Tag Archives: Seattle

‘This Is Zero Hour’: Youth-Led Marches Across the Globe Demand Immediate and Ambitious Climate Action

“Climate change is our last chance to either fix colossal systems of inequality or reach a chaotic state where your privilege ultimately decides if you live or die.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-21-2018

“This isn’t something that’s going to affect us 70, 80 years in the future. This is going to affect us. Our futures, our careers, our lives,” said Talia Grace, social media director for Zero Hour, the movement behind this weekend’s mass actions. (Photo: Zero Hour)

Declaring that climate change is “an issue of survival” that must be confronted with urgency, young activists across the globe on Saturday kicked off three days of marches and demonstrations to pressure elected officials to “reject the corrupting monetary influence of fossil fuel executives,” ban all new dirty energy developments, and safeguard the planet for both its current inhabitants and future generations.

“Climate change is our last chance to either fix colossal systems of inequality and emerge as a more efficient, better equipped society as a whole, or reach a chaotic state where your privilege ultimately decides if you live or die,” said 16-year-old climate activist Ivy Jaguzny ahead of Saturday’s events, which are expected to take place “in cities from Washington, D.C. to Butere, Kenya.Continue reading


‘Most Important Surveillance Story You Will See for Years’: Report Reveals How AT&T Buildings Serve as Secret Hubs for NSA Spying

“AT&T has bent over backwards to help the U.S. government spy on essentially all internet traffic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2018

AT&T Center, Los Angeles. Photo: Laurie Avocado/flickr/cc

“The most important surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing how AT&T became the internet’s biggest enemy, secretly collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your privacy.”

That was how whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden reacted to the publication of an explosive story by The Intercept on Monday, which reveals for the first time how “fortress-like” AT&T buildings located in eight major American cities have played a central role in a massive National Security Agency (NSA) spying program “that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.” Continue reading


#ShutDownChase: Environmentalists Occupy Bank’s Seattle Office to Denounce Its Funding of Climate Disaster

350.org Seattle says that since President Donald Trump took office, “JPMorgan Chase has quadrupled its investments in tar sands and increased its financing of coal by 2,100%.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-7-2018

Female environmentalists occupied one of JPMorgan Chase’s bank lobbies in Seattle to demand divestment from fossil fuels. (Photo: @350_Seattle/Twitter)

With JPMorgan Chase’s annual shareholder meeting set to take place in Texas next week, 350.org Seattle and five other environmental groups organized a demonstration to protest the bank’s ongoing investment in fossil fuels, particularly tar sands.

Continue reading


To #SaveTheCensus, Major Cities Join 17 States in Lawsuit to Block Trump’s Citizenship Question

“One of the federal government’s most solemn obligations is a fair and accurate count of all people in the country, citizen and non-citizen alike,” says New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-3-2018

Led by Eric Schneiderman of New York, Attorneys General from 17 states and the District of Columbia have filed suit against the Trump administration for its plans to ask about citizenship on the 2020 census. (Photo: Eric Schneiderman/Twitter)

Attorneys General from 17 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration for its decision to ask about immigration status on the 2020 census, a move denounced by immigrant rights advocates as an effort to “undercount communities of color.”

Led by Eric Schneiderman of New York, the state attorneys—along with legal representatives from six cities and and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors—filed suit (pdf) in hopes of requiring the Trump administration “to enforce the federal government’s constitutional obligation to conduct an ‘actual Enumeration’ of the national population every ten years, by determining the ‘whole number of persons in the United States.” Continue reading


Solidarity networks as the future of housing justice

With the rental crisis in the US hitting catastrophic levels, institutional solutions failed but tenant solidarity networks booked a string of victories.

By Shane Burley.  Published 2-28-2016 by ROAR Magazine

SeaSol members after victory over Greystar. Photo: SeaSol

SeaSol members after victory over Greystar. Photo: SeaSol

As we get further away from the shocking chain of foreclosures that marked the 2008 financial crisis, it has become more apparent just how deep the catastrophe hit. The crisis led to 2.9 million foreclosures that year — a level of housing displacement comparable to an active war zone.

For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers. Continue reading


‘Won’t Back Down’: Seattle Teacher Strike Continues for Third Day

Organized educators take stand for their profession, their students, and ‘people everywhere who are working for vital public schools and social justice.’

Written by Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published Friday, September 11, 2015.

