After the resulting outrage among activists and the promise of protests at its doorstep, TIAA-CREF moved its annual shareholder meeting from New York City to Charlotte, N.C. Despite the change of venue, however, dozens of activists still showed up outside the shareholder meeting to demand divestment from Israeli apartheid.
This resolution had 10 times as many shareholders backing it. The unequivocal wording produced stronger opposition from pro-Zionist forces. TIAA-CREF has been threatened with a lawsuit by Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center (ILC), if it allows the resolution to come to a vote. ILC is a Tel Aviv-based nonprofit that focuses on issues related to the Palestinian struggle for justice. Its work includes blocking other BDS work around the globe, as well as legal efforts to keep Gaza’s southern border closed.
I was published in Socialist Worker! If you’re interested in the BDS movement or the campaign specifically targetting TIAA CREF, check it out.
“Where was the NRA on Trayvon Martin’s right to stand his ground? What happened to their principled position? Let’s be clear: the Trayvon Martin’s of the world never had that right because the “ground” was never considered theirs to stand on. Unless black people could magically produce some official documentation proving that they are not burglars, rapists, drug dealers, pimps or prostitutes, intruders, they are assumed to be “up to no good.”—
"The point is that justice was always going to elude Trayvon Martin, not because the system failed, but because it worked. Martin died and Zimmerman walked because our entire political and legal foundations were built on an ideology of settler colonialism — an ideology in which the protection of white property rights was always sacrosanct; predators and threats to those privileges were almost always black, brown, and red; and where the very purpose of police power was to discipline, monitor, and contain populations rendered a threat to white property and privilege.”
We know that this will do them no harm; that’s not the point. Another developer will take our slot at the Megabooth; they won’t lose any ticket sales; we won’t hurt their feelings. If anything, we’re hurting ourselves– our ability to reach new fans who might not have heard of Gone Home, to connect with players, sell stuff, meet with press and video crews, and so on.
But this is not something that we’re doing for practical reasons. We are a four-person team. Two of us are women and one of us is gay. Gone Home deals in part with LGBT issues. This stuff is important to us, on a lot of different levels. And Penny Arcade is not an entity that we feel welcomed by or comfortable operating alongside.
“As someone who speaks at all sorts of political gatherings every year, I can say with certainty that no event assembles more passionate activism, genuine expertise, and provocative insights than the Socialism Conference. This will be my third straight year attending, and what keeps me coming back is how invigorating and inspiring it is to be in the midst of such diverse and impressive activists, “said Glenn Greenwald about the Socialism conference.
Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have both made tremendous contributions in exposing the truth about U.S. politics and the way the government behaves at home and abroad. Do not miss Greenwald and Scahill at Socialism 2013 and this incredibly urgent discussion about the attack on civil liberties, U.S. imperialism, and how we can fight back.
Glenn Greenwald is a journalist for the Guardian, responsible for exposing the National Security Agency’s massive spying operation of the U.S. government on its own citizens. Watch Greenwald discuss the NSA, whistleblowers, the U.S. media here.
Watch Scahill’s analysis on Democracy Now! about Dirty Wars and the latest developments in U.S. imperialism here.
More Workshops on the U.S Imperialism, the war on civil liberties, Islamaphobia, Palestine:
Obama’s war on civil liberties featuring Ali Al-Arian US Imperialism in the Middle East after the Arab Spring featuring Yusef Khalil, Shaun Joseph, Wael Elasady
What happened to the Egyptian Revolution? featuring Hani Shukrallah, Mostafa Ali, and Hatem Tallima The new movement against Israeli apartheid featuring Shirien Damra, Ziad Abbas and Nolan Rampy The struggle for Palestine featuring Ali Abunimah
Israel, Zionism, and imperialism featuring Deepa Kumar and Sherry Wolf
The real “Pirates of the Caribbean” featuring Dana Blanchard Mali and the new imperial scramble for Africa featuring Sarah Knopp The Marxist theory of imperialism and its critics featuring Lee Wengraf U.S. imperialism’s “pivot to Asia” featuring Ashley Smith The making of global capitalism featuring Sam Gindin Drones, special forces, and bases: Obama’s new imperial strategy featuring Khury Petersen-Smith Kill anything that moves: The real American war in Vietnam featuring Nick Turse
More about Socialism2013:
Millions of people have come to the understanding that capitalism is no longer working.
