What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.
These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.
The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship. These issues had been at the heart of the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
To truly honor Memorial Day means putting the politics back in. It means reviving the visions of emancipation and liberation that animated the first Decoration Days. It means celebrating those who have fought for justice, while exposing the cruel manipulation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members who have been sent to fight and die in wars for conquest and empire.
Gays:We just think our love is as valid as anyone else's
Liberals:Cool guys. Let's get you married.
Transgendered:I am not physically the person I feel I should be.
Liberals:Awesome. You should do whatever you like with your own body to find happiness.
Women:We're being raped, paid less, and I guess our nipples are more insulting then male nipples?
Liberals:Well, none of that is cool. We're here to support you!
Black People:We're being racially profiled, shot for minor crimes, and shoved into prisons simply based on our skin color.
Liberals:None of that is cool. You have our support.
Immigrants:Yes, we came here illegally, but we're escaping our countries full of violence, human trafficking, and drug lords. Can we just take your undesired jobs and raise our kids in peace to be hard-working Americans?
Liberals:Oh man. That sucks. Hell yeah you can. Welcome to America
Conservatives:No no no NO NO NO!!!
Liberals:Whoa there, these are normal human beings facing obstacles because of how they were born--
“Terms such as “culturally deprived,” “economically disadvantaged” and “underdeveloped” place the responsibility for their own conditions on those being so described. This is known as “blaming the victim.” It places responsibility for poverty on the victims of poverty. It removes the blame from those in power who benefit from, and continue to permit, poverty.
Still another example involves the use of “non-white,” “minority” or “third world.” While people of color are a minority in the U.S., they are part of the vast majority of the world’s population, in which white people are a distinct minority. Thus, by utilizing the term “minority” to describe people of color in the U.S., we can lose sight of the global majority/minority reality - a fact of some importance in the increasing and interconnected struggles of people of color inside and outside the U.S.
To describe people of color as “non-white” is to use whiteness as the standard and norm against which to measure all others.”—
It’s medieval times, thanks to the Harper Government’s new citizenship bill — and not the fun one where guys in costumes beat each other up, either. This one involves exile.
Bill C-24 promises to shred the passports of Canadians who the Minister of Immigration deems terrorists — and deport them to countries they may have never seen before.
“It’s so wrong it isn’t funny,” says immigration lawyer Barbara Jackman. “Exile and banishment — those went out in the Middle Ages.”
The bill, known by its euphemistic title of the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,” gives the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the right to strip any Canadians’ citizenship for a host of reasons, so long as they have a connection to a foreign country.
Canada’s legal community says the bill is flatly unconstitutional. NGOs have widely called for the bill to be pulled, or substantially amended—to remove just about every controversial part of the legislation.
However, a House of Commons committee passed the bill Tuesday night without amendment. It will likely become law before Parliament breaks for the summer.
This bill is so broad, critics say, it could allow the government to strip the citizenship of someone as ostensibly innocuous as an environmental activist, or an individual as internationally feared as an al Qaeda operative.
Any undesirable that falls under the broad categories laid out in the bill — whether they were born in Moose Jaw or Karachi. If the Minister of Immigration decides that the citizen is un-Canadian, they’re outta here.
“We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outraged, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged? Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world?”—Emma Goldman (via new—tomorrows)
"Although I am named in this suit on my own behalf, I am motivated to join it by concerns well beyond my own. I have been frankly appalled by the discrepant and contradictory positions taken by the Administration in this matter. First, the entire existence…
“This piece originally appeared in the Notes and Comment section of the July 3, 1943, issue of The New Yorker. “The 40s: The Story of a Decade,” an anthology of New Yorker articles, stories, and poems, will be released on Tuesday. We received a letter from the Writers’ War Board the other day asking for a statement on “The Meaning of Democracy.” It presumably is our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure. Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is a letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of a morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is. —E. B. White”—E. B. White on ‘The Meaning of Democracy’ : The New Yorker (via sfarjal)
Today we can semantically analyse words for affect and sentiment. Today we can measure body language, and prosody of voice to build empathic feedback loops with users that process Natural Language. Today, we can talk with software and that software can learn, measure, and talk back. The dark, cold monitor is now monitoring us, as we have built it to do. The technology in Her is just a few years away. It’s a technology that requires the measuring of that spiritual thing called mood.
