Building Communities For A Fascist-Free Future

On August 17, 2019, a coalition of antifascist and progressive groups in Portland, Oregon organized a rally to protest a Proud Boy event planned in the city. The rally had a carnivalesque atmosphere created by PopMob — an antifascist group of concerned Portlanders which seeks to “resist the alt-right with whimsy and creativity” — and brought on a diverse range of organizations, from labor and religious groups and civil rights groups like the NAACP to more militant organizations like Rose City Antifa.

During the protest, the latter, along with autonomous black bloc organizers, acted as a buffer between the crowds at the carnival and the hundreds of Proud Boys amassing at the other side of the waterfront park both groups were occupying.

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Unions Are Not Only Good For Workers

We know that unions promote economic equality and build worker power, helping workers to win increases in pay, better benefits, and safer working conditions.

But that’s not all unions do. Unions also have powerful effects on workers’ lives outside of work.

In this report, we document the correlation between higher levels of unionization in states and a range of economic, personal, and democratic well-being measures. In the same way unions give workers a voice at work, with a direct impact on wages and working conditions, the data suggest that unions also give workers a voice in shaping their communities. Where workers have this power, states have more equitable economic structures, social structures, and democracies.

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Falling In Love With Your Community

Today’s world is complex and messed up. All the suffering among the great majorities for many people is just one more number while an increasing number of human beings are or feel isolated, depressed and alone, burdened down by the social consequences of decadent capitalism. However, in this hostile context Nicaragua, physically small but morally gigantic, is making real efforts to rebuild the country’s neighborhoods as social and political units, a mutual support network based on solidarity.

Many people who have grown up within the walls of residential or prestigious districts the world of the barrios is a distant, hostile and even scary place. However, for those of us who grew up and live in these neighborhoods, the barrio is our native territory, the place where we all know each other and greet each other, eye to eye, the place where there are no secrets because people have natural journalistic insight.

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When Will Minneapolis Start Listening To The Whole Community?

Minneapolis didn’t get here alone. The actions and decisions of many people created the challenges facing the city. Solving them will require the work of many people, too.

But before anything changes, people need to start listening to each other.

Imagine if Derek Chauvin had listened to George Floyd and let him breathe. A 46-year-old man and father of five would not have died. Minneapolis would not have burned. The city would not have had over $1 billion in damage. And communities would not have had to deal with the fallout of the most expensive civil disorder in U.S. history.

After Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, the site of his death turned into a memorial to honor Floyd’s life.

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Brothers EMpowered Is Building That Village We All Need to Thrive

Charles Caine has a dream. Just like Martin Luther King understood civil rights include economic rights, Caine wants to give all people an opportunity to prosper. That mission starts with his two sons (ages 16 and 13) and the other youth he mentors in North Minneapolis as the president and executive director of Brothers EMpowered. 

Caine founded the community mentorship organization in 2014 to help men of color overcome the barriers in their lives and the lives in their communities. His inspiration came from years of struggling as a young Black man in urban America. After overcoming many challenges and barriers in his life, from gang violence to chemical dependency, the turning point came when he became a father.

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In Community We Trust

Frank Tortoriello was the owner of a popular deli on Main Street in Great Barrington. He turned to SHARE when he lost his lease and the bank refused him a loan to renovate his new location. But Frank didn’t need SHARE’s circle of grandmothers; he already had a circle of his own in his customers. SHARE suggested that Frank issue Deli Dollars as a self-financing technique. The notes would be purchased during a month on sale and redeemed after the Deli had made its move. A local artist, Martha Shaw, designed the note, which showed a host of people carrying Frank and his staff, all busy cooking, to their new location. The notes were issued in 1989 and were marked “redeemable for meals up to a value of ten dollars.”

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Mutual Aid: ‘When The System Fails, The People Show Up’

The badges are both for security and for building relationships. We want our community corner stores to know us as those who are looking out for the people. And we want the people to know who we are in case they need help or can lend a hand. We want cops and other government entities to acknowledge and respect that we are essential workers getting supplies and services to our community. It is not a fail-safe, but for scrappy DIY mutual aid teams, nothing ever is. We roll with what comes as best we can. We are unpaid and many folks are brand new to this work. And yet, we still manage to do a better job than the almighty politicians and their corporate overlords.

For instance, here in DC, several offices under the purview of Mayor Bowser, along with city-partnered nonprofit organizations, have routed calls for help to mutual aid networks around the city.

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Challenging The Oil Industry Through Community Action

The Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya highway connects the Ugandan fishing town of Kaiso to Hoima town, the headquarters of the Bunyoro Kingdom and Hoima District. Kaiso is on the south-eastern edge of Lake Mwitanzige, in a region with an estimated potential three billion barrels of crude oil. The Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road was built to enable access to the lake for oil prospecting and as an investment for future petroleum production, so the residents call it “Oil Road”. For many, however, the road takes away more than it brings.

