Saturday, July 04, 2020

Did Mustafa al-Kadhimi just buy himself a little more time?

The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports today in the following video.

The Turkish government continues its assault on Iraq -- bombing the country and sending foot soldiers in.  Both actions are a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and a violation of international law.  Major news, Zhelwan Z. Wali (RUDAW) reports:

The spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi condemned Ankara for its ongoing military operation across the north of the country in a strongly worded statement released Saturday evening. 

"We strongly reject and condemn these actions that harm the close, long-standing relations between the two friendly nations,"  Ahmed Mulla Talal wrote in a statement published to Telegram, urging  for an "immediate" halt to Ankara's offensive.

On Arabic social media, it's being noted that it has taken Mustafa forever to wade in on this topic but it's also being noted that there is hope that this is a first step.

Iraq is under attack.  Now let's not pretend that the US isn't an occupying force, it very much is.  So are other members of the coalition.  But Turkey is a neighbor and it's made no effort to even pretend to respect Iraq's borders.  It also keeps announcing daily that it has killed X number of terrorists when the reality is that they are killing civilians and they never bother to note that -- let alone apologize for it.  

It's not just a violation of international law, it's also an insult to many Iraqis.  And they've watched as Mustafa has been silent.  Some members of Parliament, and certainly Iraq's Foreign Minister, have spoken out.  But eyes have been on Mustafa.

He's the prime minister.  He's the new prime minister, in fact.  He became prime minister May 7th and the previous one was ousted because he failed as a leader -- he failed to inspire, he failed to root out corruption, he failed in every regard.

Mustafa should have come out strongly against what the Turkish government is doing.

His failure to do so has made him look weak.  Because he is so new in the job, today's announcement is not being viewed as too-little-too-late.  It appears a significant amount of commentators on social media -- many who had slammed his previously -- are willing to take a step back and see if he has anything else to offer on this topic.

He needs to have something.

He can even fail, my opinion, in any action he takes against Turkey and the people of Iraq would be okay with it knowing that he had acted.

So he could threaten to cut off some export or to close some roadway the two share.  If he made the threat and it didn't stop Turkey, I think many Iraqis would be grateful that he at least made an effort.

US media continues its attempts to splinter Iraq.  When they cover what Turkey's doing, they try to act as though it's 'northern Iraq.'  To many Iraqis, it's just "Iraq."  That feeling has been missing in US reports on the issue.  There is a longing for an Iraqi identity.  

We saw that in the 2010 elections -- which is why Joe Biden's overturning that election was so appalling.  That feeling continues to exist.

Now in northern Iraq, there is no doubt that the bulk of those living there consider themselves not a part of Iraq and want to be their own independent nation.

But we're not talking about that.  We're talking about the rest of the country, the majority of the country.  And they are seeing this attack as an attack on Iraq.

Mustafa hasn't managed to do anything at present.

He did arrest members of a militia and then quickly backed down on it.  Not before photos of him were burned by militia members in Baghdad.  Remember, the militias are part of the Iraqi military.  The previous prime minister made that happen.  So you had the militia -- members of the Iraqi military -- burning photos of the prime minister -- commander in chief over the military -- in the streets of Baghdad.  That was an outrageous insult to the office of prime minister.

It did not help Mustafa look strong.

And he's also presiding over a country that is being especially heavy hit by the coronavirus pandemic.  Hiwa Shilani (KURDISTAN 24) reports, " The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment On Saturday reported it had recorded more than 2,300 new coronavirus infections, 106 deaths, and 1,477 recoveries in 24 hours."

Mustfa's facing a lot of issues and problems.  He needs to address them.  Chief among them, an election law needs to be passed so that parliamentary elections can be held.  

The words regarding Turkey are long overdue but if he backs these words up in any real manner, it's likely that he will garner support from the Iraqi people.  Otherwise?  Don't be surprised if calls emerge for him to resign -- especially if he can't get an election law passed.

