It’s very difficult for Hillary Clinton to position herself to the left of Bernie Sanders, but she’s spent much of the last month or so trying to do just that. One issue she seems to be getting away with it on is gun control. In debate after debate Clinton has kept Sanders defensive on gun control, touting her ‘F’ rating from the NRA against his ‘D-.’ Continue reading
Monthly Archives: January 2016
Resurrect the concept of the commons
Dedicated capitalists may find the idea of natural resources belonging to all people and not corporations radical, but it’s nothing new. In 1217 King Henry III sealed the Charter of the Forest, a companion piece to the Magna Carta which recognized the importance of the woods to the livelihood of Englishmen. The Charter is seen as establishing a concept of the commons: Resources such as air, water, plants, game and land should be freely accessible to barons and peasants alike, rather than paying the crown for access.
Indigenous populations throughout the millennia have often had even more forceful versions of this philosophy. In 2011 Bolivia, a nation with one of the most politically active indigenous populations on the planet, passed the Law of Mother Earth. This law took the Charter of the Forest a few steps further, protecting nature from being “affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”
Assigning sacred value to the commons is the kind of wisdom that should be informing US policy making today. Continue reading
Sanders is more than a candidate, he’s an opportunity
Things are going well for Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid. Over the last two weeks, the Vermont Senator won the endorsement of the highly influential progressive group MoveOn, received kind words from Vice President Joe Biden, had an extremely strong showing at the most recent debate, and is now polling within striking range, if not ahead of, Hillary Clinton in the key early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Against enormous odds, it’s really starting to look like Sanders has a chance. Largely dismissed when he announced his candidacy, over the course of his campaign Sanders has excited a bold movement into existence – a movement that America desperately needs. Continue reading
Bundy separatists: How America tolerates right-wing protest and stomps the left
A group of heavily armed right-wing ranchers and self-described militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon. Their stated purpose is to protest the jail sentence of father and son ranchers convicted of arson charges, Dwight and Steven Hammond. More importantly, they are protesting perceived overreach from the federal government.
Leading the occupation is Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, the rancher who made headlines in April 2014 for his armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. No shots have been fired and the group has no hostages, but they insist they are ready to defend themselves against law enforcement and claim they have enough resources to occupy the refuge for years. Continue reading