What is happening in Ferguson - and the solidarity people from Palestine are expressing - is exactly what Angela Davis has been talking about. The internationalization of these oppressive structures. The prison industrial complex does not exist in a vacuum. Police brutality doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Apartheid doesn’t exist in a vacuum. These oppressive structures are interconnected.
This is why whenever I’ve seen her speak on the PIC or on feminism and abolition, she’s always connected it to Palestine. Global connections. When she was imprisoned in the 70s, in solitary confinement in an American prison, a Palestinian political prisoner in an Israeli jail sent her a message of solidarity - it was smuggled out of that Israeli cell an into Davis’ cell. Do we not see parallels of that today in those tweets sharing tips on how to deal with police brutality?
The struggles are distinct. Specific to specific communities. But the structures are interconnected. What does it say for American police to be trained by and often armed by the IDF; what does it say for weapons to be tested on Palestinians and then sold to the rest of the world; what does it say for military and prisons to both be privatized to this extent; what does it say for neoliberal institutions like the IMF and the world bank to be supporting private prisons as replacements of state functions in developing countries? We have to have attention to detail and we have to also be able to look at this in a larger framework.
Images of the Border Crisis in the United States.
An estimated 52,000 unaccompanied children have entered the United States from Central America since October. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7B to improve security along the border, provide better housing for the undocumented immigrants while in custody and to speed up the deportation process.
Despite the horrible conditions these children are attempting to escape, conditions that include extreme poverty and violence, the White House has said that “they expect most will ultimately be repatriated,” despite the fact that about 60% of children coming over from Central America are eligible for some kind of humanitarian protection, according to a report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
While the problem before us must be handled immediately, it cannot be addressed without first examining it’s root causes. While our American elected officials and media would like to make us all believe that this issue is unrelated to American behavior and that it is simply the result of the inability of Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to protect their borders and reduce through policing their crime the truth is quite the opposite. This immigration issue that the United States is currently facing is the result of American economic and military intervention in Central America.
For decades the United States has toppled governments in Central America, fueled civil wars and most recently has escalated the War on Drugs within countries in Central America. The connection between the United States foreign policy and it’s current immigration problem cannot be ignored, every action has an effect and due to the actions taken by the United States in the past, we today see families from all over Central America attempt to flee the violence that the United States was instrumental in creating.
The ABC7 I-Team is uncovering thousands of pieces of military equipment meant for the battlefield that are instead now in the hands of local police forces statewide.
From high powered military grade rifles to combat helicopters, law enforcement agencies statewide are cashing in on a federal program that provides battle-ready equipment to agencies in your backyard. For the past two decades, Illinois officials have used the Federal Law Enforcement Support Office or LESO 1033 program to outfit law enforcement departments with the latest in military grade equipment and technology. Distribution of weapons as part of the program has come under new scrutiny after the widespread utilization of military grade equipment this week to counter protests in Ferguson, Missouri after a police officer shot and killed teenager Michael Brown there this past weekend.
As the I-Team first reported in 2013, the LESO 1033 program has given away at least $2.6 billion dollars in surplus military equipment nationwide, with at least $37 million ending up here in Illinois.
Now, the I-Team has uncovered a county by county breakdown of exactly what military equipment is here in Illinois. Federal officials refused to release what specific department possesses the equipment, citing homeland security concerns. But, a federal spreadsheet obtained by the I-Team following our initial reporting does detail the kinds of equipment local departments have received as of May 2013.
According to federal records, Illinois law enforcement agencies have received roughly 5,500 rifles and pistols,16 military helicopters and more than 12,000 pieces of assorted military equipment as part of the program. Knox County, west of Peoria, received the most non-weapon military equipment statewide. Knox County agencies’ inventories include more than 1,900 pieces of equipment, from Kevlar combat gloves to paintball guns to combat knives. Cook County is in second place statewide with 1,700 pieces of military equipment registered with the feds.
Weapons distributed are counted separately in federal LESO 1033 program inventories provided to the I-Team. Cook County leads the state with 1,336 weapons assigned to county law enforcement agencies. Downstate Sangamon county has 794 weapons assigned to agencies headquartered there. Interestingly, Knox County, the leader in equipment statewide, only has 15 weapons assigned to their countywide agencies.
"You can’t arm police departments with military-grade equipment and expect them not to behave like an occupying force," says local watchdog Rey Lopez-Calderon with Common Cause Illinois. He continues, “the Ferguson madness can happen anywhere in the USA including Illinois.”
Juliet Shen and Vanessa Teck are two of the OCA interns who were terminated in 2013 for openly criticizing a major sponsor. Both identifying as activists and feminists in their early 20’s, they have shared experiences of isolation, pain, and fear. Since then, Juliet and Vanessa have begun a transformative journey to better understand how to root their movements in love.
