Resistance to Trump

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Well, he's gone and declared a national emergency to scam the funds for his wall.

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West Virginia Teachers Launch Strike

In West Virginia, teachers are launching a statewide strike today over an education reform bill that Republicans are trying to pass in the state Legislature. The bill would legalize charter schools, which are currently not allowed in the state. Teachers’ unions say they were not consulted in the drafting of the legislation and that it is a retaliation for last year’s historic strike, which was credited with launching a wave of teacher walkouts in other red states. The action comes nearly one year after the 9-day strike led to a 5 percent raise for all state workers.

Meanwhile, teachers in Oakland, California, have announced they are planning to go on strike starting Thursday to demand fair wages, smaller class sizes and more resources for their students.

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Timebandit wrote:

Well, he's gone and declared a national emergency to scam the funds for his wall.

...

16 States Sue over Trump’s Nat’l Emergency Declaration

A coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s national emergency declaration, claiming it is unconstitutional. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the suit on behalf of the group Monday. He says Trump’s move violates Congress’s power to control the budget and is a misuse of public money.

Also on Monday, President’s Day, protesters took to the streets around the country to denounce Trump’s emergency declaration. This is Diallo Brooks of People for the American Way speaking at a rally in Washington, D.C.

Diallo Brooks: “And we will fight at every turn for justice for everyone, no matter what you look like or where you come from. We will fight, and we will stand up, and we will make our voices heard. Thank you.”

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NYC: Protesters Take to Streets After Nat’l Emergency Declaration

In New York City, demonstrators turned out Friday evening in front of the Trump International Hotel to protest the emergency declaration. Multiple arrests were reported at the peaceful demonstration, after police blocked the sidewalks and protesters instead moved into the street. This is Jody Kuh of Rise and Resist, speaking to Democracy Now!

Jody Kuh: “It’s unconstitutional. It’s completely immoral. It’s against everything that we stand for. This is a nation of immigrants, and there is no reason that we should be keeping immigrants out. We should be celebrating them and welcoming them. If he’s going to mess with our business, we’re going to mess with his business.”

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“This Campaign Is Literally Making Socialists”

Ugo Okere is a 22-year-old Nigerian immigrant and democratic socialist running for Chicago City Council. In an interview, he describes his history as an activist, the smears he's faced from the incumbent, and why democratic socialism “is about democratic control of every single facet of our life.”

quote:

UO

Social justice was not a part of my life, activism wasn’t a part of my life, until I got to college. I had always cared about politics, but I cared about electoral politics. I saw it as different from activism — rather than how I view activism and electoral politics now, as part of the same apparatus for achieving the liberation of black, brown, and working-class people.

My freshman year of college was when the Black Lives Matter movement began. It was the first time that social justice became proximal to me. I knew that if I wasn’t taking part in the Black Lives Matter movement that [it could be] me that was in the grave with my parents crying over it on the 5 o’clock news. I knew I had to be a part of the struggle.

When you’re on a college campus and you get into these kinds of spaces, you also get pulled into all of the other activism that is going on. Because of that, I learned more and more about the movement for BDS on our campus, I learned about the wider realm of social justice. I knew I had to be part of the greater struggle for liberation for all marginalized people: “We ain’t free until we’re all free.”

I joined up with Anakbayan Chicago, which is an organization dedicated to the liberation of the Filipino people here in United States and in the Philippines. That was where I learned even deeper about the struggle for international solidarity and how a lot of the capitalist forces that subjugate us in the United States subjugate people across the world. After that, I became the chairman of Fuente del Sol, which is an organization on the Southwest Side of Chicago that [fights] for violence prevention and immigrant rights. In all that time, I was also gaining government experience. I was working in the Chicago City Clerk’s office, working for a congressional office.....

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West Virginia’s Political Strike Wins Big

Within hours of going on strike, West Virginia educators defeated a dangerous education privatization bill. They've again reminded us of a simple truth: strikes work.

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NYC: Activists Protest Whitney Museum Board Member, Maker of Tear Gas

And in New York City, activists from over 30 groups took over the prestigious Whitney Museum Friday to call for the removal of Vice Chair Warren Kanders, CEO of tear gas manufacturer Safariland, from the museum’s board. he protest launched a 9-week series of actions organized by Decolonize This Place. Democracy Now! spoke to one of the activists at Friday’s action.

