Monday, December 30, 2019

Perfect Vision: 2020

Happy New Year!

We're all looking forward to a happier and saner year, which could be the last one with the present occupant in the White House. What could be better than having our resident historian do a wrap up of all things "twenties" as we head into the year with a "perfect vision" of what the world could really be like...

Perfect Vision: 2020
by Coast Watcher 

What went before:

A hundred years ago, the 1920s were a time of great social change across the Western world. The newly-won voting franchise of women in both the United States and Britain changed the political landscape for good.

In the United States a series of Republican governments made it acceptable to be greedy. A laissez-faire attitude toward business dealings led to a burgeoning stock market and corruption at high levels of the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover administrations. These governments came into direct conflict with the growing Socialist movement in America, most of which was driven by post-WWI feelings caused by the horrendous loss of lives in that conflict.

The commensurate desire for a better, more peaceful world sat at odds with the capitalist desire to drive down wages, promulgate longer working hours and unsafe working conditions, all in the drive to increase profits. Then as now the rise of share prices did not mean better conditions for the workers—quite the opposite. When the shareholder—and especially the board member—profits, the working person loses.

A similar situation arose in Britain. Men returning from the “War to end all wars” rightly wanted to see a reward for their blood and sacrifice. The Labour Party and union movement gained followers and strength to the point where they could challenge the dominance of the Conservative and Liberal Parties, which had held a monopoly on parliamentary governance for centuries. The Labour Party under Ramsay MacDonald took office for a short period—January to November 1924—with a strong commitment to nationalization. Although it lost the next election to the Conservatives, the precedent had been set. The massive General Strike of 1926 showed the union movement had teeth. It paralyzed the country for weeks before a settlement was reached.

In France the right wing of politics predominated, with the country focused on post-war recovery efforts. Restoration of those areas of the country destroyed by warfare, and assertion of France’s territorial gains following the various treaties with the losing Central Powers were uppermost in French government policies. Even so, labor movements also made efforts to redress the balance between the employers and workers.

Germany turned into a hot mess. Radical left wing groups fought lethal battles with the radical right. Inflation ran rampant with billions of Marks needed to buy even the most basic items of food. Stability of a kind was achieved late in the decade at great cost and some lenience over war reparations on the part of the victorious powers, only to fall to pieces with the rise of the Nazis.

Italy saw the “Red Years” of 1919-1920, with widespread general strikes and labor unrest, mostly directed at the rising power of the Fascisti under Benito Mussolini. Mussolini created a coalition of big businesses and crushed the labor movement, taking control of the entire country in 1922. Any pretense at democratic government ended in 1930 with Mussolini’s declaration of single-party governance, which lasted until his downfall following the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943.

Where we are now:

We face dangers and changes our grandparents and great-grandparents of the 1920s would never have conceived of. Climate change is a real factor in spite of certain politicians’ fondest wishes and active opposition to remedial action (and I’m looking at Trump's sale of national parks to developers and fracking operations,  Bolsanaro of Brazil’s accelerated destruction of indigenous peoples and the Amazon jungle, and Doug Ford of Canada who enacted a policy of dismantling wind turbines). The current bush fires in Australia have killed over 500 million animals and laid waste to vast areas of that country. Certain species such as the koala bear may not recover. Similar fires have hit the Congo, Siberia, and California. The Californian fires were made worse by a telecommunications company restriction firefighters’ access to the network at a crucial time. Capitalist greed will and does threaten lives and property.

Temperatures in Australia and India have reached record and life-threatening levels for sustained periods. Ice melt from the poles and glaciers have already raised global sea levels, threatening coastal communities world wide. The thought that tomorrow will be the same as today is finding increasingly poor soil to flourish in all but the most rabid right-winger. Recent polls show the majority of Americans now believe climate change is real and dangerous.

It’s pretty obvious that the world seems to be becoming increasingly polarized between Left and Right. Social media bears a lot of the responsibility for this. Far from becoming a “village green gossiping session” writ large, it has allowed and enabled anyone with an opinion—no matter how extreme—to voice that opinion to the world instantaneously. “Moral disengagement” is used to rationalize anything from school bullying, through willful environmental destruction to Nazism.

To some extent this had a major effect on the recent UK General Election. A sizable percentage of Labour voters in the party’s traditional Northern English heartlands voted to leave the EU. They were subjected to a storm of criticism and insults for doing so, which caused them to reject their party’s values and vote Conservative, thus handing Labour an epic defeat. Boris Johnson won a landslide victory, another term of office, and within two weeks of the election result the Conservatives began their sell-off of Britain’s cherished National Health Service and reneged on a pledge to protect workers rights.

