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AlterNet / 6 Tips for White People Who Want to Celebrate Black History
« Last post by AlterNet on February 11, 2018, 06:02:28 AM »
6 Tips for White People Who Want to Celebrate Black History

Here?s what you can do to engage with black history this month and every month.

We?ve come a long way from Negro History Week to Black History Month and yet too often the celebrations that are planned in predominantly white spaces are nothing short of lackluster, rarely bringing a modern-day context to the celebration or acknowledgment that Black history is a continually evolving living history in which we all play a role.

Part of the problem is that for non-black people, too often there is a sense of being a passive celebrator. Yet, in this current climate there is immense opportunity. We can make real racial change by moving from passive observation to active engagement if we move past our own internal roadblocks and fears of messing up.

Black history is more than just the named activists, agitators and changemakers?it encompasses the full scope of Black humanity, and our celebration of Black history needs to be inclusive of the full range of black humanity. Celebrate not just the overcoming of adversity, but celebrate our joys, our passion, and our magic. Understand why we celebrate this history and the importance of naming race?and, yes, racism?in our communities. Let the celebration of Black history be a journey and not a destination.

Below are six ideas to help you up your white game.

1. Attend two or more Black History Month events.

Google ?Black History Month? and the name of your town or region. Look for events that dig deeper than ?observing? or ?celebrating? Black history. When possible, look for events led by Black community members. Deepen your experience by noticing what you do and don?t know about the white policies and practices that shaped the Black history you are learning. Notice also the internal reactions and feelings that arise in you before, during, and after the event. Following up on thoughts such as ?Why didn?t I know this?? ?Why was I uncomfortable when he said that?? ?I want to learn more about X, Y, Z? will make your outings more than checkmark. Good questions lead to both answers and more questions, propelling you along a robust racial awareness journey.

2. Share what you?re doing and learning.

One of the cornerstones of white culture is not talking about race. Though often framed as politeness, the result is ongoing white ignorance with a soul-crushing demand on communities of color to go along with the silence. The more white people don?t know, the scarier it can be to start talking. Breaking this cycle is one of the most important things white people can do, and Black History Month gives you an excuse to do so. Create a ?new normal? in your circles that race is something you want and need to think and talk about in order to better understand it. At a bare minimum, choose two close white friends or family to update regularly about what you?re doing and learning. Notice how they react. Are they listening with curiosity? Or are they judging and distancing from you? If they?re curious, can you move them to join you at a future event? If they?re judging and distancing, a great strategy is to ask them questions to explore what?s behind it. Avoid returning the judgment and distance unless their behavior leads you to conclude this is no longer a healthy friendship.

3. Gather a group of people to attend an event and a followup gathering.

Learning and acting in community is the most powerful way to learn and act. Surround yourself with other curious and/or committed white folks and dig deeply as a group. The number-one rule when talking about race is to bring the most humble version of yourself. Be prepared to explore what you don?t know even more than sharing what you do know. In group conversation, strive to have everyone?s voice heard. A possible opening might be to go around the group one by one to offer a one- to two-minute summary of what?s on everyone?s mind before launching into a full group conversation. Another idea is to explore these two questions: 1) If talking openly about race is new to you, how does it feel to you now to be talking about it? and 2) What are the consequences of not talking about race, racism, and the history of racial oppression?

4. If no Black history events are in your community, organize one.

For this year, you could host something for a small group in your home. As you think to the future, connect with your larger community via your local library, college, or another organization where resources and community connections already exist. Are they willing to host something? How can you be a part of it? What other organizations and people in town can be called into the process? In white spaces, learning and talking about racial history and current events lays the foundation for taking action. Search online to see what other towns and cities are doing to get a sense of what?s possible. No sense in reinventing the wheel. A simple event could be to watch a film and discuss it. Three quick online film suggestions are Black Wall StreetI Am Not Your Negro, and Race: The Power of an Illusion.

5. Grow your awareness about who?s doing what in the racial justice community.

If you have some familiarity, increase it. If you have no idea, start researching. Do a Google search on ?town antiracism? or ?town racial justice.? If nothing exists in your area, what?s the nearest organization you can find? Do they have events? Are they looking for volunteers? Follow national organizations such as Showing Up For Racial Justice and Race Forward. Do they have a mailing list, a Facebook page, or other ways for you to connect, learn, and stay engaged? What can you learn from these organizations about how racial injustice manifests in your community and nationally? Once you get a lay of the land, work to discover your own area of interest or skill in the national movement. What draws your attention in particular? What skills do you have to offer? Be both persistent and patient as you keep in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

6. Commit to learning about Black history 12 months of the year.

The idea of Black History Month is both an opportunity and a symptom. U.S. history taught as white European history sprinkled with bits of isolated black and brown history is core to ongoing racial domination and harm. It is in itself an inequity.

