Archive for the ‘Class’ Category
Posted by Jack Stephens on December 5, 2008
This Friday I’m heading to Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn for the premiere screening of Some Place Like Home: The Fight Against Gentrification in Downtown Brooklyn, a documentary by Families United for Racial and Economic Equality. FUREE, a community organization lead by and comprised primarily of low-income women of color, has been rallying the community in a fight against the rampant development that’s going down in Downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding area. While developers, big business, and politicians alike claim they are only trying to improve the community, the development is being conducted with little care or concern for the residents and small business owners who are already there. Some Place Like Home documents the struggle of FUREE, the neighborhoods’ residents, and small businesses against the forces that are trying to push and bulldoze them out. Check out the trailer below.
Posted in Class, Gentrification, Government, Institutionalized Racism, Organizing, People of Color, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 15, 2008
Today is Blog Action Day 2008 for the Philippines:
Cyberspace group Bloggers Kapihan over the weekend called on Filipino bloggers all over the world to join the Blog Action Day 2008 on Oct. 15 by taking on the issue of poverty through text, photos, music and podcasts, video and microblogging.
The event website is at http://blogactionday2008.bloggerskapihan.com/ where Bloggers Kapihan posted instructions and resources for interested bloggers.
“On Oct. 15, we urge bloggers to unite and discuss poverty. It may be an essay, a story on how they may once be poor or their fears about falling to the ranks of the unemployed. It may also come in the form of a video or a podcast,” said Bloggers Kapihan…
Posted in Blog, Capitalism, Class, International | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 13, 2008
Markets, if not an expression of aspirations implicit in human nature, are supposedly indispensable to any happy human prospect. Free market ideology has it that markets are the most efficient delivery system for goods; that competition will drive innovation and flexibility; that consumer-led demand will ensure that people get what they want (within their means); and that waged labour will incentivize hard work and thus produce growth. This fabular conception advises the most rudimentary assumptions of policymakers (who then go on to violate their own assumptions in practise) and a great majority of the intelligentsia. And, within its own terms, it has a certain allure. It is not obviously utopian, and doesn’t assume basic human goodness. In fact, it states quite bluntly that what humans had often considered the main source of evil, the accumulation of wealth, was the progenerator of unprecedented good. Adam Smith thus famously argued: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own neccessities but of their advantages.” Moreover, in the context in which the classical liberal economists were writing, it made a great deal of sense. The absence of that context makes any attempt to apply such precepts to today’s reality absurd.
Posted in Capitalism, Class, Government, History, International, Privatization | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on October 6, 2008
Alex Felipe writes on what he thinks is the biggest problem facing the Philippines today:
Poverty drives the sex trade. Poverty results in less children going to school. Poverty has a clear link to poor health. And poverty spurs rebellion to the existing order—called “terrorism” by the ruling class—which then results in violent government repression of that rebellion.
Posted in Capitalism, Class, International | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 9, 2008
Kristin Bricker blogs:
Mexican journalist Gloria Muñoz Ramírez says that in 1997 she left her work, her family, and her friends to live in Zapatista communities. Her book The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement is the result of seven years of research, interviews, and—most importantly—listening in Zapatista territory.
Originally published in Spanish as 20 y 10: El Fuego y la Palabra in 2003 for the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising and the twentieth anniversary of the EZLN, the book has since been translated into French, Italian, German, Turkish, Persian, and Greek. While English-speakers had to wait five long years to read it, Muñoz made The Fire and the Word worth the wait. The English translation updates the Spanish version, including new chapters and pictures of Zapatista history up through the Other Campaign in 2006.
Posted in Class, History, Literature, Marxism | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 19, 2008
Montreal-North is burning. After the murder of Fredy Villenueva by the Montreal Police (SPVM), and the riots which broke out to express the people’s anger, the community of Montreal-North remains angry. The time has come to organize a social and political offensive against the local elites who are trying to cover up this state of affairs.
Montréal-Nord Republik (Montreal North Republik) is a new voice in the neighbourhood. It intends to put forward another view of the recent events around the death of Fredy Villanueva and the riots which took place in Montreal North. The group also intends to dispute the dominant discourse which is insinuating that the rioters and protesters are just apolitical hooligans. Montréal-Nord Republik hopes to bring together the neighbourhood community along with all the population of Montreal in order to denounce police repression as well as economic, social, cultural and political oppression.
