Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/

The Powers and Limits of Hospitality: Lublin, Poland

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 10:01pm in


activism, Judaism

This text is thus a tribute to the struggle of a culture of hospitality against various forms of exclusion and to the people who have participated in it, now and in the past. Socially and culturally, the case of Lublin, with its many traditions and many contradictory policies, shows how difficult it is to practice democratic hospitality in the contemporary world and how fragile our democracy is....

Read More

Breaking Through for LGBTQI Rights

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 6:04am in

We have to understand that the ones who are in these spaces are the ones who can create change, be it positive or negative....

Read More

Bans Off Our Bodies All Over the Country

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 3:29am in

Photo credit: Jo Freeman Roughly 20,000 people rallied and marched in Washington, D.C. for abortion rights.  It was one of...

Read More

Young Women Rally for Abortion outside Supreme Court

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 09/05/2022 - 8:52pm in



Photo credit: Jo Freeman Roughly a hundred young women gathered outside the Supreme Court on May 6 to rally for...

Read More

‘Climate Crisis Isn’t a Separate Issue – It Will Affect Everything’: How a Lack of Education is Risking Our Planet’s Future

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 9:49pm in

From classrooms to the corridors of Government, campaigners believe that a lack of climate education is failing our Earth, reports Sophia Alexandra Hall


In the early April sunshine of Downtown LA, respected NASA climate scientist Dr Peter Kalmus was arrested and charged with trespassing after he chained himself to the JP Morgan Chase building. 

Dr Kalmus was one of more than 1,000 scientists who engaged in civil disobedience this month, as part of a “loose-knit international group” called Scientist Rebellion.

The movement, he told Byline Times, was forged in a shared feeling of desperation within the scientific community “by the inaction of world leaders in the face of our overwhelming evidence”.

“We feel compelled to speak in the strong language of civil disobedience," Dr Kalmus said. “To wake up the world and create social transformation, for the sake of all life on Earth”.

A video of him speaking outside the bank has since gone viral on TikTok.

“We chose JPMorgan Chase because, out of all the banks in the world, it does the most to fund fossil fuel infrastructure,” he added. “This means it does the most to fund the destruction of our planet.”

Dr Kalmus is an established scientist with world-leading knowledge on the climate emergency. But he believes that if we are to create a better future for our planet, more must be done to educate young people – starting in schools. While his teenage sons learn about Earth science and climate science in the classroom, he argues that this is “not nearly enough”.

“Education needs to do more than just teach climate science,” Dr Kalmus told Byline Times. “It also has to teach the history of the lies from the fossil fuel industry, as well as real solutions.

"My sons don’t learn about the history of climate denial and how the fossil fuel industry very deliberately worked to misinform the public, bribe politicians, and prevent action. This is extremely important to teach. We can’t fix our democracy and corporations if people don’t even learn that they are broken.”



Help to expose the big scandals of our era.

5,500 miles away in London, 15-year-old student and Youth Parliament member Ellie Whitwam agrees that schools must do more to educate people about the climate emergency. Her initial exposure to the climate crisis came four years ago – but via TV, not a teacher. 

“It was actually because of a David Attenborough programme,” she said. “Afterwards I found out some more details in the news and on social media.”

Ellie is concerned that young people are not getting taught about the climate crisis in schools and are instead forced to discover information for themselves – meaning that only those with an existing interest will know what’s going on in the world around them.

“It’s worrying that I had to teach myself about the climate crisis in Year 7 when many others might not have chosen to do so,” she told Byline Times. “I couldn’t believe that some people weren’t being taught about something that was already impacting us everyday.”

She said that, although the climate crisis was occasionally mentioned in assemblies or geography lessons, most of the information she learned was from media she chose to consume outside of school. 

This is despite the fact that environmental issues are something young people care about. Natural England found that 78% of 8-15 year olds agreed that looking after the environment was important to them, and 81% of those surveyed said that they wanted to do more to look after the environment.

Understanding the Science

Dr Peter Kalmus’ protest took place two days after the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group Three report.

The report was clear that all new fossil fuel builds must now end, and that businesses and governments must immediately begin to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Kalmus said that the problem is that "world leaders are doing the opposite – they are increasing fossil fuels".

“This is why over a thousand scientists around the world, including us, decided to take action like this," he told this newspaper. "We are literally fighting to protect life on Earth and humanity’s collective future. It sounds dramatic to phrase it like that, but it’s accurate.”

In response to the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But, the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels”.