Our multiple racial and ethnic histories are inextricably entwined, so shouldn?t the teaching of them also be?

We look forward to the day when the need for a Black History Month melts away, and fully integrated, truthful stories are told. Until then, however, let?s use the month to educate and inspire. In the words of Maya Angelou, ?History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage need not be lived again.?


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Source: 6 Tips for White People Who Want to Celebrate Black History
Richard Mellor / The wealth of nations
« Last post by Richard Mellor on February 10, 2018, 06:11:09 PM »
The wealth of nations

by Michael Roberts

How do we measure the wealth of nations, to use the title of classical economist Adam Smith?s famous book?

Using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to measure the annual value of  production for each national economy has been under criticism since it  was first invented by Simon Kuznets for a report  to US Congress in the  depth of the Great Depression in 1934.  It was the benign view of  Kuznets that when capitalist economies ?take off? and industrialise,  inequality of incomes will rise, but eventually, as economies ?mature?,  income inequality declines.  So GDP as an overall measure of the ?wealth  of nations? was adequate.

But actually annual production is not a measure of wealth (the stock  of assets and accumulated efforts of human labour), but a measure of  annual productive power.  And it crucially excludes the inequalities in  the distribution of that power.

So just a few years ago, the UN came up with a more comprehensive measure of ?human development?.  The human development index (HDI) purports to measure the overall well-being of each national population  by including health, life expectancy, education and communications in  its index.

What the index reveals is that there were substantial gains in world human development from the mid-19th century  as the world economy industrialised and urbanised, but especially over  the period 1913-1970.  The major advance in human development across the  board took place between 1920 and 1950, which resulted from substantial  gains in longevity and education.

According to the index, although the gap between the advanced  capitalist economies and the ?Third World? widened in absolute terms; in  relative terms, there was a narrowing.  The Russian revolution from the  1920s and the Chinese one after 1947 led to fast industrialisation and a  sharp improvement in health and education for hundreds of millions.   The second world war killed and displaced millions, but it also laid the  basis for state intervention and the welfare state that had to be  accepted by capital after the war, during the so-called ?Golden Age?.

But after 1970, the gap in human development widened once again with  globalisation, rising inequalities and the capitalist neo-liberal  counter-revolution.  Only China closed the gap.  Since 1970, longevity  gains have slowed down in most emerging economies, except China, and all  the world regions have fallen behind in terms of the longevity index.

Now the World Bank has entered the fray with its own measure of ?wealth? per person.  The  World Bank economists have measured not GDP levels but wealth i.e.  assets such as infrastructure, forests, minerals, and human capital that  produce GDP. The World Bank?s Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future covers national wealth for 141 countries over 20 years (1995?2014) as  the sum of produced capital, 19 types of natural capital, net foreign  assets, and human capital overall as well as by gender and type of  employment.

The results show that that some countries with GDP growth actually  saw per capita wealth fall.  Asia had a big increase in per capita  wealth in the 20 years, driven mainly by China?s phenomenal rise, but  sub-Saharan Africa slipped back, largely as a result of continued high  birth rates in many countries that offset a rise in nominal wealth. Indeed, the poorest African countries are ?shearing away? from the rest of the world.

When countries use their natural resources well, investing primarily  in their people to increase labour productivity, then countries leap  forward in terms of wealth per capita.  As nations develop, they convert  natural capital into other forms ? roads, factories, hospitals, schools  and universities ? so the share of natural capital in their total  wealth falls, as other forms rise in importance. In high-income OECD  countries, natural capital makes up just 3 per cent of total wealth as  human and produced capital become the main drivers of growth. In poor  countries, natural capital contributes 47 per cent of total wealth,  according to the report.

But the UN?s HDI and the World Bank?s wealth per capita measures  still do not account for inequalities of distribution, both between  national economies globally and within each national economy, between  rich and poor. The annual Credit Suisse wealth report does a great job in showing the huge inequalities globally between the  richest 1% of wealth holders who currently own more than 50% of the  world?s wealth and the bottom 90% who own no more than 14%.

Remember this is wealth across the whole world and so reflects not  just inequality of wealth within a country but also inequality between  countries.  Indeed, most of the top 10% live in the top seven (G7)  advanced capitalist economies.

