which is where the focus should have always been.

***

Dan Mariscal is a retired 22-year City of Los Angeles employee and a 20-year Union Steward/Labor Activist. He has represented public sector employees in grievances, Unfair Labor Practice Claims, Arbitration, Disciplinary and Civil Service Proceedings.

For more information regarding the Janus Decision, see

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