As the report was published, a second climate protest continued in London, where software engineer Angus Rose went on hunger strike outside Westminster.

His demand focused on better education – starting with MPs and then the wider public. He committed to strike until the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, Greg Hands, organised a briefing for MPs and the Cabinet so that they could better understand the science behind the climate emergency.

His protest was backed by more than 75 scientists – including former Government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King. After 37 days without food, Rose’ demands were finally met. 

He recognises the power of education to change politicians’ and the public’s minds when it comes to the climate emergency.

“We know from a Freedom of Information request that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a briefing by the UK’s current Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance on 20 January 2020,” Rose told Byline Times. “This led to a radical improvement in Johnson’s understanding of climate change. He even called it his ‘Road to Damascus’ moment.”

Rose wanted to replicate this experience and ensure that every MP could have their own ‘Road to Damascus’ moment.

“A lot of decision-makers have no background in science, so important reports sometimes end up as a pile of papers on a desk, and decision makers may choose to pick up and read those papers or not,” Rose said. “What we need them to do is study those papers and really try to understand how to analyse the UK.”

That goes for the public too. Rose has requested that the briefings be broadcast for everyone to see.

As Dr Kalmus and Ellie Whitwam argue, public education can’t start early enough.

The UK’s Department for Education has now approved plans to introduce a GCSE in Natural History in 2025 which will enable students to develop a “rich understanding of the natural world”.

For Ellie, this is a step in the right direction – but is clear that one optional GCSE subject is not accessible to everyone and that more needs to be done.

“It cannot stop there," she said. "The education system must be rapidly reformed to put the climate crisis at the forefront of every curriculum. 

“The climate crisis isn’t a singular separate issue, it is something which will affect everything and everyone, worsening issues like misogyny, racism, classism and poverty. If we bring the next generation up with an awareness of the climate crisis issues affecting our planet, the people leading our country in the future will have the tools to put the climate at the forefront of policies. School is an incredible vehicle for change and we must use it.”




Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.





‘This War Shows It’s Very Fragile to Rely On Force’: Meet Ukraine’s Human Rights Activists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 6:00pm in

Sian Norris speaks to three campaigners fighting for a fairer, more equal Ukraine when the war ends


Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, people around the world have become spectators to the horrors of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses – including mass rapes and massacres in the city of Bucha.

As we watch events unfold, Ukraine’s human rights activists have been actively responding to the devastation in their country – painstakingly collecting evidence of the crimes in order to one day hold Russian forces accountable. 

Byline Times spoke to human rights activists in Ukraine to find out what kind of future they hope to build for their country when the war ends, and how out of the ashes of conflict, a fairer and more democratic society can flourish. 

The LGBTIQ Activist

Since the first small and threatened Kyiv Pride March in 2012, the movement for LGBTIQ equality in Ukraine has grown and grown, explains Edward Reese. The activist fled Ukraine when war broke out.

“Last year, we had Pride marches in Kyiv, as well as in Odessa and even in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Reese said. “We try to involve the whole country and work with a range of LGBTIQ and feminist groups.”

Before the Russian invasion, the LGBTIQ movement in Ukraine was focused on introducing a hate crime law that would provide better legal protections for the community.

“There are several transphobic and homophobic groups which are connected to Russia, the church and the far-right,” he said. “And, from time to time, particularly around elections, they become quite active. I hope we can start work on this law again after the victory.”

The war has caused specific issues for the LGBTIQ community in Ukraine. Trans women who do not have legal recognition of their gender have struggled to leave a country where all young men are facing conscription. Reese is also concerned about the welfare of LGBTIQ people who may face discrimination and prejudice at home, but are now obliged to live with their families.

“Pride organises activities to support them,” he said. “We offer psychological support to those forced to stay in difficult situations who are separated from the ones they love.”

Some LGBTIQ people have experienced violence since the war began.

“A lesbian activist named Olena Shevchenko was attacked when she was offering humanitarian aid,” he told Byline Times. “It was celebrated on far-right social media channels. But people who were not connected to the far-right did not support it as they saw her as helping those in need. They see that doing an attack like that before the war was crazy. Doing it during a war is even crazier.”

Reese believes that there is hope for the future of the community, however, not least because homophobia and transphobia are now so closely associated with Russia and Vladimir Putin’s regime. 

“I know a lot of the hate will be gone because it’s Russian, it’s Russian Nazi politics, and people will turn their backs on it,” he said. “LGBTIQ people are soldiers, we are fighting for our country and when the victory comes we will march together on Pride again.”

