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Unlocking assets could free £1bn to support coronavirus fight

first_imgCAF believes its proposals could significantly supplement the £750m Government aid package for charities announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at the Charities Aid Foundation, said:“In these times of crisis we need to employ radical ideas to bolster the charities which are an integral part of life in the UK. These proposals include elements which, in normal times, would not be considered but these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures to help protect the invaluable work of charities.“The Chancellor recently brought forward welcome and important support for charities but was clear that he couldn’t intervene to help them all. We hope these bold ideas will be taken up by Ministers, regulators and our colleagues in the charity world to unleash support that we need now to keep charities alive for the future.“The contribution of charities has never been more evident and every course of action we can take to ensure they will be there to continue helping society’s most vulnerable needs to be considered at pace.”  Advertisement Melanie May | 17 April 2020 | News Tagged with: Charities Aid Foundation COVID-19 Finance About Melanie May Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com. The full briefing paper can be downloaded from the CAF site.   313 total views,  2 views today  314 total views,  3 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis4 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis4 Unlocking assets could free £1bn to support coronavirus fight Analysis by the Charities Aid Foundation suggests that unlocking assets could release £1 billion to help charities during the coronavirus outbreak.CAF’s report recommends a raft of measures to unlock charitable assets, harness unclaimed Gift Aid and stimulate new giving to causes hit by the pandemic, with recommendations for government, regulators and charities.Proposals include:Temporarily removing the need for people to make a Gift Aid declaration in order for the charities to receive the 25% additional benefit on every donation. It is estimated that £600m in Gift Aid is currently unclaimed each yearIntroducing “living legacies”  which allow people to bring forward the kinds of gifts they might make in their will – allowing charities to plan ahead and potentially borrow money against future assetsUnlocking the assets of the £500m National Fund – a charity set up in the 1920s to repay the national debt whose assets have been locked away for nearly 100 yearsEasing efforts to release millions in unused cash from dormant charitiesCreating a coronavirus big philanthropy pledge to encourage donations from wealthy individuals and businesseslast_img read more

Charities invited to apply to Barclays 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme

first_imgCharities invited to apply to Barclays 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme  829 total views,  3 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1 Tagged with: COVID-19 Funding Melanie May | 6 May 2020 | News Barclays has launched its 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme and is inviting charities to apply.Through the 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme, Barclays will make 100 donations of £100k to registered charities in the UK to support immediate Covid-19 relief work in communities across the country.The money represents an initial investment of £10m from Barclays’ £100m Community Aid Package, which was announced on 7 April.Charities applying must demonstrate a track record of delivering impactful, on-the-ground support that directly meets the needs of vulnerable communities facing social and economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. They must also be able to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities by deploying the donation within six months of receiving funds.Applications are open now, until 22 May, and more details and an online application form can be found on Barclays’ website. The bank expects to begin distributing funds in June.Barclays CEO Jes Staley said:“Ten days ago we made our first donation from the Community Aid Package, supporting the Felix Project in its mission to rescue surplus food from wholesalers and deliver it direct to food banks, schools, other charities and emergency food hubs in London. I’m delighted that from today, eligible charities will be able to apply for funding to support their efforts right across the UK.“We know that the charity sector has been severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19. We hope our Community Aid Package will provide relief to some of these organisations at a time of acute stress.”  828 total views,  2 views today About Melanie May Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com. Read more on the Barclays £100m Covid-19 Community Aid Package here. Advertisement AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1last_img read more

