Archive for the ‘knowledge is power’ Category

This is a very important article. It is from Liberation School and a comrade of ours posted it on facebook. A lot has been said about cops and their role in society and this article sums it up quite nicely. Here is the opening paragraph:

Cops: Enforcers for the Capitalist Class.

“For decades, into the 1980s, school districts across the country employed the “Officer Friendly” program that brought local cops into kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. Their point was obvious: to “educate” children with the belief that the police are an indispensable part of society, who not only uphold the law but heroically protect them.
This idealized concept of police has to be pushed upon workers at every turn because so much of their real-life experiences show the truth, which is the opposite: that the police function as an organized instrument of state repression.”

and further in the article this:

Historically the police are always used to break strikes and assault picket lines where workers are struggling for rights and better conditions. The cops repressed workers who fought for the eight-hour workday because it was in the interest of the capitalist class to hold onto the highest rate of exploitation possible. But not only have the police functioned to defend the capitalist’ profits they have also functioned, most importantly, to defend the system itself from being politically challenged and overturned. (more…)

The LGBTQ Movement is an Intersectional Fail

By GLN Co-founder Andy Thayer
Reprinted from CounterPunch

In recent years “intersectionality” has been the biggest buzz word in progressive circles, liberally sprinkled in activist conferences and social media. Yet few movements have been as long on intersectional talk, and little on action, as the LGBTQ movement.

Few events point up this fail more clearly than the impending release from prison this Wednesday of Transgender heroine Chelsea Manning. She is by far the single most important, impactful anti-war activist and whistle-blower that the LGBTQ movement has ever produced.

She exposed war crimes by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, including murder and torture, such as the infamous “Collateral Murder” video of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians. She gave the most expansive documentary evidence ever provided of U.S. support for a host of corrupt and vicious dictators across the Middle East. This information helped fuel the wave of Arab Spring revolts, the largest democracy movement ever seen in the region, knocking out a number of these dictators.

Yet from 2010 arrest through her subsequent arduous trial and most of her incarceration – the longest imprisonment of a whistleblower in U.S. history – none of the big LGBTQ non-profits defended her.

You might think that her 2010 incarceration would have produced a “perfect storm” of intersectional and identity politics support. Here you had a working class person who identified as gay, and later came out as a Trans woman, who exposed some of the most scandalous secrets of the U.S. military and State Department in what was to that date by far the largest document dump in U.S. history.

You would think, for example, that in the heart of the most powerful military empire that the world has ever seen, that an activist who opposed the savaging of other countries by the U.S. military would receive intersectional support from a broad section of the U.S. left. And particularly since this activist identified as LGBTQ, the LGBTQ left would particularly be in her corner.

But no. Years earlier a top official in what is now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force told me that “we will never” again come out against a U.S. war, following the Task Force’s public opposition to President George H. W. Bush’s first war against Iraq. He said that the Task Force’s coming out against that war had “nearly destroyed” the organization, as wealthy donors pulled their donations and threatened to never support it again. And this was with the Task Force, the group that likes to posture itself as the “hippest” of the big LGBTQ non-profits.

But it was not the first, nor certainly the last time that LGBTQ non-profits – rightly derided as “Gay Inc.” – prioritized donors’ dollars to fund their salaries and offices, over alleged adherence to intersectional principles.

For all their talk of “grassroots organizing” – another phrase that’s become hackneyed thru repeated misuse – Gay Inc. organizations are staff-driven at best, and at worst, controlled by self-selected boards chosen for their ability to tap contributions from wealthy donors. In this way the wealthiest LGBTQs control the political agenda of what passes for our movement, a pink version of the class stratification talked about in straight society, but rarely mentioned in the movement.

Some say that the reason for this conservatism is Gay, Inc.’s affection for “heteronormativity” – the aping straight people. This is said to explain their recent emphasis on winning equal marriage rights, for example. But this interpretation doesn’t adequately explain where “heteronormativity” itself comes from, and it also radically mis-reads the chronology of how the marriage issue became center-space in our movement.

