08/11/2013 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: New Era Windows- Symbol of a New Workers Movement by Geminijen

This diary is primarily a recompilation of research and articles written by Laura Flanders for Grit TV this summer. LAURA FLANDERS is the host of The Laura Flanders Show coming to public television stations later this year. She was the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.

This past year, numerous newspaper articles heralded the opening of a brand-new worker-owned cooperative, New Era Windows.  In a jobless recovery, the opening of any job creating business is a cause for celebration, but why all the national attention to a new cooperative in Chicago with only 20 employees? The reason lies in the historic struggle that brought New Era into being and what it represents for labor today.

People Power: The Republic Plant Occupation. It was during the big financial meltdown of 2008. As the relentless outsourcing of manufacturing jobs and the financial collapse brought layoffs in the USA to 500,000 a month, people  around the country were increasingly aware of how the 1% was ripping off the 99% while the big banks were being bailed out.

Watch GRITtv’s 2009 discussion of worker takeovers with Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis and UE organizer Leah Fried: http://blip.tv/grittv/grittv-m…

It was just days after receiving a $25 billion federal bailout, that Bank of America cut off credit to Republic Windows and Doors, a small manufacturing company in Chicago, causing Republic’s management to fire all 250 workers with just three days notice and without paying workers the wages and accrued vacation pay required under federal law.  

But instead of simply filing for unemployment insurance, setting up a picket line and filing a law suit for back pay, Republic’s workers and their union, UE Local 1110 (United Electrical Workers), did the unthinkable. They took over and occupied the plant and stayed, winning the hearts of downcast Americans everywhere. Of course there had been factory takeovers in other countries -progressives often recall with longing the factory takeovers in Argentina in the 1990s- but not since the 1930s had the US labor movement embraced sit-ins.

The workers’ action drew extensive media coverage and attracted wide support. Protest demonstrations at Bank of America branches took place in dozens of U.S. cities during the sit-in forcing U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to express support for the workers, and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to ban state business with Bank of America because the bank’s cancellation of the company’s line of credit had prompted the shutdown.

On December 10, the union members voted to end the occupation after Republic, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and the union negotiated a settlement of $1.75 million used to pay each worker eight weeks wages, plus all accumulated vacation pay, and give the workers more time to find a buyer for their company.

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert, Global Terror Warning

Global Terror Warning

The Obama administration alerts Americans about an imminent Al Qaeda attack that could happen any moment, anywhere, at any time.

On This Day In History August 11

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 11 is the 223rd day of the year (224th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 142 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1934, the first Federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz.

A group of federal prisoners classified as “most dangerous” arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

Alcatraz was an uninhabited seabird haven when it was explored by Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775. He named it Isla de los Alcatraces, or “Island of the Pelicans.” Fortified by the Spanish, Alcatraz was sold to the United States in 1849. In 1854, it had the distinction of housing the first lighthouse on the coast of California. Beginning in 1859, a U.S. Army detachment was garrisoned there, and from 1868 Alcatraz was used to house military criminals. In addition to recalcitrant U.S. soldiers, prisoners included rebellious Indian scouts, American soldiers fighting in the Philippines who had deserted to the Filipino cause, and Chinese civilians who resisted the U.S. Army during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1907, Alcatraz was designated the Pacific Branch of the United States Military Prison.

In 1934, Alcatraz was fortified into a high-security federal penitentiary designed to hold the most dangerous prisoners in the U.S. penal system, especially those with a penchant for escape attempts. The first shipment of civilian prisoners arrived on August 11, 1934. Later that month, more shiploads arrived, featuring, among other convicts, infamous mobster Al Capone. In September, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, another luminary of organized crime, landed on Alcatraz.

By decision of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the penitentiary was closed on March 21, 1963. It was closed because it was far more expensive to operate than other prisons (nearly $10 per prisoner per day, as opposed to $3 per prisoner per day at Atlanta), half a century of salt water saturation  had severely eroded the buildings, and the bay was being badly polluted by the sewage from the approximately 250 inmates and 60 Bureau of Prisons families on the island. The United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, a traditional land-bound prison, opened that same year to serve as a replacement for Alcatraz.

The entire Alcatraz Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and was further declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 1993, the National Park Service published a plan entitled Alcatraz Development Concept and Environmental Assessment.  This plan, approved in 1980, doubled the amount of Alcatraz accessible to the public to enable visitors to enjoy its scenery and bird, marine, and animal life, such as the California slender salamander.

Today American Indian groups such as the International Indian Treaty Council hold ceremonies on the island, most notably, their “Sunrise Gatherings” every Columbus and Thanksgiving Day.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: There was no guest list posted for today

This Week with George Stephanopolis: guest this Sunady are : Edward Snowden’s father Lon Snowden and attorney Bruce Fein; chairs of the Senate and House Foreign Relations committees, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA); Donald Trump and former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan.

Panel guests for the roundtable debate are Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX); and ABC News’ George Will and Donna Brazile.

For a special discussion about the sale of The Washington Post and what it means for the future of the news media, with George Will, Huffington Post Media Group editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, “Bloomberg West” anchor Cory Johnson, and editor of The New Yorker David Remnick.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. SChieffer’s guests are Rep. Pete King (R-NY):  Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD); and former director of the CIA & National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden.

For a discussion of the sale of The Washington Post and the state of newspapers, the panel guests are former managing editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, Politico‘s Editor-in-Chief John Harris and Len Downie, the former executive editor of The Washington Post.

Guests for a foreign policy panel are New York TimesEric Schmitt, The Washington Post‘s Rajiv Chandrasekeran and CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This week’s MTP guests are : Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO); House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX); The Washington Post‘s Barton Gellman, who helped to break the NSA surveillance story; and NBC Special Correspondent Ted Koppel.

