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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 29, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york this is democry now! >> the blockage of the suez canal shows the complexity of global trade. we should be paying attention to who will be held accountable for this major accident which is not only affecting train but the lives of people around the world . amy: hopes are rising that the suez canal in egypt may soon be
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reopened after a 200,000-ton container ship was partially refloated. it is the size of the empire state building on its side. we will speak to laleh khalili, author of "sinews of war and trade: shipping and capitalism in the arabian peninsula". then we will talk to ucla professor robin dg kelley about the historic amazon unionization drive and the history of radical black organizing in alabama. the aman workers beemer are lding the most consequential neighbor campgn in the century. if youhink about i ifhis predinantly black mostl female labor force can win union recognitn from the wor's mo powerful corporation and antiunion south, workers can win anywhere. amy: we will look at the trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin for killing george floyd last may. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. in minneapolis, opening statements begin today in the trial of former police officer derek chauvin who killed george floyd last may by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. floyd's death set off a worldwide protest movement. chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter. national guard troops have been deployed to the courthouse, which is also surrounded by concrete barriers, fencing, barbed and razor wire in anticipation of peaceful protests. george floyd's family and frday for a vigil at a minneapolis church. this is one of floyd's brothers, terrence floyd. terrence: we are asking the system for justice, but this gatherg inth w
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right now is what is needed. we are not going to take one knee, but both knees. we are going to ask god for the justice. hourly justice cannot compared to his. amy: in international news, in burma, 114 people including children were killed saturday as soldiers opened fire on civilians protesting against military rule in dozens of cities and towns across the country. it was the deadliest crackdown yet on protests demanding a reversal to the february 1st coup which toppled burma's democratically-elected civilian government. on sunday, burmese troops fired on a funeral service for a 20-year-old student protester killed a day earlier near the commercial capital yangon. the attacks drew condemnation from the european union, united states, u.k. and germany, with the u.n. special rapporteur for burma accusing the military regime of
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"mass murder." meanwhile an estimated 3,000 people have fled southeastern burma into thailand after the burmese military bombed areas controlled by the karen ethnic minority group. at least 450 nine people including at least 35 children have been killed since the start of the protests against the coup . six more states are opening up covid-19 vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and over today in the united states. kansas, louisiana, north dakota, ohio, oklahoma, and texas. at least three other states will do the same this week. over 36% of u.s. adults have now received at least one dose of a vaccine. officials are rushing to get shots in as many arms as possible as over two dozen states report an increase of at
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least 10% in new infections compared to the previous week. new york and new jersey, once the epicenter of the virus, are again leading in new infections. dr. deborah birx, former president trump's coronavirus coordinator told cnn hundreds of thousands of u.s. covid deaths may have been preventable. >> there were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original search. all of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially. amy: nearly 550,000 deaths have been reported in the u.s., by far the highest death toll in the world. mexico published revised figures showing its coronavirus death toll to be 60% higher than previously reported. the new numbers would put mexico's deaths at over 321,000, placing it second in overall fatalities, ahead of brazil and behind the u.s. chile has imposed strict new lockdowns affecting 80% of the
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population amid a major wave of cases. this, despite chile having one the world's highest rates of vaccination. health experts say the surge can be attributed to a lack of adherence to mitigation efforts, and the spread of new variants. in brazil, some researchers say the entire health system could collapse as infections and deaths continue to surge. brazil recorded around a quarter of all covid-19 deaths worldwide over the past two weeks. the world health organization warns covid-19 cases are on the rise in at least 12 african nations d that a "third wave" could overwhelm already vulnerable health systems. south africa has suffered the greatest toll with over 52,000 deaths and over 1.5 million cases. less than 1% of people living on the african continent have received a coronavirus vaccine.
