A WIN FOR THE USPS: When the Postmaster General announced in February that Saturday mail service would end, the decision was presented as a done deal. But then thousands of Americans took a stand. The coalition that formed against the plan, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and community activists from New York City to North Dakota, pushed back with a campaign that culminated in a March 24 “National Day of Action.”
The message was simple: postal cuts harm communities, small businesses and working families; the only beneficiaries are private delivery firms that have become major campaign contributors. The demand was simple: Congress and postal officials should “Save Saturday Service.”
The campaign worked. On April 10, the USPS board of governors rescinded the postmaster general’s decision. The same day, President Obama’s budget proposed easing the requirement that the postal service pre-pay retiree benefits seventy-five years into the future—the source of most of its financial woes—and adopted some of Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposals to give the service more flexibility to compete. The fight to save the postal service is far from finished. But workers and communities are winning real victories—and creating a model to fight the rest of the austerity agenda. JOHN NICHOLS
TRAGEDY AND COURAGE: One of the heroes of the Boston Marathon attack was antiwar activist Carlos Arredondo, who was at the finish line when the bombs exploded. Arredondo, trained as a first responder, leaped into action to tend the wounded.
Arredondo had been waiting for a runner who was dedicating his race to Arredondo’s son Alex, a marine killed in Iraq in 2004. Arredondo turned that personal tragedy into a mission for peace, driving to demonstrations all across the country to tell the story of his son. I met Arredondo and his wife, Mélida, in 2008, during a protest at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. Along with members of groups like Vets for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, they marched behind a flag-draped empty casket with military fatigues, dog tags and a pair of boots resting on top. Carlos and Mélida had driven all the way from their home in Massachusetts with the casket jutting out from the back of the car. The goal was to draw as much attention as possible. “We purposely rode for twenty-four hours,” Mélida said, “so that people who want to forget and instead go shopping cannot.”
Alex’s death wasn’t the only painful loss the Arredondos have suffered. In December 2011, their other son, Brian, committed suicide. As Mélida told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! the day after the Boston tragedy, “To be quite honest…Carlos and I have been trying to just stay sane and have been working real hard to promote awareness about suicide, both in the military and among military families.”