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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,869

About Me

The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

The Meaning of Black Friday

The Meaning of Black Friday
by Guy Rundle ~ 11.28.14 ~ Guy Rundle is an Australian author and journalist

~ When Black Friday devours Thanksgiving, capitalism consumes one of its sustaining myths ~

Black Friday began as a traffic accident. Or a series of them. In Philadelphia in the early 1960s, police noted that the two days after Thanksgiving were characterized by heavy traffic, and, in the pre-Nader days of perilous auto travel, more bloody mayhem than usual.

The relationship between extra traffic and downtown sales had been observed early on, and traders were unhappy that the ominous name was sticking to one of their best sales days. Doubtless this had happened elsewhere too, but in Philadelphia business had Abe Rosen as their municipal representative. One of the country’s leading PR gurus, Rosen suggested the city rename the two days after Thanksgiving “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday.”

< snip >

So it was inevitable that “Big Friday” would revert, for “Black Friday” is constitutionally mired in sin. By the time it stuck in the 80s, it had acquired a new meaning that cemented it. It was allegedly the day that retailers finally “went into the black” — made a profit — and shopping thus acquired a civic and patriotic dimension.

< snip >

As with all aspects of American consumption in the 2000s, it acquired a surreal aspect. The many objects being hoarded and carted away were so large, the malls were so big, the cars were so oversized that the spectacle was almost a parody of consumption ...

Much more here - https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/the-meaning-of-black-friday/

Fighting the hunger games at Walmart

Elizabeth Schulte reports on preparations for Black Friday protests at Walmart.
November 26, 2014

FOR THE third Black Friday in a row, Walmart workers are turning the busiest shipping day of the year into the busiest protest day of the year at the country's largest retailer. The demands of this year's protests are $15 an hour, full-time hours and an end to retaliation by management.

The fact that this day of action is taking place the day after Thanksgiving dramatizes the difficulty many Walmart employees face just feeding their families. With average wages of just $8.81 an hour, Walmart employees who work "full time"--which, according to Walmart, is 34 hours a week--make $15,500 per year, which is about $8,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

"There are people who are homeless and living in their cars who work at Walmart and can't afford to pay rent," Venanzi Luna, a Walmart employee and OUR Walmart activist living in Southern California, said in an interview. "They can't afford a better life, because they live check by check."

One in 10 retail workers are employed at Walmart, so the chain sets the standard for the whole low-wage industry. And Walmart sets the standard very, very, very low ....

Much more here: http://socialistworker.org/2014/11/26/fighting-the-hunger-games-at-walmart

America’s Founding Myths

11.27.14 ~ Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a longtime activist and the author, most recently, of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

Under the crust of that portion of Earth called the United States of America — “from California . . . to the Gulf Stream waters” — are interred the bones, villages, fields, and sacred objects of American Indians. They cry out for their stories to be heard through their descendants who carry the memories of how the country was founded and how it came to be as it is today.

It should not have happened that the great civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, the very evidence of the Western Hemisphere, were wantonly destroyed, the gradual progress of humanity interrupted and set upon a path of greed and destruction. Choices were made that forged that path toward destruction of life itself—the moment in which we now live and die as our planet shrivels, overheated. To learn and know this history is both a necessity and a responsibility to the ancestors and descendants of all parties.

US policies and actions related to indigenous peoples, though often termed “racist” or “discriminatory,” are rarely depicted as what they are: classic cases of imperialism and a particular form of colonialism—settler colonialism. As anthropologist Patrick Wolfe writes, “The question of genocide is never far from discussions of settler colonialism. Land is life — or, at least, land is necessary for life.

The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism — the founding of a state based on the ideology of white supremacy, the widespread practice of African slavery, and a policy of genocide and land theft. Those who seek history with an upbeat ending, a history of redemption and reconciliation, may look around and observe that such a conclusion is not visible, not even in utopian dreams of a better society ....

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/americas-founding-myths/

NYC Solidarity Protests (Photos)

Some great photos on this blog - http://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/nyc-protests-in-solidarity-over-ferguson-verdict



Just vs. Unjust Laws (Letter from Birmingham Jail)

Letter From Birmingham Jail
by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 16, 1963


You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of Harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I-it" relationship for an "I-thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus is it that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Read the entirety of Brother Martin's letter here: http://www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com/letterfrombirminghamjail.htm

The Richest 211,000 People

Own 13% of the World’s Wealth

Translated Tuesday 25 November 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

A new study confirms that the ultra-rich are concentrating more and more wealth in their hands. Despite the crisis, their number is increasing, and their wealth even more.

The study, by WealthX and the UBS bank, is on the very wealthy who have amassed fortunes of over 30 million dollars. There are 211,000 of them, an increase of 6% over the previous year, and their aggregate wealth has increased by 7%. They thus own 13% of the world’s wealth.

They are spread increasingly evenly throughout the world, although the United States is still home to the biggest contingent of ultra-wealthy people, followed by Europe and Asia. The African continent remains in last place, with 3,005 ultra-rich people, but Africa is also where the increase has been sharpest, with an 8.3% increase ...

More here: http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article2591

In Defense of the Ferguson Riots

8.14.14 (Published when Mike Brown was killed & obviously still relevant)
Robert Stephens II is the online editor at OrchestratedPulse.com

Over the weekend, police in Ferguson, Missouri murdered Michael Brown, a black teenager. While details are still trickling in, it’s clear that during a confrontation with a squad car a block away from his grandmother’s house, an officer shot and killed the unarmed teen in the middle of the street. Witnesses say Brown was running away from the policeman and had his hands in the air just before the officer shot him.