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in indonesia, a pair of suicide bombers attacked a catholic church sunday in the city of makassar, injuring 20 people at a palm sunday mass marking the start of the holy week leading up to easter. no group has claimed responsibility, but a senior police official blamed a group that's pledged allegiance to isis and was implicated in a string of deadly suicide bombings on indonesian churches in 2018. in northern mozambique, dozens of people are dead and thousands more displaced after an armed group converged on the town of palma in cabo delgado province. the fighters assaulted a military barracks, opened fire on civilians, set fire to buildings and hunted down government officials. mozambique's military blamed an isis-aligned group for the attacks. since 2017, fighting in northern mozambique has left thousands dead and some 700,000 people displaced. iran and china have signed an economic and security cooperation deal that will see
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china invest $400 billion in iran over the next quarter-century in exchange for regular deliveries of oil. the two nations will also set up an iranian-chinese bank that will help iran circumvent u.s. sanctions that have largely cut it off from global banking systems. the u.s. sanctions were imposed after president trump unilaterally pulled out of the landmark 2015 iran nuclear deal. federal officials revealed a nine-year-old girl from mexico drowned earlier this month as she attempteto cross the rio grande river into the u.s. the girl's mother, who is guatemalan, and her three-year-old brother were also found unresponsive but were able to be resuscitated. this comes as more than 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children are now in u.s. custody, according to the latest figures. over 5,000 of those are in customs and border protection facilities, which are not equipped to care for children.
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today is the deadline for mail-in ballots as nearly 6,000 amazon workers in bessemer, alabama, decide whether to form the company's first union. a "yes" vote could be a watershed moment for the u.s. labor movement. on friday, senator bernie sanders traveled to bessemer. >> your message to people all over this country is stand up and fight back. you are going to do it here, we can do it all over this country. amy: we'll have more on this, as well as derek chauvin's trial, later in the broadcast with professor, historian and author robin kelley. in healthcare news, bernie sanders, who chairs the senate budget committee, is planning to lower medicare eligibility from 65 to 55 years, as well as expand the program to cover dental work, vision and hearing aids. the move would be included as part of democrats' upcoming economic recovery plan. tennessee has become the third
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state this month to impose new laws attacki transgender student athletes, alongside mississippi and arkansas. republican governor bill lee signed the legislation friday, which forces trans students to show legal documents revealing the sex they were assigned at birth in order to participate in middle and high hool sports. 28 states across the country are voting on anti-trans bills. trans advocates have launched a transgender week of action ahead of international trans day of visibility this wednesday. a warning to our audience the next sry containreferences to sexual violence. the minnesota supreme court unanimously overturned a man's rape conviction, ruling he cannot be found guilty because the woman who accused him had voluntarily consumed alcohol before the rape. at the center of the ruling is a minnesota law that states a person is only considered "mentally incapacitated" and unable to consent to sex if they've been given alcohol or
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other substances against their will. sexual assault survivors and advocates say the ruling demonstrates the urgent need to update state laws. renowned forensic psychiatrist dr. bandy lee is suing yale university after they terminated her employment, following a complaint by trump attorney alan dershowitz over one of her tweets from last year. the tweet said trump supporters suffered from a “shared psychosis” and suggested dershowitz had "wholly taken on trump's symptoms by contagion.” yale university said dr. lee violated the american psychiatric association's goldwater rule, which says it's unethical to comment on a public figure's mental faculties without medical examination. many psychiatrists, including lee, have likened the rule to a gag order. dr. lee has frequently spoken out against donald trump's mental health, citing her civic duty to warn the public of potential dangers. she spoke to democracy now!