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It’s been a rough year of self-reflection and unexpected turns, but I like to think that I’ve grown as a person and an activist. After being fired, I was the brunt of jokes and anonymous emails about how irrational and stupid I was, how I’d never find a place in the APIA community again, and how my career in DC was over. My idealistic bubble was popped — everything was reduced to a form letter of termination read in an empty room. I was defeated, and isolated myself in my college campus determined to not return to a community that cut us out without remorse.
After OCA, it became second nature to avoid certain individuals and organizations. This was perhaps unnecessary, but my discomfort was real. It can be difficult navigating the circuits of Asian America when you’ve pissed off one of the biggest organizations. I linked up with Suey Park as a friend and collaborator over our shared experience of being booted from nonprofits in the APIA community. It felt good to be angry. I was powerful again after being stripped of my autonomy and dignity, and stepped up to the mantle of “Juliet Shen – Feminist, Blogger, and Activist”. I was excited to be relevant again as a web warrior fighting for representation and justice. Of course, you know how that story ends.
Sometimes it’s hard to love a movement when it never loves back. The expectations for feminists and activists often don’t leave room for being human. I’ve come to find that most people who meet me for the first time have this idea of me as a “militant, man-hating, white-man worshiper”. This year, I joined a sorority and I started dating again. Somehow, these choices — choices that I made for myself and choices that make me happy — have dissolved friendships and alliances in my life. It was easier to grow a thick skin and become as bitter and callous as people wanted to believe I was. But ultimately, we can’t let peoples expectations of us limit and harden our hearts; that is the opposite of what activism should do.
I did come close to quitting. I wanted to experience life as a “normal” 21 year old and go out, have fun, and not worry. I almost didn’t renew Fascinasians’ domain and toyed with the idea of letting it fade away peacefully. I chose a year of self-care and self-love because activism was tainted with reluctance and pain. I was never radical enough, but always too radical for someone. I wasn’t angry enough, but my anger intimidated and alienated others. I didn’t feel good enough for anyone and struggled to find motivation to do anything at all.
Both OCA and Suey Park taught me the dangers of rooting my ideology in anger. And yet, this year has been cathartic. During theTwitter Clusterfuck of 2014, one particular hashtag appeared: #BuildDontBurn. That is where I learned what real community and humility meant. If OCA was the bad breakup it felt like, this was coming home to family. That’s what I always thought activism was supposed to be: individuals coming together and loving each other because they shared a dream that a better world was possible. The guidance and love from the people behind #BuildDontBurn reshaped my perspectives on ego, credibility, community, and organizing. I didn’t have to be “good enough” for anyone — I just had to act because there was injustice and discrimination in the world.
Ultimately, it is a privilege to not be political. Instead, I am reimagining activism in a positive, loving way. Tanzila Ahmed, an organizer and blogger, wrote about love as a radical tool. This year, I let myself be soft. I learned to love in more powerful and constructive ways. Love is transformative in all of its many forms, from platonic to romantic to revolutionary. The love and encouragement from OCA’s Class of 2013 Interns (shoutout to the McMansion!) and my mentors (have y’all read Reappropriate?) keeps me going today. And what of OCA? Well, I maintain that they were the spark that lit my fire…and Summer 2013 won’t be the thing that puts it out.
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After my termination from OCA last year, I lost myself. I began the summer as a fresh graduate with stars in my eyes, hoping that my experience in our nation’s Capitol would equip me with the tools to serve my community. Yet, after a harsh termination, the world scared me. I received anonymous messages telling me that it would be impossible for me to find a career within the APIA advocacy community, the space that I called my home for so long. I was told that I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. There was no room for dialogue, for I already felt the labels of a failed activist and student bearing huge weights on my shoulder. I loved the movement, but I felt as though it was no longer loving me back.
As a result, I entered my Masters program with angry eyes and a hardened soul. I knew that it would take a toll on me; my time, my health, and my overall well-being. Yet, despite multiple warnings from well-intentioned mentors about entering the ivory tower, I could have never prepared myself for the psychological train wreck that I experienced throughout this first year.I felt the need to prove myself, to prove that I belonged in a space deemed so illustrious by family members who have been taught that academia is the only road to success and by mentors who have equated academic achievement to overcoming institutional barriers. I constantly feared, with each new day in my program, that someone would call me out as a fraud. I worried that, despite my various involvements and successes, my work would never be seen as good enough, that I would never be seen as graduate material. That before I spoke in class, I had to spend precious time developing articulate statements, so that when I said them out loud, I was perceived as credible and qualified. I sat and stared at blank pages as I attempted to write my papers, worried that my inadequacies would appear the moment that I began typing. That opportunities to work with faculty members would come with risks of a larger and more public community discovering my incompetence and termination.
