Tags >> rights
Jan 26
2010

Nonviolence

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , students , rights , protest , policy , peace , nonprofit orgs , news , media , law enforcement , justice , journalism , international , Ideas , history , government , families , education , activism

Bruce Robinson

 

Conflict doesn’t have to be violent. In fact, proactive non-violence can be used to force change, and those skills and tactics can be taught and practiced. That’s what Cynthia Boaz is doing at an international conference in India this week.

Cynthia Boaz, a Sonona State University professor of political science, has studied the mechanics and practices of non-violence, and is presenting on that subject this week at an international conference hosted by War Resisters International. All true and effective non-violent movements for change must first gain a measure of popular support within the repressed indigenous populations, she explains, then as the movment gains strength, the oppressor is left with nothing but force to try to sustain itself.

Ghandi and the Rev. Martin Luther King are often seen as exemplars of non-violent leadership, but Boaz says the high-profile charismatic individual at the head of a movement is atypical, and not necessarily the most effective model.

But just as grassroots leaders can study and learn the skills and tactics of nonviolence, Boaz observes that oppressors, too, can and do try to understand and deflect those efforts.

 

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Jan 13
2010

David Swanson

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , rights , politics , peace , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , history , government , events , Congress , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

The founding Fathers saw the U.S. Constitution as a dynamic document that would evolve and change over time. Writer and activist David Swanson believes we’re long overdue in getting to work on that.

In his new book, Daybreak:  Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson tracks the gradual accretion of political powers in the office of the presidency—something that has been underway for most of our national history, but which accelerated markedly in the past eight years. In his analysis, that is dangerously undemocratic, but its hardly the only place in our national governance where that is a problem. Another is the U.S. Senate, particularly the convoluted procedural practice of the filibuster, which Swanson would like to see ended.

The calls for impeachment of Dick Cheney or George W. Bush or members of their administration have diminished over the past year, but Swanson notes that leaving office does not remove or even lessen their vulnerability to such charges. And he contends that pursuing impeachment against any of the potentially culpable former officials would serve the further purpose of reasserting the strength of the House of Representatives.

The politics of 2009 were sharply different from the years before, Swanson observes, as much of the activism that had mobilized against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got caught up in the Obama campaign, and has not yet re-established itself. He speculates that the anti-war effort might actually be more effective today if John McCain had been elected instead.

David Swanson will be speaking at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa at 7 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 13, hosted by the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 04
2010

Elder Financial Abuse

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , seniors , rights , public safety , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , Napa , Marin , law enforcement , justice , finances , families , education , economy , California , aging , activism

Bruce Robinson

The recession can be a triple threat to the financial security of seniors. Not only are their savings shrinking, family members may have crucial needs, while unscrupulous predatory sales operations that target elders are on the upswing.

The Elder Financial Protection Network has collaborated with NBC Bay Area to create the television documentary “Be Wise, Be Aware,” which was first broadcast on Jan 3, 2010. Much of that program’s power comes from its first-person case histories, but Jenefer Duane, the EFPN’s founder and CEO (below), says it isn’t easy to find such people who are willing to come forward and tell their stories.

Duane founded the Elder Financial Protection Network in 1999, but she’s been working on senior advocacy issues much longer. It’s a calling she traces back to her childhood, growing up in Corte Madera.

A good resource for finding assistance when you suspect instances of senior abuse or fraud is the National Eldercare Locator. There are additional resources here on the EFPN website.

The North Bay Report previously reported on this issue on October, 2008.

Dec 11
2009

Memorial Hospital Union Vote

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Santa Rosa , rights , religion , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , healthcare , Health , employment , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

Charges and countercharges are mounting in the run-up to next week’s union representation election at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Father Ray Decker (right) , who is active with the Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice group, says that while he and other clergy are pressing Memorial Hospital to take a more Christian stance toward the union organizing efforts of their workforce, they have no illusions about who they are actually speaking to.

Katy Hillenmeyer, spokeswoman for St. Joseph Health Care of Sonoma County, which operates Memorial Hospital, says the impartiality of the new Fair Election Oversight Commission is open to question, as some members have clear ties to one of the competing unions.

Wages and workplace issues are part of the debate in the union representation vote, says telemetry technician Nancy Timberlake, a 24-year Memorial Hospital employee. But the biggest single issue for her is job security.