The Workers Rights Activist

Vitaly Dudin is a left-wing trade unionist activist who leads the Sotsialny Rukh – a socialist movement advocating for workers’ rights.

“Before the war we helped people to defend their rights in work and to demand better conditions from employers and the Government,” he said.

In recent years, Dudin has campaigned against growing neoliberalism in Ukraine and the introduction of laws which benefit employers and investors over workers. He is concerned that the war has created conditions for labour rights to be suspended or challenged – and he and his movement are determined to keep advocating for workers’ rights. 

Ukraine’s economy is set to shrink by 46% this year. Dudin has spoken to various workers who have had their wages reduced or suspended – but when the time comes to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure, those workers will be needed more than ever. 

“It is a way of deepening the social crisis in Ukraine,” Dudin warned. “I think it could make matters worse if people have their work suspended, their wages suspended, and can’t afford to buy food or essentials. People are not receiving their pay, they are reliant on state aid.”

Many of the people Dudin works with are experiencing intense suffering as a result of Russia’s invasion.

“A lot of people are being killed by Russian tank bomb and shells. People are suffering because of lack of food, water and so on," he said. "Homes are being destroyed.”

For this reason, he is clear that, when the war is over, the emergency labour laws must be lifted. But he also argues that Ukraine’s international debt should be cancelled in order to help the country rebuild. 

Dudin draws strength and solidarity from the energy and determination of Ukraine’s left-wing workers’ movement, even as war rages.

“We the people will not be defeated,” he told Byline Times. “We shall overcome. But we need to connect as a movement and recognise shared and common interests. We can show that capitalism and neoliberalism doesn’t work and that we don’t want to bear additional costs that risk making our lives more terrible.”


Receive the monthly Byline Times newspaper and support quality, investigative reporting.


The Human Rights Activist

Oleksandra Matvichuk has worked in human rights for two decades. She supported protestors who were prosecuted and mistreated during Ukraine's Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity and documented alleged war crimes in the Donbas region following Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Now, she told Byline Times, “we are working in several directions, including recording war crimes".

“My major concern is how we can stop this war,” she said. “The question we face right now is not only how can we record evidence of war crimes, but how we can stop the war crimes before new victims emerge. Because we see Russia using war crimes as a message. Russia deliberately ruins critical civilian infrastructure, deliberately attacks the civilian population, in order to provide enormous loss and pain and to stop resistance of the nation.”

Matvichuk is very clear about what is needed to support human rights in Ukraine and calls for international solidarity, including “weaponry from Western democracies and real, tough sanctions that can freeze the Russian economy on the spot”.

Doing so, she argues, will stop war being profitable to Russia. “The main challenge for me is not only how to document war crimes for future justice,” she said. “But how we can help much more people to survive, and to be alive ready for the moment when this future justice will appear.”

Matvichuk recognises that many people will be struggling with trauma from seeing loved ones killed, surviving sexual violence, being separated from their families, and witnessing deadly violence.

“We will need efforts to restore the ruin to civilian infrastructure, to return people to real life and to provide adaptation for soldiers and for people who go through rape, tortures, and who suffers from post trauma syndrome. We will need to restore the belief that the law exists.”

Despite the horrors the country now faces, Matvichuk remains hopeful. “I look with optimism in the future. This war shows that it's very fragile to rely upon force.”




Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.





Water Belongs to the People, Not Corporations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/04/2022 - 10:00pm in

Is water sacred? In the Roman Catholic tradition, it is through a rite of minor-exorcism: prayers that both breaks the influence of evil and sin in a person's life and sanctifies water as “holy.” In this ancient rite, a priest blesses the living “creature of water” to cast out devils, put sickness to flight, and let the hidden enemy depart....

Read More

The Rise of Humanitarian Corridors

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/04/2022 - 4:00am in

The type of global public religion that the Sant’ Egidio community offers no silver bullet for those who are internally displaced or pushed across borders. And yet, secularism and secularists cannot combat these crises alone. Although a magical solution is not at hand, a certain form of help is. The question that remains is whether new, secular-religious, transnational alliances can be formed. Can there be new collaborations between these old rivals? ...

Read More

Philosophy & Activism (guest post)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/04/2022 - 9:57pm in

While some people have argued that political activism is in tension with academic inquiry (here, for example), there have been plenty of well-regarded scholars who have engaged in such activism, including in philosophy.

