In late December 1831, white Jamaican planters slept restlessly in their beds. Rumors had long been circulating of disquiet among the enslaved Africans residing in plantations across the island. Before they knew it, the island would be set ablaze as tens of thousands armed themselves to fight for their freedom. As it became known, the Christmas Rebellion (or Baptist War, named so after the faith of many of its key conspirators) was the largest uprising of enslaved Africans in the history of the British West Indies, and directly influenced the abolition of slavery in 1833 and full emancipation in 1838.
When will the people who recognize just how bad things have become for the most vulnerable—and the nation at large—unfurl the flag of rebellion against the plutocrats and the autocrats? For all the rhetoric and all the charities regarding America’s children, the U.S. stands at the very bottom of western nations and some other countries as well, in terms of youth well-being. The U.S.’s exceptionalism is clearest in its cruelty to children. The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate of comparable OECD countries. Not only that, but 2.5 million American children are homeless and 16.2 million children “lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis.”
Let’s be brutally honest and unsentimental: There are few, if any, serious prospects for attaining the transformative change we need through the current United States elections and party system. Yes, Donald Trump’s approval rating has dipped back down into the 30s (thanks to his shutdown madness), the Democrats have control of the House, and a handful of Democratic presidential candidates seem to be embracing progressive ideas like “Medicare for all.”
Every year a certain number of our soldiers decide they’d rather not be involved in shooting people they don’t know so that ExxonMobil can have more oil or Lockheed Martin can make more cash or MSNBC / Fox News can give their hosts topics for their upcoming poetry books. Basically, these soldiers do something horrifying, something terrible, something often called “treasonous” … They — wait for it — think for themselves!
Are teachers professionals, proletarians, or both? One symptom of our pathological denial of class realities is that we are accustomed to thinking of teachers as “middle class.” Certainly, their professional bona fides should entitle them to that social station. After all, middle class is the part of the social geography that we imagine as the aspirational homing grounds for good citizens of every sort, a place so all-embracing that it effaces signs of rank, order, and power. The middle class is that class so universal that it’s really no class at all. School teachers, however, have always been working-class stiffs. For a long time, they were also mainly women who would have instantly recognized the insecurities, struggles to get by, and low public esteem that plague today’s embattled teachers.
Photos obtained by Prison Legal News appear to reveal the bloody aftermath of a riot that occurred at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina around 7:15 p.m. on April 15. The violence, which culminated in the deaths of seven prisoners, was the deadliest event of its sort in the past quarter-century in the United States. A source who requested anonymity and said he is currently imprisoned at the Lee facility in Bishopville provided PLN with a series of photos that appear to have been taken with a cell phone. The images show dead or badly-wounded bodies covered with blood and a blood-soaked floor. PLN could not verify the photos at press time, and our investigation into the authenticity of the graphic pictures remains ongoing.
The $50 million in school funding that was included in a bill last week "will buy less than one textbook per student," said the head of the state teacher's union. A weeks-long mobilization in Oklahoma resulted in teachers striking across the state on Monday, with tens of thousands of educators and supporters rallying at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City to demand more funding for schools and higher wages for teachers. Organizers planned to speak with state lawmakers about how decades of funding cuts have affected their schools—and why a bill passed in the legislature last week that would raise taxes on oil and gas production to give teachers a $6,100 raise and allot $50 million for school funding was not enough to stop the protest. An NBC News aerial video of the scene at the demonstration showed an estimated crowd of 30,000 people gathered outside the Capitol.
Starting Dec. 28, 2017, Iran has witnessed anti-government protests in several cities and towns. The character and the demands of the demonstrations have varied greatly and seem to have already evolved over the course of a few days. From the beginning, Iranian government officials have stated that people have a right to demonstrate, but that acts of sabotage and violence would be dealt with forcefully. The first few protests focused mainly on economic issues. Demonstrations were peaceful and marched down streets chanting slogans. These initial protests seemed to occur without major incidents. From there, some of the marches become more militant and aggressive, with garbage cans and police cars set ablaze. By the night of Dec. 31, 2017, protests took on the form of armed attacks on government buildings and police stations. By Jan. 3, hundreds had been arrested and 21 people have been killed.
