Ari Paul

Ari Paul is a reporter for The Chief-Leader, a weekly newspaper covering municipal labor unions in New York City. He has also written for Z, In These Times, and many other publications.

Recent Articles

Pushing Back Against Privatization

Two small but significant victories in the fight against the Bush administration's outsourcing of government jobs.

The outsourcing of government labor is nothing new, but the focus on privatization has certainly sharpened under the Bush administration -- as have the levels of attendant inefficiency and abuse. But civil service unions and allied advocates have won a few small victories lately in stemming the tide of outsourcing. Start with the happy ending of a recent labor conflict in, of all places, the U.S. Department of Labor. Last May, nearly 250 workers received word that their jobs had been eliminated and would be outsourced through the Administrative Support Services Competition, a departmental bidding process, without an absolute guarantee that another job could be found for them within the department. Their union, American Federation of Government Employees Local 12, protested the decision, holding a rally by the Capitol Reflecting Pool in June and pointing out that most of these "non-inherently governmental" jobs (as the department's human resources staff called them) were held by...

Real 9/11 Heroes Speak Out Against Rudy

New York City firefighters are out to set the record straight on Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 legacy.

It's been nearly six years since the 9/11 attacks and six months since former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has decided to grace the race for the Republican presidential nomination with his presence. Now unions representing New York's Bravest are popping a tough question. What on Earth did this man do on 9/11 and in its aftermath that was so breathtakingly heroic? More accurately, they are campaigning to expose how Giuliani short-changed and endangered the city's 11,000 firefighters over the course of two terms, and then went on to exploit their heroism during and after the 9/11 attacks for his own political advantage. Martin Steadman, a spokesperson for New York's Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA), explains that the New York City Fire Department issued a report on communication devices after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing showed that the department's hand-held radio devices were wholly inadequate. The report, which landed on Mayor Giuliani's desk his first day in office...

America's Imprisoned Kids

The United States is an outlier in the world when it comes to detaining and sentencing juvenile offenders as adults. But there are finally signs of change.

There can only be a few issues where government policies in countries like Libya and Burma appear more progressive than those in the United States. Juvenile sentencing is one of them. The United States currently imprisons 2,270 people who have life sentences without the chance for parole for crimes they committed when they were minors, according to both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International; in all other nations on Earth, there are a combined total of only 12 such prisoners, HRW says. These are grim figures to prison reform advocates in the United States, who have long battled with the punitive, get-tough ethos that dominates American political discussion about criminal justice issues. But there are notable signs of a turn in the political winds. Alison Parker, a researcher for HRW, has documented this kind of sentencing, and the United States is far behind the curve when it comes to the rights of child prisoners. The United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child...

Mr. Backlash

Holland: The land of legal pot and unionized sex workers. It's also, of course, a truly diverse society that includes people from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. As author Russell Shorto has argued , Dutch values of tolerance and diversity are what first helped New York -- when it was Dutch New Amsterdam -- to become a diverse, cosmopolitan world center. But Holland is also the political stage for Geert Wilders. Once an obscure parliamentary page for the liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), he is now a minority party leader whose anti-Muslim rhetoric has been causing tension between Holland and the Middle East. Sure, his right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) only has nine seats out of 150 in the lower house, but analysts and polls show that it is growing. Progressives should take note. * Wilders made waves earlier this year by suggesting that half the pages of Koran should be ripped out. He also proposed a vote of no confidence on two Muslim ministers,...

Zionist Vs. Zionist

A national pro-Israel campus group took a risk when several of its chapters brought former Israeli soldiers to their campuses to expose their country's military practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Now, it might be paying the price. The Union of Progressive Zionists , some of whose chapters and affiliates brought the " Breaking the Silence " tour to places like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Maryland, is a part of the Israel on Campus Coalition . This December, the 30,000-member Zionist Organization of America (an ICC member) sent a letter to the ICC demanding that the UPZ be removed from the coalition because of this tour. Other ICC members include the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). UPZ is an affiliate member. The speaking tour, which was covered in the mainstream media, featured former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied Palestinian territories. The project...