Drowning without Visa or Passport

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The Last Message of a Free Syrian, Drowned in the Mediterranea

Translated by Muhannad Al Boshi

I am sorry mom, because the ship has been sunk and I couldn’t reach there and I will not be able to earn money to repay the debts we took for this journey.

Don’t be so sad Oh mom! If they will not find my body, what could be the benefit?! There would be too many expenses for moving my corpse, burial, and condolences.

I am sorry mom, because the war has befallen and I had to leave like the others, although my dreams, as you know, were not so great like the others.  My dreams were like the size of a medicine box, and the price of taking care of your teeth at the dentist.

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Fight for Fifteen

Transcribed from the 11 April 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“We are determined to continue to grow this movement until these franchises, these corporations, and this country—and as a matter of fact, this whole world—sees that we are worth more, and that we must be treated with dignity and respect.”

Alex Jerri: We don’t talk much about how much money we make, even though it is the largest factor that determines how we live our lives. It’s a number that limits our access to the world or affords us the privileges of time and possessions, but it’s usually a number that we keep to ourselves.

On Wednesday, April 15th, thousands of workers across the world are going public with their demands for a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage as part of the Fight for 15 movement. Douglas Hunter is one of those workers.

Good afternoon, Douglas.

Douglas Hunter: Good afternoon. How are you doing?

AJ: Great, thanks! Douglas is a maintenance worker at McDonald’s, and a member of Fight for 15’s national organizing committee.

Last year, you were profiled by The Guardian. A reporter talked with you about your day striking at McDonald’s locations around Chicago, and here’s how you introduced yourself:

“My name is Douglas Hunter. I’m 53 years old. I have a sixteen-year-old daughter who I’ve been raising on my own since her mother died. I work at McDonald’s in Chicago, where I make $9.25 an hour, just a dollar more per hour than I made when I first started working there nearly five years ago.”Continue Reading

Working Long Hours is Lazy

Transcribed from the 28 March 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full segment:

 

“We have increased our wealth since the 1930s, but we have been exchanging that wealth for stuff instead of for time.”

Chuck Mertz: Live from London, our correspondent David Skalinder gives us a View from the Agile Left. David dreams of an agile and compelling ideology of the left…but that’s a quiet beat. So he usually reports on the nimble American right, the lumbering institutional left, and the confused frustration of everybody else on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today you’re talking about the laziness of working long hours.

David Skalinder: Yeah, I have this segment I’ve been saving for a rainy day. It’s something that I’ve been seeing a little more often in the mainstream press, and I think it’s interesting to look at it from a couple angles.

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Rojava Versus the World

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Transcribed from the 21 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Although we have cut this transcript down significantly less than we generally do, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, to fully appreciate the emotional intensity of the conversation.

 

“The people of Kobanê were about to face a massacre, and the president of Turkey just wore his sunglasses and made macho statements. He exploited the desperate situation in Kobanê.”

Chuck Mertz: We’ve been talking about all the new challenges to the traditional seats of power around the world, from the Islamic State and how it challenges our notion of the modern state, to SYRIZA and how they’re standing up to the Eurozone’s austerity policies, to Spain’s Podemos, who have created a whole new form of democracy, even to the extra-statecraft of free trade zones that exist outside nations’ and a people’s laws.

But there’s something completely unique happening in Western Kurdistan, a new kind of democracy, and it’s led by women, and they are fighting and beating the Islamic State. Here to tell us about Rojava, Kurdish refugee Dilar Dirik is an activist of the Kurdish women’s movement, and a Ph.D. candidate in the sociology department of the University of Cambridge, where her research focuses on Kurdistan, the Kurdish Women’s Movement, and the PYD (Democratic Union Party) which has existed in the Rojava territories since 2004.

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Hungary: Social Catastrophe in the Making

AntiNote: This article first appeared in December 2014 on the Böll Foundation website, with link citations that we have not reproduced. It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Social Catastrophe In the Making
by Bálint Misetics

It is not only constitutional democracy that Viktor Orbán’s regime treats as its enemy; the Hungarian government has also launched a forceful attack on the welfare state, with predictable consequences: rising poverty and social inequality. No pro-democratic political opposition movement can continue to ignore the immense state-induced suffering of millions of Hungarians; to succeed, we must learn to transgress class boundaries.

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Detroit’s Organized Resistance

Transcribed from the 6 December 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

 

“This neoliberal project is being pushed incredibly hard by Snyder’s office; it is being pushed by Washington, by New York, by the White House. But I don’t think it’s going to be successful.”

Chuck Mertz: Journalist Laura Gottesdiener has written the TomDispatch piece Two Detroits, Separate and Unequal: A Journey Across a City Divided. Welcome back to This is Hell!, Laura.

Laura Gottesdiener: Thanks for having me.

CM: You start by writing about being driven around Detroit’s well-heeled Palmer Woods neighborhood, a neighborhood that has defined “rich” in Detroit for generations. You write that the guy giving you the tour is commander Dale Brown, founder of Threat Management, a private security company. “Brown’s officers, with their distinctly paramilitary aesthetic, are among the most recognizable of a burgeoning number of private security personnel and surveillance systems scattered across neighborhoods in the former Motor City that people with money have decided are worth protecting.”

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Look Toward Kobanê

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The Travel Account of a Karakök Autonome Activist (Part 1)

AntiNote: Since the battle for Kobanê started making headlines last month, and before that if we may say so, the AWC has been conferring with our invaluable comrades close to both the Syrian revolution and the Rojava struggle and trying to determine how best to present these topics here.

Complicating matters, of course, is that news out of Kobanê in particular changes minute to minute—first, the fall of the city was inevitable, then it turned into a lasting siege; then all at once ISIS fighters were in retreat and the battle “over.” But the siege continues, and continues to confound: the roles and statements of the Turkish, American, and many other states shift constantly; people continue to scrape across the Turkish-Syrian border near Kobanê, in both directions; the situation is exquisitely fluid.
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