A crowd of red-clad teachers, parents and students marched through downtown Seattle on Tuesday. Organizers estimated at least 4,000 teachers were there. (Photo: Kyle Stokes KPLU)

A crowd of red-clad teachers, parents and students marched through downtown Seattle on Tuesday. Organizers estimated at least 4,000 teachers were there. (Photo: Kyle Stokes KPLU)

The teachers remain on strike. The picket lines are united. And support among parents is strong.

That is the latest message from Seattle Education Association on Friday, as classes were cancelled for the third day amid the continuation of a strike demanding an unfreezing of wages, the end of unreasonable standardized testing for students, a more fair evaluation system for teachers, and new policies to increase equity among students.

“There’s nothing new to report,” said Michael Tamayo, one of the negotiators for the SEA, on Thursday afternoon after face-to-face meetings with school district representatives failed to materialize. “They know what our proposals are and we’re just waiting for some feedback and movement from them.”

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, the position of the Seattle educators is notable because it goes beyond simple demands for higher wages and improved working conditions. The teachers have outlined “incredible list of educational reforms” seeking to address systemic problems—reforms that, according to Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian, would “truly improve the lives of children” throughout the city.

Offering its support, the progressive education group Rethinking Schools sent an open letter to Seattle teachers praising their tough stand.

“Seattle educators have said ‘Enough!’,”  the letter reads. “You have bargained in good faith and now are striking for your members, for your students, for the broader community—and, really, for people everywhere who are working for vital public schools and social justice.”

With a community day of service planned by the teachers union for Friday, its members say they are eager to get back to the classroom but that the union’s fight remains focused on improving the lives of its members and all 53,000 students within the district.

“I’m ready to go on day one,” McClure Middle School teacher Mary Whisenhunt told the local Fox News 13 news channel. “I’m ready to go. I could teach tomorrow if we got a contract.”

However, she continued, “This is highly skilled work that we do that requires a lot of education. Many of us can’t afford to live in the city. I’m seriously considering moving out of the city. As a younger teacher coming with student loans from my master’s degree, it’s a struggle.”

Laura Lehni, a teacher in the district and member of the union’s bargaining team, told the Seattle Times she feels like there hasn’t been mutual trust throughout the talks, and that the union is still fighting to make teacher evaluations more consistent, to make changes to standardized testing, and to provide more training for school staff to address social equity.

“I think the district needs to buck up and pay the teachers what they deserve to be paid and give them the resources they need to educate our children,” said Lilith Lysistrata, a Seattle parent,  with NBC’s K5 News. “I have four kids in the Seattle school district and both my spouse and I work. This is tough on us, but I don’t want the teachers to fold.”

According to Reuters:

Seattle teachers and support staff walked off the job and onto picket lines on Wednesday morning following a breakdown in 11th-hour talks with the school district the night before.

Outside Roosevelt High School on Thursday, scores of teachers, staff, parents and student sympathizers, flanked by musicians and motorists honking car horns, chanted and waved homemade placards backing the strike.

“This has to do with putting more support into the schools when so much money has been going to consultants and managers,” said English teacher David Grosskopf, 44.

The walkout comes at a time of increased scrutiny of education spending in the state. The Washington state Supreme Court last month fined the state $100,000 for every day it failed to present a court-ordered plan for fully funding public schools.

And the Guardian, focusing on the community response and a broad show of support for the teachers, adds:

The strike has drawn more attention to economic disparities within the district as parents from more affluent areas who have aimed to reach all of the district’s 97 schools witness some of the challenges facing the lower-income schools. Darcey Pickard, a mother of two children at Louisa Boren STEM K-8, organized a group to support the underserved schools in west Seattle after learning one school didn’t have a PTA – something she didn’t even know was possible.

Working past midnight, Pickard galvanized 160 new volunteers, securing food, coffee, water and snacks for the following day. Pickard also opened her home for bathroom use.

Many local restaurants donated meals to picketers. Will Lemke and Vanessa Resler, co-owners of the artisan popsicle company Six Strawberries, handed out free treats at three schools after a parent asked for their help. A Seattle public school graduate himself, Lemke remembers marching at the last strike with his parents in 1986 and says teachers do not ever strike on a whim.

“I hope that with the support of fellow Seattleites, local businesses and other allies, Seattle’s teachers will be back in the classroom as soon as possible with all of their demands met. If so, the real winners of this battle will be students – that’s who our public school teachers are truly fighting for.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.