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.

The Brennan Center for Justice, along with the ACLU of Michigan, and the Michigan State Planning Body filed an amicus brief late Friday appealing the prison sentence of Joseph Bailey, whose inability to pay his court-ordered restitution was not considered during sentencing. The amici are represented by the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. The brief argues that jailing Bailey for being too poor to pay is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause and the Michigan constitution.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that indigent individuals may not be incarcerated based on their inability to pay criminal-justice related debt, Michigan routinely jails poor defendants who cannot pay court-ordered fees and fines.

Sep 02

Detroit, Labor Day and a Hard Day’s Night

By Anna Lane Windham, The Hill | Op-Ed

The Beatles first visited Detroit just before Labor Day in 1964, and they gushed with admiration for the Motown sound. Detroit hummed with industry then, like the Beatle's own Liverpool, England with its bustling ports and pop music scene. Both industrial cities would soon flounder, losing 40 percent of their populations over the next 30 years.

As we approach Labor Day 2013, Detroit still endures its "Hard Day's Night," filing for bankruptcy last month. Yet Liverpool thrives once more, a showroom for urban renaissance. Why did Detroit and Liverpool follow such different paths? It turns out that workforces thrive best in a challenging world economy when they have a solid, government social safety net, not one woven from the vanishing threads of employer-provided job security and benefits.

A 40-year reunion is being planned for the end of this month in Gainesville, Fla., of the Gainesville 8. Sadly, Richard Nixon won't be able to join them, although his presidential library has just released more audio recordings of his descent into madness -- or what we like to call today: standard government practice.

The Gainesville 8 were eight men, seven of them members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), who planned to nonviolently demonstrate at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami. They were wrongfully prosecuted for planning violence, and they were all acquitted by a jury on August 31, 1973, in a highly publicized trial.

In the landmark case of NML Capital, LTD v.  The Republic of Argentina, the New York based U.S. Circuit Court upheld a previous ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.33 billion to hold out hedge funds. Argentine bonds soared and antipoverty advocates held their breath as the 2nd Circuit Court delayed the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides if they will take appeals on the case. 
“Our eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court. We pray the court will not forget the world’s poor as they consider taking the case,” asserted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious antipoverty campaign known as Jubilee USA.
Aug 30

The ‘Holy War’ in Detroit

By Elena Herrada, The Michigan Citizen | Op-Ed

The voters of Detroit and Michigan repealed a draconian and racist law that strips all public officials of power and authority in only Michigan’s Black cities and school districts. Yet, the law remains, and as an elected school board member, I receive decrees from the illegitimate emergency manager on a regular basis.

To all who oppose US/European military action against Syria: We have reached a moment when the United States and some of its European allies are threatening to rain more death and suffering down on Syria, and when the vast majority of Americans have absolutely no political power to stop these threats or to prevent attack. It is apparent that the White House and the Congress are responding to powers other than the American people. Arguably the most powerful influence in Washington is that of the major banks – Bank of America, Capitol One, Chase, Citicorp, US Bancorp, Wells Fargo. 
I'm a billionaire with a private army that leaves you really scared
One father had heart attack when we aimed at his silly head
I don't think you understand he's literally dead
Now I'm hearing these dumb rappers say my city is theirs?
Aug 29

Probably Possible: A Simple Poem for a Big Problem

By Andrew Gavin Marshall, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I would like to weave you a tale of modern humanity,

That great and wonderful monstrous calamity,

With its global institutionalization of insanity,

Aiming for maximization of profitability,

Control over everything, and everything as property,

War on the Natural world, and all of its majesty,

Creating an endless unnatural catastrophe...

"The moral arc of the universe is long, and it bends toward irony." Appearing in an article in The New Yorker written by Jelani Cobb titled "Obama, Surveillance, and the Legacy of the March on Washington," this clever turn of a potent phrase spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 has gained a lot of attention.
Aug 29

Journalism, the New Terrorism

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV | Video

It has been said that it is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society. And there is no war you can be awake and deny that we live in a profoundly sick society. So, are you well adjusted?