For many years almost all of the large organizations of LGBTQs opposed pushing for equal marriage rights (the one exception being the Metropolitan Community Church). As late as at its 2005 “Creating Change” conference, for example, the Task Force had only anti-equal marriage speakers at one of the conference’s two plenaries – with no opportunity for proponents to rebut.

More recently, of course, Gay Inc. mercilessly mined the marriage issue for donations, not unlike how they have done with Transgender issues for the last couple of years. The cynicism in both instances is quite breath-taking, especially when you consider, for example, the Human Rights Campaign’s well-documented betrayal [2] of Transgender employment rights under the tutelage of gay Congressman Barney Frank.

The root of Gay Inc.’s betrayal of Chelsea Manning, and their flip-flops on marriage rights and Trans rights, lie directly in their being joined at the hip with the Democratic Party. The incestuous revolving door between military contractors and ex-military officers is only exceeded by Gay Inc’s revolving door with the Democratic Party.

The pollsters and media “professionals” who gave us the disastrous failed campaign against California’s 2008 anti-gay Proposition 8, for example, were drawn directly from the Party. The current president of Gay Inc’s biggest and wealthiest group, the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, “got his start in politics volunteering for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, which led to a position in the White House Press Office at the age of 19. Following his stint in the White House and his graduation from Georgetown University, he led a number of political campaigns advocating for or against various California ballot initiatives, as well as a number of fundraising efforts for political candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”

A big reason why Gay Inc. was initially so loath to take on the equal marriage issue was because their main guy, President Bill Clinton, was directly implicated in the worst measure enacted against it – the Defense of Marriage Act – and the series of failed Democratic presidential candidates who followed him also opposed equal marriage rights. As I’ve written elsewhere,

“After Bill Clinton appeased the right by passing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (and NAFTA, and Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, etc, etc), he took out ads on Christian Right radio stations bragging about it, as part of his re-election bid.”

Similarly with Chelsea Manning. Besides exposing George W. Bush’s dirty laundry, she also exposed the Obama White House’s illegal support for the military coup which overthrew the elected government in Honduras, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton providing crucial support for the murderous regime that took over.

Only when an issue is considered acceptable to leading Democrats – or forced onto their agenda by incessant campaigning by truly grassroots activists – has Gay Inc. switched up its issues list. So only after years of polling numbers showed that marriage was a top issue for LGBTQs – reacting to the religious right beating us up on the issue – did Gay Inc. change its tune and decide the issue was “realistic.”

Left to their own devices, Gay Inc. groveled to the Party’s needs. This is why after the 1998 lynching of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard and the protests in hundreds of cities that followed it, Gay Inc. quickly moved to divert the movement into meaningless, if not positively reactionary, calls for “hate crimes” legislation, feeding the racist mass incarceration boom then underway.

Gay Inc. was loath to embarrass then-President Clinton for his support for the Defense of Marriage Act two years earlier, or the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military employment ban three years before that, in enabling the anti-gay hate that killed Shepard.

All of the pro-LGBTQ reforms of the past two decades that were eventually supported by the Democrats have one thing in common:  They cost virtually no money. From hate crimes legislation to marriage rights to Trans people’s access to public restrooms, all cost the profit system little, if any, serious money. (more…)

Our niece posted on facebook page and gave us permission to use it here. The original was from The Pixel Project: Its Time To Stop Violence Against Women. Together.

No automatic alt text available.

PICTURE OF THE DAY: This infographic makes an interesting point about the prevalence of violence against women by comparing rape statistics with shark attack statistics. Anyone else seen interesting and unusual infographics highlighting violence against women and girls in unconventional ways?