To carve out space for the road, the Uganda National Roads Authority took land from Kaiso residents. Valuation and compensation, handled by an outside consultant, were arbitrary and low (going by the number of doors on a house for example), without taking full account of past investments and future livelihood losses.

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Twelve Reasons The Glass Is 1% Full

The damage COVID-19 is wreaking—in terms of deaths, sickness, business closures, unemployment, and misery—is incalculable. But this crisis is changing the world in subtle ways that may ultimately improve our lives. So…in the spirit of Winston Churchill, who once implored not to let a good crisis go to waste, here are the positives I’m observing.

(1) Resilience – Never again will a sober economic developer argue that local resilience and self-reliance do not matter. Crises like this one remind us that a community with a rich diversity of businesses will survive a disaster better than one completely dependent on the outside.

(2) Local Investment – Wall Street is toast (again). Even after a few positive days, the market has lost nearly a third of its peak value earlier in the year. Once families assess the damage to their life savings, I suspect millions will start thinking more seriously about how to reinvest in local businesses, projects, and people.

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Reclaim The Block Urges Invest In Community, Not In Police

In dramatic effect, a Minneapolis resident dumps a bag of money onto a podium during public comments at the final City Council meeting on the 2020 budget last month. The person with them, who identified himself as David, is addressing the council members. “This is $193.40,” David says, then begins to explain that the money represents the $193 million budget Mayor Jacob Frey proposed to give the Minneapolis Police Department in 2020, more than one-third of the city’s general fund.

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Forget Billionaires: Let’s Build Our Own System To Fund The Transformation Of Society

“Gone to the Dogs,” Paul Higgins’ canine-friendly café in Carlisle, may seem an unlikely place to look for inspiration in transforming the ways we think about funding for social change. But through ‘pay-it-forward’ fundraising and ‘creative up-cycling’ to re-use resources, Higgins has made the café a center for community in which money builds connection instead of division – a radical reversal of the inequalities that lie at the heart of big philanthropy, foreign aid and government contracting.

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Amazing Things Happened When 206 Ugly Vacant Lots In Philly Were Landscaped

Almost one in five American adults report some form of mental illness; more than 16 million adults experience depression alone every year. Yet patient mental health services only account for an estimated 5 percent of total medical care spending in the United States. Noting that “spending time and living near green spaces have been associated with various improved mental health outcomes, including less depression, anxiety, and stress,” a group of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine if by changing the places near where people live, they could affect change in mental health outcomes. Their conclusion may come as little surprise to those of who know the health benefits of green space: “Greening vacant urban land significantly reduces feelings of depression and improves overall mental health for the surrounding residents.”

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Chicago-Based Assata’s Daughters Announces Food Justice Through Gardening Project

Assata’s Daughters is a Chicago-based collective that embraces a Black radical perspective to serve their Washington Park community. One of their newest programs is a food justice-oriented garden. Members will provide food to the community, share knowledge about gardening and conservation, and teach “the importance of self-sustainment as a tool of resistance.” They also just announced a free farm stand and a partnership with a nearby corner store to provide free produce to their neighbors all summer. As Blavity noted in their report on the initiative, increasing access to fresh, nutrient-rich foods is key for Black communities, which are often disproportionately affected by food deserts. After cyber-sharing their wishlist for the garden project earlier this week, Assata’s Daughters announced on Tuesday that each item on it had been ordered and sent.

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Pennsylvania Community Finds Its Bearings In Trump Era

TITUSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA — Shoehorned between the state line and the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania’s northwest corner, the city of Titusville is as red as America gets, a place where virtually every one of its 5,601 residents identified his or her race as “white” on the 2010 U.S. Census, and a few storefront windows, rather  bewilderingly, display Confederate flags and “Trump: Make America Great Again” campaign banners even now, more than a year after the 2016 presidential election. Unsurprisingly, African-Americans across the state, if they’ve heard of it at all, tend to view the bucolic enclave and its environs with some trepidation, peppering their goodbyes with so many warnings to “be careful” and “be safe” that black students enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh’s feeder campus in Titusville often joke that their parents think that Crawford County is a combat zone in Kabul or Fallujah.

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Lifting Up Community Voices To Tackle Injustice

Lillie A. Estes calls herself a “community strategist.” Others see her as a force of nature. She has lived in Richmond, Virginia, for 35 years, where she builds and develops innovative alliances between organizations and people. Estes is well-known and respected both in the public housing project where she lives and by many public officials in Richmond. She has been a pioneer in race reconciliation work in the heart of the Confederacy, and is on what she calls a “spiritual journey” to improve her community. This began with her first efforts as a high school student in Newport News, Virginia, and as an active member of the NAACP Youth Council.

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