“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.”—Lupita Nyong’o accepting the 2014 Oscars award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave.
“The fifth violation of freedom of knowledge and knowledge sovereignty is preventing the evolution of public knowledge about how life works, how we can produce more and better food ecologically through the control of scientific publications as well as media to promote an obsolete paradigm of genetic reductionism and mechanistic science, and repeatedly make false claims to miracles through genetic engineering.”—Vandana Shiva | Navdanya’s Diary. GMO: The Biggest Food Con (via protoslacker)
Two popular labels are being ascribed to events in Ukraine: it was either a democratic – or even social – revolution, or it was a rightwing – or even neo-Nazi – coup. In fact, both characterisations are wrong. What we have have seen is a mass rebellion, overwhelmingly supported in western and central Ukraine without majority support in the eastern and southern regions, leading to a change of political elites. But there are no prospects for democratic, radical change, at least under the new government.
Why was it neither a social, nor democratic revolution? Some of the demands of the Maidan movement have been implemented. For example, the notorious Berkut regiment – the riot police who killed most of the dead protesters – was disbanded and the most odious of the former Yanukovych officials have been sacked.
However, this does not mean the start of systematic democratic change, or that the new government is in any way going to challenge the root of pervasive corruption in Ukraine: poverty and inequality. Moreover, it is likely only to aggravate these problems, putting the burden of the economic crisis on the shoulders of Ukraine’s poor, not on the rich Ukrainian oligarchs.
The socioeconomic demands of the Maidan movement have been replaced with the neoliberal agenda of the new government. The cabinet, approved on Thursday, consists mainly of neoliberals and nationalists. Its official programme of action presented to parliament declares the need for “unpopular decisions” on prices and tariffs and its readiness to fulfill all the conditions of the loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF’s requirements to freeze wages and hike gas prices was one of the reasons why the former government suspended negotiations on an EU association agreement. No wonder so many people are calling the new administration the "government of suicides". It is not hard to forecast mass disappointment with these antisocial policies and a collapse of the currency, further impoverishing ordinary Ukrainians.
The far right has also achieved a major breakthrough in the government. Some commentators have warned that their level of representation in the new Ukrainian government is unparalleled in Europe. The xenophobic Svoboda party controls the posts of deputy prime minister, ministers of defence, ecology, agriculture and the prosecutor general’s office. Andriy Parubiy, one of the founders of the Social-National Party of Ukraine and a former leader of its paramilitary youth organisation, who later joined the moderate Batkivshchyna party and efficiently commanded self-defence forces in Maidan, is now the head of the national security and defense council.
At the same time, the protest badly fits into the coup label of a well-planned armed seizure of power. The Maidan movement, particularly its paramilitary arm, was hardly controlled by the parliamentary parties. In fact, these parties were regularly trying to pacify the movement, urging compromises with Yanukovych, albeit without much success.
What is most worrying is that the new government cannot control the infamous Right Sector. Its members are now popular heroes, the vanguard of the victorious “revolution”. They have guns captured from police departments in the western regions and now, after Yanukovych’s toppling, are demanding that the revolution needs to continue against “corrupt democracy” and liberalism. The liberals celebrating their decisiveness and crucial role in the Maidan movement are now discovering the right’s reactionary ideas. Recently, the press secretary of the Right Sector gave an interview saying “we need to tell Europe the right way to go” and save it from the “terrible situation” of “total liberalism”, when people don’t go to church and are tolerant of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender rights.
It is too soon for the Right Sector to move against the new government – it lacks the support. But the group may lead a new insurrection in the event of a rapid and deepening economic crisis. In the absence of any strong leftist force in Ukraine, social grievances will be whipped up by rightwing populists.
At the same time, the leading role of radical Ukrainian nationalists in potential new “social Maidan” will preclude any all-national movement against the ruling class, with mass participation from the east and the south of culturally divided Ukraine. Moreover, they even amplify separatist attitudes and attempts of pro-Russian provocations, as we have seen in Crimea. The full-scale civil war, although not inevitable, is a real threat now.
In this situation, the best policy for the west would be to insist on the peaceful resolution of the interregional conflicts in Ukraine, taking a strong position against participation of the far right in the new government and uncontrolled rightist paramilitaries on the streets. Last but not least, the west could offer unconditional help to Ukraine by cancelling its foreign debt – a popular demand raised by many progressive movements all over the world.
“What many people do not know is that the use of standardized tests has its origins in the Eugenics movement, where basic tenets assert that certain races are inferior to others biologically and intellectually.”—
Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union
A MUST read by Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. Standardized testing isn’t about improving education, it’s a way for the system to sort out which kids are meant to succeed and which are destined failure.
