Wednesday, May 14, 2014
|FEATHER RAE COLOMBE|
Shane Red Hawk is a man, a Lakota, who cares about youth. Shane tells us:
One of the biggest issues with our kids is consistency,” Shane said. “People promising and never providing — empty promises. If we didn’t do this now, there’s opportunity to lose a little faith from our kids. We have to show them resiliency, we have to show them love, we have to show them compassion, and we have to show them consistency. We have to show them by example.
Shane doesn't just sit around moaning about the state of Indian youth, something the kids themselves are sick of hearing all the time, and something made clear by Lakota students at Todd County High School last February. Ticked off after a Diane Sawyer news special which was advertised as a program examining life on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The program spoke of Pine Ridge as,
A corner of this nation in the shadow of the majesty of Mount Rushmore…a kind of hidden America...where children with warrior names and warrior dreams wake up to poverty, alcoholism, unemployment.
Now, no one can deny that life at Pine Ridge and other of the reservations our nation has hemmed in Indians is far from easy (and pretty much worse then anywhere else in the settler nation known as the USA...which is itself the reason all the problems exist in the first place, but we will save that for another time). Poverty, poor health care, and all that is far too common on the reservations.
However, that is not all that it is. Lakota Country News wrote:
The Lakota students, who live on the nearby Rosebud Sioux Reservation, were angered by what they saw as mainstream media once again portraying their people with stereotyped images.
“Who are they to say what we are, when they don’t even know us,” asked 18-year old Feather Rae Colombe, a senior at Todd County High. “Everyone has problems, you know. That’s why people are the way they are, because of life’s situations. But you gotta see the good side, ‘cause everyone has a good side.”
The kids produced their own black and white documentary entitled "More Than That" which,
...takes the viewer through the hallways, classrooms and gymnasium of Todd County High School. Using their bodies as sign posts, the students explain that they’re more than stock images of poverty, alcoholism and violence. With words drawn on their hands, arms and faces, they share the traits that describe who they really are. Humor, intelligence, creativity – the list goes on. The point the students are trying to make, said Hanson, is that they’re not victims.
The kids took their video to a conference of the National
Association of Federally Impacted Schools in DC.
One of the students, the young women quoted above, by
the name of Feather Rae Colombe, spoke to those in
or try this, may be easier to read,
NOTE: IF YOU CAN NOT SEE HER WORDS ABOVE OR IF
THEY ARE TOO SMALL TO READ,
PLEASE CLICK HERE
Feather Rae was a remarkable young woman. We lost her
recently in rather unusual circumstances, suspicious
circumstances that merit some sort of an investigation.
The world is made less without her.
The following is from Native News Online.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
While the USA and the West in general spend lots of time wringing their hands over Iran, and while many leftists speak out with hurrahs for the Islamic Republic, does anyone care what the actual situation is for workers in that Theocratic State.
A few do. They mostly concentrate on solidarity campaigns for imprisoned workers and organizers. That's good, but there is, of course, more to it then that.
President Hassan Rouhani promised shortly after his election to improve labor conditions for Iranian workers. Nothing happened. A few weeks ago in live remarks on state television, Rouhani said in Tehran that the government was prioritizing "job security (as a foundation for) creating jobs… and that it does not tolerate gender discrimination in the job market." Rouhani also promised better health insurance for workers.
Haven't seen anything to indicate any of this.Like Presidents everywhere, talk is cheap.
Iran's official unemployment rate stands at 10.4 percent, with nearly one in four people under the age of 25 seeking jobs, according to official figures.
Well, we could blame this on Western boycotts and on global capital, except that Iran has pretty well adopted neo-liberal policies and has no beef with global capital. As written on the web site of the IAWSI:
The Islamic Regime of Iran despite of all its rhetoric against western powers has been actively implementing neoliberal economic policies for more than 25 years with devastating effects on the working class and the vast majority of the population. At present, around 90 percent of workers are in temporary work contracts. The minimum wage as set by the state is currently £120 per month while the Islamic regime defines the poverty line as £360. Factory closures and non or late payment of wages is widespread and subsidies on fuel, electricity, water and basic commodities such as bread has been cut, contributing to high inflation which stands, at 40% by official estimates.
Oh yeah, the Clerics had a large number of workers arrested on or before May Day.
Oh yeah, On May 1, workers of the urban bus system who had assembled in Tehran’s Azadi Square on the occasion of the workers’ day were attacked by regime’s suppressive forces and 23 of the workers were transferred to Evin Prison in a cage-type vehicle of the security forces after they had been battered and insulted.
