Economic Justice archive 3
|For more recent
reports on economic justice issues,
2002 - 2003 >>
Items from 1999 through 2001
Washington Office surveys issues
of hunger and human needs [10-8-04]
As income gap widens, more US families are struggling
Unless you earn more than
$100,000, America is just not the place to live. Over the last 30 years,
your share of GDP has gone down consistently. It used to be that your salary
just didn't go up. Now, with automation and outsourcing, your job is much
more likely to leave forever. Griff Witte of the Washington Post
takes a hard look at what this really means for the Americans failed by the
Click here for the report. [Free, one-time registration is required.}
Thanks to TomPaine.com
Pants to Support Worker Justice!
Workers at the only maquila factory in El Salvador with a democratic trade
union need your immediate support.
Just Garments was founded last year after
an international campaign succeeded in reversing the closing of Tainan
Enterprises' factories after workers asked for contract negotiations in
2002. After a hard struggle, Just Garments has secured its first
commercial order from No Sweat for khaki pants, which markets only
The size of No Sweat's initial order will
be determined by orders placed over the next ten days on its website at
www.NoSweatShop.com. The size of
the order - and therefore its impact on employment at Just Garments -
depends on anti-sweatshop activists and consumers placing orders by
September 24, 2004.
and place an order! [9-17-04]
Farmworkers win right to organize
after 5-year struggle
reached; Mt. Olive Pickle boycott over
After five years of a public action boycott
by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC), it has reached a
precedent setting agreement with the North Carolina Grower's Association (NCGA)
and the Mount Olive Pickle Company.
This Thursday, September 16, 2004, over
8,000 "guest" farm workers in North Carolina will become the first such
workers in the history of the United States to win union representation and
a contract. It will be the largest union contract in North Carolina's
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches agrees - with some tensions - in
rejecting "the current world economic order of global neoliberal capitalism"
There's a fairly long report on this important action
WARC website. [8-16-04]
Globalization can work
article in the New Republic notes that the U.S.-Cambodia trade
deal which was signed by the Clinton administration requires Cambodian
exporters to observe international labor standards. This has meant better
living standards for the workers, and less risk for American companies.
World Trade Organization
reaches agreements for cutting farm subsidies and tariffs - but at what
The media have reported widely on the "success" of WTO trade
talks in Geneva, which came to some agreements: The US, the European Union
and Japan agreed to reduce the subsidies to farmers which have been harmful
to agricultural producers in developing nations. In exchange, developing
nations have agreed to cut the tariffs that many of them impose on
agricultural and industrial imports, thus offering more market opportunities
for exporters from the wealthier nations.
One such report, for example, was in the Washington Post.
But the Friends of the Earth International have issued a
more critical view of the WTO agreements, seeing them as produced by intense
pressure from the wealthy nations, and as creating more threats to the
environment and to developing nations' control over their own economies.
Inequality matters [7-10-04]
respected sources have recently argued that the growing inequality in
American society poses a serious threat to our democratic political system,
and to the well-being of our nation as a whole.
Bill Moyers, in an address at a June conference at New York University
on the theme "Inequality Matters," said "The middle class and working poor
are told that what's happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith's
'Invisible Hand.' This is a lie. What's happening to them is the direct
consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a
religious orthodoxy that in its hunger for government subsidies has made an
idol of power, and a string of political decisions favoring the powerful and
the privileged who bought the political system right out from under us."
Read the transcript
of his keynote address.
An article by Godfrey Hodgson, posted on
Opendemocracy.net, cites a report by respected American Political
Science Association scholars, who argue that social inequality is damaging
American democracy. Hodgson sees political implications in the United States
Baking A Difference for
A message through
an information network of the National Council of Churches. Dated
June 18, 2004, posted here 6-19-04
Looking for a new way
to get involved in your community? The Great American Bake Sale is a fun
and easy way to make a difference in the lives of the 13 million children
at risk of hunger in the U.S.
Participation is simple:
1) Register at
www.greatamericanbakesale.org or by calling (800) 761-4227. It's free
and easy. The Great American Bake Sale will send you a wall poster with
tips and recipes to get you started.
2)Plan and hold your bake sale anytime
between April 4th and July 25th. This year, as an official Great American
Bake Sale Community Partner, The National Council of Churches has helped
develop tips and materials for faith-based teams interested in
3)Send in your funds on or before July
25th and receive a Great American Bake Sale treat. Funds are distributed
to quality child hunger organizations in your state and across the
Nearly 7,000 teams, including about 600
faith-based teams, have already registered to participate in The Great
American Bake Sale 2004. Information on participation and tips for bake
sale success are available at
The Great American Bake Sale is
co-presented by PARADE Magazine and Share Our Strength, one of the
nation's leading anti-hunger organizations, and sponsored by ABC
Entertainment, Betty Crocker and Tyson Foods, Inc.
Co-op America seeks a fair chance for Fair Trade coffee in supermarkets
With coffee prices plummeting, there
is more need than ever to send more revenue back to farmers and
communities in crisis. Co-op America's Fair Trade Supermarket Campaign
calls on individuals and communities across the country to get involved in
grassroots action to make supermarket shelves full to the brim with Fair
Trade Certified coffee.
Go to their
website for more information, including a downloadable organizing
guide for promoting Fair Trade to supermarkets in your community, sample
letters to be used when writing to major supermarket chains, corporate
addresses for the major supermarket chains, and links for where to find
Fair trade products.
Wal-Mart marches on
We recently pointed you
to reports on Wal-Mart's use of its vast wealth in
its pursuit of more wealth.
wealth undercuts public education
Times carries an article by Glen Ford and
Peter Gamble, detailing the Walton family's investment of its money (the
five Waltons "occupy positions six through 10 in the Forbes billionaires
rankings, twice as rich as Microsoft's Bill Gates") to apply $20 billion
in support of the Bush administration's attack on public education through
the support of "alternative" forms of education, through voucher programs
and charter schools.
