Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

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Joe Giambrone
June 1st, 2020

At Dissident Voice, Activist Post

 

In a blizzard of destruction, assaults on peaceful demonstrators, provocateurs, lies, cover-ups, and fascist proclamations, America teeters at a tipping point. The murder, by police, of George Floyd, has sparked a jaw-dropping response across America. Police in many locations have behaved as instigators and perpetrators of savage violence against citizens attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to assemble to demand a redress of grievances.

African-Americans have over 400 years of grievances to fall back upon. The video footage is undeniable, outrageous, and the crime perpetrated with the complicity of other officers acting under color of authority. The murder of George Floyd will go down in history, but the end results remain unclear and desperately in need of political leadership to turn this into a positive push for justice reform.

Many police have also targeted and maimed journalists, who are also supposed to be protected under the First Amendment. We are now living in a chaotic military occupation, under a militarized police army that behaves as if the Constitution no longer exists.

The most dangerous development yet has been the fascistic Trump junta’s attempt to label “Antifa” as a terrorist organization, vowing to scapegoat them and persecute any members they are able to track down. This is classic fascism in action, another opportunity to seize power, divide the population, demonize, and declare new emergency measures—as the Nazis did repeatedly throughout the 1930s.

In 18 USC §242, all the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd could be charged with “Deprivation of rights under color of law,” but Trump’s Attorney General Barr has instead announced an arguably illegal war against U.S. protesters, labeling them as “outside radicals” and then deliberately failing to define “outside” of what exactly? Right-wing conspiracists have already gotten much mileage from spreading paranoia about alleged “outsiders” coming into small towns such as my own.

This divide and conquer strategy, demonization, and the emergency-measures agenda is exactly what Trump has been waiting for. He studied his Hitler.

Unfortunately for us, his predecessors had already empowered the state with police militarization and the 2012 repeal of Posse Comitatus, by none other than Barack Obama. The US empire has long considered the USA a potential “battle space” to be controlled by the military, should the servant class attempt to disrupt the status quo. This past weekend it finally happened.

We are seeing a complete failure of politics to bring accountability to violent, criminal police officers. Numerous complaints had been lodged against the murdering officer over the years but predictably ignored. The pattern nationwide is to protect police from citizen complaints, rather than to protect citizens from dangerous, violent police offenders. An undercover investigation by CBS News revealed repeated intimidation of citizens who try to file police misconduct complaints.

Trump, Barr, big city mayors, and governors have all jumped on the “law and order” bandwagon, thereby placing the blame onto protesters and thus circumventing the very issue they are out in the streets to protest. This is the state’s playbook: distraction, changing the tune, changing the game. Even those like Bernie Sanders, who Tweeted about the need for police reform have entered no legislation on the matter into Congress. Where’s your bill, Bernie?

That’s the red flag that nothing will change. The public is to be terrorized and literally beaten into submission, sent back to work, and examples made of a few unfortunates. This is state terror. It happens with the approval and complicity of far too many citizens. Too many don’t oppose tyranny until it kicks in their own door.

 


Joe Giambrone publishes Political Film Blog and more.

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This is exactly what fascism looks like.
Journalists blinded, injured, arrested covering George Floyd protests nationwide

 

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Don’t be fooled by these assholes. Well, my readers probably aren’t anyway.

I want the inevitable obituary of the Buttigieg 2020 campaign to be honest

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Military Drones to Begin Replacing Police Helicopters by 2025

General Atomics is working hard to put a close cousin of its Reaper anti-terrorism drone in the hands of local law enforcement.

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No longer very funny.

Given the turbulent arrival of Tyrannosaurus Trump, (little hands, enormous head), even his gullible legions had best take seriously what his ex-wife had to say:

Ivana Trump: Donald had a book of Hitler’s speeches
for light bedtime reading

Trump has now declared war on the press, his lackeys claim the right to their own “alternative facts” and that the White House Press Office can “disagree with the facts.”

He’s just taken steps to force construction of more oil pipelines, including on Native American lands, and is in favor of more coal. On that front he not only removed all references to civil rights and global warming from the White House website; he instituted an information blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency, censorship.

Shit is hitting the fan, and it’s been less than a week. His fascistic outbursts and gloating over some vague notion of more “law and order” do not bode well for a free society here any longer.

Trump is declaring war after war, step after step, and his wars are with the majority of Americans.

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She attempts to obfuscate with feel good rhetoric, but they press her some more in part 2. Quite a different meeting than when they grabbed the microphone from Bernie Sanders.

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by STEVEN JONAS

Weren’t the valiant, courageous actions of civil rights advocates a triumph for social justice? Did it not lead to further advances in that struggle? And if you are referring to the movie, is it not a triumph as well, getting a film that portrays one of the signal struggles of the Movement during the 60s with such searing honesty, no holds barred in dealing with the “Which side are you on?” question, applied to this event?