DEC Coronavirus Appeal extended to include India

first_imgThe Disasters Emergency Committee is extending its Coronavirus Appeal to include India as an additional country that will receive urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance to help the most vulnerable communities. DEC charities will also provide additional support to the poorest and most vulnerable households by: The fundraising appeal was launched by the 14-member co-ordinating body in July 2020, with the aim of helping the poorest communities in a number of countries including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Howard Lake | 28 April 2021 | News AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis12 This amount includes £10 million of UK Aid Match, where the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office gives the UK public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £10 million. They will also expand preventive measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 amongst the most vulnerable communities including: DEC Coronavirus Appeal extended to include India  1,284 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis12 ensuring families get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly amongst children, by distributing food and care packs to people in isolationproviding livelihoods training and cash for workproviding mental health support as well as community counselling servicesdelivering community outreach to older peoplestrengthening water and sanitation systems. The appeal remains open and has raised more than £40 million from the UK public and other donors to help people in places including Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.  “We have all seen the devastating images from India showing hospitals overrun and oxygen supplies falling short of demand, with thousands of people unable to receive potentially life-saving treatment. Several cities have imposed lockdowns and curfews, which will have a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities hit hardest. “DEC member charities have a long history of working with these communities and are supporting overwhelmed health services by providing medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics assistance. With the generous support of the UK public, we can do even more to help the most vulnerable communities as they face a life-or-death situation.” About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. DEC Coronavirus Appeal reaches £30m in funds raised Main image: A family member looks on as several funeral pyres of patients who died of Covid-19 burn during the mass cremation at Ghazipur cremation ground in New Delhi, India. According to the World Health Organisation, on Tuesday 27 April, 323,144 new Covid cases and 2,771 further deaths had been recorded in the previous 24 hours.Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images  Tagged with: COVID-19 DECcenter_img DEC charities will support India’s health system by: Additional appeal funds raised from 28 April 2021 onwards will be mainly spent in India. Some funds may provide urgent humanitarian aid in other appeal countries. The DEC’s 14 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.    DEC’s member charities DEC member charities, together with their local teams and partners, are already active in India and helping by supporting the country’s health services, assisting efforts to slow the spread of the virus, and providing further help to the most vulnerable households. Advertisement A family member looks on as several funeral pyres of patients who died of Covid-19 burn during the mass cremation at Ghazipur cremation ground in New Delhi, India.According to the World Health Organisation, on Tuesday 27 April, 323,144 new Covid cases and 2,771 further deaths had been recorded in the previous 24 hours. DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: Donations to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal can be made online, via the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, or by sending a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA. Text donations can also be made. How DEC charities will help Preventative measures The decision follows the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, and the difficulties faced by India’s healthcare system to provide care for all those affected. providing PPE, disinfection kits, medical supplies and ambulancessetting up isolation facilities, including provision of beds and latrinessetting up temporary Covid hospitals and Covid care centresproviding logistical support to quarantine or isolation centresproviding ventilators and oxygen concentrators to the Indian governmentrunning helplines to tackle misinformation by providing up-to-date information on the availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and Covid vaccines. More… setting up handwashing stations and distributing soap, sanitiser and masksdistributing hygiene kits consisting of washable masks, sanitiser, gloves, face shields, and soapsupporting vaccination drives and public health messaging on the importance of good hygienedisinfecting public placestraining community health volunteers DEC Coronavirus Appeallast_img read more