Costco, with better labor policies,
achieves better profits
Jonathan Tasini, president of the Economic Future
Group, considers "The Wal-Mart Myth" on TomPaine.com. He looks more
analytically at the vote against Wal-Mart's planned building in Inglewood,
California, and also notes the interesting fact that rival discount
retailer Costco has more enlightened policies, has unionized employees,
pays better wages - and better profits. Yet Wall Street is punishing its
So, he says, "In today's economy (or, for that matter,
yesterday's economy), whether a company treats its workers fairly and
satisfies consumers does not matter to Wall Street. Stock analysts don't
reward such a feat -- preferring instead that a company conform to Wall
Street standards by wringing out every cent from regular people's
Days of Action will again protest policies and programs of World Bank
and IMF [4-13-04]
more productive. But who gets the money?
Bob Herbert in a
Times column reported on a study by the Center for Labor Market
Studies at Northeastern University, entitled "The Unprecedented Rising
Tide of Corporate Profits . . ."
corporate profits are an unusually large percentage of the recent
"economic recovery," at the expense of labor. Thus, he says, "The American
workers' share of the increase in national income since November 2001, the
end of the last recession, is the lowest on record. Employers took the
money and ran. This is extraordinary, but very few people are talking
about it, which tells you something about the hold that corporate
interests have on the national conversation."
Wal-Mart shows the power of money - and the limits of money
- in politics [4-9-04]
Wal-Mart wants to build a
superstore in Inglewood, California. The city council doesn't want it.
Wal-Mart has spent over $1 million to bypass the council and the zoning
regulations of the city, but the ballot initiative it forced on the city
has been defeated by a 60-to-40 percent vote. A coalition of religious
leaders, community activists and unions worked to defeat the initiative.
CNN has a report on the vote, and Sojourners links to another report,
plus a report on Wal-Mart's spending over $1 million to influence national
From Sojo Online:
When it became clear to Wal-Mart that plans for a
superstore in Inglewood, California, would not be approved by the local
city council, they spent more than $1 million to promote a ballot
initiative that, according to The New York Times, would have made
the uber-chain "essentially exempt...from all of Inglewood's planning,
zoning, and environmental regulations, creating a city-within-a-city
subject only to its own rules." Though Wal-Mart paid signature gatherers
for the initiative more than the average wages of its stores' clerks,
opponents of the measure, with the support of elected officials, community
groups, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Nation of
Islam were able to defeat the measure by more than a three-to-two margin
in yesterday's vote.
Read more at:
Wal-Mart is also investing in politics at the national
level. Last year, the company's political action committee was the number
one corporate donor in the country, with over $1 million in contributions.
You get one guess as to which party receives 85% of its donations. Read
What's faith got to do with it? Read Sojourners'
commentary on Christians and Wal-Mart at:
Now's the time to call on Yum! Brands
(parent of Taco Bell) to treat the farmworkers decently.
National Coordinator of the Taco Bell Boycott
for the PC(USA), has sent us a message from Oxfam, urging those who care for
justice to send an e-message to the CEO of Yum! Brands, David Novak,
before Yum!'s annual meeting on 5/20/04. The message
includes a link for e-action, through which you can send a quick-and-easy
Noelle Damico participated with others in an Oxfam press
conference in Immokalee on Monday, coinciding with the release of an Oxfam
report called "Like Machines in the Field." They also called upon Yum! to be
an industry leader in ensuring their supply chain is exploitation-free.
You'll find reports of the press conference at
Click here for the Oxfam note.
And click here to jump directly to the e-action link.
Update on the Taco Bell
boycott and farmworkers' Truth Tour [2-18-04]
The Rev. Noelle Damico, Coordinator of the Taco Bell
Boycott for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), notifies us that the
farmworkers from Immokalee, Florida, will be holding a Truth tour from
February 25 through March 5th. In Louisville on February 27 the workers
and supporters will march from the PC(USA) headquarters to Yum! Brands
(Taco Bell's parent company). And beginning March 2 workers will march
from East LA down to Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine, CA arriving on
Ms. Damico has also provided a
more detailed schedule of the
farmworkers' Truth Tour, and a helpful
short history of the Taco Bell
boycott, the involvement of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and a list
it's growing; is it a sin? [1-5-04]
In an article published on Christmas eve,
Christian Science Monitor posed the question: "Inequity: Is it a
The rich-poor gap in the United States has doubled in 21
years and is set to widen further under new tax cuts. People of faith say
society has a moral responsibility to narrow that gap. So economists note
that the society that has prided itself on being an egalitarian model for
the world has become more unequal than "aristocratic" Europe.
head of Evangelicals for Social Action, is quoted as saying, "It's a
scandal that the richest society in human history has the highest poverty
level of any industrial nation."
Thanks to Bruce Gillette.
American dream is dead
And for another take on the growing inequality in
American society, Paul Krugman cites that "leftist rag," Business Week,
which declares that the American "Horatio Alger" dream is dead.
Krugman writes: "The article summarizes recent research
showing that social mobility in the United States (which was never as high
as legend had it) has declined considerably over the past few decades. If
you put that research together with other research that shows a drastic
increase in income and wealth inequality, you reach an uncomfortable
conclusion: America looks more and more like a class-ridden society. And
guess what? Our political leaders are doing everything they can to fortify
class inequality, while denouncing anyone who complains--or even points
out what is happening--as a practitioner of 'class warfare.' "
Thanks to Gene TeSelle.
|For more recent
reports on economic justice issues,
2002 - 2003 >>
Items from 1999 through 2001
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!