Related: Classic David Neiwert posts on lynching here and here; Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America.
Last weekend I trotted on on down to the High Vibes Festivals. High Vibes is a street festival that takes part in the main street of Northcote, High Street. Northcote was for a long time a working-class suburb with a large migrant population. However, as these things are want to do Northcote is becoming increasingly gentrified by the middle-class deadlocked organic tofu buying set.
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
4 quick, funky joints before bed. Apologies for the lateness of the hour; damn socializing got in the way of blogging this evening.
Krafty Kuts - Bass Phenomenon
Bassnectar – Bomb The Blocks
Robb G & The Phat Conductor – Chunkasaurus
Stanton Warriors feat. Sway – Get ‘Em High
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
Was wondering who actually posted the bond to get Mychal Bell out of jail; figured it would have been Al or Jesse finally taking heed of Earl Ofari Hutchinson’s words of wisdom (to summarize: show Mychal the money!)
Well, I figured wrong:
Dr. Stephen Ayers didn’t join a massive civil rights march to support the so-called “Jena 6,” but he played a unique role in freeing one of the six black teenagers charged with beating a white classmate.
Ayers, who lives about 135 miles from the small central Louisiana town where more than 20,000 protesters gathered last week, posted the bond that let 17-year-old Mychal Bell go home for the first time in 10 months.
Ayers, 42, of Lake Charles, said today that he isn’t politically active and isn’t one to “get into things like this,” but felt compelled to help Bell’s family.
“I was concerned about what was going on up there and thought the district attorney was a bit harsh in his treatment of Mr. Bell,” Ayers said. “I really thought it was overkill.”
[One of Bell's attorneys, Carol Powell] Lexing, who called Ayers a “good Samaritan,” said she thanked the doctor over the phone. Many people offered to donate money for Bell’s bail, but Lexing said they accepted Ayers’ help because he and a friend, Lawrence Morrow, were willing to handle all the logistics.
Morrow, a magazine publisher and host of local radio and television shows, met Lexing when he went to Jena for Thursday’s march. Morrow went home to Lake Charles with swollen feet, so he called his friend and family doctor for a prescription.
Ayers asked him about the march and offered to help Bell and his legal team. “He said, ’Whatever the cost is, go get him out,”’ Morrow recalled.
Ayers said he isn’t helping Bell because he thinks he’s innocent.
“What he did was in no way right, and he should be punished for this,” he said. “We’re not condoning his behavior. We’re just saying he needs to be punished appropriately.”
Elsewhere: Dr John Carlos laments the fact that there is a need for a modern civil rights movement in this day and age, cautioning that the significance of the 09.20 solidarity march shouldn’t be overestimated, nor should it be a singular undertaking:
“I can’t believe we still have to be marching,” he said. “I can’t believe how injustice has taken root and has become normal. It appears that there is a message being sent that we can’t go anywhere, aren’t worth anything. And that’s not just black people. It’s brown people. It’s poor white people. It’s the millions of our kids who go to school every day in the wealthiest country in the world and don’t even have books. We are raising a generation with no knowledge, no chance. If people are products of their environment, we are in a great deal of trouble. We see no money for books but they keep building these prisons.”
“Now [thousands] marched and that young man [Mychal Bell] is still in jail [at the time this interview was conducted - mb],” Dr. Carols said. “We need to have our eyes on the prize. We need our young people also hitting them where it hurts. Not just marching, but figuring out ways to do the unexpected. In 1968, that’s what we did. You have to do what’s contrary to the norm to give them something to think about. We have to give them something to think about because we had the audacity to act. I want to see people marching on the courthouse. I want them using their minds to do the unexpected, to make people in power think long and hard about the weight we are carrying.”
Erin Aubry Kaplan says that civil rights and social justice activists shouldn’t wait for ‘moments’ like Jena 6 to occur before confronting injustice, but acknowledges that ‘selective agitation’ is a universal phenomenon:
Of course the Jena Six campaign hooked neatly into broader complaints against the racial inequalities of the whole criminal justice system, which is a biggie — it imprisons young black males at an astronomically disproportionate rate — and Jena provided a good moment to express that. But agitation and organization shouldn’t wait for a moment. That would be like waiting for the entire Ross Ice Shelf to melt into the sea to sound the alarm about global warming. It’s a good photo op, but it probably comes too late.
This is not just a black thing. We’ve all been conditioned to agitate selectively, especially in matters of race. Americans of all colors have come to think of news as only moments — a plane crash, an election, a lofty acceptance speech. With race, the “moment” is almost always violent or criminal, like the beating of the white student in Jena. Yet here’s the irony: The worst things happening to black people are not only not moments but are things not happening at all — not getting a good enough education, not getting enough jobs, not getting equal treatment. It’s a public relations quandary that nobody’s been able to fix since the ’60s, when we had plenty of visuals — that is, moments — to illustrate complicated historical grievances that were finally making it to television. Demonstrations, riots, flag burnings, resistance to arrests, concerts, ceremonial signings of landmark legislation — these all fed a narrative that the public understood, whether they agreed with the particulars or not.