Posted in Class, Government, International, People of Color, Police Brutality, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on August 18, 2008
First, the author notes that she was expelled from high school for truancy. Yet none of the vitriolic responses chastise her for “not valuing education” or “not finishing school” or “not having parents who knew the value of hard work.” All of these sentiments are expressed. However, they are all directed towards black people.
Second, she believes that she has not experienced privilege. One of the main ways privilege functions is through its invisibility. I was thinking about this recently because of a white friend who had been stopped by the police while carrying a large amount of an illegal substance. He wasn’t arrested. Rather, the police officer scattered the drug and told him to stay out of trouble.
And this is one of the ways in which I believe privilege functions. White people give other white people the benefit of the doubt, maybe even when it’s not deserved.
Posted in Class, White Privilege | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 11, 2008
Dave Marlow blogs:
Fellow blogger Renegade Eye put it best: “I don’t believe the Green Party is the alternative party formation, since it lacks a program and class basis.” The Green Party is incapable of leading a successful workers revolution, at least in its current manifestation, because of its inherent ties to reformism and its separation from class struggle. They are not a genuine proletarian party and so any progress achieved through the Green Party will be limited to the confines of a non-revolutionary framework.
Posted in Capitalism, Class, Marxism | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 7, 2008
Macon D blogs:
What C was feeling, without quite realizing what it was, was a collective white fear of and disdain for the neighborhood and, especially, for the people living there. This common white attitude toward largely non-white neighborhoods was pressuring her in ways that she hadn’t realized were really about race, and racism.
Posted in Class, Contemporary Racism, Whiteness | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 6, 2008
Profe, of LatinoLikeMe.com, blogs on democracy, freedom, and labor:
It is through this process of analysis that I make sense of the daily experiences of immigrant labor in this nation. When I say this, I do not only mean undocumented labor. The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a beautifully-detailed report on legal guestworker programs in place in the United States. “Close to Slavery” is a reminder of the brutal ways a government’s protection of the “rights” of an elite group of business interests–in the name of free market capitalism–sacrifices the humanity of hundreds of thousands of others.
Posted in Capitalism, Class, Contemporary Racism, Government, Latina/o Issues, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 29, 2008
I think the analogy of the house negro and the field negro is better applied to the relationship between poor Black folks and poor white folks than to the relationship between poor Black folks and “Black conservatives”. Poor white folks are the ultimate house negros. They are only marginally better off than poor Black folks (the “overwhelming advantage” is a well-maintained illusion), but because they inhabit the same psychological house as their rich white masters, and get a few extra favors, they wholly identify with their masters. Think about it.
Posted in Black Issues, Class, Contemporary Racism, People of Color, Racism, White Privilege, White Supremacy | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 27, 2008
The good news is, “Americans get to keep their guns.” The bad news is, Americans point their guns at their fellow poor instead of the wealthy who are truly the ones “stealing their jobs” and creating suffering world wide so they can have more wealth.
Posted in Class, Empowerment, Law, Radicalism, Revolution | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 10, 2008
Ashley blogs on Linda Hirshman’s article in the Washington Post:
Part of what we do, when we struggle to take an intersectional approach, is try to challenge the automatic “normalcy” that our culture has given those in dominant groups. By locating middle-class white women at the center of her vision of what constitutes “women,” Hirshman is utterly missing the point of intersectionality. Including (or making central) people who are not white, middle-class women in our vision of what constitutes an end to patriarchy is not the same as excluding white, middle-class women from our vision. It is simply moving them from the place of automatic privilege and centrality our culture has given them in relation to other groups of women, which allows us to understand oppression in a more realistic way. Even if we’re willing to grant Hirshman the point that feminism should only worry about those women who constitute a “majority” of women, white, middle-class women are NOT THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN.
Posted in Class, Feminism, White Supremacy, Women of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 6, 2008
It is far from obvious why class should be colour-coded. We can see how ‘race’ has been contiguous with strata within classes, so that the lowest wages and the least skilled occupations are dispensed to non-white members of the working class. We can also see how class is often construed as a kind of ethnicity, and how ethnic designations often overlap with economic positions. But the question of why there should ever be an identity such as a ‘white working class’ is clearly a social psychological one.