Marz Saffore: “My name is Marz Saffore, and I’m with MTL+ Collective and Decolonize This Place. Today we’re here for week three of the 'Nine Weeks of Art and Action' at the Whitney Museum, demanding the removal of Vice Chairman Warren Kanders. Warren Kanders is the CEO of Safariland, an international weapons manufacturer who manufactured the tear gas used against migrant families at the border, water protectors in Standing Rock, black folks in Ferguson, Palestine, Oakland, Turkey, Egypt, and the list goes on.”

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“This Is a Win for Our City”: Chicago Teachers Celebrate End of Historic Strike After 11 Days

We speak with Stacy Davis Gates, the Executive Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union, and labor journalist Sarah Jaffe.

quote:

STACY DAVIS GATES: Good morning. Our members took a ten-day sacrifice to finally bring about some equity in the Chicago Public Schools. Our school communities will have a nurse five days a week in every school, a social worker five days a week in every school. School communities on the South and West Side of the city are now being prioritized. They will get the wraparound supports that they need. The class size limits will go into effect almost—will go into effect faster for them. Look, this sacrifice that our members made has ushered in a new type of Chicago Public Schools that offer sanctuary to their students, that provides homeless students with the necessary supports. We are very pleased with the outcomes. And we just really thank our parents in the city for standing by us.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk also about the salary and healthcare benefits that you negotiated.

STACY DAVIS GATES: Virtually no change in our health insurance. Our members got a 16% COLA increase—cost of living increase. Our PSRPs, our lowest-wage workers in our bargaining unit, two-thirds of them were—their children would qualify for free and reduced lunch prior to going on strike. Now we have lifted that basement and those women who serve in our school communities, who are the glue in our school communities, they don’t have to exist in poverty anymore.

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AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about the fact that it was not only the Chicago Teachers Union, but SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, that also went on strike? The significance of this?

STACY DAVIS GATES: The significance of that is that these are black women who were making wages that did not make sense in a city that is growing increasingly unaffordable. These women went out on the picket line with the teachers and they won tremendous gains in their salary structure. I will be honest with you—I don’t think that this could have been as transformative, as monumental as it was without SEIU 73 members on the picket line with us. Those women settled their contract before we settled ours, and the very next day, they were on the picket lines with us. The solidarity that we had with the city, with each other was tremendous in this moment.

AMY GOODMAN: Stacy Davis Gates, you are a mom of three kids in the Chicago schools. I think about that editorial that talked about this utopian version of Chicago you’re looking for. Can you talk about what educational justice means?

STACY DAVIS GATES: It means that black children in Chicago don’t have to beg for a nurse, which is the very minimum for most children across this country. Listen, Chicago has a very terrible history of racism and segregation, and when you read editorials like that, it provokes those same feelings again. Look, our children, every single child in the Chicago Public Schools, deserves more than what we even won in this contract. This contract sets forth an infrastructure to help us fight for even more.

Listen, when you can take a public subsidy and build a playground in one of the richest neighborhoods in this country and call it a giveaway but then make teachers picket and strike for 10 days to get a social worker in school communities that have been ravaged by violence, poverty, employment and disinvestment, there is something wrong with the priorities and values of those who are in charge. What I am saying today is that I am proud that Chicago lifted its voice in unison to say that we are going to transform the way in which we prioritize children in this city, our school communities in this city and the public sector in this city.

Look, this is a movement that has been percolating for the last decade in this city, to bring about change that focuses on those communities that have been left behind while skyscrapers in downtown Chicago are built with taxpayer money. This is a shift in how we conceive of public resources actually helping those who need them the most. This is a win for our city. This is a win for our state. This is a win for our country.

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Braving snow and cold temperatures, thousands marched through the streets near City Hall during the eleventh day of an ongoing teachers' strike on October 31, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Heins / Getty Images

There Is No Way Forward Without Organized Workers

For two weeks last month, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike. Just as in 2012, the strike was widely acknowledged as a victory for the union. The successes for organized teachers are so numerous at this point that it is worth reflecting on exactly what the increased militance of educators and other workers means for US politics moving forward.

The CTU model of unionism — one that emphasizes internal democracy, a willingness to strike and take other militant actions, and bargaining for the needs of the community in which teachers teach — has been driving the upsurge of teacher militance in the United States over the past decade. It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of what the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) has done in making the CTU into an organization of warriors against neoliberalism and, as Eric Blanc has shown, serving as a model for organizing teachers across the country in 2018–19. Teachers in Chicago haven’t simply made an intellectual case against neoliberalism: as in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver, the CTU won many of their demands by taking the high-stakes action of walking off their jobs.....

