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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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Only We Can Feed the Labor Movement Fire

from In These Times:

Only We Can Feed the Labor Movement Fire
BY Alexandra Bradbury and Jane Slaughter

[font size="1"]The Chicago teachers' strikes were a spark, but the labor movement has to keep fanning the flame. (Shutter Stutter / Flickr / Creative Commons)[/font]

We troublemakers keep hoping for the spark that will set a wildfire of workers in motion. The worse our situation gets—economically, politically, ecologically—the more we yearn for a vast movement to erupt and transform the landscape.

It’s not impossible. Look at 1937, when workplace occupations spread everywhere, from auto factories to Woolworth’s. The 1930s wave of militancy forced Congress to aid union organizing with new laws and to enact Social Security and unemployment insurance. Industrial unions formed during that upsurge continue to this day.

So why not here and now?

In our lifetimes, we’ve seen sparks—but we haven’t seen them spread like that. In some ways we’re more connected than ever before, able to watch each other’s struggles in real time on our phones. Yet mostly, the sparks haven’t leapt from one workplace or one Capitol rotunda to another. The Occupy movement is the shining exception.

Why didn’t the occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory, at the outset of the Great Recession, start an avalanche of copycats? Or the Wisconsin uprising, or the Walmart and fast food walkouts? ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/16516/only_we_can_feed_the_labor_fire

Chris Hedges: Our Only Hope Will Come Through Rebellion

Published on Mar 31, 2014

Chris Hedges speaks on 29/3/2014 at the "One Nation Under Surveillance" civil liberties conference at CCSU in CT. He's introduced by Mongi Dhaouadi, Executive Director of CAIR-CT. Hedges was one of he plaintiffs in a suit against the government "indefinite detention" policy.

He's a former Middle East bureau chief of the New York Times

He's written "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt", "What Every Person Should Know About War", "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning", and other books.

Professor Richard Wolff: Who Needs a Boss?

by Richard Wolff and Sheila Dewan.
Published on March 25, 2014

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction. Of the $3.50 you hand over for a latte (plus $2.75 for the signature sourdough croissant), not one penny ends up in the hands of a faraway investor. Nothing goes to anyone who might be tempted to sell out to a larger bakery chain or shutter the business if its quarterly sales lag.

Instead, your money will go more or less directly to its 20-odd bakers, who each make $24 an hour — more than double the national median wage for bakers. On top of that, they get health insurance, paid vacation and a share of the profits. “It’s not luxury, but I can sort of afford living in San Francisco,” says Edhi Rotandi, a baker at Arizmendi. He works four days a week and spends the other days with his 2-year-old son.

Arizmendi and its five sister bakeries in the Bay Area are worker-owned cooperatives, an age-old business model that has lately attracted renewed interest as a possible antidote to some of our most persistent economic ills. Most co-ops in the U.S. are smaller than Arizmendi, with around a dozen employees, but the largest, Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, has about 2,000. That’s hardly the organizational structure’s upper limit. In fact, Arizmendi was named for a Spanish priest and labor organizer in Basque country, José María Arizmendiarrieta. He founded what eventually became the Mondragon Corporation, now one of the region’s biggest employers, with more than 60,000 members and 14 billion euro in revenue. And it’s still a co-op.

In a worker co-op, the workers own the business and decide what to do with the profits (as opposed to consumer co-ops, which are typically stores owned by members who shop at a discount). Historically, worker co-ops have held the most appeal when things seem most perilous for laborers. The present is no exception. And yet, despite their ability to empower workers, co-ops remain largely relegated to boutique status in the United States. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://rdwolff.com/content/who-needs-boss

Sh*tty Stadium

OAKLAND -- There was a time, only a generation or so ago in fan years, when the Coliseum was the most pleasing stadium in the Bay Area.

Aesthetically and otherwise.

Now? The aging concrete mausoleum still takes center stage for the Athletics, but for all the wrong reasons. The lone stadium still being shared by a big league baseball club (the A's) and an NFL team (the Raiders) has become the butt of jokes for two proud franchises, one which is winning and chasing its third straight American League West title while the other is in Year 1 of a self-described reconstruction phase.

But in their typical loose fashion, the A's are having fun with their predicament, even after water came up through the drains in the coaches' showers while the toilets backed up and unleashed an unholy gurgle on Saturday during an exhibition game against the Giants. This, after a few plumbing stoppages flooded the clubhouses and the A's dugout with raw sewage last season. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10709280/mlb-oakland-coping-stadium-plumbing-issues

Silver Line Delays Holding Up Tysons Corner Development

from WAMU, via WNYC's Transportation Nation:

The expected transformation over the next three decades of Tysons Corner — “America’s Next Great City” — is viewed as a potential model for turning suburbs into cities, for changing an area of large surface parking lots and wide roads into a city-grid street network of bike lanes, bus lanes, and pedestrian plazas surrounded by 20-story high rises and mixed-use development.