Posted in Class, History, International, Racism, White Privilege, White Supremacy, Whiteness | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 3, 2008
At the blog Vegans of Color, Johanna quotes a new anthology to be edited by Breeze Harper:
Rarely, if ever, has the status quo of these movements written about how [white] racialized consciousness and class status impact their philosophies and advocacy of animal rights, veganism, fair trade, ecosustainable living, etc., in the USA. Deeper investigations by academic scholars have found that collectively, this “privileged” demographic tends to view their ethics as “colorblind”, thereby passively discouraging reflections on white and class privilege within alternative food movements (Slocum 2006) and animal rights activism (Nagra 2003; Poldervaart 2001). Consequently, academic scholars such as Dr. Rachel Slocum feel that rather than fostering equality, “alternative food practice reproduces white privilege in American society”.
Ad she states:
The discouragement about reflections on white & class privilege has definitely been more than just “passive” from readers of this blog at times, especially lately, although obviously the passive discouragement is a big player as well. As one of my favorite LiveJournal icons says, “White privilege: you’re soaking in it.”
Posted in Class, Contemporary Racism, Leftism, White Privilege, White Supremacy | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 31, 2008
Mick Hall writes:
The growth in working class support for Germany’s Die Linkspartei, [The Left Party] as expressed in recent regional election results and national opinion polls has clearly rattled Capital and its gofers in the Bundestag and media. This time in an attempt to halt the party’s rising popularity, reactionary forces have been rifling through the dustbin of history and dug up an old story about Gregor Gysi, one of the Left Party most charismatic leaders, who at one time was a member of East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party. [SED]
Unsurprisingly, as all of these parties have suffered at the ballot box due to the rise of the Left Party, politicians from the Christian Union parties, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the FDP have called for for the head of Gregor Gysi by demanding that he should submit his resignation from national political leadership.
Posted in Class, Corporations, International, Media | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 23, 2008
Ridwan, a South African blogger, blogs on the recent violence against immigrants in his country:
I know all the rationalizations for why gangs of South Africans are attacking migrants of the streets of our country. I know the deplorable conditions that are hardly hidden by the delusional capitalist flash of the ‘new’ era.
But I am not willing to make excuses for the barbaric murders (22 killed), beatings, and violent intimidation of poor migrants who live among us. They are simply wrong and immoral.
Posted in Class, Immigration, International | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 17, 2008
Hossam blogs on the latest of the Mahalla detainees in Egypt. Over the past two years strikes have been cripling the Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak; these strikes have been lead by the workers in Mahalla, Egypt, the industrial center for Egypt. Of those strikers and protesters three prominent leaders have been arrested due to their actions during the April 6th strikes. They recently released a letter:
A week has passed on our hunger strike and we are extremely weak. We are appealing to you as the last and only resort for all who have suffered injustice in Egypt.
We would like in the beginning to correct certain information which has reached the press about our (the three of us) having been transferred to the prison hospital as a result of our hunger strike.
The truth is that we are still in prison after the administration refused to call an ambulance to take us to hospital, and as a result of the inability of Karim el-Beheiry and Tareq Amin to stand on their feet – as a result of their extreme weakness. Instead, a “nurse” was summoned to examine Karim, whose condition has seriously deteriorated.
We would like to know the reason why we remain in detention. We will continue the hunger strike until we either die or receive this information.
Kamal El-Fayyoumy, Tareq Amin, Karim El-Beheiry
Detained workers from Mahalla
Borg el-Arab Prison
Wing 22, Cell 5
Posted in Class, Government, International, Organizing, Union Issues | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 26, 2008
Francis L. Holland blogs about a recent article he read from the Associated Press:
Although whites would have us believe that AIDS could NOT have been started by whites and that the Tuskegee Experiment could never happen again,
BALTIMORE – Scientists using federal grants spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil. Families were assured the sludge was safe and were never told about any harmful ingredients.
It galls me. It galls me that the major news institutions can make federal cases out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s prophetic indignation at a nation whose policies undervalue and marginalize whole populaces, and reduce it to the rantings of a mad man, when in our own backyard our own government is conducting more experimentation on its citizens!
