Washington finally deals with Iran even as State Dept. reneges on terms

first_imgApril 6 — The agreed nuclear framework negotiated between the Iranian government and an unholy alliance of imperialist bandits, in addition to China, must be put in proper perspective.Whatever the terms of the framework agreement, and whatever the ultimate outcome of the negotiations, the fact is that the imperialist powers have had to sit across the table and agree, in one form or another, to Iran’s right to a nuclear program and to lift the sanctions.This is a position Washington had refused to accept for 12 years.In fact, Washington refused to negotiate with Iran for decades. Instead, it dealt with Teheran with sanctions, attempted counterrevolution, invasion, bombing threats, vilification, attempted isolation and a long campaign to bring about economic collapse and “regime change.” This campaign has been going on without letup since day one of the Iranian Revolution and the establishment of the anti-imperialist Islamic Republic in 1979.Of course, the details of the final accord — if there is one — are all-important. But the fact that Iran is still standing as a sovereign and independent anti-imperialist country, and has forced imperialism to recognize it, is a historic testament to the will and resistance of the Iranian people.Three groupings in U.S. ruling classThere are three basic groupings in the U.S. ruling class with regard to the negotiations.The first is the regime-change grouping that has never left the scene and was invigorated by George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002. In this grouping are both John Bolton, a Republican neoconservative and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,  and Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina.Bolton wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times of March 25 titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” He went on to say that “military attacks should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Teheran.”Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, wants to sanction the government to death.The second grouping is the Obama camp, which wants to sell this deal to the ruling class here on the basis of it facilitating a broad realignment in the Middle East. Iran would presumably move to become a “respectable” member of the “community of nations,” and this would weaken the resistance front of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. it would also bring some relief to U.S. imperialism, which is deeply mired in crisis, from Afghanistan to North Africa.This geostrategic realignment is most likely wishful thinking on the part of a besieged imperialist government unsuccessfully trying to put out fires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria,  Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, etc. Much of the ruling class here is skeptical about such a scenario.Then there is a third grouping. It does not believe that the anti-imperialist government of Ali Khamenei is going to help imperialism out of its dilemma. This grouping has no illusions about realignment, but wants a deal to contain Iran’s nuclear program.James Baker of Texas, a former government official high in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, is in this third grouping. He told Fareed Zakaria on CNN on April 4 that realignment “is a very difficult concept to believe. … If we can get an agreement that is verifiable, that is tight … that would be a very good accomplishment whether there was a geostrategic realignment or not.”This middle grouping leans toward accepting the nuclear framework agreement and the future negotiations. But the relationship of forces within the camp of the political advisers outside Congress is one thing. The Congress itself, which is leaning way to the right, is another.Under ordinary circumstances this framework would most likely be accepted by the ruling class. But politics has gone so far to the right in the U.S. that there is a significant possibility that right-wing, militarist elements will scuttle the framework during or after the negotiations. Huge amounts of money are now flowing to the right-wing forces aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and are dedicated to destroying the framework before any agreement can be reached.State Department spin The State Department has issued a so-called Fact Sheet giving its spin on the talks. It is designed to sell the deal to the ruling class here. It also aims to lock in the Iranians to provisions they did not agree to. The State Department is treating this document as a legally binding agreement when it is in fact only the agreed-upon framework for further negotiations.The Iranian government has vigorously objected to this “spin” document, claiming it reneges on the agreement that sanctions would be lifted as soon as an accord was officially agreed upon. Secretary of State John Kerry and company have described a drawn-out, indefinite process for lifting the sanctions once Iran “has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.”The State Department Fact Sheet talks of Iran being able to engage in “limited” research. The Iranian document does not contain the word “limited.” There is also a dispute over the number of centrifuges the Iranians will retain.Nuclear terror states vs. IranThe dramatic negotiations and all the big business commentary have left out one monumental fact: It is atrocious that a group of imperialist countries that persist in stockpiling perhaps 10,000 nuclear weapons combined, not to mention the U.S. client state of Israel with hundreds more nuclear weapons, have the audacity to use methods of extortion — sanctions — to limit Iran’s nuclear development.But the most atrocious part of this arrangement is that the imperialists are pretending to prevent something that the U.S. government knows the Iranians are not trying to do:  develop a nuclear weapon. Developing a nuclear weapon under conditions of nuclear threat and encirclement is something they have every right to do, but the government long ago deemed this unwise, unnecessary, and religiously and morally wrong. In fact, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons.In 2005 the fatwa, which is more binding on Iranian Muslims than the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was announced by IRNA, the Iranian news agency. It was also presented to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Aug. 10, 2005.The IRNA posting said, “The Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has issued the Fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.” (juancole.com/2012/04/) Khamenei has declared weapons of mass destruction un-Islamic and their use to be a sin.In fact, it is precisely because Iran is not intending to develop a weapon that the government is open to wide inspection and significant reduction of nuclear enrichment.Dangers of the negotiationsIn any negotiations between a superpower such as the U.S. and a country like Iran, there is always the fear that the smaller country will be overwhelmed and forced into dangerous concessions that compromise its sovereignty and independence.In this light it is perfectly understandable that revolutionary Marxist, working-class, anti-imperialist partisans of Iran worry about, above all, the inspections process.Iran is strong enough to give leeway on enrichment. As long as they have their peaceful nuclear program and infrastructure intact, the Iranians can afford to compromise.If, however, the imperialists are allowed to take advantage of an unlimited inspections regime to undermine the security of the country and gain military and intelligence advantages that could be used in times of conflict or for sabotage, then the question of national sovereignty comes into play.The U.S. Fact Sheet has described the right of the IAEA to get access to “suspicious sites” or investigate allegations of “covert sites or facilities” anywhere in the country. This open-ended language will hopefully be clarified by the Iranian government in such a way as to prevent the unlimited access that is implied by the State Department.The concern about dangerous or unwarranted concessions arises because the Iranian regime has a dual character. On the one hand, it is an anti-imperialist government with a clerical leadership. On the other hand, it is a capitalist regime. And despite the anti-imperialist nature of the present leadership, bourgeois moderates in Iran have significant political strength. There is an understandable fear that they may have a negative influence on the outcome of the negotiations.Decade of threats and sanctionsBut so far the Iranians have stood up to a decade of threats and sanctions. It is unlikely they will compromise their sovereignty at this point.Iran was sanctioned three times by the U.N. Security Council — in 2006, 2008 and 2011. Each set of sanctions was stronger and broader than the previous one. It was further sanctioned by the U.S. Congress with drastic measures in 2010 and 2011. And it was sanctioned by the European Union in 2010 and 2012. All the sanctions were explicitly aimed at ending Iran’s enrichment program and dismantling its nuclear program.IN 2009, the U.S. fomented the so-called Green Revolution aimed at a counterrevolutionary overthrow of the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and its replacement by pro-imperialist elements. That effort was defeated.During all that time the Iranian government increased its enrichment facilities, increased the percentage of enrichments, developed an anti-ballistic missile, created higher-grade uranium, and more and better centrifuges. Teheran never buckled under the most extreme sanctions enforced by the entire gang of imperialist robbers.To be sure, Iran wants to be free of the sanctions. It wants normalization of relations. Iran will be forced into compromises — but hopefully on the basis of sovereignty, independence and holding imperialism at bay.It must be remembered that the background to these negotiations is not only the hardships being suffered by the Iranian people, but the growing and deepening regional crisis, from Afghanistan to North Africa, of U.S. imperialism and its partners in crime in London, Paris and Berlin — not to mention the global capitalist economic crisis. These are among the reasons that brought the imperialist side to the negotiating table.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

