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Works in Progress

Gunfire and wildfire: The new abnormal

Thousand Oaks, California: a city torn apart by wildfire and gunfire. Both are unnatural disasters. “This is the new abnormal,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in November at a press conference, talking about global warming and the three voracious fires that were tearing up his state, one of them—the Camp Fire,…

This is our lane: Furious docs explain they’re not anti-gun but anti-bullet hole

Last week, hours before the slaughter of 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, CA., our 307th mass shooting this year, the ever-judicious NRA denounced doctors and other health care professionals—those steadfast, often blood-soaked heroes who daily labor to pick up the shattered pieces from NRA-funded carnage…

Olympia carpenters at the New School for Union Organizers: Getting another set of tools

The first installment of this series appeared in the November Works in Progress... At the end of the summer in 1988, I enrolled along with a carpenter named Gary, in the New School for Union Organizers, a program of the Labor Center at The Evergreen State College. I had been working for Jones & Roberts on a new middle school in Elma and Gary was the local’s Business Agent. There were about 20 of us set for 9 months of evening classes—members of unions, community organizations, and ...

We are not robots

Amazon workers across Europe walk out on black Friday over low wages and ‘inhuman conditions’ Amazon workers across Europe staged a walkout on Black Friday—when retailers offer major deals to holiday season shoppers the day after Thanksgiving—to protest low wages as well as “inhuman conditions” at company warehouses. “It is…

Class war on Olympia’s sidewalks

Gentrification, homelessness and the battle for public space -- On August 24, 2018, Olympia Parks, Recreation and Arts Director Paul Simmons made the dramatic and apparently unilateral decision to shutter the Artesian Commons Park. The park is a small, asphalt-covered area featuring tables and a basketball hoop and devoid of green space. It also contains Olympia’s Artesian Well, a natural spring, which remains open....

Connecting across boundaries at the Parliament of World Religions

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the oldest, largest, most diverse and inclusive global interfaith event. The Parliament was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and to foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions to achieve a just, peaceful, and sustainable…