by Karyn Pomerantz
The Free State of Jones is an amazing story of an organized revolt against the Confederacy during the Civil War in Mississippi by white farmers and escaped black men and women (maroons). They organized themselves into an armed fighting squad that dominated 1/3 of Mississippi, one of the most racist states. Continue reading “The Free State of Jones Movie Review: Multiracial Attacks on the Confederacy”
by Karyn L. Pomerantz
The massacre at Pulse of Latin youth has revealed the realities of living Latin, gay and transgender. Author Justin Torres contrasted the safety and sacredness of Pulse with the fear and vulnerability of life in the outside world (Washington Post, June 15, 2016, Op Ed, page A23): Continue reading “Turn Grief into Action”
By Alan Spector, Professor of Sociology at Purdue North West and long time anti-racist, anti-war activist, firstname.lastname@example.org . This was written in 1998 but is still current.
The image of a police car appears in the rear view mirror as the driver of a car glances up. Proceeding for five or six blocks, the driver notices that the police car is still following. As the driver makes a right turn, the police car follows, and seven blocks further down the street, the driver is quite aware that the police car is still following behind — no lights, no siren, no request to pull over….just following. While it may well be a coincidence, the driver may nevertheless start to experience anxiety. “Did I commit a traffic violation? Will I have to take a day off of work to go to court? Will there be a fine? Will I get points against my driver’s license? Will my car insurance go up by several hundred dollars?” Anxiety. For perhaps 80% of the population in the U.S., this kind of experience creates anxiety. For much of the other 20%, however, the anxiety is much more intense. For the young black male driving through Gary, Indiana at 11 p.m., the anxiety includes: “Will my car be searched? Will I be humiliated? Will my car be damaged? Will I be roughed up? How should I act? If I’m quiet, the cop might think I’m being hostile. If I’m friendly, he might think I’m being sarcastic. My friend was arrested for disorderly conduct last week in a traffic stop. How should I act? What’s going to happen now?” Continue reading “Racism is Not about White Skin Privilege”
(From Lerone Bennett, The Shaping of Black America. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1975, pp. 61-82. Originally published in Ebony, vol. 25 (August, 1970), pp. 71- 77).
A nation is a choice. It chooses itself at fateful forks in the road by turning left or right, by giving up something or taking something — and in the giving up and the taking, in the deciding and not deciding, the nation becomes. And ever afterwards, the nation and the people who make up the nation are defined by the fork and by the decision that was made there, as well as by the decision that was not made there. For the decision, once made, engraves itself into the landscape, engraves itself into things, into institutions, nerves, muscles, tendons; and the first decision requires a second decision, and the second decision requires a third, and it goes on and on, spiraling in an inexorable process which distorts everything and alienates everybody.
Continue reading ““The Road Not Taken” by Lerone Bennett”
MIGRATION: A REFLECTION OF CAPITALISM
By Ellen Isaacs
Appearing in Zmag, July 2016
The news is full of tragic and shocking stories of the flight of refugees, such as the 12.6 million Syrians internally or externally displaced and over 1000 drowned in June in the Mediterranean Sea. Today, more desperate refugees are seeking shelter in Europe than at any time since World War II.
In this article we will examine why so many people in the world have been driven to flee their homes, the status of migration in the world today, and why capitalism and imperialism are responsible for this phenomenon. We will also explore how nationalism and racism, inventions of capitalism, are used to justify mass displacements and make them more acceptable. Continue reading “Migration: A Reflection of Capitalism”
What is racism?
Racism is a system that disadvantages one group over another through economic, political, and ideological practices and policies. Structural racism reflects the history of US policies that serve those in power in a society. Those in power who own companies or control financial institutions (the ruling class) need to increase their profits by holding down costs and speeding up production. From the beginning of US history, the planters looked for the cheapest labor and chose African men and women to work their land. To justify their choice, they promoted the concept of race-that African people deserved enslavement while European white people could be “free” and earn wages. The ruling class, the landowners and bankers of that time, structured society to give themselves power and access to wealth while relegating the workers to low or no wages based on what they defined as “race.”
Continue reading “What is racism?”
THE FALLACY OF WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE
The concept of white skin privilege acknowledges the differences in exploitation and oppression faced by blacks and whites; yet it frames the lower levels of exploitation as a benefit for whites. This either encourages white workers to support the system because they get a bit more, or to believe that they are part of the system that is exploiting blacks, or to feel guilty because they are less exploited. None of these suppositions are true, and all may decrease the motivation of whites to unite with blacks to fight back. Continue reading “RACISM HURTS ALL WORKERS”
by The Editors
From: The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
Today, massive unemployment and wars force millions of people to flee their homes. In the US cities, developers are building luxury residences, pushing people out of their neighborhoods and homes. In New Orleans, Louisiana State University leveled miles of newly-renovated houses to build its new medical center.
Continue reading “Sailors, Slaves, Pirates Revolts in the 16th-17th Centuries”
Labor, Free and Slave by Bernard Mandel explores the effects of slavery on white workers. It describes how white workers (“free labor”) responded to slavery and the abolition movement. It holds many lessons we can apply to today’s movements against police brutality and xenophobia.
by Karyn Pomerantz
The Unity of “Free” and Enslaved Workers during the Civil War Period
(From Labor, free and slave by Bernard Mandel, 2nd ed, Chicago: U of Illinois Press, 2007
Labor, Free and Slave by Bernard Mandel explores the effects of slavery on white workers. It describes how white workers (“free labor”) responded to slavery and the abolition movement. It holds many lessons we can apply to today’s movements against police brutality and xenophobia. Continue reading ““Labor: Free and Slave””