France is undergoing a general strike of epic proportions, fueling the gilet jaune movement against President Macron. Support for French workers is coming from international sources, especially Germany. Macron’s position looks increasingly shaky.

Looking forward:

So what will the new Twenties bring? Let's be optimistic here.

On the run-up to the election President Trump’s supporters will double-down over his impeachment but with little effect. Senator McConnell’s obstruction of due process will cost both of them dear in the 2020 election. Having learned their lesson the Democratic Party’s national committee will not pull the rug from under Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters, as they did in 2016. Sanders is riding high in the polls, and even mainstream media is giving him reluctant coverage.

Sanders will become the 46th president of the United States, so expect an increase in social programs, environmental change remedial action and a decrease of American military action abroad. Trump's impeachment and eventual jail sentence will see the end of his business empire. Sander's policies will expand Medicaid, Social Security, women’s rights and environmental protections.

Britain’s situation is one unique in the annals of her long history. The British people have a talent for brilliant improvisation which has got the country through difficult times. The voting public will wake up to the havoc the Conservative government inflicts on the country’s infrastructure and vote them out next election. Whether this will come in time to prevent irreparable damage to the NHS remains to be seen.

It’s possible that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom to become a member of the EU in her own right. Whether this will lead to greater “freedoms” is debatable. The EU is nothing more than a thin veneer of socialist values concealing a hard core of capitalism. More likely Scotland will realize on which side her best interests lie and remain within the UK.

I think the growing awareness of environmental change will lead more and more people to ask - Why does the world obsess over the antics of politicians and border issues when our planet is burning down around us? I believe if we make it through the next thirty years without a global crisis destroying humanity, we’ll be secure for the future.

It’ll be interesting to see what the world of 2120 will look like. Maybe some of those babies born this year will live beyond their hundredth birthday to see it.

BIO: Coast Watcher looks to the past in order to interpret today and predict the future. Let's do our best to bring about his more positive predictions for 2020. The alternatives don't bear consideration.

From Friends of the Earth:
Last winter, beekeepers lost nearly half of their hives. Now beekeepers are bracing for another winter of record bee die-offs -- largely thanks to the use of bee-killing pesticides.

And it gets worse. 40 percent of wild bees and other essential pollinators are at risk of extinction. Scientists have warned that further decline of bees and other insects could lead us to a “collapse of nature’s ecosystems.” Pesticides are a key driver of this crisis.

The EPA has the power to stop the decline of bees -- but it’s sitting on its hands. This holiday season, bees need you to demand the EPA ban bee-killing pesticides. But you must act fast!

Bees and other pollinators are vital to our food system. They pollinate two-thirds of the food we eat every day -- from almonds to blueberries. Without bees, we would have a hard time feeding our families some of our healthiest and favorite foods. 

But rampant neonic use is driving alarming bee die-offs. And the EPA is greenlighting their use in record amounts. Our recent study found U.S. agriculture is now 48 times more toxic to insect life than it was 25 years ago, and neonics are mostly to blame. 

Sadly, neonics hurt more than just bees. Recent studies show that these pesticides make songbirds lose weight and delay migration. This is especially concerning because more than half of all songbird species are in decline.

The EPA has had years to take action and protect bees and birds, but the pesticide industry is lobbying hard to prevent it from taking action. Now, the agency needs to know engaged environmentalists like you are watching and we won’t stand by while they let bees die! 

Neonic pesticides are the most widely-used insecticides in the world. They’re long-lasting and systemic, staying in the environment for years. We can’t even wash them off our food. Each day the EPA fails to ban them, our bees and our environment suffer.

The pesticide industry -- including companies like Bayer-Monsanto and Syngenta -- wants to keep selling products that are poisoning bees, and the EPA is letting them.

This winter, bees need our protection -- our entire ecosystem depends on it. Can we count on you to tell the EPA to protect our beautiful bees before it’s too late?  

Standing with you,
Jason Davidson,
Food and agriculture campaigner,
Friends of the Earth

Tell the CEOs of Hershey, Nestlé and Mars:
"You have broken your promise and continue to profit off of child labor. These children are taken from their homes and paid low or even no wages to conduct the “worst forms of child labor” under international law. We demand you stop these practices immediately!"

The candy you got for Chirstmas is probably the result of child labor.