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about her lawsuit against yale. >> yale dismissed me after 17 yes. i filed a lawsuit with a heavy heart against my alma mater because this is a matter of academic freedomnd freedom of speech, which is our protection against authoritarianism and dangerous leadership. amy: you can see our interviews with dr. bandy lee at house democrats introduced the “dejoy act” friday, in a bid to block part of postmaster general louis dejoy's 10-year plan to restructure the u.s. postal service. the legislation would prohibit the usps from delaying mail delivery service from its current standard. dejoy is also planning to raise postage costs. prominent democrats including senator bernie sanders are calling for the postal board to fire dejoy, a trump and republican megadonor with no prior postal service experience. illinois senator tammy duckworth said, "dejoy is a clear and
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present threat to the future of the postal service and the well-being of millions of americans." dominion voting systems has filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against fox news, accusing the network and its hosts of promoting false claims that the voting company rigged the 2020 election against donald trump. dominion has also sued trump ally mypillow ceo mike lindell and lawyers sidney powell and rudy giuliani, who frequently promoted false conspiracy theories on fox news. and here in new york, a group of activists and workers excluded from pandemic relief are completing 14 days ohuer rike tod. exclud workersnclude undomented pple -- my of em in essential serves -- and pele receny releas fr prison. the'realling on new york laakers topprove $5 biion in fding forinanci reef and hlthcare r the sh out of e currensystem. is is e of theunger strikers.
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>> i want the world to know that we need help. we are human beings. we have so much debt because of the candidate. -- pandemic. we cannot enter our homes with comfort because they are waiting to evict us. amy: and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. the quarantine report. hopes are rising that the suez canal in egypt may soon be reopened after a huge container ship blocking the canal was partially refloated earlier today. the ship is as long as the empire state building is high. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is demracy now!,, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman. hopes are rising that the suez canal in egypt may soon be reopened after an enormous container ship blocking the canal was partially refloated earlier today. the 200,000-ton ship, the ever given, got stuck six days ago blocking one of the world's most important trade routes. the waterway, which opened in 1868, connects the mediterranean with the indian ocean. more than 450 other container ships are waiting to enter the canal which is used for about 12% of all global trade. some ships have opted to sail around the horn of africa instead of waiting for the suez canal to reopen. the impact of the canal shutdown is already being felt. syria has begun to ration fuel after a syria-bound ship carrying oil was prevented from entering the canal. the crisis has raised new questions about globe trade
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practices including the reliance on massive cargo ships. the even given is almost as long as the empire state building is high. the ship's cargo would extend for 75 miles if placed in a straig line. go now to london where we are joined by laleh khalili, professor of international politics at the school of politics & international relations at queen mary university of london. she is the author of several books including most recently, "sinews of war and trade: shipping and capitalism in the arabian peninsula." khalili's new piece for the washington post is headlined, "big ships were created to avoid relying on the suez canal. ironically, a big ship is now blocking it." hello, professor, great to have you with us. start off by describing what has happened in the suez over this past week. laleh: happy to be with you.
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the ship was in a convoy headi north from the red sea to the mediterranean. it's point of origin was a port in china, had made a couple of stops in malaysia on the way to europe. its destination is rotterdam. as it came into the canal, there were massive winds. captains are quite experienced in steering the ships. one of the ways they do this is by staring into the wind. in this instance, it didn't quite work out. from what it seems like, that massive gust of wind resulted in the ship spinning a little bit, and that resulted in hydrodynamic problems below the ship. the ship and getting up diagonally wedged, getting wedged in the east side of the canal, and it's stern was on the west side of the canal. it essentially cut off all
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movement across the canal on tuesday. since then there has been a lot of effort to refloated. part of the problem is it has lodged on the side of the canal. the canal, the edges are not quite as deep as the center is. it is being wedged from the front and the back into the side of the canal, which means directors have to dig around it to release it, and then it has to be refloated down the center of the kind now to one of the lakes in the center of the canal in order for the convoys to resume their movement across the suez canal. amy: the enormity of the ship, the empire state building on its side. if you can talk about how ships got this large, and in the context of where it is right now, explain the significance
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and history of the suez canal, its importance in global trade. laleh: the suez canal, as your listeners probably know, was d by the french and british to consolidate their imperial holes on africa. that was intended to consolidate the connection between europe and africa. when it was nationalized in 1956 by the egyptian president, when the british, the french, and israelis attacked the canal, the canal was shut down because there was debris there. that moment is the moment that a lot of shipping companies -- this was the height of global trade. lots of oil flowing from the middle east to europe. this is the 1950's after the second world war. industries taking off in europe. the canal was crucial to these moments. when it was shut down in that
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attack, shipping companies looked at ways to make a rounding of the cape of good hope, the southern tip of africa, make it more economically viable. economies of scale dictated these mega ships. as the years have gone by, the ships have gotten bigger and biggery because it is more profitable for companies. is ironic that these mega ships have also because the closure of the canal. the canal, of course, connects asia and europe, a shipping rou te. 12% of global trade passes through it, but it is one of the three most important roots. the others are the transatlantic and transpacific, for the movement of global goods. a lot of manufactured goods are produced there.
