Lynn Koh is a long-time activist in the anti-war movement, and is a labor organizer in the Bay Area.
It's hard to read about Obama's declaration of the wage freeze for federal employees without thinking about the famous PATCO (air traffic controller) strike which happened when I was a few months old, in 1981. Reagan famously fired the workers and had them all replaced; typically this is understood as the 'green light' to the private sector to treat unions and rebellious workers likewise. The imposition of a wage freeze sets a tone for the debate about public sector employees, who have been under relentless attack from coast to coast in the name of balancing budgets.
The Economic Policy Institute has just come out with a report looking at racial disparities in unemployment, focused on Native American communities. As these numbers do not often get reported, I thought it would be good to highlight them:
• From the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010, the American Indian unemployment rate nationally increased 7.7 percentage points to 15.2%. This increase was 1.6 times the size of the white increase.
The New York Times ran a story today about manufacturing companies squeezing reduced wages and benefits out of their unions. Here is an excerpt:
It's mentioned in our last Month in Review, but in case you missed it, you can support Iraq Veterans Against the War and their campaign to prevent traumatized troops from redeploying by signing their petition here. They are trying to reach 10,000 petition signatures by this Thursday.
I have a little bit of time before I start my GOTV efforts on election day, and it seemed like an appropriate time to think about where we find ourselves today.
While the substantial coverage of the Wikileaks Iraq memos in the New York Times is welcome, I'm somewhat surprised at the rhetorical acrobatics the newspaper used. Most apparent, of course, is their decision to personally attack Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. While the criticisms of him may be valid, Times writers seem to have dug out their thesaurus in order to heap opprobrium on Assange at the same time that they seem unable to string together the phrase 'war crimes'.
I'm very excited to have this blog as part of our new, revitalized War Times/Tiempos de Guerra project. I first joined War Times 5 years ago, after the collective had stopped producing a print newspaper. For the next few years, we still sought to bring analysis to the anti-war movement from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist and feminist perspective; however for a small group of volunteers, most of whom were extremely busy with organizing projects and other work, it was sometimes tough going.