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Eyewitness North Korea

An American's Journey to the DPRK before the Travel Ban

Derek R. Ford

On August 1, Rex Tillerson announced that beginning in one month the U.S. government would be banning its citizens from traveling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea). A few days later, I boarded an Air Koryo plane and landed in that country for a fact-finding and peace delegation. There were a total of five of us, all traveling on U.S. passports. Call us skeptical, but we didn't buy that the Trump administration was acting in our best interests, let alone acting in the name of peace and justice. Indeed, as soon as we landed the hegemonic U.S. narrative about the country began to crumble. Even though I had previously been highly critical of the presentation of the country we have been exposed to our entire lives, I couldn't quite anticipate just how different the reality actually is. And it wasn't only life in the country that was radically different, but also my experience as U.S. citizen traveling there. I have to begin with this latter aspect, because the propaganda against the DPRK is so total, so all-encompassing, that it can make one's actual experience be dismissed in advance. If one's on-the-ground observations differ in any way from the dominant narrative, then it is because one only observed a highly orchestrated and carefully curated propaganda show.

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Women Workers Versus Intersectional Exploitation

Striving for Working-Class Feminism

Tatiana Cozzarelli

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, an Indian American, is the CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world. It produces products such as Pepsi, Lay's, Quaker, Dorito, Starbuck's Ready-to-Drink, 7UP, Cheetos, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Tropicana. In 2016, it made $62.8 billion in sales, had a market value of $159.4 billion, and employed an estimated 264,000 workers. It is no wonder that as CEO of such an important global corporation, Nooyi was ranked among the world's most powerful women more than once. Not only has Nooyi been able to achieve the highest levels of business success as an individual, but she opens doors to people of color and women within the corporation. Currently, 27 percent of senior executives at PepsiCo are women and 36 percent are people of color- more diverse than the average corporation without a doubt. In the UK, PepsiCo has been ranked one of the top 50 companies for women to work over six times. The Times and Opportunity Now say that PepsiCo "is leading the way in gender equality in the workplace," in part due to a Strategies for Success program that helps female middle managers reach senior management positions. For some, Nooyi is a model of female empowerment, evidence that women, and even women of color, can..

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Reflections on Charlottesville, Political Violence, and False Equivalencies

Zack Ford

The violence in Charlottesville Virginia at a "unite the right" rally that resulted in one death is being condemned across the political spectrum. Very few are willing to do anything but denounce violence that results in death. Perhaps this is our "default" moral position. It is easy to say that such violence is stupid and has no place in America today. It is much more difficult to understand why people put their lives on the line for such "stupid" things in the first place. An outright denunciation of violence implies that all violence is preventable. The common belief is that if we understand what the "cause" of the violence was, we can prevent it from occurring in the future. Regarding Charlottesville, the cause was a "unite the right" rally, which, at least in theory, attempted to unite different right-wing factions and preserve the monuments that constantly remind us of the history of subjugation of black and brown people upon which this country is built and of their continuing second-class citizenship. In practice, this was carried out by flying Neo-nazi flags and propaganda and obsessively performing the "Heil Hitler" salute, all while provoking physical violence. Violence erupted when students and residents decided this type of behavior was not welcome in their community. So, if the racist rally never was allowed to occur, the violence would have never erupted and the loss of life could have potentially been prevented. Anyone who wishes to prevent this type of violence from unfolding in the future must recognize that the racist slurs and hateful sentiments which are inextricably linked with such groups are the catalyst of the violence that occurred, and that such forms of expression must be silenced to prevent future violence.

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Building Working-Class Defense Organizations

An Interview with the Twin Cities IWW General Defense Committee

First of May Anarchist Alliance

The GDC began to grow very rapidly with the engagement at the Fourth Precinct. I want to talk for a minute about the types of engagement that we practiced there, but first I would like to point out the time difference: we'd been meeting irregularly since 2009, were chartered in 2011, and began to 'take off' in 2015. We didn't develop in a rush, despite our feeling of urgency. In retrospect, we should have done more, earlier, and more seriously. You can only prepare to be ready for crisis and then wait to respond in an organized fashion. By the time the police murdered Jamar Clark, after Ferguson and other places had already seen massive protests, we were ready to respond in public, I think. About two months previously, we'd tested our ability to organize a disciplined mass march and directly confront racists. A group of racists organized a Confederate Flag display on the state capitol grounds. The state sold them a permit. We weren't going to tolerate that. We had meetings ahead of time to organize a counter-protest. We had decided to explicitly make clear that this was a GDC action, and to use our own marshaling teams, and worked with a large variety of other groups. One especially important person in that entire process person is the aunt of Marcus Golden, who murdered by the Saint Paul Police Department in January 2015. She joined the IWW and the GDC shortly afterwards, and seems to be everywhere at all times, moving the work along. The march began where Marcus was murdered, and ended at the Christopher Columbus statue on the capitol grounds, after ensuring that the Confederate Flag wavers were no-shows.

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