From extreme weather caused by climate change to the relentless drive to slash workers’ living standards to the epidemic of police brutality, the signs of a society in crisis are all around us. The question isn’t whether society has run amok; the question is what to do about it.
The Socialism 2013 conference will bring together hundreds of activists from across the U.S., and around the world, to tackle the many discussions and debates that confront anyone interested in changing the world. How can women’s liberation and LGBT equality be won? What will it take to win real justice for immigrant workers? Can organized labor make a comeback? What lessons can be learned from the revolutions shaking the Middle East? Why is Marxism relevant today?
Featured speakers include teachers on the front lines of the fight to defend public education, anti-racist fighters against police brutality and the New Jim Crow, trade unionists, Marxist authors, radical historians, and much more. Start making your plans to attend.
Eight men have already been arrested as part of a sex trafficking ring exposed today in New Orleans. This case supports advocacy agencies’ claims that the Super Bowl is the “single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” When you combine beer, testosterone, and cold hard cash with hundreds of thousands of people in a major metropolitan area, you know sex trafficking is going to become a reality for a number of women and men on the ground, but the question is, what’s being done to fix it? In January 2011, Christian advocacy organizations united to expose trafficking occurring in the shadows of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, and Texas attorney general Greg Abbott “beefed up a [police] unit that was assigned to investigate and arrest those who trade in child prostitutes.” As a result, there were a routine 113 arrests for prostitution at the 2011 Super Bowl—but none for trafficking.
In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued. According to Nevada District Judge William Voy, providing former prostitutes and sexually exploited girls with restoration services is crucial—he’s seen more than his fair share of girls appearing before him shackled at the hands and feet, “as though they were criminals instead of victims:”
The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, ruled that general issues of motive were not relevant to the trial stage of the court martial, and must be held back until Manning either entered a plea or was found guilty, at which point it could be used in mitigation to lessen the sentence. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier’s legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war.
"This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence," said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing.
The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. Coombs has devoted considerable time and energy trying to extract from US government agencies their official assessments of the impact of WikiLeaks around the world, only to find that he is now prevented from using any of the information he has obtained.
The purpose of this trial is not justice: it is to publicly punish and excoriate Bradley Manning, in the hopes that it will dissuade any future whistle blowing.
“I was asked if it was fair to say I liked to have a drink. That’s all I need to say on the matter.”—
The SWP recently had an allegation of rape. Their dispute committee conducted an ‘investigation’ in which questions about personal relationships and non-sequiturs like alcohol were asked. You can read more about the dispute and the SWP’s disgusting reaction to it in the transcript for disputes committee report.
Bhaskar Sunkara gives his take on Ryan as all show and no substance, but this piece really shines when he begins to analyze similar distractions in debate about public sector unions:
Just look at the recent Chicago Teachers Union strike, which prompted a quick editorial from the New York Times. Called “Chicago Teachers’ Folly,” it claimed that “Teachers’ strikes, because they hurt children and their families, are never a good idea” and then placed much of the blame for the strike on a “personality clash between the blunt mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the tough Chicago Teachers Union president, Karen Lewis.”
What’s politics and the battle of ideas when we have personalities to dissect?
TheTimeswasn’t alone. Slate’s Matt Yglesias and frequent Klein collaborator Dylan Matthews also tried to find the middle-ground in a conflict between a “blunt” neoliberal Democratic mayor and a “tough” public sector union. Even theNation’s Melissa Harris-Perry pitied the children stuck “between the leaders and teachers who are supposed to have their best interests at heart but who seem willing to allow this generation to be lost.”
Empirically, the pundits’ dismissal of the CTU, which had widespread support in Chicago, were unjustified and misleading. Wage and benefit issues were never at the center of the strike. It was a response to a “reform” movement that blamed failing schools solely on bad teachers rather than poverty or other structural issues. The CTU offered a compelling countervision—functioning, well-funded schools with smaller classes and less standardized tests. It was a vision that could’ve been debated on its own terms, but it wasn’t: these “ideas” weren’t discussed by the ostensibly idea-loving commentariat; big-shot blowhards and their egos were…
[I]nstead of countering this argument by asserting that public employees also produce goods and services, and should have a say about the conditions under which they work, Beltway liberals like Matt Yglesias drew the ever-so-reasonable conclusion that:
CTU members get what they want, that’s not coming out of the pocket of “the bosses” it’s coming out of the pocket of the people who work at charter schools or the people who pay taxes in Chicago.
