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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
  • The Hunting Ground: Human Truths of Campus Rape

    Susan Rose
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  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Organizers, Not Occupiers: The Young People Working in the Shadows of a National Movement

POLITICS - By chance, the revelation of how Apple evades millions of dollars in taxes broke three days before May Day, when workers of the world traditionally protest such injustice.

Although the Apple practices aren’t illegal, the dodging of taxes on revenue generated, to a large extent, by low-wage Chinese workers, was a perfect introduction to this year’s May 1 observance, highlighted by the Occupy movement’s call for strikes and demonstrations around the country. The goal: Protest corporate domination of an economy being pulled downward by growing income inequality and intractable unemployment.


The New York Times reported that the technology company has used loopholes to reduce its tax bills in 21 states and overseas by billions of dollars annually by creating subsidiaries in places with low-tax or no-tax policies. In January, the paper told how Apple’s Chinese workers “often labor in harsh conditions” with “onerous work environments and serious—sometimes deadly—safety problems ... excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms.”

The latest Apple story broke at an opportune moment. Occupy and other campaigners for social justice are hoping this exposé of the evil side of globalization will enrage American workers and persuade them to join protests.  

Thousands of Angelenos demonstrating against income inequality and immigration policy marched Tuesday into the financial heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Last week, not far from there, I spent a day with more than 400 activists, most of them young community organizers not working with Occupy. They discussed turning protests into political action that will lead to economic reform.

It was the “From the Ashes” conference at the University of Southern California, centered on the 1992 Los Angeles riots. What are the lessons, the participants wondered, of the riots and what does that event tell us about the future?

The activists were members of local groups without the national reputation of Occupy. Some of them, sadly, hardly get noticed by Los Angeles print and broadcast outlets, much less the national media.

Among them were organizations such as the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, InnerCity Struggle, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The people they represent are at the bottom of the 99 percent. They work in car washes for tips, clean houses and offices, tend children as nannies, provide home care for the sick and dying, and toil in nonunion factories.

Although Occupy was not part of the meeting, it was a presence. Harold Meyerson, now editor-at-large for The American Prospect and a Washington Post columnist and during the 1992 riots the executive editor of the LA Weekly, told a panel discussion that Occupy was “a tremendous success.” It had turned the political dialogue toward income inequality.

The differences between Occupy and the organizers at the USC conference illustrated how progressives vary on attaining their goals.

Occupy takes pride in being lightly organized—or unorganized. That’s not enough for many of those at the conference. Their groups are more structured, with staffs and specific strategies to force elected officials to pay attention to their message and compel businesses to pay a living wage and recognize unions for the working poor.

I was struck by the intensity and youth of some of the people I met and the hard road they and their constituents had traveled. “My mother came here,” said one woman, daughter of an emigrant from Mexico, “not in a train, not in a plane but in the trunk of a car.”

Another woman, Nancy Meza, was brought to the United States by her immigrant mother at the age of 2. Meza is now an intern at the UCLA Labor Center, which assists community organizers. In high school, she helped organize students and parents to demand construction of a new campus to relieve overcrowding in East Los Angeles in the heart of the Latino community. Following a traditional path for the Eastside’s upward strivers, she attended East Los Angeles College and then moved on to UCLA. Each day, she left her familiar working-class neighborhood and took the 720 bus to distant, upscale and overwhelmingly Caucasian Westwood, site of the UCLA campus.

Her interest is in communication. “Young people are creating their own organizations, their own networks,” she said. “We’re taking advantage of being young. We know social media.” She and her colleagues worry about “How are you going to communicate your message to NPR? How are you going to communicate your message to the person at the bus stop?”

These groups are much like Occupy except they are more organized and less confrontational. I was at a meeting of progressive Democrats a few weeks ago, attended mostly by older lefties. The four or five Occupy people invited there ended up arguing with an elected official on the program, treating him with disdain. Some of the older people, offended, left the room. If the Eastside’s Nancy Meza had been speaking, she would have understood the importance of diplomacy. The crowd would have embraced her.

Although their styles and techniques differ, all the young activists have the same basic goal. They carry on the legacy of the labor organizers who staged the first May Day demonstration in 1886 to demand an eight-hour workday.

Sadly, decent working conditions remain a dream for too many people laboring in circumstances comparable to those in an iPhone plant in China. There’s plenty of work ahead for everyone fighting for social justice.

(Bill Boyarsky is a journalist and blogs at truthdig.com where this column first appeared.) Photo credit: AP/Mary Altaffer
–cw

Tags: Bill Boyarsky, Occupy Movement, organizers, May Day, Occupy LA






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 36
Pub: May 4, 2012



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