Dr. King’s struggle legacy and today’s crisis of the cities

first_imgThe federal holiday that commemorates martyred civil rights, social justice and peace activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes on added significance this year in light of the renewed attacks on municipalities throughout the United States. Workers and students in public educational institutions are facing massive layoffs and school closings, while local government employees are threatened with job elimination and the theft of pensions and health care programs.The city that has gained the most national and international attention in this regard is Detroit, where the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history was imposed on the majority African-American population last summer.Stockton, San Bernardino and Vallejo, Calif.; Jefferson County, Ala.; Providence, R.I.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and other cities are either in bankruptcy or facing extreme austerity measures.These developments are not taking place by accident. The character of capitalist restructuring has cut wages and social spending for several decades. What is now taking place in the public sector has been enacted by private corporations in auto and steel as well as in the service sectors.Over the last period low-wage workers in the retail and fast food industries have struck back through mass demonstrations and one-day wildcat strikes. These actions have raised the level of political consciousness and social militancy of the workers themselves and their supporters.In several cities and states across the U.S. there have been debates and legislative initiatives in governmental structures aimed at raising the minimum wage. Nonetheless, what underlies the growing impoverishment of the working class and nationally oppressed in the U.S. is the mad drive for profits on the part of the ruling class.Focused on ending povertyAfter 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Movement began to focus more on the plight of African-American workers and the persistent poverty in rural areas and cities. In 1966 King joined the Chicago Freedom Movement, relocating to that city for several months and staying in a housing project, where he saw directly the impact of racial discrimination in the northern region of the U.S.During the Chicago campaign of 1966, when the mass movement took demonstrations into white areas demanding open housing, King and his comrades met violence from racist mobs whose attitudes were no different than those of racist mobs in the South. During that summer the African-American and Puerto Rican communities erupted in urban rebellion, illustrating the degree of urgency related to the struggle to eliminate national oppression and economic exploitation.After eight months of organizing and struggle in Chicago, King did not achieve the aims he had set out to accomplish. The elimination of substandard housing, the creation of jobs and the liberation from national oppression can only be accomplished through the building of a decisively anti-capitalist mass movement.National oppression and imperialist warBy early 1967, King had come to realize that his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, could no longer refrain from speaking clearly in opposition to the war in Vietnam and linking the war to the failure of the federal government to effectively implement programs to address structural unemployment, inadequate housing and institutional racism.More than a year before SCLC came out against the war, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on Jan. 4, 1966, issued its militant statement against the occupation of Vietnam, which said:“We believe the United States government has been deceptive in its claims of concern for the freedom of the Vietnamese people, just as the government has been deceptive in claiming concern for the freedom of colored people in other countries such as the Dominican Republic, the Congo, South Africa, Rhodesia, and in the United States itself.“We, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, have been involved in the Black people’s struggle for liberation and self-determination in this country for the past five years. Our work, particularly in the South, has taught us that the United States government has never guaranteed the freedom of oppressed citizens, and is not yet truly determined to end the rule of terror and oppression within its own border.”In a major speech on April 4, 1967, “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam,” which linked opposition to imperialist war and the struggle to end poverty, King said: “I have worked too long now and too hard to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to turn back to the point of segregating my moral concerns. Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And wherever I see injustice, I’m going to take a stand against it, whether it’s in Mississippi or in Vietnam.”From Memphis to DetroitKing’s last campaign was in support of winning recognition for African-American sanitation workers in Memphis. The workers had walked off the job on Feb. 4, 1968, after two of their colleagues were killed in an industrial accident directly brought about due to racism.The strike galvanized the African-American community and the national leadership of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The workers were seeking recognition as an AFSCME union in a city where collective bargaining and strikes were outlawed for municipal employees.Nearly 46 years later in Detroit, workers within the majority African-American city are under serious attack. Retirees are being threatened with the theft of their pensions.The intervention of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and its allies has been instrumental in the overall political and ideological struggle to change the character of the debate and discussion related to the economic crisis. The agents of the bankers and corporations, who say that the unions, pensioners and corrupt politicians are responsible for the imposition of emergency management and bankruptcy, have been answered with demands for the cancellation of the debt, the preservation of pensions and reparations for the rebuilding of the beleaguered city.The corporate media have echoed the position of the ruling class, saying there is no alternative to the dictatorship of Wall Street and the imposition of austerity. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition has responded saying there would be plenty of money for the maintenance of city services, pensions and jobs were it not for the illegitimate bank debt that is strangling Detroit, along with other cities across the U.S.The crisis of the cities in the U.S. is mirrored by the economic and social conditions in Southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and other capitalist-dominated states and regions of the world. It will take a nationwide and indeed international movement of workers and the oppressed to overthrow the system of monopoly finance capital.King’s opposition to imperialist war is also essential in the overall struggle for emancipation. The Pentagon budget continues to drain the resources that are so vitally needed to rebuild the cities and reemploy the workers with decent wages and conditions of employment.If King were alive today, he would be in the forefront of the current struggles against the destruction of the cities and the impoverishment of the workers and oppressed. He would be seeking to end the U.S.-NATO occupation of Afghanistan, the growing intervention by the Pentagon in Africa, and the escalating drone attacks throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and the African continent.The way his legacy, and that of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, can truly be honored is to continue and intensify campaigns against poverty, national oppression and imperialist militarism. It is only through such efforts that humanity will be genuinely liberated and attainment of peace and social justice can be realized for the majority of the people across the planet.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