Global inequality has been definitively studied by Branco Milanovic,  formerly of the World Bank.  I have referred to his work before in  numerous posts.  Milanovic regularly refines and updates his research on  global inequality.  Recently he presented a comprehensive summary of  his results in a lecture to the Annual Research Conference Brussels, in honour of the Anthony Atkinson, recently deceased and a pioneer in inequality studies.

Using the traditional measure of inequality, the gini index,  Milanovic found that global income inequality has risen inexorably from  the early days of modern industrial capitalism, interrupted only by the  impact of the two terrible world wars of the 20th century.   But since 2000, the gini index had fallen back a little, entirely due to  the rise in living standards of the mass of the Chinese population.

Milanovic notes that global inequality is much greater than  inequality within any individual country.  The global gini is around 70,  substantially greater than inequality in Brazil, the highest for a  country. And it is almost twice as great as inequality in the US.

Milankovic finds that the 60m or so people who constitute the world?s  top 1% of income ?earners? have seen their incomes rise by 60% since  1988. About half of these are the richest 12% of Americans. The rest of  the top 1% is made up by the top 3-6% of Britons, Japanese, French and  German, and the top 1% of several other countries, including Russia,  Brazil and South Africa. These people include the world capitalist class  ? the owners and controllers of the capitalist system and the  strategists and policy makers of imperialism.

But Milanovic finds that those who have gained income even more in  the last 20 years are the ones in the ?global middle?.  These people are  not capitalists.  These are mainly people in India and China, formerly  peasants or rural workers have migrated to the cities to work in the  sweat shops and factories of globalisation: their real incomes have  jumped from a very low base, even if their conditions and rights have  not.

The biggest losers are the very poorest (mainly in African rural  farmers) who have gained nothing in 20 years. The other losers appear to  be some of the ?better off? globally.  But this is in a global context,  remember. These ?better off? are in fact mainly working class people in  the former ?Communist? countries of Eastern Europe whose living  standards were slashed with the return of capitalism in the 1990s and  the broad working class in the advanced capitalist economies whose real  wages have stagnated in the past 20 years.

Milanovic reckons that global inequality can be decomposed into two parts. The first part is due to differences in incomes within nations,  which means that that part of total inequality is due to income  differences between rich and poor Americans, rich and poor Chinese, rich  and poor Egyptians and so on for all countries in the world. If one  adds up all of these within-national inequalities, you get the aggregate  contribution to global inequality. Milanovic calls this the traditional  Marxist ?class? component of global inequality because it accounts for  (the sum) of income inequalities between different ?income classes?  within countries.

The second component, which he calls the ?location? component, refers to the differences between mean incomes of all the countries in the world.  Around 1850, ?class? explained nearly half of global  inequality.  But around 2011, around 80% was due to where you lived,  ?location?.

When Milanovic first developed this distinction, he concluded that the Marxist class analysis has been proved wrong.  ?Karl  Marx could indeed eloquently write in 1867 in ?Das Kapital?, or earlier  in ?The Communist Manifesto? about proletarians in different parts of  the world?peasants in India, workers in England, France or Germany?  sharing the same political interests. They were invariably poor and,  what is important, they were all about equally poor, eking out a barely  above-subsistence existence, regardless of the country in which they  lived. There was not much of a difference in their material positions.?  But not now.

However, his latest data suggest that inequalities within nations have increased so much that, given current trends, by 2050 such  inequalities will play just as important role as they did 200 years ago  when modern capitalism first rose to dominance as a mode of production.

Indeed, the only reason that ?location? has been so important for  global inequality is the huge difference in living standards for the  working populations of the leading imperialist powers and those living  in the ?global south?.  That gap has been closed partially by the rise  of China (and east Asia and India to a lesser extent), although, as the  World Bank data show, not anywhere else.  But inequality within China  and India has also risen sharply.  That adds back to the global  inequality index.

In his lecture Milanovic dealt with a technical issue in measuring inequality in the US that has arisen.  The work of Piketty, Saez and Zucman in recent years has shown that the share of national income going to the top 1% of  income earners had increased substantially since 1960.  However, this  has recently been disputed by two economists at the US Treasury who  argue that the Piketty et al tax return based measures are biased by tax  base changes and missing income sources. Accounting for these  limitations reduces the increase in top 1% share by two-thirds. Further,  accounting for government transfers reduces the increase by over 80%.

So instead of the top 1% taking 20% of national income currently up  from around 10% in 1960, the rise is only from 8% to 10% ? not much at  all.  Well maybe, says Milanovic, but the distortion or gap in the data  (strongly denied by Piketty et al by the way) does not seem to apply to  any other country, for example, Norway.