In other words: union members, according to Yglesias, enjoy whatever privileges they’ve earned at the expense of the middle-class taxpayers of Chicago. It’s a subtly nefarious move: Yglesias, the “liberal,” is pitting one largely Democratic group (the CTU) against another (the vast majority of tax payers and charter school employees in Chicago), in a way that right-wingers couldn’t do better themselves.
This sort of red herring argument always comes up when laborers agitate for better conditions (or in this case, better conditions for the students); even the ‘liberals’ in the discussion frame the course of events as the conflict originated as a dispute between two headstrong personalities, and that concessions to labor are at the expense of the middle class. It’s a complete distraction from the arguments that are being presented and their specific merits, in favor of a side show that’s tightly controlled by corporate media.
“Youths are passed through schools that don’t teach, then forced to search for jobs that don’t exist and finally left stranded in the street to stare at the glamorous lives advertised around them.”—Huey P. Newton (via socialismartnature)
Secondly, they denigrate the Party’s name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded. Their alleged media assault on the Ku Klux Klan serves to incite hatred rather than resolve it. The Party’s fundamental principle, as best articulated by the great revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was: “A true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The Black Panthers were never a group of angry young militants full of fury toward the “white establishment.” The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people.
finally, the ORIGINAL BPP were not anti-white and in fact worked closely with several white folks, like all those leftist radicals on california campuses in the 60s.
it is the New Black Panthers that are designated as a hate group by the SPLC, NOT the BPP.
Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails. However, the great majority of people have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment, even though the historical record clearly demonstrates that prisons do not work. Racism has undermined our ability to create a popular critical discourse to contest the ideological trickery that posits imprisonment as key to public safety. The focus of state policy is rapidly shifting from social welfare to social control.
Black, Latino, Native American, and many Asian youth are portrayed as the purveyors of violence, traffickers of drugs, and as envious of commodities that they have no right to possess. Young black and Latina women are represented as sexually promiscuous and as indiscriminately propagating babies and poverty. Criminality and deviance are racialized. Surveillance is thus focused on communities of color, immigrants, the unemployed, the undereducated, the homeless, and in general on those who have a diminishing claim to social resources. Their claim to social resources continues to diminish in large part because law enforcement and penal measures increasingly devour these resources. The prison industrial complex has thus created a vicious cycle of punishment which only further impoverishes those whose impoverishment is supposedly “solved” by imprisonment.
Therefore, as the emphasis of government policy shifts from social welfare to crime control, racism sinks more deeply into the economic and ideological structures of U.S. society. Meanwhile, conservative crusaders against affirmative action and bilingual education proclaim the end of racism, while their opponents suggest that racism’s remnants can be dispelled through dialogue and conversation. But conversations about “race relations” will hardly dismantle a prison industrial complex that thrives on and nourishes the racism hidden within the deep structures of our society.
The emergence of a U.S. prison industrial complex within a context of cascading conservatism marks a new historical moment, whose dangers are unprecedented. But so are its opportunities. Considering the impressive number of grassroots projects that continue to resist the expansion of the punishment industry, it ought to be possible to bring these efforts together to create radical and nationally visible movements that can legitimize anti-capitalist critiques of the prison industrial complex. It ought to be possible to build movements in defense of prisoners’ human rights and movements that persuasively argue that what we need is not new prisons, but new health care, housing, education, drug programs, jobs, and education. To safeguard a democratic future, it is possible and necessary to weave together the many and increasing strands of resistance to the prison industrial complex into a powerful movement for social transformation.
As campaign posters pop up around Israel ahead of the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Palestinian Bedouin citizens of the state are still reeling after being denied the chance to elect their own local council representatives.
Legal rights activists say the move represents the limits of democracy in Israel, particularly with regard to its non-Jewish citizens.
