This week witnessed widespread school closings in Philadelphia, the threat of war with Iran, the death of Hugo Chávez and the exploits of the Russian (and American) secret police. The media looked into the tea leaves (in the case of Putin's empire, quite literally!). Is this a moment of emergent working-class consciousness? Political scientist Adolph Reed ponders. What'll happen if Congress lets us unlock our phones? Surely, a techno-revolution.
— Alleen Brown focuses on education.
“SRC set to vote on 27 planned school closings,” by Kristen Graham. The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 2013.
Philadelphia's School Reform Commission votes this week on whether to realize 27 (out of a total of 29) planned district school closings. Hundreds of parents, educators and community members are expected to rally on the day of the vote, Thursday. They're demanding a one-year moratorium on closures, which disproportionately impact students of color and, many say, are a move towards privatized education. The article does not mention that demonstrators' concerns are reflective of those of parents protesting school closures in districts across the country.
— James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.
“Undocumented Farmworkers Make 'Perfect Victims' for Sexual Harassers and Abusers,” by Joseph Sorrentino. RH Reality Check, March 2, 2013.
In an undocumented female workforce hit with rampant abuse—and retaliation for fighting it—it's something that women spoke out so readily for this piece. On the flipside, the fact that we need investigative journalism to bring this kind of abuse to light reflects the poverty of mainstream debate around immigrant labor.
— Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“US to UN diplomats: Stop getting drunk during budget talks,” by Colum Lynch. Foreign Policy, March 4, 2013.
Joseph Torsella, US Ambassador for Management and Reform at the UN, created a buzz a few days ago when he scolded his colleagues for excessive drinking and asked that UN negotiations rooms should be an “inebriation-free zone.” According to several UN officials, delegates maintain “a stock of booze” in negotiating rooms: vodka for the Russians, wine for the French, whiskey for the Canadians. Colum Lynch points out that alcohol is used to “soften an adversary's negotiating position” or as “a delaying tactic to put off final decision until the final hours.” Now, finally, we know how negotiations at the UN are conducted!