As the recently deceased Atkinson had shown, rising inequality of income (and wealth) has been a feature of all  major capitalist economies in the neo-liberal period since the 1970s.

What all this empirical work offers up some important political  implications.   The UK?s Resolution Foundation found that, while real  incomes have risen for lower middle and working classes in the advanced  capitalist countries since the 1980s, the bottom 80% labour share of GDP  in the UK and US has declined as a proportion of GDP (defined as the  labour share of GDP multiplied by the proportion of labour income  received by the bottom 80% of the income distribution.

And, as I have pointed out before in previous posts,  the management consultants, McKinsey found that in 2014, between 65 and  70 percent of households in 25 advanced economies were in income  segments whose real market incomes were flat or below where they had  been in 2005 (Poorer Than Their parents? Flat or Falling Incomes in Advanced Economies.   This does not mean that individual households? wages necessarily went  down but that households earned the same as or less than similar  households had earned in 2005 on average.

US households in the 10th percentile(those poorer than 90 percent of  the population) are still poorer than they were in 1989. Across the  entire bottom 60 percent of the distribution, households are taking home  a smaller slice of the pie than they did in the 1960s and 1970s.

So let?s sum up; what does all the analysis of global and national inequality tell us?

First, that global inequality has increased since capitalism really got going from the 1850s.  Second,  that the partial fall in global inequality is down to the growth of  average income in China, and to a lesser extent and more recently,  India.  Otherwise, global inequality would have continued to rise.  Third, there  has been a rise in average household incomes in the major advanced  capitalist economies since the 1980s, but the growth has been much less  than in China or India (starting from way further down the income  levels) and much less than the top 1-5% have gained.  So inequality  within most national economies has risen, particularly from the 1980s.  Fourth,  since the beginning of the millennium, most households in the top  capitalist economies have seen their incomes from work or interest on  savings stagnate.

These outcomes are down partly to globalisation by multinational  capital, taking factories and jobs into what used to be called the Third  World; and partly due to neo-liberal policies in the advanced economies  (i.e. reducing trade union power and labour rights; casualization of  labour and holding down wages; privatisation and a reduction in public  services, pensions and social benefits).  And it is also down to regular  and recurrent collapses or slumps in capitalist production, which lead  to a loss of household incomes for the majority that can never be  restored completely in any ?recovery?, particularly since 2009.

Milanovic reckons that the majority of the world?s population are  ?trapped? in low-income countries while real income growth for those in  the OECD has slowed.  At the same time, the top 1% or even 0.1% are (and  will) usurp an even greater proportion of global income and wealth.   Thus, Marx?s prediction of a widening chasm between those who own and  those who must work for a living has gained even more credence in the  21st century.

Milanovic?s answer is more migration from poor countries to rich  ones, faster growth in the emerging economies and reduced inequalities  within the advanced capitalist economies.  Such solutions are, of  course, impossible while the capitalist mode of production survives.
Source: The wealth of nations
Infoshop News / Black Americans mostly left behind by progress since Dr. King?s death
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 10, 2018, 06:11:08 PM »
Black Americans mostly left behind by progress since Dr. King?s death

In some ways, we?ve barely budged as a people. Poverty is still too common in the U.S. In 1968, 25 million Americans ? roughly 13 percent of the population ? lived below poverty level. In 2016, 43.1 million ? or more than 12.7 percent ? do.
Source: Black Americans mostly left behind by progress since Dr. King?s death
AlterNet / #MeToo: There's a List Circulating of Sexual Abusers on College Campuses
« Last post by AlterNet on February 10, 2018, 06:11:07 PM »
#MeToo: There's a List Circulating of Sexual Abusers on College Campuses


America?s colleges are failing at protecting women and people of color.

The #MeToo movement turned whisper networks into digital lists, shaking up industries in its wake. In December, the attention turned to academia. ?Sexual Harassment in the Academy,? a crowdsourced survey similar to the ?Shitty Media Men? list, has collected over 2,300 responses and counting. This spreadsheet, which details incidents, institutional responses and the impact of harassment on the careers and mental health of contributors, was started by former anthropology professor Karen Kelsky in a bid to pave the way for ?more frank conversations and more effective interventions.? Kelsky has written that she hopes this aggregation of personal stories will call attention to the ?true scope and scale of this problem in academic settings.?

