Race Relations

Feb
17

Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters

Tag: Peace and War, Race Relations

Those of us who consider it disgraceful to have a giant statue of Robert E. Lee on his horse in a park in the middle of Charlottesville, and another of Stonewall Jackson for that matter, should try to understand those who think removing one of these statues is an outrage.

I don't claim to understand them, and certainly don't suggest they all think alike. But there are certain recurring themes if you listen to or read the words of those who think Lee should stay. They're worth listening to. They're human. They mean well. They're not crazy.

First, let's set aside the arguments we're not trying to understand.

Some of the arguments being passed around are not central to this attempt at understanding the other side. For example, the argument that moving the statue costs money, is not what I'm interested in here. I don't think cost concerns are driving most of the support for the statue. If we all agreed that removing the statue was important, we would find the money. Simply donating the statue to a museum or to some city where Lee actually lived would quite possibly produce a new owner willing to pay for the transport. Heck, donate it to the Trump Winery and they'd probably pick it up by next Thursday.[1]

True, if the statue is simply moved to a different Charlottesville park, Charlottesville will have to pay, and that money could have gone to creating a new park with monuments to peace and civil rights, etc. Perhaps there are  people for whom this really is the central argument. Perhaps they are also consistent in their frugality and put up the same struggle against billion dollar highways and trillion dollar militaries. Perhaps the announcements of how much good could be done for the poor with the money that could be spent to move a statue are being made by some people with a history of caring about the poor. We'll save trying to understand them for another time.

Also tangential here is the argument that removing a statue erases history. Surely few of these history fanatics protested when the U.S. military tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Wasn't he part of Iraqi history? Hadn't the CIA meant well and gone to great efforts in helping to put him in power? Hadn't a company in Virginia provided him with important materials for making chemical weapons? Good or bad, history shouldn't be torn down and erased!

Actually, nobody's saying that. Nobody's valuing any and all history. Few are admitting that ugly parts of history are history at all. People are valuing a particular bit of history. The question is: why? Surely history supporters don't believe that the 99.9% of Charlottesville history not represented in monumental statuary has been erased. Why must this bit of history be monumental?

There may be those whose historical concern is simply for the past 90 years or so of the statue being there in the park. Its existence there is the history they are concerned about, perhaps. Perhaps they don't want it changed simply because that's the way it's been. I have some sympathy for that perspective, but it has to be applied selectively. Should we keep a half-built frame of a hotel on the downtown mall because my kids have never known anything else? Was history destroyed by creating the downtown mall in the first place? What I'm interested in trying to understand is not why people want nothing to change. Nobody wants nothing to change. Rather, I want to understand why they don't want this particular thing to change.

Feb
14

Racist Warmonger Plans Return to Charlottesville

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas, Race Relations

We chased this guy away once. And Robert E. Lee too.

He's coming back to Charlottesville to insist that we glorify racism and war.

Let's tell him we prefer love and peace.

February 21, 5:30 p.m., City Hall.

Sign up here and share widelyhttps://www.facebook.com/events/1903821353181998

Jan
31

Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Mass Incarceration, Police Militarization, and Crimes Against Palestinians

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-us-mass-incarceration-police-militarization-and-crimes-against-palestinians

Two guests this week: Jeff Fogel and Ntebo Mokuena.

 

Jeff Fogel is a candidate for Commonwealth's Attorney here in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from Rutgers School of Law in 1969, Jeff received a fellowship to work providing legal services to indigent residents in Newark, New Jersey.  After several years, he left that position to become a highly touted criminal defense lawyer.  Recognizing that he was limited in impact by representing one criminal defendant at a time, Jeff moved into a civil rights practice with the hope of having an impact on the criminal justice system while preserving the constitutional rights of everyone.  Jeff has practiced in NJ, NY, PR and, for the last 10 years, Virginia. He has been the executive and legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights while teaching civil rights, civil liberties and trial practice at Rutgers and NYU School of Law. See http://fogelforcca.us

 

 

Ntebo Mokuena is a senior at American University and is majoring in Political Science with a gender, race,  and politics concentration along with a minor in Art History and a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership. She was born and raised in the DC area and on campus is involved with Students for Justice in Palestine, which is a decentralized student group that supports the BDS movement and self determination of Palestinians. The group is part of the Community Action and Social Justice coalition. See https://m.facebook.com/AmericanSJP/

 

Useful links with regards to Israel-U.S. police exchange programs:

http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/enforcement-training-terrorism

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/with-whom-are-many-u-s-police-departments-training-with-a-chronic-human-rights-violator-israel/

https://electronicintifada.net/content/police-training-programs-twin-us-israeli-racism/9834

https://www.kravmaga.com/programs/law-enforcement-military/force-training-division-law-enforcement

 

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Dec
09

Black and Foreign Lives Matter: Ending Gun Violence Requires Ending War

Tag: Peace and War, Public Policy, Race Relations

Happy Human Rights Day, and what ever happened to the right to life?