One month a slave: the case of Lewis Little

first_imgLewis LittleDurham, N.C. — It was late evening on July 15, 2013, when 19-year-old North Carolina Central University sophomore Lewis James Little was finally released after a month of incarceration for a murder he did not commit. Several charges against Little — including first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and felony conspiracy — have been formally dismissed as an “honest mistake.” Little, however, has been left to pick up the pieces of an experience worthy of a Lifetime Hardship Award.On the evening of June 20, Little and five of his friends left The Mews apartment complex to meet and socialize with other acquaintances at 414 Melbourne St. in Northeast Durham. As they arrived by car, they spotted the body of an adult male lying in the street. After departing from their car, they approached the body “to find out why someone would just be laying in the street like that.”Little and his friends were careful to observe what appeared to be a potential crime scene without touching or disturbing anything. After prompting the man to get up several times and inquiring about his safety without getting a response, Little called Durham police. The man on the ground was 25-year-old Michael Lee, who was in critical condition as he lay there wheezing his last few breaths. Worried and confused, Little and his friends stood beside Lee, as a small crowd of community members began to gather.When Durham police finally arrived, they attempted to gather information on what had transpired. Little, his friends and several others were questioned about what they may have seen or heard. Shortly afterwards, Little was singled out by a Durham police officer, K. Hempstead, and questioned more abrasively. Without explanation, Little was then informed that he was being detained for further questioning at the Durham Police Department’s headquarters at 505 West Chapel Hill St.Hempstead locked Little in handcuffs and placed him in the back seat of his police squad car. At the police station, Little was taken to an interrogation room and read his rights. Though investigators attempted to intimidate Little as they interrogated him, he vehemently declared his innocence.After hours of tedious questioning and waiting in the interrogation room, Little was ordered to “strip down” and remove all articles of clothing in front of male and female officers. His keys, clothing, cell phone, shoes and watch were all confiscated. Little was outfitted in an oversized white paper jumpsuit. Investigators took fingerprints and DNA samples. Little sat there handcuffed to a steel chair until daylight the next morning. After the department’s morning shift change, he was taken to the Durham County Jail, where news cameras and reporters were waiting to catch a glimpse of his face.From stellar student to inmateLittle attempted to explain to the magistrate that there must be a case of mistaken identity, that he was the person who initially called the police. He explained that he even waited with the body until police came. This was all to no avail. Little was issued a $1.4 million bond. He was booked, processed and outfitted from the paper jumpsuit he was wearing into a Durham County Jail orange one-piece.Officially an inmate, Little was taken upstairs to a section called “23 and 1,” where he was only allowed out of the section for one hour a day to walk around indoors. He remained there for the weekend before being transferred to general population that Monday night. Unable to afford bond, Little was kept there for an entire month without his friends and family, deprived of campus activities and summer school classes.While unjustly incarcerated for crimes he did not commit, Little was only able to speak to a few people: his mother, members of the NAACP and his court-appointed attorney, Alexander Charns. While Little was incarcerated, the friends he was with when they discovered the body wrote statements on his behalf attesting to his whereabouts. Little had visited the home of a friend who resided across the street from where Lee was killed. The friend had lived there for more than 15 years, and Little had been to that home hundreds of times.During Little’s one-month jail stint, he was kept in limbo about why he had mysteriously been singled out and falsely apprehended. In a matter of minutes, Little went from calling the police to being arrested and stripped of his human rights. In his case, a young man was found guilty until proven innocent — no jury needed, only the police department.To Little’s surprise, one evening he was informed by a correctional officer that he was being released in a few minutes and that he should gather his belongings. After a month of degradation, humiliation, slander and embarrassment, Little was finally released and was greeted by a small group of close friends and family members.‘Sorry for the inconvenience’ say copsLittle’s mother was informed that his $1.4 million bond was officially recalled. After his release, Little’s charges were dismissed. The district attorney who presided over his case apologized for the “inconvenience.” The Durham Police Department offered no comment. Little’s release was just in time for the first semester of his sophomore year at North Carolina Central University, where he is majoring in mass communications.Prior to this humiliating debacle, Little had never been in any trouble with the law; he had never been charged with a misdemeanor or felony. He was a stellar student at Southern High School’s School of Engineering and has always been engaged in the community. Now, Little is having difficulty finding employment. Though the charges have been dismissed, they are still on his record. Little’s classmates and professors are empathetic, but don’t know where to begin.“I’m still trying to get myself straight,” he said. “I was ordered to strip naked for crimes I did not commit. I walked into the Durham County Jail with no shoes on and metal shackles on my hands and feet. You never forget an experience like that.”Little is also concerned about his reputation being destroyed. He commented: “You used to not be able to google my name on the Internet. Now you can. According to the reports, I broke into someone’s home, kidnapped them and killed a man last year. And that’s not true at all. I’m a college student who looks forward to learning every day. Who’s going to repair my name? Who’s going to take my mug shot off the Internet? This is not justice.”Little is back in classes for his sophomore year’s spring semester. Five months after Little was wrongfully incarcerated for crimes he did not commit, the word of his horrific experience is beginning to buzz around campus. Students are upset and have organized a small support group.No, Mr. Little, this is not justice. Maybe the Durham Police Department will make this right by sponsoring the remainder of your education. Then again, maybe not.Many victims of DPDLittle is one of many who have been falsely arrested by the Durham Police Department. Additionally, acts of police violence have occurred with regularity in this city against African Americans and Latinos/as, many of them fatal.Here are the names of some of those attacked by Durham police just in the last year and a half. Stephanie Nickerson, 25, who is African American and a Navy veteran, was brutally assaulted by police in the late fall of 2012 and then falsely arrested. A campaign won the dropping of all charges against her.In late 2012, 21-year-old Carlos Riley Jr., who is African American was assaulted by a police officer, and then unjustly incarcerated.Beloved Honduran father Jose Ocampo, 33, was shot four times by Durham police in the summer of 2013. An autopsy confirmed that a gunshot to the head killed him.Derek Walker, 26-year-old African American was shot and killed by police in September 2013.While in a police car and handcuffed, 17-year-old high school student, Jesus Huerta, died of a fatal gunshot in November 2013. Two hundred of his friends and supporters held a vigil in Durham a month after his death, holding high a banner proclaiming, “Murdered By Police!” The police responded by lobbing tear gas and arresting protesters.These people will never be forgotten by their friends and supporters nor by their communities and the progressive movement. As the struggle moves on to protest police violence, we will remember all of their names while demanding justice for them and all victims of state repression and brutality.Durham-based activist Lamont Lilly is a contributing editor with the Triangle Free Press, a Human Rights Delegate with Witness for Peace and an organizer with Workers World Party.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

