You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Philly’ category.


Advertisements

Organizers from Philly will be traveling across PA ahead of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh next week to meet with grassroots movements and strengthen statewide social change networks.  This is being called the People’s Caravan. There are still spots available, so please RSVP if you’d like to join the caravan! – alex

A Call to Join the People’s Caravan

Pennsylvania, along with the rest of the world, is in crisis. Many people do not have access to decent housing, education, healthcare, jobs, healthy food, transportation and communication. While we are told that there are not resources to provide for our basic needs, bankers and the ultra-rich get trillions of dollars in bail-out funding, and our services are cut and costly wars are waged. From pools, libraries and health centers in urban areas closing, to factory lay-offs and families losing their farms, Pennsylvanians are feeling the impact of an economic and political system that has placed profit over people. We will not pay for their crisis!

In the coal mines, steel mills, textile mills, family farms and in the front seats of rigs, poor and working Pennsylvanians built this state. As one industry after another has collapsed in Pennsylvania, we’ve become poorer. Our economic crisis didn’t start in 2007. Now, all across the state, local governments and business people are spending our taxpayers’ money on developments that benefit developers and not the communities that paid for it. Meanwhile, our population has been in decline for generations because too many of our young people see no future in our state, and need to look for jobs elsewhere.

What is the G-20?

The G-20 summit is a gathering of financial ministers and heads of states of the 20 richest countries in the world. They are meeting in Pittsburgh, September 24-25 to advance their agenda: cutting essential social services; privatizing schools, healthcare, and social security, promoting “free-trade,” which cuts labor and environmental standards across the globe and places corporate profit above human needs. They are meeting to rebuild the world’s economies- in a way that keeps them on top.

Pittsburgh’s history of economic decline is why it was chosen to host the G-20. It will be promoted as an example of how to rebuild an economy. They’ve done this by bringing in companies that provide low wage jobs while reaping large profit and rebuilding the region with little thought to community benefit. This is unfortunately a familiar story to not just Pennsylvania, but much of the country.

The Caravan

We want to take this opportunity to focus on Pennsylvania, and strengthen our statewide networks. We want to meet up with people who are organizing locally for their dignity and a better Pennsylvania. Whether you are working for better wages, organizing for childcare, demanding healthcare, fighting pollution, struggling to keep your home and put food on the table or to keep your family’s farm; we all have an interest in making our voices heard and working together to advance an agenda for economic human rights.

We will be taking our own vehicles, carpooling and splitting the travel costs. The caravan will depart Philadelphia on Monday morning, September 21, stopping in Lancaster, traveling to York for the afternoon, and then spend the evening in Harrisburg. On Tuesday, September 22, we will rally at the state capitol, make a stop in Altoona, and arrive in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit.

Join Us!

This is a perfect time to make connections between our struggles and communities so that we can break our isolation and work together. We want you to invite your neighbors, church, family, school, VFW chapter, and your community organizations to join us on this caravan. While we bring stories of our struggles in Philadelphia, we want to learn from people struggling throughout the rest of Pennsylvania.

Contact us if you are interested in organizing a local event along the route that can benefit your work, joining or supporting the caravan. We need RSVP’s, and we can tell you about costs, ride information and answer any other questions.

http://www.g20caravan.info
g20caravan@riseup.net
215-586-9198


The Security Guards at the Art Museum are demanding recognition for their union and an end to poverty wages.  Here is their new video presenting their campaign to the incoming CEO of the museum, Timothy Rub:

Welcoming Change at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The guards are also holding a rally next Sunday to welcome Mr. Rub, check it out! Also see below for more information on the campaign from a recent article in Philadelphia Weekly. [alex]

Welcoming Party for Timothy Rub

2 pm, Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, front “Rocky” steps


Join the Philadelphia Security Officers Union and Philly Jobs with Justice as they hold a — “welcoming party” — for incoming museum CEO, Timothy Rub.


Security Guards at the museum earn less than $20,000 per year, below the federal poverty line.

The Philadelphia Security Officers Union supports the Employee Free Choice Act.

We have signed up a majority of the security officers at the Philadelphia Museum on union representation cards.

If the Employee Free Choice Act was law right now, we would already be a union.

March with the Philadelphia Security Officers Union in support of card check and the Employee Free Choice Act

2:00 pm—3:30 pm,
come early and take advantage of the free day at the museum

Featuring NYC’s Rude Mechanical Orchestra! It’s a party!

Info: phillyjwj.org

Financial Insecurity

Museum guards ask new director to hear them out.

By Daniel Denvir

Philadelphia Weekly, August 25, 2009.