Guests for the roundtable are: David Ignatius of the Washington Post; Republican strategist Ana Navarro; David Brooks of the New York Times, and Former Governor of New Mexico and UN ambassador, Bill Richardson.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms Crowley’s guests this Sunday are Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus; and Democratic Congressman James Clyburn.

For a discussion on future of baseball and doping, she is joined by retired Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks; USA Today Sports Columnist Bob Nightengale; and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

The political panel guests are: CNN Crossfire host Stephanie Cutter; CNN Political Commentator Kevin Madden; CNN Political Commentator Ben Ferguson; and CNN Political Commentator Errol Lewis.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Birth of a Palestinian City Is Punctuated by Struggles


Published: August 10, 2013

RAWABI, West Bank – Two students came up with Rawabi, the Arabic word for hills, in a competition to name this new Palestinian city, the first to have been planned from the ground up. The developers rejected suggestions – like Arafat City and Jihad City – that evoked a more chaotic past.

“The new generation is building this city,” said Bashar Masri, 52, the Palestinian businessman who has headed this ambitious project and says he will be moving into a duplex penthouse in the town center once it is completed.

“Every Palestinian has a duty to participate in nation building,” he told reporters on a tour of the site last week.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Strange tale of Shell’s pipeline battle, the Garda and £30,000 worth of booze

The innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the US and al-Qa’ida look very similar

Keita and Cisse face off in Mali presidential election runoff

Manila apologizes, and Taiwan lifts sanctions

Mystery surrounds Egyptian sphinx unearthed in Israel

Remembering the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples recognizing the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. On Friday, Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman’s guests were Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, and member ofthe Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs; legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger and Andy Mager, project coordinator for the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, discussing the concerns of their concerns for the future.

Hundreds of Native Americans and their allies arrive in New York City today after paddling more than a hundred miles down the Hudson River to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between Native Americans and the Europeans who traveled here. The event is part of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, first proclaimed by the United Nations 20 years ago. [..]

“We’re concerned about the future, we’re concerned about the Earth – seven generations hence – and the conduct of people,” Oren says. “We wonder, how do you instruct seven billion people as to the relationship to the Earth? Because unless they understand that, and relate the way they should be, the future is pretty dim for the human species.”

Transcript can be read here

In Part 2, Pete Seeger and Oren Lyons discuss fracking, indigenous struggles and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The transcript can be read here

In the final segment, Pete Seeger reminisces about his late wife Toshi, and sings the Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”

Born in 1919, the 94-year-old Seeger is an American icon. In the 1940s, he performed in The Weavers, along with Woody Guthrie. In the 1950s, he opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt and was almost jailed for refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Seeger helped popularize the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.” In the 1960s, he was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and inspired a generation of protest singers. He was later at the center of the environmental and anti-nuclear movements. A month ago today, on July 9, his wife, the artist and filmmaker Toshi Seeger, died at the age of 91. She was a key leader and artistic programmer for the Great Hudson River Revival, the annual fundraiser for the Clearwater organization that helped to clean up the Hudson River in New York. She died less than two weeks short of what would have been the Seegers’ 70th wedding anniversary.

The transcript can be read here


What We Now Know

In this week’s segment of “What We Know Now,” Up host Steve Kornacki talks about the latest news that could “muck up” the GOP’s chances of taking back the Senate in 2014. Joining Steve to discuss what they have learned this week are Christina Bellantoni, PBS’ News Hour; Nick Acocella, Politifax New Jersey; Perry Bacon, Jr., The Grio.com; and Krystal Ball, cohost of MSNBC’s “The Cycle.”

Tea Party favorite Ken Buck files to run for Senate in Colorado

By Jonathan Easley, The Hill

Tea Party favorite Ken Buck (R) filed paperwork Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission to run for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Buck, who lost a senate bid to Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in 2010, will seek to unseat Colorado’s other incumbent senator, Mark Udall (D-Colo.), in 2014.

According to the Denver Post, Buck will launch his campaign and tour the state in early September.

Buck, a district attorney, joins state Sens. Randy Baumgardner and Owen Hill in seeking the Republican nomination.

Michelle Nunn engages battle for Senate in Georgia

Catalina Camia, USA Today

WASHINGTON — Democrat Michelle Nunn’s decision to follow in her father’s footsteps in Georgia opens a new front in the battle for control of the Senate in the 2014 elections.

Nunn, CEO of a volunteer service organization, is expected to file her paperwork Tuesday to run for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The political novice declared her long-awaited candidacy on Monday in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This is the same Senate seat that her father, Sam Nunn, held from 1972 to 1997 as a centrist Democrat who appealed to GOP voters. The race to succeed Chambliss has already attracted three congressmen and a former Georgia secretary of State on the Republican side.

Georgia Conservatives Like Paula Deen More Than MLK (But Only Slightly!)

By Emma Roller, Slate

From PPP:

   We asked Georgians their opinions about a number of current and historical figures in the state. Martin Luther King Jr. has a 73/15 favorability rating- it’s 83/6 with Democrats but just 59/28 with Republicans. Paula Deen remains quite popular in her home state at a 54/21 spread- she’s very popular with Republicans at 73/11 but seen positively by a plurality of Democrats at 40/33 as well.

Or, more succinctly:

NRCC Fundraising Off George W. Bush’s Heart Operation

by Perry Stein, Talking Points Memo

The National Republican Congressional Committee is collecting signatures for an e-card and money to send flowers to former President George W. Bush as he recovers from a heart procedure to clear a blocked artery.

Donations are expected to far exceed the costs of a bouquet of Bluebonnets– the Texas state flower–and NRCC did not return calls to CBS on what they will do with the extra cash, though they will likely use it to help elect Republicans to the House.