And it is all resting on the success of the Silver Line. But the transformation is on hold because the Silver Line has yet to arrive at Tysons, delayed by numerous mistakes in the final stages of construction.

There is no timetable for the Silver Line’s completion by contractor Bechtel and the agency overseeing the project, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Meantime, the patience of the real estate developers who own the land around the four Metro stops in Tysons is wearing thin. They are waiting on the train.

A community on hold

The expected droves of new residents, office tenants, and shoppers and diners have yet to arrive. The estimated number of daily boardings at the four Silver Line stations in Tysons at the start of rail service is 16,300, with a total capacity exceeding 30,000, according to the final environmental impact statement. ...........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/silver-line-delays-holding-tysons-corner-development/

NY: Port Authority Wants to Build Bus Terminal Annex

from DNAinfo New York:

HELL'S KITCHEN — The Port Authority hopes to build a $400 million addition to the city's bus terminal in an effort to speed trips for roughly 30,000 passengers daily, according to officials and documents.

The agency's proposed Galvin Plaza Bus Annex would hold 100 buses in a depot on a vacant Port Authority-owned lot on the north side of West 39th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, officials said. The facility would have direct connections to the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, letting buses bypass city streets entirely.

The annex would help relieve pressure on the over-capacity bus terminal, especially during emergencies, officials said.

During Hurricane Sandy, when subway, train and vehicle tunnels flooded, buses traveling through the Lincoln Tunnel provided one of the only ways to get between New York and New Jersey — and the bus terminal filled up fast. After the storm, the terminal that normally serves about 233,000 passengers daily served an additional 60,000 people daily, officials said. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140401/hells-kitchen-clinton/port-authority-wants-build-another-bus-terminal

China’s high-speed rail is so popular, it’s hurting the domestic airline industry

China Southern Airlines is the latest Chinese airline to post miserable year-end 2013 results. Net profit dropped 24% to 1.99 billion yuan ($321 million), and operating profit fell 70%. China Southern Airlines joins Air China, where net profit dropped 32% in 2013, and China Eastern Airlines, where it fell by 25%.

High oil prices, as well as increased competition from low-cost carriers and each other, have taken a toll. But, as each airline has recently acknowledged, so has China’s massive and growing high-speed rail system.

As Quartz reported last August, the costly and sometimes under-used rail network was shaping up to be a vital part of China’s growth strategy. It doesn’t have the hurdles of the airline industry: Airlines in China struggle to get clearances from the military to expand flight paths, and China’s major airports have earned the title of the most-delayed in the world, where passengers sometimes riot to protest long waits and miserable customer service. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://qz.com/193556/chinas-high-speed-rail-is-so-popular-its-hurting-the-domestic-airline-industry/

Houston: Metro Sees Record-Breaking Spring Break Ridership

Metro says there were over a million boardings on the Main Street line during the three-week spring break period. Close to half of those riders traveled Reliant Park for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Others traveled to the Museum District and Hermann Park.

Metro's Jerome Gray says the numbers show a 6.6 percent increase in ridership over the same period last year.

"We had more cars available on the Main Street Line to get to Reliant. So that of course meant we had greater capacity on the cars."

The Main Street Line saw its highest ridership on March 19, with close to 77,000 boardings. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/metro-sees-recordbreaking-spring-break-ridership/

The Nuclear Omnicide

from truthdig:

The Nuclear Omnicide

Posted on Apr 1, 2014
By Harvey Wasserman

In the 35 years since the March 28, 1979, explosion and meltdown at Three Mile Island, fierce debate has raged over whether humans were killed there. In 1986 and 2011, Chernobyl and Fukushima joined the argument. Whenever these disasters happen, there are those who claim that the workers, residents and military personnel exposed to radiation will be just fine.

Of course we know better. We humans won’t jump into a pot of boiling water. We’re not happy when members of our species start dying around us. But frightening new scientific findings have forced us to look at a larger reality: the bottom-up damage that radioactive fallout may do to the entire global ecosystem.

When it comes to our broader support systems, the corporate energy industry counts on us to tolerate the irradiation of our fellow creatures, those on whom we depend, and for us to sleep through the point of no return.


Cesium and its Fukushima siblings are already measurable in Alaska and northwestern Canada. They’ll hit California this summer. The corporate media will mock those parents who are certain to show up at the beaches with radiation detectors. Concerns about the effect on children will be jovially dismissed. The doses will be deemed, as always, “too small to have any impact on humans.” .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_nuclear_omnicide_20140401

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