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“Seattle Is Not For Sale”: Voters Rebuke Amazon, Re-electing Socialist Kshama Sawant

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JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We end today’s show in Seattle, where a group of progressive city councilors were able to beat back a $1.5 million campaign by Amazon to flip the City Council. Seven of the seats on the Seattle City Council were up for grabs in last week’s election, which was widely seen as a referendum on Amazon, the city’s largest private employer and one of the most powerful companies in the world. Five candidates backed by Amazon and other business interests lost their bids for council seats. Perhaps the most visible face in the political fight against Amazon is Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who has been re-elected in a race that pitted her against Amazon-backed candidate Egan Orion. Amazon poured nearly half a million dollars into that race alone.

quote:

KSHAMA SAWANT: Thank you so much, Amy and Juan, for having this very, very important and, indeed, absolutely historic event that has happened in Seattle. And as you said, it has been a major repudiation, not only of Amazon and Jeff Bezos himself, you know, as the richest man in the world, but also it has been a referendum on the vision for Seattle. And I think Seattle is a microcosm for metropolitan areas in general. You know, what should our urban spaces look like? Should our cities be playgrounds for the very wealthy, or should they be places where ordinary people can live and thrive? And I think it is beyond any doubt that the voters in Seattle have spoken, that Seattle is not up for sale. Our democratic process in the city, you know, the elections are not up for sale.

And it has happened in this dramatic fashion, where not only Amazon — you know, Amazon is obviously the most visible player in the attempted sort of hostile corporate takeover that they did this year, in this year’s election, but it wasn’t just Amazon. It was the entire might of the corporate elite, of the capitalist class, that we went up against. So, it’s the trillion-dollar corporation Amazon, but also corporate real estate, all of the large businesses that fought viciously against $15 an hour four years ago, and also the businesses that were completely against the tax on big business that we attempted, and then was repealed, shamefully, by the majority of the City Council last year. And so, I think that this — you know, this shows what a tremendous opening there is not only for the left to seize opportunities, but, as you have seen, as a socialist movement, we have a grassroots socialist movement, went up against the richest man in the world, and we were able to prevail.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And also, you neglected to mention there the role of the media. The Seattle Times, of course, if you want to talk about their role in terms of this election, and also the fact that the City Council had suffered a defeat a year earlier, when Amazon effectively forced it to rescind a tax for affordable housing?

KSHAMA SAWANT: Yes. And, in fact, the role of the media is integral to the whole political process under capitalism. And it’s diametrically opposite to what you’re doing on Democracy Now!, and that’s why it’s really, really important that you’re covering this analysis here.

I mean, just to give you an example, The Seattle Times editorial board, which has been a longtime conservative, establishment, pro-big business and also pro-right-wing ideas, spilled so much ink, not only this year, against my campaign specifically, against my Socialist council office, against our movement-building approach, but, as you said, Juan, last year, when we — when our movement attempted to bring what we call the Amazon tax, which is a tax on the largest businesses, in order to change what we have as the status quo, which is a corporate tax haven in a city with the nation’s most regressive tax system, and The Seattle Times editorial board spilled so much ink spreading lies, distortion and misinformation about that tax, and then they carried that on this year.

And so, you know, while, on the one hand, all this corporate money into the four — over $4 million in the corporate PACs that were dumped by all these corporations, by the billionaires — while, on the one hand, it has completely backfired, and it showed that voters are rejecting this kind of attempted takeover, but, on the other hand, it also bought them incredible numbers of attack mailers that were sent to people’s mailboxes, endless attack ads on every type of social media and other media, and then, of course, the corporate media doing the bidding of the billionaire class. We were up against all of that.

And the fact that we have won despite that, not only the progressive slate, which is an incredibly important event, and it was important that we built towards this progressive unity, it’s a really important demonstration of how progressive movements can have honest debates and discussions among ourselves, but it’s also important for us to take a principled, unified stance against the billionaire class, which is exactly what we have been able to accomplish. And I’m really proud of rank-and-file Democrats and grassroots Democratic Party leaders and organizers taking a stand in solidarity with the Socialist movement and working together.

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..sawant part 2 is coming. not sure when.

..in the mean time

farmworkers and allies are on their way from FL for major march in NYC on Monday Nov. 18 to demand join the and protect workers from human rights abuses in its supply chain!

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A Strike for Racial Justice and Democracy in Little Rock Schools

The teachers’ strike wave shows no signs of ebbing anytime soon. Chicago’s school workers struck in October, teachers in Sonoma walked out this Wednesday, and now 1,800 educators in Little Rock, Arkansas are striking today.