Ferguson is a city with a large concentration of poor blacks under the control of overwhelmingly white institutions. The killing immediately struck a nerve. Rallies and protests erupted as people took to the streets — eventually culminating in a riot. Crowds went from holding candle light vigils at the site of Brown’s death to burning down a number of businesses and lighting molotov cocktails during confrontations with police. How did we get here?

Far from a mindless, violent mob, the people of Ferguson were engaged in concerted political consciousness-raising leading up to the insurrection. A video taken at the scene shows a number of political agitators talking with the crowd, converting momentary outrage into political unity. One speaker in particular, a young black male, offers a cogent political analysis that frames the injustice of police brutality as a byproduct of the community’s economic dislocation.

"We keep giving these crackers our money, staying in they complexes, and we can’t get no justice. No respect. They ready to put you out [if you] miss a bill … You got to be fed up."

Riots, like other forms of political action, can build solidarity. They can create strong feelings of common identity. The outrage in Ferguson quickly attracted marginalized people throughout the region. Rather than evidence of illegitimacy, the presence of these “outsiders” reflected the magnetic power of the political moment ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/08/in-defense-of-the-ferguson-riots/

Race, Class and Marxism

(Note: an older article which takes on the subject of whether Marx himself ignored race and only focused on class - long and interesting)

Race, class and Marxism
January 4, 2011

FOR REVOLUTIONARY Marxists, there is an inextricable link between racism and capitalism. Capitalism is dependant on racism as both a source of profiteering, but more importantly as a means to divide and rule. Racism is necessary to drive a wedge between workers who otherwise have everything in common and every reason to ally and organize together, but who are perpetually driven apart to the benefit of the ruling class.

Thus, any serious discussion about Black liberation has to take up not only a critique of capitalism, but also a credible strategy for ending it. For Marxists, that strategy hinges on the revolutionary potential of a unified, multiracial and multi-ethnic working-class upheaval against capitalism.

Marxists believe that the potential for that kind of unity is dependant on battles and struggles against racism today. Without a commitment by revolutionary organizations in the here and now to the fight against racism, working-class unity will never be achieved and the revolutionary potential of the working class will never be realized.

Yet despite all the evidence of this commitment to fighting racism over many decades, Marxism has been maligned as, at best, "blind" to combating racism and, at worst, "incapable" of it. For example, in an article published last summer, popular commentator and self-described "anti-racist" Tim Wise summarized the critique of "left activists" that he later defines as Marxists ...

Much more here: http://socialistworker.org/2011/01/04/race-class-and-marxism

Marxism Day Schools

Marxism provides a revolutionary understanding and strategy for ridding society of exploitation and oppression once and for all. We want more than just resistance--we want to win. Please join the International Socialist Organization for our Regional Marxism Conferences--a day of discussion and debate on Marxist theory, history and politics. Our goal is to understand the world in order to change it!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Topics include: | Which Way Forward for Socialists Today | Reform or Revolution | Marxism, Imperialism and War | Marxism and Trade Union Struggle | Race, Class and Revolution | Marx's Method | Marxism and the National Question | The United Front: Revolutionary Strategy and Tactics | Why the Working Class is Still Central | Women's Liberation and Social Reproduction Theory | Leninism and the Revolutionary Party | The Legacy of Stalinism | Patterns of Working Class Revolution

Many locations nation-wide: http://socialistworker.org/marxism-day-schools-2014

Spills in Alberta in the past 4 mos -

*similar info cross posted in socialist progressives group*

As a socialist I am always concerned about labor, and jobs being created for people both in the US and ultimately worldwide. Ideally full-time jobs at a livable rate of pay. But this is probably the worst possible way to create 50 permanent jobs. At the very least let's invest in alternative, sustainable forms of energy.

Just in case you haven't been at Huffington Post to this week - this is important info:

Mon Nov 17, 2014 at 02:52 PM PST
There's Been HOW Many Pipeline Spills in Alberta in The Last Four Months??
by Gwennedd

Oct 3, 2014 – Canadian Natural Resources Limited – 11Km East of Delia – 10,000 litres of Crude oil
Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 2.5Km SouthWest of Kinosis – 5,800 litres of Toxic water
Oct 5, 2014 – Cenovus Energy Inc – 56Km East of Brooks – 9,800 litres of Toxic water
Oct 5, 2014 – Nexen Energy ULC – 41Km SouthEast of Ft. McMurray – 13,000 litres of Condensate
Oct 10, 2014 – Husky Oil – 30Km SouthEast of Vermilion – 50,000 litres of Crude oil and 25,000 litres of toxic water
Oct 13, 2014 – Arc Resources – 5Km North of Redwater – 150,000 litres of Toxic water
Oct 11, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 44Km SouthWest of Spirit River – 24,000 litres of Crude oil
Oct 14, 2014 – Whitecap Resources Inc – 37Km NorthWest of Sexsmith – 10,000 litres of Toxic water
Oct 15, 2014 – Penn West Petroleum Ltd -14Km SouthEast of Slave Lake – 52,000 litres Crude oil
Oct 14, 2014 – Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd – 26Km NorthWest of Vauxhall – 8,000 litres of Toxic water
Oct 17, 2014 – TAQA North Ltd – 32Km NorthWest of Rocky Mountain House – 18,000 litres of Toxic water
Oct 21, 2014 – Harvest Operations Corp – 20Km East of Galahad – 200,000 litres of Toxic water
Oct 26, 2014 – Apache Canada Ltd -9Km East of Zama City – 50,000 litres of Toxic water
Total = Over 625,000 Litres of toxic crap spilled in Alberta for just the month of October and not one Mainstream media reports about it.


Source here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/17/1345431/-There-s-Been-HOW-Many-Pipeline-Spills-in-Alberta-in-The-Last-Four-Months

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