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of course, there is also the oil that flows not only northward from the middle east in the gulf , but als oil that comes from the black sea, the mediterranean flows south to go to asia. it is still a significant artery of global trade. amy: can you talk about the economic toll over all of what this means, what you see happening next, the kind of reckoning taking place, or will there be? laleh: i hope there will be a reckoning. usually, massive issues that affect global trade, tend to have effects. there have been other instances of ships getting stuck in the canal and been released but not have taken as long as this one. the reason this is significant -- abusively, the first category of people hurt by this are the egyptian gernment,ho
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collects $700,000 for ship passage in the canal. if you have 400 ships waiting to pass, it is those fees that the government is not collecting. there are other victims of this, if you will, and those have often been forgotten. those are the seafarers sitting on the ships. it is important to acknowledge -- and a few people have done -- seafarers have had some of the hardest month of work in the last year or so. with the closure of ports and airports, sometimes they have been stuck on board for months after their contract has ended, sometimes without being paid wages. now that they are going to be delayed, potentially not able to fly home, it's important to acknowledge, this has worked to their detriment in a major way.
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we also hear about just-in-time production of automobiles in europe. that has been one of the categories in manufacturing hurt by this. clean gasoline that comes northward from the canal, that will be delayed in the delivery of those. there are a number of specific categories, manufacturing that has been affected. and you don't know whether or not this is the case, but we also know that india is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical producing locations. a great percentage of the world's vaccines are being manufactured there. it is possible some of the ships awaiting passage, some may be caring vaccines, awaiting passage. the picture is going to be a lot more clear after the flow has started, we have a better sense of what cargo is on the ships
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that have been delayed, ships that have had to be rebooted around the cape of good hope. amy: i want go to oma rabie, chairman of the suez canal authority, speaking at a ws conference saturday. >> regarding the case of the accident, strong winds and sandstorms were not the main cause. there may be technical failures, mechanical problems of the vessel or other problems. the specific reasons have not been identified yet whether it is only part of the complications of the accident. amy: expand on what he is saying, and who owns the ship? what flag is flown on the ship? laleh: the question of flags and ownership is important. the ship is actually owned by a japanese company. it is operated by a taiwan-based
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shipping company, evergreen, one of the biggest ship carriers. there are agents based in the gulf, management staff that are german. it is kind of an international of different corporations. what is quite significant is the ship flies the flag of panama. panama is what they consider to be a flag of open registry. these are shipped registry that allows companies that are not based in panama to register their ships there. part of the reason this is inviting to a lot of companies, there are regulations on labor and environmental things that are lax in these registries. requirement thresholds are quite low. taxation, essentially open ship registries, are a subcategory of offshore havens, if you will.