Are you mad? I am.

These kids are working to harvest cocoa, some starting as young as 10. They are swinging machetes, carrying heavy loads, spraying pesticides — all considered the “worst forms of child labor” under international law―for extremely low or even no wages.

This kind of corporate pressure only works when we can draw national attention to it, and shame them.

But corporations can insist on standards for manufacturing and agriculture. It’s time to hold Big Chocolate accountable.

Thank you,

Mike Phelan
Progress America

The violent attacks on the Jewish community in New York over the past weeks have been devastating.  Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents but part of a growing wave of anti-Semitism that is plaguing our country and world.   It must be stopped.  I, and all my colleagues at IFYC will not rest until our Jewish co-workers, colleagues and community partners feel safe and free in this nation and around the globe. 
There is so much to do, but we can all do something. As a Muslim American, I believe we must come together as a national interfaith community to push back against this rising tide of hate.  I know that our religious theology, practice, rituals, and values may be, and are, vastly different from one another. But our commitment to shared responsibility towards our world brings us together.
The poet Rumi said, “The wound is where the light enters you.” As Hanukkah comes to a close, there are pillars of light shining from synagogues and homes across the country. Our thoughts and prayers are no longer enough. Our tweets and Facebook posts are no longer enough. Our empty words of solidarity that aren’t followed by action, are no longer enough. 
Rebuilding takes courage and commitment. It means we must confront these issues of hate, anti-Semitism, islamophobia, and others, within our own communities while also continuing to build relationships with those who are different than us. We have to physically show up to spaces that may be unfamiliar to us — like mosques or temples or churches — and be willing to engage with others across our shared values and our deep differences. This work requires us to bring our whole selves into relationship with one another and share the stories of the common good we create together. 
As we enter the New Year I ask that you consider what you might do to make the world safer for all people and ask that you join me in pledging to confront anti-Semitism in 2020.

Below are just some ideas and resources that may help:
With peace,

Jenan Mohajir
Senior Director of Leadership

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Sing-Along Capitalist Christmas

Ho, ho, ho! Have we got a surprise for all you good little girls, boys, and non-binaries!

 The Revolution Continues proudly presents "A Sing-Along Capitalist Christmas" for your holiday enjoyment. So call the family together, pull up a chair, and sit down and relax while leading lefty parodists like Don Caron at the Parody Project and Randy Rainbow share the real meaning of a Sing-Along Capitalist Christmas. Enjoy! 

And what could be more heart-warming than your typical American family sitting down for Christmas dinner... 

But remember above all else:



 Celebrating the Solstice--Saving the Planet
Some shots of the Solstice sun and area climate activists by C. A. Matthews

Peace on Earth from your friends at The Revolution Continues!

Twenty Percent of Children in the U.S. Can't Afford to Eat or to Buy the Basics They Need. Demand Lawmakers Take Action Now!
Sign Now

The United States has the resources to make sure every child in the country has what they need to survive. So why are millions of children still living in poverty?
The United States is one of the richest countries in the entire world, yet a full 21 million children live in poverty in the U.S. That's one in five who don't have enough food to eat, or whose families can't afford basic necessities. Luckily, Democratic legislators are now proposing a simple idea: provide monthly cash payments to all but the wealthiest families in the country.
Cash payments for parents and families might sound like a radical idea, but many European countries already provide exactly that to make sure everyone is taken care of. And it works. It's possible here, too, if we can create a groundswell of public support.
Thank you for all that you do,
Corey H.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. In one of the wealthiest countries in the history of the world, there's no reason any child should live in poverty. Tell lawmakers to pass a law guaranteeing that the basic needs of every child in the U.S. are met.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Children Shall Lead

"The future is not something we enter.
The future is something we create." 
Leonard Sweet

The Children Shall Lead
by C.A. Matthews

It's the time of year where children take the lead on social activities. There are holiday parties, Christmas pageants, end-of-the-year award ceremonies, and of course, lots and lots of gift shopping. We as a society don't have any problems with putting the needs, wants, and desires of our children first during this particular season. 

This begs the question then: How come we don't put our children first the remainder of the year?

When people say, "Our children are our future," do they really mean it? If you state you prioritize your offsprings' health and happiness, then why protest when someone reveals how you aren't actually doing anything to protect the environment and curb greenhouse gases? Why does your twisted desire to make profits through ravishing Mother Nature--and possibly annihilating the human species--come first over your kids' very survival?