In the following guest post*, Jill Delston, a philosopher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, discusses the relationship between philosophy and activism, and provides information about some events on this subject.

[Jacob Lawrence, “The Migration Series”, Panel 1]

Philosophy & Activism
by Jill Delston

What is the relationship between philosophy and activism?

Philosophers often consider the question of what the good life is. If the good life includes activities of civic engagement aimed at using public values to improve our communities and broader world, activism may be central to the answer to that question. On the role of civic engagement in the good life, Amartya Sen argues that it is constitutive, writing that, “exercising civil and political rights is a crucial part of good lives of individuals as social beings.”

There is a long tradition of philosopher-activists. Socrates and Diogenes were activists of a certain stripe. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill used their moral theory of utilitarianism to advocate for political reforms. Bertrand Russell was a pacifist who used his platform to oppose war, and Martin Luther King, Jr. used non-violent direct action to oppose segregation as well as pacifism globally. Today, Martha Nussbaum, Cornel West, Peter Singer, and Angela Davis are among the many academic philosophers who use their writings in tandem with their activism to advance their philosophical approaches.

The role of activism in philosophy may also point the way forward for the future of our discipline itself and can be one way to show our value and influence. For example, Robin Fretwell Wilson writes that, “Universities, especially public universities, have an obligation to make sure the work of their scholars reverberates where it matters, in policy that impacts real people’s lives. Through public engagement that fosters conversation on the most important issues facing the state and the nation today, we can put scholars in conversation with lawmakers to connect the experts with our state’s needs and to support policymakers pursuing objective, research-driven solutions.” This obligation presents an opportunity not just to translate our work to improve others’ lives, but also to demonstrate the value of philosophy. Philosophy can identify moral dilemmas where other fields don’t, and it can solve those moral dilemmas when others can’t. On this view, our mission is clear, our purpose is valuable, and many of us are doing the civic engagement work of translating these academic pursuits into the public sphere through philosophy and activism.

If activism (broadly construed) is constitutive of the good life or if activism is central to philosophy, then not only is the connection between activism and philosophy a strong one but also it is worthy of our time and attention. Of course, questions remain. And the field of Philosophy of Activism includes a rich literature not just of philosopher-activists or activists doing philosophy, but also of theorizing about activism, including those opposed to the connection.

In an effort to highlight scholars working in Philosophy and Activism as well as give them the opportunity and means to pursue it, I’m organizing the First Annual UMSL Workshop on Philosophy and Activism on May 25 & 26 in Saint Louis, with Hallie Liberto and Helen De Cruz as keynote speakers. The deadline to submit abstracts was April 15, but for the occasion of this post, I am extending it a week until April 22nd. The conference will also include opportunities to discuss structural injustices in our profession and in academia: there will be a roundtable discussion on this issue and you can also submit abstracts or papers just for this portion of the conference.

Consider also participating in the online seminar series on Philosophy & Activism. Today’s (April 15) session will be at 6pm EST with a talk by Will Tuckwell on virtue signaling.

The ‘Big Power Off’ and the Importance of Fact-Checking

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/04/2022 - 9:11pm in

Katherine Denkinson explores the genesis of the protest against rising fuel costs and the media’s unwitting part in promoting untruths

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), a group of disabled activists from Sheffield, appeared in an article in the Star on 21 March explaining a protest it was organising in response to rising fuel costs.

Concerned and angry, the activists had planned the ‘Big Power Off’, which involved participants not using any gas or electricity on 1 April.

“The main reason we started this was because we could see the protests happening in the streets all over the country,” Jen, who runs the DPAC Twitter account, told Byline Times. “Yet so many of our members couldn’t get out to them to get their voices heard because we’re stuck in due to our disabilities and or caring responsibilities.”

Jen said the group hoped the protest would “show the Government, Ofgem and energy providers the strength of feeling that there is among the general public against the energy cost rises” and highlight the fact that “a lot of people are not going to make it to this winter”.

DPAC was not “trying to plunge the nation into chaos" but trying to get the energy suppliers’ attention, Jen added. 

Two weeks later, however, on 2 April, Karen Brady – whose Twitter bio describes her as an “author, writer, socialist, feminist and advocate for justice” – posted a tweet claiming that Spanish protestors had successfully forced the Government to roll-back energy prices by turning off the power in their homes for 10 minutes. Brady encouraged UK tweeters to do the same, using the hashtag ‘#PowerOff’.



Help to expose the big scandals of our era.