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when they were first invented, the biggest users of the registries were standard oil of california, the banana boats, so it's always been embedded in a capitalistic accumulation, encouraged this kind of accumulation of capitol without accountability. one of the things that is significant about the flag of panama, as your listeners may remember, last year, there was a ship that also grounded on the island of mauritius, and there was a spillage of fuel over these incredibly environmentally sensitive areas. that ship was al flying the flag of panama. it becomes a question of who will be accountable for this, who will end up responding to the problem. will it be the owners, the ship operators, the flakka panama which is responsible for this? anything that can come out of
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this process, more scrutiny of these open registries, that would be an important and good thing. amy: can you talk about the people on board the ship, the sailors, the workers, their working conditions on these massive ships? laleh: i actually went down the suez canal will couple of times as part of my research in 2015 and 2016. what is really striking a's in a ship that huge, as big as a small town, you only have about 35 people working on the ship, which is an astonishing statistic. sometimes not even as many as that. usually a container ship has more people because if there are things like refrigerated containers, they have to make sure they continue to refrigerate despite issues with fuel. there are people in the engine
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room maintaining these massive engines. then of course, the crew and the officers make sure the ship is not rusted, maintain the ship, officers responsible for arrival and a partner from port, steering the ship. the work requires enormous skill. particularly the bigger the ship is, requires more skill. shipping companies tend to obviously hire people with extraordinary abilities, they are professionally astonishing. one of the things that has been happening, since the 1970's and 1980's, working conditions have become such that you have two lawyers of workers, the officers and the crew. these days, officers fly from europe tend to come from eastern europe, receive lower wages than
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a german or british officer or french officer, for example, so they often come from former yugoslavia, and the crew comes from the global south. the two principal groups are the philippines and china. you have crewmembers that tend to come from the philippines and china. the contracts that they have are quite long. so they are on the ship for 11 months before they can fly home for a month or two to see their families. as you can imagine, if they were to be going to go home soon or thereafter, this will be a source of stress for them because they could be delayed by a week or longer than that. working conditions on the ship are also kind of a condition of possibility, but it also has a lot of tedium, hard work, a lot of skills, but a lot of anxiety associated with it. amy: i want to and on a
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different issue, and that is a piece that you just wrote about, talking about u.s.-china relations in the london review of books. on friday, president biden said he spoke with prime minister boris about china massive belt and road initiative. president biden: we talked about china and the competition they are engaging in, the belt and road initiative. we should have a similar initiative coming from the democratic states, helping those communities around the world. amy: professor, your response? laleh: it is quite interesting because it seems to me the u.s. military-industrial diplomatic complex has always wanted
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another enemy, benefits from having another cold war going. to cast china's provision infrastructure in order to falitate trade appears to be an encouragement payment there are problems associated with the china belt and road initiative. in some of these places where these investment are happening, all kinds of human rights abuses. amy: briefly explain the belt and road initiative, which is not explained in the u.s. very much. laleh: essentially, a plan put into action in 2013 to gather already existing infrastructure projects across the eurasian landmass all the way to europe for infrastructure and particularly transport projects. high speed rail, train lines that would go through different terminus is, and up in singapore, iran, budapest.
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then crossing the oceans to the south china sea, mediterranean, essentially a route for ships. investment import and maritime infrastructure. this was called the maritime -- the land belt and maritime road. this massive program entails investment, financing by china, close to $400 billion, close to what the world bank had invested in that time in infrastructure. many of these countries did need infrastructure and are often not given it because of sanctions or you was foreign policy or histories of european colonization of a lot of places that are destinations for this investment. this is -- this belt road initiative, facilitates chinese
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capitalistic interests. it has areas in pakistan, various provinces in myanmar, or in changing, issues with this, but the way that it is being cast and addressed in europe and north america is as if china is sort of the next right enemy. it is also important to point out, china, despite this expansion, has not established 800 military bases, like the u.s. has done in a lot of places. rather, it has one or two military bases outside of its own periphery, but it also relies on private military companies. it is an interesting moment. essentially what china is doing, is enforcement of capitalism with a chinese face, if you wish. but it is seen as a threat to the u.s. national security because of, as i said, a cold
