Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Walking Back the American Twenty-First Century? | TomDispatch

One more reason why civilian review boards are a core issue for the future of American democracy.  

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Walking Back the American Twenty-First Century? | TomDispatch

In Whose America? 
Machine Guns, MRAPs, Surveillance, Drones, Permanent War, and a Permanent Election Campaign 
By Tom Engelhardt
I never fail to be amazed -- and that’s undoubtedly my failing.  I mean, if you retain a capacity for wonder you can still be awed by a sunset, but should you really be shocked that the sun is once again sinking in the west? Maybe not.
The occasion for such reflections: machine guns in my hometown. To be specific, several weeks ago, New York Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced the formation of a new 350-officer Special Response Group (SRG). Keep in mind that New York City already has a police force of more than 34,000 -- bigger, that is, than the active militaries of Austria, Bulgaria, Chad, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Switzerland, or Zimbabwe -- as well as its own “navy,” including six submersible drones.  Just another drop in an ocean of blue, the SRG will nonetheless be a squad for our times, trained in what Bratton referred to as “advanced disorder control and counterterror.”  It will also, he announced, be equipped with“extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns -- unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.” And here’s where he created a little controversy in my hometown.  The squad would, Bratton added, be “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”
Now, that was an embarrassment in liberal New York.  By mixing the recent demonstrationsover the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others into the same sentence with the assault on Mumbai and the Charlie Hebdo affair in France, he seemed to be equating civil protest in the Big Apple with acts of terrorism.  Perhaps you won’t be surprised then that the very next day the police department started walking back the idea that the unit would be toting its machine guns not just to possible terror incidents but to local protests.  A day later, Bratton himself walked his comments back even further. (“I may have in my remarks or in your interpretation of my remarks confused you or confused the issue.”)  Now, it seems there will be two separate units, the SRG for counterterror patrols and a different, assumedly machine-gun-less crew for protests.  READ MORE HERE

BlackHomesMatter: Screening of "The Hill" -- about eminent domain abuse, gentrification, etc. Tomorrow 2-5 PM at 14th St Community Gallery

This event is put on by the Ferguson Action Council. 

**Sunday, Feb 22, 2-5PM - Black Homes Matter: Movie Screening of "The Hill" (on New Haven, CT and gentrification) and Community Discussion to discuss eminent domain, Paul McKee and Pruitt-Igoe, 14th Street Community Gallery (2607 N 14th St., St. Louis MO)**

Movie Trailer: At one point in the trailer, one of the lawyers references the role of Yale University, which he says wants a "sanitized corridor" around the med school. The movie is incredibly relevant to us, especially given the role of Wash U in gentrifying the area around the med school. 
-submitted by a student

Pussy Riot: I Can't Breathe

From the Youtube description: 

"Published on Feb 18, 2015 Pussy Riot's first song in English is dedicated to Eric Garner and the words he repeated eleven times before his death. This song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror - killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds - for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change. We stand in solidarity."


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates - Feb 19, 2015 - Washington University in St. Louis

School District Transformation Meeting, today and Saturday

SLPS Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams will host a pair of public forums to gather input from community stakeholders. The first public forum will be held at Humboldt Academy of Higher Learning, 2516 S. 9th Street, on Thursday, February 19 at 7pm. A second public forum will take place at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue, on Saturday, February 21 at 9am.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Movements Achieve and Generate, Even after the media goes home: ‘We Must Love Each Other:’ Lessons in Struggle and Justice from Chicago

Prison Culture » ‘We Must Love Each Other:’ Lessons in Struggle and Justice from Chicago

The national protests catalyzed by the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson last August continue even as many (including the mainstream media) have moved on. Some critics have suggested that the uprisings/rebellions are leaderless, lack concrete demands and/or are without clear strategy. Each of these critiques is easily refuted so I won’t concern myself with them here.
In Chicago, many have used the energy and opening created by these ongoing protests to re-animate existing long-term anti-police violence campaigns. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the Chicago Temple to show our love for police torture survivors on the day after Jon Burge was released from house arrest.

Ferguson mayor reflects on impact of unrest — and the future of his city

Ferguson mayor reflects on impact of unrest — and the future of his city

Over the past six months, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III found out what it was like to be transformed from . . .

Belmar confirms St. Louis County police wanted National Guard in Ferguson after grand jury decision

Belmar confirms St. Louis County police wanted National Guard in Ferguson after grand jury decision

A new report finds that St. Louis County Police Department officials were rebuffed when they asked to statio . . .

Knowledge sharing: The Right to a Living Wage, the life of fast-food workers, and the ShowME15 movement in St. Louis

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Code Pink: sustained anti-war movement, takes actions to Congress, calls out Henry Kissinger: Will the Real ‘Low-Life Scum’ Please Stand Up?

Will the Real ‘Low-Life Scum’ Please Stand Up? (Medea Benjamin)

Background, for those who don't remember:


Kissinger pressed Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government because his "'model' effect can be insidious," documents show

On 40th anniversary of coup, Archive posts top ten documents on Kissinger's role in undermining democracy, supporting military dictatorship in Chile 

Kissinger overruled aides on military regime's human rights atrocities; told Pinochet in 1976: "We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende." 

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 437

Posted – September 11, 2013
Edited by Peter Kornbluh

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Anthropology needs a movement against itself: the problem of the discipline as a "white public space"

Anthropology: It's still white public space. Interview with Karen Brodkin (via Savage Minds)

Part I: http://savageminds.org/2014/11/15/anthropology-still-white-public-space-brodkin/

Part II: http://savageminds.org/2014/12/04/anthropology-its-still-white-public-space-an-interview-with-karen-brodkin-part-ii/

See also: Brodkin, Karen; Sandra Morgen, and Janis Hutchison. 2011. Anthropology as White Public Space? American Anthropologist 113(4):545-556.

Advocacy Group Proposes Municipal Court Reforms. How Do They Compare?

Advocacy Group Proposes Municipal Court Reforms. How Do They Compare?

"These are not courts as we know them," said MORE's executive director Jeff Ordower. "These are predatory collection agencies on the backs of people of color, and on the backs of the poorest people in the county. And that is why we need to transform and abolish the racist municipal court system in St. Louis County."

Thinking about the political status of the "riot"

Hobsbawm, Eric. 2005. Cities and Insurrections

Hobsbawm, Eric. 2011. Review of Rudé, The Crowd in History

Lessons from Oakland: racism, acquittals, non-profits, absorption
George Cicciarello-Maher. 2010. Chronicle of a Riot Foretold » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Thompson, EP. 1971.  The Moral Economy of the English Crowd