A Look at Kenya's Election with Assumpta Oturu

Written by stephanie case on . Posted in Front News

Violence broke out in Kenya after the opposition candidate in the country's presidential election has claimed massive voter fraud. Raila Odinga, in his fourth presidential run, challenged incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta in Tuesday's vote. A local human rights commission says it has found discrepancies between results announced by the government's election commission and paper forms signed at a polling station. To add to the tension: last week, a senior election official in charge of voting technology, Chrisopher Msando, was found tortured and killed.

Our guest in studio is Assumpta Oturu, host of "Spotlight Africa" on Pacifica Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles.

Listen to past shows here.

Photo: New York Times.

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A New Way of Life Founder Susan Burton Discusses Her New Memoir, "Becoming Ms. Burton"

Written by stephanie case on . Posted in Front News

Susan Burton joined us in studio to discuss her new memoir, "Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women."

After cycling in and out of the criminal justice system for nearly 15 years, Susan Burton gained her freedom and sobriety. In 1998, she founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, an Los Angeles–based organization dedicated to helping women rebuild their lives and heal from the experiences of incarceration.

In the foreword to Burton's memoir, Michelle Alexander deemed Susan a "modern-day Harriet Tubman."

Listen to past shows here.

Photo: Becoming Ms. Burton.

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A Note From The Editor Of The Offing

Written by Super User on . Posted in Front News


by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


Hello, I'm Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, theoretical physicist and now, Editor in Chief of this esteemed publication. As many of you now know, over the summer there were changes here at The Offing. We went independent of the Los Angeles Review of Books and slowed down our submissions review in order to create a more sustainable and equitable journal. I'm happy to say that we are now back with the stunning writing you've come to expect from The Offing  — with many of the same departments, plus a new science department. We have also launched a Patreon campaign. Please consider becoming a monthly sustainer at $5 or $10 or more per month to support our fledgling independence! The funds will help us establish ourselves as an independent non-profit that continues to offer honoraria to writers and hopefully can begin offering them to our phenomenal content editors as well. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pieces from the last few months at The Offing. Also, visit us today to see our first piece from the Back of the Envelope department!

New Work at The Offing

FICTION Trespassing by Nghiem Tran

"I was horrified: instead of a farm, our backyard was going to be a gravesite."



I HAVE QUESTIONS by Khadijah Queen

"What does a new narrative look like?"



This Cave by Ginger Ko

"For years, she fought to articulate difference and that singlemindedness threw disdain on frivolity. She is done fighting so much. White people were always in the landscape first, even if they weren’t."



from the Koreana Cycle by Scarlett Ji Yeon Kim

"This girl who was lustful who was cunning in particular who had a yellow attitude

who received the seed that has been come she nearly died of too much sex."



The Violence Inherent by Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil

An exploration of indigenous identity in the documentary INAATE/SE/ [it shines 

a certain way. to a certain place./it flies. falls./], which premiered earlier this year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


In Service of Staying Alive by Lynne Procope

"I know how it would look if I ever began moving,

sure and swift and cruel, under its impetus.

But I can't stay still or silent and hope to survive."



What Perfume Is, by Riane Konc

"Perfume is wearing a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding."



Bond Voyage by Catherine Bresner

"Duplication is deadweight."




Introducing Back of the Envelope by Arianne Shavisis & Mark Zastrow

An introduction to the new science department at The Offing



The Offing is a member supported online literary magazine with non-profit status pending. Your contribution matters. 

Pledge a monthly sustaining donation via Patreon


Support us with a one time donation today via PayPal 

Copyright © 2015. The Offing. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: available upon request.

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A People’s Recovery: Radical Organizing in Post-Maria Puerto Rico

Written by Super User on . Posted in Front News

Portside Date: October 20, 2017


Author: Juan Carlos Dávila

Date of Source: Wednesday, October 18, 2017, The Indypendent

A People’s Recovery: Radical Organizing in Post-Maria Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, most telecommunications services collapsed, particularly cell phones and internet providers. People struggled for days to contact their loved ones, and although there have been some improvements, making a call, sending a text message, and connecting to the Internet is still a challenge in most areas.

Only certain analog and satellite telephones managed to survive the category-four hurricane, and the landline of Cucina 135, a community center located next to San Juan’s financial center, was one of them.

“Having a phone line was an invaluable resource,” said Luis Cedeño, spokesperson for El Llamado, an organization focused on providing support and unifying social movements in Puerto Rico. El Llamado (The Call) is supported by the Center for Popular Democracy and is led by a group of organizers from different sectors, including artists, communicators, social workers and student leaders.

