FROM THE WEB
Death & Profits
Right in Sweden
Movements & Repression
Wikileaks Tip of Iceberg
Nicolas J.S. Davies
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Capitalism's structural inefficiencies make its "best economic case" into a worst-case scenario for the world
In June 2010, as the world was focused on the relentless torrent of BP crude billowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the leading American research journal Science released a special issue on the world's "Changing Oceans." Unsurprisingly, the news is dark, but the clear sense of mounting alarm in the scientific community makes the collected articles more compelling, as they provide the context for the conditions of the world's seas before the emerging era of huge spills from deepwater drilling.
Researching the effects of giant spills is still a young field, but clearly the consequences of the oceans' problems will be felt for generations—"externalities" in economic lingo. The ocean scientists' conclusions, while guarded and understated in the manner of the profession, largely back up the positions of the environmental movement and critics of capitalism.
The Black-and-Blue Seas
The special issue of Science kicks off with a summary of recent research on ocean acidification, an additional and less-known side effect of rising CO2 levels. The ocean's pH has dropped radically, with studies finding a 30 percent increase in surface-level acidity over just 15 years ("Ocean Acidification Unprecedented, Unsettling," Science, 6/18/10). The normally-reserved geochemists aren't holding back: "Aside from the dinosaur-killing asteroid impact, the world has probably never seen the likes of what's brewing in today's oceans. By spewing carbon dioxide from smokestacks and tailpipes at a gigatons-per-year pace, humans are conducting a grand geophysical experiment, not just on climate but on the oceans as well." The scientists go on to compare this development with a previous world extinction event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, with less total carbon involved, but entering the oceans far faster.
The problem is that as oceans acidify even moderately, many ecologically crucial organisms are losing their ability to function. A research survey by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute chemists found that all species of tropical coral slowed their growth process in conditions of lowered pH. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, for example, has experienced a 14.2 percent drop in calcification since 1990, indicating the reef's structure is growing more slowly, with no sign of a previous drop of this magnitude. The issue is especially serious because the world's coral is already reeling from "bleaching" in higher global temperatures—a condition harder to recover from in acidic conditions. Acidification is also causing some varieties of plankton to form thinner, lighter shells than over the past millennia, as are sea snails and oyster larvae. The significance of this is that these organisms are crucial for the broader ecosystem—oysters and especially coral provide essential habitats for untold thousands of ocean organisms, and plankton and mollusks are at the bases of the marine food web. Any decline in these organisms will likewise spread up the chain and weaken the ocean's other systems.
The scientists go on to consider ship noise: the profoundly loud, low-frequency, underwater din from the world's 100,000 or so large commercial ships. The deep-register noise from global commerce is "swamping low-frequency wavelengths that whales and other sea creatures use to communicate, find mates, and navigate their watery world. Researchers worry that the cacophony is making it even harder for these creatures to overcome the numerous human threats—from toxic pollution to overexploitation—that have already pushed some to the edge of extinction." Despite the especially disruptive effect of military sonar, scientists have found that regular ship traffic is the main source of this little-known problem, as the rapid growth in world trade has driven low-frequency ocean noise up 32-fold ("A Push for Quieter Ships").
An early research effort monitored noise levels in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Massachusetts, chosen because the channel to the busy Boston Harbor passes through it. The propeller noise is low and loud enough to make it challenging for whales to maintain acoustic contact and reduces the range over which whales can communicate by as much as 90 percent. Whales are raising the pitch of their calls, up to a full octave for the highly endangered Atlantic "right whales," so-called because they were "right" for efficient killing and harvesting for the whaling industry of the 18th century. About 400 of the animals live in the North Atlantic today—another species nearly "externalized" out of existence by capitalism.
Reduction of ship noise is therefore essential and the journal notes that, "Engineers say such a reduction is technologically feasible, but the costs—and opposition from some shipping companies—could be formidable." Fixes include technical changes to propellers, "streamlining boxy hulls now optimized for storage, and slowing cruising speeds," although each of these changes would mean forcing shippers to cease externalizing large costs onto the environment.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is also included in this ocean survey, a Texas-sized ocean eddy saturated with minute plastic particles. The Science writers characteristically deride the mainstream media's sensationalization of the patch: "Although many media stories conjure up a chunky soup of bottles and tires, it is mostly an unstrained consommé of small bits of floating plastic…. A similar accumulation of plastic particles—which include weathered fishing line, Styrofoam, wrappers, and raw resin pellets—has shown up in the North Atlantic Ocean" ("The Dirt on Ocean Garbage Patches"). Since its discovery by Woods Hole oceanographers in 1972, the problem has apparently escalated, with a 2001 survey voyage finding 334,271 pieces of plastic per square kilometer, coming to an almost unbelievable 6:1 ratio of plastic to zooplankton biomass. The discovery of these floating garbage soups has driven more research, since, as Science indicates, "In the past, researchers have mostly focused on larger threats: abandoned fishing nets that trap turtles and seals; plastic bags that block the digestive tracts of turtles; and the toothbrushes and bottle caps that seabirds mistake for food, sometimes starving as a result or dying from a blockage. But toxin-laden microplastics may add another risk to marine life. Benthic worms, mussels, krill, sea cucumbers, and birds will ingest tiny plastic particles."