Though every walkout is unique, Little Rock’s action is particularly exceptional: it’s a strike for democracy and racial justice, in a town that stood at the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement’s fight for school desegregation and which today is confronting a billionaire-backed push to dismantle the teachers’ union and public schools.

Little Rock teachers today are not demanding raises for themselves, but an end to the state’s push to resegregate schools, its takeover of their district, its decertification of their union, and its disrespect for school support staff. As second grade teacher Jenni White explains, “this is literally about standing up for our kids and not dividing our community.”

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Over six decades later, the town’s schools and neighborhoods remain far from equal. Interstate 630 today marks a sharp dividing line between white and nonwhite Little Rock. But in a significant break from the 1950s, unionized educators are now fighting together with students of color against the impositions of billionaire-backed politicians — what the Arkansas Times called the “Walmarting of the Little Rock School District.”

The immediate roots of this week’s action go back to January 2015 when the Arkansas State Board of Education announced that it was taking over Little Rock’s schools due to low standardized test scores. By all accounts, the ensuing state takeover failed to accomplish its nominal goal of improving stability and educational opportunities for the town’s low-performing schools. Yet rather than return Little Rock School District to local control in 2020 as promised, the state board instead proposed in September of this year that it would continue to oversee so-called “F”-rated schools, those with the lowest test scores.

Since all but one of the “F” schools were in black and brown neighborhoods south of I-630, teachers and parents saw this an attempt to create a two-tier school system. “The plan was blatantly racist, it separated the haves and the have notes,” Jenni White told me.

In a dramatic protest on the evening of October 9, thousands of teachers, support staff, students, and community members congregated on the steps of Central High, where the Little Rock Nine had famously confronted the National Guard decades earlier. Teresa Knapp Gordon, president of the Little Rock Education Association (LREA), closed the rally with the following declaration: “Either we accept segregation, or we stand and fight.”

This public outpouring forced the state board to change tactics. At the next evening’s contentious Arkansas Board of Education meeting, it dropped the proposal to split Little Rock’s school district. But surprisingly, the board then immediately proceeded to cease recognition of the LREA as the educators’ representative, thereby scrapping the last remaining collective bargaining agreement for school workers in Arkansas. The decision was blatant retaliation against not only teachers but also Little Rock’s school support staff, who were in the midst of negotiating a pay raise......

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Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Antiwar Vets in the Belly of the Beast

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It was June 20th and we antiwar vets had traveled all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the midst of a pandemic to protest President Trump’s latest folly, an election 2020 rally where he was to parade his goods and pretend all was well with this country.

We never planned to go inside the cavernous arena where that rally was to be held. I was part of our impromptu reconnaissance team that called an audible at the last moment. We suddenly decided to infiltrate not just the perimeter of that Tulsa rally, but the BOK Center itself. That meant I got a long, close look at the MAGA crowd there in what turned out to be a more than half-empty arena.

quote:

More significant and unique is the recent wave of defiance from normally conservative low- to mid-level combat veterans, most, though not all, a generation junior to the attention-grabbing ex-Pentagon brass and suits. There were early signs of a shift among those post-9/11 boots-on-the-ground types. In the last year, credible polls showed that two-thirds of veterans believed the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria “were not worth fighting,” and 73% supported full withdrawal from the Afghan War in particular. Notably, such rates of antiwar sentiment exceed those of civilians, something for which there may be no precedent.

Furthermore, just before the president’s controversial West Point graduation speech, more than 1,000 military academy alumni signed an open letter addressed to the matriculating class and blatantly critical of Trump’s urge to militarily crack down on the Black Lives Matter protests. Mainly ex-captains and colonels who spanned graduating classes from 1948 to 2019, they briefly grabbed mainstream headlines with their missive. Robin Wright of the New Yorker even interviewed and quoted a few outspoken signatories (myself included). Then there was the powerful visual statement of Marine Corps veteran Todd Winn, twice wounded in Iraq, who stood for hours outside the Utah state capitol in the sweltering heat in full dress uniform with the message “I Can’t Breathe” taped over his mouth.

At the left end of the veterans’ community, the traditional heart of antiwar military dissent, the ranks of the organizations I belong to and with whom I “deployed” to Tulsa have also swelled. Both in that joint operation and in the recent joint Veterans for Peace (largely Vietnam alumni) and About Face decision to launch a “Stand Down for Black Lives” campaign -- encouraging and supporting serving soldiers and guardsmen to refuse mobilization orders -- the two groups have taken real steps toward encouraging multi-generational opposition to systemic militarism. In fact, more than 700 vets publicly signed their names (as I did) to About Face’s provocative open letter urging just such a refusal. There were even ex-service members among the far greater mass of unaffiliated veterans who joined protesters in the streets of this country’s cities and towns in significant numbers during that month or more of demonstrations.