“Every citizen wants to have a say in the affairs of their lives. This is their legal right,” Jazi Abu Kaf, a local leader in Um Batin, a Bedouin village of some 4,000 residents in the southern Naqab (Negev) desert, said. “The authorities don’t want to allow elections or see leaders [emerge] from among the local people.”
The current head of the council is not from the villages, making locals feel alienated from the local government.
Um Batin is one of 11 Bedouin communities in the Naqab that make up the Abu Basma regional council. Formed in 2004, the council is the newest, and one of only three, non-Jewish local councils in Israel.
As of 2011, 53 regional councils governed approximately 850 rural towns and villages in Israel. Made up of elected representatives from communities within each council’s jurisdiction, regional councils help distribute local budgets, provide services to residents and liaise with various government bodies.
While it now represents approximately 30,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel, the Abu Basma regional council is still run by an Israeli government-appointed representative, and Israel has repeatedly delayed elections to appoint representatives from among the local people.
The Israeli ministry of interior passed an amendment to the Regional Councils’ Law in 2009, which allowed it to indefinitely postpone elections in new regional councils. Before this, Israeli law mandated that elections be held within four years of the creation of a new regional council.
In 2011, after local human rights groups appealed the amendment, the Israeli high court (also known as the supreme court) ordered the state to hold elections in December 2012 for the Abu Basma villages (see “Abu Basma law on regional council elections,” Association for Civil Rights in Israel, 6 November 2011).
But only a few months before the elections were set to take place, a special committee created by Israel’s interior ministry suggested splitting the Abu Basma regional council into two new councils: al-Kasum and Neve Midbar. In its justification of the split, the state argued that the residents of Abu Basma were not ready to hold elections, and the council didn’t cover a contiguous territory.
“Even if they had reasonable arguments, the timing of appointing such a committee — a few months before the elections were supposed to take place — indicates that their purpose was to avoid the supreme court verdict and to split the council,” said Rawia Abu Rabia, an attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which represents the villagers in their efforts to hold elections.
“[Bedouin] are excluded from democratic processes that [their] Jewish neighbors are not. People feel more alienated from the state authority. They feel a lack of trust. It’s also weakening leadership within the Bedouin society,” Abu Rabia said, explaining that without elections, local Bedouin leaders feel powerless to work on behalf of their communities.
There are approximately 200,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the Naqab area. In addition to the Abu Basma council villages, more than 60,000 Bedouin live in about 35“unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Naqab, while about 100,000 live in state-built Bedouin townships.
Virtually all the Bedouin communities in the Naqab — whether recognized or not — suffer from a widespread lack of services, high unemployment and abject poverty. The government-planned Bedouin towns, for instance, annually fall into the lowest socio-economic bracket in Israel.
A government proposal passed in 2011, known as the Prawer Plan, also aims to uproot at least 30,000 citizens from their homes in unrecognized villages and relocate them to the townships. The government justifies this move as a way to modernize the Bedouin community and provide it with better services.
Bedouin citizens of the Negev, however, have flatly rejected the Prawer Plan as an affront to their basic rights.
“This policy sees the Bedouin not as citizens, but rather as the enemy or a demographic threat. In order to be able to implement the government policies that the Bedouin are opposing, the Israeli government is re-organizing the space in different ways, through planning, land use and local municipalities,” Abu Rabia said.
According to Jazi Abu Kaf, denying thousands of Bedouin citizens the right to elect their own leaders only adds to a sense of dispossession growing within the community.
“Nine years after the [Abu Basma regional] council was established, the situation in the villages is no different than before. The council didn’t do anything for the villages,” said Abu Kaf, adding that some homes in Um Batin are still without electricity, despite how the village has been officially “recognized.”
“Israel is not a democratic state. There is no equality between Arabs and Jews. Young people see that they are present in this state, but don’t have their rights. They have no hope for the future.”
The Israeli government is terrified of democracy, and relies on disenfranchisement of Palestinians to survive.
