labor

Like Elephants? Help Elephants!

sad circus elephant remembering her familyI recently learned about Elephant Watch Nepal and hope other animal advocates will help to spread the word about their wonderful work for elephants and other animals around the world.

More info: Responsible Travel vs Elephant Safaris

Like them on Facebook and share their page with your contacts – thanks! They can really use the international exposure.

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May Day in NYC

may day 2014

Left Labor Project urges you to MAKE THURSDAY A MAY DAY TO REMEMBER

MAY 1, 2014, 5:00 pm, NEW YORK CITY HALL!

Join the NYC Central Labor Council, DC37, 1199, UFT, NYSNA, SEIU 32BJ, and many other union locals along with Domestic Workers United, Taxi Workers Alliance, Make the Road NY,  NY Immigration Coalition, NY Communities for Change, US Labor Against the War NYC, and MANY OTHER LOCAL MOVERS AND SHAKERS!

(See attached flyer for longer list of endorsers)

MAY DAY 2014 demands LABOR RIGHTS, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, JOBS FOR ALL!

This will be the broadest May Day rally in decades, with the participation of the majority of the city’s unions, and advocates for fair contracts, peace, justice, equality and human rights.

Take 4,5,6 to Brooklyn Bridge, R to City Hall, 2,3 to Park Place, A,C,J to Chambers or Fulton, E, PATH to World Trade.

Look for our Left Labor Party contingent on Broadway and join us!

( Download the flyer here )

Happy May Day,
Larry Moskowitz, Left Labor Project

Wednesday, 4/30, from 8-10 a.m. Kim Bobo of Interfaith Worker Justice Speaks in Ithaca: Working and Still Poor: What’s Going on in America and What We Can Do About It

From Tompkins County Workers’ Center:

Labor-Religion Coalition of the Finger Lakes & Catholic Charities
16th Religious Leaders’ Breakfast Briefing
“WORKING and STILL POOR: What’s Going on in America and What We Can Do about It” featuring KIM BOBO of Interfaith Worker Justice
Wednesday, APRIL 30, 2014, breakfast beginning at 8am
TEMPLE BETH EL, 402 No. Tioga St, Ithaca

PLEASE RSVP if you can make this event

Kim Bobo is the author of Wage Theft in America and co-author of Organizing for Social Change. She is also the Founder/Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice (iwj.org), a national labor rights organization supported by many national labor unions and faith-affiliated organizations. Her work has greatly raised awareness of the prevalence of wage theft in America, particularly among low income workers. Bobo has also been working closely with the TCWC and Just Economics in Asheville, NC, to take our Living Wage Employer Certification Program nationally. The TCWC is also an affiliate of Interfaith Worker Justice’s Workers’ Center Network.

Bobo will also be appearing in the afternoon at SUNY Cortland on April 30th and Binghamton on May 1st (see details on Binghamton visit at http://www.cnylabor.org/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=d9afec95-28ca-4ac1-9687-fd6e7647879e

Happy birthday César Chávez

400px-Cesar_Chavez_Day

Happy birthday to the late, great César Chávez: a labor rights and environmental justice activist, and a vegan. He said,

I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.

10 things you can do to help bees

This morning I started to read Bee Deaths From Colony Collapse Disorder On The Rise As Researchers Point To Pesticides on Huffington Post, and then I realized I’d rather find out how I can help, instead of just feeling bad about the problem. Here are some suggestions I found on the interwebs.

  1. Stop buying GMO, non-organic food, and support organic agriculture instead. Buy used and/or organic clothing.
  2. Learn about where your food and clothing comes from and how much pesticide went into its production.
  3. Stop using pesticides in your own lawn and garden.
  4. Sign petitions banning pesticides, and support the use of organic alternatives.
  5. Encourage your local government to do more to help bees.
  6. Attract bees by planting clover, flowering trees, and herbs that bees like. Provide a water source so they can take a drink when they visit.
  7. Let your veggies go to seed after harvest, to help fatten up your bee neighbors for the long winter.
  8. Educate yourself about bees so you can be more sure of how you relate to them and what you might like to do to help them.
  9. Pass on your knowledge about bees. Your voice is powerful, and the bees can’t speak for themselves! Make sure that kids understand that bees are an important part of their ecosystem.
  10. Provide bee habitat, but make sure you’re keeping bees and humans safe from hurting each other by marking bees’ homes.

    The only one I saw folks mention elsewhere that I didn’t put here was “become a beekeeper / support your local beekeeper.” I don’t feel that it would be my place to confine and manipulate others and take things they make, or to encourage others to do that. It takes the average worker bee her entire life to produce just one twelfth of one teaspoon of honey. They make it for their colony, not for us.

    If you do choose to use bee products, please make sure they’re locally produced and that you feel good about the way the bees are living, from birth to death. Since your decision impacts the lives of other beings, you may want to educate yourself about some of the ethical problems with beekeeping, honey, and beeswax. Thank you!

What do you have to say about the intersection of identity politics and speciesism?

dog-with-disabilityJust in from the Eco-ability Collective about a conference coming up on April 27th & 28th, 2013:

There’s a week and a half left to submit abstracts for the 1st annual Eco-Ability conference held at Binghamton University, which is set to explore the intersection of identity politics and speciesism. For more information check out our website at ecoability.wordpress.com

This sounds like an awesome event! The theme will be “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering.” Proposals are due March 23, 2013.

The conference will help to lay the groundwork for a book that will be part of Lexington Books’ Critical Animal Studies series. Follow Earth, Animal, and Disability Liberation: The Rise of Eco-Ability on Facebook.

Loving sloths

If you haven’t heard, Kristen Bell likes sloths, and her husband, Dax Shepard, got one brought to their house for her birthday. Here they are telling the story in a cute segment from NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (with a transcript if you prefer that over audio). And here’s the video they talk about in the segment — personally, I think it’s pretty adorable to see someone so excited to meet a sloth that they break down.

This story is so great on one level — I love that Ms Bell loves sloths so much. I love that her husband is so thoughtful to set this up for her because he knew it would mean so much to her, and that he’s so supportive and sweet about her emotional reaction. I love that when they got the sloth in their house that they were responsible about it, adjusting their homeowners insurance and bringing in a professional handler and a little play structure for the sloth — it looks like she mostly just played around while Kristen gazed at her adoringly. I also feel like it’s really great that humans are starting to love animals so much that this is a part of our popular culture.

On another level, and I hate to be a downer, but animals shouldn’t be treated like actors, or party entertainers, because they’re not able to consent to the situation, and are deprived of their autonomy. I guess I could imagine a situation where an animal is somehow orphaned and rescued, and for whatever reason can’t be rehabilitated to live freely in a safe, natural habitat, so they could maybe be a mascot for their species to help educate people about how awesome they are (some wolves come to mind, but don’t quote me on that). But why wouldn’t an animal in that situation be given safe haven at some sanctuary? For every two-toed sloth (or pony!) who has a lovely afternoon at an adoring fan’s birthday party, there are a whole lot of other animals who probably have a really crappy day sitting in a cage or being forced to do the same uncomfortable movie shot over and over and over. (This is why I’m such a fan of Andy Serkis.)

No judgements here for Kristen and Dax — they obviously have their hearts in the right place. But if we really love animals, how should we treat them, ideally? Is it appropriate for our love to be objectifying, focused on our own needs and desires? Or should love come with respect for others’ autonomy?