Mr. Moderator, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: I just can’t believe everyone in here is a friend, and I don’t want to leave anybody out. The question tonight, as I understand it, is “The Negro Revolt, and Where Do We Go From Here?” or What Next?” In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the ballot or the bullet.
Before we try and explain what is meant by the ballot or the bullet, I would like to clarify something concerning myself. I’m still a Muslim; my religion is still Islam. That’s my personal belief. Just as Adam Clayton Powell is a Christian minister who heads the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, but at the same time takes part in the political struggles to try and bring about rights to the black people in this country; and Dr. Martin Luther King is a Christian minister down in Atlanta, Georgia, who heads another organization fighting for the civil rights of black people in this country; and Reverend Galamison, I guess you’ve heard of him, is another Christian minister in New York who has been deeply involved in the school boycotts to eliminate segregated education; well, I myself am a minister, not a Christian minister, but a Muslim minister; and I believe in action on all fronts by whatever means necessary.
Although I’m still a Muslim, I’m not here tonight to discuss my religion. I’m not here to try and change your religion. I’m not here to argue or discuss anything that we differ about, because it’s time for us to submerge our differences and realize that it is best for us to first see that we have the same problem, a common problem, a problem that will make you catch hell whether you’re a Baptist, or a Methodist, or a Muslim, or a nationalist. Whether you’re educated or illiterate, whether you live on the boulevard or in the alley, you’re going to catch hell just like I am. We’re all in the same boat and we all are going to catch the same hell from the same man. He just happens to be a white man. All of us have suffered here, in this country, political oppression at the hands of the white man, economic exploitation at the hands of the white man, and social degradation at the hands of the white man.
Now in speaking like this, it doesn’t mean that we’re anti-white, but it does mean we’re anti-exploitation, we’re anti-degradation, we’re anti-oppression. And if the white man doesn’t want us to be anti-him, let him stop oppressing and exploiting and degrading us. Whether we are Christians or Muslims or nationalists or agnostics or atheists, we must first learn to forget our differences. If we have differences, let us differ in the closet; when we come out in front, let us not have anything to argue about until we get finished arguing with the man. If the late President Kennedy could get together with Khrushchev and exchange some wheat, we certainly have more in common with each other than Kennedy and Khrushchev had with each other.
If we don’t do something real soon, I think you’ll have to agree that we’re going to be forced either to use the ballot or the bullet. It’s one or the other in 1964. It isn’t that time is running out - time has run out!
1964 threatens to be the most explosive year America has ever witnessed. The most explosive year. Why? It’s also a political year. It’s the year when all of the white politicians will be back in the so-called Negro community jiving you and me for some votes. The year when all of the white political crooks will be right back in your and my community with their false promises, building up our hopes for a letdown, with their trickery and their treachery, with their false promises which they don’t intend to keep. As they nourish these dissatisfactions, it can only lead to one thing, an explosion; and now we have the type of black man on the scene in America today - I’m sorry, Brother Lomax - who just doesn’t intend to turn the other cheek any longer.
Don’t let anybody tell you anything about the odds are against you. If they draft you, they send you to Korea and make you face 800 million Chinese. If you can be brave over there, you can be brave right here. These odds aren’t as great as those odds. And if you fight here, you will at least know what you’re fighting for.
I’m not a politician, not even a student of politics; in fact, I’m not a student of much of anything. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican, and I don’t even consider myself an American. If you and I were Americans, there’d be no problem. Those Honkies that just got off the boat, they’re already Americans; Polacks are already Americans; the Italian refugees are already Americans. Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American. And as long as you and I have been over here, we aren’t Americans yet.
Well, I am one who doesn’t believe in deluding myself. I’m not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American. Why, if birth made you American, you wouldn’t need any legislation; you wouldn’t need any amendments to the Constitution; you wouldn’t be faced with civil-rights filibustering in Washington, D.C., right now. They don’t have to pass civil-rights legislation to make a Polack an American.
No, I’m not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver - no, not I. I’m speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.
