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A recap of the top covers of 2018

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January  11th

By OW Staff

For the past half-century, scholars worldwide have attempted to establish a motive for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shortly before his death, the United States government was heavily involved with silencing the Civil Rights Movement while simultaneously seeking victory in Vietnam and in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and Red China.

With King speaking out against the Vietnam War prior to the Tet Offensive (late January 1968) and in proposing the Poor People’s March on Washington, D.C., these scholars have suggested that these actions may have prompted his death. The possibilities that made Dr. King an “enemy” included his growing resistance to the Vietnam War, pursuit by the KGB as well as the FBI, especially in lieu of J. Edgar Hoover’s obsession with Dr. King’s power.


Net neutrality and the
future of the free internet

January 25th

By J.D. Williams ow contributor

California state lawmakers are preparing for another fight with the Trump administration, in an effort to reinstate federal net neutrality rules that they say are crucial to a fair, open and free internet.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, Internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) has introduced legislation that would task the California Public Utilities Commission with establishing new regulations, making it unlawful for broadband companies to block or limit access to Internet services in California. This approach would be enforced by the attorney general. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is working with a coalition of lawmakers and tech advocates to create their own new set of net neutrality rules. The two legislators have agreed to work together even though their favored approaches to the problem are different. Regardless of the avenue, the end goal is to reinstate Internet freedom in the state of California. Whichever approach is adopted on the state level, legislators will still have a mountain to climb in the effort to change back federal regulations to a more favorable position.

The net neutrality rules, put in place under President Barack Obama in February 2015, barred broadband and wireless companies such AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications from selling faster delivery of some data, slowing speeds for certain video streams and other content, and discriminating against legal material online.

The Federal Communications Commission, led by then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, voted in December to roll those rules back, with Republicans calling for an end to the utility-like oversight of Internet service providers,

Detractors of net neutrality claim the policy inhibited providers’ growth and innovation, while supporters believe it ensures free and open communication online.

The Internet is a valuable medium through which people can express themselves and share ideas and has become an increasingly important tool through which democracy and human rights activists mobilize and advocate for political, social, and economic reform. States have devised subtle and not-so-subtle ways to filter, monitor, and otherwise obstruct or manipulate the openness of the Internet.


A continuing legacy: Europe’s hold over cheap labor from Africa

February 1st

By Gregg Reese

ow contributor

The Middle Passage is well known as a factor in the development of “the New World” in the Western Hemisphere and the spread of European influence as part of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Lesser known is its part in a wider, complex circuit of commerce stretching eastward into Asia. For the French in particular, it enabled them to further Western Imperialism south and eastward into Africa, and Asia and the Orient as well. The era of colonialism set the stage for current events in the millennium, and the specter of human bondage and servitude lingers on.

Although it established a beachhead in Canada and the U.S. early on (known as the “First” French Empire from 1804 to 1814), the French colonies really gained momentum in the late 19th Century as the French moved to regroup after their defeat (by Germany) in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Expanding their empire through North Africa with Algeria, then south along the coast through Senegal, and inland to Mali, Niger and other countries along equatorial Africa.

Eager to replenish their coffers (since the war shifted the European balance of power in favor of Germany), they moved into Southeast Asia. Therein they gained a foothold in Japan and Korea, and established French Indochina to the south, which set up the Vietnam War and a blemish on American prestige in the late 20th century.

The Second World War marked the erosion of these territories as both the Allies and Axis forces appropriated these territories in the process of conducting the war.

Uprisings in Algeria and Vietnam in the 1950s accelerated the collapse of this colonial empire, although the French cunningly maintained other, subtle ties and influence to their former dependents.

Libya, too, has toiled under the lash of European servitude, albeit not by the French. The Spanish (16th century) held sway until the Ottoman (Turkey) Empire expelled them and established dominion there for centuries. Italy pushed them out after the Italo-Turkish War (1911-12) and formed a colony in what is now known as Libya just before World War I.

The aftermath of World War II saw a mass division of former colonies with the British and their French allies sharing jurisdiction of Libya. The newly formed United Nations granted it independence in 1952, with King Idris, the former Emir (“Lord” or “commander-in-chief”) of Cyrenaica as head of state. His reign saw a shift towards Western influences (aided in no small part by U.S. aid, which was prompted by American designs on the country’s developing oil industry). This reliance on outside authority put Idris at odds with the emerging movement of Arab Nationalist.