Well, yes, the Selma March was a triumph for the civil rights movement. It played a very important role in getting Lyndon Johnson to support what became the Voting Rights Act. It did lead to further advances in that struggle. The movie is a triumph as well, a brilliantly staged and acted docudrama which, among other things, uses the real Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, as the setting for the re-creation of the real march that took place across it in 1965.

Ironically enough, the bridge is named for a Confederate Brigadier General, who later, operating out of his law office [!], became the leader of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan in Selma, and then went on to become a U.S. Senator from Alabama. This is particularly ironic in the context of the Voting Rights Act and the struggle to enact it. The Ku Klux Klan was founded very shortly after the end of the civil war by an association of ex-Confederate generals, planters, certain Democratic politicians, and other white leadership who wanted to return the civil society in the South as much as possible to what it had been before the Civil War, with the exception of not having the institution of chattel slavery in place.

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MLK with LBJ. Recreating history—truth (l) and simulation (r). How close did the two come in Selma, the film? (Photomontage for Slate Magazine)

One of the principal objectives of the Klan, from the earliest days of its founding, was to prevent the newly freed slaves from exercising the right to vote that had been granted to them by the 14th (1868) and 15th (1870) Amendments to the Constitution. The language of the latter is particularly instructive: “1. the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

But with the power first of the Klan, with the ever-spreading denial of the vote to African-Americans, and then with the institution over a period of some years of what was called the “Jim Crow” laws by the Democratic Party in the South, African-Americans were indeed systematically denied the right to that had being guaranteed to them by the 15th amendment.

The reality that casts a shadow over Selma is that it did not end the struggle for civil and voting rights for people of color in the United States. As I pointed out in recent column, except for the literal abolition of chattel slavery, in terms of its central goals, the South essentially won the Civil War. One the many tragedies of Selma is that one of the two major U.S. political parties still runs in part on racism, just as the old Southern Democratic Party of the time did. The story of how Nixon took the “Southern Strategy” that had been originally invented, but not in a formal way, by Barry Goldwater, and broadly implemented it for the GOP, and how Ronald Reagan cemented it in place need not be re-told here.

Indeed it is also a tragedy that the Voting Rights Act for which so many whites and African-Americans had fought so hard for so many years has been recently been gutted by the Republican Supreme Court. (That is the same Republican Court that may be on its way to gutting the Fair Housing Act as well.) It is a tragedy that indeed Martin Luther King’s words 50 years ago, about segregation and discrimination, about racism, about the lack of economic justice for non-whites (and now, of course, increasingly for many whites as well) still, as the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, cry out for justice to this day. Dr. King’s vision of a civil rights-labor alliance, which has never been achieved, echo down to us today as well. It is a tragedy that off-duty black police officers need to fear white cops just as black young men who “don’t look right,” like New York Times columnist Charles Blows’ son at Yale, do.

It is a tragedy that voter suppression, aimed at African-Americans and other population groups who tend to vote for Democrats, has become an official policy of the Republican Party, under the guise of “battling voter fraud” (which happens to be virtually non-existent, and even if it weren’t could easily be dealt with by offering free, easy-to-obtain voter ID cards). It is a tragedy that lynching, a major tool of black-suppression in the Jim Crow South, which was dying out by the time of “Selma,” has returned to this country in the form of white police officers killing black young men at an astounding rate.

Now let us turn briefly to Selma, the movie. First, of course is the fact that when it came to Academy Award nominations (not the awards themselves), while the movie itself did receive one for Best Picture, the Director, Ava DuVernay, and the lead actor, David Yellow, who had received awards and nominations elsewhere were completely shut out. That is itself a legacy of racism, given the excellence of the film.

Second, in much of the mainstream media discussion of the issues of the movie and how the primary ones remain with us down to this very day because of the policies and politics of one of our two leading parties, got glossed over. They were actually submerged, is more like it, by the flap over whether or not the movie and its writers/director gave credit where credit was due to the role of Lyndon Johnson in bringing forth the Voting rights Act and was a fair representation of the relationship between the President and Doctor King. To me, as my regular readers will know well, this is largely irrelevant. Where exactly LBJ was in the time-line pales before the fact that he did bring the Voting rights Act forward, that he did send federal troops to defend the Selma marchers against the local police/sheriffs. And that he did stand down the racists J. Edgar Hoover and George Wallace.

The bottom line, which really has been lost, is that the South did win the Civil War and one of our two major political parties runs openly and shamelessly on racism (as well as religious authoritarianism and the demonization of various “others”). These are two of the major issues facing this country now just as they were back at the time of Selma. That is the principal tragedy of the movie.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Senior Editor Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to being a columnist for The Greanville Post, he also serves in the same capacity at BuzzFlash/Truthout (http://www.buzzflash.com, http://www.truth-out.org/), and he is the Managing Editor of and a Contributing Author to TPJmagazine.net.

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Seattle faces $500k suit for pepper-spraying school teacher

How come there’s no criminal action taken against cops who assault citizens? If the civilian had pepper sprayed the cop for no reason — for ANY reason — he’d be in jail. Same rules don’t apply in this two-tiered police state system.