The centerpiece of the special issue examines recent research on "The Growing Human Footprint on Coastal and Open-Ocean Biogeochemistry." While conventional economic theory encourages treating the economy as if it exists in an empty world that can absorb endless pollution, the scientists are not so optimistic, noting for example that 25-30 percent of humanity's total CO2 emissions since the beginning of the industrial era are now dissolved in the oceans. Besides acidification, there are serious effects on fundamental biological productivity, since warming surface layers makes them circulate less with cooler, lower waters, thus increasing ocean "stratification." This circulates fewer nutrients, driving the menacing decline of phytoplankton in strong correlation with warming temperatures, especially in the tropics and subtropics.
Also encouraged by vertical stratification of the water column is the problem of hypoxia, extremely low oxygen levels in coastal waters due to excessively high volumes of oxygen-consuming algae and bacteria. These algae feed on the nitrogen-rich waste of human commerce: "Fertilizer runoff and nitrogen deposition from fossil fuels are driving an expansion in the duration, intensity, and extent of coastal hypoxia, leading to marine habitat degradation and in extreme cases, extensive fish and invertebrate mortality." There are currently over 400 coastal hypoxic zones worldwide, including the massive "Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.
Among the more heartbreaking aspects of the research survey is the conclusion that, while major sources of industrial pollution are often very visible, less attention goes to "the global spread of industrial pollutants into what otherwise would appear to be pristine environments." This includes organic mercury and persistent organic pollutants like DDT, "found in even the most remote marine locations, transported through the atmosphere in the vapor phase, aerosols, and soot particles [and] by ocean currents." Importantly, the situation is not hopeless, as a chemist contributor describes: "It is encouraging that, after the phase out of leaded gasoline in North America that began in the mid-1970s, the high levels of anthropogenic lead observed in the North Atlantic declined sharply and are now comparable to those occurring at the beginning of the 20th century." Environmental disruption as a side-effect of capitalism can be turned back, but it would take the equivalent of a lead-gas phase out for fossil fuels.
Science's spotlight on the oceans concludes with the discussion of the acceleration of polar ice sheet melting, raising median expectations of a sea level rise by 2100 from about 60 centimeters to a full meter ("Sea-Level Rise and Its Impact on Coastal Zones"). The pace has risen recently, due to the combined effects of quickening inflow of water mass from the ice sheets and from thermal expansion of the existing ocean as it warms. In addition to the known melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica, it's been discovered that the East Antarctic ice sheet sits much lower on bedrock than thought, with many stretches well below sea level and therefore subject to far more melting from rising ocean temperatures ("Could East Antarctica Be Headed for Big Melt?"). Global effects of sea level rise are expected to be highly uneven, but in dry scientific language, the "socioeconomic effects…appear to be overwhelmingly negative."
Other entries compare the climate and ecosystem effects of human activity to large meteoric strikes, review the potential for interaction and destructive synergy among all the above problems, and warn of the "increased risk of sudden nonlinear transformations." It is into these stressed and degraded waters that major disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill now intrude.
Drill, Maybe, Drill
Despite the glaring spotlight that shone on BP and its Deepwater Horizon well from the rig explosion in April until the final capping in September, mainstream coverage has treated the disaster as an accident due to factors unique to particularities of the well. However, reporting in the business press and scientific journals has documented something more menacing: the spill followed a consistent pattern of cost- and corner-cutting by BP, reflecting a clearly inadequate provision for the huge danger to the Gulf's battered ecology in the event of a major spill. These costs to the ecosystem, for which businesses typically are not held accountable, are therefore considered "externalities" from the point of view of market exchange.
The pattern is exemplified by BP's admitted decision to ignore the results of a "negative pressure test," in the hours before the well exploded, killing 11 workers and triggering America's biggest oil spill to date. The test had indicated a "very large abnormality," which ultimately turned out to be a column of high-pressure natural gas erupting up the well, as workers attempted to temporarily seal it. Whether it was the on-board BP managers who made the final call to proceed despite the result or the Transocean workers who ran most of the oil rig is still in dispute ("BP Cites Crucial 'Mistake'," Wall Street Journal, 5/25/10). Indisputable is the fact that BP was days behind the drilling schedule and over budget with each additional day of rig operation costing the company one million dollars.