These 22 million victims are waking up. Their eyes are coming open. They’re beginning to see what they used to only look at. They’re becoming politically mature. They are realizing that there are new political trends from coast to coast. As they see these new political trends, it’s possible for them to see that every time there’s an election the races are so close that they have to have a recount. They had to recount in Massachusetts to see who was going to be governor, it was so close. It was the same way in Rhode Island, in Minnesota, and in many other parts of the country. And the same with Kennedy and Nixon when they ran for president. It was so close they had to count all over again. Well, what does this mean? It means that when white people are evenly divided, and black people have a bloc of votes of their own, it is left up to them to determine who’s going to sit in the White House and who’s going to be in the dog house.
lt. was the black man’s vote that put the present administration in Washington, D.C. Your vote, your dumb vote, your ignorant vote, your wasted vote put in an administration in Washington, D.C., that has seen fit to pass every kind of legislation imaginable, saving you until last, then filibustering on top of that. And your and my leaders have the audacityto run around clapping their hands and talk about how much progress we’re making. And what a good president we have. If he wasn’t good in Texas, he sure can’t be good in Washington, D.C. Because Texas is a lynch state. It is in the same breath as Mississippi, no different; only they lynch you in Texas with a Texas accent and lynch you in Mississippi with a Mississippi accent. And these Negro leaders have the audacity to go and have some coffee in the White House with a Texan, a Southern cracker - that’s all he is - and then come out and tell you and me that he’s going to be better for us because, since he’s from the South, he knows how to deal with the Southerners. What kind of logic is that? Let Eastland be president, he’s from the South too. He should be better able to deal with them than Johnson.
In this present administration they have in the House of Representatives 257 Democrats to only 177 Republicans. They control two-thirds of the House vote. Why can’t they pass something that will help you and me? In the Senate, there are 67 senators who are of the Democratic Party. Only 33 of them are Republicans. Why, the Democrats have got the government sewed up, and you’re the one who sewed it up for them. And what have they given you for it? Four years in office, and just now getting around to some civil-rights legislation. Just now, after everything else is gone, out of the way, they’re going to sit down now and play with you all summer long - the same old giant con game that they call filibuster. All those are in cahoots together. Don’t you ever think they’re not in cahoots together, for the man that is heading the civil-rights filibuster is a man from Georgia named Richard Russell. When Johnson became president, the first man he asked for when he got back to Washington, D.C., was “Dicky” - that’s how tight they are. That’s his boy, that’s his pal, that’s his buddy. But they’re playing that old con game. One of them makes believe he’s for you, and he’s got it fixed where the other one is so tight against you, he never has to keep his promise.
So it’s time in 1964 to wake up. And when you see them coming up with that kind of conspiracy, let them know your eyes are open. And let them know you - something else that’s wide open too. It’s got to be the ballot or the bullet. The ballot or the bullet. If you’re afraid to use an expression like that, you should get on out of the country; you should get back in the cotton patch; you should get back in the alley. They get all the Negro vote, and after they get it, the Negro gets nothing in return. All they did when they got to Washington was give a few big Negroes big jobs. Those big Negroes didn’t need big jobs, they already had jobs. That’s camouflage, that’s trickery, that’s treachery, window-dressing. I’m not trying to knock out the Democrats for the Republicans. We’ll get to them in a minute. But it is true; you put the Democrats first and the Democrats put you last.
Look at it the way it is. What alibis do they use, since they control Congress and the Senate? What alibi do they use when you and I ask, “Well, when are you going to keep your promise?” They blame the Dixiecrats. What is a Dixiecrat? A Democrat. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise. The titular head of the Democrats is also the head of the Dixiecrats, because the Dixiecrats are a part of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have never kicked the Dixiecrats out of the party. The Dixiecrats bolted themselves once, but the Democrats didn’t put them out. Imagine, these low-down Southern segregationists put the Northern Democrats down. But the Northern Democrats have never put the Dixiecrats down. No, look at that thing the way it is. They have got a con game going on, a political con game, and you and I are in the middle. It’s time for you and me to wake up and start looking at it like it is, and trying to understand it like it is; and then we can deal with it like it is.
The Dixiecrats in Washington, D.C., control the key committees that run the government. The only reason the Dixiecrats control these committees is because they have seniority. The only reason they have seniority is because they come from states where Negroes can’t vote. This is not even a government that’s based on democracy. lt. is not a government that is made up of representatives of the people. Half of the people in the South can’t even vote. Eastland is not even supposed to be in Washington. Half of the senators and congressmen who occupy these key positions in Washington, D.C., are there illegally, are there unconstitutionally.