U.S. war moves in Ukraine: Watch what they do, not what they say

first_imgSome 450 U.S. soldiers and 25 Black Hawk helicopters will be deployed to Illesheim, Germany, in March “in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a multinational training mission to reassure Poland and the Baltic countries of NATO’s commitment in the face of Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine.” The deployment is to last nine months. As activists, students and workers gather in Washington, D.C., for the “Spring Rising” anti-war mobilization March 18-21, many are probably unaware that 300 U.S. troops arrived in Ukraine this month, with another 300 expected to join them shortly.The U.S. soldiers are stationed at the Yavoriv Training Area in Lviv, near the Polish border in western Ukraine. Their mission, according to the Pentagon, is to train divisions of the Ukrainian National Guard.But their presence also establishes a provocative U.S. military “footprint” in this key agricultural and industrial country on the Russian Federation’s western border.The first open and public U.S. military presence on Ukrainian soil comes amid a civil war raging in former southeastern Ukraine, now the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, also called Novorossiya. It’s accompanied by unprecedented NATO war games and military buildup threatening Russia.All this despite a ceasefire agreement, negotiated by Russia, Germany and France, which went into effect Feb. 15. As happened during previous ceasefires, the U.S.-backed government in Kiev routinely violates the terms and is using the “breathing spell” to rebuild its military forces to assault the embattled Donbass mining region.“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus … to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” the U.S.’s 173rd Airborne Brigade commander, Michael Foster, told a meeting of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington on March 3. (Global Research, March 3)U.S. forces are scheduled to stay six months. But discussions are underway about “how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission,” Foster said, echoing remarks made in January by former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Derek Chollet.Meanwhile, in London, Prime Minister David Cameron told a House of Commons committee on Feb. 24 that up to 75 British soldiers would be sent to Ukraine to develop “an infantry training program with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces,” the BBC reported.“Today’s announcement builds upon the work that we have already undertaken through NATO and bilaterally,” added British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. (Sputnik, Feb. 24)Poland, too, plans to send military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers, Boguslaw Pacek, advisor to the country’s defense minister, told Reuters on Feb. 26.What is the Ukrainian National Guard?When most people in the U.S. hear the term “National Guard,” they think of the recruiting commercials touting “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” of training to “serve your country.” The Pentagon is playing on this association to make their mission sound benign.Of course, the National Guard in the U.S. has a long history of being employed to put down rebellions and strikes in the U.S., often with the most brutal methods. And in the last 15 years, since the start of Washington’s “war on terror,” many National Guard soldiers have been required to serve long stretches in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.But the Ukrainian National Guard is something else altogether. The brainchild of far-right Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, it came into being one year ago, shortly after the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president.The National Guard is based on neo-Nazi street-gangs and fascist political organizations that formed the power base of the Euromaidan protest movement which carried out the February 2014 coup in Kiev. It answers to Avakov, not the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which the coup makers considered unreliable, and which has continued to disintegrate during the war in the southeast.The National Guard, in fact, has been the backbone of Kiev’s brutal “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against Novorossiya. This operation has targeted civilians throughout the Donbass mining region since April 2014. It is nearly as ruthless as the “volunteer” fascist battalions affiliated with the openly fascist Right Sector.While the Ukrainian Armed Forces today are a meat grinder for workers, unemployed people and youth forcibly drafted, and who frequently desert at the first opportunity, the National Guard comprise the forces most loyal to the junta of oligarchs, neoliberal politicians and fascists in Kiev.This is the force the U.S. wants to train and strengthen.NATO provocationsBut there’s much more to the story.Throughout Europe, the Baltic and Central Asian states bordering Russia, and even on U.S. soil, an unprecedented volume of provocative war games are underway, all clearly threatening Moscow.Why? Because the real aim of the U.S. power play in Ukraine is to establish NATO military power on Russia’s border, with the aim of fomenting regime change aimed at breaking up the Russian Federation into pliable, profitable pieces that can be easily dominated by Wall Street and its European junior partners.That’s why since day one of the Ukrainian crisis, Democrats, Republicans and the corporate