According to Louise Arbour, Canada’s internationally renowned & universally lauded Charter of Rights & Freedoms (HBD, eh?) “has transformed a country obsessed with the federal-provincial division of powers and enabled it to address its diversity in a substantive, principled way.”
As we know from history, the free market did not lead to a breakdown of segregation. Indeed, it got much worse, not just because it was enforced by law but because it was mandated by self-reinforcing societal pressure. Any store owner in the South who chose to serve blacks would certainly have lost far more business among whites than he gained. There is no reason to believe that this system wouldn’t have perpetuated itself absent outside pressure for change.
In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color. The gains made by the former slaves in the years after the Civil War were completely reversed once the Supreme Court effectively prevented the federal government from protecting them. Thus we have a perfect test of the libertarian philosophy and an indisputable conclusion: it didn’t work. Freedom did not lead to a decline in racism; it only got worse.
- Bruce Bartlett, Rand Paul is No Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights
Geez. Not five minutes after I had gone to bed, besieged White House green jobs adviser (and radical communist-anarchist!!1one) Van Jones finally became a martyr in the GOP’s increasingly ugly race war against the uppity Usurper-in-Chief:
I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.
On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.
I have been inundated with calls – from across the political spectrum – urging me to “stay and fight.”
But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.
It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.
Wonder if Jones is reconsidering that recent apology for calling Republicans ‘assholes’. Because, well, um, yeah.
Related: Alex Pareene on how the speedy demonization of Van Jones illustrates “how the right wing information delivery process works now.”
In a nutshell: Fire up the swift boats, crank up the Wurlitzer, and wait for Tapper and Drudgico to do the rest.
A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”
But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.
So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.
Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).
by Caroline Shepherd
(Originally posted at Shiraz Socialist)
The right of people in this country to decide by mutual agreement whether and under what conditions they consent to sexual intercourse is fundamental. In particular, it has never been illegal to pay for consensual sex since at least as far back as Magna Carta. The government are now proposing to criminalise men who pay for sex for the first time in this country’s history. That would constitute a radical change in the legal position for which the government has no electoral mandate, since the policy at the time of the 2005 general election was to legalise brothels operated by a small number of sex workers. We therefore call upon the government to obtain a mandate from the electorate before introducing any bill on prostitution.
If you’re wanting to fight this Jacqui Smith nonsense, there’s a good place to start.
If you’re a British citizen, do please sign this. I’ve written [at Shiraz Socialist] (A feminist perspective on Jacqui Smith’s proposals to change the prostitution laws and What do you make of this?) and my own [blog] about how much these new laws would endanger sex workers if they came into effect, so do have a read through if you’re not sure what’s happening and then do sign the petition.
I would also like to ask people to spread the link to this petition as widely as possible. If you’re a blogger and not a British citizen, I’m sure you’ll have British citizens reading, so do please reblog this.
Caroline Shepherd is a self-described “sex positive feminist who supports sex workers rights.” Her kick-arse posts can be found at Better Burn That Dress, Sister, Shiraz Socialist, Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy and in the moderation queue.
I would like to sign on to the following statement from Truth Wins Out:
Truth Wins Out today expressed its grave disappointment in those in the LGBT community who have emulated our bigoted opponents by scapegoating minorities. It has been reported that African Americans have been verbally abused and have had racial epithets hurled at them during Anti-Proposition 8 rallies.
“It is reprehensible to look for scapegoats and target innocent people with vile racial epithets,” said TWO Executive Director, Wayne Besen. “We call on all GLBT people behave intelligently and act responsibly, so we can figure out – together – the best way for our movement to proceed and achieve equality.”
What specifically was Besen referring to?
From the Rod 2.0 post linked to in the TWO statement:
A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night’s marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.
Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.
It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.
Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.
Three older men accosted my friend and shouted, “Black people did this, I hope you people are happy!” A young lesbian couple with mohawks and Obama buttons joined the shouting and said there were “very disappointed with black people” and “how could we” after the Obama victory. This was stupid for them to single us out because we were carrying those blue NO ON PROP 8 signs! I pointed that out and the one of the older men said it didn’t matter because “most black people hated gays” and he was “wrong” to think we had compassion. That was the most insulting thing I had ever heard. I guess he never thought we were gay.
Yeah, so much for the (apparently premature) eulogies for racism now that we’ve entered the Age of Obama.