DPAC then contacted Brady, suggesting that she use their hashtag and pre-prepared campaign materials – focusing on a second action on 10 April.

The Big Power Off has since gained national newspaper coverage, with the original protestors seemingly being sidelined by many mainstream outlets who named and quoted Brady as the organiser. Brady’s rapid rise to popularity has led many Twitter users to question the validity of her claims.

This is a case in point of the dangers of journalists taking popular and ostensibly relevant Twitter accounts at face-value.

The Twitter Misinformation Sphere

The desperation for rolling news coverage and ‘content’ appears to have led many outlets to sacrifice fact-checking.

In 2013, the Mirror was taken to task over an article about former Arsenal player Nwankwo Kanu, which claimed that he had written-off £3 million owed to him by Portsmouth FC. BBC Sports reporter Oluwashina Okeleji called out the error, stating that the newspaper had taken their information from a fake account.

In 2020, a US radio host set up a fake Twitter account claiming that he was on a cruise ship quarantined for COVID, concocting an outlandish story which was promptly reported as fact by The New York Post

Last month, The Times published an article allegedly written by ‘Luba Dovzhenko’, a Ukrainian student who had supposedly returned to Ukraine to fight. A Twitter fact-checker and data scientist wasted no time in pointing out various anomalies within Dovzhenko’s social media accounts – including a fake profile picture (which had accompanied the article) and inconsistencies in its tweets. The Times’ Twitter account still links to the page, but clicking the link reveals that the article has since been removed. The Times has not commented publicly on the matter. 

Most recently, an ITV News report on the Big Power Off, neglected to name any of the organisers, but included one screenshot of a supporting tweet. Twitter users seeking to follow the account quickly discovered it to be a hub for COVID misinformation. Research shows that the account had been created in 2012 and posted precisely one tweet (promoting a non-existent blog) until 2021, when it became a steady stream of anti-vaccine vitriol.

The fuel protest has been shared and retweeted millions of times by various people and it is unclear why ITV News chose this account to be representative of those involved.

So who is Karen Brady? 

According to LinkedIn, she is a “founder and head hunter” who started her own employment agency (Lawden Executive Employment) in 1985, which apparently ran until 2000 and was “sold... for [$3 million] to a USA corporate”. 

Byline Times' investigation has revealed this to be only partially true. The original founder was Martyne Manning who started the company in 1985. Brady (then known as Kavanagh) owned and operated Lawden Executive Recruitment from 1990 to 1996 when it was seemingly forced into liquidation because it could not “by reason of its liabilities” continue doing business.

Following this, Brady ran the Laptop Lifestyles venture – an affiliate marketing scheme in which participants apparently make money by reposting and sharing videos from ‘get rich quick’ accounts. Her latest venture appears to be another employment agency and her early tweets reveal her to have been involved in a number of multi-level marketing schemes such as ‘Forever Living’. 

As an expat currently living in Spain, Brady’s claim that Spanish protestors convinced the Government to roll-back its energy prices carried a certain weight and has been reported by a number of outlets.

Unfortunately, the “silent collective action” Brady recommended appears never to have actually happened. In March, Madrid’s far-right Vox party organised a street protest which led to President Pedro Sanchez freezing costs and the city of Murcia held a 'lights off' protest which lasted for one minute as part of a symbolic event to highlight people’s growing concerns.

When Byline Times asked Brady for a link to local reporting of the alleged Spanish protest, she provided a screenshot of an article by EuroNews. Written on 10 April, it appears to have taken Brady’s assertions as fact because there are no links to the “silent collective action” which it mentions. Pressing Brady for a link to the actual event has thus far been met by silence. None of this newspaper's own searches have produced evidence of such an event in either the British or the Spanish press.

It is easy to look at this as a small deception to promote a greater good – but the implications are potentially more significant.

Not only has Brady’s story eclipsed reporting of already marginalised activists, but repetition of apparent falsehoods as fact damages the reputation of those reporting it – and the validity of the campaign.

A key feature of the current war in Ukraine is the war on information. The prevalence of misinformation is gradually eroding people’s trust in the mainstream media. Journalists regularly find themselves on the receiving end of abuse from trolls and truth is fast becoming harder to establish.

While it is not possible for the press to fact-check everything on Twitter, it is the duty of journalists to ensure that inaccuracies on social media do not seep onto their own platforms.




Byline Times is funded by its subscribers. Receive our monthly print edition and help to support fearless, independent journalism.