There is no such narrative now. In this age of deconstruction, what’s missing in the Jena case is a cumulative understanding and connecting of dots on racial issues, something that would prevent every American from asking stupid questions like, Are nooses hanging from trees really that bad? (Another version of the wearisome question: Is “nigger” really such a negative word?) We’ve detached racially charged incidents from a racial context, which sounds liberating but actually skews the racial balance of power even further: Without context, blacks always seem reactive and overreaching, while whites seem calm and fairly neutral. So in Jena, the black citizens say the Jena Six experience confirms pretty much every aspect of the racism they’ve experienced; whites admit to some lingering problems but insist that things have changed in Jena for the better. The facts are not in dispute as much as what the story of the Jena Six means — a manifestation of institutional racism that’s never gone away? An isolated case of prosecutorial excess in an otherwise idyllic town? The media tends to settle into a noncommittal, “fair and balanced” discussion that avoids conclusions and judgment of any kind, at least on the surface. And that’s where we leave things until the next moment hits. If we’re lucky.
Shouts of “Death to Canada!” were heard among the clamour yesterday on the main highway west of Kandahar city, as an estimated 300 to 400 protesters voiced their anger against the violent searches of local homes.
Our little wanna-be empire, she’s growing up so fast. Well done, Steve.
Brussels, 27 September 2007: The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemned the violation of the rights of women workers in Antalya Free Trade Zone in Turkey. The Presidents of the Women’s Committees of the two organisations issued the following statement on the case.
The Women’s Committees of the ITUC and ETUC are expressing their full support of and solidarity with the women workers of Novamed, now on strike for exactly one year in the Antalya Free Trade Zone of Turkey.
They condemn totally the inhuman treatment imposed on these women workers, which is infringing on human and fundamental rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Social Charter of the Council of Europe, and Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The Women’s Committees are particularly shocked by the clear and unambiguous assault on the dignity of these women workers, and the way these women are discriminated against on the basis of their gender.
We understand that the company owning Novamed is a German company, Fresenius Medical Care, which should be fully aware of European and ILO standards and values with regard to gender equality, trade union rights and collective bargaining rights, and should be held accountable for the refusal of Novamed to negotiate with the trade union freely chosen by the workers.
We demand first and foremost for the discrimination and harrassment of women workers to stop and for dignity of these workers to be respected and restored, for the workers to be reinstated with full rights, and secondly we demand from the employers to recognise the union and start negotiations with them about a proper settlement of the situation safeguarding employment for all the workers.
Head of Press and Communications
Tel: + 32 (0)2 224 04 30 – GSM: + 32 (0)477 77 01 64
Press Officer International Trade Union Confederation
Tel:+32 (0)22240204 GSM +32 (0)476621018
All the workers who have gone on strike are female workers. Their working conditions are very bad and male-dominated (patriarchal). For example: female workers are required to apply for permission to marry. Married women should get pregnant and give birth in accordance with the schedule arranged by the management. They are humiliated by the managers on account of their sex.
Send messages of support to:
Mr Adil Alaybeyoglu
Petrol-Is Local President
Send protest messages to the following Fresenius executives:
Dr. Emanuele Gatti
FMC Board Member
Dr. Massimo Fini
Mr Antonio Raffa
Logistics and International
Fresenius Medical Care
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
The title says it all: “Six inconvenient truths about the U.S. and slavery“. Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is, a revisionist ‘essay’ on slavery – and yes, it’s as bad as (if not worse than) you’d expect, considering the source. Apparently erstwhile movie critic and conservative pundit Michael Medved is living on some cozy, antebellum plantation far, far away from what the rest of us commonly refer to as ‘reality’.
Maha pointedly asks “What the hell was eating at Medved’s reptilian brain that inspired him to write this? Has criticism of American slavery been in the news lately?” Man, I gave up trying to understand Medved back when he was on Sneak Previews, railing against Hollywood’s secular humanist jihad against organized religion and good taste while poor Jeffrey Lyons struggled to keep a straight face (Medved on Pulp Fiction: “I hated it! I hated every frame of it! Well, I won’t say that I hated every frame of it. I mean, Bruce Willis and John Travolta have never been so mediocre, but I found it just rampagingly mediocre. But that’s enough about Pulp Fiction, let’s get to one of the films on my ten best list The Swan Princess. “)
Maybe CNN will give Medved a prime-time segment to defend his 6-point thesis (especially #3: THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT), much like they did back when he was offering notorious Hollywood
anti-Semite alcoholic Mel Gibson some Judaic apologia.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether we think that slavery was more brutal than it was, or whether it had some minutely positive affect on the arc of the lives of its descendants. Its long existence in the history of humanity should also count for little. After all, the entire American experiment exists as a means to keep a free citizenry from becoming the chattel of an aristocracy or monarchy and able to govern itself freely. At its heart, slavery denied every American ideal, and the Jim Crow regime that followed betrayed our political values. Those insults deserve no mitigation, only contempt and fierce condemnation.