In Honduras, ‘Berta did not die, she multiplied’

first_imgMarch 24 — It has been three weeks since the assassination of beloved Indigenous leader and environmentalist activist Berta Cáceres of Honduras.Berta was killed by unknown assailants on March 3, after many death threats for her tireless work in defense of the Lenca nation as well as for the organization she co-founded, COPINH (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras), which defended the Lenca people’s treasured ancestral land and rivers.Berta CáceresThe Honduran and U.S. governments’ response is not to seek her murderers, but to harass, arrest and threaten COPINH instead.  Immediately after her death, the Honduran state detained her comrades in COPINH and confiscated their cell phones and other belongings. The Honduran government, a U.S. puppet, even made the absurd accusation that it was, in fact, COPINH members who had killed Berta.According to Beverly Bell, in the March 22 Foreign Policy In Focus, “Prominent COPINH organizer Aureliano Molina was imprisoned for two days on suspicion of ‘a crime of passion,’ though he was two hours away. … Two other COPINH leaders were interrogated for days … The government denied their request for accompaniment by their lawyers.”A fellow comrade of Berta’s from Mexico who was wounded when Cáceres was killed, Gustavo Castro, also an environmental activist, witnessed her murder. Castro is currently being detained in Honduras and is prohibited from leaving the country until further notice.  The movement believes that the Honduran government may attempt to frame Gustavo Castro for Cáceres’ murder.The deaths and repression continue. On March 19, another COPINH member, Nelson García, was viciously shot in the face and killed as he helped defend a community from military occupation.Resistance growsDespite the repression, the movement throughout the country and indeed the world has responded: “Berta did not die, she multiplied.”In the capital, Tegucigalpa, youths spray graffiti with that slogan across the city in an act of defiance to the occupying, U.S.-supported, death-squad government. Demonstrations and vigils are held regularly.  On International Women’s Day, March 8, marches with women carrying Berta’s picture flooded the streets. Reports that organizations of young people are working to take back their land are steady.The Honduras Solidarity Network issued this alert: “To the national and international community … through this we make the public aware that … youth from Guadalupe Carney, Trujillo Colón, Honduras, members of the Peasant Movement of Aguán … came to reclaim land belonging to the campesino community.”Olivia Zúñiga Cáceres, Berta’s oldest daughter, said on Democracy Now on March 18: “Today, we are here to demand justice and an explanation for the crime of the death of my mother, Berta Cáceres. We’ve launched … a battle at the international level, to exert pressure in order to demand that the … multinational corporations that come to plunder, to exterminate our people … spill our blood in our territories … that they stop being financed and leave our country.”Another daughter, Laura, traveled to Washington to meet with legislators about the assassination. There she told of Cáceres’ efforts to stop the Agua Zarca Dam construction along the Gualcarque River. This river is vital to the livelihood of the Indigenous Lenca people. More than 100 environmental defenders have been killed in Honduras in the last decade according to the Global Witness nongovernmental organization.Laura told Washington that Cáceres had received over 30 death threats.After Cáceres’ death, at least 60 congressional representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting an independent, international investigation into her murder.The letter criticized ongoing U.S. support for Honduran security forces. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced it would provide up to $750 million to support security and economic development programs across Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.However, it is, in fact, the U.S. government that is ultimately responsible for the death of Berta and the thousands of other human rights activists, political organizers, women, journalists, LGBTQ activists and others who have been terrorized for their resistance to an illegal, repressive, fraudulent government.Berta Cáceres was not just an environmentalist.  Her words demonstrate that she was anti-imperialist. In a Guardian newspaper interview in 2015, she declared:“The political, economic and social situation in Honduras is getting worse, and there is an imposition of a project of domination, of violent oppression, of militarization, of violation of human rights, of transnationalization, of the turning over of the riches and sovereignty of the land to corporate capital, for it to privatize energy, the rivers, the land; for mining exploitation; for the creation of development zones.”The turnover of wealth is all for U.S. imperialism.To find out what you can do for the people of Honduras and get justice for Berta Cáceres, demand freedom for Gustavo Castro and support the struggle in Honduras, visit www.hondurassolidarity.org and otherworldsarepossible.orgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Boston salutes Black August

first_imgMiya X. USW 8751 leader Georgia Scott and Monica Moorehead. The Boston Branch of Workers World Party held “A Dialogue with Monica Moorehead, Workers World Party 2016 Presidential Candidate,” on Aug. 20 to commemorate Black August. This is a month-long salute to the lives of freedom fighters who left a lasting legacy in the name of Black Liberation, radical resistance and mass consciousness. Miya X, a WWP leader in Boston, moderated the discussion.Black August originated in honor of the fallen warriors who valiantly fought to liberate Black Panther leader George Jackson on Aug. 7, 1970, from the U.S. penal system. Jonathan Jackson, George’s 17-year-old brother, was one of the martyrs. George Jackson, author of “Soledad Brother” and “Blood in My Eye” and a leader of the Black Panther Party, was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1971, by San Quentin prison guards.The discussion included the ongoing struggle for Black Liberation today represented by the Black Lives Matter uprising.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Student Union protests police violence