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war is always good for the military business in the u.s. and europe. amy: thank you for being with us. author of "sinews of war and trade: shipping and capitalism in the arabian peninsula." we will link to your piece in the washington post. professor khalili teaches international politics at the school of internatial politics and relations at the queen mary university of england. when we come back, we will speak to robin dg kelly about the historic amazon unitization drive and the organizing of black unions in america. we will also talk about the first day of opening arguments in the derek chauvin trial. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. today is the deadline for mail-in ballots as nearly 6,000 amazon workers in bessemer, alabama decide whether to form
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the company's first union. a yes vote could be a watershed moment for the u.s. labor movement. on friday, senator bernie sanders traved to besser to speak at a rally, and called the ionizationrive a istorical"truggle. >>f histy teacheus anythi, it that bimoney interes do notive you anhing. you ha to stanup and fht for . inhis, the wlthiest couny inhe histo of the world, dealing with the wealthiest individual in the world, there is no excuse for workers at amazon not to have good wages, good benefits, and good working conditions. and if you pull this off year, birmingham, alabama, if you pull this off here, believe me, workers all over the country will be saying, if these people
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in alabama can take on the wealthiest guy in the world, we can do it as well. amy: joining sanders were workers who make an average of $15.30 an hour. upwards of 80% of the bessemer workers are black, and the majority are women. their push to unionize comes as amazon founder and ceo jeff bezos saw his fortune soar by over $75 billion in 2020 and is set to become the world's first trillionaire within this decade. he is already the world's richest person. this is amazon worker linda burns. >> i had to get a second job. they are taking two -- bessemer and birmingham tax. they are taking out insurance. when they get through all of this, i may have $300. $300 is not enough to live on. we all know that. i am tired but i am not tired. and i'm going to fight for my
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rights, for our rights, for my employees. i am fighting for all of us. [applause] i want america to know, we are in this together. we are not alone. i thank god for all the support and help we are getting, because we needed, because we cannot buy our sours -- ourselves. amy: another high-profile supporter has been rapper killer mike who spoke at friday's rally , in bessemer about what is at stake with today's vote.” >> if the vote does not go through, if these conditions do not improve, i will be walking out to the store with a mask on. but i will not do is be a customer, enabling the richest man in the fastest-growing company to use slave labor any longer. these people have been treated
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as badly as my grandmother when she was sharecropping in this state. these people have been denied the basic laboratory rights that you would give to any child going to school in an eight-hour day. these people come in the name of convenience of dropping packages at our doors, are being used and abused because it is peak season. what i will tell the public -- pass the union, past list of bezos. if they won't treat their people right, who are we if we don't stand on the side of people if we don't get a package in two days. amy: voting counting biggins tomorrow and could take many days. for more on this historic moment and history of radical black organizing in alabama, we are joined by robin d.g. kelley, professor of history at ucla who studies social movements and author of many books including "hammer and hoe: alabama communists during the great
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depression," in which he describes an earlier high-stakes union battle in bessemer, when thousands of workers walked off the job at the city's massive iron and steel companies in the 1930s, to demand union recognition and higher pay. professor kelley is also the author of "freedom dreams: the black radical imagination.” welcome back to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. talk about the significance of the struggle today and put into context the history of not only radical organizing in alabama but in bessemer itself. robin: this is definitely the most significant labor struggle of the 21st century, no doubt. this is the largest nlrb election in three decades. you are talking about thousands
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of workers. bessemer is a part of greater birmingham. it is hard to separate the two. these industrial sections of a state that have and continue to have the largest unionization rates of any southern state. we make this mistake of thinking this outfit is backwards -- e south is backwards, conservative, but the south has been the epicenter of the country's most radical democratic movement, which is y it is completely unsurprising that bessemer, alabama would be the place where you would have a renewed labor movement, where in the fight against the largest corpation would begin. the south is where you have long struggles, not just in alabama but waterfront workers in new orleans, charleston, workers in verbal areas, but bessemer in particular, this is really the
