In the 400 years of barbaric, white supremacist, colonial and genocidal history known as the United States, the civil rights movement stands out as a bright, beautiful, all-too-brief moment of hope and struggle. We still live in the shadow of the leaders, theory, and images that emerged from those years, and any struggle in America that overlooks the work (both philosophical and organizational) produced in those decades does so at its own peril. However, why is it drilled into our heads, from grade school onward, in every single venue, by presidents, professors and police chiefs alike, that the civil rights movement was victorious because it was non-violent? Surely we should be suspicious of any narrative that the entire white establishment agrees is of the utmost importance.Willie Osterweil, "In Defense of Looting" (via ethiopienne)
The civil rights movement was not purely non-violent. Some of its bravest, most inspiring activists worked within the framework of disciplined non-violence. Many of its bravest, most inspiring activists did not. It took months of largely non-violent campaigning in Birmingham, Alabama to force JFK to give his speech calling for a civil rights act. But in the week before he did so, the campaign in Birmingham had become decidedly not-non-violent: protesters had started fighting back against the police and Eugene ‘Bull’ Conner, throwing rocks, and breaking windows. Robert Kennedy, afraid that the increasingly riotous atmosphere in Birmingham would spread across Alabama and the South, convinced John to deliver the famous speech and begin moving towards civil rights legislation.
He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life.Cornel West unloads on Barack Obama. (via salon)
György Ligeti: Book I Etudes II Cordes a vides
Thousands of years ago in China, Northerners fled from their war torn states to the peaceful yet largely unexplored south. A few hundred years ago, the pilgrims on the Mayflower crossed the Atlantic to reach the New World. Today, Chinese rural workers seek their fortune in the urban jungle while the nouveau riche try to secure a foreign passport for their children. All migrants, or 移民 (yímín), want to leave their hometown in search of a better life. It’s an instinctual hope, the hope for change; as such, the character 移 (yí) is a perfect expression of this spirit, meaning both “to move” and “to change”.
Alterations have appeared in the evolution of the character itself. Like over 80 percent of Chinese characters, 移 is a phono-semantic compound. 多 (duō) on the left indicates the character’s pronunciation, yet, as phonetics developed over time, the two diverged. This is also the case with the original meaning of the character: “The way seedlings softly swing in the wind” with 禾 (hé, seedlings) on its left. As poetic as it may have sounded, such expressions gave way to the more practical meaning, “to move”…
Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed a state of emergency following the destructive 6.0-magnitude South Napa earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay Area Sunday.
The temblor sent at least 87 people to the hospital, ignited fires, damaged multiple historic buildings and knocked out power to tens of thousands.
Full story: http://abc7.la/1vA0CuA
Sincerely hope everyone affected by the earthquake is okay.
Gérard Souzay singing Fauré’s Il pleure dans mon coeur, accompanied by Jacqueline Bonneau.
Ferguson is about many things, starting first with race and policing in America. But it’s also about internet, net neutrality and algorithmic filtering. It’s a clear example of why “saving the Internet”, as it often phrased, is not an abstract issue of concern only to nerds, Silicon Valley bosses, and few NGOs. It’s why “algorithmic filtering” is not a vague concern.What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson: Net Neutrality, Algorithmic Filtering and Ferguson (via azspot)
Gorny Altai, Russia.
Photos by Alex Kotomanov.
Radio Open Source: The End of Work with Ray Kurzweil, Andrew McAfee, Chris Lydon
The jobless economy: a fully automated, engineered, robotic system that doesn’t need you, or me either. Anything we can do, machines can do better — surgery, warfare, farming, finance. What’s to do? Shall we smash the machines, or go to the beach, or finally learn to play the piano?
- Ray Kurzweil: Director of Engineering at Google, futurist, inventor, and author of The Age of Spiritual Machinesand The Singularity Is Near.
- Andrew McAfee: Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
- Charles Derber: sociologist and author of The Surplus American.
- Sarah Jaffe: journalist and host of Dissent’s labor podcast “Belabored”
Imagine a world with unlimited resources where any industrious individual or group could conceivably work their way into any market on a competitive basis. But to the contrary we live in a finite world where the majority of the U.S. population is actually being excluded from participating as capitalists. It’s true many do work in competitive capitalist industries of one sort or another. However, the people at the bottom and middle levels of the wage scale often earn only enough, or less than enough, to do little more than get by. These people are not practicing capitalists themselves but are merely employed by capitalist companies. Many in our economy have neither the means nor the opportunity to move up the ladder, and for them the capitalist system might as well be non-existent; calling those people capitalists themselves is little more than a mind bending exercise holding them personally responsible for a system which is unable to deliver the advocated promises. Almost all are slaves to the system if they want to maintain their current standard of living. While they do have a great potential for moving down, and even being forced down by circumstances beyond their control, in all reality there is very little room for the vast majority to move up. And, of course, those at the very bottom of our economic pyramid have no choice but to solicit or accept charity and government handouts with the possibility of being forced into crime. No matter how you classify the people at the very bottom they’re not capitalists themselves unless you consider soliciting handouts and criminal activities as the endeavors of productive capitalists. And speaking of soliciting handouts, isn’t that what big business does with all the campaign funding and lobbying in D.C. to effectively pass laws purely for their own benefit while putting the rest of us under their thumb? I suppose in their case, propaganda must take exception and mislabel undue-influence as capitalism.Modern Capitalism: Wide Open for Anyone to See (via azspot)
Ferguson, Missouri Update
Ferguson Round-Up (8/19)
Ferguson Round-Up (8/18)
Ferguson Round-Up (8/15)
Ferguson Round-Up (8/14)
Ferguson Round-Up (8/13)
Ferguson Round-Up (8/12)
Outburst interrupts night of peace in Ferguson (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said 47 people were arrested and three loaded handguns were seized during the protests Tuesday night and early today. In a news conference that began at about 2:15 this morning, Johnson said officers interrupted criminal activities and prevented violence. “Protest crowds were a bit smaller, and they were out earlier,” he said, noting that no Molotov cocktails were thrown or bullets fired by protesters. However, he said some “criminals and agitators” threatened police, threw glass and plastic bottles — some filled with urine — at officers and hid behind members of the media covering the protests.
