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Infoshop News / ?Subvertising? hackers are using street ads to protest
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Today at 06:31:57 AM »
?Subvertising? hackers are using street ads to protest

Commuters in London were recently given a glimpse of Harry Potter as he had never been seen before.
Source: ?Subvertising? hackers are using street ads to protest
Infoshop News / Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Today at 06:31:57 AM »
Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever

Fame first came to Ferlinghetti when he and City Lights clerk Shigeyoshi Murao were arrested and put on trial in 1957 for publishing Allen Ginsberg?s ?Howl.? In a landmark decision, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the Beat poet?s work was not obscene.
Source: Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever
AlterNet / Why Mandatory Drug Tests at Work Are Fundamentally Racist
« Last post by AlterNet on Today at 06:31:55 AM »
Why Mandatory Drug Tests at Work Are Fundamentally Racist


Black people are more likely than white people to be fired for failing a drug test.

Mandatory drug testing is not only an annoying, expensive waste of company and employee time; a new survey shows that their impact and implementation can also be racist.

Stark racial disparities are apparent in the 1,500-plus person survey. African Americans are much more likely to face repercussions for failing a drug test than white people; the study shows that 9.2 percent of blacks reported being reprimanded or even fired for failing a drug test. That?s more than double the number of whites who reported the same, just 4.4 percent.

According to the survey, 97.6 percent of military service members were tested for drugs at some point in their careers. The other most frequently drug-tested workers were those in manufacturing and transportation jobs and warehousing, at 94.4 percent and 94.3 percent, respectively. People working in health care, utilities and telecommunications were also drug-tested more than 90 percent of the time.

The list of industries that most frequently drug-test their employees looks like a list of industries built of the labor of people of color?a suspicion confirmed by a cross-reference against Bureau of Labor Statistics? labor force data from 2017. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.3 percent of the U.S. population is black and 12.5 percent is Hispanic. Black and Hispanic Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the military, 39 percent of transportation and warehouse workers and 30 percent of health care workers, three of the most frequently drug-tested sectors.

The survey did not say why industries with disproportionately high numbers of workers of color choose to drug-test their employees.

It is not news that drug testing is a potentially racist practice. The above pattern fits an observation previously made by the ACLU, which wrote on its website that drug-testing policies not only are a "significant and unjustified invasion of privacy, they also single out those living in low-income communities and disproportionately impact people of color."

Social scientists have proven that some managers often believe black people are more likely to be drug users. Notre Dame economics professor Abigail K. Wozniak writes in her 2014 report, ?Discrimination and the Effects of Drug Testing on Black Employment,? that, ?In a survey of hiring managers, there is a belief that blacks are more likely to fail a drug test?They also cite a 1989 survey in which 95% of [hiring survey] respondents described the typical drug user as black.?

These latest survey findings confirm Wozniak?s observations about implicit racism in American workplaces.


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Source: Why Mandatory Drug Tests at Work Are Fundamentally Racist
Contrast Marx to the Gloomy Desperation of Bourgeois Intellectuals.

Guardian: Capitalism Cannot Solve This
Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

We read every day on social networks or the mainstream media about the sorry state of the world. I just read a couple of articles in the Guardian, a media outlet whose political view is that capitalism can be reformed, can be made human and environmentally friendly, and what is now a global system can solve the numerous and potentially catastrophic crises that we face. Pollution, climate change etc. can all disappear if we elect the right people.

One was an article about the floating mass of debris and plastic swirling around in the Pacific Ocean. The author points out that scientists underestimated its size and it is now 16 times larger than they thought, twice the size of France. It?s depressing to read this stuff which is why people avoid it. It?s not that they don?t care; they don?t see any solution to it.  An international effort is needed one expert says, not simply to clean it up which would be fairly easy but to change the way we produce things that end up in places like this, plastics in particular which would also be easy but-------not within the framework of capitalism. A non-profit is tackling it which is why it?s not getting done. A coordinating international effort doesn?t happen either. That?s why it?s depressing to read it.