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home of the international mill workers union, which was formed in part with the help of the communist party. i want to emphasize, what makes the history of alabama unionization important was the role of the left. the reason why we have antilabor legislation, violence against labor in alaba, the reason we have jim crow and disenfranchisement of black people, drew conine laws, is because those who rule the south know the potential of an interracial labor movement. they have seen it. to go back to the 1930's, two things made a difference. mostly blacks did not join th
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communist party or join a union because they were involved in some sort of economic calculation. they were fighting not for themselves or each other but for a better, less oppressive world. in many ways, their activism really mobilized the labor movement in bessemer, in birmingham. the other factor was the new deal. remember, under the new deal, under roosevelt, this was the friendliest period of federal government relation to labor. that doesn't mean it was not a bloody struggle. but this is when you get the national labor relations board as a result of the wagon act. this is when certain unfair practices are outlawed. in thinking about the workers union, they also wenup against the behemoth, in this case, a
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company that was equivalent to amazon, a subsidiary of u.s. steel. the company used private security, police violence, intimidation tactics, especially around racial divisions. also, they were allowed to develop company unions, which under the wagoner act was legal. those unions failed. they tried to drive a wedge between black-and-white workers. they couldn't do it. ultimately, there was anti-communism. in 1947, it really undid a lot of the protections of the wagoner act. it outlawed secondary boycotts,
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clothes shops, sympathy strikes, and it required union officers to sign these loyal to its -- oaths, affidavitconfirmed they were not communist. leaders who did not sign would lose access to the nlrb protections. and those same union members were kicked out in 1949 in part with the help of the naacp. this is a story that is relevant to today, because of course,, jeff bezos gave a lot of money to black organizations during the black spring in juneau 2020. -- in june of 2020. after the push out of mind mill, which weaken the labor movement in bessemer, that is when alabama becomes a right to work state. even after that, through industrialization, concentrated
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poverty, the loss of industrial jobs, ongoing struggles against state violence, and a new set of organizations that emerged like the alabama economic action committee, the southern organizing committee for economic justice, these are the organizations that laid the foundations for a civil rights, social justice, black union kind of organizing, and also multiracial organizing, which laid the foundation for what is happening in bessemer with the amazon workers. amy: what do you expect to come out as you follow this closely, of the vote? robin: i suspect we will win, but winning is not always winning for sure. when you think about what is at stake, if they win the vote,
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there is no possible way that amazon is going to lay down and let things happen. what typically happens -- one, amazon will contest he election -- the election. even if they lose, it doesn't mean they have a contract. the union has to have a bargaining agreement. it is not uncommon to wi recognition but a year later not to have a contract. it is also possible, although unlikely, that amazon can say we don't want a union here, so we believe. that is the dark side. the light side of all of this is the genie is out of the bottle. there are already efforts to unionize and other amazon plants. the momentum of this campaign
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has re-vamped, revitalized the labor movement across the country. amazon has lost in many ways, even if the vote is negative. amazon has still lost because now we have a popular, national discourse, conversation abt why unions make a difference. one of the things that is important to remember, amazon tries to sell itself as the pro-worker, progressive organization. in fact, they have signs up around the plants saying we support congress' push for a $15 minimum wage, so they can come up to our wages.
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but the fact is, unionize labor, poultry workers, factory workers make more money than $15 an hour. $20 an hour is the prevailing wage for unionized labor. black workers who are unionized make 60% more than those who are not. the fact of the matter is -- 16% more than those who are not. the fact of the matter is it is based on a lie, the lie that theyre going to lose $500 a year in dues. those could be used to pay you in groceries. if you could make $20 an hour and control the pace of work, and create worker protections, restore the two dollar an hour hazard pay that they rescinded in may, if we can do all of that , then it doesn't really matter. you can buy your groceries, you
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can pay your rent. right now, they are paying starvation wages at $15 an hour, which is not that much in the first place. amy: i wanted to move onto a couple of other subject before we end today. i want to turn to the opening statements today in minneapolis for the trial of former police officer derek chauvin who killed george floyd last may by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. floyd's death set off a worldwide protest movement. chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter. the jury is made up of one black woman, three black men, three white men, six white women, and two that identify as multiracial. george floyd's family and friends came together for a vigil yesterday. this is one of floyd's brothers, terrence floyd. >> we are asking the system for