Sexual violence on campuses takes many forms, as the spreadsheet indicates. ?I was told not to let it interfere with the research,? a graduate student who was raped while conducting fieldwork notes in one of the document?s entries. She was told not to speak or write about her sexual assault, and was given no institutional support. Another entry describes how ?walk with a buddy? patrols were set up at Rice University in 1979 after a young woman was found raped and murdered near campus; in the midst of that program, a passerby interrupted the rape of an undergraduate by her so-called ?buddy? under trees along the college?s main road. A literature professor at an elite college told his first-year graduate student he was no longer having sex with his wife, suggesting he was looking for her to fill that role. 

With incidents ranging from harassment to violent assault, the length of the list underscores lack of institutional support as an important facet of sexual misconduct and violence. ?Campus security? efforts tend to be focused on compliance with the federal rules and regulations as opposed to ensuring the sexual health and safety of students. ?We forget the limit of Title IX: it is not concerned with justice; it is concerned with equity,? writes Jennifer Doyle in Campus Sex, Campus Security. ?Have you been violated? Or was it your rights??

Bastions of Privilege

Years ago, I accompanied NYU classmates to a conversation between Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik at New York City?s 92nd Street Y. One of the two made a joke about the American stereotype of college being the ?best years of your life.? But the idea of college years as life?s very ?best??the most fun, the most formative?haunts conversations about campus security. These bastions of privilege have been set up to exact inordinate amounts of money from students, selling them at once the trappings of privilege (the income gap between college graduates and high school graduates is only increasing) and the promise of a good time.

Part and parcel of that image lies in the construction of ?normal life? as separate from enhanced intra-campus social life. Within the latter?s unique environment, sexual violence is also treated as a ?sex discrimination? issue. Title IX (currently under threat from the Betsy DeVos-led Department of Education) offers survivors a pathway to report sexual violence?after all, while only 25 percent of reported rape cases lead to an arrest, universities look into all reports. But the problem remains that those involved with these reports aren?t disinterested parties, they?re university employees. ?I had a meeting with the professor, and a form he had to fill out,? a South Asian trans woman told me of her Ivy League experience. She had confided her sexual assault by another student to a professor, who was then mandated to report it. ?Their main concern seemed to be checking whether I was assaulted by faculty or not.?

The Hunting Ground, a documentary examining campus sexual assault, highlights this national issue. Statistics show that female students are less likely than non-students to report sexual abuse. While 66 percent of sexual assault cases overall go unreported, college women do not report in 80 percent of cases. Rape, the most underreported crime in the U.S., is only reported 11 percent of the time by college women. Weighing this against the disputed statistic on college assault?either 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 female students are assaulted?we should be far more focused on looking at the elements that allow sexual violence to flourish on campuses.

The Frat Question

The toxic impact of frat life on campuses has been debated, defended and deconstructed. Fraternity ?brothers? are three times more likely to be rapists than other college students, while sorority members are 74 percent more likely to be raped. Years ago, I transferred to Wesleyan University. My first weekend there, I was warned to stay away from ?rape factory? Beta Theta Pi, a house on the corner of the main road of the campus. The university had started its reformation of fraternity life back in 2005, pressuring frats to offer residence to women in order to continue as university-approved program housing. Beta refused, ?hew[ing] to the oldest of fraternity values: independence.? It ultimately lost program housing status, and Wesleyan public safety officers lost access to the building. A few years later, a young woman was raped while visiting a friend of a Beta brother, adding to the list of fraternity-related assaults and accidents on campus.

Possibly in an effort to civilize these boys' clubs founded in the 19th century, Wesleyan issued an ultimatum: Go co-ed, or get kicked out. That mandate virtually ended fraternity life on campus for a period (except for the university president?s own frat, which voluntarily went co-ed in the ?70s). However, Wesleyan recently lost a case to Delta Kappa Epsilon, and will have to reinstate DKE on campus in the fall.

The notion of co-education as a check on fraternal misbehavior alludes to the crux of the problem: All Greek life reifies privilege through exclusion and partiality. The origins of Greek life are racist and classist; its entitlement is therefore par for the course. Seventy-six percent of U.S. senators and congressmen, 85 percent of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 80 percent of Fortune 500 executives, and every president since 1825 save for two belonged to a fraternity. Contrast this with the mere 2 percent of America?s population who are actually involved in a fraternity. This concentration of power extends far beyond college, and is handed down from bro to bro like a gilded baton, giving Greek life further sway over college politics. Even beyond donor money, these nebulous, nepotistic power networks simultaneously market college as ?fun,? which is good for universities.