Won’t bother linking to the reliably frothy Dan Riehl’s not-so-sensible response (“[g]et over it, already”), since, well, I refuse to give Dan Riehl a link – ever. Suffice to say, he’s clapping for Medved like a slack-jawed circus seal (arf arf). Incidentally, CNN also considers Riehl to be a mainstream representative of the Right.
“Liberal bias” my ass.
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
[LaSalle Parish DA Reed] Walters credited the prayers of people in this small central Louisiana town with averting a “disaster” when the thousands of demonstrators descended on the town.
“The only way – let me stress that – the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community,” Walters said.
“I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that.”
Let’s see: first Jena’s mayor whines about his town getting a bum rap re: racism to a white supremacist and now the local DA claims the only reason the raging Negro horde didn’t go all Detroit ’67 is because of divine intervention.
At this point, Jena should change its name to ‘WTF??!!!1ville.’
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
Which is to say, not in the fucking least.
I second Alison: please, for the love of God, enough with the slavering, credulous media greenwashing re: nuclear power. Because the prospect of this and this demands serious scrutiny, not lazy stenography.
Related: The Financial Post on how nuclear PR has helped transform a once-feared technology into an ‘environmentally friendly’ energy alternative, noting that market realities may ultimately render industry re-branding efforts irrelevant; David Fenton: fighting fire with fire.
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
Having trouble collecting my thoughts. The sleep deficit I’ve been racking up the past week has rendered me cognitively insolvent. So, just a few quick Jena links, followed by some vids (and then, hopefully, a respite from perpetual somnolence):
As expected, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters will allow Mychal Bell to be retried as a juvenile. However:
It remained uncertain when or whether Bell — one of the group known as the Jena Six — might be released from jail.
His case remains in juvenile court and the prosecutor, District Attorney Reed Walters, said he did not know whether a judge would set bail. Pending a decision on bail, Bell would be transferred to a juvenile facility, Walters said.
[update: elle, phd reports that Bell has FINALLY been released on bail. About GODDAMN time. - mb]
Walters had said he would appeal that decision. On Thursday, he said he still believes there was legal merit to that decision but he decided it was in the best interest of the victim and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case.
“They are on board with what I decided,” Walters said of the Barkers.
Well, that’s certainly mighty white of y’all.
The New York Times and other news outlets of record refused to cover the story of nooses, unequal justice, unequal protection under the law and the beating of a high school student until these events sparked a protest so massive that they simply could not ignore it.
Now, the New York Times has given Jena district attorney Reed Walters a global platform to make his case without the slightest challenge.
PA: A lot of Southern people are getting nervous about the focus on the South again, and they are pointing out, I think correctly, that this isn’t just a Southern problem. Do you have a comment on that?
TW: Oh definitely. First of all, the last cases in which the attention of the nation and the world was focused on racist injustice in this country in such a dramatic way were Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima in New York City. They were the victims of terrible, genocidal violence, one shot down in a hail of 41 bullets, and the other sodomized in a police station by police officers. So this is not just the South. This is a nationwide problem, and we have to take action to stop it. It is absolutely crucial to turning this country around and turning it in a progressive direction – to fight back and defeat this creeping racist offensive we are seeing against Black youth. Of course, there is also the anti-immigrant movement, all the immigrant bashing, which is another form of this attempt to split and divide us. There were many people I interviewed there in Jena who were calling for unity against racism, and they really need white people to join in this fightback. I think it is our duty to respond to that call.
Wheeler includes some interesting examples that illustrate the diversity of those who felt obligated to answer the call in an article published in this weeks issue of PWW:
Curtis Nelson and 149 other members of a motorcycle club in Moss Point, Miss., joined by 72 bikers from Baton Rouge, roared into Jena on their Harley-Davidsons. “Penitentiary for six teenagers for a fist fight? That’s cruel!” Nelson told the World. “When I was in high school you got suspended for getting in fights. And what about the white student who brought a loaded gun to school? They confiscated his gun and hushed it up. That’s not equal justice.”
[A] word of advice to people who are discussing the Jena 6 case, when people try to frame the discussion around only the fight or only Jena, Louisiana, don’t let them. The case itself is much broader, and the issues of our criminal (in)justice system are way bigger than Jena, Louisiana.
Rachel also offers an up close and painfully personal glimpse at her own all-to-familiar (and familial) relationship with bigotry, noting that:
[r]acism is so insidious that it anesthetizes people to suffering of others (even others who they care about). It destroys empathetic reactions to human suffering. The victims of racism are expected to be the “bigger people” while the perpetrators get the “Get Out of Racism Free” card. Even when they know racist behavior is wrong and harmful, many white observers of racism suffer from moral paralysis. Rather than doing what is morally right, they do nothing.
Finally, after the fold, some music (both new and not so new) that has kept me from declaring mental bankruptcy this week. Wish me luck tonight, brethren.