Which brings us to the final (most fear-inducing) strand of such dissent: those in the serving military itself. Their numbers are, of course, impossible to measure, since such resistance can range from the passive to the overt and the Pentagon is loathe to publicize the slightest hint of its existence. However, About Face quickly received scores of calls from concerned soldiers and Guardsmen, while VFP reported the first mobilization refusals almost immediately. At a minimum, 10 service members are known to have taken “concrete steps” to avoid deployment to the protests and, according to a New York magazine investigation, some troops were “reconsidering their service,” or “ready to quit.”

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Goya Foods Boycott Launched After CEO Lavishes Praise on Trump

Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, artist Lin-Manuel Miranda and former presidential candidate Julián Castro are all backing calls to boycott Goya Foods — a staple brand of food and seasonings in the Latinx community. The boycott comes after CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump during an event at the White House Thursday.  

Robert Unanue: “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.”

On Friday, Unanue told Fox News he would not apologize for his statements, claiming the boycott of Goya is a “suppression of speech.” Julián Castro responded by tweeting, “Free speech works both ways. Goya Foods CEO is free to support a bigoted president who said an American judge can’t do his job because he’s 'Mexican', who treats Puerto Rico like trash, and who tries to deport Dreamers. We’re free to leave his products on the shelves.”

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Detroit Protesters Block School Buses in Bid to Halt In-Person Summer Classes

In Detroit, Michigan, police arrested 11 people Thursday as they blocked school buses in a nonviolent protest demanding the cancellation of in-person classes during the pandemic. At least 600 children are attending summer classes at Detroit-area public schools, even as coronavirus infections have been rising in Michigan for the last three weeks.

In St. Louis, Missouri, contact tracers have linked the spread of the coronavirus to summer extracurricular programs, including football conditioning camps at two high schools. Despite the surge, Missouri high school football games are set to begin on August 28.

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Rev. Dr. William Barber II: A Multi-Racial Coalition Is Necessary For This Moment

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REV. DR. LIZ THEOHARIS: So indeed, on June 20th and throughout the weekend, we had a mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, where more than 3 million people joined just from Facebook, but also on MSNBC, on CSPAN, on CNN and what folks saw when they tuned in, when they joined this massive assembly, digital justice gathering, was the stories and the solutions of some of the 140 million people who are poor and low income in this country.

MARC STEINER: So were you shocked by the numbers Reverend Barber?

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER II: Indeed. We knew there would be a good numbers. We had 150000 people that RSVPd, but we also knew there was a hunger out here. We’ve seen it for three years, remember? We didn’t just start this year. And in 2018, we launched this campaign with six weeks of direct action in 42 States and District of Columbia, and more than 5000 people were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience as they tried to present this agenda to governors and legislators across the country and to the United States Congress. And then on June 23rd of 2018, we had some 30000 people to show up in person to launch this campaign. And then in 2019, we held a congress and over a thousand people showed up of every race, creed, color, and sexuality, and 10 presidential candidates came and they were questioned by poor and lower people and religious leaders as it related to our campaign and our program and our platform. And then we presented a moral budget before the United States house of Representative Budget Committee. And then we went back to work.

We were in the middle of, “We must do more to it.” We were in the middle of it, and then COVID happened. But when 2.5 million plus people showed up, it reminded us of the power of Grassroots organized, the power of moral fusion, that people in this country are really ready for a grownup conversation, an intersectional conversation that deals with the interlocking injustices of systemic racism in all of its forms, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the word economy, and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism. And they also are ready to hear from new narratives, not just people prognosticating and speaking on behalf of the poor, but they’re ready to see the agency of poor and low [inaudible 00:07:09] people and their allies speaking on their behalf, declaring a new agenda and building power, which is exactly what this movement is all about.

MARC STEINER: So earlier you mentioned, Robert, the COVID and where we are, and here we are in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, which really has exposed the racial and class disparities in our country. We’ve seen frontline workers suffering economically, or people of color or poor people. Evictions loom, employment grows, and it raises a lot of issues. We’re also in the midst of a time now, we’re facing … as we’re facing COVID, we’re facing all these mass demonstrations because of the police murders of George Floyd and Briana Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and too too many others. And you, Reverend Barber and Phyllis Bennis wrote this piece on police and military bringing our wars home just this week.