Marx explained why an international effort is difficult. The modern nation state is capitalism?s creation. The world is divided in to competing geographical nations. Their relationships are inherently hostile and the stronger devour the weaker as the struggle for control of the world?s resources and natural wealth as well as human capital, continues. There is no real cooperation between capitalist nation states that can advance the interests of the working class or prevent impending environmental catastrophe.

The other article I read was about  another gloomy prediction by Paul Ehrlich that a collapse of civilization is?near certainty?. Ehrich  wrote the book, The Population Bomb. Well he?s right about the end of civilization as we know it although capitalism as an economic system of production is not very civilized at all. But like the example,  this is another thoroughly depressing and defeatist rant; it doesn?t inspire people to act or encourage it in any way, just the opposite, people will feel bad and avoid it next time. For Ehrlich it?s overpopulation and overconsumption that is the problem. This argument is always made by people who refuse to face the reality that how society is organized has to be changed and they have to participate in that. In other words, they are simply whining about what is, and refuse to accept that class struggle and indeed class war and the building of a democratic collectively owned and rationally planned socialist economy and world federation of states is the answer. For Ehrlich there is no alternative to the present system and the rule of the capitalist class over humanity and he does not see the working class as the force that can change this situation and rescue humanity from extinction.  For him, the working class doesn't exist at all it seems. He has a thoroughly defeatist and therefore depressing worldview that can only demoralize as his answer is to ask the foxes to clean up the henhouse. 
"it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence but their social existence that determines their consciousness"

As socialists we engage in a struggle for the consciousness of the working class. The working class itself does not see that it is the force that can rid us of a wasteful and destructive inhuman system. The propaganda of capitalism and its agents including the heads of workers' organizations is very strong. But in the last analysis, ideas and consciousness have a material base. Workers are forced by conditions to fight. But this fight for the consciousness of the working class is crucial as capitalism has the ability to and will, end life as we know it if it is not ended.

Reading these pieces its almost like philosophy is dead. Marx himself said in his Thesis on Feuerbachthat,  ?philosophers have only interpreted the worldin various ways; the point is to change it. These two examples above are exactly what Marx is referring to. They in no way help us understand the world or world history and why things happen.  This doesn?t mean Marx was perfect, he made mistakes too, he did not predict nor did any Russian Marxist at the time believe, outside of Trotsky, that capitalism could first be overthrown in a backward country like Russia. This in turn led to the rise of the Stalinist monstrosity, but there's a materialist explanation for all things and nothing in this world is guaranteed including life itself. Marxism is not a dogma like religion that goes so far to claim that there are such places as heaven and hell.

The quote below is from the Preface to Marx?s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.  When I first read this I was excited by it; I?d never read anything like it. It resonated with me as a serious and objective analysis of society, of how societies change, how human consciousness arises and in particular social consciousness. It is uplifting and it inspired me. It encouraged me to find out more. No wonder he is so hated by the ruling class and the religious clergy that gives them divine credibility with all their rituals and fancy dress. Their wealth, opulence and social positions are all threatened by it. It is a revelation, a scientific one unlike the Book of Revelations that, like a phantasmagorical Grimm?s fairy tale, talks of demons and angels, chariots and other monsters.

Eliminating this is about production. Capitalism produces it.
I hope those workers that read our blog will take the time to read it. I know some workers, particularly those that have been terrified, or brainwashed (as I was) by bourgeois and religious propaganda that deters them from reading the Communist Manifesto as they have as yet been unable to overcome the fear of doing so. What might it do to the way they see the world? What will their friends family and others think? But it?s one of the few things Marx wrote about socialism (a phase of transition toward a communist society) and communism (a classless economy and society. Collective humanity working in harmony with nature).

But read this and if you are new to this subject it is natural that terms and ideas written about over 150 years ago will take some time getting used to. But it is a history lesson, an economic and philosophical lesson but not a philosophy of interpretation. It is an exciting explanation as to how the world works that is clearly a major step to how we can change it. It a basis for action not whining. It is a theoretical basis for understanding the world from the point of view of the worker, practical, concrete.

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or ? this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms ? with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic ? in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.