first_imgThe Philadelphia Student Union led a protest against police violence at the School District headquarters on May 11.The Philadelphia Student Union, one of a handful of youth-organizing groups in the city, led a protest on the steps of the Philadelphia School District headquarters on May 11. Students, parents, teachers, community members and City Council member Helen Gym spoke about police violence experienced by Black and Brown public school students here.In 2016, a student at Benjamin Franklin High School was assaulted by police officer Jeffrey Maciocha in a third-floor hallway as the student was trying to find a bathroom. The bathrooms on the other floors were all locked — a practice that is evidence of the criminalization of Black youth, who are not even trusted or permitted to freely use bathrooms!There is a graphic 13-second video of the student on the ground in what appears to be a chokehold, reminiscent of Eric Garner’s murder by New York police officers in July 2014. In response to the 2016 assault, the school district agreed to create a system so that complaints can be filed against school police officers, a demand set forth by PSU.However, the district’s complaint system is sorely lacking and does not address the demands made by PSU. The school district has failed to identify exactly how and where students can make complaints. Plus the system is only online, making it largely inaccessible to students without computer access.The school district, not an independent entity, will handle oversight of the complaint system. Already unaccountable to its students, and with a vested interested in protecting the police officers placed in schools, the school district will be the only entity investigating the complaints.Moreover, the complaint system is not open to the larger Philadelphia community, whose members often experience violence and harassment at the hands of school police.With lack of independent oversight, it is not difficult to imagine how many more voices of Philadelphia’s Black, Brown and other poor and oppressed students will be ignored. Several students who spoke at the rally noted that many district schools have more police officers than guidance counselors.Policing in a capitalist country, where wealth was built on the backs of slaves, poor people and immigrants and on stolen Indigenous land, is inherently racist and biased according to class. What the student at Benjamin Franklin High School experienced is the exertion of control over his Black body by a white supremacist institution.What is the purpose of policing in schools? To protect students? It is clear that marginalized and oppressed students need to be protected from police officers, as they all serve to keep oppressed peoples in their “place.” It is not enough to be anti-police brutality. We must be completely anti-police.The struggle against police harassment and occupation of our schools is directly linked to the struggle against police harassment and occupation at Standing Rock; against Immigration, Customs and Enforcement harassment and deportation faced by immigrants; against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; against the political repression and budget cuts in Puerto Rico; and so on. We must unite against imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Social Trans Initiative goes socialist

first_imgA New Year’s statement from Socialist Trans InitiativePensacola, Fla.Jan. 1 — Over the past five years, Strive has never attempted to conceal our views. We recognized early on that a major factor in the widespread oppression of transgender/nonbinary/genderqueer/Two-Spirit/non-Western-gendered people is capitalism.In precapitalist times, gender variance was not only acknowledged, but celebrated. It was only through the development of private property and divide-and-conquer tactics of the developing capitalist class that what we now know as transphobia began to take hold. Transgender people face higher amounts of homelessness, of poverty, of job discrimination, of medical discrimination, of violence, of assault and of murder. At the most concentrated level of these issues are Black transgender women, who face the highest amounts of all these issues, plus the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection. All this stems from the exploitative system that is capitalism.Since the current Executive Board began running Strive back in 2017, Strive has branched out to do solidarity work with other organizations around police brutality, prison abolition, anti-racism, anti-xenophobia, pro-immigration and other forms of anti-capitalist work.All this was one with developing our own Emergency Housing Program, a core mission of Strive, which serves to keep transgender people off the streets, thus reducing the risk of violence to them. We do not discuss numbers much, so as not to come off as bragging or anything like that, but we have kept perhaps a dozen, if not more, homeless transgender people off the streets. We have, with the help of the community, raised thousands of dollars to help transgender people in need. We’ve had power restored in homes, put food in people’s kitchens and put gas in people’s cars. All this is how we win against an exploitative system that does everything in its power to make us fail.Many people have called us “extremists” or “a welfare group”; sadly some of these people are transgender themselves or in the general LGBTQ2S+ community. Strive is not a welfare group; fellow queer/transgender people who say this are well off, detached from the reality of exploitation that working-class queer/transgender people go through.Solidarity is not charity or welfare; we believe in solidarity. It is unfortunate that many in our LGBTQ2S+ movement do not believe in that. As far as “extremists” go, we look to the words of George Jackson, Black Panther Party field marshal and political prisoner:“I am an extremist. I call for extreme solutions to extreme problems. Where face and freedom are concerned, I do not use or prescribe half-measures. To me life without control over the determining factors is not worth the effort of drawing breath. Without self-determination, I am extremely displeased.”Transgender people, as well as the LGBTQ2S+ community, face extreme problems. Strive believes, therefore, in extreme solutions.All this is to say: On Dec. 25, 2019, the Executive Board of Strive voted unanimously to approve a name change. Strive has, up until now, stood for Social Trans Initiative. We believed that a name change to reflect our core values was necessary.We are a socialist organization, and we believe socialism is the only way for transgender people to get free. Therefore, we voted to change our name to Socialist Trans Initiative. This change takes effect as of today, Jan. 1, 2020.Thank you to all of you who have worked with us over the years. We look forward to working continuously with you and building a better future.Happy New Year! Solidarity forever!Several Workers World Party members and candidates belong to Strive.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Stop union busting! BAmazon Union now!