So let’s talk about the moment we’re in for a moment and what … how both these situations that we are thrusting to have really, seems to be, in some ways to redefine the struggle and give it a new momentum. So I’m curious as you both, you have your feelings, thoughts, and analysis of what this moment is and what it means for us. Reverend Barber, why don’t you begin-

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER II: One of the thing that Liz is very good at is reminding people, and we try to do in this movement that … too often, we interpret a moment in the moment and forget that there was a lot of movements before the moment. And so, yes, this is a moment when people are moving because of the spark that George Floyd’s death online killing murder lynching did, but there was a lot of kindling, would use a country word, that had already been piled there by movements all across that had been going on. And his death was kind of like Emmett Till’s death. When Emmett Till was killed, it sparked something that Rosa Parks not only went after the killers of Emmett Till and Dr King and others, they said, “It’s time to go after the system of injustice.” Which is the what? The kills not just the who to kill.

So I think in this moment, one of the reasons that there was so much response to George Floyd is because his, “I can’t breathe.” is shorthand for how a whole lot of people are feeling in this moment. When over a hundred thousand people have died, needlessly, that didn’t have to die, at least 60%, 70% of them. And then what did they die from? COVID. And when they died, what caused their death? Not being able to breathe. When people are being forced to go into work, black and brown and poor white people, into lethal situations without protection, what are they being forced to do? Into a situation that could kill them and take their breath away. And when even before COVID and all of this happened, 700 people were dying a day from poverty being suffocated and strangled to death. As Dr. King said, way back in ’67, he said not providing people what they needed for good jobs was a form of murder, of policy strangulation.

And so we have now a situation where all of these things have come together, all this pain has come together. And then on top of that, you see the state literally kill somebody in the street on camera, and you see the state … the police are supposed to represent the state, and instead of this it doing the job of protecting and serving, it did the job of lynching and murdering. And I think people just said, “Wait a minute, this is enough.”

But we must not mistake that if there had not been the years of Black Lives Matter before this moment, if there had not been the years of fusion politics before this moment, the Poor People’s Campaign and the movement around the environment, all raising these questions of the death measurement. We’ve been talking about the death measurement that come from poverty and people not having healthcare. And the Green Movement has been talking about the death measurement of what happens if we don’t take care of our planet. And when all of this came together in this moment where people were already in pain and slowed down and at home and could pay attention, it created a spark, if you will.

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..more from above

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MARC STEINER: So that leads right into that something I was thinking about. I was looking at all the documents that … they were on your website, The Poor People’s Campaign, and you have the souls of poor folk moral audit, poor people’s moral budget. And [inaudible 00:15:01] universal health care, universal basic income, expanded payments, maternity leave, increased minimum wage, stopping gentrification, affordable housing, funding community hospitals, erasing student loans and police and prison abolition and more. And then when you look what Congress did during COVID, perhaps in the Cares Act, it really answered very little.

So the question is, how does that change? It’s a two part question. I’m really curious, what’s your thoughts on this? But I know a lot of people viewing this are going, “Can this really change under capitalism? Is that possible? A and B how do you build a movement to make the change that we all know has to happen when it comes to ending poverty and ending racism? The budget you put together was hugely thought out and deep.” So let’s talk a bit about how you get that budget to become reality and B, can it happen in the system that we have?

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER II: What we say, change can come, but it can’t come without an intersectional movement, it can’t come without a moral fusion movement, it can’t come when you have black folk on a silo over here and white people in a silo over here and Brown people in the silo over here, it can’t come when the environment is the over here. And if people fight against poverty over here, then people fight against racism toward black people over here, and the people fighting against racism toward indigenous people are over here. And the people fighting for Latinos are over here, and the people standing against the war economy are over here. What can only happen is when all of these forces reject [inaudible 00:00:16:27], this side, that we have to come together in moral fusion and understand that the same people that are blocking the healthcare after all are the same ones that are undermining rights from the LGBT community, the same ones that are undermining community policies for women and [inaudible 00:16:43] the community and undermining voter voting rights.

And now, what do I mean by that? We’ve done a study that’s coming out in just a bit that will show that if 15% of poor and low wealth people of every race, creed, color, and sexuality, would organize themselves around an agenda and register themselves to vote, they could fundamentally shift the political calculus in this country, even in the South. Dr. King told us that in late 1965, in the end of December, the Montgomery march, when he said every time there’s a possibility for poor black and poor white folk to come together, the aristocracy deliberately souls division because they’d have the power.