Women on Campus

Wesleyan has the distinction of being the only university to have reversed its coeducation ?experiment.? The first (white) women were admitted in 1872, and quickly distinguished themselves, with the four female graduates earning honors and Phi Beta Kappa as members of class of 1876, according to the student newspaper. By 1898, the discrimination against them came to a head when several men staged a boycott to protest the women ?taking their funds.? ?To hell, to hell with coeducation is our yell!? was the group?s battlecry. At the time, women comprised 23 percent of the student body.

The university ended what it labeled an experiment in 1912, tacitly accepting the men?s contention that women in the classroom were ?inconvenient, unpleasant, a hindrance to efficient work, and diminishing upper-class social life.? Connecticut College was founded as a direct result. It is unsurprising that when the university opened its doors to women again in 1970, well into the civil rights movement, they had to add seats. Men did not want to share or give up what they already had, highlighting the issues around concurrent efforts at integration and coeducation during the mid-20th century. Women of all races and people of color were seen as interlopers, inconveniences and invaders. Reaction to diversity is born of a sense of losing power and place?after all, men have not only fallen behind women in college enrollment, but in performance. Ironically, ignoring the most affirmative of actions, legacy admissions, the disingenuously named Project on Fair Representation has been especially effective at ginning up outrage and support for its anti-affirmative action fight.

This is the reality of higher education. America?s colleges were never meant for women or people of color. They embolden white nationalism, welcoming its most vocal proponents on campuses around the country, by promoting the notion as ?diversity of thought.? They both allow and enable gendered sexual abuse by their very culture. These institutions, slowly hacking away at their most discriminatory facets, were predicated on exclusion to begin with.

We see incalculable violence against the other?women, people of color, LGBT folks?in spaces originally built exclusively to serve straight white men. Colleges and universities are no exception. Often, avoiding that violence unfairly saddles the most vulnerable with the task of risk management. (I mean this literally; sorority ?risk management? chairs are ?responsible for making sure that the girls... are safe and responsible while they are out mixing with a fraternity.?) Education represents mobility and thus access to the white man?s world. Marginalized students are forced to traverse campuses that are playgrounds for toxic masculinity, and complicit hosts in rape culture.


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Source: #MeToo: There's a List Circulating of Sexual Abusers on College Campuses
Infoshop News / The case for erasing every last penny of student debt
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 10, 2018, 06:01:59 AM »
The case for erasing every last penny of student debt

Student loan debt is a crushing problem in America. Over 44 million people have such loans, with an average balance of about $30,000 ? making for a total debt pile of $1.4 trillion.
Source: The case for erasing every last penny of student debt
AlterNet / The United States Is Witnessing a Shocking Rise in Alt-Right Violence
« Last post by AlterNet on February 10, 2018, 06:01:57 AM »
The United States Is Witnessing a Shocking Rise in Alt-Right Violence

A new report reveals the crisis is much bigger than Charlottesville.

Last August's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which started with a torchlit mob chanting racist slogans and ended with a far-right activist murdering an anti-racist protester, galvanized national attention toward the growing problem of white nationalists organizing under a new branding term, the "alt-right." The death of Heather Heyer after a young white nationalist named James Alex Fields slammed his car into a crowd drove home that the alt-right wasn't just a bunch of douchebags playing Nazi on the internet, but a serious phenomenon that could include deadly violence.

Unfortunately, as a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) entitled "The Alt-Right Is Killing People" makes clear, Heyer's death was not an isolated phenomenon. By their estimates, she was the 37th person murdered by someone apparently fueled by alt-right ideology in the past four years. Since Heyer's death, six more people have been killed by alt-right extremists, bringing the total to 43. That same increase in violence has included 67 injuries, including the 19 other people Fields hit with his car in Charlottesville.

?There is this subset of young white men that is radicalizing, and I think a lot of that has to do with perceived status and their own life outcomes," SPLC researcher Keegan Hankes told Salon. Such "disaffected" young men, he said, "are who we are seeing go on to commit these acts."

What makes a murderer a part of the alt-right? As Hankes explained, that's often tough to pin down. White supremacists and other alt-right activists "purposefully leave their ideology with fuzzy boundaries," leaving the question of "who?s included and who?s not" deliberately vague. In part this is to create "plausible deniability" if and when alt-right adherents do commit acts of violence. The alt-right movement is "purposefully sprawling," Hankes said, spread out over various sites and social media platforms, channeled through a variety of figureheads, and rejecting more centralized or coherent organizing strategies. 