The following sites updated:

#AliciaKeys #PerfectWayToDie #RnB Alicia Keys - Perfect Way To Die (Official Video)

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Robin D. G. Kelley: How Depression-era Communists Fought to Organize Alabama

Today we talk with Robin D. G. Kelley, historian and author of Hammer and Hoe, to talk about the history of American communists organizing workers during the Great Depression in Alabama. Press like and subscribe! Subscribe to Jacobin:

The Place of the Two American Revolutions in the Past, Present and Future

A July 4th discussion with historians Victoria Bynum, Clayborne Carson, Richard Carwardine, James Oakes and Gordon Wood. Moderated by Kings College professor Tom Mackaman and WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North.


trump's immigration order: fast track to an abusive past
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David Bacon Fotografias y Historias
by David Bacon
The American Prospect, July 2, 2020

Bert Corona, father of the modern immigrant rights movement

On June 24, new COVID-19 cases passed 200 in one day in rural Yakima County in central Washington state for the third time this June. That brought the total number of people infected to 6,940, and the number of the dead to 132. The infection toll for Seattle's King County, with a population ten times larger than Yakima's, was 9,453.

COVID numbers are spiking in farmworker communities all over the United States. On June 26, the Imperial Valley, on the California-Mexican border, the source of winter vegetables worth over $1.8 billion per year, registered 5,549 cases and 70 deaths. In California's huge San Joaquin Valley, Fresno County had 3,892 infections and 71 deaths, and Kern County had 4,108 cases and 63 deaths. Collier County in Florida, center of the U.S. tomato crop and headquarters of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, had 3,778 cases and 70 deaths. Cumberland County, New Jersey's agricultural heartland, had 2,876 cases and 124 deaths, and nearby Chester County, Pennsylvania, where workers labor in Kennett Square's mushroom sheds, had 3,437 cases and 313 deaths. In Arizona's Yuma County, an irrigated desert along the Colorado River, there were 5,323 cases and 76 deaths.

This raging rural infection rate, which tracks those of urban counties many times their size, is not due to a refusal by farmworkers to wear facemasks. It is a function of structural racism-the way immigrants in general, and farmworkers in particular, are treated as disposable labor. People in the fields are viewed as machines, whose ability to work is the only aspect of their human value worth considering.

There is no clearer demonstration of this fact than the immigration order issued by the Trump administration on June 23. President Trump boasted that he would "preserve jobs for American citizens" by stopping the recruitment of guest workers in four visa categories. He failed to mention, however, that he was leaving untouched the country's main guest worker program, under which growers bring farm laborers to the U.S.-the H-2A visa program.

Faced with the need to please agribusiness, Trump made clear that no rhetoric about family values applies to farmworkers. H-2A migrants cannot bring a wife or a child with them (the program notoriously discriminates against hiring women), so they live the lives of lonely men in barracks. And in its most significant impact on families, Trump's order would close down the country's historic path for keeping families together-the family preference system for granting residence visas, or "green cards."

Smoke and Mirrors

There's nothing new about streamlining the labor supply for growers, making it cheaper and more vulnerable, under the cover of anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Trump's order ostensibly stops the issuance of visas for four much smaller guest worker programs, including H-1B for workers in health care and high tech; H-2B for non-agricultural workers, mostly in landscaping, forestry, and food processing; L-1 for corporate executives; and J-1, the visa for students in cultural exchange programs, au pairs, and university researchers.

Nativist anti-immigrant organizations duly praised the order, which a senior administration official claimed to Vox "would open up 525,000 jobs." The anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies declared, "Now there is a new sheriff in town. For the first time, a president has stood up for the American people." According to Tom Homan, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Trump, "With record unemployment crushing millions of Americans ... importing more foreign labor ... is simply unacceptable."

Almost all media coverage took Trump's claim at face value. Yet the announcement was clearly a case of smoke and mirrors. According to Mary Bauer, counsel for the Centro de los Derechos de Migrantes (the Center for Migrant Rights), "We can't figure out where these numbers are coming from. This administration just makes things up."

In March, Trump shut down the international division of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the office that processes all visa applications abroad, and effectively closed visa operations at U.S. consulates. Most H-1B and H-2B work visa applications for this year had already been made and approved, however, and will be unaffected by the new order. The impact on employers, therefore, will be small, despite their loud, pro-forma protests.  

In any case, those two visa categories have caps of 65,000 each, making them much smaller than the untouched guest worker program for agribusiness, which has no cap. Last year the administration certified grower applications to fill over a quarter of a million jobs with H-2A workers. And when Trump in March shut down the processing of all other visa applications, growers got the administration to keep their flow of guest workers going.