media have united to turn reality on its head by portraying Russia as the aggressor — a Big Lie to cover up their own role.Here’s a sampling of the provocative moves in the past month, culled from U.S. military sources, Ukrainian and Russian media, as well as anti-war sites like StopNATO.org and Global Research:On Feb. 10 — as ceasefire talks were underway in Minsk, Belarus — the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to authorize $1 billion for training, equipping and providing “lethal aid” to Kiev through September 2017. The same day, in Alaska, paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team performed the largest U.S. airborne mission north of the Arctic Circle in more than a decade as part of Exercise Spartan Pegasus. “This exercise demonstrated their unique ability to rapidly mass power on an objective in extremely cold and austere environments,” said an Army press release. On March 6, U.S. and Canadian soldiers carried out drills “in winter conditions” with their Latvian counterparts, while live-fire training exercises were conducted at Drawsko Pomorskie in northern Poland. Latvia received more than 120 armored units, including tanks, from the U.S. on March 9. U.S. Army Gen. John O’Connor, who witnessed the tanks’ arrival, declared that “Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended.” U.S. Marines and soldiers from the Republic of Georgia staged a “pre-deployment training” during Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Hohenfels, Germany, on Feb. 27.center_img On Feb. 24, U.S. military vehicles took part in a NATO parade in the Estonian town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. It included 140 armored vehicles and nearly 1,500 troops, including U.S. soldiers. The European Union needs its own army to confront Russia, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on March 8. NATO Supreme Commander in Europe and Chief of the U.S. European Command Philip Breedlove told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on March 3 that it is “essential” for Washington to provide “military support” to “U.S. partners Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine [which] face a different security challenge from Russia than those facing NATO allies.” A major NATO naval force is amassing in the Black Sea, including U.S., Canadian, German, Italian, Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian warships.Washington’s unreal ‘debate’ over arming Ukraine“Watch what they do, not what they say” — the old adage is always good advice when dealing with U.S. imperialism. And nowhere is that more apparent than in Washington’s current “debate” over arming Ukraine.The media depict a dispute over whether the U.S. should provide “lethal weapons,” heavy weapons and offensive weapons to Ukraine for its war against “pro-Russian separatists,” as the anti-fascist resistance in Donbass is usually labeled.For example, on March 6, leading congressional Republicans and Democrats, headed by John Boehner, urged President Obama to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to Kiev due to Russia’s “grotesque violation of international law.”The White House states that it is still “considering” whether to provide so-called lethal aid. However, top administration officials, from Secretary of State John Kerry on down, have voiced their support.All of this amounts to smokescreen and posturing for political gain. In fact, the Obama administration and Congress have colluded all along to arm the fascist junta, which they collaborated with in bringing to power. In December, Congress overwhelmingly approved and Obama signed the “Ukrainian Freedom Support Act,” in fact authorizing “lethal aid.”Airfields in eastern Ukraine immediately shut down as U.S. military cargo planes flew in massive amounts of old and new NATO weaponry. Much of this war materiel was captured and put on public display by the Novorossiyan people’s militias following the defeat of Ukraine’s January 2015 military offensive.In February, Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko inked an arms agreement with the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. client state that frequently serves as a hub to funnel advanced weaponry to right-wing regimes and counterrevolutionary movements supported by Washington.On March 11, Obama approved $75 million in additional “nonlethal” military aid to Ukraine, including secure communications equipment, drones, counter-mortar radars, night-vision goggles and military ambulances, to be delivered in the next six to nine months. He also approved the provision of 30 armored and 200 unarmored Humvees, Sputnik reported.The same day, the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund approved a new $17.5 billion financial aid package for Ukraine in exchange for additional painful austerity measures. (RT.com, March 11)  This is meant to ensure that Kiev will remain solvent enough to continue its proxy war in the coming months, despite its collapsing economy.Whether or not the U.S. openly arms Ukraine with offensive weapons, or continues to do so covertly and through third countries, is far less significant that the blatant war moves of U.S. and NATO forces in the region.Every day, it grows more urgent for the anti-war forces in the U.S. to stand up and demand: Stop the weapons, stop sanctions, stop provocations against Russia! Stand with the people of Donetsk and Lugansk resisting austerity and genocide!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Event marks women’s global federation at 70