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this A National Day of Solidarity has been called for Feb. 20 and there will be an organizing meeting via zoom on Feb. 12. For more info visit  https://supportamazonworkers.org/Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SupportAmazonWorkers Amazon Warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., are in a historic organizing drive for union representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. They received significant support at a Feb. 6 rally. Workers World Party comrades (pictured) joined participants ranging from nurses to miners, travelling from in-state and from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee.  Union solidarity for the majority Black workforce came from the Boston Teamsters, the Atlanta Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Atlanta Labor Council, Communication Workers (CWA), Electrical Workers (IBEW) and United Auto Workers. The president of the Alabama AFL-CIO addressed the rally.last_img read more

Beck’s Hybrids Announces Future Expansion

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Beck’s Hybrids Announces Future Expansion Beck’s Hybrids has announced plans to expand operations at the Atlanta, Ind., headquarters with a $60 million investment in processing, production, research, and distribution facilities, as well as creating new jobs over the next four years. “Over the last few years, we’ve experienced significant growth across our marketing area with new sales territories, new facility locations, and new employees,” said Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. “With this expansion, we’re not just investing in our future, but the future of Midwest farmers.”New construction projects for 2014 include two new 4,000 square-foot greenhouses and the expansion of the Biotechnology Building. The Biotechnology Building expansion will provide more office and laboratory space for Beck’s and other companies to utilize for research and product development. Beck’s will also add four machinery storage buildings for trucks and seed equipment.“With our recent territory expansion into Tennessee, eastern Iowa, and eastern Missouri, it’s important we have the infrastructure in place to serve farmers with the best in seed quality, field performance, and customer service,” said Beck. “Our family of employees is committed to bringing farmers an increasing number of new, high-performing products that are specifically designed to perform on their farms.In the next three to four years, the expansion at the headquarters includes an additional soybean seed processing tower that is expected to produce one million bags of seed in the first year with the capability of additional quantities in the future. As growth continues, new seed drying and storage facilities will be constructed.“Indiana’s economic growth is sprouting from farms across the state,” said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann. “Here in America’s heartland, growing the food on our tables and building the tools for our world remains a Hoosier specialty. The innovation coming from Beck’s Hybrids melds the two, developing high-performance seeds for our farmers. Through their work, companies like Beck’s Hybrids are creating more jobs and more opportunities for Hoosiers, just part of what helps make Indiana a state that works for business.” As part of an initiative with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and Hamilton County, Beck’s Hybrids will expand operations at the headquarters and add 100 new jobs by 2017. Currently, Beck’s employs 400 full-time employees. Other investments during the expansion include warehouse renovation, seed production storage, seed equipment, and office renovation. Construction will begin this summer and take approximately three to four years to complete.Source: Beck’s Beck’s Hybrids Announces Future Expansion SHARE By Andy Eubank – Apr 2, 2014 SHARE Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter Previous articleBeef Prices Will Remain High Until Herd Numbers IncreaseNext articleAgrIInstitute Announces ALP Class 16 Andy Eubanklast_img read more

Ag Coalition Meets with EPA over RFS

first_img SHARE Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter Other topics discussed during the meeting included emerging conversion technologies, which will allow the significant amount of biomass feedstocks available in the United States to produce as much as 80-100 billion gallons annually. For additional information, contact Ernie Shea, 25x’25 project coordinator, at 410-952-0123, or at [email protected]×25.org. Ag Coalition Meets with EPA over RFS By Hoosier Ag Today – Apr 10, 2014 A group of agricultural companies (mostly 25x’25 partners) met on Thursday, April 9, with Janet McCabe, Acting EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, to voice their concerns over the agency’s proposal to reduce biofuel blending requirements this year under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Representatives of the American Soybean Association, Croplife America, National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), National Corn Growers Association, American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and CNH (an agricultural equipment manufacturing firm) took part in the meeting. The groups stressed the economic, environmental, national security and human health benefits of biofuels, urging EPA to drop its proposal to reduce RFS blending targets. McCabe told the group EPA understands the multiple and valuable benefits of biofuels, and the agency understands need for policy certainty. She said EPA continues to examine data in pursuit of a viable RFS rule, which the agency expects to announce in June, and pledged the agency will carefully review all comments submitted on the proposal. SHARE Home Indiana Agriculture News Ag Coalition Meets with EPA over RFS Previous articleAg Organizations Testify on Rail IssuesNext articleHarsh Winter and Rail Delays Impact Ethanol Industry Hoosier Ag Todaylast_img read more

