The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement got a powerful boost when Ben & Jerry’s announced its boycott in the illegally Occupied Palestinian Territory. On July 19, the iconic ice cream company said in a statement, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” which includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The statement quoted an op-ed penned by co-founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in The New York Times, calling the boycott “a rejection of Israeli policy, which perpetuates an illegal occupation that is a barrier to peace and violates the basic human rights of the Palestinian people who live under the occupation.” Israel lashed back, threatening “severe consequences” for the boycott and urging U.S. states to employ anti-boycott laws. In every case but one, however, courts have struck down such legislation as unconstitutional. Boycotts are protected by the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech, association and assembly.
Bob Moses was a quiet political giant. Sometimes he spoke so softly you could barely hear him. But it was always worth your while to listen carefully to every word. I met and talked with Bob many times over a 30-year period, and was always deeply inspired by his wisdom, his grace, his refusal to be rushed or consumed by the urgencies of the moment, and his love of justice. He was consistent in his practice, committed to a clear set of values and courageous in his choices.
On July 27, a federal district court judge in Alexandria, Virginia, sentenced former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale to 45 months in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes. In 2015, Hale, whose job involved identifying targets for drone strikes, provided journalist Jeremy Scahill with secret military documents and slides that exposed shocking details about the U.S. drone program. Hale’s revelations became the basis of “The Drone Papers,” which was published on October 15, 2015, by The Intercept.
The corporate media have been bashing the Cuban government in response to the recent protests in Cuba, while President Joe Biden claims, “We stand with the Cuban people.” But they ignore or minimize the leading cause of economic suffering in Cuba: the U.S.’s illegal and punishing economic blockade that Biden has left in place. Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has maintained the blockade against Cuba. Although former President Barack Obama was constrained by the 1996 Helms-Burton Act from completely lifting the blockade — which is now exclusively within the power of Congress — he took several steps to ease its effects on the Cuban people.
In an upset reminiscent of the 2018 victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, socialist underdog India Walton has bested a powerful Democratic insider in the primary race for the mayor of Buffalo, New York. With the Democratic nomination secured, and in the absence of any Republican challenger, the path to the inauguration of a socialist mayor, a vanishingly rare event in major U.S. cities, seems clear.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing the maps that decide the makeup of congressional and state districts. In 42 states, it is controlled by elected state-level politicians. That means that in all but eight states, whichever party controls the state capitol will also have the final say over how congressional districts are drawn. This cycle, the stakes could not be higher.
This week’s news of the Biden-Harris administration’s about-face on U.S. refugee policy was a win for all the progressive forces that have been pressuring Biden to discontinue Trump’s egregiously low cap on the number of refugees accepted each year. But the victory did nothing to change the other massive structural ways in which the Biden-Harris administration is continuing to perpetuate the humanitarian crisis at the border through its embrace of Trump’s other asylum policies.
On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States issued its long-awaited report on the U.S.’s police-perpetrated racist violence. The Commissioners concluded that the systematic police killings of Black people in the U.S. constitutes a prima facie case of crimes against humanity and they asked the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to initiate an investigation of responsible police officials. These crimes against humanity under the ICC’s Rome Statute include murder, severe deprivation of physical liberty, persecution of people of African descent, and inhumane acts causing great suffering or serious injury to body or mental or physical health. All of the crimes occurred in the context of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population of Black people in the United States, as documented by the findings of fact in the 188-page report.
A genetically engineered chestnut tree may be the first to spread into forests, setting dangerous global precedents.
By turning wastewater into drinking water, our existing water supplies could go further.