Jailed workers and political prisoners face brutal conditions in Iranian lock ups. Many are right now (or have been) on hunger strikes (which receive little attention) here.
The State, the government, Capital does all it can to hinder and hassle, oppress and repress anyone and everyone trying to organize workers in Iran.
Recently Maryam Rajavie wrote,
The current deep and spreading economic crisis, whose first victims are workers and toilers, is the outcome of the infamous rule of mullahs that have spent Iran’s assets on the Revolutionary Guards, the terrorist Quds Force, war in Syria, meddling in Iraq, and their own untold plunder. Almost all Iranian workers are under the poverty line, they are denied job security, at least 70% of them are not even confident about receiving their salary, the workers’ minimum wage is so far from poverty line that has turned Iranian workers to one of the cheapest labor in the world. Workers are deprived from their justified rights in most aspects, there is no limit to their exploitation, and there are significant number of workers who had to sell their kidney to provide for their livelihood. More importantly, the women are further victimized by discharge, antihuman pressures and low wages. Also, three million child workers in Iran constitute a painful manifestation of the oppression of plunderers ruling Iran.
We all should be outraged over the treatment of the multitude and of Iranian workers by the regime. No progressive person should ever defend the regime as anti-imperialist or forward looking. This, of course, does not mean we would ever support USA intervention or that we can in any way support the USA policy toward Iran which is, of course, based purely on self interest.
The following historical analysis is from the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran.
Monday, May 12, 2014
I have now reached the point in Piketty's book where he lays out his plans on how to deal with the problems of capital which he documents so well. I will likely find this the section with which I have the most disagreement. Piketty is not a Marxist, surely not a communist. I am. However, I can now say this without hesitation. Anyone who is at all concerned with capitalism, with inequality, and who has the time and the means to read this book - should. I don't really care if you do or you don't and I am not really interested in taking the time to write some long opinion piece, review, critique, but I can tell you that almost everything I have read which is critical of the book sounds as if it comes from people who never bothered to read it, are economist jealous of what Piketty has accomplished, or have a dogmatic ax to grind. Again, Piketty does not claim to be a Marxist. However, Marxists should surely read his book. This book provides real data, real evidence, real research which will be invaluable to those of us involved in the fight against capital for a long time to come.
It does seem that everyone from everywhere on the political spectrum is writing something about Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. I am not sure how many are actually reading the whole thing, but everyone seems to have an opinion about it one way or the other. I actually am reading the thing and so far, I have to say, while I obviously will and cannot agree with his proposed path, or with his political theory (which seems to me to be a version of social democracy and Keynesian economics), I am impressed.
I have a long way to go yet and will be plowing through this for some time to come.
I have read many reviews and a variety of different analysis's of this book, but one of the best comes from a self described Marxist-Leninist by the name of Zoltan Zigedy. The website Philosophers for Change describes Zigedy this way:
I am an autonomist Marxist and communist, not a Marxist Leninist, but this does not mean I reject any such analysis like this out of hand, or an unable to learn something from it.Zoltan Zigedy is the nom de plume of a US based activist in the Communist movement who left the academic world many years ago with an uncompleted PhD thesis in Philosophy. He writes regularly a tZZ’s blog, and on Marxist-Leninism Today. His writings have been published in Cuba, Greece, Italy, Canada, UK, Argentina, and Ukraine.
One obvious point of disagreement between myself and Zigedy which does relate to this analysis is his view of the Soviet Union. There are many places where we part ways as well, but again his analysis is worth reading and contains much useful information for someone deciding whether or not to bother with the book, and for anyone plowing through it.
I will add here that it is way past time that someone attempt to do what Piketty has done, gather the data, put it together, try to make heads or sense of it, analyze it. Now, the rest of us can look at this and make of it what we will. This is a very useful book, a very useful endeavor. Too many of us have been operating on air, developing nice thoery and analysis, based on...well, not a whole lot really. This doesn't mean that all we have done over the years, since, say, Marx and Engels, is not worthwhile, it is, but now maybe we can do more and base it on some reality...know what I mean?
So, in the end, I advise you to read this review and the book itself with a grain of salt, a critical and open mind, and, maybe, some cookies on the side.
So for Theoretical Monday at Scission and taken from 21 Century Manifesto, I give you READING THOMAS PIKETTY: A CRITICAL ESSAY.