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The Year Of The Co-op: New Survey Reveals Americans View Co-ops More Favorably Than For-Profit Businesses

8:51 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Originally published at AlterPolitics

A co-op in Austin, Texas. Photo by woods at night.

On October 31, 2011, the United Nations proclaimed 2012 to be “The International Year of Cooperatives (IYC).” The world body uses this annual designation to help bring attention to what it believes are some of the world’s most critical issues. On its IYC website, it praises the cooperative model for its contributions towards ending world poverty, and encourages more groups to embrace this “alternative means of doing business.”

Co-ops benefit communities around the globe by offering employees a living wage with favorable working conditions, and by promoting social integration and sound environmental policies.

Co-ops have recently enjoyed something of a resurgence in the U.S. as its economy has continued to sputter. Worker pay has remained on the decline for decades, and a corporate hijacking of U.S. democracy has left the public distrustful of the 1% who appear to be living large off the pain, suffering and disempowerment of the 99%.

‘Social injustice’ has become the buzzword to define America’s new economic reality.

In just the last few years, Americans have watched in horror as laissez faire Capitalism wreaked havoc, with impunity, on their communities. From Wall Street corruption bringing the entire financial system to its knees, and those responsible profiting from the calamity they engineered, to BP & Halliburton’s gross negligence resulting in 200 million gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf, and creating a catastrophe so severe that two full years later the sea life there can only be described as “horribly mutated creatures.”

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VIDEO Interview w/ Noam Chomsky: #Occupy’s Number One Target Should Be Concentrations Of Private Power

9:46 am in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Originally published at AlterPolitics

Off the release of his new publication, OCCUPY (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series), Laura Flanders (GRITtv) sat down with MIT professor Noam Chomsky to reflect on the grim state of America, and the role activists have to play in turning it around. When asked what should be the number one target of the ninety-nine percent, to foster change, Chomsky responded:

It’s the concentrations of private power, which have an enormous — not total control — but enormous influence over Congress and the White House. In fact, that’s increasing sharply with the sharp concentration of private power escalating across the elections, and so on. [...]

Chomsky believes a good way to combat the destruction that private corporations unleash on the societies in which they operate, is to work to redefine the concept of ‘business responsibility’ away from responsiveness to shareholders, and towards responsiveness to stakeholders:

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VIDEO: US-Backed Bahrain Arrests & Deports 2 US Human Rights Observers As 1st Anniversary Of Democracy Protests Nears

1:36 pm in Uncategorized by TheCallUp

Two American peace activists, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, were arrested and detained this Saturday, while acting as Human Rights Observers in U.S.-backed Bahrain. Both are members of the Witness Bahrain initiative.

The Bahraini monarchy deported the two on Sunday, and they were flown — handcuffed behind their backs, and prohibited from using the bathroom, and from eating or drinking for the entire seven hour flight — to London.

According to Arraf, Bahrain appears to be removing all human rights activists and observers in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the democratic uprising against the ruling monarchy:

[We] also were getting reports of journalists and human rights organization representatives being denied entry into the country in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the Bahrain revolution, and this caused great alarm, that the government was planning to escalate its oppression of the people.

A November 2011 report, conducted by an independent commission, and authorized by the Bahraini monarchy in an attempt to ease tensions, concluded that grave violations of human rights had been committed by government troops. These violations included disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force and firearms to repress the protests, and a systematic and deliberate policy of torture.

The panel confirmed that government forces murdered dozens of people during the protests, and five reform activists had been tortured to death while in custody. Other detainees were tortured by electric shock and by beatings with wires and hoses. Additionally, the panel found that activists were later targeted and fired from their jobs and universities and caused to lose their homes.

Just weeks ago, the Obama Administration was reported to be quietly selling arms to the Bahraini monarchy, in spite of these documented human rights abuses against its people. Read the rest of this entry →