We need to stop imagining that when wars come home to the land of their creators that the suffering created is something separate from war. And we need to stop imagining that racist cruelty at home doesn't fuel the distant wars.

Imagine a country in which people condemn gun violence and police violence while actively pushing for a new cold war with Russia or urging the bombing of Syria or cheering a string of drone murders and tolerating the expansion of the U.S. military presence to darn near the whole globe. Or a peace movement that condemns foreign drone murders while failing to focus on the higher number of murders creating by U.S. police officers.

Weapons dealing is an integrated global enterprise that feeds on racist, bigoted, violent, and macho ideologies wherever it can find them. Trying to defeat it with separate anti-gun and anti-war movements not united in their work won't succeed. Most of the guns are sold abroad, many of them deployed against U.S. fighters in the wars. Many gun owners' fantasies are closely related to war.

Dec
04

Give Wes Bellamy a Break

Tag: Political Ideas, Race Relations

Charlottesville City Council Member Wes Bellamy is being widely denounced for tweets he tweeted years ago. I think he should be given a break.

I don't know Bellamy well and have not communicated with him about this. I don't support everything he's done even in recent years. I have almost nothing but contempt for the Democratic Party. I don't believe Bellamy deserves more of a break than would anyone else from some other demographic. I don't sympathize in the least with the disgusting things he tweeted.

And yet I find this criticism of him outrageous. And I find it consistent with some disturbing trends that extend well beyond Charlottesville.

Bellamy speaking at a rally on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

1. Privilege

The problem of unfair privilege here is not one of race or class or gender but of age and position. If you grew up before every Spring Break lunacy and adolescent pretense was enshrined forever on the internet (outside of wise European efforts to provide a Right to Be Forgotten), you must be very careful in criticizing those who have grown up since that underappreciated age. If you have not stuck your neck out into the fire of partisan politics, you must give careful consideration to what most-ugly and most-deeply-forgotten thing you would be at risk of becoming known for if you did.

Nov
28

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit

Tag: Civil Rights, Peace and War, Political Ideas, Race Relations

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit to Bring People Together Post-Election to Combat Divisiveness and Hate for a Day of Education, Organizing, Solidarity, and Art

Strength in Synergy Summit to be help December 10th at American University, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, December 10 from 9:30am - 7:30pm, a gun violence prevention summit organized by millennials will hold workshops, panel discussions, breakout grassroots organizing sessions, and conclude with a concert featuring local DC artists such as: Shepard Kings, Terry Gibson, and WERK for Peace. Workshops will be led by April Goggans (Black Lives Matter), Rachel Graber (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), Miriam Pembleton (Institute for Policy Studies), and other significant members of gun violence prevention actions. To find more information about workshops and presenters click here.

Leading a workshops on intersections between domestic and foreign violence and racism will be David Swanson (World Beyond War and RootsAction.org), Jamani Montague (RootsAction.org), and Leah Muskin-Pierret.

Sign up: http://strengthinsynergy.com

“My host sister was murdered in Portland in 2008 by a man who bought a gun from a gun show with no background check; she was one of the many victims that would be alive today if we had a comprehensive, inclusive response to gun violence. Preventing the type of horror that affected my family is one of the most important issues to me. I recognize that gun violence is a deeply intersectional issue with the many oppressions that people face. With Trump’s violent and hateful rhetoric being quickly normalized, now is the time to bring our communities together.”- Martha Durkee-Neuman, 20, CODEPINK.

Co-sponsoring/co-organizing organizations include: the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Black Lives Matter DC, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, CODEPINK, WERK For Peace, Gays Against Guns, the Coalition of Concerned Mothers, the Timothy Dawkins El Project, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the DC Anti-Violence Project, and MomsRising.

Visit http://strengthinsynergy.com for more information,

or on Facebook: https://facebook.com/events/157950498008430

Nov
20

Registering Japanese Americans Is Precedent Only for Crime

Tag: Race Relations

Since World War I and the initiative of J. Edgar Hoover, and right up through all the no-fly and terrorist-watch lists of today, the U.S. government has kept unconstitutional lists of people, largely or in part on the basis of their national or ethnic heritage or their political activism. These lists were part of the process of interning in camps Germans and German-Americans during World Wars I and II, and Japanese-Americans and Japanese during World War II.