I never afforded myself the opportunity to fully deconstruct how the summer quaked my entire being. I went through a stage of coldness, focused solely on achieving and burying the pain that I felt each quarter, as if ignoring the pain would cause my questioning to go away. I was often told that my kindness and conscientiousness were weaknesses… that if I remained soft, I would not be able to shape others. I lost the power of my narrative and in doing so, I forgot how to love. It was not until I was invited to speak on a panel with Suey Park that I began to realize how much I was hurting… and how much of myself that I had lost. As an individual who identifies as an advocate and activist right down to my core, I spent more time resisting the system, rather than transforming it. I forgot that as a Cambodian American feminist and activist in Higher Education and Student Affairs… my presence in itself was already resistance.
What if instead… we transformed our idea of activism into being soft? If it were about loving deeper, instead of fighting harder? If it were about creating transformative change through soulful relationships, rather than tearing each other down? What if activism was less about expertise, but focused more on cultivating a space where mistakes could be considered a form of resistance? Imagine activism as a living room in which we can all feel welcomed and at home, hearts warmed and united by our common struggles, rather than a process of putting on armor and preparing for war.
That’s not to say that protest organizing is not needed, but despite many activists who claim to fight for justice, we forget to be inclusive and place one another on a pedestal. We have expectations of others that we cannot even achieve ourselves. Nothing about that is visionary; it’s just a remix of the oppressive systems we want to transform in the first place. By claiming to be an expert in anything, we remove the ability of ourselves and others to learn and grow together. We are our own gatekeepers. It was remarkably easy to disconnect myself from the reality and challenges of crafting an inclusive climate, excused by the overshadowing of my anger, but by recognizing that my lived experiences are only one of many that have the potential to create change, I begin to decolonize what I have learned and transformatively humanize myself and others.
Since then, I have found love within the stories I have had the privilege of hearing. I found love in the struggles from fellow womxn of color, the achievements from student activists, the frustrations from other graduate students drowning in debt, and the clarity from those who have been told that they matter. Although I end this piece still fearful, I am thankful for the family that I have gained along the way. From the cutest OCA intern class ever to an incredible partner who pushes me to be fierce and proudly introduces me as a feminist, I no longer feel lost or alone. I am embraced by those in my life who continue to love me, whether I am “radical” enough or not, “critical” enough or not, “activist” enough or not.
I continue to struggle and am hopeful that I will continue to struggle because it will mean that I am still attempting to create my own space founded upon love.
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You can find Juliet at her blog, Fascinasians, a website dedicated to curating news and experiences about and from the Asian Pacific Islander American community. To learn more about Vanessa, check out Project Ava, a social justice media company, dedicated to sharing meaningful stories. Currently, Juliet and Vanessa serve as the Co-Chairs for the Coalition of API Americans Collaborating Together to Unite the Southwest (CAACTUS).
I’ve seen a few fashion posts trying to expand the “Marie Antoinette is not Victorian” rant, but this stuff can get complicated, so here is a semi-comprehensive list so everyone knows exactly when all of these eras were.
Please note that this is very basic and that there are sometimes subcategories (especially in the 17th century, Jacobean, Restoration, etc)
And people wonder WHY I complain about History/Art History periodization. Note how much overlap there is to the above “eras”, and how many exceptions and extensions there are to these categories.
Oh, and by the way…
Because you wouldn’t want to be historically inaccurate.
The Washington Post predicts the Republicans will win big this fall.
The right-leaning Washington Post’s 2014 election experts are now predicting that Republicans have an 86 percentchance of taking over the U.S. Senate. The New York Times puts it at 58 percent. Other top pollsters agree with the Times, saying the GOP’s odds of a Senate majority are strong but slimmer. Only Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball strongly disagrees, saying that many Democratic incumbents will not be beaten.
What would it look like if Republicans controlled Congress under President Obama? In the short term, there is no evidence that they would govern with restraint. The specter of veto wars from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other looms large. In the long term, the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court hangs in the balance. And today’s younger voters, who helped elect Obama, will keep seeing a government that can’t solve problems, which pollsters aresaying has pushed some millennials to embrace Libertarian values.
The results could be even worse for the country than Rupert Murdoch’s latest corporate takeover attempt, in which his Fox News media empire is seeking to buy Time Warner, Inc. If successful, that merger could mean that right-wing propaganda would creep into much of the media content fed to Americans. That’s discouraging enough. But a government held hostage by Republicans ideologues only benefits the GOP. Too many of today’s Republicans have run for office pledging to obstruct government and to cut public services.
Let’s start with the federal budget.