But I’m wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can’t ever be persuaded on this issue because… well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):
* The elderly (65+)
* People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
* People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
* White Protestants
* Those who attend church weekly
* Married people
* People with children under 18
* Gun owners
* Bush voters
* Offshore drilling supporters
* People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
* People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
* Supporters of the war against Iraq
* People who didn’t care about the age of the candidates
* People who are from the “Inland/Valley” region of California
* McCain voters
Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we’re focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.
From which we can infer three things. First, breaking the statistics just along racial lines is an overly simplistic way to look at the results. Black people, like white people, are not a monolithic group, and LGBT people can make inroads by reaching out to African Americans if we try. Flapping our mouths about how we’re not PC, how all blacks are homophobic, and how there’s no use in reaching out to African Americans doesn’t endear people to us, and there is work to be done here that hasn’t been done.
Second, religion is the overwhelming factor in Prop 8′s win, in terms of organizing, funding, and voting. Since it’s not going anywhere, we have to take a more serious approach to religious voters. And, yes, their leaders make bank off homophobia, but we’re going to have to be more creative. No writing off fundies as idiots allowed – they get votes too.
Civil rights is not a zero-sum game; there is enough shared blame for the debacle that is Prop 8, and it cannot be undone. We have the choice to educate or alienate going forward.
Your move, Mr. President-elect…
Update: I swear I didn’t see Antonia’s post before putting this up–great minds, etc.
Update 2: hekebolos @ dKos:
I would like to encourage you to take specific action to increase the number of people who are expressing their outspoken opposition to discrimination.
The “REPEAL PROP 8″ movement is underway. And I’d love it if you added your voice.
The Courage Campaign has been leading a grassroots and netroots effort against Proposition 8. Sign their petition calling for the repeal of Proposition 8:
If you’re on Facebook (and if you’re not, you should be) there is also a “Repeal Prop 8″ Facebook Group that I would encourage everyone to join.
As Barack Obama said: nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.
But we need those voices to get it done. Add yours to the mix. And be watching for further news about what you can do to support marriage equality not only in California, but across the entire country.
h/t Dr. Prole (who is creatively agitatin’ to get the LDS Church’s tax-exempt status revoked–gogogo!) Also make sure to check out this dKos diary from shanikka, who debunks the exit poll results that have been cited as ‘proving’ African-Americans are to blame for the passage of Prop 8.
Photo: Barack Obama, Flickr, used under a Creative Commons licence.
“It’s times like these we learn to live again.”
- Foo Fighters
(Sorry for the recent lack of updates — have been furiously livetweeting the DNC on Twitter. Follow me: http://twitter.com/matttbastard. Also, big ups to my #dnc08 snark-buddies Sylvia, Elle, Donna and Carmen D. You guys rock.)
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.
x-posted @ Comments From Left Field
Jena, LA Mayor Murphy McMillin: not the sharpest fishhook in the tacklebox:
McMillin has insisted that his town is being unfairly portrayed as racist—an assertion the mayor repeated in an interview with Richard Barrett, the leader of the Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group based in Learned, Miss., who asked McMillin to “set aside some place for those opposing the colored folks.”
“I am not endorsing any demonstrations, but I do appreciate what you are trying to do,” Barrett quoted McMillin as saying. “Your moral support means a lot.“
Oh, and remember when I predicted that the noose is going to experience a resurgence in iconic significance among the white power set? I can sure call ‘em, sometimes. More details on the ongoing pushback are provided by David Neiwert (who also offers incontrovertible evidence that my old buddy John Gibson is indeed an odious sack of sea lion shit – if there was ever any doubt).
Very simply, the Jena Six is not a matter of guilt or innocence. If you think this case is about dancing and singing with Al Sharpton in Jena while wearing black, go home or bury some soap or something. If you view this case as a stepping stone for your own self-aggrandizement here there and everywhere, sit at home and think a few seconds before stepping back out again. If you think this case is only about freeing these young men, you’re half-steppin’. If you view the Jena Six incident as uppity newcomer Negroes wanting to start some ruckus, then please go back to your guard post under your bridge. Denial about a person’s criminal actions in a case is unwanted. This fight is not about what we can do to stop people from being criminals (though there’s no denying that goal is important); it is about what happens when those people are already within the criminal justice system and cannot afford an OJ-style legal Dream Team.
Kevin also points to this post by elle, phd, who notices history repeating in the predictably (and pathetically) defensive reaction of the (white) blogosphere after it was justifiably called out for collective indifference towards Jena (remember: Race is tough!).
Related: David Margolick looks back at Elizabeth Eckford, Hazel Bryan and the photo that captured what became an iconic moment in the civil rights movement.