I was in Washington, D.C., a week ago Thursday, when they were debating whether or not they should let the bill come onto the floor. And in the back of the room where the Senate meets, there’s a huge map of the United States, and on that map it shows the location of Negroes throughout the country. And it shows that the Southern section of the country, the states that are most heavily concentrated with Negroes, are the ones that have senators and congressmen standing up filibustering and doing all other kinds of trickery to keep the Negro from being able to vote. This is pitiful. But it’s not pitiful for us any longer; it’s actually pitiful for the white man, because soon now, as the Negro awakens a little more and sees the vice that he’s in, sees the bag that he’s in, sees the real game that he’s in, then the Negro’s going to develop a new tactic.
These senators and congressmen actually violate the constitutional amendments that guarantee the people of that particular state or county the right to vote. And the Constitution itself has within it the machinery to expel any representative from a state where the voting rights of the people are violated. You don’t even need new legislation. Any person in Congress right now, who is there from a state or a district where the voting rights of the people are violated, that particular person should be expelled from Congress. And when you expel him, you’ve removed one of the obstacles in the path of any real meaningful legislation in this country. In fact, when you expel them, you don’t need new legislation, because they will be replaced by black representatives from counties and districts where the black man is in the majority, not in the minority.
If the black man in these Southern states had his full voting rights, the key Dixiecrats in Washington, D. C., which means the key Democrats in Washington, D.C., would lose their seats. The Democratic Party itself would lose its power. It would cease to be powerful as a party. When you see the amount of power that would be lost by the Democratic Party if it were to lose the Dixiecrat wing, or branch, or element, you can see where it’s against the interests of the Democrats to give voting rights to Negroes in states where the Democrats have been in complete power and authority ever since the Civil War. You just can’t belong to that Party without analysing it.
I say again, I’m not anti-Democrat, I’m not anti-Republican, I’m not anti-anything. I’m just questioning their sincerity, and some of the strategy that they’ve been using on our people by promising them promises that they don’t intend to keep. When you keep the Democrats in power, you’re keeping the Dixiecrats in power. I doubt that my good Brother Lomax will deny that. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for a Dixiecrat. That’s why, in 1964, it’s time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for; what we’re supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don’t cast a ballot, it’s going to end up in a situation where we’re going to have to cast a bullet. It’s either a ballot or a bullet.
“If Americans want to care about Africa, maybe they should consider evaluating American foreign policy, which they already play a direct role in through elections, before they impose themselves on Africa itself… Let us begin our activism right here: with the money-driven villainy at the heart of American foreign policy. To do this would be to give up the illusion that the sentimental need to “make a difference” trumps all other considerations. What innocent heroes don’t always understand is that they play a useful role for people who have much more cynical motives. The White Savior Industrial Complex is a valve for releasing the unbearable pressures that build in a system built on pillage. We can participate in the economic destruction of Haiti over long years, but when the earthquake strikes it feels good to send $10 each to the rescue fund. …[W]e must do such things [as donating] only with awareness of what else is involved. If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.”—Teju Cole | The White-Savior Industrial Complex (2012)
“…I began to understand no matter my race I am capable of replicating through my actions and behavior the systemic oppression of white supremacy. In order for us to properly defend ourselves from oppression, we must first wholeheartedly break ourselves from it and support each other in our struggle against it no matter what face it is branded. It is through this lens that we come to understand that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of all oppressed peoples. We cannot separate.”—"She doesn’t look American": Coca Cola & Re-Branding White Supremacy | AmericaWakieWakie (via america-wakiewakie)
“…[T]here are three conceptions of power… we need to understand… One is that power can crush you, and you need to resist it. That’s absolutely true: It can, and you must — but that’s not enough. The other is that power could help you, and you need to direct it, and that guides a lot of the public policy and advocacy work that people engage in… The third is that you, we, can BE power, and in that case WE NEED TO ORGANIZE. When we organize then we don’t allow and simply accept the existence of existing power that we either direct or resist, but we say we want to see new forms of power come into being…”—Ed Whitfield
“The original Black Panther Party was an organization of revolutionary community organizers. We must get away from the idea of revolution as just a gunfight. Serving the people: caring for their needs, championing their causes, educating their consciousness with radical views, organizing their communities, defending them from racist pig police, and then putting them in power instead of politicians, are all important ways to win the people over & have a real revolution”—Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin (via america-wakiewakie)
“The reason that the government keeps old Black Panthers in prison is not because they fear that they will engage in violence or to just punish them, but rather because they fear their effects upon the youth, who are seeking leadership and will fight.”—Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin (via america-wakiewakie)
“Poverty isn’t a money problem for poor people; poverty (in the richest country in the world) is a problem with our distribution of resources. Poverty is the problem of inequality. Poverty is a problem because the rich hoard their resources. Poverty is a problem because corporations hoard cash while Americans remain unemployed. Poverty is a problem because of corporate welfare. Poverty is a problem because of unethical job creators. The problem isn’t because poor people are poor; the problem is because the rich never think they are rich enough.”—Poverty isn’t a Money Problem (via sociolab)
…[Y]ears of brain research tells us that much [racial] bias is actually unconscious — known as implicit bias — and perpetuated in hidden ways that are often enabled by seemingly race-neutral choices… [Studies have] found that [racial] bias is institutionalized in our collective practices and policies, not just overtly perpetuated by individuals.
