Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, November 02, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
The San Francisco general strike and West Coast maritime strike in 1934 was one of the most important and successful strikes in the history of the United States. This strike along with the Minneapolis Teamsters strike and Toledo strike were high points for the American labor movement. In the San Francisco general strike, Bloody Thursday was on July 5, 1934 when strikers Nick Bordoise and Howard Sperry were killed and 109 people were wounded as a result of the police attack on strikers and their supporters. Despite the calling of the National Guard and the violent attack on unions and workers in San Francisco this strike was won.
These powerful militant worker strikes also set the stage for millions of US workers to join unions and eventually break the back of the employers union busting efforts to destroy the labor movement.
The backbone of the San Francisco longshore strike was a militant new democratic union that elected all of its leaders including the strike chair Harry Bridges. It was formed in struggle against corrupt unionism and it showed that workers had the ability to organize, educate and train their members to defend their unions and all working people. The slogan an injury to one is an injury to all was and is still the motto of the ILWU. Today with millions of workers losing their jobs, their homes and their healthcare the issues that brought that strike are again extremely relevant. Tens of thousands of workers have been fired in the United States simply for trying to organize a union.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Bill’s Trail, in a steep, remote section of Samuel Taylor State Park is under assault by IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association, and other local mountain bike proponents. This well funded and determined lobby has managed to convince State Park staff, that opening the fragile, narrow, fern lined trail to aggressive downhill mountain biking is within the definitions of state park shared use trails. IMBA maps of the trail depict only a few hairpin turns when in fact there are up to 40 such switchbacks. The trail is accessible by an arduous climb to about the 850’ elevation of Barnaby Mountain and would provide a mostly moderately steep downhill ride (7-8% grade) for bike users.
Mountain bikers have proved on numerous occasions to be poor stewards of the trail systems in Marin and Sonoma counties. Bikers in Marin, have been arrested for building illegal trails in sensitive wildlife habitats on numerous occasions, threatened local residents who report or encounter them on illegal trails, destroy private property, cut down redwood and other trees and continue to build downhill ramps and jump courses in off limits county open spaces. Their tire tracks leave deep erosive ruts in healthy trails especially during the rain season. Recently, an injured mountain biker had to be air lifted out of nearby Annadel State Park. The remoteness of Bill’s Trail poses significant problems for state park resources in both maintenance and monitoring in an economic climate that is in serious decline. Endangered Coho salmon spawn in a creek at the base of the trail. The impacts of substantial bike traffic near this creek have not been studied. When over a hundred miles of legal trails remain open to them in Sonoma and Marin, one wonders what the feverish urgency is in opening up more trails. The answer is that the mountain bike industry is a billion dollar commercial enterprise that must sell products. IMBA takes its marching orders from corporate giants. This is not care for the wilderness but yet another exploitative grab of traditional wilderness and open space for basic thrill seeking.
Voice your opposition to the plan by June 26, 2009. Demand a full CEQA review from state authorities. Call or email staff head, Roy McNamee firstname.lastname@example.org
707- 769-5665 ex 226
Sunday, October 19, 2008
There’s something going on in the USA right now- changes and challenges. Perhaps not since the Great Depression has the US been faced with such serious mounting economic and social problems. The experts say things will be getting worse. My mom told me that when she was a kid growing up in the Depression, that people and communities helped each other. It seems like we’re being called on to turn in this direction again, and we have the signs on how it’s to be done.
I point to the 2008 Boston Red Sox. Yes, a baseball team, but not an ordinary baseball team. In 2004 Boston beat all the odds to come back from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees to win the American league pennant race and then go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4 zip in the World Series. The doubters were far flung and pretty vocal, but some say “magic” prevailed. Yes, magic did prevail and now, against the Tampa Bay Rays, a similar story is being played out again. Down 3 games to 1, the Red Sox came back from the crypt to tie the series and play the final game 7 tonight in the 2008 American League pennant race. The Red Sox are a kind of ‘spiritual team’ in that they mirror for the country as a whole, the stuff it takes to overcome tremendous odds and defeat.
They’ve shown on so many occasions, that persistence, great team work, focus and talent can beat the odds. They do it in style, with grace and with authority. Pitcher Jonathan Paplebon, typifies this spirit best of all, in the Red Sox club house. The guy even looks like he meditates before ascending the mound to deliver his Zen like flurry of well placed pitches. Red Sox baseball, the “American Pastime” has become a metaphor for triumph and survival in hard times. Seeing one team do it and not be fazed by the specter of loss is an inspiration that travels deep into the hearts and minds of the soul of America. It sticks with kids facing similar challenges in their own lives, and it sticks with grown ups, thereby bridging generations with a message a hope that is unifying and uplifting. The US needs the Red Sox like it needs fresh air. The country was pretty much born in Boston, so it isn’t so surprising that the path to a greater way of being would come from that same blessed city by the Atlantic. And yes, by a baseball team no less.