And when a child (that is, a young person) stands up to this hypocrisy, why do you act surprised and insulted? Surely you realize the consequences of your harsh actions against the environment, so there's no use in pretending to be astonished when Greta Thunberg lays out the scientific evidence demonstrating the foolhardiness of your activities. The Trumps of the world have nobody to blame for feeling uncomfortable about their poor choices except themselves.
Choosing Greta as Time magazine's "Person of the Year" really was a no-brainer. It is not kings or princes or presidents or popes or bishops who have taken the point on this all-encompassing issue of the Climate Emergency. It is a child, a commoner, a person without status or title. What better way to usurp the power pyramid and instigate the necessary worldwide revolution to save Planet Earth than by subverting it starting at the bottom? 

It is We of the 99% who will suffer--and currently are suffering--the cataclysmic destruction of our environment through wildfire, windstorms, and flooding. The revolution to stop this travesty must begin with those who have firsthand knowledge of it. It must start with us and not our so-called political leaders. 

Greta intuitively understands this and acts upon it. After all, it is her generation with the most to lose. Therefore, she is the perfect leader to rally the troops to fight the battle to save our precious home.

In this season where many pause to reflect upon the birth of a low-born child and the revolution of brotherly love he began among the ranks of the poor and oppressed, let us consider how fortunate we are to have such a child as Greta to lead her generation--indeed all of us--into a better and brighter future.

The children shall lead us. It's up to us old-timers to put aside our petty differences for the sake of humanity and follow.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
    the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
    and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV)

Time Magazine said this about Greta:
That Thunberg is the youngest individual ever named TIME’s Person of the Year says as much about the moment as it does about her. The 92-year-old franchise is rooted in the so-called Great Man theory of history, the notion that powerful individuals shape the world. Historically that has meant people who worked their way up the ladders of major organizations and were at home in the corridors of power. But in this moment when so many traditional institutions seem to be failing us, amid staggering inequality and social upheaval and political paralysis, we are seeing new kinds of influence take hold. It is wielded by people like Thunberg, leaders with a cause and a phone who don’t fit the old rubrics but who connect with us in ways that institutions can’t and perhaps never could.

Related articles:

Dear Youth, Keep Challenging the Systems of Power – No Matter Who Tells You to "Chill".

Don't Mock Greta Thunberg. Listen to Her (She's Right About the Science)

Scientists Want to Make Harming the Environment a War Crime

Greta Thunberg: Climate Crisis "Not Just About Environment," But Also "Colonial, Racist and Patriarchal Systems of Oppression"
Families Belong Together

Families Belong Together and Doctors for Camp Closure march to demand CBP give flu shots to detained children
Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney

BREAKING: Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials in paramilitary gear ARRESTED doctors attempting to offer flu vaccines to jailed children in San Diego. Tell CBP: stop denying medical care to jailed children.

16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez had a fever of 103. Rather than send him to the hospital -- the CBP locked him into an isolation cell.
With proper care, the flu can be treatable. 

But Carlos was denied medical care and left to die alone in a detention center in Texas, laying in a pool of his own vomit on a cold concrete slab next to a toilet.
Immigration authorities did NOTHING as their security camera recorded Carlos's last moments. 

SIGN THE MOVEON PETITION: No child should die from the flu.
On Monday, Families Belong Together marched with Doctors for Camp Closure to the Chula Vista border station in San Ysidro, California, with 120 flu vaccines in hand. The doctors -- including the physician in charge of the California Medical Association -- volunteered their time and were ready to treat the children -- but the Trump Administration's Department of Homeland Security barred them from entering. 

For six hours, we stood in the driveway of the camp with the vaccines, but the metal gates remained closed. The CBP sent four police cars and five armed officers to keep watch on us as we peacefully stood vigil for the children who died. 

So, on Tuesday, we headed to the CBP headquarters in San Diego to demand they let the doctors in -- only for armed officers in full paramilitary gear to arrest six of us.

Protesting doctor is arrested by armed officer in full paramilitary gear
Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney
Children in detention are nine times more likely to die from the flu than the general pediatric population. But as flu season ramps up, the Trump administration has ignored demands from medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control to vaccinate children in their immigration jails. 