Adding one more wrinkle, the order allows employers to apply for exceptions to the work visa bans. A blanket exemption has already been made for the food supply and health care industries. Meatpacking companies that use H-2B visas to send workers into COVID-saturated plants will undoubtedly win exemptions, as will hospital corporations that want H-1B nurses to risk their lives in the pandemic's emergency rooms. "But where's the protection from OSHA, or for wages and sick pay, or any reform of the abuses of these guest worker programs?" Bauer asks. "There's nothing here to protect workers, regardless of whether they're guest worker visa holders or citizens."

Resisting the Impact of the Virus

That lack of protection is especially serious for the huge wave of workers recruited by agribusiness. Bringing H-2A workers into the country in the middle of a pandemic is dangerous. Mexico, the country from which over 250,000 were recruited last year, is struggling to contain its own outbreak. There is no testing for these contract workers as they cross the border. Meanwhile, in the U.S. towns where they're put to work, COVID cases are spiking.

COVID infections go back and forth between workers themselves and their surrounding communities. In March and April, the biggest apple grower in Washington, Stemilt Fruit, admitted that over 50 workers it had recruited in Mexico had the virus. Because these workers showed symptoms more than one month after their arrival, it was likely they hadn't brought the illness with them-they were infected here.

In many places, non-H-2A farmworkers and their families have gone on strike to enforce working conditions that would keep the virus from spreading.

On the same day that virus cases reached 3,533 in California's Tulare County, with 118 deaths, sorters went on strike in the sheds of Primex Corporation's 5,000 acres of pistachio groves. Although workers say 61 have tested positive, one worker, Veronica Perez, says the company was selling them facemasks for $8 apiece. Another worker, Ernestina Mejia, charged, "The company told us nothing. We found out workers were getting sick by talking with each other in the bathroom. Now my whole family is infected."

Workers in Yakima Valley apple packinghouses went on strike earlier this month for the same demand-safety from the virus. Knowing the disease was peaking in their county, they wanted hazard pay to compensate for the terrible risk involved in just going to work.

Raising wages, however, is not part of the administration's plan. Instead, Trump has promised to help growers lower the required pay for H-2A workers, who now make up 10 percent of the U.S. farm workforce. Currently, each state has to calculate an Adverse Effect Wage Rate that won't undermine the wages of farmworkers already living here, who are mostly immigrants themselves. The new rule that the administration is proposing would cost workers up to $6 an hour, while saving growers millions.

Lowering wages for H-2A workers would pull the floor from under farmworker wages in general. In Georgia, growers already fill a quarter of all farm labor jobs with H-2A visa holders. Local farmworkers are not in a strong position to insist on higher wages in the face of this forced competition. The income of farmworkers nationally is already below the poverty line, with an average annual family income between $17,500 and $20,000.

Grower pressure to lower costs, even at the risk of the spread of the virus, descends on states as well. In Washington, a state with a Democratic governor and legislature, the department of health was pressured to issue a toothless "guideline" for grower housing that puts workers' lives at risk. In the barracks for H-2A migrants, workers sleep in bunk beds closer to each other than the six-foot distance recommended by the state's own epidemiologists. Prohibiting bunk beds, however, would have required growers to build additional housing or hire local workers instead. Either alternative would increase costs. The "guidelines" therefore gave bunk beds the stamp of approval, and farmworker unions and advocates are now suing the state's Democratic administration.

Undoing What the Civil Rights Era Won

Unsurprisingly, Trump has repeatedly declared his support for the agricultural guest worker program.  In a 2018 Michigan speech he told a grower audience, "We're going to let your guest workers come in, because we have to have strong borders, but we have to let your workers in ... We have to have them."

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has explained that the administration wants "to separate immigration, which is people wanting to become citizens, [from] a temporary, legal guest-worker program. That's what agriculture needs, and that's what we want."

There's nothing new about streamlining the labor supply for growers, making it cheaper and more vulnerable, under the cover of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Growers' desire for low-wage labor was the justification for the bracero program, which brought up to half a million people per year from Mexico, to harvest U.S. crops between 1942 and 1964. The program was notorious. Braceros were held in labor camps, often behind barbed wire. If they went on strike, they were deported. If local workers went on strike, growers brought in braceros to replace them.