On April 19, Jennifer Collazo woke up with a $2,882.47 hospital bill. The 33-year-old Army veteran is a Philadelphia Museum of Art security guard employed by the private contractor AlliedBarton. Collazo pays into the medical insurance offered by her employer, but when she came down with severe neck and back pain on the job, she discovered that her health benefits didn’t even cover things like the ambulance ride.

Paltry medical coverage combined with low wages has driven Collazo and other museum guards to organize the Philadelphia Security Officers Union (PSOU). While the museum and AlliedBarton have rebuffed them in the past, guards hope that the institution’s incoming director, Timothy Rub, will be open to dialogue when he takes charge early next month. Read the rest of this entry »


Hi, I’m Alex Knight. I’m a teacher, writer, and activist. I manage endofcapitalism.com and I’m writing a book called The End of Capitalism.

strategy

I was born on July 4, 1983. I was raised an All-American boy in a working class family in a small town outside of Philadelphia. As a child, I excelled in sports (I was an all-star baseball player for 10 years), and in school (I was placed in the “gifted” class at the age of 7). Ambler, Pennsylvania was a wonderful place to grow up in. My neighborhood friends and I used to walk to elementary school in the morning and chase fireflies in the park at sunset. But my hometown was also burdened with a painful legacy from its industrial past, one which illustrates how capitalism’s obsession with profits far too often leads to environmental damage and human suffering.

The twin house I grew up in was originally home to Italian immigrants who worked in Ambler’s asbestos factory in the early 1900’s. Owned and operated by Keasbey and Mattison Corporation, this five-story factory made Ambler what it was – an industrial working class community and the “asbestos capital of the world[1]. Asbestos, a mineral known for its fire-resistant properties, was very popular at the time as a material used in everything from home insulation, roofing tiles, ship engines, brake pads, and shoes. Unfortunately, asbestos also has a nasty habit of giving people a form of lung cancer (mesothelioma) from breathing in its dust. Hundreds of the Italian-American workers and their family members contracted mesothelioma and suffered for years with breathing problems, or died[2]. When the factory was finally shut down in the 1970s, 3 million tons of asbestos waste had been piled into what are now known as the “White Mountains” – thinly-covered man-made hills of toxic waste.[3]

While I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, over 50,000 claims were brought against Keasbey and Mattison by former workers, residents and consumers who had been exposed to asbestos poisoning[4]. At the same time, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was classifying the White Mountains a Superfund site, sealing it off from the public and cleaning up some of the carcinogenic mess[5]. Nevertheless asbestos pollution remains a persistent concern for Ambler residents[6], and according to a Montgomery County Health Department analysis mesothelioma rates in town continue to be significantly higher than normal[7], despite the factory closing over 30 years ago. One resident interviewed in 2008 stated, “Six households on one block report a family member dying from asbestos-related disease. I have lost 5 members to asbestos-related disease”[8].

Although the company almost certainly knew the dangers of asbestos and its connection to lung cancer as early as the 1930s, it kept the information secret, from the public, and from its workers, despite the growing cases of illness and death. The reason is obvious. If people knew that asbestos would give them cancer, they wouldn’t want it in their homes or their household products, and would stop purchasing it. And if workers could prove that the company was responsible for their health problems, they would sue and the company could go out of business. In other words, the corporation knew it was causing ecological and social harm, but lied about it to protect its profits.

Ambler’s story is not that exceptional. Every town in America, indeed across the globe, has its own story about how it’s been affected by capitalism.

Likewise my decision to devote my life to the cause of environmental and social justice is not that exceptional. People all around the world are making the same sorts of decisions about how to live their lives in harmony with nature and with their fellow human beings, every single day.

I attained a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University in 2005, then went on to receive a Master’s in Political Science the next year. During college I got involved in activism and led a successful campaign pressuring my university to purchase wind energy to help supply the school’s electricity. Since then, I became an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a national youth organization working for peace and democracy. Now I’ve begun working with other men to overcome sexism and male-dominance in our lives and in society. I currently reside in Philadelphia and work at a community college, where I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) and Computer Basics courses. Besides writing, I enjoy bike rides, music, food, and hanging out with friends.

My overriding inspiration is that the places where we live – where our children grow up – and the people in our lives – loved ones and strangers – don’t need to suffer the way Ambler and its inhabitants have. We don’t need to be slaves to a system that considers profits more important than human and ecological well-being. I think these priorities are skewed, and I think most people would agree with me. And just think, if everyone who feels this way were to work together, we could change the world. In fact, millions of people are already engaged in this work and through their efforts, the world is changing, slowly but surely. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. And we need to heal not just ourselves, but our communities, as well as our planet.

I believe in our capacity to heal. Even in an economic crisis, our spirits will never be silenced. When we let go of capitalism, we can embrace a better future – one where human life and environmental sustainability are more important than the profits of large corporations.

