Food loaded into dumpsters while hundreds turned away

By Sarah Carlson
April 3, 2013

Hundreds of working-class people waiting outside of a closed grocery store for the possibility of getting food is not the picture of the “American Dream” people living here and abroad are taught to believe in. Yet on March 23, that is exactly what happened.

Folks filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables when a local church never came to pick up the food, as had been arranged with the store owner prior to the eviction.

After the eviction, the owner of the property became SunTrust bank, and as the people gathered, they had to be restrained as the food was loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill.

As with any eviction, anything left inside the premises comes into the property holder’s ownership. However, after the story had been covered in the media for two days, the media relations officer for the bank, Mike McCoy, said, "We are working with store suppliers as well as law enforcement to dispose of the remaining contents of the store and secure the building." But he also said that the food never belonged to and does not belong to SunTrust Bank. Teresa Russell, chief deputy of the Marshal's Office in Richmond County, says the owner of the building ordered that all of the food and other items removed from the store be taken to the landfill. Some people even followed the truck to the landfill and were still turned away.

We all know the way the law works in this twisted system, Mike McCoy, so there is no need to sugar-coat anything. And since there are about 20 evictions per day in Richmond County, many people in that parking lot probably knew all too well that property left in a rental space after eviction becomes the property of the building owner. Similar to the H & M scandal that broke in 2010 when clothes were being shredded before being thrown away, this situation reeks of the truth of capitalism.

In a capitalist society, food is not produced to feed people, housing is not made to shelter, clothing is not made to keep people warm, and health care does not exist to keep people healthy. All of these things, which are and should be viewed as basic human rights, are nothing more than commodities from which to make a profit, and if a profit cannot be made, usually due to overproduction in relation to the market, the commodity is useless and destroyed.

In the case of the grocery store, the commodity wasn’t even destroyed in order to regulate the market. Perhaps the bank figured they would not make a profit in a county with 22.4 percent of people living at the poverty line and 10.6 percent earning below 50 percent of it (2009). So why not at least watch people stare in disbelief, with empty bags, as they watch the food that could be feeding their families, dumped into a landfill instead.

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Outlawing Dissent: Rahm Emanuel's New Regime-Harcourt

This article is from The Guardian and available at:

Outlawing Dissent: Rahm Emanuel's New Regime

-Bernard Harcourt

It's almost as if Rahm Emanuel was lifting a page from Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine – as if he was reading her account of Milton Friedman's "Chicago Boys" as a cookbook recipe, rather than as the ominous episode that it was. In record time, Emanuel successfully exploited the fact that Chicago will host the upcoming G8 and Nato summit meetings to increase his police powers and extend police surveillance, to outsource city services and privatize financial gains, and to make permanent new limitations on political dissent. It all happened – very rapidly and without time for dissent – with the passage of rushed security and anti-protest measures adopted by the city council on 18 January 2012.

Sadly, we are all too familiar with the recipe by now: first, hype up and blow out of proportion a crisis (and if there isn't a real crisis, as in Chicago, then create one), call in the heavy artillery and rapidly seize the opportunity to expand executive power, to redistribute wealth for private gain and to suppress political dissent. As Friedman wrote in Capitalism and Freedom in 1982 – and as Klein so eloquently describes in her book:

"Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When the crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function … until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable."

Today, it's more than mere ideas that are lying around; for several decades now, and especially since 9/11, there are blueprints scattered all around us.....


Happy Birthday MLK- Mitchell Cohen


January 15, 2012 would be Dr. King's 83rd birthday. The airwaves are filled with timid and nostalgic tributes to the great man. Except for WBAI and other non-commercial stations, only Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech ‚- and even there but a tiny snippet of it -‚ makes it onto the airwaves.

Nothing about Dr. King's analysis in which he castigates the United States as being "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Nothing about Dr. King's brilliant and courageous insights into the social and economic calamities of capitalism and the congruence of the oppression of people in Vietnam with that of people of color in the United States.

And, nothing about what it really means to be "Non-Violent". Dr. King castigates those who praised him and the Civil Rights movement for being non-violent in the face of white supremacists in the South but who condemned him for calling on his country to be non-violent in its dealings with the rest of the world.

"In international conflicts the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for our superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the Truth. Ye shall know the Truth, says Jesus, and the Truth shall set you free.

"Now I ve chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam today because I agree with Dante that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

Ever hear any of that on mainstream corporate radio?

All of that placed -‚ and continue to place -‚ Dr. King at odds with many of his key advisers in the Civil Rights movement, and with the President of the United States -‚ then & and now.

His life -‚ and keep in mind that he was assassinated when he was just 39 years old! ‚- is thus relegated more-or-less "safe," for those in power. The hallowed if troubling days happened back then, which (they say) no longer exist. And so, Dr. King s complex analysis is distorted and rendered almost meaningless today, and offered in a sense as a paean to "Isn t America great? Look at how far we have come." Who now hears the entirety of any of Dr. King s speeches? What insights could this ancient man actually hold for us today, and for our own movements for freedom?

Three years ago, on January 15, 2009, I broadcast Steal This Radio #67 over That show included:


Bread and Roses: Lawrence Strike at 100

An important  message from the ILRF:


One hundred years ago today, on January 12, 1912, thousands of workers at a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, shut down their looms and walked out on the job. Half of the workers were girls between the ages of 14 and 18. They were barely getting by on $8.76 a week, when a new state law that reduced the workweek for women and children from 56 to 54 hours went into effect, resulting in a paycut. This meant that workers could afford even less bread than before. The strike quickly spread to mills across the city. By the end of the week, more than 20,000 textile workers were participating in the historic stike.


Support ILWU- Stop Union Busting in WA

Yesterday we posted the Call to Action issued by Kyle Mackey, Secretary Treasurer of the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council in Washington State and a member of ILWU Local 21. We also posted the resolution passed on January 2, 2012, by that Labor Council.

Below you will find the statement on the planned action in Longview, WA, issued by ILWU International President McElrath. It was originally posted at:

Messages of solidarity and donations can be sent to ILWU Local 21, 617-14th Avenue, Longview, WA 98632, Dan Coffman, President, Shelly Porter, Sec.-Treas., phone: 360.423.0950, fax: 360.423.5498, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Many thanks for your ongoing support to ILWU Local 21.

Alan Benjamin
Co-Editor, Unity & Independence

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ILWU Pres. McEllrath: 'Prepare to take action when EGT vessel arrives'

January 3, 2012

To: All Longshore, Clerk, and Walking Boss/Foreman Locals

Brothers and Sisters:

We are currently engaged in a labor dispute with one of our employers, EGT, in the Pacific Northwest. EGT continues to refuse to return to the negotiating table with Local 21 after walking away from nearly two years of direct contract negotiations over the terms of employment for the longshore workers that EGT would be employing at its new facility in the very location on public port property that longshore workers have been performing longshore work for decades.

We believe that at some point this month a vessel will call at the EGT facility in Longview, Washington. We have been told that this vessel will be escorted by armed United States Coast Guard, including the use of small vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility and that the facility itself will be protected by a full complement of local law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions.

The purpose of this letter is to inform and prepare the Longshore Division locals for the action that we will take when that vessel calls at EGT's facility.


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