first_imgThe call for international solidarity in the fight for women’s equality and justice was loud and clear on March 17 as representatives of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres) held its annual meeting at the Church Center of the United Nations in New York City.Vinie BurrowsThe accomplished actor, educator and activist, Vinie Burrows, the WIDF-FDIM representative to the U.N., opened the meeting with a short video and led a rousing cheer celebrating the freedom of the Cuban 5, whom the U.S. unjustly imprisoned for so many years.Alicia Campos Perez, a member of the Cuban Women’s Federation and a coordinator of the American and Caribbean Regional Office of the WIDF-FDIM, chaired the meeting. She noted that the organization, founded in 1945 by socialist and communist women, was marking its 70th anniversary dedicated to international solidarity and the struggle for peace. WIDF-FIDM’s mission is “to promote the presence of women in decision making at all levels, combating discrimination and violence against women, and denouncing inequality practiced against women.” She added, “We have a long way to go to achieve those goals.”Campos introduced a panel, entitled “Beijing + 20, Women and Work: Equal Pay for Equal Work,” who assessed women’s progress in their countries 20 years after the U.N.’s Fourth World Conference on Women held in China in 1995.‘A strong women’s movement is a must’Maria Gabriela announced that the ­Angola Women’s Organization is countering economic inequality with a national educa­tional campaign at the community level. Viviane Prado, representing the Brazilian architects union, noted that women are fighting an uphill battle for equal wages there. Delia Selene de Dios, of the National Union of Mexican Women, stressed that the Mexican economy is going backwards because the current neoliberal government is in service to the world banks. She condemned the “feminization of low-paid work.”Pointing out that the U.S. prison population is the largest in the world, Berta Joubert-Ceci, of the Women’s Fightback Network at the International Action Center, noted that poor women of color, jailed mostly for crimes of survival, are the fastest growing segment of prisoners and often encounter widespread sexual abuse and inadequate medical care like many incarcerated women. She denounced the latest U.S. hostility toward Venezuela, saying, “This country, with so many crimes against women, dares to attack the Bolivarian Revolution!”Joan Salvador, of the organization Gabriela in the Philippines, pointed out that 69 percent of those not in the labor force are women; that the minimum wage is $10 a day, with women earning 35 percent of what men make; and that women contract workers earn a dollar a day. “No wonder there are 12 million Filipino migrant workers all over the world,” she stated.Two women were recognized from the floor: Layla Naffa Hamarneh, of the Arab Women’s Organization of Jordan, who thanked everyone for their support of the Palestinian struggle. Cheers erupted when she said, “We stand united behind Palestine and all liberation movements.” Bathabile O Dlamani, of the Department of Social Development of the Republic of South Africa, said, “WIDF must work to make the Commission on the Status of Women vital again. A strong women’s rights movement is a must. We cannot allow the CSW to talk about us without us.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Another Black youth lost to racism