To cut through this uncertainty, SPLC researchers focused on a specific profile: Young white men who have radicalized themselves, usually through the internet. In most cases this means engaging with online propaganda that tells young men or teenage boys that their romantic, social and employment problems are the fault of "social justice warriors" and "political correctness," rather than bad luck or their personal failings. These young men are encouraged to lash out at women and people of color, primarily through online trolling. A few of them, perhaps inevitably, start hungering to do more serious damage in the real world.

The researchers traced this violent trend back to Elliot Rodger, a young man who killed seven people and wounded 14 in a 2014 rampage through Isla Vista, California, before killing himself. Rodger's explicit motivation was to seek revenge against women who had supposedly rejected him sexually, though his first three victims were his male roommates. He had spent a great deal of time on misogynist forums that routinely peddle the idea that feminism has ruined dating and sex for men.

The alt-right is associated more closely with white supremacy than misogyny, but as Hankes explained it, misogyny is "a through-line through the whole ideology" and the alt-right community holds "a general distaste for gender egalitarianism." In fact, alt-right leaders target online forums where young men gather to demonize women and exchange "pick-up artist" tips, using misogyny as the bait to lure young men into a white nationalist ideology. Baiting angry young white men with the idea that men of color are "stealing" all the white women ? and that's why they can't get a date ? is a common tactic.

It's also an idea that showed up in Rodger's 17,000-word manifesto, in which he wrote, ?How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me?" His alt-right fans have seized onto this passage and used it to build up their claim that interracial dating and marriage is tantamount to "white genocide."

Some of the murders on the SPLC's list, such as Dylann Roof's June 2015 mass killing of nine people in an African-American church in South Carolina, have become the focus of massive media attention. Others, such as 21-year-old William Edward Atchison's murder of two students at a New Mexico high school in December 2017, have received relatively little. But they largely fit the pattern: Angry young men who took their grievances to online forums to self-radicalize and then lashed out violently in the real world.

Asked if this pattern resembles the way that Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS work, Hankes agreed, but emphasized differences in how social media networks and web server hosts have reacted to the alt-right. He noted that "several of the big social media companies" manage to get most ISIS propaganda taken down "before it?s even posted to the public." Generally speaking, the alt-right "have been given more leash and have more free range on these platforms."

Last summer's fiasco in Charlottesville, Hankes added, is an example of what alt-right organizers were able to accomplish online: For "so many of those individuals, this was their first rally that they had ever attended. Many of them came from all the way across the country."

To be clear, these young men should not be seen as mindless ciphers who simply absorb a bunch of right-wing memes and rants on Reddit and come out the other side delivering heil-Hitler salutes and committing violent crimes. The alt-right is a true grassroots movement, formed from thousands of disparate young white men telling each other, over the years, that people of color and women are to blame for their problems. It's a movement many years in the making -- that got a huge shot in the arm from the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

Trump "puts so much wind in the sails of these guys," Hankes explained. "The disregard for so-called political correctness, this willingness to talk about taboo ideas, this willingness to dog-whistle or make outright racist or xenophobic remarks" all allowed young converts to alt-right ideology to believe they could "actually go make real things in the world happen."

It's likely no coincidence, then, that the pattern of killings escalated after Trump's election. Of the 13 separate violent incidents cataloged by the SPLC, 10 of them came in 2017. While the negative publicity resulting from the Charlottesville rally has unquestionably disrupted the alt-right's rise, the bad press is also making its adherents angrier and more aggrieved. That is unlikely to lead to less violence in the future.


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Source: The United States Is Witnessing a Shocking Rise in Alt-Right Violence
UAW activists calll for more aggressive action against racist incidents.

Here is a reminder about the UAW activist group Autoworker Caravan meeting this coming weekend in Detroit. Concerned UAW members and retirees are encouraged to attend. This article was published in the Detroit Free Press.

UAW group: Racial incidents need to stop, be condemned by leadership

An  activist group within the UAW ? the Autoworker Caravan ? is raising  concerns about racially charged incidents that members have reported and  is seeking more action by the union, automakers and suppliers.

Among  the incidents that the group has heard of and condemns: A black worker  encountered a noose at an auto plant in Wyoming, Mich.; shop floor  supervisors at a non-union facility in Warren gestured to each other  with Nazi salutes; and racist graffiti was found in the lavatories in an  engine plant in Ohio.

"Several of these reports  came from internal sources," said Frank Hammer, a retired local  president and co-founder of the Autoworker Caravan. "We're seeing what  may appear to be a pattern of heightened racists incidents that I,  personally, believe is coming in the wake of Trump's election."
Hammer  said the president's rhetoric during and after the election seems to be  encouraging expressions and behaviors from workers such as hanging  nooses.