In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started. In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion. Yet, on December 7, 1941, FDR issued a proclamation stripping Japanese in the United States of rights (and the very next day for Germans and Italians). On January 14, 1942, FDR proclaimed in another proclamation that enemy aliens could be put in internment camps. On February 19, 1942, he ordered the internment of citizens and non-citizens alike.

Roosevelt had secretly ordered the creation of a list by Henry Field of Japanese and Japanese Americans on November 26, 1941.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this action, but those rulings were vacated in the 1980s when it was learned that the government had withheld relevant information from the court, and -- perhaps more importantly -- when World War II and its accompanying hysteria were long over. A 1943 government report had been altered; the original version had admitted that there had not been a lack of time to provide Japanese Americans due process; rather, it asserted, there is simply no way to determine the loyalty of such people, who must be kept away from the coasts of the United States for the duration of the war.

From 1980 to 1983 a Congressional commission studied the history and concluded that Japanese-Americans and Japanese had been locked up in camps, not due to any evidence of a threat, but on the basis of racism and bigotry. The commission recommended $20,000 in reparations to each victim. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing those reparations payments, and apologizing to the victims. This law acknowledged "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" as the factors that motivated the crime.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed a law appropriating more finds for reparations payments. On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor he issued another formal apology, which included this claim: "The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated."

In 2000, a memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., that includes, carved in stone, these words:

The lessons learned must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.

--attributed to Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Congressman and Senator

In 2001, Congress passed a law making 10 of the camps historical landmarks and stating that "places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency."

This is on the memorial in DC to the Japanese internment camps. pic.twitter.com/n3Kq5QmPnf

— David Swanson (@davidcnswanson) November 18, 2016

Nov
18

Born on Home Plate

Remember the satirical "Billionaires for Bush" protesters? Around this time in 2008 I asked them to become Oligarchs for Obama, and they refused. But I predict Tycoons for Trump will be born this month. Inequality, like war and climate destruction, has its face now.

Chuck Collins' book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good, presents the problem of inequality as well as any I've seen. Collins was born into wealth, gave it away, but still refers to himself as one of the wealthy, perhaps because of all the lasting privileges wealth brought him. Collins sites other examples, as well, of the wealthy putting their wealth to better use than hoarding.

Collins explains how a lot of philanthropy is, however, counterproductive, benefitting those least in need of it. He argues for a popular movement to create progressive taxation and progressive restraints on income. But he also makes a case for appealing to one percenters for solidarity, rather than demonizing them -- apparently because this has proven to work better but also because it's too late for anything else. Wealth has been so concentrated that without defections at the top it will never be truly shared again.

Oct
25

Slavery Was Abolished

Tag: Civil Rights, Peace and War, Prison Industry, Race Relations

By David Swanson, World Beyond War

I recently debated a pro-war professor on the topic “Is war ever necessary?” (video). I argued for abolishing war. And because people like to see successes before doing something, no matter how indisputably possible that thing is, I gave examples of other institutions that have been abolished in the past. One might include such practices as human sacrifice, polygamy, cannibalism, trial by ordeal, blood feuds, dueling, or the death penalty in a list of human institutions that have been largely abolished in some parts of the earth or which people have at least come to understand could be abolished.

Of course, an important example is slavery. But when I claimed that slavery had been abolished, my debate opponent quickly announced that there are more slaves in the world today than there were before foolish activists imagined they were abolishing slavery. This stunning factoid was meant as a lesson to me: Do not try to improve the world. It cannot be done. In fact, it may be counter-productive.

But let’s examine this claim for the 2 minutes necessary to reject it. Let’s look at it globally and then with the inevitable U.S. focus.

دیوید سوانسون
Oct
04

Police Brutality against Blacks Rooted in US Foreign Policy

Tag: Peace and War, Race Relations

By Tasnim News Agency

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior American peace activist and author said the killing of African American people by US police has its origins in the country’s foreign policy.

In an interview with Tasnim, David Swanson, who is the director of the “World Beyond War” website, said that the institutionalized “culture of immunity "for police officers in the United States has led to fatal shootings against African Americans, who are in most cases “unarmed, non-threatening and non-law-violating people.”

Highlighting the role the Israeli military plays in the training of US law enforcement forces, Swanson related the shooting culture to US foreign policy.

“What people in the United States and around the world don’t connect enough is that the lessons, the model for this comes from US foreign policy, and the weapons, the training comes from US foreign policy. And we have police departments in the United States being trained by US military and the department of so-called Homeland Security, and by the Israeli military- US police departments are going to Israel for training,” Swanson said.

World Beyond War

RootsAction.org

War Is A Crime

Talk Nation Radio

There Is No Way To Peace

Peace is the way.

This site is maintained by a union shop at MayFirst.org