So we’re in a moment now Marc, where we have a unique power demographically. We have a unique power morally. We have a unique power politically, and we have a unique ability to fuse. People are seeing how connected we are. And we believe in this moment, yes. Now, will it happen overnight? No, but can it happen faster than we might think? Yes. If we have the staying power and stop believing that we don’t have the power to change things, and let’s build a moral movement and let’s put the people impacted at the front of the movement, that’s what you saw on June 20th. We did not have people speaking on behalf of people. We had people themselves with their own agency saying, “It’s time to change because I am Exhibit A of why things must change in this moment.”

And now, what do I mean by that? We’ve done a study that’s coming out in just a bit that will show that if 15% of poor and low wealth people of every race, creed, color, and sexuality, would organize themselves around an agenda and register themselves to vote, they could fundamentally shift the political calculus in this country, even in the South. Dr. King told us that in late 1965, in the end of December, the Montgomery march, when he said every time there’s a possibility for poor black and poor white folk to come together, the aristocracy deliberately souls division because they’d have the power.

So we’re in a moment now Marc, where we have a unique power demographically. We have a unique power morally. We have a unique power politically, and we have a unique ability to fuse. People are seeing how connected we are. And we believe in this moment, yes. Now, will it happen overnight? No, but can it happen faster than we might think? Yes. If we have the staying power and stop believing that we don’t have the power to change things, and let’s build a moral movement and let’s put the people impacted at the front of the movement, that’s what you saw on June 20th. We did not have people speaking on behalf of people. We had people themselves with their own agency saying, “It’s time to change because I am Exhibit A of why things must change in this moment.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i am posting so much of this interview because i believe it is very important in understanding what inclusion looks like. so finally.

quote:

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER II: I don’t know if the movement … In a moral moment, it doesn’t have to have black leadership, it has to have moral leadership. And I appreciate those that say, “We have to have black leadership.” But we are at a different place. Liz is white and Armenian, I’m black, [inaudible 00:24:36] right? We said we want to meet with the people who want to do moral fusion. Everybody didn’t agree with what Fannie Lou Hamer just said to you, but she did. You’ve always had to have a group of people who believe in what we can do together. So what we say in our movement is, when we go into communities, we say, “Look, here are five issues and we are not a movement that’s going to try to address them separately. You can’t do it anymore. It just doesn’t work. So we’re going to have grown up factual facing of racism, systemic racism.”

So if we’re in the hollers of Kentucky in Harland County, with 500 white folk, we start with racism as an issue. And we don’t just talk about race into our black people, we also say, “Wait a minute, you got to deal racism, you got to deal with the racism toward first nation people, indigenous, you have to deal with the racism to what? Our Brown brothers and sisters. You have to deal with this, you can’t just deal with it … you can’t just deal with it in terms of police violence. You have to deal with police violence, incarceration, bad parts of the wars, immigrants, the continuing the bad parts of the water, indigenous brothers and sisters, resegregation of public schools. Let’s deal with racism. But then you say, if you going to deal with racism, you also got to deal with systemic poverty. And then you got to connect that to ecological devastation.

4 million families get up every morning, can buy unleaded gas, can’t buy unleaded water. You have to deal with the war economy, 54 cents of every discretionary dollar going to war economy and less than 16 cents going to education, infrastructure, and healthcare. You have to deal with this false moral narrative of religious nationalism, white evangelists, localism that is used so often as a divider. It is used to actually attempt to falsely consecrate division as quote unquote, the way of the divine and the way of God, and you can never separate them. Now, that’s not easy.

Remember when Dr. King and the Welfare Rights Women Workers, let’s not forget that Dr. King may have been the name, but it was Welfare Rights Workers, it was Cesar Chavez, it was Indigenous Federation, it was poor folk from Appalachia. But remember when Dr. King in New York said, we got to adjust these three evils, the government chastised him, he lost his invite to the White House, black organizations walked away from him. The point being is that analysis was what was needed. It was killed, it was assassinated, and we stepped back.

I’m saying, even in predominantly white communities, invariably, somebody would stand up and say, “Wait a minute. We’re being played against each other.” One guy said, “Well damn Reverend Barber, they using all of us against each other.” And we say, “And that’s right, now what are you going to do about that?” And so in Kentucky, we’ve been able to see black folk from Louisville, not all black the folk, but a significant number of black folk hookup with white folk from the hills of Kentucky. And last year they used their power to change the governorship, three counties that were Trump counties turned when people came together and said, “Wait a minute, we got to address all five of these things.” That’s how we believe you have to be.