For those followers of Facts For Working People new to these ideas, we have weekly conference calls where we discuss all aspects of our work and political events and if you are interested in discussing the subject matter in the above paragraphs for example, we do that. Think of that horrible swirling waste in the ocean, or the poverty in Dhaka, Bombay or here in the US, the richest country in the world. Or the threat of nuclear war and whole swathes of the planet being uninhabitable. None of us can escape the consequences of this, but we can act to prevent it if we understand the causes, and a war between Satan and God is not one of them. If you are interested in that contact us at and we can talk about that. Or contact us through our blog?s Facebook page @

Source: Contrast Marx to the Gloomy Desperation of Bourgeois Intellectuals.
Infoshop News / Thinking Clearly about the White Working Class
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:39:25 PM »
Thinking Clearly about the White Working Class

David Gilbert is a worthy heir to Antonio Gramsci. Like the Sardinian radical, he has kept abreast, from a prison cell, of world events and written about them with considerable clarity. He has been an activist among his fellow prisoners and has maintained a lively correspondence with militants beyond the walls. In this timely book, a new edition of his 1984 volume Looking at the White Working Class Historically, Gilbert addresses a subject that could not be more relevant?the white working class in the United States.
Source: Thinking Clearly about the White Working Class
WATCH: #LessOilMoreWater, Amazon Communities Are Banding Together to Demand Clean Water


An ambitious project to clean up what Big Oil ruined.


As Alexander Zaitchik reported earlier this week, Big Oil has been polluting the usually lush Amazon forests for decades. Oil companies, Zaitchik writes, "spilled billions of barrels of crude and related pollutants in the rivers and forests of the Upper Amazon." It's particularly dire in Ecuador and Peru, where "traditionally abundant groundwater sources?rivers, streams, and lagoons?are contaminated beyond use." 

Now, a newly created indigenous organization, the Ceibo Alliance, is partnering with NGO Amazon Frontlines to create new, clean water systems across the region. They just celebrated their 1,000th, which will "provide clean water to more than 1,000 families in 72 communities across five million acres of critically threatened primary forest."

Watch a short film on their progress below, and read Alexander Zaitchik's report here

#LessOilMoreWater in the Amazon from Amazon Frontlines on Vimeo.


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Source: WATCH: #LessOilMoreWater, Amazon Communities Are Banding Together to Demand Clean Water
Infoshop News / Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:47:41 AM »
Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More

The renowned linguist, cognitive scientist, and historian on where we stand as an economy, as a country, and as human beings
Source: Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More
Infoshop News / A Q&A with Noam Chomsky
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:47:41 AM »
A Q&A with Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a renowned linguist, the author of an abundance of books and arguably the most famous dissident intellectual in the United States. He talks to Andy Heintz about US exceptionalism, the best way to approach North Korea and the truth about ?free trade agreements?
Source: A Q&A with Noam Chomsky
Infoshop News / How Cambridge Analytica ties together Brexit, Trump, and climate science denial
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:47:41 AM »
How Cambridge Analytica ties together Brexit, Trump, and climate science denial

Cambridge Analytica were behind the election of Donald Trump, and the UK's decision to leave the EU. A network analysis links the consultancy to a web of lobbyists pushing to hinder climate action.
Source: How Cambridge Analytica ties together Brexit, Trump, and climate science denial
AlterNet / Were the Austin Bombings an Act of Right-Wing Terrorism?
« Last post by AlterNet on Yesterday at 06:47:39 AM »
Were the Austin Bombings an Act of Right-Wing Terrorism?

In the heart of Texas, it sure feels that way.

Should we consider the series of terrifying bombings in Austin, Texas, to be right-wing terrorism?

As I write this, the police in Austin are still combing through the home and life of Mark Conditt, who lived in an Austin suburb called Pflugerville and is believed to be responsible for planting a series of bombs that killed two people and injured many others. Conditt died early on Wednesday morning as police closed in on him in the nearby community of Round Rock, apparently after he detonated an explosive device inside his car.

So far, authorities in Austin have remained quiet about any potential motive, but information about Conditt's apparent political and religious views has begun to emerge. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Conditt, who was home-schooled and had taken classes at an Austin community college, wrote blog posts laying out hardline religious-right views on abortion and homosexuality. He wrote that a woman who doesn't want a baby "should not participate in activities that were made for that reason" and suggested homosexuality was "not natural," something "like trying to fit two screws together."