The Autoworker Caravan ? which was formed  in 2008 and has, at times, been critical of UAW leadership ? is made up  of a network of about 200 active and retired UAW members. 
The  activist group plans to meet Sunday at the Redford Branch of the  Detroit Library to organize, and members expect to discuss who might  seek to be a delegate and run for national offices. They'll consider  whether to proposal resolutions during the UAW's convention in June.

Brian  Rothenberg, a senior UAW communications adviser in Detroit, said those  incidents are handled at the local level and he did not know whether  they were on the rise. But, he said, the union is, and always has, taken  these concerns seriously. The UAW has about 415,000 members.
"What  we want the convention to do is put out the message that this is the  21st Century U.S.A.," Hammer said. "If these incidents are what's meant  by 'making America great again,' we'll have none of it."

Unions have long been a voice in the struggle for civil rights.
In  the 1963 March on Washington, then-UAW President Walter Reuther said:  "I share the view that the struggle for civil rights and the struggle  for equality of opportunity is not the struggle of Negro Americans, but  the struggle for every American to join."

At  the same time, Hammer said, the UAW also has been rocked recently by  scandal and allegations of corruption with prosecutors accusing the late UAW Vice President General Holifield and a Fiat  Chrysler executive of siphoning $4.5 million from a training fund. Al  Iacobelli, a former labor relations chief for FCA, has pleaded guilty to  conspiracy and tax evasion in the case.

Hammer said it is time for the union to make reforms -- and take the lead again in fighting for equality.

In addition to on-the-job incidents, Hammer said, workers have faced attacks at home.
In  Burton, he said, there are reports white men on three occasions between  March and July vandalized a black UAW member's home. The attackers  sprayed racist KKK graffiti, threw rocks and attempted to firebomb his  residence.

"The UAW has to play a role in  challenging these kinds of acts, saying they are unwelcome," Hammer  said. "They are hurtful not only to the victims of the attacks but to  the entire workforce, the entire membership."

Hate  crimes were up about 20% in the nation?s largest cities, according to  data derived from police crime reports analyzed by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at  California State University, San Bernardino. Last year was the third  consecutive year of annual increases, the analysis showed.

The same report concluded hate crimes increased 22% in Michigan.
Nationwide,  concerned groups have been speaking out against sexual harassment,  racism and violence. They have taken stands in factories, offices,  boardrooms, schools and cyberspace, where, since October, the #MeToo  fight against sexual harassment has gone viral.

"All  over the country, people are fighting hate, standing up to promote  tolerance and inclusion," the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty  Law Center, a nonprofit organization specializing in civil rights  litigation, said in a report last year. "More often than not, when hate  flares up, good people rise up against it -- often in greater numbers  and with stronger voices."

Hammer said that companies also have a responsibility to act and keep workers safe.
"There  certainly has been a heightened concern in the cases of #MeToo in  regards to women's rights and sexual harassment in the workplace," he  said. "We think when there are incidents of racial harassment, a  spotlight should be cast on these as well."

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or

If you go

Sunday's meeting is open to all active and retired UAW workers.
Time: 1:30 to 4 p.m., Sunday
Location: Redford Branch of the Detroit Library, 21200 Grand River Ave., Detroit

Source: UAW activists calll for more aggressive action against racist incidents.
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Sporting Chance: How CTE Takes the Biggest Toll on Athletes of Color

Last Friday, just days before the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles tackled, fumbled, and battled their way through the last NFL game of the season, the New York Times published a heartbreaking op-ed from Emily Kelly, the wife of Rob Kelly, a retired NFL player struggling to live with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Source: Sporting Chance: How CTE Takes the Biggest Toll on Athletes of Color
Infoshop News / Review: Private Government
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 09, 2018, 06:02:54 PM »
Review: Private Government

This is both an important book which raises a key issue and one which simply states the obvious. It is both a well-researched work and one which ignores a school of thinkers who were pioneers on the subject. It is one which both challenges assumptions and takes them for granted. In short, it is both perceptive and frustrating.
Source: Review: Private Government
Infoshop News / Bone idol: the Shard provocateur is my kind of anarchist
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on February 09, 2018, 06:02:54 PM »
Bone idol: the Shard provocateur is my kind of anarchist

I adore Ian Bone. The veteran protester who is taking on the Qatari royals is scathing, hilarious and mostly right
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