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Shamus Cooke

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Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (

OpEd News Member for 614 week(s) and 3 day(s)

55 Articles, 0 Quick Links, 3 Comments, 0 Diaries, 0 Polls

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SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 7, 2011
Occupy Portland Is Born with Ten Thousand Strong It should be no surprise that a city dubbed "Little Beirut" by President Bush Senior -- due to the large protests against him -- began its "occupation" on a level on par with Wall Street.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, May 16, 2011
The Democrats Attack Unions Nationwide The cover-up of the Democrats' national anti-union agenda is possible because the truth would cause enormous disturbances for the Democratic Party, some labor leaders, liberal organizations and, consequently, the larger political system.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, April 11, 2011
The New Reality for U.S. Labor Unions The recent shakeup in Wisconsin is likely a preliminary tremor that predicts a larger earthquake. And like all natural disasters, the events in Wisconsin jolted people awake to grapple with their changed circumstances.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, December 15, 2011
Reform vs. Revolution Within Occupy Many Occupiers have expressed a valid concern over the Obama campaign attempting to hijack the Occupy movement. To avoid this pitfall some Occupiers advocate more radical methods, ideas and strategies. But sometimes these tactics create new problems. While swerving safely left of the Democrats' grasp, some Occupiers have overreached and exited the orbit of most working people, who would otherwise naturally gravitate to the Oc
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Capitalism's New Era The corporate elite are attempting to restructure social relations, meaning that past assumptions regarding wages and social programs must be destroyed, as a new, more profitable equilibrium is sought between the corporate elite and working people.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, November 22, 2010
Who's Behind the Deficit Crisis? When speaking about the U.S. deficit crisis, the media and politicians focus exclusively on Social Security and Medicare, while ignoring the far more important causes resulting from engaging in multiple wars, running a huge defense budget, bestowing extremely generous tax breaks on the rich and allowing corporate taxes to steadily decline.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Democrat's Anti-Union Strategy Major crimes are often committed with multiple accomplices. In a sophisticated bank robbery there stand, behind the vault busters, layers of criminals who act as lookouts, getaway drivers, planners, etc. So, too, in the colossal crime being committed against organized labor across the U.S., where the Republicans act as the vault busters while the Democrats have a less direct -- but equally guilty -- role in this historic atta
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, June 12, 2011
The Rich Are Destroying the Economy the Democrats fought the recession by the same methods the Republicans used to create it: allowing the super rich to recklessly dominate the economy while giving them massive handouts.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, April 23, 2011
The Fake Budget Debate in Washington DC There can be no U.S. budget debate when both sides have already agreed that massive cuts to social programs -- including Medicare and Social Security -- will be the foundation of any plan.
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Fuel for Occupy Wall Street's Fire Sometimes it explodes. But social explosions are rare events. Are the Wall Street protests and their nationwide copycats an explosion or just a flare up? For an explosion to happen there must be not only explosive material, but plenty of oxygen to feed the fire. For social movements this means that enough working people, students, and unemployed find the necessary unity and inspiration to push through obstacles and maintain
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, January 31, 2011
Why Obama Fears Democracy in Egypt Raising Lazarus from the dead would be easier than reviving the Egyptian President. So Obama is on to plan B. And as it turns out, plan B looks a lot like the status-quo, minus a change of face. The new face is a man handpicked by the U.S., Mohamed ElBaradei, a UN bureaucrat who hasn't lived in Egypt in decades and is virtually unknown by the Egyptian people.
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, November 1, 2010
Interpreting Jon Stewart's Politics Any criticism of Jon Stewart must begin with enthusiastic praise: his Daily Show is where millions of people go for important news that is purposely ignored by the mainstream media. Consequently, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have become icons of the political Left.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Why Tunisia Changed the World Tunisia woke up the Middle East with a thundering yawn. After years of domination by western-backed tyrants, the working people of the Arab world are rising from slumber. Once fully awake and aware of their surroundings, they'll shake off the influence of the western nations with a collective flick of the wrist.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, November 14, 2011
The Battles of Occupy Portland For those who were there, November 13th will be a day long remembered in Portland, Oregon. Occupy Portland again proved why it remains the 2nd strongest Occupy movement in the U.S. when it mobilized against police eviction. Instead of the Occupiers being evicted it was the police who were sent home demoralized.
SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, January 1, 2012
The Threat of War Against Iran and Syria is Real For those who think that the United States wouldn't possibly instigate another war in the Middle East, think again. Empowered by his "success" in the bombing of Libya and consequent assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama is now seeking to use the exact same strategy against Syria, while using alarming military threats against Iran. In both cases the U.S. is creating the conditions for war in a region that is already boiling
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, September 16, 2011
Obama Coopts The Labor Movement When governments fall deaf to social reality, it's up to working people to get loud. Obama's jobs speech proved that the Democrats -- like the Republicans -- suffer from massive hearing loss, unable to listen to the millions of people suffering from the intractable jobs depression.
From ImagesAttr
SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 14, 2014
A New Push for Peace in Syria? The giant U.S. corporations that benefit from Middle East dominance are applying maximum pressure to continue war. The stalemate has become so obvious and destructive in Syria that Russia and Egypt have inserted themselves as power brokers, which would act to bolster their political-economic leverage while pushing the U.S. out.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, January 14, 2012
Theory and Practice in Occupy The uninterrupted string of successes of Egypt and Tunisia haven't materialized for Occupy. We're in a lull period. Next steps are being considered and some tactics are being re-thought.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, July 9, 2011
How to Save the U.S. Labor Movement The first step in saving the labor movement is recognizing that it needs saving. Sadly, many union leaders -- including Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO -- refuse to accept this reality, choosing instead to dismiss the current threats against labor unions as "exaggerated," or limited to this or that Republican politician. In fact, the labor movement -- especially public sector unions -- is facing nationwide attacks by Democrats a
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The Way Forward For Occupy Portland Portland is second only to New York when it comes to sustained Occupy power, but in a newly born social movement strength is not something to take for granted. The vast amounts of public support in Portland, earned through large demonstrations and strategic outreach, can be frittered away by the internal contradictions of the movement.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, September 24, 2011
Obama Taxes the Rich for the Wrong Reasons President Obama may have opened Pandora's box with his latest tax-the-rich rhetoric, but he'll try to keep the lid half-shut. Truly informing the public about just how rich the rich are -- and just how much their taxes have been lowered over the decades -- would certainly cause working people to demand much more from the wealthy than Obama is.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, December 6, 2010
Seven Reasons Why Capitalism Can't Recover Anytime Soon As the recession grinds on, politicians in most industrial countries have an incentive to make exaggerated claims about the supposed coming economic recovery. Some say the recession is over. Obama is in the group that claims we're on "the road to recovery," while other nations can only spot recovery "on the horizon." Below are seven important social phenomena that point to a more realistic economic and political outlook.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Proxy War in Syria Threatens Catastrophe for Middle East In an effort to undermine Iran by overthrowing its strategic ally, Syria, western nations are using their Middle East client states to conduct a multi-pronged attack against Syria through the media, the Arab League, the United Nations and now through military proxy forces.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 12, 2010
The Fight to Save Social Security Begins Now With national elections barely over, Republicans and Democrats unveiled their real political agenda, in the form of Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission. The bi-partisan commission has a nightmare vision for working people that, if implemented, will remold American society to mirror the current ruler of U.S. politics -- the corporations and wealthy
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, June 2, 2011
Venezuelans Mobilize Agaisnt Obama's Sanctions Seeing is believing. Any hope that Venezuelans had in the Obama administration has been shattered against the recent U.S.-imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, June 20, 2011
The Super Rich Sabotage the Arab Revolutions With revolutions sweeping the Arab world and bubbling-up across Europe, aging tyrants or discredited governments are doing their best to cling to power. It's hard to over-exaggerate the importance of these events: the global political and economic status-quo is in deep crisis. If pro-democracy or anti-austerity movements emerge victorious, they'll have an immediate problem to solve -- how to pay for their vision of a better wo
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, May 12, 2011
The Aftermath of Bin Laden's Assassination Like Bush Jr. before him, Obama is proving that a puffed-up and "powerful" president is a dangerous president. It was only a matter of time before Obama used his newfound popularity and warrior credentials to wreak military havoc elsewhere.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The Great Health Care Takeaway The health care crisis in the United States is getting worse with no visible end. The popular anger over unattainable or unaffordable health care has been diverted away from corporations by crafty politicians, always seeking to exploit a social disaster for their benefactors.
SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 6, 2011
Who is the Real Opposition in Egypt? The revolution in Egypt erupted like all revolutions do, from the bottom up. It was unemployment and high food prices that propelled working and poor people into action. Now, the media reports that the "opposition" in Egypt is a group of well-to-do folks who have very little in common with the poor of Egypt.
(8 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, November 7, 2011
The Occupy Movement Needs A Good Fight Uniting the 99% in concrete struggle is the issue of the day, but time is short. The Occupy Movement has the nation's attention now, but working people's attention is conditional; they will stay focused on Occupy if Occupy is focused on them.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, December 13, 2010
Labor's Last Stand in 2011? The stage is set, and the main actors in Congress and in the corporate establishment are ready to perform, having rehearsed behind closed doors for the coming assault on organized labor's most powerful sector, public workers.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, August 21, 2011
Can Labor Confront Obama Over Jobs? As the seeds of Obama's 2012 electoral campaign begin to sprout, labor unions are being forced either to pledge their allegiance or distance themselves from the incumbent president. There has already emerged some hefty splits in the labor movement over the issue, based on the President's complete lack of action on creating jobs combined with his false promises in the 2008 election.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 13, 2011
The 1% and Capitalism There are certain policies that raise profits for corporations in general, including: destroying labor rights and attacking unions (since lower wages equals higher profits), slashing social spending (since corporations paying taxes cuts into their profits), cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (since corporations help pay for these too, lowering their profits), privatization, lowering corporate taxes, lowering taxes
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Obama's Corporate State of the Union Obama's state of the union speech was the culmination of months of right-wing policies that began in earnest after the mid-term election, where his fake liberal garb was completely shed. Now, the naked, corporate President presides unhindered by any pretense to help working people.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Next Steps for the Occupy Movement As the Occupy Movement gains strength nationally and internationally, questions of "what next" are popping up. Although there are no easy answers or ready-to-order recipes for moving forward, there are general ideas that can help unite the Occupy Movements with the broader community of the 99% -- which is the most urgent need at the moment.
SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 13, 2011
The Two Roads Out of Recession Recent events in Washington, D.C. should provoke fear and outrage in the average American worker. As the jobs recession staggers on, politicians and labor leaders alike seem bizarrely distanced from reality, unable to advance any ideas that remotely correspond to the basic demands of those tens of millions of unemployed, under-employed, or poorly paid workers.
SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 27, 2011
Why All Workers Should Support Unions It's official: Republicans have declared war on organized labor. Unclear to millions of unorganized workers is whether or not they should care. Millions of Americans are "union skeptics," unsure as to the nature of the union animal. These fence-straddlers have no direct experience with organized labor, but they will be absolutely crucial participants in this war of corporate power versus working people.
SHARE More Sharing        Monday, January 17, 2011
Prepping Minds for War Against China You'd think the U.S. was already at war with China, given the immense amount of anti-China rhetoric spouting from the government and media. But selling wars takes time. The average American hasn't bought in to this false advertising yet. So the big lie will be repeated until its roots are deeply sunk into the American psyche: China, says the U.S. government, is a threat that needs to be "dealt with."
SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Fake Debt Crisis Strikes Blow at Safety Net The debt crisis has been averted and people across the globe are breathing sighs of relief. But in the back rooms of Congress politicians are celebrating for a different reason. It's the kind of celebration that erupts when a group executes a complicated plan to perfection.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 20, 2011
How to Win in Wisconsin and Beyond The eruption of protests in Madison, Wisconsin against a rabidly anti-union Governor and legislature has become "ground zero" in a fight that, on the surface, appears to be labor unions vs. Republicans.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 26, 2010
Obama's Bush Doctrine in Korea A key reason that Obama was elected President was his promise to abandon the Bush doctrine of unilateral foreign policy, meaning that Obama would work with other countries toward a more cooperative, peaceful world. The threat of war in Korea exposes Obama -- yet again -- as a dangerous copycat of Bush's approach to global politics.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, July 17, 2011
Crunch Time for Public Sector Unions The media attack on public sector unions has reached a timely zenith, perfectly in sync with the politicians' anti-union deathblow. This coordinated campaign is happening nationwide, and includes Democratic and Republican marauders on a state-by-state basis.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Last Chance for Venezuela's Revolution? The pulse of the Venezuelan revolution grows faint. Extreme measures are needed, since the extremely poor living conditions of most Venezuelans demand it. If the revolution is not quickly pushed to the left, it will be strangled by the right.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Labor Movement in Oregon Takes a Step Forward On only the second sunny weekend of the year in Portland, Oregon, 60 plus labor activists at the United Labor Strategy Meeting. What made the meeting unique was both its perspective and the diversity of unions that participated.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 12, 2012
Will Occupy Spring Forward Or Meltdown? A healthy debate has finally gripped the Occupy Movement: there is now a discussion over strategy. Most Occupiers have learned that raw enthusiasm alone cannot bring victory to a social movement; ideas matter too. Action divorced from strategy equals wasted energy, divisiveness, diversions and unnecessary mistakes. Not all tactics push the movement forward.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, March 16, 2012
Why Labor's Rank and File Won't Campaign for Obama A surreal fog hangs over U.S. labor unions' enthusiastic endorsement of Barack Obama. When AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced the labor federation's recent endorsement, the exaggerated pro-Obama comments likely surprised union members everywhere. Has President Trumka paid any attention to the labor policies of President Obama?
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, October 27, 2011
Why The Far Right "supports" The Occupy Movement Should Occupiers be concerned that the Nazi Party has given official "support" to the Occupy Movement? Or be worried that other far-right groups -- including sections of the Tea Party -- are "pro occupy?" Absolutely. These groups have no place in an anti-corporate, pro-worker movement. The Occupy Movement's greatest strength -- its broad appeal -- can quickly become an exploitable weakness, and the far right smells blood.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Truth Behind the Coming "Regime Change" in Syria The United States appears to be using a strategy in Syria that it has perfected over the years, having succeeded most recently in Libya: arming small paramilitary groups loyal to U.S. interests that claim to speak for the native population; these militants then attack the targeted government the U.S. would like to see overthrown -- including terrorist bombings -- and when the attacked government defends itself, the U.S. cries
SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, November 6, 2010
The Democrats Prepare to Move RIght Contrary to all evidence or common sense, the Democrats now claim that their agenda was "too progressive" while in power, to be fixed by shifting even further to the right. In effect, the Democrats are now agreeing with the Tea Party's analysis of the Obama Administration.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Workers and Environmentalists Unite! Democrats and Republicans have lavished eternal praise on the "job creators" and in consequence have created a political atmosphere that is rabidly pro-corporate "job creators" and anti-everything else.
SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Struggle for a Workers' Recovery As millions of Americans sink into desperation, President Obama continues to preach the good word of optimism, based on the gospel of "private sector job growth."
SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, October 26, 2010
French Lessons for U.S. Workers The world watches as France once again erupts in protests, demonstrations, and strikes. So much is at stake. If France's corporate-dominated government is able to increase the retirement age, other governments will be empowered to follow through with their plans to do the same.
SHARE More Sharing        Monday, July 11, 2011
Deficit Reduction Versus Democracy Listening to Congress debate deficit deduction is like listening to a den of lions discuss the welfare of zebras. In both cases the debate is very one-sided. Democrats and Republicans sound disagreeable on TV, but their arguments differ by the tiniest of degrees (like lions fighting over how best to eat a zebra.)
SHARE More Sharing        Monday, March 26, 2012
A Corporate Versus a People's City Budget How are government budgets created, and in whose interests? In Portland, Oregon the city recently held the second and last of its public budget forums, where the community could offer feedback to help craft the city's budget.
SHARE More Sharing        Monday, November 21, 2011
Labor Must Choose Between Occupy and the Democrats The Occupy Movement couldn't have come along at a worse time, from the viewpoint of the Democrats. Election season is just getting started and Occupy has thrown a giant wrench into the political machinery. Some labor leaders too are sensing "politics as usual" shifting under their feet

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