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justice. this gathering is what is needed. we are not going to take one knee, but both knees. we are going to ask god for the justice. our justice cannot compare to his. amy: still what does is professor robin dg kelly. can you compare what is happening in minneapolis to this trial? robin: first of all, i'm not holding my breath over whether derek chauvin will be convicted. the jury selection is extraordinary, given the history of jury selection in this country, it is great it is more representative. two important things to keep in mind. the fact that the city has already provided a settlement to the floyd family suggests some kind of effort of accountability, but this trial is not so much about accountability but whether or not the killing reaches the
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threshold of second-degree murder. i have to say, i'm not excited about anyone being in a cage, even if you are a killer. the real victory would be to end policing as we know it, end qualified immunity, end the conditions that allow derek chauvin to take his life, for his colleagues to watch, and to divest in the death-dealing systems and invest in life policies that make us safe. that has not been lost. that is what the struggle was about in the first place. if vindication is possible, then that is what i want to see. amy: i want to ask you about this historic moment in evanston, illinois, historic for the entire country. the city council has agreed to
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pay black residents reparations for historic housing discrimination, making it the first u.s. city to adopt such a measure. we spoke tevanstonity councilmember robin rue simmons on friday about the historic vote. >> what we passed was, in 2019, a relution to provide reparations to black evanston residence. we passed it with funding from our cannabis sales tax with an initial remittance of $10 million. what was passed last monday was the first disbursement or remedy, which will be in the form of a housing remedy, 25,000 dollars direct benefits to eligible black residents, for me equity, home wealth, acquisition, purchase, any type of improvent, or something that would build wealth through home equity. am professor kelly, your response to what is taking place. do you see this as a grassroots approach to dealing with this
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from the bottom up, considering federally it has not been dealt with? robin: yes, i think it is historic, and we are seeing the same thing happen in places le vermont and elsewhere across the country. $10 million is a good start. i get the idea, which is that part of what this reparations campaign is trying to do is address the wealth gap, especially around real estate. but i have to say, i am a little bit unconcerned sometimes. when reparations are paid, sometimes that shuts down all conversations about other kinds of inequality that are produced by historic racism. we have to ask ourselves really hard questions lik for example, what does it mean to secure black owner property ship on stolen land?
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how does that change racialized property value? if the property value in black communities are still lower, how do you address that? even if you can provide people with start up money to put down on a home, how do we address the reason why black people are poor and go to inferior schools? how do we disentangle property values and property taxes from school expenditures or school budgets, how we fund the schools? we have the wealth gap. we also have the wage gap. i'm having a conversation with reverend william barber this afternoon at 3:00 about the amazon workers but also about how we address these kinds of gaps even through multiracial working-class organizing.
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my question is, will reparations ensure not only equality, but the dismantling of the kind of racialized structures that devalued our lives, our experiences, our property, wages in the first place? this is something that is really important. racialized wage differences are also compounded by gender. how are we going to address that? women of color, black women make less money. how do we deal with other kinds of violence is, sexual violence, reproductive violence? that goes way beyond the loss of operty. i am not saying i am against it, i am just saying, as we move forward, this is just the opening for a larger question.
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amy: before we end, i want to ask you about the piece that you wrote about dr. cornell west who is leaving harvard and rejoining other the organization after he was denied a 10 year -- tenure. robin: quickly, dr. west shows an enormous integrity by making the decision to leave harvard to go to -- back to union in many ways. why do i say that? he could have stayed at harvard. the chances of him being fired are pretty slim. he understands that david he was making a larger statement about what tenure is supposed to represent. the protection of our intellectual and academic freedom. there is a relationship between the story you told about bandy l
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ee, for example, with cornell west. if we cannot speak out and make a controversial stance and not be protected, we don't need tenure. amy: robin d.g. kelleyfvfvfvfvfv
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♪♪♪ eric campbell: he's one of the world's most powerful men, and he says he has coronavirus handled. president vladimir putin: [speaking russian] ♪♪♪ eric: she's a humble doctor, and she says he's lying. dr. anastasia vasilyeva: the situation is not under control. in some hospitals, patients are dying without any help. announcer: anastasia vasilyeva heads a doctors' trade union that's challenging the kremlin's propaganda. she's trying to bring hospitals the life-saving equipment they lack to fight the virus. the full force of the state has been used to stop her.


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