But the ignored pressure test is just one example of BP's relentless corner-cutting and hastiness, which of course elevates risk and affects others' livelihoods, the Gulf's ecology, and future generations. The business press, especially the Wall Street Journal, has documented a parade of cost externalizing by one of the world's most powerful corporations. Examples include skipping cement quality tests, important to make sure the seal around the well's pipe was airtight and prevents the release of high-pressure natural gas. Another was skimping on centering devices, which ensure the pipe is fully surrounded by cement—BP's cement contractor, Halliburton, recommended 21 of these, but BP went with 6, despite a warning from Halliburton that the well would face "a SEVERE gas flow problem" (WSJ, "BP Decisions Set Stage for Disaster," 5/27/10). The issue of proper cementing was especially relevant, considering BP also made the unusual decision to run a single pipe from the sea floor to the oil reservoir, rather than the standard practice of two pipes nested together, which "provides an extra level of protection, but also requires another long, expensive piece of pipe."
BP's drilling logs also indicate the corporation cut short another important safety procedure called a "bottoms up" test, where the drilling "mud" is cycled through the well, bringing material at the bottom of the well up to the rig for testing. This pivotal procedure allows for detection of natural gas entering the cement, a crucial safety issue, but is also time consuming. The full test takes 6-12 hours, but the test was done for only 30 minutes the day before the explosion, plausibly to spare BP the $500,000 an additional half-day would have cost in rig rental and expenses. Rig workers reported being instructed to finish other work double-time, "like they were trying to rush everything." Also, the last of the cement pumped into the well was not tested for quality, again despite the particular importance of the cement to the well design. Evidently, cement contractors were aboard the rig to perform these tests, but were told by BP management no test was needed and were flown ashore at 11:00 AM—the only lives known to be saved by BP's systematically risky behavior.
There are other negligent policies that might also have enabled the explosion—an enormous spring was meant to lock down the seal at the top of the well, but BP's reports show no installation. The final error appears to have been the decision to remove the company's heavy drilling "mud" before injecting a cement plug to cap the well until later extraction of the oil. The picture is pretty clear—an under-valuing of risk, which is to be expected in markets based on private exchange, with no regard to effects downstream. So the well exploded on April 20, shattering 11 families and sending several million barrels of oil streaming into the Gulf of Mexico.
Notably, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), BP's offshore regulator, approved most of these risky maneuvers, including several hasty changes to the well that were rubber-stamped—literally five minutes to approve a tapering pipe and less than one day to approve the single-pipe design that may have played a role in the gas eruption ("BP Revised Permits Before Blast," WSJ, 5/30/10). Prior to this, the Interior Department, which includes the MMS, released a report documenting that Louisiana regulators accepted lunches, sports tickets, and other gifts from the oil majors, which are very often their former and future employers. This is a classic instance of "regulatory capture," where the enormous wealth and economic power of major corporations is enough to keep their own regulators in their pocket.
The ultimate statement of this corporate undervaluation of risk due to external costs came from a BP engineer, who wrote in an April report that the one-pipe option was "the best economic case." (As long as potential costs to others are omitted.)
Oil and Water Didn't Mix
While the early signals are highly ominous, the full effects of the spill won't be known for years, in part due to BP's efforts to control and impede the research process. In the weeks after the rig explosion, BP caused "a public cry of outrage" over an effort to "buy up" scientists, after BP offered funding to study damage from the spill, but "would have banned…discussing or publishing any data collected on their dime for up to 3 years," as Science reports ("After Outcry, Oil Data Inches Into the Open," 8/20/10). BP ultimately backed off after massive negative press attention and the refusal of many scientists to participate. In a similar fashion, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was ultimately forced to relax its tight restrictions on publishing spill data. However, BP has still given out very little of the $500 million in research money it promised after the spill, in part because the money must be funneled through the Gulf Coast state governors' offices. To date, only $30 million has been disbursed and the governors' offices are so far not responding to scientists' research proposals, which "limits scientists' ability to plan research over several years." ("The Case of the Missing $470 Million," Science, 8/20/10).