The second day after the hurricane, El Llamado began calling Puerto Ricans in the diaspora from the landline of Cucina 135 to organize relief efforts independent of government agencies or big NGOs like the Red Cross. Cucina 135 is based in a small house that has been converted into a communal kitchen and meeting space. El Llamado now oversees Cucina 135, which serves as a gathering point for activists in a post-Maria Puerto Rico where they can exchange information and coordinate relief efforts. The main concern of organizers coming into the space was the mobilization of thousands of U.S. troops to the island who were not distributing the much-needed aid, but controlling it. Meanwhile, prices soar and people go hungry.

In the rural town of Utuado, about 65 miles inland from San Juan, the military presence is widely visible. The U.S. Army has established a checkpoint at the entrance of the small urban center in this mountain town. Troops were posted three days after the hurricane hit. Still, more than a week later (I visited the town on Oct. 2), residents less than a mile away from the checkpoint had only received one FEMA meal box that contained two bottles of water.

Leonilda Maldonado Guzmán is a resident of Utuado. When I interviewed her, she talked to me about the abandonment she feels: “It’s like we don’t exist. In Utuado, we feel abandoned, because no help has arrived. There’s elderly people here. Most of us can’t communicate with our families. We don’t have medicine. Nobody has come to help. My house is damaged. I have asthma. I have many health problems.”

Responding to this official neglect, El Llamado is currently supporting more than 20 grassroots initiatives that range from debris cleaning brigades to agricultural projects to communal kitchens, including one in Utuado that identifies as a Center of Mutual Support (CAM in Spanish).

The CAMs fight hunger while striving to raise the political consciousness of participants.

Five of these centers have opened their doors since the hurricane. The first one appeared in the city of Caguas; the organizers’ philosophy is to encourage communities to unite and become self-sustaining, “The CAM is the proposal of a new municipality and a new country. The CAM is the new municipality of Caguas… through structures like this, of people participation, I know that we can construct other things,” said Giovanni Roberto, a former student leader at the University of Puerto Rico and current coordinator of the CAM in Caguas, which serves about 600 meals per day. Since 2013, Roberto has run a project called Comedores Sociales (“Social Diners”) that seeks to provide food to university students who struggle financially. This served as a foundation for the establishment of the CAM.

In the long term, the objective of the CAMs is to build popular power from within the communities and eventually move Puerto Rico away from its colonial dependency to the United States. Currently, Puerto Rico imports about 88 percent of its food, and, because of the Jones Act, supplies can only arrive on U.S. vessels. This means that even aid cannot come from countries other than the United States. The colonial status creates a major humanitarian problem, particularly after a catastrophe like Hurricane Maria, when Puerto Ricans are facing shortages of water, food and medicine on a daily basis.

Before Hurricane Maria, most activism in Puerto Rico was centered around the issue of the $74 billion debt and opposition to the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). The latter established a seven-member unelected oversight board that controls Puerto Rico’s finances. However, activists opposing the payment of the debt and PROMESA were focusing on hunger and poverty prior to Hurricane Maria. The catastrophe accelerated efforts already underway as the economic crisis and precarious position for the masses of Puerto Ricans is worsening even more.

After a community breakfast in Río Piedras, I sat down with Marisel Robles, a spokesperson from the group Promises Are Over (SALP in Spanish). SALP has been organizing against PROMESA since President Barack Obama signed it into law. Presently, Robles is one of the coordinators of the Olla Común (Common Pot), another CAM initiative. As some volunteers cleaned the support center, and others began preparing the meal for the next day, Robles stated, “Hunger was already being discussed, and the level of poverty was being discussed. But after the hurricane hit us so hard, the veil of everything was lifted.” The Common Pot in Río Piedras has around 30 volunteers that coordinate the distribution of 150 breakfast meals per day from Monday through Saturday.

But the Common Pot should not be mistaken for a cafeteria, as Scott Barbés Caminero, coordinator of the CAM and member of the SALP, emphasized when addressing residents of Río Piedras before breakfast, “The Center of Mutual Support is not a cafeteria. It is a space where we come to help each other in light of a situation where the government collapsed after Hurricane Maria,” Barbés Caminero said. The Common Pot operates under an egalitarian system, which organizers call Sistema de Aportación (Contribution System). And while all comers are welcome to have breakfast, the objective is that everyone becomes involved with the project by volunteering for work, donating food items or contributing money. “If we all are doing this, Puerto Rico would be advancing,” said one man as he waited in line for breakfast.


Source URL: https://portside.org/2017-10-21/people%E2%80%99s-recovery-radical-organizing-post-maria-puerto-rico

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Activist Kumi Naidoo and Historian Dr. Gerald Horne Weigh In on Zimbabwe's Political Crisis

Written by stephanie case on . Posted in Front News

A coup is underway in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe, the country's longtime prime minister, is being held under house arrest. What does this mean for the continent? Our guests are Kumi Naidoo, South African human rights activist and launch director of Africans Rising; and Dr. Gerald Horne, historian and professor at the University of Houston.

Listen to past shows here.

Photo: Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters.

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