• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    lateblum on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    alibe50 on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    riverdaughter on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Niles on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    June 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    30  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Why Would Iran Attack Tankers?
      Well, if it did. Let me tell a story, possibly apocryphal. Back in the 70s the Russian (USSR) ambassador supposedly had a talk with the Pakistaini leader of the day. This is what he is reputed to have said. ” I do not know who will be in charge in Moscow in ten, twenty or […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Twitter campaigns necessary but probably insufficient.

There’s a “Hands up/ Don’t shoot” Friday campaign going on over at Twitter. It’s a nice gesture, no pun intended. But I can’t help thinking about how much more powerful the message would be if we could get ordinary Americans, not just the social media savvy and political activist types, out on the sidewalks banging pots together.

I used to think that internet campaigns would be enough.  Not anymore.  Non-violent, but non-silent demonstrations are probably the way to go.

MLK Jr. would approve.

Update: My sisters-in-law were a little uncomfortable with me using the word “thug” to describe Michael Brown in a post the other day.  I see their point.  I based my assessment on the video that was released of his actions in the convenience store.  One of the things that struck me as I watched it was that I really couldn’t tell what was going on with him and the clerk behind the counter.  Reaching over the counter to get something doesn’t mean stealing, not that stealing something in a convenience store is justification for getting shot 6 times.  It’s not, by the way.  This is not 18th century Williamsburg where a servant could be hanged for stealing a silver spoon.  But I couldn’t tell with any certainty what was transpiring at the counter. Plus, the volume on the video was off so for all I know, he might have had a perfectly friendly interaction with the proprietor.  There just wasn’t sufficient data for me to determine what was going on there.  I would not be friendly to the prosecution on a jury if the charge was shoplifting or robbery based on that video.

No, what bothered me was when he left the store and roughed up the clerk on the way out.  The clerk clearly looks distraught and Brown’s actions looked aggressive and unnecessary.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing that out.  But “thug” is a right wing word, apparently.  I’m not a cable news junky so I’m going to have to rely on the SILs here when they tell me to refrain from using it to avoid looking like a right wing nutcase.  Maybe “bully” would be more appropriate.  Still not a killing offense, though probably more prosecutable than we can feel comfortable with, considering what happened shortly afterwards.  It looked like a minor assault to me.  I guess it would have been up to the clerk as to whether it was worth pursuing.  For sure Brown needed a stern talking to, but, um, not 6 shots to the torso.

I’m troubled by this piece of footage for many reasons.  Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide, describes so many instances of young black men being arrested and harassed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like on the sidewalk or the stoop in front of their apartment buildings.  And the trouble they face because of these arrests is unconscionable.  Really, it’s overkill and debilitating.  Then I see this video and I think, that kid definitely needed correction.  Maybe not jail, and not a mark on his permanent record and certainly not death, but something.  Like, maybe his grandmother should have been sent that tape so she could see he wasn’t a choirboy.  Shaming your grandmother might have been enough.

So, this one time, I’m correcting my language from the right wing “thug”, which I came to independently of cable news based on my first impressions, to “bully”, because that’s what Brown’s actions show.

We shouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is though.  That kind of behavior is unacceptable.  Not worth dying for but certainly not good.  It doesn’t diminish the horrible and unnecessary impact of Brown’s death.  Or of Eric Garner’s death as he was chokeholded by police.  Or any of a number of tragic deaths at the hands of people who think black people are less than human.

So, to all you Fox News watchers out there, there is a reason why racism is not acceptable, in thought, word and deed.  If you are thinking it, it becomes OK to hurt people who are not like you.  You need to ask yourselves if it’s Ok to be an anti-semite in your head as well.  Of course it’s not OK.  What we are seeing in Ferguson is a variation of the dehumanization and malignant behavior described by Phillip Zimbardo based on his Stanford Prisoner Experiment and his investigation of Abu Graihb in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

It starts in your head when you allow yourself to think other people are less than you are and it’s all downhill from there.

Don’t start down that road.