Carlos was the third child to die of flu-related illnesses in immigration detention in the last year. His death was preventable.
Tell the Trump Administration: Withholding medical care from children and families in custody is appalling and inhumane.
We've got to stop throwing children in jails, we've got to undo the damage of the Trump administration's cruel immigration policies. But right now, we've also just got to give these kids urgent medical care.
We're keeping up on the pressure on the Trump administration and are doing everything we can to prevent more deaths in custody. 
Add your name: Demand flu vaccines for children and families in detention.
Thanks for all you do,
Paola Luisi
Families Belong Together Communications Director 


We're excited to announce the publication of World BEYOND War's new 3-part series of fact sheets on the impact of sanctions in Iraq, Cuba, and North Korea. You can view and download the fact sheets for free from our website.

The fact sheets are designed as printable handouts that can be used for tabling events, lobby meetings, and much more. Each reference is meticulously footnoted, so you can cross-check every fact and go to the original source for more details.

Simply put, sanctions can kill. Time and again, sanctions are utilized as a brutal tool of war and repression, destroying innocent communities. Some eye-opening statistics stand out from our research:

  • According to UNICEF, sanctions on Iraq killed half a million children under the age of 5, due to restricted access to adequate food and clean water, which caused widespread malnutrition and disease. Likewise, 60,000 malnourished children are facing starvation in North Korea due to sanctions.
  • The embargo on Cuba has cost the country over $130 billion in losses.
  • A ban on employing North Korean construction workers in Russia, China, and other countries has eliminated tens of thousands of jobs.

The fact sheets document these statistics and much more, illustrating the widespread negative impacts of sanctions in Iraq, Cuba, and North Korea. View and download the full fact sheet series from our website.

A shout-out to volunteers Ben, Gayle, Gar, Joanne, Emily, Eleanor, and Alice for their assistance with detailed research, writing, editing, and graphic design for this fact sheet series!

Please utilize these fact sheets as an educational tool in your community and share them far & wide!

For questions or more information about our peace education programs and volunteer opportunities, email Greta at

For a world beyond war,

Greta Zarro
Organizing Director
World BEYOND War

From Friends of the Earth:

Bees are dying! You know it. I know it. And supermarket giant Kroger knows it. But Kroger is still selling food grown with bee-killing pesticides. And rather than addressing its role in bee declines, it’s rolling out a new slogan: “Fresh for Everyone!”

The truth is, Kroger’s policy is more like “pesticides for everyone.” Kroger’s new ad campaign is pure “bee-washing” -- featuring happy bees and happy families. Meanwhile, our 2018 research found toxic pesticides like glyphosate -- the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup® -- and bee-killing neonics in Kroger store brand foods.

Kroger can’t hide behind its fancy new branding. It must stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides. But we need your help pushing the supermarket giant to act. Can we count on your support?

Beekeepers lost nearly half their hives this past year. 40 percent of wild pollinators are at risk of extinction. 75% of songbird species are in decline. And driving this crisis are toxic pesticides like bee-killing neonics, butterfly-harming Roundup®, and chlorpyrifos -- the second-most toxic pesticide to bees.

But these pesticides aren’t just hurting birds and insects, they’re also harming our health and putting kids at risk. Right now, Bayer-Monsanto is facing lawsuits from more than 40,000 people because they believe their exposure to RoundUp® caused their cancer.

But, thanks in part to Kroger, this pesticide is still ending up on our plates. Recent independent lab testing found that Kroger’s store-brand foods including apple sauce, spinach, cereal and beans contain toxic pesticides like neonicotinoids, glyphosate and organophosphates.

Even in trace amounts, these pesticides have been linked to reduced IQ, attention deficit disorders, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer. They have no place in the food on Kroger’s shelves.

Scientists are warning that we’re in the middle of an “insect apocalypse.” Pesticides and habitat loss are hurting everything from bees and butterflies to the birds and other wildlife that rely on insects for food. We must get toxic pesticides like neonics and RoundUp® out of our environment and our food system.

Food retailers play a key role in turning this crisis around. Building on policies released by Costco and Aldi, Rite Aid just released the strongest retailer pollinator policy yet, encouraging its suppliers to phase out the use of glyphosate, neonicotinoids and organophosphates, including chlorpyrifos and expanding offerings of bee-friendly organic food. But while other companies are leading the way, Kroger is spending money on new ad campaigns with “happy bees” while real bees are suffering.

As the largest traditional grocery store in the U.S., Kroger has the power to change our toxic food system. It must go beyond a new branding campaign if it wants to make a difference for bees and kids. It must lead the way and phase out bee-killing pesticides. Otherwise, “Fresh for Everyone” will only mean toxic pesticides for everyone.

Standing with you,
Jason Davidson,
Food and agriculture campaigner,
Friends of the Earth