Shooting Accounts Differ as Holder Schedules Visit to Ferguson (New York Times)
As a county grand jury prepared to hear evidence on Wednesday in the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer that touched off 10 days of unrest here, witnesses have given investigators sharply conflicting accounts of the killing.
The face-off between police and protesters in and around Ferguson, Mo., continued Tuesday, with tensions further kindled by reports of another police shooting and by more details about slain teenager Michael Brown. President Obama sounded a note of empathy for “young men of color” who are “left behind and seen only as objects of fear” and called for calm as the National Guard made its presence known on the scene and Attorney General Eric Holder announced his plans to travel there Wednesday.
Nobody Knows How Many Americans The Police Kill Each Year (FiveThirtyEight)
Earlier this month, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting and the response have reignited concerns about racial profiling, police brutality and police militarization. The incident has also drawn attention to a remarkable lack of knowledge about a seemingly basic fact: how often people are killed by the police. Some reporting has put forward one of the only figures available: the approximately 400 “justifiable police homicides” each year since 2008, according to the FBI’s annual Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). That data point has appeared with heavy caveats in a string of media reports, including in USA Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Washington Post. The statistic might seem solid at first glance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics — independently of the FBI — also estimate the number of police homicides per year at around 400.
As anger and frustration continue in Ferguson, Missouri over the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, which appears to be a result of the use of excessive force, attention must also go to the excessive economic coercion used by America’s police. Frivolous traffic stops and coercive threats allow police to extract money from citizens through tickets, fines, and court costs. Economic intimidation via petty stops, searches, and seizures is a national problem that finds particular resonance in minority communities like Ferguson.
Police mistrust still prevalent years later (Associated Press)
rown’s death is the latest illustration of deep divisions between minorities and police that have simmered for generations. Concern about the events playing out in Ferguson has coursed all the way up to the White House. President Barack Obama said Attorney General Eric Holder would go to Missouri this week to check on the independent federal investigation into Brown’s death. “In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement,” the president said.
‘Outside agitators’ worsening unrest in Ferguson, Mo., residents say (Kansas City Star)
“People of Ferguson are getting punished for the actions of outside agitators,” said Kenny Murdock, 47, who hosts a show on a St. Louis radio station. Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who had been documenting the protests and the security response on social media, pointed via Twitter to a small group of people who “cannot be defined as protesters/demonstrators. They are more like fighters/rebels/insurgents.” The crowds at night are younger and rowdier, said Laparasena Gandy, 25, who protested Monday across from the Ferguson Police Department.
The extremely militaristic police response to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which have occurred nightly since a police officer shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown to death on August 9, has shocked many Americans. In its tactics, appearance, and especially equipment, the security operation looks more like it belongs on a battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan than in the streets of an American suburb. Armored vehicles, tear gas, full combat gear, rifles — what is all that? From LRADs to MRAPs, here’s a brief guide to the equipment being used against civilians in the St. Louis suburb.
If you compared the racial makeup of Ferguson, Missouri’s population as a whole to that of its government, it would be easy to mistake the city for an enclave of Jim Crow. Although nearly 70 percent of Ferguson is black, 50 of its 53 police officers are white. So are five of Ferguson’s six city council members. The mayor, James Knowles, is a white Republican. Ferguson can help ensure that its leaders more closely resemble its population, however. They just need to hold their elections at a time when voters are actually likely to show up.
A school teacher from Raleigh has helped raise more than $71,000 in just four short days for the children of Ferguson, according to FeedTheStudents.org. Julianna Mendelsohn, 33, started a Fundly campaign on August 14 with the aim to raise $80,000 for the St Louis Foodbank. The teacher cited the fact that many children in the U.S. rely on school to get what could be the kids only meal for the day.
For people in the news business, Twitter was initially viewed as one more way to promote and distribute content. But as the world has become an ever more complicated place — a collision of Ebola, war in Iraq, crisis in Ukraine and more — Twitter has become an early warning service for news organizations, a way to see into stories even when they don’t have significant reporting assets on the ground. And in a situation hostile to traditional reporting, the crowdsourced, phone-enabled network of information that Twitter provides has proved invaluable.
Six days of violence and protests in a town outside St. Louis are highlighting how poverty is growing fastest on the outskirts of America’s cities, as suburbs have become home to a majority of the nation’s poor. In Ferguson, Missouri, a community of 21,000 where the poverty rate doubled since 2000, the dynamic has bred animosity over racial segregation and economic inequality. Protests over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9 have drawn international attention to the St. Louis suburb’s growing underclass.
Ferguson Police Militarization: Cash Flowed To Lawmakers Who Voted To ‘Militarize’ Police (International Business Times)
As local law enforcement has deployed martial tactics against those protesting the police killing of an 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, a debate is suddenly raging over how municipal police forces came to resemble military units. A new report suggests the trend may, in part, have to do with campaign contributions to congressional lawmakers.