“Go For Launch” Makes Push for Ag in Indiana Classrooms

first_img By Andy Eubank – Feb 19, 2015 Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News “Go For Launch” Makes Push for Ag in Indiana Classrooms SHARE Promoting Ag EducationThis year’s Indiana FFA state officer project working with Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann turned into much more than the officers imagined when they brainstormed the idea early in their officer year. Wednesday “Go For Launch” at the leadership center focused on the benefits of a STEM based ag education program in the classroom. Dr. Paul Kaiser, superintendant of Beech Grove City Schools spoke highly of what the program has done for his schools.“We’re in an urban environment,” he said. “We have 3,000 students so most of our kids have never been to the farm. They don’t understand agri-science or agri-education so we now require that as an 8th grade course. We think it is so valuable that our kids understand the environment around them, where their food comes from, and probably even more importantly the job opportunities that are out there for them. For us the agri-science program is a vision setting program. it gives our kids an opportunity, it gives them a chance to have a vision of something they know they can achieve.”He told HAT they started the program three years ago. The biggest implementation challenge?“Changing the mindset about this is all about production farming to it’s really and truly about agri-science and the multitude of high paying and high skilled jobs that are out there for our kids.”Kaiser was one of 5 panelists, and they weren’t just preaching to the choir. School corporations that don’t offer agriculture in the curriculum were also present, and they heard Dr. Allen Talbert from Purdue confirm the outstanding job availability for ag students.“Very bright,” he said. “In fact there is about 60% of graduates for the demand, so there is more than one job per graduate.Talbert is Professor of Agriculture Education at Purdue University. Indiana FFA’s Steve Hickey was happy with the inaugural Agricultural Education Informational Luncheon, as it turns out an important event to promote ag education.“As we heard today one of the great challenges is getting all of our schools, even our rural schools, to understand that we’re not teaching kids to be farmers. We know that’s a tiny percentage in that room. What we’re teaching are the skills necessary to go forth in any discipline they choose.”Hickey lauded the great run for ag education in the Hoosier state in the last few years, noting the roughly 9,000 Indiana FFA members 3 ½ years ago. The organization is now pushing closer to 11,000 members, and the number of schools with programs has increased from 176 to 195 in the last 4 years.“And there are folks in this room I’m guessing are going to push that number even higher,” he said.(pictured left to right: Kate Skirvin, Agriculture Educator at North Putnam High School, Dr. Paul Kaiser, Superintendent of Beech Grove City Schools, Stefany Deckard, State Program Leader for Agriculture Education and State Perkins Specialist, Dr. Allen Talbert, Professor of Agriculture Education Purdue University and Dr. Dwight Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer National FFA Staff) “Go For Launch” Makes Push for Ag in Indiana Classrooms Facebook Twitter SHARE Previous articleClosing CommentsNext articleStudy Quantifies Positive Impacts of U.S. Ethanol Production Andy Eubanklast_img read more

Canada Set To Retaliate Over COOL

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Canada Set To Retaliate Over COOL Canada Set To Retaliate Over COOL Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Jun 4, 2015 Canada’s ag ministry on Thursday asked the World Trade Organization for authorization to complete $3 billion in retaliatory measures on grounds that the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling requirement harms trade. Canada’s request will be considered by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on June 17, 2015, Canada’s International Trade and Agriculture and Agri-Food offices said.The request comes as the WTO on May 18 ruled that the COOL rule was noncompliant with WTO trade rules. Canada asserts the rule, which requires that certain products be labeled with the country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, discriminate against the country’s own cattle and hogs.“Despite the WTO’s final ruling that U.S. country of origin labelling measures are discriminatory, the United States continues to avoid its international trade obligations,” Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast said in a statement.Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to the announcement,  “Ag trade is a vital part of the U.S. economy. Retaliation by Canada will have a significant impact on American farmers and ranchers, threatening rural economies as well as our relationship with one of America’s greatest allies and trading partners. We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to ensure the United States is in compliance with World Trade Organization obligations in regards to country-of-origin labeling.” SHAREcenter_img Facebook Twitter If Canada is granted authority to retaliate, a wide range of products including cattle and pork, dairy and produce products, even domestic products like furniture, could be affected. Previous articleOil Lower as OPEC Meeting LoomsNext articleCooler Weather Still Causing Issues in Indiana Corn Gary Truitt SHARElast_img read more