The Price Of Sticking To Your Beliefs

"Nowadays everyone seems to recognize and to be shocked at the insult and injury perpetrated against the IWW, the Socialist, and the conscientious objectors early in the century (1900). It was different to know it then. Our family was not only isolated for our stand against the war, but we were shot at, our books were rifled and burned in our front yard on Dayton Avenue in St. Paul, rocks with obscene messages were thrown through our windows. Organizers for the Non-Partisan League were beaten and tarred and feathered. Tar is very hard to get off. I spent days with victims of beatings trying to get the tar off the skin without taking the skin as well. Minnesota had a vigilante committee, a stat fascist organization with unlimited powers and headed by Governor Burnquist; it was called the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety."

Meridel Le Sueur
The Ancient People

What's Behind Your "Free Market?"

Child Labor Slip$ Through The GAP

This story did not make for pleasant reading: children as young as ten, the UK’s Observer newspaper reported, were toiling in filth 16 hours a day for little or no pay, smocking and beading children’s clothing destined for Gap Kids stores in the west.

Gap is working hard to win back public trust after shocking child labour revelations tarnished its brand

Gap ended 2007 having to answer claims of child labour atrocities at supplier factories in India. This was territory the company must have thought it had left far behind. Despite recent lacklustre sales, Gap had done well to keep its reputation as an ethical sourcing leader until the bad news broke last October.

Read more at Ethical Corporation.


Who's Knocking On Fear's Door

coalition of the willing and the judgmental
patricians, politicians, and the fundamentalists
you never have to tell them how the money's spent
you never have to tell them where their freedom went
homophobes in the high command
waitin' for the rapture like it's disneyland
hide all the bodies from out of view
channel all the treasure to the chosen few

Eliza Gilkyson
Man of God

"It's telling that a number of politicians have lately cited as their model on terrorism issues Jack Bauer, the counterterrorism agent on the TV hit "24," who routinely tortures the truth out of bad guys as the clock ticks toward catastrophe. It's not hard to understand the appeal. There's a certain atavistic attraction to the Jack Bauer method, an attraction that bypasses the head en route to the gut.

Too bad, because had the head been asked, it might have pointed out that Jack Bauer is a fictional character on a TV show not noted for its realism. Using him as a guide to terrorism makes about as much sense as using Barney Fife as a guide to law enforcement.

And the very fact that Jack Bauer is invoked in the most crucial policy debate of our time tells you something about the state of the union going on seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks. In a word: scared.

There is nothing new about being scared. Nor about abridging civil liberties in response. It happened in the civil rights movement, in the Red scare, happened when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, when the nation plunged into World War I, when the French offended John Adams.

But it's worth noting that, for all the illegal wiretapping, arrests, detention, blacklisting, censorship and loss of life this country has seen in the name of fear, only one major abridgement of civil liberties in time of national emergency - Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War - stands justified by hindsight.

The rest, we regard with a shamefaced fascination. We wonder what we were thinking, how we wandered so far afield from the principles that should make us great."

Leonard Pitts, Jr.


A Piece of Freedom's Pie

"Going West" by artist Therese Desjardin.

"The man and woman moving behind the westering sun wanted room to think fast and big, invent, speak, plant land and children with freedom's plow. They wanted new ways of being together. They hankered after something beside death and taxes. They wanted to see straight and live on earth. Like the growth of scientific thought, the twin of democracy, they wanted to examine the humus, look at decay, the minutiae of soil and society, honor the lowest labor and growth. Hard-headed, they wanted their pie in the "here and now," every man under his tree, no man a servant. Horse sense or common sense was "commin doin's": they all had it together because without it they should not survive."

Meridel Le Sueur
The North Star