 

Advertisements

Reject trusteeship, forget about “normal politics”

The basic cry of the [ANC Youth League] did not differ from the ANC’s first constitution in 1912. But we were reaffirming and underscoring those original concerns, many of which had gone by the wayside. African nationalism was our battle cry, and our creed was the creation of one nation out of many tribes, the overthrow of white supremacy, and the establishment of truly democratic form of government. Our manifesto stated: “We believe that the national liberation of Africans will be achieved by Africans themselves.

The manifesto utterly rejected trusteeship, the idea that the white government somehow had African interests at heart.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom, p.99.

Reject trusteeship. This is the smartest phrase I have read in a long time when it comes to a fight to ending supremacy of a minority that works against the interests of a majority. Although Nelson Mandela was writing about the liberation struggle he and his compatriots waged against white supremacy in South Africa, the idea of rejecting trusteeship is going to be critical in the long walk to full autonomy for women (and anybody who is not a straight male) in our country.

Women need to appreciate that their liberation will be achieved by women themselves.

Consider each of three great emancipation/liberation struggles of the twentieth century: the fight for civil rights for blacks in the United States; the effort to end colonial rule and caste-oppression in India; and, most significantly for the post, the fight to bring democracy to South Africa. In every case there came a turning point, when the leaders of these struggles realized that they could no longer operate within a  paradigm of “normal politics”. That is they realized that that for true social transformation to occur the emphasis had to be on transcendent politics, a willingness to fight from the outside, not from within.

None of these fights I just mentioned were fights directed toward ending misogyny or sexism ; women participated, but the struggles were not aimed at ending male supremacy; they were directed against other social ills and  led by men with some rather illiberal attitudes toward women. I’m not prepared to condemn these men – e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr., M.K. Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela – for their attitudes toward women. I prefer to learn from their experiences in bringing about major social change.

Mandela in particular is a source of knowledge and inspiration for anybody determined to see a vast social transformation, one in which an oppressed majority comes to the fore. Mandela’s own development as a social and political thinker is a lesson in coming to understand true politics. I intend to continue to share his insights as guideposts for those of us who have found 2008-09 a time in which we realize that we cannot entrust the interests of women to preexisting institutions. We are starting almost from scratch.

I cannot pinpoint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew I would spend my life in the liberation struggle. …

I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered momements, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned our people. There was no particular day on which I said, From henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead I found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.

Long Walk To Freedom, p. 95.

Do these words resonate with you? If so you are getting ready to move beyond normal politics – for Mandela’s “politicization” was in fact a rejection of the politics as usual of his time and place; he rejected tribalism in favor of African unification, he rejected incrementalism in favor of sweeping social reform; he demanded that the people whose oppression he sought to end become empowered as both a means and end of that goal.

Let us demand the same for women. We do not need breadcrumbs from either political party – we need not beg them to protect the already withered and watered down rights to reproductive freedom that are essential to women’s autonomy; we have seen the futility of supporting their favored sons in the vain hope that they will avoid employing and highlighting those who degrade and belittle women; we have seen that they will tolerate anything from a straight male regardless of the insult bestowed on women or gay men.

To be continued…

cross-posted at Heidi Li’s Potpourri and at Founder’s Blog, 51 Percent

Wednesday: We Have Overcome

Celebrating in Grant Park

Celebrating in Grant Park

For those of us who grew up in the 60’s and later, this is a moment we have all been waiting for practically all of our lives.  Yesterday, something truly transformative happened.  This country was built by the hands of slaves, wrenched from their homes, stacked into ships, auctioned at markets, separated from their children, subject to beatings, rape, shackles and decades of apartheid.  Martin Luther King Jr. told us about his dream.  A dream where we would be judged by the content of our characters, not the color of the skin.  Last nght, we overcame the color of the skin barrier.  For this, we should all be very happy.

Take time to celebrate this moment in history.  It is as important as Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.  Today, backs will stand a little straighter and the words of Martin Luther King Jr. will ring throughout the land.  “Free at last, Free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”