https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCl-3WwkJgg&t=223s As Flint residents are forced to drink, cook with and even bathe in bottled water, while still paying some of the highest water bills in the county for their poisoned water, we turn to a little-known story about the bottled water industry in Michigan. In 2001 and 2002, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued permits to Nestlé, the largest water bottling company in the world, to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from aquifers that feed Lake Michigan. This sparked a decade-long legal battle between Nestlé and the residents of Mecosta County, Michigan, where Nestlé’s wells are located. One of the most surprising things about this story is that, in Mecosta County, Nestlé is not required to pay anything to extract the water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to a private landowner. In fact, the company…
Food Justice is a seemingly all-inclusive term that speaks to the intersections of many different issues such as the rights of Mother Earth, the rights of peasant farmers and landless peoples, migrant farm worker and restaurant worker rights, and environmental justice issues, among others. What is often lost within these very important conversations about disparities of power, though, is the intersection between food justice and culture.
Food and culture is not just another illustration of intersectionality, but a critical point that speaks to the lived experience of those of us often found on the margins of well-intended, mainstream food justice movements. Examining this intersection further is part of an ongoing practice of what long-time Detroit-based movement elders James and Grace Lee Boggs called “moving away from protest politics and towards visionary organizing.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miukaKDL-Cs Explore how the global food system of white supremacy is a barrier to having a food system that ensures justice for all members of society. Malik Yakini is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system. Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a four acre farm in Detroit and spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which he chairs.
By Patricia Valoy, Contributing Editor, Science and Social Justice
Earlier this month the president of the United States withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, a pioneering agreement formed at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2015. Countries from all over the world came together to discuss the effects of climate change and the catastrophic impact of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The convention culminated in an agreement signed by 195 countries vouching to reduce emissions in order to keep the global temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius. Simply put, every country committed to a goal and the responsibility for figuring out how to meet their goal.
https://youtu.be/iqr7UlgjkO0 “Due to the shortcomings of efforts to create socialism in the twentieth century, the notion of socialism has been discredited in many quarters. […] Nevertheless, it is important for progressive people to come to terms with the historical discrepancies between the ideals of socialism and the realities of what passed for it. This is so they can reconstruct a viable global socialist system, with manifestations at regional and local levels, that is highly democratic rather than authoritarian, that ensures that all people have access to basic resources, and that is at the same time environmentally sustainable.”
By Thenjiwe McHarris, Movement for Black Lives
Contributing Editor’s Note by Dara Cooper
On April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the Movement for Black Lives [M4BL] launched Beyond the Moment: United Movements from April 4th to May Day, a campaign “to strengthen the fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect for all people.” M4BL engaged a broad based, multi-cultural, multi-sector coalition known as “The Majority” to kick off a series of actions, teach-ins and events inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech between April 4 and May Day.
In his speech, Dr. King named racism, capitalism and militarism as the greatest harms challenging people to commit to the “fierce urgency of now.” As tens of thousands of protesters converged in Washington D.C. for the People’s Climate March to stand up against reactionary assaults on environmental justice by the current U.S. administration, Dr. King’s warning is more urgent now than ever. Because of the highly racialized effects of climate change, communities of color are the most devastated by our current climate conditions.
By Bailey Mead, Praxis Managing Editor
In this new political climate which brings daily assaults to the vitality of our communities and the safety and wellbeing of ourselves and our neighbors, knowing who you can trust and who you can call on feels more important than ever before. We’ve seen our neighbors terrorized in recent weeks by ICE raids and the Muslim Ban during just the first month of the Trump administration. In this time when many may be afraid to take bold actions to protect their neighbors, it is imperative to build solidarity between communities, and especially with immigrant communities. We need each other, but what if we don’t know each other? Or maybe we know each other, but how do we begin to work together? Our survival requires active resistance, but our future requires us to simultaneously build resilience and create sustainable new ways of being that allow all of us to live and thrive. We know that effective resistance requires connection, and connection helps build resilience. So how do we truly connect?
There are two academic conference seasons in the United States where a majority of “international” academic conferences are hosted: mid-fall and late winter/early Spring. This year it can be remembered as: before and after the travel ban affecting nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries was announced. The American Anthropological Association, the Women’s Studies Association and the International Conference on Arabic and Islamic Studies had their conferences in the fall. The American Sociological Association, the Cultural Studies Association and the National Council for Black Studies are upcoming.
It was “Groundhog’s Day” at Stateville Prison; that is to say, another redundant night. I sat on the top bunk in my small concrete box, head scraping the low paint-chipped ceiling, cursing my two-hundred dollar 13-inch flat screen television. It was defiantly cutting off every few minutes, despite my chastising finger mashing the power button and my verbal assault on its character: “piece of crap!” I’d only had it for a year. The joint had sold me a lemon.