The latest plan put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan, the House budget architect, distilled “every form of right-wing lunacy,” Democratic Florida Rep. Alan Grayson said in April. Ryan released his 100-page budget bill at 7pm on a Friday and Democrats had to file their amendments by noon the following Monday, Greyson noted, calling it a typical strong-arm tactic. Today, those proposals go nowhere in a Democratic Senate. But what would the GOP do if it could?
“It’s all in there,” Grayson wrote in a Huffington Post column:
“Tax cuts for the rich, the so-called ‘job creators.’ Tax cuts for multinational corporations, the other so-called ‘job creators.’ (Why don’t we ever call them by their real name, job exporters?) Cuts in middle-class tax benefits, like deduction for pension benefits and IRAs, to pay for this (Robin Hood in reverse). Cuts in Medicaid and food stamps, because, you know, the Republicans want to make millions of sick, hungry people more self-reliant. A legal requirement to force the president to cut Social Security benefits and/or raise Social Security taxes, to make Obama do the Republicans’ dirty work for them. Big jumps in student loan interest rates. And massive increases in military expenditures.”
There’s more devilish details. Right now, Medicaid—state-run healthcare for the poor—pays below-market reimbursements. Under Obamacare, many blue states used additional federal funds to extend Medicaid coverage to millions of uninsured people. Ryan’s plan, however, seeks to cut $732 billion in future Medicaid spending. That would hit children, elderly and disabled people the hardest, wrote Bruce Leslie of First Focus Campaign for Children. Similarly, you could expect a GOP-controlled Congress to pass bills ordering federal agencies they don’t like to issue new rules that would stymie specific programs, such as how Obamacare works at Health and Human Services, or gutting new power plant emission standards at EPA.
You could also expect Republican vendettas to try to block Democratic governors from tackling problems that have been frozen in Congress. As the Times reported Thursday, the House’s new Majority Leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, pledged to block funds for California Gov. Jerry Brown’s biggest response to climate change: a high-speed rail link between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Other examples were cited, suggesting that extreme stances by the GOP leadership could become law.
What else might Americans see? The House GOP has enough votes to start the impeachment process, as some members seek, but there aren’t enough Republicans in the Senate—two-thirds are needed—to remove Obama. In contrast, a GOP Senate could launch investigations into the deaths of four diplomats in Libya, as a way to keep attacking Obama and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 aspirations. Republicans could empower a special prosecutor to look into what they claim is an IRS scandal over denying Tea Party groups the legal status of tax-free charities—a cause celebreat GOP-friendly Fox News.
A GOP Senate would likely do everything to thwart Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee, if one of its aging justices retire or die in 2015 or 2016. The public has seen who Republicans like on the Court. Republican presidential appointees, especially Chief Justice John Roberts, have issued rulings that have resulted in the Court being labeled the most pro-corporate Court in 70 years. Senate Republican anger over Obama appointing federal judges—after Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the filibuster rule to thwart GOP obsructionism on federal judgeships—would emerge.
Obama, for his part, would likely become the vetoer-in-chief, rejecting bill after bill from the GOP-run Congress. In the recent past, House Republicans have tried to break up major legislation—such as immigration reform— into smaller bills to pass what they like and kill what they don’t. We could expect similar uncompromising tactics, like Republicans sending Obama spending bills restoring cuts from the so-called sequester for the Pentagon, and then separating bills cutting funds for agencies they don’t like.
From the outside looking in, the GOP would claim that Obama and the Democrats have become the party of vetos and saying no. People who don’t pay close attention would see a federal government tied up in terrible knots. Republicans would like that, saying they are fulfilling campaign pledges to stop spending. And young people who want to believe in government as a problem-solving force would become increasingly skeptical, and keep drifting in Libertarian directions, which pollsters say is already happening.
Right now, WaPo is forecasting there’s an 86 percent chance the Senate will have a Republican majority after November. Those aren’t the odds found at the New York Times, the Cook Political Report or the Rothenberg Political Report. And Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball says the GOP has a long way to go toward ousting the Democratic incumbents who stand between it and a Senate majority.
But that doesn’t mean Democrats should not be worried. If Democrats keep their Senate majority, it will likely be by one or two seats. Meanwhile, Americans who care about effective federal government and a fair-minded judiciary should take notice. If you think things are tied up in Washington now, they can get a lot worse.
I posted last week asking people if they knew of some good resources for male victims of sexual assault. Here is the list people came up with:
Street harassment is frustrating and frightening. Here’s what Feminista Jones is doing to stop it.
Sometimes being a little more honest, and acknowledging how desperate and hopeless the situation we are in actually is, can actually be more inspirational than convincing yourself of the possibility of salvation.
— You Are Now Fucked (via ninjabikeslut)
important. watch how you talk about the violence in chicago; understand where it really stems from. if you are blaming communities, get the fuck outta here.