[Hat Tip: the field negro]
Posted in Black Issues, Class, Government, Racism, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 25, 2008
Atlasien at APA for Progress, writes:
Rachel from Rachelstavern.com asks, “Why does “Working Class” mean white in our political discourse?” Once I thought about the question some more, I realized that she was right, and “white working class” is a symbolic redundancy. Class is kept neatly separate from race. In national media, when do we ever hear about the black or Latino working class? And the Asian-American working class is perhaps the most invisible of all.
Posted in Class, Contemporary Racism, Language, People of Color | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 8, 2008
If your hero is Justin Timberlake or Santa Claus, Madonna or the Tooth Fairy… or any such legend or fluff merchant you’re wrong. Your hero is actually Hossam el-Hamalawy, currently reporting the uprising in Egypt, led by the textile workers of Mahalla.
The Textile Workers’ League activists Kamal el-Fayoumi and Kareem el-Beheiri, as well as a number of the Mahalla detainees, are currently undergoing interrogation at the Tanta Prosecutor’s Office. I have a report from an activist, which I couldn’t confirm yet, that Kareem was subject to severe beatings in police custody. The activist I spoke with said he heard this from one of the recently released detainees. We should know soon whether Kareem and the others were abused in custody or not when the lawyers who are attending the interrogation come out…
For continuous updates on the detainees, please follow Tadamon, April 6th Strike, Abna2Masr and the HMLC blogs, especially as reports are coming out that those ordered by the prosecutor to be released in Alexandria and Mansoura, remain in police custody… Shehab Ismail also called me from NYC yesterday to say his sister Sarah who had been detained earlier in Cairo was still in police custody despite a release order…
Posted in Blog, Class, Communism, Empowerment, International, Marxism, Media, Union Issues | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on March 29, 2008
V Ramaswamy writes a four part series on Muslims and Hindus in India and his own experiences as a community and grassroots organizer. Below is an excerpt from part I. Ramaswamy wrote this post for Blogbharti’s Spotlight Series.
It was only in the aftermath of 6 December 1992 that I came alive to the question of Muslims in India. I was an atheist, and a left-oriented social activist working on issues of urban poverty, low-income housing, slums and squatters. Riots had hit Calcutta too, with Muslim bastis being torched in Tangra in east Calcutta and in Metiabruz in the west. This was the first time in my life that I knew communal riots in my city. The enforced stay at home when Calcutta was under curfew in the days following 6 December 1992, led to an enforced engagement with this question, the Muslim question, something I had hardly thought about earlier. Afterwards, my friend, photographer Achinto, and I went to Tangra. The people from the burnt out slum were sheltered in the municipal slaughterhouse. I will never forget that sight, a vision of hell.
Part II, Part III.
Posted in Class, Government, Hinduism, International, Islam, Religion | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on February 6, 2008
Can someone please explain why this thing was called an “economic stimulus package?” Economic stimulus for whom, I ask you? And why all the emphasis on short-term boosts from the retail sector? How the hell does shopping for more useless crap lead to any kind of economic recovery (if that is indeed the intent)?
Posted in Class, Economics, Government | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on January 30, 2008
Beta Candy blogs:
As ignorant as it is to blame crime victims for getting themselves into this position, we do this because it’s convenient. They’re at hand, whereas the perpetrator might not be, and we want to separate ourselves from them (”Oh! So if I never wear a whorish skirt like she did, I’ll never be raped! Yay!”). And even when the perpetrator is at hand, we’re more scared of him or her than we are of the victim. Safer to blame the victim, and after all, it’s all about whatever makes us feel better, right?
Posted in Class, Race | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jack Stephens on December 2, 2007
Lenin, of Lenin’s Tomb, blogs about Sartre and atheistic, or non-theistic, philosophy:
The trouble with the professional atheists or anti-theists these days is, apart from everything else that is bad and reductionist and ridiculous in what they write, that their apparently passionate commitment comes too cheap. It doesn’t require that they give anything up, change anything about themselves, or challenge anything fundamental about the society. They don’t have to engage in any analysis deeper than that which finds religious doctrine to be literally false, philosophically shallow, socially repressive and politically dangerous. Big deal. It never seems to have occurred to them that there might be more radical consequences of the absence centre of ontology than that you should support the teaching of evolution, not kill people for God, and support the right of knocked up teenagers to have abortions. Actually, there is nothing there but the regurgitation of bourgeois wisdom and morality, both of which are pretty contemptible.
Posted in Atheism, Class, Communism | 1 Comment »