Rad Geek People's Daily

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Posts from August 2001

Si se puede!

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers campaign against Taco Bell picked up a big moral boost as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta’s United Farm Workers passed a resolution endorsing the boycott of Taco Bell [IMC]. The solidarity from UFW is inspiring, given UFW’s historical role as a spearhead of organizing for the human dignity of migrant farmworkers and their near-legendary inspiration for low-wage laborers and Chicanos across the nation.

CIW launched its boycott of Taco Bell in April, 2001, in response to repeated stonewalling from Taco Bell management. CIW had asked Taco Bell to take responsibility for the abysmal working conditions of Florida tomato pickers (the average farmworking family lives on about $7,000/year; farmworkers have no labor rights under US law; the piece rate paid for tomatos picked has not increased since the 1970s). Taco Bell claims that it is not responsible for the contracts made by its suppliers — an excuse just as phony as Nike’s excuses that it is not responsible for its outsourced sweatshops in Indonesia or Mexico. If Taco Bell would pay just one penny extra per pound of tomatoes, it could double the income of tomato pickers. But they will not take any responsibility or make any moves to bring their suppliers to the bargaining table with the CIW. So the CIW has launched a dynamic and creative campaign to speak truth to Taco Bell and hold them accountable.

The campaign is surging forward as the Taco Bell Truth Tour begins. We had a Taco Bell protest here in Auburn during the Southern Girls Convention, and, who knows, we may work on some more later.

For further reading:

Take Action!

Repression of Dissent in Iran

There are still only a few Leftists who continue to believe that the revolution in Iran and the Ayatollah’s regime was something that deserves support from the Euro-American Left (I suspect that their psychological profiles are similar to those of the last few ardent Stalinists who hung on through the 1950s and 1960s and refused to acknowledge the horrors perpetrated by the Soviet tyranny). Nevertheless, they — as well as anyone who thought that Iran was well on its way to becoming a liberal democracy under a reformist regime — should consider the following: feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani has been arrested at the order of the reactionary Revolutionary Court on charges that her film The Hidden Half insults Islamic values and slanders the 1979 revolution [Independent Media Center]. The arrest is part of a broader campaign restricting dissent which has closed several dissident newspapers and imprisoned several activists, but Milani’s arrest marks the first time that artists have been targeted.

For further reading:

  • GT 5/17/2001 reports on the decision by the Guardian Council of Iran that women cannot run for president under the revolutionary constitution

Al Sharpton Considers a Run

With Jesse Jackson hurting from recent scandals, Al Sharpton may be trying to establish himself as the leading Black candidate in the Democratic Party, as he announces that he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible Presidential run in 2004 [evote]. To which I say: good. Although he is an amazing speaker and voices ideals which are strongly progressive, Jesse Jackson has long since ceased to pose any challenge to the Democratic Party power structure, and has simply faded into the role of party hack.

Many radicals and progressives will never forgive Jackson for his decision to hamstring Rainbow/PUSH Coalition after politicos such as Al Gore Jr. hatcheted Jackson’s Presidential bid in 1988 and it began to look like Rainbow/PUSH might be moving to act as an independent, grassroots coalition rather than a caucus within the Party. Jackson has become well-known for his Faustian bargains to salvage his personal access to power within the Party. On the other hand, Al Sharpton is still scary to the Right-wing elite within the Democratic Party and outside of it – as evidenced by the constant derision he faces from the Punditocracy. I have limited hopes for Sharpton personally, and for anyone to be able to change the Democrats without massive changes in the basic structure of elections (such as, say, Instant Runoff Voting, lowered ballot access requirements, and other pro-democracy ballot reforms), but I think that Sharpton could help check the Right-ward tilt much more than Jesse Jackson over the next few years.

Tom Tomorrow: CNN Finally Abandons Lost Hopes of Marxist Revolution

Tom Tomorrow weighs in on that den of revolutionary Left-wing militancy, CNN, and its attempts to shift towards the Right-wing zealot news market.

For further reading:

  • GT 8/7/2001 reported on CNN’s Right-wing market research
Read the rest of Tom Tomorrow: CNN Finally Abandons Lost Hopes of Marxist Revolution

Terrorism against gay men in Hawaii

The vicious campaign of hatred and terrorism against queers continues. In Hawaii, a pair of anti-gay attempted mass murderers were arraigned in May on charges of attempted murder and related offenses. The two men, one 19 and the other 18, from Kauai, attacked a campsite of gay men marked with a rainbow pride flag. They set fire to one tent in which two men were sleeping, poured kerosene on a second tent, and tried to run down several of the campers with their car.

Take action! Write your legislators supporting positive action against anti-gay hate crimes. If you can get out to Atlanta on September 15th, protest anti-gay bigotry by attending demonstrations against Focus on the Family’s homophobic Love Won Out conference.

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