Meanwhile, the Obama administration had no problem pressuring NOAA to mislead the public, as its post-spill report claimed that 75 percent of the oil was "gone," having been burned, evaporated, and dissolved. While this claim received enormous media attention, it was almost immediately leapt upon by the scientific community and ripped to shreds. A review by the University of Georgia found that, even assuming favorable conditions, at least 70 percent of the total spill remains in the Gulf, or about 3 million barrels ("Current Status of BP Oil Spill," Georgia Sea Grant, 8/17/10). Another accounting in Science finds that NOAA's much-hyped report got the numbers exactly reversed—75 percent of the spill remains, with one-quarter removed/ destroyed. These findings ultimately led NOAA's senior scientists to repudiate the original feel-good report ("A Lot of Oil on the Loose, Not So Much to Be Found," Science, 8/13/10). These estimates are rough, of course, both due to the recent occurrence of the spill and the fact that BP clearly prioritized keeping the oil below the surface.
The scientific literature describes BP's use of chemical dispersants as "a story of scientists turning to desperate measures during desperate times." The dispersants—essentially detergents—break up oil flows into microscopic drops for microbes to eat, much like dishwater detergent breaks up oils on dishes ("An Audacious Decision in Crisis Gets Cautious Praise," Science, 8/13/10). But these chemicals have spotty health records even when used on the surface of oil spills. Their use thousands of feet down is an experimental exercise. The determination seems to have been that crude oil is so deadly for marine life that oil-plus-chemicals was considered barely worse.
The effect of dispersants and the great pressure at the well leak was to create the now-notorious plumes of oil and gas thousands of feet below the Gulf surface. The plumes have been proven through isotopic analysis to flow from BP's well rather than natural seeps and are over 20 miles long, a mile wide, and about two-thirds of a mile underwater. While BP's dispersant use has kept the oil from already-battered coastal wetlands, it has sentenced the deepwater Gulf ecology to an unknown fate. Perhaps more compelling for BP, it keeps the oil out of sight of news cameras and makes damage surveying far more challenging.
Throughout the coverage, the hope was raised that native bacteria, evolved to consume oil from natural seeps on the sea floor, would consume most of the spilled crude. Unfortunately, the emerging body of research on microbial consumption of the BP spill paints a disappointing picture. A team of earth and marine scientists found that about 70 percent of the bacterial feeding seems to be on the natural gas compounds in the underwater plumes ("Propane Respiration Jump-Starts Microbial Response to a Deep Oil Spill," ScienceExpress, 9/16/10). Further analysis suggests that bacteria are preferentially consuming the smaller compounds in the crude oil mixture, rather than the bigger, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are the most toxic ones.
Finally, more recent research seems to support this conclusion, finding that microbial activity, as measured by the decreased oxygen levels it causes, is breaking down the oil plume far more slowly than anticipated. Research voyages have found that the underwater oil plumes "persisted for months without substantial biodegradation," and that the hypoxia generated by the microbes is lower than expected ("Tracking Hydrocarbon Plume Transport and Biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon," ScienceExpress, 8/19/10). On the one hand, this is good news, as strong hypoxia is harmful to higher marine life and the Gulf is already struggling with low oxygen levels caused by algae feeding on agricultural runoff from the Mississippi basin. On the other hand, it also "suggests that the petroleum hydrocarbons did not fuel appreciable microbial respiration on the temporal scales of our study…if the hydrocarbons are indeed susceptible to biodegradation, then it may require many months before microbes significantly attenuate the hydrocarbon plume." In other words, the oil mixture may stick around for some time—a far cry from "75 percent gone."
The microdroplets of oil and the chemical dispersants are having effects that are just now being examined. Marine geochemists from the University of Southern Florida have found oil in microscopic plankton, at the base of the marine food web, meaning it will tend to bioaccumulate in higher animals eating the plankton and one another. The effects are seriously deleterious for organism health: "Biosensor assays indicate that marine organisms, phyto-plankton and bacteria, express a strong toxic response" in waters with petroleum hydrocarbons present (WUSF, "Oil Found Deep in Gulf Is Toxic to Tiny Marine Life"). While these findings are new and not yet corroborated by further research, the signs are not encouraging.
It should be borne in mind that the situation is not hopeless. The removal of lead from U.S. gasoline was driven by the introduction of catalytic convertors after citizens demanded EPA action and was followed by decreases in the lead content of the North Atlantic. Likewise, scientists have noted that NOAA's current policy of sharing BP's spill data was driven by loud public demands for openness and BP probably wouldn't have been so eager to hide the crude underwater if it thought no one cared about the environment. Prospects for radical change lie in the public's desire for a clean environment for their grandkids, who will clearly suffer from corporate America's undervaluing of risk and who are therefore victimized by capitalism's "externalities" as much as the fisherperson out of work due to contaminated catches and the coral bleached by warming and dissolved by acid.
Capitalism's structural inefficiencies make its "best economic case" into a worst-case scenario for the world.
Rob Larson is Assistant Professor of Economics at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana. He has written for Dollars & Sense, Z, and the Humanist.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.