We must thus ask a much broader question than “Who is the racist?” Rather we could ask, what are the policies (which dictate action in our police departments and courthouses) that lead to the statistic that black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men?
“Stand your ground” laws are an example of how we institutionalize implicit bias. By removing the duty to retreat that exists in traditional self-defense law, they permit shooters who claim to be threatened by young black men to need little proof of actual threat because attorneys, judges and juries find it all too easy to believe — albeit unconsciously [and overtly] — that unarmed black men are nothing but dangerous.
Spike Lee is tired of people making excuses about gentrification. So when someone asked about “looking at it from the other side,” or, in other words, trying to find the positives of gentrification at an event at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute last night in his native Fort Greene, Lee gave an impassioned defense of his views. Put simply: Gentrification destroys the character of black neighborhoods, and he’s seen it firsthand.
"Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!"
“When people of colour are expected to educate white people as to their humanity, when women are expected to educate men, lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world, the oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions.”—Audre Lorde (via stories-yet-to-be-written)
It can be easy to sometimes become overwhelmed or to experience this kind of fatigue, so please remember to be mindful of your own emotional and physical wellbeing, and practice self-care.
In Indian Country, if we are helping our people heal and move toward wellness, we have to understand our own Compassion Fatigue, and develop our own self-care plan…Our ceremonial lives teach us the cycles of renewal, and cleaning off our spirit so we can live well. I remember what Edward Little Dog, a Blackfeet elder would tell me when I would come to his sweat. After returning home from ten days in Washington D.C., exhausted, frustrated, and just plain pitiful, he’d say, “That stuff sticks to you like fly paper. Negativity, gossip, racism, concrete walkways. You have to clean it off, start new.”
We do things, out of habit, to renew and make ourselves feel better. Think about the past 5 years, 10 years, 6 months, and see if these symptoms are something that you experienced. Then we ask you start anew with a refreshing NEW self-care plan.
Signs and Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Traumatization
Job performance goes down
Mistakes go up
Personal relationships are affected
Home Life deteriorates
General decline in overall health (sick all the time) colds, sinus, stomach, headache
Heightened sense of personal vulnerability
Distrust and cynicism about the human condition
Experience profound grief and mourning
Moments of frank hate and contempt with a wish to get rid of the victim
Feeling distrustful of others
Feeling overly responsible for community safety
Overusing coping skills
Denying your own needs
Hyper vigilance or increased startled response
Symptoms last more than a month
Feelings of incompetence
Forgiving the Unforgivable: When Trauma Still Has Its Hooks In Us
Trauma destroys the trust relationship of the victim and with themselves and the world
The victim no longer knows how to act or what to expect from the world in order to survive
Secondary trauma refers to those people who care for or are involved with those who have been directly traumatized
Betrayal Trauma increases the likelihood of psychogenic amnesia (dissociative). Forgetting may help maintain necessary attachments, improving chances of survival
Fear Trauma increase the likelihood of the avoidance defense being used for self protection
Neglect Trauma taught you that your personal needs are not met so you neglect to ask for what you need.
Remember the Characteristics of PTSD
Revisualizes the event or series of events, often as flashbacks
Trauma event is acted out in subsequent relationships as the victim unconsciously tries to create an outcome that restores power and control to themselves instead of victimization
Fear-largely of Intimacy and terror of further pain, loss of control and victimization associated with relationships
A sense of having no future that there is no point in creating plans or expectations of satisfaction, because the trauma has shown that at any moment they could be destroyed
Sincere Questions to ask our Self and what you can do:
When was the last time you willingly went to the doctor and had everything checked out?
Have you ever considered a “tune up,” thought about going to treatment, or going for a second time even if it has been years?
Learning to meditate, kind of like an Indian Buddha
When you hear horrific stories, or on a regular basis, how do you debrief?
Know your personal vulnerabilities
TIME OFF. How do you proactively plan your time off?
Limited exposure to television, Facebook, Internet, and printed materials
Avoid high starch and high sugar foods
Give yourself credit for small changes in your thinking and your behaviors