By Valerie Volcovici and Kenny Bahr for Reuters - T. LOUIS (Reuters) - More than 80 people were arrested on Sunday night as protests in St Louis over the acquittal of a white policeman who had shot a black man turned violent for a third night running. Police in riot gear used pepper spray and arrested the demonstrators who had defied orders to disperse following a larger, peaceful protest. After nightfall, a small group remained and the scene turned to one of disorder, following the pattern of Friday and Saturday. Protesters smashed windows and attempted to block a ramp to an interstate highway, police and witnesses said. Officers tackled some protesters who defied police orders and used pepper spray before starting the mass arrests. At a late-night news conference, Mayor Lyda Krewson noted that “the vast majority of protesters are non-violent,” and blamed the trouble on “a group of agitators.” Acting police commissioner Lawrence O‘Toole struck a hard stance, saying: “We’re in control, this is our city and we’re going to protect it.” The protests in St Louis followed the acquittal on Friday of former police officer Jason Stockley, 36, of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24. The violence evoked memories of the riots following the 2014 shooting of a black teenager by a white officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.
By Frank Joyce for AlterNet - The normal pattern in our culture is to manufacture amnesia about past unpleasantries such as slavery, Native American genocide, the Vietnam war, and other assaults against people of color. It is surprising, therefore, that those in power have invested considerable resources in high-profile attention to the 1967 eruption in Detroit that brought federal troops to the streets of the city. The Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts and other local institutions have been funded to do various reflections. Detroit media is involved, as well. Unless you are in Detroit, it’s difficult to grasp how consumed the city is with this anniversary. But it’s not just local. The Hollywood team of Kathryn Biegelow and Mark Boal, award-winners for hyper-violent movies like “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” will premier their latest film “Detroit” in the city on July 25. It will open nationwide August 4. It is based on the torture and massacre of three teenagers by Detroit police officers in the Algiers motel during the rebellion. Why is the establishment making such a big deal out of the anniversary? Most likely, because it thinks it’s important to settle some issues in their favor.
By Matthew Vernon Whalan for Counter Punch - The extreme shift to the right in American politics probably started most rapidly under Reagan, and has only increased under democratic and republican control alike. This rapid dance to the far right is poised to end only with civilization itself. Its opposition must be ready to last just as long. Obama is probably the most “liberal” president of the post-Reagan era, which makes it useful to see how fast even his administration has marched to the right, indeed, in many areas as fast and hard as Bush II. Under Obama, the U.S. has implemented a record number of oil and gas rigs, given an ominous 1 trillion dollar upgrade to the nuclear arsenal...
By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad for Inequality - Forty-seven years later, Baltimore has become an industrial city in a post-industrial world, one of the many American cities that have erupted in protest over the death of young African-Americans in police custody. But the 2015 insurrection, sparked by the arrest and killing of Freddie Gray, unfolded on a much smaller-scale than its 1968 counterpart, thanks in part to the defensive posture of the police department ordered by the mayor’s office. The “riot” only lasted the night, with about 250 people arrested and no deaths.
Baltimore, there was a 3,000 percent increase in volunteers to mentor disadvantaged children in the city. A very small percentage of the protesters were causing damage, and among them were mostly children who were too young to know any better, and people who were in extremely desperate situations. The vast majority of the protesters in the city were peaceful and did not cause any damage to private property. Teenagers in the city were also responsible for “the purge” scare, in which students threatened to start a crime spree of vandalism begining in a Baltimore mall. Luckily, the teenagers were stopped and talked-down by local gang members, who had recently called a truce to keep peace in the community. The fact that so many children were involved in the destruction seen this week, has inspired many residents in Baltimore to reach out and give needy children some much needed support.
The words revolution and rebellion attract unjust opprobrium. After all, much of what we identify as peculiarly American is ours by grace of our predecessors' willingness to revolt in the most militant fashion, and their imperfect vision has been improved by a long series of rebellions ranging from the cerebral to the bloody. There is not an American alive who has not been made better by revolution and rebellion. In fact, the terms sit close to what it means to human, since it is our species that has developed the capacity to dramatically change, for better or worse, its own course without waiting on evolution. No other creature has ever imagined a possibility as optimistic as democracy or as devastating as a nuclear explosion, let alone bring them to fruition.