And we’re in conversation with Black Lives Matter that … we are actually allies and we’re talking to them and they are … on the day of June 20th, the Black Lives Matter sent out a message to all their people to watch June, 2020. So they’re understanding. So we had room, if a group is black men, great. If a movement is co-led like Liz and I, great. If a movement is white-led great, but the issue is, are you clear on these five interlocking injustices and that we need black, Brown, red, yellow, gay, straight trans; we need everybody to hone in and focus on this like a laser, and then we can break through in this problem.

NDPP

Biden Offers Nothing But More War, Austerity and White Supremacy - Without Trump

https://www.blackagendareport.com/biden-offers-nothing-more-war-austerit...

"Biden is an unreconstructed racist and warmonger who has been in the forefront of austerity, and Harris is a party hack and mass Black incarcerator who became a prosecutor with police union endorsement. The corporate Democrats are once again running as the Not Trump Party. The only way a party wholly-owned by oligarchs can deflect attention from its own culpability in dragooning its constituents into a Race to the Bottom amid never ending war, is to set up a straw man to be knocked down, leaving the machinery of racial capitalism and armed-to-the-teeth imperialism intact - Hillary Clinton's gambit in 2016.

War. Austerity and White Supremacy are all that Biden/Harris offer - but without Trump. If that's enough for you, then say 'Hallelujah' - and then tighten your belts and pass the ammunition."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The era of modern protest belongs to the American left

Left and right-wing movements in the US are falsely framed as equally energized, but BLM is the only true mass movement supported by a majority of Americans.​

In my 20 years participating in protests, I have never seen a critical groundswell of anger like what is happening today. In the wake of the George Floyd protests and the police shooting of Jacob Blake, tens of millions of Americans have taken to the streets in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

In my new book Rebellion in America I argue that social movement protest has been mainstreamed over the last decade. Wave upon wave of protests have popularized movement activism as a means of political participation, including the 2011 Madison protests against Governor Scott Walker, Occupy Wall Street, the Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter, the anti-Trump protests, climate change activism and #MeToo.

A VIGOROUS FORM OF MASS ACTION

American protests — outside of a few exceptions — are almost entirely on the left. The largest demonstrations have been against police brutality. Kaiser polling estimates that 26 million people, or about one in 10 Americans, have participated in the protests following the killing of George Floyd. My statistical “regression” analysis of the June 2020 national Kaiser poll identifies the demographic groups that are significantly more likely to have participated in these protests, in addition to uncovering which Americans are more likely to support the protests, even if they themselves have not turned out in the streets.

These results show that younger Americans (18-29), self-identified Democrats and highly educated Americans are significantly more likely to participate in a BLM protest. Similarly, supporters of the Floyd protests are significantly more likely to be younger, Democrats, highly educated, higher income and Black.

My findings suggest that the BLM movement and its supporters are eclectic and represent a wide range of Americans. These individuals are, relatively speaking, a combination of more privileged — the highly educated and those with high incomes — and less privileged — young Americans and people of color — in their demographics. Importantly, 67 percent of Americans reported they somewhat or strongly supported the Black Lives Matter movement in June of 2020, compared to 55 percent in August 2017. So, not only is the movement widespread, but its popularity has grown over time.

BLM has spawned demonstrations in the tens of thousands in major cities across the country. The protests are a manifestation of contemporary democratic rebellion — placing its trust in the wisdom of the “average” American, rather than in the allegedly superior abilities and understandings of political or business elites. I argue in Rebellion in America, after examining a decade of US social movements, that the populism of the right — driven by the Tea Party and Trumpism — is extremely thin due to its inability to sustain mass movements over time.

In contrast, democratic protest movements like the Madison protests, Fight for $15 and BLM represent a vigorous form of mass action. These movements, because they challenge concentrated political and economic power, require large numbers of people who are active over extended periods in order to sustain themselves.

The rise of BLM threatens to destroy the conventional myth — thrown around by many journalists and academics — that right-wing populism is a political force that’s on par with left-wing protest movements in its size and scope. Trumpism and MAGA may generically be referred to as a “movement” in the media, but they fail to satisfy most of the basic prerequisites of a mass movement: mass protests, grassroots community organizing that sustains action over time and mass public outreach organized from the ground up in opposition to the status quo.

Rather, Trumpism is an elitist, top-down affair, centered on a single billionaire and reliant on the cult of personality of a tabloid-style political entertainer. Trumpism will struggle to persist as a national political phenomenon once this presidency comes to an end. It is not an organic, bottom-up phenomenon due to its reliance on a single demagogue. Without the benefit of mass attention conferred on this president via sustained reporting on his activities from the news media, Trump is unlikely to retain the critical mass of support he currently receives from more than 40 percent of the public.....

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