[. . .]


Free City Radio (Canada) interview: journalist David Bacon on solidarity with Iraqi unions and labour's role in activism

BERKELEY, CA - 13JUNE20 - Hundreds of union members and outraged people march through the streets of Berkeley to protest the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and other African American and people of color killed by police.  The march was organized by the labor councils of Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties, and Service Employees International Union Local 1021.

To see a full set of photos, click here:

BERKELEY, CA - 09JUNE20 - Hundreds of students, teachers and outraged people march through the streets of Berkeley to protest the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and other African Americian and other people of color killed by police. 

To see a full set of photos, click here:

OAKLAND, CA - 31MAY20 - Thousands of people participate in a caravan of over 2000 cars from the Port of Oakland, to protest the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and African American and people of color killed by police.

To see a full set of photos, click here:

Online Exhibit, May 29 to August 2, 2020
Los Altos History Museum


at the History Museum of Tijuana

en el Museo de Historia de Tijuana


Newly organized Tartine Bakery workers in the Bay Area need your help and assistance!  This fund, supported by the International Longhsore and Warehouse Union, will help hose workers unable to collect unemployment insurance.

The exhibitions in the following list were scheduled before the current COVID-19 crisis.  Public gatherings are not now taking place and these exhibitions have now been postponed or rescheduled.

Stay healthy!


Online exhibition until August 2
Los Altos History Museum, Los Altos

March 21, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Carnegie Arts Center, Turlock


August 29,, 2020 - November 29,, 2020
San Francisco Public Library


Rescheduled for December
Uri-Eichen Gallery, Chicago

In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte
Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95 (in the U.S.)

order the book on the UC Press website:
use source code  16M4197  at checkoutreceive a 30% discount

En Mexico se puede pedir el libro en el sitio de COLEF:

Los Angeles Times reviews In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte - click here

 "The Criminalization of Migration: A Socialist Perspective" with David Bacon and Rafael Pizarro. 

A video about the Social Justice Photography of David Bacon:

En los campos del Norte documenta la vida de trabajadores agrícolas en Estados Unidos -
Entrevista con el Instituto Nacional de la Antropologia y Historia

Entrevista en la television de UNAM

David Bacon comparte su mirada del trabajo agrícola de migrantes mexicanos en el Museo Archivo de la Fotografia

Trabajo agrícola, migración y resistencia cultural: el mosaico de los “Campos del Norte”
Entrevista de David Bacon por Iván Gutiérrez / A los 4 Vientos

"Los fotógrafos tomamos partido"
Entrevista por Melina Balcázar Moreno - Laberinto

Die Apfel-Pflücker aus dem Yakima-Tal

EN LOS CAMPOS DEL NORTE:  Farm worker photographs on the U.S./Mexico border wall
Entrevista sobre la exhibicion con Alfonso Caraveo (Español)

THE REALITY CHECK - David Bacon blog

Books by David Bacon

The Right to Stay Home:  How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  (Beacon Press, 2013)

Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants  (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

En Español:  

EL DERECHO A QUEDARSE EN CASA  (Critica - Planeta de Libros)


For more articles and images, see and

Naomi Klein New Economy Prophet

Matthew Fox reflects on the words of Naomi Klein in considering the qualities we value: generosity, hospitality - how should these be represented in public policy as climate conditions worsen? To receive FREE daily meditations from Matthew Fox in your email, please visit: Please do not forget to LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE! We love to engage with you!

Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Protests, Covid-19, and Police Brutality | RS Interview

Senior writer Jamil Smith sat down with Rep Ayanna Pressley earlier this week to speak about her initiatives, about her personal feelings in this moment of reckoning, and about how her revelation of alopecia has affected her and those she serves. This the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s video series, RS Interview: Special Edition, featuring in-depth conversations with notable figures in music, entertainment, and politics. New episodes premiere every Thursday afternoon on Rolling Stone’s YouTube channel. Get the full story at: Subscribe to Rolling Stone on YouTube: Check out for the latest news in music, culture, politics and more. More videos from Rolling Stone: Like Rolling Stone on Facebook: Follow Rolling Stone on Twitter: Follow Rolling Stone on Instagram:

How Artists Fuel Social Justice Movements

Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
Image credit: “Unite” by Barbara Jones-Hogu, 1971


Artivism = art + activism

Art is meant to elicit emotion. That’s what makes it a powerful tool for activists to advance movements of peace, love and justice. Art confronts social issues in ways that words alone cannot. From dance and theatre to painting and poetry, creative expression helps people share experiences and speak to the heart. Bioneers has always featured engaged arts and artists as core components of our annual conference.

