Telling Tammy Duckworth No Fast Track for TPP

Say it with lights
The Light Brigade Showed Up To Help

Mary Shesgreen sums up what happened inside Villa Olivia at Tammy Duckworth’s fundraiser.

“After our excellent picket line, complete with the beautiful Light Brigade signs, Carol Nightingale and I went inside to participate in the Elgin Township Democrat’s Dinner. We were able to circulate and give flyers and TPP Occucards to almost everybody there.  A few people disapproved of our picket, so refused our handouts. After the dinner, Tammy gave a talk and then took questions.  So, I asked her what position she took on Fast Track and the TPP. She laid on the charm by expressing concern for all of us being out there in the cold.  Said she was “worried about us.”   She told the audience that those of us who were out there protesting were doing something valuable and good by raising important questions.  A complete charm offensive.  Made herself look very good indeed.   Then she replied to the question She listed several things she did not like about both Fast Track and the TPP, but said she was still not going to come out against either one of them because there would be a modified version of Fast Track coming out which might be improved and better, with some built in protections. I said it was my understanding that any modified version of a Fast Track bill might have provisions that sound good but they would not be sufficient or enforceable.  She responded by saying something to the effect that she was very aware of these dangers and would not fall for anything that would not be enforceable. She then talked about how, “Of course we have to have Trade.  Trade is important and good….Our manufacturers need to be able to sell their products abroad.” I piped up one more time and said, “Why can’t we have Fair Trade instead of Free Trade.” And again she gave a smooth and meaningless answer. I have to marvel at  how well she can sound like a progressive, and continue to say nothing at all,  and evade any commitment.   I was also aware of a kind of slant she was working into her replies that suggested that the whole danger about these trade treaties was the other countries would take unfair advantage of the US, and she would be the guardian of our moral American values against those foreigners.  I found that pretty nauseating, because there is so much coercion going on in the opposite direction. I had to shut up at that point, because I sensed that I was wearing out my welcome with the audience. Anyway, the whole thing was worthwhile, in spite of Tammy skillful slipperiness. We educated all those Dems about the TPP.  And we put some pressure on Tammy.”
Protests wait for Tammy Duckworth's arrival
Protestors wait for Tammy Duckworth’s arrival

We Support this MENA Statement on Syria

The MENA Solidarity Network-US promotes awareness of, and support for, the ongoing wave of mass revolutionary struggles in the Middle East and North Africa–popularly known as the Arab Revolutions. We were founded by groups and individuals from the left and workers’ movements who recognized the need to oppose Western imperialist threats to attack Syria while also continuing to defend Syria’s popular revolution against the Assad dictatorship and its allies. We thus oppose all forms of imperialist intervention in the region while supporting popular struggles against all who would deny democratic rights or enforce economic exploitation. We are committed to the principle of international solidarity from below, which supports the struggles of the oppressed against their oppressors in all of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Bahrain, and other countries. We cannot, as people of conscience, ignore the call for “Freedom, Dignity, and Social Justice” coming from revolutionaries throughout the region. We believe that these mass movements share deep socioeconomic roots and are the beginning of a revolutionary process that will continue to unfold in the coming years. We stand in solidarity with the people of the Middle East and North Africa as they go through this process and create their own history and oppose any intervention from our own government. We defend the rights of all people to practice, or not practice, any religious faith of their choosing. Based in the United States, we see a particular responsibility to defend Muslims from Islamophobic vilification and discrimination. We highlight and applaud the role of women in the revolutions, and support their full rights and equal participation in society and in the revolutionary process. And we pay particular attention to the struggles of workers and poor people, defending their rights and drawing attention to their struggles. We call upon all groups and people who agree with us to sign onto our statement and join our network to oppose US intervention and help build solidarity with our brothers and sisters struggling for freedom and justice in the Middle East and North Africa.

Our planet is becoming a perilous environment for humans and other living things.

 Our planet is becoming a perilous environment for humans and other living things.  It is becoming toxic.  Our air, water, land, food, and animals are being contaminated daily:   toxic water from fracking, overflowing landfills, the destruction of the earth through coal removal and processing, depleted topsoil through monoculture crops, methane about to be released from the thawing of the permafrost in the Arctic, overfishing of our oceans, GMOs in our food, bees dying from pesticide use.  The list goes on.  Most urgent is global climate change caused by our use of fossil fuels.  We must change our economy and our culture.  We must disengage from the current economic model which requires constant growth and which stimulates artificial “needs” while not fulfilling genuine human needs.  We must move away from our consumerism and materialism.  We must stop rewarding greed and extraction.  

We must build community by doing such things as encouraging local self-reliance in food production. read more

Promoting peace, a stronger democracy, and social and economic justice through education, dialog, and action