In a war justified at least partly to “liberate” Muslim women, the fact that rapes and murders of women in Afghanistan have increased exponentially since the US occupation goes mostly unreported and thus veiled in the mainstream global media. This disastrous back-story is always missing, always veiled in a setting that facilitates insistent and cultivated amnesia. I hope it is now clear why the prima facie innocent “What do Muslim women want?” is as or more irksome than “What do women want?” especially when the debate obsessively and facetiously revolves around the veil or the sexuality “obscured” or “revealed” beneath the veil. The question betrays a lack of bona fide intentions at its very core. In the set of multiple choice responses “generously” and “liberally” made available to us, one choice is conspicuous in its absence:
End all wars and occupations right now, and offer reparations and justice to the ones whose countries have been destroyed, who have been wronged and have survived genocidal wars.
“Being body positive doesn’t mean you have to find every body type attractive. It’s okay to not find thin girls attractive, or only be attracted to meaty boys. It’s also okay to not find fat girls attractive, or to only be attracted to skinny boys. Or anything in between! Just as long as you recognize that it’s only your personal preference and not some kind of fundamental flaw in people you don’t find attractive, you’re golden.”—
Why is it so difficult for people to understand that someone else’s being unattractive to you doesn’t mean you can treat them like shit? What kind of person are you to think your boner is the only measure of a woman’s worth?
“You can be over weight or even obese and still restrict under 500 calories and over exercise. Some people just mess up their metabolism that much they can NOT lose weight. But they’re still anorexic. Anorexic isn’t 90 pounds. Anorexic is not ‘skinny.’ “
so-frustrating asked: As a Pakistani girl who's seen the damage and the impact drone strikes have in Pakistan, I am completely unapologetic for my criticisms of President Obama's hypocrisy. The people on my dash anyways, aren't doing this to make him look bad, and THEIR voices and valid arguments are being drowned out by people who say that they're being "racist", and while there are people who just use it as an excuse to hate Obama, there are also a lot of people who just want to really make a point. Just my 2cents.
I want the voices of Pakistani people to be heard. It is extremely important that we listen to the people who are directly affected by America’s foreign policy when they speak out against drone strikes, invasions, and wars. There are many people who have offered extremely good and consistent commentary and criticisms for months, if not years on end. I want their voices to be heard too because they bring up some very pertinent points.
What strikes me as (for lack of a better word) odd, is the people who never said a word about the drone strikes before the Sandy Hook shooting but now they’re acting like they’re some type of expert on the topic. I feel like those people may end up speaking over the people we need to be listening to.
It just feels, to me, that too many people are latching onto this because one, it makes the Black man look bad, and two, because it now has the catchy little slogan “brown babies matter too” attached to it. I don’t want this to go the way of Kony 2012, where people latch onto it for a week (maybe two) and then throw it by the wayside because a more trendy issue made the news.
I do not think that valid criticisms of President Obama are at all racist, and criticizing his foreign policy and liberal use of drone strikes definitely falls under the “valid criticism” category. I do, however, think that the way people have flocked to the topic in the past day or two is slightly suspect.
We live in a nation that executes people at a rate unheard of among western democracies. We imprison people at a rate that eclipses China, Russia and North Korea. Yet, we don’t hear about people shooting scores of school children in Stockholm, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo or Brussels.
We have to ask ourselves why. Yes, reigning in the prolific sales of hand guns and assault rifles is part of the answer.
But an event such as yesterday’s points to a sickness in the fabric of American society that is for me, at least, incomprehensible. Why are we as a people so disconnected from one another? Yesterday, I posted a lengthy, thoughtful article by a young woman who eulogized the Occupy encampments and noted that the people who lived in them found community. And despite the very real problems happening in the encampments, people were craving community and a sense that something really matters.
Has this society, with its frightening emphasis on acquisition, wealth and status — at the expense of a collective good — finally begun to reap the horrific outcome of such misplaced priorities?
I find all this push back you're getting, and people across the internet doing the same all over the place, kind of troubling. If not now, when? When do we talk about this? Since Columbine in 1999 we haven't had this discussion. Nobody wants to talk about this and if they try they get shouted down. The only time we had this discussion (that I remember) was when Reagan got shot and when the Brady bill was enacted. But the government tossed that out and now we still aren't having this discussion!
I also can’t help but chuckle at the idea that it’s somehow monstrous to be so moved by the tragedy that you begin to discuss potential remedies. I care about children, I’m a monster!
“I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
I deeply sympathize.’
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.”—Lewis Carol, The Walrus and the Carpenter