A new world is on its way. We are building it, one day at a time.

Alex Knight
activistalex@gmail.com
August 3, 2009


“How the Irish Became White”

by Noel Ignatiev

1995 Routledge

“It is a curious fact,” wrote John Finch, an English Owenite who traveled the United States in 1843, “that the democratic party, and particularly the poorer class of Irish immigrants in America, are greater enemies to the negro population, and greater advocates for the continuance of negro slavery, than any portion of the population in the free States.”

How did the Irish become White?  By violently subjugating African Americans, according to this courageous book by Noel Ignatiev.

As a part-Irish American, learning about the injustice that some of my ancestors took part in is deeply troubling, but it’s a history that we need to explore to uncover the true legacy of mass Irish immigration to America, and more fundamentally, the meaning of “Whiteness”.

The Irish in Ireland of the early-19th Century were a revolutionary people: impoverished, agrarian, and determined to break free of the grip of England’s tyranny. But once these same freedom-lovers emigrated to the United States, a peculiar thing happened: they were faced with a society based on racial segregation and industrial capitalism. Moreover, there began a large “Nativist” movement by wealthy Protestant Anglo-Saxons who tried to restrict immigration and subdue Irish/Catholic influence in the New World.

In order to overcome these barriers, the Irish made a strategic choice: escape the bottom-rung of poverty and be accepted into mainstream US society by aggressively aligning themselves with the Democratic Party and doing everything they could to keep African Americans in slavery or otherwise out of the labor market. Thus they earned the right to be considered “White” and receive the benefits and privileges associated with that social category.

Ignatiev makes a compelling case that “When Irish workers encountered Afro-Americans, they fought with them, it is true, but they also fought with immigrants of other nationalities, with each other, and with whomever else they were thrown up against in the marketplace.”  In other words, it wasn’t that the Irish were inherently more racist than any other group. Instead, the race riots when rowdy Irish attacked African Americans were largely in response to an economic condition arising in early US capitalism: Northern industrial labor markets were saturated by waves of immigrants and freed slaves competing over lower and lower wages. To secure jobs for themselves, the Irish became the hammer that pounded away at racial segregation to force African Americans out of the factories and into poverty and the ghetto.

By doing so, they also solidified the major distinction between relatively privileged sectors of the US working class and those on the bottom – “Whiteness”. Ignatiev explains: “Since ‘white’ was not a physical description but one term of a social relation which could not exist without its opposite, ‘white man’s work’ was simply, work from which Afro-Americans were excluded.” Read the rest of this entry »


One of Philadelphia’s larger newspapers puts Paul Glover, local currency and mutual aid-based health care advocate, on its cover story. As always, Paul makes wise and witty proposals to help us solve our economic and ecological woes, and now people are finally listening!

My favorite solution: “Neighborhood watch instead of neighborhood watch TV.” [alex]

Prepare for the Best

A guide to surviving — and thriving in — Philadelphia’s new green future.

Published: Jan 28, 2009
CityPaper

The Dark Season closes around Philadelphia. Wolves howl, “Tough times coming!” Young professionals with good jobs study budget cuts, watch stocks flail. Career bureaucrats are laid off; college students wonder who’s hiring. Old-timers remember when Philadelphia staggered through the terrible Depression years without jobs or dollars, while crime and hunger rose. Some districts here never escaped that Depression — they’re still choosing between heating and eating.

As usual, the future will be different. Philadelphia’s responses to global warming and market cooling, high fuel and food prices, health unsurance, mortgages, student debt and war will decide whether our future here becomes vastly better or vastly worse. Whether we’re the Next Great City or Next Great Medieval Village. Imagine Philadelphia with one-tenth the oil and natural gas.

But to hell with tragedy. Let’s quit dreading news. Take the Rocky road. There are Philadelphia solutions for every Philadelphia problem.

Imagine instead that, 20 years from now, Philadelphia’s green economy enables everyone to work a few hours creatively daily, then relax with family and friends to enjoy top-quality local, healthy food. To enjoy clean low-cost warm housing, clean and safe transport, high-quality handcrafted clothes and household goods. To enjoy creating and playing together, growing up and growing old in supportive neighborhoods where everyone is valuable. And to do this while replenishing rather than depleting the planet. Pretty wild, right?

Entirely realistic. Not a pipe dream. And more practical than cynical. The tools, skills and wealth exist.

Mayor Michael Nutter foresees we’ll become the “Greenest City in the United States.” So it’s common-sensible to ask, “What are the tools of such a future?” “What jobs will be created?” “Who has the money?” “Where are the leaders?” “How will Philadelphia look?” “What can we learn from other cities?”

