Irish repay a 170-year-old favor to Native Americans affected by COVID-19

My Irish ancestors all came to America between 1847 and 1849 — during the time of An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, when the British Empire hoarded all the food they were producing on colonized Irish land and left the native people with nothing but diseased potatoes to survive. This plight resonated with the Choctaw Nation, who lived in and around modern-day Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and of course had had their own experiences with a systematic genocide at the hands of a land-greedy colonizing force just a decade earlier. So the Choctaw rallied their resources, and sent $170 over the Atlantic to the starving people in Ireland — the equivalent of either $5,000 or $20,000 dollars today, depending on your calculations.

To commemorate this generous act, a statue was erected in Midleton, County Cork in 2017.

But solidarity is even better than a statue. Which is why, as Native Americans have disproportionately suffered from the impacts of COVID-19, Irish people rallied to the cause, raising more than a million dollars for the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund on GoFundMe in just a few days. The effort was largely spearheaded — or at least publicized — by Irish journalist Naomi O'Leary, who also spoke about the historical relationship and the legacy of colonialism on the Irish Passport podcast:

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Amazon threatened to fire two tech workers who spoke about climate and Amazon's business, then 357 more workers joined them

Last October, two Amazon employees -- Maren Costa (UX designer) and Jamie Kowalski (software engineer) spoke on the record to the Washington Post about their employer's complicity in the climate crisis, including the provision of cloud computing services to energy company in search of new sources of fossil fuels. Read the rest

Hong Kong shoppers patronize "yellow" stores that support the uprising; while "blue" businesses that support the mainland are vandalized

In Hong Kong, the protracted pro-democracy uprising has triggered a local economic recession, especially as businesses and Hong Kongers seek to boycott mainland Chinese businesses and products. Read the rest

Taiwanese sympathizers are shipping helmets and gas-masks to Hong Kong

As the Hong Kong uprising hits its sixth week, the island is running out of protective gear to guard the surging protesters against police violence; in response, Hong Kongers in Taiwan and Taiwanese sympathizers have been bulk-shipping helmets, gas masks and other materiel (as well as cash) to the protesters (in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, queues formed as people waited to make donations). Read the rest

Thousands of elderly Hong Kongers march in solidarity with young human rights activists

For more than a month, Hong Kong has been rocked by an escalating series of public demonstrations that have persisted in the face of violent police suppression tactics; the demonstrations were kicked off when Hong Kong's puppet regime -- elected after China banned pro-independence candidates from standing in local government races -- proposed a new rule that would make it simple for Beijing to demand the extradition of political dissidents to mainland China, where torture and arbitrary detention of political prisoners is the norm. Read the rest

Lulzy Instagram memers are organizing a deadly serious trade union

The IG Meme Union Local 69-420 is pretty damned lulzy, but the organizers are dead serious about creating a union that will negotiate on behalf of memers with Instagram and other tech platforms that exploit them by alienating their labor. Read the rest

A rapidly proliferating software license bars use by companies with poor labor practices

Katt Gu and Suji Yan's Anti 996 License allows developers to prohibit the use of their code by companies that do not adhere to basic labor practices (996 is a Chinese software industry term for shops where coders work 9AM-9PM, 6 days/week). Read the rest

AOC is going to Appalachia to talk to coal miners

After Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a blistering rebuttal to Rep Sean Duffy's [R-WI] charge that the Green New Deal and environmentalism were "elitist" concerns that ignored the needs of rural people, Congressional Coal Caucus member Rep. Andy Barr [R-KY] invited her to visit Appalachian coal-towns and "go underground" to talk to people in the mining industry. Read the rest

Denver students boycott school board lesson plans, stage dance party in solidarity with striking teachers instead

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Google Walkout meets #MeToo in a new anti-arbitration campaign

When outraged googlers walked off the job last year to protest the company's practice of secretly paying off serial sexual assaulters and harassers, while denying employees the right to sue over harassment through arbitration clauses in their contracts, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised revise Google employment contracts to remove mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment claims. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders on fighting global authoritarianism

Bernie Sanders -- who seems to have kicked off a 2020 presidential bid -- writes about the terrifying global parallels to Trumpism, from Japan to the Philippines to Hungary to Turkey and beyond, and talks about how an international solidarity movement has to advance a positive agenda of how the world can be taken back from looters and environmental crisis as a global tonic to these dictators-in-waiting. Read the rest

What it's like to be personally responsible for automating away someone's high-paid, high-skill job

When Erin Winick was a sophomore, she got a summer internship at a company where her manager offered her the opportunity to use her passion for 3D printing to streamline the company's mold-making process; but when she started consulting with "Gary," a 34-year veteran of the company who was responsible for the complex molding process, she realized that she was about to put him out of a job. Read the rest

The teachers' strikes are spreading

From Labor Notes, a weekly report-card of teachers' strikes, which are spreading from state to state, with North Carolina -- the laboratory for gerrymander-fueled Republican takeover -- next in line for a wave of school closures. Read the rest

Prof says he'll grade students on a curve, so they organize a boycott of the exams and all get As

Johns Hopkins Computer Science prof Professor Peter Fröhlich grades his students on a curve: the highest score on the final gets an A and everyone else is graded accordingly. Read the rest

Arizona is about to get its first statewide teachers' strike

The contagion is spreading: Arizona is the latest red state where teachers -- backed by immense public sympathy -- are staging first-of-its-kind state walkout, protesting against the very idea of neoliberal austerity, recognizing that with the GOP running their state and their nation, that the problem is Republicanism, not some local phenomenon. Read the rest

How abusive bosses and Slack led software engineers to unionize and demand justice

Lanetix is your basic shitty tech company, where your two weeks of annual paid leave is subject to often-withheld managerial approval, where bosses threaten engineers with getting canned if they participate in private Slack channels where they discuss working conditions, and where high-performing software engineers who object to bad management are summarily fired. Read the rest

Meshing, rugged, free/open wifi routers for refugee camps

Meshpoint is a Croatian open source hardware company that turns out rugged, meshing, battery-powered wifi hotspots that get their backhaul from cellular networks; they're based on the widely used Open WRT free/open wifi routing software, and use open source hardware designs that are intended to stand up to punishing field conditions like those found in refugee camps. Read the rest

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