Stories written by Bankole Thompson

Love, Commitment and Anger in Detroit

The 2010 U.S. Social Forum ended Saturday in Detroit, a city viewed by many as a metaphor for the excesses of U.S. capitalism, with strong parting words from Pablo Solon, Bolivia's permanent representative to the United Nations.

The USSF host city of Detroit has become a metaphor for the excesses of American capitalism. Credit: Courtesy of Sasha Y. Kimel

Time to Give Wall Street the Axe, Say Progressive Groups

As heads of state from the Group of 20 (G20) most developed and economically powerful emerging nations meet in Toronto, Canada this weekend, some activists at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit are urging a more realistic look at the roots of the global economic crisis - and an end to the free-wheeling capitalist model embodied by Wall Street.

Tanya Dawkins, an Africa advocate, is among many who attended the U.S. Social Forum's Detroit/Dakar project meeting. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

Connecting the Dots from Detroit to Dakar

Africa's continued struggle for political and economic independence in many ways mirrors the very own struggles of communities in the U.S. that are now being tabled at the 2010 U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.

(Right to left) Felix Salvador, Mackenzie Baris, Christian Vasquez and Socorro Garcia came from Washington to highlight excluded workers' plight. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

“Excluded Workers” Move from Shadows to Negotiating Table

The U.S. labour movement needs to be reorganised from the bottom up to include domestic workers, day labourers, restaurant workers, taxi drivers, farm workers, incarcerated workers, guest workers and those in the "right to work" states.

Loreen Dangerfield, 15, is among a group of dedicated young people leading the charge against environmental injustice in San Francisco. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

U.S.: Youth on Frontlines of Green Justice Struggles

The committed determination of young people in the environmental justice movement is emerging as a highlight of the 2010 U.S. Social Forum, which opened in Detroit this week with some 20,000 activists meeting in 'Motor City' to network and share their visions for social change.

Assembly line at Hyundai Motor Company's car factory in Ulsan, South Korea, which ranks fourth largest in the world in car production. Credit: Taneli Rajala/creative commons

Finding Lessons of Solidarity in Auto Industry Shake-Up

As thousands of people from around the world prepare to converge in Detroit, where expectations are high for the Jun. 22-26 U.S. Social Forum, activists and auto workers hope the meet will be an opportunity to chart a sustainable future for an industry that provides 1.7 million U.S. jobs.

POLITICS-US: Health Reform Bogged in PR Battle

The message machine of the Barack Obama administration appears to need oiling, as the U.S. president's push for a Sep. 15 deadline for a bipartisan deal on healthcare reform in the U.S. Congress continues to meet stiff resistance.

ECONOMY-US: Carmaker Rescue Could Cost Workers

After debating whether it was wise for the Republican administration to let the U.S. automotive industry collapse under its watch, Pres. George W. Bush, who leaves office next January with a battered legacy marked by an unpopular war in Iraq that has consumed billions of tax dollars and an economic meltdown at home, finally came to the aid of General Motors and Chrysler with a 17.4-billion-dollar rescue package.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

Q&A: Unions Are Key to Healthy Auto Industry

For the last six years, Ron Gettelfinger has been president of the 640,000-member United Auto Workers (UAW), the union that has been the face of the working men and women manufacturing cars in U.S. factories for decades.

Union leader George McGregor warns that the collapse of the automotive industry would devastate millions of workers and thousands of retirees. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

ECONOMY-US: Congress Deaf to Pleas of Panicky Auto Execs

The vote on a 25-billion-dollar loan for cash-strapped General Motors, Chrysler and Ford Motor Company - known as the "Big Three" U.S. automakers - has been put on hold by the Senate, after Congressional leaders chastised industry executives for failing to heed early warnings of crisis and for flying to Capitol Hill on private jets to beg for tax dollars.

Jubilant Obama supporters in downtown Detroit. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

POLITICS-US: The Day Character Finally Eclipsed Colour

Last Tuesday's ascension of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States - the first African American in history to command the White House - sent a shock wave around the world that a political change of such magnitude could happen in a nation often traumatised by racism.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

Q&A: "We Must Rethink the International Economic System"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is South Africa's first black Anglican bishop. An elder statesman whose moral voice and advocacy against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa first brought him to the world stage in the 1980s, Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

POLITICS-US: Campaigns Spar Over Broken Health System

For a man who said he watched his mother battle with insurance companies while dying of cancer in a hospital bed, and whose 85-year-old grandmother is said to be in serious condition, healthcare for all citizens has become a defining issue in the historic campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Sahibzada Anwar Hamid Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

Q&A: “Musharraf Should Be Tried for High Treason”

Sahibzada Anwar Hamid is the former vice president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. One of three imprisoned leaders of the Pakistan Lawyers' Movement, the group whose advocacy for an independent judiciary against the interference of former Gen. Pervez Musharraf helped to oust the former military dictator from power.

Daniel Ellsberg Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

Q&A: "The U.S. President Is Not a King"

At 76, Daniel Ellsberg is still vocal. The man who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1969, leading to the fall of President Richard Nixon, is speaking out this time on the 2008 presidential election.

POLITICS-US: Judge Sides with Voting Rights Groups

A federal judge ruled Monday that the current practices to purge the voter rolls in Michigan are illegal and ordered Republican Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land to immediately stop the cancellation of registered voters whose voter identification cards are returned as undeliverable in the mail.

John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants the Justice Department to investigate possible illegal voter purges in Michigan. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

POLITICS-US: Foreclosure Victims May Lose Votes as Well

An alleged purge of registered voters, many of whom lost their homes to bank foreclosure, in the state of Michigan has prompted a lawsuit and calls in Congress for a Justice Department investigation.

Republican Sen. John McCain has essentially ceded the state of Michigan to his opponent, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.  Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

POLITICS-US: Michigan Republicans Upset at McCain's Exit

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain is facing a backlash from top Republicans, conservative media and party supporters for pulling out of Michigan, a key battleground state in the 2008 presidential election.

Sen. Barack Obama Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

OBAMA: "Subsidising Big Oil Makes No Sense"

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama sat down with IPS correspondent Bankole Thompson again on Thursday for a one-on-one interview in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where over 15,000 enthusiastic Obama supporters turned out to hear his message of change at downtown's Calder Plaza.

Puff Daddy speaking at Wayne State University in 2004.  Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

POLITICS-US: Hip-Hop Stars Tap Potentially Huge Youth Vote

In 2004, hip-hop mogul Sean P. Combs, known as "Puff Daddy", accompanied by R&B megastar Mary J. Blige and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, told thousands of students at Wayne State University in Detroit it was time to elect a new president.

POLITICS-US: Six Points of Separation?

If the presidential election is close enough on Nov. 4, racism could hand the Republican nominee Sen. John McCain a victory, according to recent polls showing that Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama is having a hard time winning over older white Democrats because of his race.

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