SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

First they came for the Arctic sea ice, and I did not speak out--even though its volume is two thirds what it was thirty years ago.

Then they came for our mountain glaciers--Kilimanjaro, Glacier National Park, the Andes, and Himalayas--and still I didn't speak out. My water supplies were not threatened.

They thawed the permafrost and continental shelves even though these areas could release planet altering greenhouse gases. Still I remained silent.

Oct 21

The Price of Fashion

By Tom O’Connor, Truthout | Op-Ed

The price of fashion is on the rise as the death toll in Bangladesh’s garment factories grows.

Another fire in another garment factory – this one about 25 miles from the garment factory whose April collapse killed more than 1,100 workers – took the lives of at least 10 more workers on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.

Most of the workers who perished in this week’s fire were so badly burned they could not be identified. Approximately 50 other workers were injured in the fire, which took firefighters nearly 10 hours to overcome. 

Just days ago thousands took to the streets in yet another March Against Monsanto, yet many people still don't understand what Monsanto is and what it's doing to our food supply. Take ten minutes and learn the truth.

Oct 18

Blinded by the Systematic Power

By Gabriela Garcia, SpeakOut | News Analysis

African Americans and Latin Americans have been oppressed for centuries, and yet still has there not been any change. Many people of the United States blame the individual for being oppressed, jailed, or murdered. These ethnicities and races are still oppressed by the system. Not in a matter of slavery or segregation, but in the matter of poverty, discrimination and classism. I agree that wars and revolutions have made change over the past years, but not enough change that we are able to stand by the 14th amendment that guarantees civil rights for all Americans.

Poverty has been a huge effect around the world, but specifically in the city of San Francisco. According to a US Economic Inequality article, statistics show that the 1% of rich Americans are getting richer and the poor are even more poor.

Oct 18

Still Staying Sober – An Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analysis | News Analysis

On 22 May 2013 I wrote an analysis titled “Staying Sober.” It recounted two news stories that drew many hopeful comments from progressives. One was about the New York-based federal judge who placed an injunction on the U.S. government’s practice of indefinite detention. The other was the momentary success of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons at attaining some relief from their intolerable conditions. They too were protesting, among other things, that country’s version of indefinite detention. 

I noted that these were battles won and precedents to take heart from. They showed what was possible through determined opposition against unjust state practices. However, winning battles is not equivalent to winning wars, so it would be wise to celebrate soberly, knowing the struggles were not over.

The announcement that the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize was to be awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) took many by surprise. The consensus choice seemed to be the young female education activist, Malala Yousafzai. The selection of OPCW, however, fits the Norwegian Nobel Committee's history of awarding the Prize to global institutions that pursue the broad goal of the total elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

The complexities and contradictions of global politics can often lead to cynicism. No one can be trusted, violence is endemic, and international organizations are too incompetent to do anything about it. Just a month ago the United States was on the brink of war, once again using the threat of its military might to try to force its desired outcome.

Oct 15

Dr. King's “Dream” Denied

By Asha Sanford, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

According to Bill O'Reilly, a syndicated columnist and also the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor, the reason Trayvon Martin died is because he dressed a certain way. And that way is how "gangstas" look, so therefore he got attention and for that reason he lost his life. As he states on his show, "It would be nice if they did extend the story into the why of it rather than the what of it. The cause and effect needs to be addressed. If you want to stop these things then you have to solve the problem, which is not white people hunting down blacks." If the idea of racism was analyzed more in depth I think a lot of people's views would be different. The fact that Trayvon was a child was forgotten and the system once again refused justice to another African American young man.

Oct 15

Unjust Deaths

By Leslie Jarquin, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Many African American young adults have found no reason to stay in school and get an education while they keep hearing in the news about the "stand your ground" excuse used by white officers who have killed young African American teens in our society.

Adam Hudson states: "1 black man is killed in the US every 28 hours by police or vigilantes: America is perpetually at war with its own people. From the war on drugs to the war on terror, law enforcement's battle against minorities serves as pacification."

Scouring media outlets nationwide, it is evident that Operation Streamline – which was shut down by human rights activists on Oct 11 in Tucson – remains “America’s dirty little secret.”
One of the media outlets reporting on this unprecedented action – which included blocking the entrance to the federal courthouse’s parking lot – plus the disabling of two immigration buses – elicted this response from readers:
“They should be shot on site.”
“Just run them over.”

Although most  polls indicate that Americans are putting the blame on Republicans for the government shutdown in terms of actual politics, the Republicans are winning. The debt ceiling is a quintessential example of the failure of leftism under both the Obama and Clinton administrations.

Obama has lost Waxman-Markey (climate change), Manchin-Toomey (gun control and the Gang of Eight (Immigration). Dodd-Frank (finance reform) has been dismantled and hasn't even begun to correct the damage wrecked by Gramm-Leach-Bliley (which repealed Glass-Steagall) and the Commodities Modernization Act (deregulating derivatives).