By Matt Berman for National Journal. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just the safe-for-all-political-stripes civil-rights activist he is often portrayed as today. He was never just the “I Have a Dream” speech. He was an antiwar, anti-materialist activist whose views on American power would shock many of the same politicians who now scramble to sing his praises. The total spectrum of his beliefs may not be as easy as “let freedom ring,” but the full MLK was much larger than the safe-for-everyone caricature that is often presented today. King’s more radical worldview came out clearly in a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. “The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: ‘A time comes when silence is betrayal,’ ” he began.
By Tianna Paschel for SSRC – The concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands has been at the center of increased political contestation and media attention in recent years. In this period, massive protests have erupted in the global North and South against neoliberal reforms, the solidification of flexible labor regimes, and austerity policies. The current moment, in the global North and South, is also one where these new forms and sentiments of precariousness in economic life have come alongside a reconfiguration of the relationship between the state and the economy…
By Staff for OCHR – The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism, and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent. Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today
By Thaddeus Talbot for ACLU – The U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association completed a 17-day mission to the United States this week, and he drew some concerning conclusions about the state of those rights in this country. Maini Kiai covered an impressive 10 cities in 17 days. He observed protests at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and visited cities rocked by the police killings of Black men, like Baton Rouge, Baltimore, and Ferguson.
By Reggie Harris for The Huffington Post – Twenty years ago, there was a gathering of men in the U.S. Capital to address the exact issues that Black, Brown and Indigenous Americans are struggling against today. That gathering is known as the Million Man March. Its purpose was to bring attention to the issues of mass incarceration, low-paying jobs, joblessness, poverty, police brutality, low-quality education and inadequate housing among many others. The Honorable Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam served as the lead organization in bringing all of the March participants together, and the country hasn’t seen anything like it since. Twenty years later, the struggle of Black, Brown and Indigenous Americans is getting worse.
By Sharmini Peries and David Dougherty for The Real News Network – Leaders of African descendants convened in the historic black cultural center of Harlem, New York for the People of African Descent Leadership Summit. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly attended the summit, which coincides with the UN’s declaration of 2015-2024 as the official decade for people of African descent. Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi was one of the invited speakers.
By Brittany Spanos in Rolling Stone – Yeah, there are thousands of cases, countless cases of white police officers murdering unarmed black people and getting off scot-free. What happened in Ferguson was that the community reacted in a way that was newsworthy on a global scale. If there had been one prayer circle and everybody singing “Kumbaya,” that would’ve been completely swept under the rug. The outrage of there being no indictment really cast a global light on the kind of racism that is America’s original sin. The Michael Brown case was the first domino in the 21st Century that we’ve seen. I don’t need to remind you how; all you have to do is turn on the news every two to three days. Horrendous incidents. But now people have their cameras. If there had not been an uprising in Ferguson, there would not have been indictments in Baltimore. There’s a greater vigilance.
By Chris Kromm in Southern Studies – In 2010, on the heels of the Great Recession — the nation’s biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression — one out of 10 people looking for work couldn’t find a job. The crisis was widely felt in communities large and small across the country. But the effects were far from equal. For example, the peak of unemployment for white workers who were unemployed in 2010 soared to 8 percent. But as Algernon Austin, a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute, noted in the report “#BlackWorkersMatter” [pdf] earlier this year, such devastating levels of joblessness were nothing new to African Americans. Over the last 52 years, Austin writes: [T]he annual unemployment rate for blacks has averaged nearly 12 percent. The typical African-American community faces a severe unemployment crisis year after year after year. The key role of race in chronic joblessness is just one of the reasons that African-American, labor and community leaders are calling for a new national commitment to organizing black workers.
By George Lakey in Waging Non-Violence – Another indication of how crazy this country has become: Some people are coming out against solar energy. Solar technology has dropped in cost to become competitive with other sources for electricity. Some energy companies are apparently worried that their fossil fuel and nuclear sources will become financial liabilities; coal already is with the new EPA regulations. Instead of welcoming the opportunity to come into the new age of renewable energy, the dinosaurs among us are resisting the change. In over 20 states there is push-back, reportedly coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, supported by fossil fuel kings the Koch Brothers. One method is to take away subsidies given to homeowners who want to solarize their roofs. Another is to charge an additional fee for homeowners who succeed.
A University at Buffalo student has sparked outrage and cries of racism after she put up “White Only” and “Black Only” signs on campus, hearkening back to the days of segregation. Ashley Powell, 25, who is black, admitted to plastering the Jim Crow-esque signs near several bathrooms and water fountains in a dorm as an art project to express her struggles with being a minority in the U.S. and to “expose white privilege.” “I am in pain,” the graduate student wrote in a lengthy explanation posted on Facebook and published by the UB student newspaper. “My art practice is a remnant of my suffering. White privilege and compliance only exacerbate my symptoms.” Powell said she hung up the signs to see how many white people would see the signs and do something about it, although she claims it was not a “social experiment.”
By Million Man March. Washington, DC – On October 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C., at the National Mall, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will convene the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March under the theme: Justice or Else! We want justice! We want equal justice under the law. We want justice applied equally regardless to creed or class or color. Justice is the birthright of every human being. Justice is a prerequisite to life. We cannot live without justice and where there is no justice there is no peace. Justice is one of the eternal principals that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth has decreed that every creature should have the freedom to be what God created it to be. Freedom, Justice and Equality are not conferred on us by the Constitution, but the Creator confers Freedom, Justice and Equality on every human being.
By Candice Bernd in Truth Out – Clad in yellow shirts, hundreds of marchers streamed across the Arlington Memorial Bridge on September 15, and ended their nearly 1,000-mile “Journey for Justice” march at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Many of those marchers set out six weeks ago to retrace the historic “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, which was instrumental to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) that year. More than 50 years later, activists have taken their own civil rights march even farther than Montgomery – to the halls of Congress, to demand that legislators pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) and press for the advancement of a broader racial justice agenda around education, income inequality and reforms to the criminal legal system.
By Ethel Long-Scott of the Women’s Economic Agenda Project – The fight on America’s streets against police killings and for decent wages and job security cannot be won without a conscious fight to change the system. The old social order is in the grip of a revolutionary change. Work is changing forever as human labor increasingly cannot compete with robotics. Late stage capitalism with automated production simply does not need people in the paid workforce in the way that it used to, and permanent poverty is growing. What automation is exposing is what our national social discourse doesn’t discuss, the role class plays in keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer. The struggle for economic and social justice is taking many different forms but fundamentally, the poor of all races and ethnicities are hurting the most. More and more people are falling into poverty.