first_imgKalief BrowderAnother mother has lost her child to the racist, brutal prison system. Kalief Browder, an African American who was only 22 years old, committed suicide on June 6, after having spent more than three years in jail at Rikers Island in New York City. He hung himself with an air conditioner cord at his home in the Bronx.Browder was arrested in the spring of 2010 at the age of 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack. Bail was set at $3,000, a sum his mother could not afford. Throughout his three-year ordeal at Rikers, Kalief heroically refused to plead guilty, always stating his innocence — even though it might have meant an early release.Browder’s case caught the attention of well-known journalists. For example, a spotlight was shone on his tribulations in an article written by Jennifer Gonnerman in the New Yorker’s Oct. 6, 2014, issue. That article and others detailed that this young man, a teenager, a beautiful child who might have had a promising and wonderful life, spent more than a thousand days in jail where he was brutally treated, beaten and tortured.Browder later related stories to his family about being starved and beaten by Rikers’ guards. Video footage acquired later by journalists sadly confirmed this nightmare.Unbelievably, two of Browder’s three years at Rikers were spent in solitary confinement. While incarcerated, he tried to end his life several times. Clearly, the prison-industrial complex broke this young man’s fighting spirit.Because of Browder’s horrific situation, there have since been a plethora of articles in the mainstream media about what he went through during his 1,000 days at Rikers Island. Articles of condemnation abound, rightfully calling Rikers a “house of horrors” and even comparing it to Abu Ghraib. Politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio condemn conditions at Rikers Island.But unlike what many media accounts are stating — that “New Yorkers did not fail Kalief” — the system did fail him. The working class of New York City is not to be blamed; its rulers are.Browder the rule, not the exceptionBrowder garnered much attention and support. Upon his release, he was able to meet Jay Z. Rosie O’Donnell invited him to appear on TV on “The View” on Nov. 7, 2014. Anonymous donors paid for some of his tuition for community college.Still Browder could not overcome the demons that had been planted in his young mind as a result of solitary confinement and torture.Let this be a hard lesson for the liberal petty bourgeoisie. Charity or heartfelt generosity is not enough to save a life. One New Yorker article that exposes the terrible reality of so many prisoners can serve more to make a writer famous than deal with the root causes.New Yorkers are not passive about prison conditions. Example after example abound of families and activists who work night and day to show what is happening in the prison systems in New York and throughout the country. However, their voices don’t seem to be heard as much as those who write for the New Yorker.Reports from many legal sources, entities such as the United Nations, countless mental health experts and well-documented films have clearly demonstrated the dangers of solitary confinement and the horrors of prison conditions in this country. Solitary confinement has been shown to drive adult men insane. Imagine the effects on a young mind.This is an age-old problem; it did not just begin. In her book “The New Jim Crow,” Michelle Alexander demonstrates that this government and the capitalist system it upholds are calculated and designed to jail the oppressed. The prison system — just like the killer cops who walk free — shows that Black and Brown lives do not matter under the capitalist system.That is why the entire capitalist system must be overturned and uprooted in order to save the lives of future Kalief Browders. Until then, Rikers Island should be shut down immediately, killer cops should be jailed and the occupying police force disarmed. That should be the order of the day.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Solidarity with Greek workers

first_imgDemonstrators from the International Action Center, the Peoples Power Assembly, the revolutionary youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) and Baltimore Workers World Party stood in solidarity with the Greek workers in the struggle against austerity. Outside of the Bank of America building downtown they spread awareness of what was happening in Greece and why Baltimore’s workers should care.WW photo: Sharon BlackFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img

WWP candidates stand with the ‘Fight for 15 and a Union’ movement

first_imgThe Workers World Party 2016 National Election Campaign, running Monica Moorehead for president and Lamont Lilly for vice president, released the following statement on Nov. 11:On Nov. 10, fast food, homecare, childcare, airport and other low-wage workers from many different sectors walked off the job, beginning a strike for $15 and the right to form a union. From coast to coast, large demonstrations of workers took place at fast food restaurants and shut down traffic in many major cities. All in all, nearly 500 cities saw demonstrations during the largest day of action to date.The Moorehead-Lilly campaign stands with the courageous workers who have been leading the “Fight for 15 and a Union” movement and expresses our unwavering support for their demands.This most recent strike comes nearly three years to the day after some 200 fast food workers first walked off the job in New York City, inspiring other low-wage workers across the country to follow in their footsteps. Low-wage workers – led largely by women and Black and Latino/a workers – have gone on strike many times since this movement began. This militancy gives a much-needed boost to labor and the broader social movements. It has undoubtedly helped to elevate class consciousness, solidarity and unity. Many encouraging developments across the country show stronger alliances being built between low-wage workers, Black Lives Matter and the immigrant rights movement, including the recent struggle against racism on the campus of the University of Missouri. We must continue to build and expand the movement for $15 and a union.   The rising up of fast food and low-wage workers is a response to the worsening conditions and deepening impoverishment of the working class in the U.S. and around the globe, which has one source – capitalism. The foundation of the capitalist system is exploitation of workers and the theft of the vast wealth we create by a small class of greedy billionaire owners. Whether it’s McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Walmart, Boeing, GE or any other conglomerate, the profits of all capitalist corporations belong by right to the workers who generated them.  Only through a socialist revolution can the workers liberate themselves and the great wealth they create so it can be used for the good of society.The Moorehead-Lilly campaign will fight to end the capitalist system of monopoly ownership of the wealth. In this high-tech age, everyone should be able to get good jobs and be guaranteed housing, education, healthcare and all their basic needs. But this will not be possible so long as the CEOs and bankers continue to stuff their pockets while leaving workers with the scraps. We fight for socialism, where the workers run society and use the wealth they create to satisfy people’s needs.  FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more