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Activism

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    Breaking Barriers to Employment: Criminal Record Reform in Massachusetts Aaron Tanaka December 1, 2010

    This summer, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a landmark law reforming the state’s criminal background check system. Aimed at improving acc ess to jobs, housing and other vital services for residents with arrest records, overhauling the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) has been a target for Massachusetts community activists for over a decade. The successful passage of CORI reform marked a notable break from War on Drugs crime policies that have driven the rapid expansion of police and prisons since the early 1970s. Massachusetts’ precedent-setting laws frontline a growing national movement to reverse the systemic economic barriers faced by formerly convicted people. 

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    Organizing with Love: Lessons from the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign Ai-jen Poo December 1, 2010

    Great organizing campaigns are like great love affairs. You begin to see life through a different lens. You change in unexpected ways. You lose sleep, but you also feel boundless energy. You develop new relationships and new interests. Your skin becomes more open to the world around you. Life feels different, and it’s almost like you’ve been reborn. And, most importantly, you begin to feel things that you previously couldn’t have even imagined are possible. 

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    One Nation Reflections Cameron Barron December 1, 2010

    On October 2, 2010, about 175,000 people gathered on the Mall in Washington, DC to demonstrate for jobs, education, and justice. Called by a newly-formed coalition called One Nation Working Together, groups mobilized people to come to stand for reordering of priorities within the United States. Led largely by the AFL-CIO and the NAACP, over 300 groups mobilized people to walk, drive, carpool, and fly from all parts of the United States to join voices calling for increased attention to job creation and increased funding for educational programs.

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    Stories and Reflections from the Road to Detroit Various Authors June 1, 2010

    Across the spectrum, people have been planning, organizing and mobilizing for the USSF. From Chicago to San Antonio to Gary, Indiana and St. Louis and many points in between, we asked individuals and organizations to share some reflections on what their road to Detroit has looked like and what being at the USSF means to them.

    Welcome to Detroit!

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    Experiments in Transformative Justice: The Challenging Male Supremacy Project in New York City RJ Maccani, Gaurav Jashnani and Alan Greig June 1, 2010

    Together with many others, we have come to see male supremacy as a system causing a great deal of violence and harm not only in the world at large, but also within our own radical and left movements. Whether it’s physical or sexual abuse, talking over others, unsolicited neediness, or shrugging off emotional and logistical work, practices of male supremacy often work to undermine solidarity and community. They harm, traumatize and push people away, placing even more obstacles in our collective path to social transformation.

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    Playing Games with the Poor: The 2010 World Cup in South Africa Anna Majavu June 1, 2010

    Different oppressed groups in South Africa, having been promised for years that great things will happen to them during the World Cup, are now waking up to the fact that 30 days before kickoff their lives are unlikely to improve.

    Those who work as taxi drivers, hawkers, and vendors have recently been displaced from their places of work amidst the different cities’ last minute frenzies to shut down entire streets in order to create tourist-friendly walkways. They say they are realizing with a shock that the World Cup will not only fail to bring the promised positive change, but that it has made their lives demonstrably worse.

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    Take Back Your Land! Take Back Your Homes! Amandla Ngawethu June 1, 2010

    Land was once a public resource for all but has now become a false commodity through privatization. The privatization of land was the original sin, the original cause of the current financial crisis. With the privatization of land comes the dispossession of people from their land which was once held in common by communities. With the privatization of land comes the privatization of everything else, because once land can be bought and sold, almost anything else can eventually be bought and sold.

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    Grassroots Struggles for Dignity and Democratization in Africa Toussaint Losier June 1, 2010

    On the morning of May 22, 2010, South African President Jacob Zuma made a second unannounced visit to the small mining town of Balfour in Mpumalanga province. About ten months ago, over a thousand residents of Balfour's impoverished Siyathemba township took to the streets for several days, blockading roads with burning tires over the continued failure of municipal officials to meet their most basic needs like clean water, street lighting, and paved roads.

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    Gender, Technology, and Social Change Across Africa Sokari Ekine June 1, 2010

    The introduction of mobile phones in Africa over the past decade has transformed people’s lives.  Unlike in the West, where there was already an existing network of communication through landlines, mobile phones in Africa provide communication where previously there was none.   What makes the mobile phone such a dynamic tool for supporting social change is its sheer range of actual and potential functionality, making it an extremely versatile technology. 

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    Activist Lawsuits and Funding the Movement Lesley Wood, Meredith Slopen, Daniel Lang, Joseph Phelan, and Mac Scott June 1, 2010

    A few months ago, $13 million dollars was awarded to the activists who were unlawfully arrested on April 15, 2000 in Washington DC as part of the weekend of protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In the next few years a number of other class action lawsuits will probably be settled, where activist defendants are likely to receive large sums of money. Some of us, who were arrested, cuffed, and held for participating in a peaceful protest, may be receiving a lot of cash.

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