“Liberty: that is to say, the chance offered to every man (by removing obstacles and placing the appropriate means at his disposal) of ‘trans-humanizing’ himself by developing his potentialities to the fullest extent.”—The Future of Mankind, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (via emptyest)
So if we have to show women what the baby looks like in their womb and tell them how the process works before allowing them to get an abortion, does that mean we should teach our soldiers about the culture of the lands we’re invading, and explain to them that the people we…
“The Black misleadership class’s existence is justified by the paradigm of “diversity.” This paradigm places sharp emphasis on integrating Black and brown people into leadership roles within the institutions that oppress them. The Black misleadership class uses the spoils of empire to protect the ruling class responsible for the misery of US sponsored imperialism. Black FBI leaders, corporate managers, police authorities, Senators, Congressmen, Presidential advisors, and morally bankrupt celebrities like Jay-Z are given handsome salaries and positions to help manage the exploitation of the Black masses. Earlier in the year, the FBI used a Black person to call for the head of Black liberation heroine Assata Shakur. And of course, none other than Barack Obama has proven to be the most powerful of Black misleaders, wielding the resources of the financial capitalist class to pursue policies that would be impossible to achieve under a white commander-in chief without a mass response. George Bush could never tell his advisors that he was “good at killing people” without demonstrations, documentaries, and criticisms following soon after. When Obama says it, however, the coast is clear.”—The Black Misleadership Class Needs Unmasking (via azspot)
“According to Marx, capitalists of the nineteenth century had constructed an ideology which was a “camera obscura”; an upside-down, distorted view of social relations. Contemporary calls for imminent class war rely on Marx’s assumption that the materiality of workers’ conditions would eventually force them to see capitalism as an exploitive system and they would revolt against it. Ultimately, reality would prevail. The difficulty for Marx, and those who call for class war, is that, historically, workers do not revolt against the inequalities of capitalism. Despite seemingly intractable inequalities, workers do not interpret the materiality of their lives in the same way that Marxists do. Instead of revolting against the economic system, they accede to capitalism and attempt to find accommodation within it. The supposedly objective facts of inequality do not overcome the meanings that capitalists have attached to them. To many, the “camera obscura” is reality.”—Class War is a Bad Strategy for Progressive Politics (via azspot)
“The long and painful Greek tragedy continues, where society and culture are gutted, people impoverished, driven into a deep depression, with growing political and social conflicts, the rise of fascism, detention camps filled with immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, trying to escape the dictators we arm, or the wars we support, with suicide rates spiking, health and well-being deteriorating, services and support vanish, and all the people are left to be punished, humiliated, oppressed and destroyed… These are called “solutions” to an economic crisis, on the road to “economic recovery”… think about that for a moment.”—The Debtor’s War: A Modern Greek Tragedy (via azspot)
“Without accountability, America is finished. Not only will Americans live in a police state with no civil liberties, but the rest of the world is already looking at America with a jaundiced eye. The US is being reconstituted as an authoritarian state. All it takes is one failure of accountability for the police state to become entrenched, and we have had numerous failures of accountability. Does anyone really believe that some future government is going to make restitution to persecuted truth-tellers, such as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowdon, as was done for Japanese Americans?”—Paul Craig Roberts (via azspot)
Imagine a very plausible 2016 presidential contest in which an anti-NSA candidate is threatening to win the nomination of one party or the other–say that Ron Wyden is challenging Hillary Clinton, or that Rand Paul might beat Chris Christie. Does anyone doubt where General Alexander or his successor would stand in that race? Or in a general election where an anti-NSA candidate might win?
What would a General Alexander type do if he thought the victory of one candidate would significantly rein in the NSA in a way that he regarded as catastrophic to national security? Would he really do nothing to prevent their victory?
I don’t know the answer.
But surely there is some plausible head of the NSA who’d be tempted to use his position to sink the political prospects of candidates antagonistic to the agency’s interests. And we needn’t imagine something so risky and unthinkable as direct blackmail.
“In an era when almost all economic gains are going to the very top, when poverty is increasing, and when median household incomes are dropping even with two wage earners, to be in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy and providing better schools to everyone else should not be considered “left.” I’d call this pragmatic. By the same token, to be against raising the minimum wage — as is Chris Christie — is not a sign of “pragmatism.” I’d call this ideological.”—Robert Reich (via azspot)