This week, we explore how visionary artists around the world are critiquing the world’s most pressing challenges while inspiring hope and advancing solutions.

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The Thrive Choir: Harmonies of Liberation

Oakland’s Thrive Choir, a collective of passionate activist musicians, has created a groundbreaking model of what a fully engaged vocal ensemble rooted in community can do to inspire and galvanize its audiences. We spoke with three leading members of the choir, Austin Willacy, Kyle Lemle and Joyous Dawn, to explore their history, motivation and process.

“Creating music in groups and singing with other people have always been powerfully healing practices, and that’s as important now as ever, or more so, even if we have to do it online,” says Dawn. “And art can play different roles. One thing it can offer is a kind of chronicle of what’s happening right now, but it can share it in a way that’s not just intellectual (which is also important of course). It can convey the feeling of the current moment in a form that’s charged with creative spirit and that can reach people in a different, more direct way.”

Read more and watch Thrive Choir perform here.

Ancient Arctic Wisdom and Cutting-Edge Sounds: Zarina Kopyrina of OLOX

Indescribable performer Zarina Kopyrina (one half of the musical duet OLOX) discusses her roots in Siberia’s Yakutia region, steeped in an ancient and still vibrant shamanic culture, and her extraordinary life trajectory that has taken her from a tiny village in one of the remotest and coldest places on the planet to playing her mind-bendingly original and hauntingly beautiful music around the globe.

Read more and watch OLOX perform here.

Your Invitation to Truth Mandala: A Community Ritual for Honoring Our Grief, Anger and Love for the World

This Sunday, July 5, join Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons for this two-hour ceremony, which will create a brave space to experience, witness and (if desired) express emotions you may be feeling about systemic racism, state violence, climate, the pandemic and all the roiling changes, challenges and movements uprising at this time.


Facing our Wounds: A New Narrative for a Time of Awakening

Jerry Tello is one of the most beloved wisdom teachers and brilliant storytellers we know. Of Mexican, Texan and Coahuiltecan roots, Jerry was raised in the South Central/Compton areas of Los Angeles and has dedicated himself for four decades to transformational healing, to the mentoring of men and boys of color, to racial justice, and to community peace and mobilization.

In this interview, Jerry discusses how we can begin to address the imbalances and injustices in our society by taking a deep look at the false narratives that have dominated our culture for far too long, and how we can begin to reclaim our understanding of the sacredness and interconnectedness of all things.

Read more here.

Art As Social Change: Birthing the Dawn Of A New Day | John Densmore & Climbing PoeTree

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” (Bertolt Brecht). John Densmore, legendary drummer of the Doors, joins visionary spoken word duo Climbing PoeTree in an exploration of creativity and social change. This episode of Bioneers Radio features exclusive interviews with the artists and a special Bioneers performance of Jim Morrison’s poem, “American Prayer.”

Listen to the podcast episode here.

New Bioneers Media Collection: “Artivism” for Social Change

All significant movements for positive change are accompanied by outpourings of artistic expression that help open our eyes to injustice and convey powerful new visions and possibilities.

This key role of the arts in social movements is as true today as it’s ever been, and we at Bioneers have sought to feature the work of groundbreaking socially and eco-engaged artists from across different disciplines.

Browse the collection here.

What We're Tracking:

Schumacher Conversations: Envisioning a New Economy

The annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures represent some of the foremost voices on a new economics, including a number of visionaries from the Bioneers community. Join Bill McKibben, Gar Alperovitz, David Orr and more in celebration of the 40th anniversary Schumacher Conversations series.

Registration for each virtual meeting is free, and the series begins on Thursday, July 9. Sign up today for the opportunity to hear these speakers reflect on their previous Schumacher Lectures given current economic, social, ecological and political realities.

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