Happy 30th Anniversary, Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms

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.”

Gee.

No wonder Harpercon insurrectionists can’t stand the fucking thing.

Quote of the Day: Bartlett 1, Libertarianism 0.

by matttbastard

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

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Van Jones Gets Lani Guiniered by the Racist Right

by matttbastard

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.

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Dream a Little Dream Redux

by matttbastard

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.”

The politician and the activist

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.

800px-lyndon_johnson_and_martin_luther_king_jr_-_voting_rights_act

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).

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Petition to defer any bill on prostitution until after the next general election

by Caroline Shepherd

(Originally posted at Shiraz Socialist)

There’s a petition up to defer any bill on prostitution until after the next general election on Number10.gov.uk -

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.

Cheers.

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.

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Re: the passage of Prop H8: “resist racist media schemes”

by matttbastard

Via belle:

Dear Friends,

I am writing because I am disturbed by the string of articles, blog entries, and list serve threads that have come out in the last few days suggesting that the high turnout of African American and Latino voters for the presidential election was responsible for the passage of California’s proposition 8, which dealt a heavy blow to LGBT families by banning gay marriage.

These articles mistakenly imply that the struggles for civil rights for LGBT people and communities of color are separate or even at odds with each other. They deny the work that LGBT people of color do to combat homophobia and transphobia in their families and communities, often while facing racism within the queer community as well. These articles deny homophobia among white people, and they displace blame away from those who actually have the power to consistently deny others civil and human rights, and instead, charge that when communities that have long been disenfranchised and alienated from political processes begin to participate, that the results with be negative for LGBT people.

I believe all communities need to be held accountable for their homophobia and transphobia. I want to acknowledge the suffering and hardship that the passage of Proposition 8 has caused for LGBT couples and families. But, while the media casts blame on communities of color for the failure of civil rights for LGBT people, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate, and that we examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.

In the months leading up the election, I saw a massive mobilization within the queer spaces in which I spend time in San Francisco to get people to vote no on 8. We live in a state that has one of the highest incarceration rates in a nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. Studies have estimated that at any time, 40 percent of black men in their 20’s in California are under control of the correctional system. Criminalization affects many LGBT people, in particular, those that may be experiencing addiction or who, lacking familial support, move to expensive cities where they may have a hard time accessing affordable housing and living-wage work. Despite this, I saw little or no public discourse among LGBT people about very important state propositions: 5, 6, and 9, all of which potentially impacted things like funding for prisons, alterations to sentencing for drug crimes, or the trying of minors as adults in this state.

In the last months, we have seen raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) throughout the state and in San Francisco. Many people immigrate here as a result of the US foreign policy of destabilizing foreign economies. Additionally, San Francisco is home to many LGBT immigrants who have come to the country seeking safety and asylum. While my inbox was flooded with emails pertaining to Prop 8, I heard from very few queer people who were seeking to mobilize around the October 31st demonstration to protest ICE raids, or other work pertaining to ICE raids, and San Francisco’s establishment as a sanctuary city.

The November ballot contained several important city initiatives that could have affected the livability of our city both for low-income people of color and for many queer people. Proposition K, an initiative to decriminalize prostitution would have helped sex workers in this city to make major strides in their ability to organize for their rights and safety, allowing them to better protect themselves against violence and police harassment. Despite the fact that many, many young LGBT people in this city earn their livings as sex workers and daily face risks to their safety, and that two trans women working as sex workers lost their lives while working in San Francisco in 2007, I saw shockingly little effort among LGBT people to educate themselves on the realities facing sex workers or the background on Proposition K, let alone to spread any word about it.

Similarly, proposition B, which would have mandated that the city set aside part of its budget for affordable housing was defeated by SF voters. In a city with a history of racist schemes of redevelopment and displacement (SOMA in the 60’s, Justin Herman’s redevelopment of the Fillmore, illegal evictions in the Mission in the 90s, contemporary cuts to county welfare, and most recently, the gentrification of Bayview—to name a few), San Francisco voters have failed to stand up for working families’ ability to live affordably in this city—a city with where remaining working class communities of color face major threats of displacement. Despite the fact that white LGBT people often play complicated roles in the gentrification of the city and displacement of communities of color, I saw no media reports released on November 5th scrutinizing the voting trends of white LGBT San Franciscans on Propositions B, N, K, 5, 6, or 9, as juxtaposed to the numerous articles scrutinizing the voting habits of Black and Latino voters on Prop 8. And despite the overwhelmingly negative outcome of several important local and state propositions, outcry among the wider LGBT community seems to have been reserved only for Prop 8.

As a young, queer, person living in San Francisco, I feel very strongly that affordably in this city is vital to the creativity and well being of the LGBT community of San Francisco. As a white person living in the Mission, I have to think and act critically in regards to the complicated role I play in the gentrification of this neighborhood and the larger schemes of displacement within this city. I love my queer life and love living in this city. I get to witness the ways of living and congregating, making new families, new cultures, and envisioning new worlds that are possible living in a city with so many other brilliant and creative queer people. While I would like to lend my support and compassion to the people who lost the right to marry this week, I also question the logic that tells me that my only struggle as an LGBT person centers around my right to marry, rather than my ability to live and create in many other ways within a city I love. Affordable housing is central to the vitality of the LGBT community in San Francisco, to all communities, and while I sign petitions to support marriage as a right, I would like to see LGBT Californians take a serious look at the fact that housing, healthcare, and freedom from incarceration are also civil and human rights.

I would like to see LGBT Californians talk not only about their right to receive their partners’ health benefits but about universal healthcare. I would like to hear us talk not just about how many LGBT people’s partners cannot receive citizenship rights because of a lack of marriage rights, but connect this to struggles for immigrant rights in this state. I would like to hear LGBT people not only talk about how their families are discriminated against, but think about how many families in California are living in alternative family structures because of the mass incarceration of parents with children.

The passing of Proposition 8 is a sad day and indicative of the work that lies ahead, however, as we heal from these blows, I would like to challenge us to consider how our struggles are bound up with struggles for racial and economic justice, and how our fight for civil rights, and the health of our communities could be strengthened by taking these connections more seriously. Above all, I would like to challenge us to resist racist media schemes that, during our moment of need and a moment of possibility, are attempting to pit LGBT people and supporters against communities of color in California.

I apologize for the hasty construction of this, but time is of the essence. I welcome your thoughts.

In struggle,

Adele Carpenter

Rewind my selekta:

[W]hile the media casts blame on communities of color for the failure of civil rights for LGBT people, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate, and that we examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.

This.  Less hateful, divisive rhetoric, more reflection, reorientation and preparation for the next stage of the struggle, plz.

sign the petition to repeal Proposition 8!

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‘No’ on Prop 8 — and ‘No’ on Race-Baiting UPDATE: TAKE ACTION!

by matttbastard

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.

Alex Blaze FTW:

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+)
* Republicans
* Conservatives
* 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
* Protestants
* Catholics
* 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
* Anti-choicers
* 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.

Last word goes to Pam Spaulding (h/t):

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:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/…

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.

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