Some of the proposals sketched here can be easily ridiculed, because they disturb comfortable work habits, ancient traditions and sacred hierarchies. Yet they open more doors than are closing. They help us get ready for the green economy, and get there first. Big changes are coming so we might as well enjoy the ride. You have good ideas, too — bring ’em on.

From “Yes We Can” to “Now We Do”

As President Barack Obama says, “Change comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up.” Philadelphia’s chronic miseries suggest that primary dependence on legislators, regulators, police, prisons, bankers and industry won’t save us. They’re essential partners, but the people who will best help us are us. Read the rest of this entry »


“Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia”

by Matthew J. Countryman

2007 University of Pennsylvania

This book was not quite what I expected, but I’m not sure what I was expecting.  The strength of Up South is that it gives a broad overview of the 1940s-60s civil rights/black power movement in Philadelphia, which was very helpful for me as someone who wanted to learn more about the history of the city I’m living in, especially about the work against racism in one of the most racially divided cities in America.

The book captures a really interesting narrative from postwar liberalism to early-60s protest, to late-60s radicalism, to 70s electoral politics. Along the way we meet some of the most important players, like Cecil B. Moore, Philadelphia Welfare Rights Organization, and Council of Organizations Philadelphia Police Accountability and Responsibility (COPPAR).  We learn a bit about their strategies, we learn about the white backlash and Frank Rizzo, and attempts by the system to co-opt and dilute the movement through politics and money.

However, the book also lacks in some substantial ways.  For one thing, the author is a professor in Michigan, who as far as I know is not from Philadelphia and is not black.  This doesn’t mean he has nothing valuable to contribute from his research, but it does mean the writing is overly academic and emotionally detached.

My other major complaint is that while the book doesn’t heat up until about pg. 120 with chapter 4, the conclusion is way too short and very unsatisfying.  It’s only 1 page, front and back, and only hints at the issues which are crying out to be examined.

For example, did the huge protests and deep radicalism of the late 60s really get co-opted into pointless electoral campaigns?  How is that possible, and why did it happen?

Why wasn’t there sustained grassroots pressure to hold the newly-elected black politicans accountable, or if there was, why did it fail?

How did the Rizzo Mayorship of the 70s affect the black freedom movement in Philly?  In what ways did Rizzo gain greater power in moving from his position as Police Commissioner, and in what ways was he held more accountable as Mayor?  More generally, how much did it matter who was in charge of the city government, as far as the movements were concerned?

These are just a few questions that I wish had been addressed in the book more substantially, but I think the fact that the book left me wanting to know more actually points to the success of the book in captivating my interest.

This wasn’t the holistic and movement-centered study that I was looking for, but it helped me clarify my questions on the subject so I recommend it for anyone living in Philadelphia and wanting to know more about the history of their city.


The US government is becoming more and more a tool for huge corporations and banks to eliminate their risk despite insanely short-sighted and self-serving policies. The American public will not accept our money being handed to those who don’t deserve it, and never intend to pay us back. That is fascism.

“We, the people” need a bailout too. Today I attended a rally in Philadelphia, to stop the mayor from making budget cuts to close down 11 libraries around the city. How are you supposed to provide educational opportunities for inner-city youth if you’re closing libraries? Closing doors, eliminating opportunities for advancement – this fuels the cycle of violence and crime.

We have to demand money for human needs, not corporate greed! It’s our government, it must work for us, not just the rich. [alex]

Originally published by Forbes.
Washington’s $5 Trillion Tab
Elizabeth Moyer, 11.12.08
Fighting the financial crisis has put the U.S. on the hook for some $5 trillion a report says. So far.
For all the fury over Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s $700 billion emergency economic relief fund, it seems downright puny when compared to the running total of the government’s response to the credit crisis.
According to CreditSights, a research firm in New York and London, the U.S. government has put itself on the hook for some $5 trillion, so far, in an attempt to arrest a collapse of the financial system.
The estimate includes many of the various solutions cooked up by Paulson and his counterparts Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve and Sheila Bair at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the credit crisis continues to plague banks and the broader markets. Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address and subscribe to get the latest End of Capitalism news right in your inbox..

Join 878 other followers

You are here

Friendly Websites

Anda La Lucha
- Andalusia Knoll

Feminist Frequency
- Anita Sarkeesian

Recovering Hipster
- Heather

Praxis Makes Perfect
- Joshua Kahn Russell

Organizing for Power
- Lisa Fithian

Misanthropic Anthropologist

For Student Power
- Patrick St. John

AIDS and Social Justice
- Suzy Subways

Follow on Twitter!

Books I’m Reading

Alex's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists
Advertisements