The newspaper also interviewed a friend of Conditt's named Jeremiah Jensen, who said he had known Condit well in 2012 and 2013. "He was a very assertive person and would ? end up being kind of dominant and intimidating in conversation," Jensen told the Statesman.

The Austin Stone Community Church, which Conditt and Jensen reportedly attended, is a multi-campus fundamentalist megachurch featuring lots of sermons about sexual morality, arguing that only heterosexual married people should have sex, homosexuality is wrong and abortion is evil. One sermon from the period when Jensen said he and Conditt had attended Austin Stone, for instance, features the preacher railing against women who read "Fifty Shades of Grey," comparing them to the "cows of Bashan" -- a Biblical reference signifying beautiful, pampered possessions -- and telling them that marriage "is not for your happiness." (The church says it can find no record of Conditt or his family.)

Admittedly that was several years ago, when Conditt was a teenager or a young adult, and it's possible he later changed those views. Still, it's unlikely that a similarly situated Muslim, who had expressed hardline religious beliefs and an aggressive attitude in his youth, wouldn't immediately be regarded as a terrorism suspect after being implicated in a spectacular series of violent crimes.

Before the bomber's identity was known, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said, "There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time." Since then there has been total silence from the White House, which is usually quick to drop the T-word and spread panic anytime an apparent perpetrator is Muslim or foreign-born.

What I can say as someone who moved to Austin a few weeks before her 18th birthday and lived there for 14 years, is that this feels like terrorism to the community in that city, and not just because a bombing campaign is inherently terrifying. No, this cuts right to the heart of the culture-war struggle that's always acutely felt in a place frequently described as "The People's Republic of Austin" -- in loving tones by many who live there, and more derisively by conservative Texans who live outside it.

Even the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has sneered at the city with this term, saying, "As you're driving, you guys know this, as you leave Austin and start heading up north you start feeling different, and once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It's the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas."

The remark was not just hateful but, for those of us who love Austin, the reverse of reality. Austin has long been an escape route from oppression for many Texans who grew up, as I did, in small towns and stiflingly conservative atmospheres. Like many people, I ran from where I was from and found a home in a town full of punk bars and political bookstores, a town that was queer-friendly, feminist, progressive and sometimes famously weird, especially by Texas standards. A town where the feminist sex shop kept its doors open, even though the cops kept raiding it for breaking state laws against selling dildos.

That may all sound quaint now: Blue oases in red states are a well-known phenomenon. Many states have one, often built around a major university, as Austin was built around the University of Texas. But Austin, I think it's fair to say, has a haven for freaks seeking freedom a lot longer than most of those places. It's where Janis Joplin finally broke free of her background, more than 50 years ago. It's the place people have long described as the San Francisco of the South.

Austin has its problems, to be clear. The city's laid-back stoner attitude caused most of us to treat Alex Jones as an entertaining weirdo instead of the monster that he is, which made it easier for him to build his conspiracy theory empire. Austin's racial segregation is hair-raisingly bad, and the white liberal population remains largely indifferent to fixing the problem. Housing prices are soaring, and bad urban planning has led to traffic problems that can seem utterly unfixable. And the annual South by Southwest festival has gotten way too expensive, not to mention infested with corporate sponsors.

Still, I hope readers can understand why a town full of people who moved there to escape conservative oppression elsewhere in Texas or the South might react to a series of bombs planted by someone with a known history of Christian fundamentalist views as, you know, terrorism. Especially considering that the first targets of the bombings were people of color, in a state where white evangelical Christianity has been tied up with racist ideology since the early days of Texas history.

For all Austin's flaws, for many of its people ? people like me ? it's where they first felt safe. Those bombs seemed designed to disrupt not just the city's sense of physical safety, but that sense of psychic safety that a blue oasis can provide. We may soon discover more about what, exactly, Conditt thought he was doing with those bombs. But for a place like Austin, which has a long, uneasy relationship with its more conservative neighbors and the state around it, his crimes will always feel like a political attack.



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Source: Were the Austin Bombings an Act of Right-Wing Terrorism?
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