EDITOR’S NOTE:
We did not create this infographic but shared it because it drives home the point about the horrifically high chances of a woman getting raped in her lifetime. Since some of you have asked about the statistics, we did the legwork for you and here are the links to the sources for these statistics:

1. A woman/person’s chance of getting killed by a shark in her/their lifetime – National Geographic:
http://natgeotv.com/uk/shark-attack-experiment-live/facts

2. A woman’s 1 in 6 chance of being raped in her lifetime (U.S. only) – RAINN
https://www.rainn.org/get-informat…/…/sexual-assault-victims

Worldwide, it’s a 1 in 5 chance:
http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/pdf/VAW.pdf

3. 100 million sharks culled annually – Australian Marine Conservation Society
http://www.marineconservation.org.au/…/government-on-shark-…

4. Percentage of reported rapists convicted and imprisoned – RAINN
https://rainn.org/get-informat…/statistics/punishing-rapists

There is an excellent article I read today published on facebook by the Dragon Fly Collective. The article, Roaming Charges: The End of the Age of Protest, written by  Jeffrey St. Clair  and published on Counter Punch is a must read.  To read the whole article go to HERE.

a few lines from the article

“A few days ago, the carbon dioxide readings at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawai’i cracked 410 parts per million, an all-time record and a frightening one. On Earth Day, climate marches took place in cities across the world. Trump’s policies didn’t drive the spiking CO2 levels, but they did propel tens of thousands onto the streets for a few hours of fun. Where were those people during eight years of Barack Obama, an oil and gas man of some distinction? Where were they during eight years of Bill Clinton, one of the greatest environmental con men of our time?”

and this

“Has Trump finally shattered our illusions, so that we can see clearly the forces—economic, political and technological—that are plunging the planet toward a man-made heat death? Is he, in fact, a kind of clarifying agent for the real state of things?

One can hope so.

Except one mustn’t hope.

As Kafka, the High Priest of Realism, admonished his readers, “There is hope. But not for us.”

Hope is an illusion, an opiate, an Oxycontin for the masses.

Instead of hope, we need a heavy dose of realism. A realism as chilling as reality itself.”

and a big YES to this:

“The time for protests is over.

Protests will not prick the conscience of the unmasked beast called Donald Trump. Trump has no conscience to arouse, no shame to trigger, no remorse to cultivate. Trump is a full-frontal menace, that dangerous object in the mirror that is closer than it appears. It is the old threat, coming at us faster than before and from all directions at once. An unchained beast that will not be moderated by regulations, social conventions or appeals to common decency.”

Check out this article that came on our facebook page. We fully support these actions and will not be going to work on Monday.

by Anonymous Contributor

by New Haven Anti-Fascists, Industrial Workers of the World – CT, and Dragonfly Climate Collective

The history of May Day is rooted in anarchist solidarity and action. On May 1, 1886, some 40,000 workers in Chicago joined over 300,000 workers nationwide in a strike demanding an eight hour workday. In the days that followed, as strikers continued their show of solidarity, several people were shot and killed by police including in an incident that became known as the Haymarket Massacre. Four others were later executed by the state. Since then, May Day has been recognized as International Workers’ Day to commemorate the comrades who took part in, and were murdered because of, radical anarchist politics. This was the first step in establishing the modern standard of the 8 hour work day and 40 hour work week, demonstrating the effectiveness of militant direct action tactics, which the state vilifies to this day.

In 2006, millions of immigrants and their supporters around the country marched in the streets, returning May Day to its radical roots. Since then, May Day celebrations have seen a resurgence as an opportunity to mobilize thousands of immigrants and their allies to stand for immigrant rights.

Since its inception, this country has seen multiple waves of migration, first and foremost the enslaved Africans who were stolen from their lands and forced to work in the so-called United States and Caribbean islands, while this country’s founders massacred indigenous peoples in one of the most horrific genocides in the history of humanity. Over a hundred years ago, working people began to flee the Eurasian continent en masse, bound for a chance at a better life. Today, immigrants and refugees from Latin America and the Middle East flee violence and the terror of American foreign policy in search of opportunities for themselves and their children. In all cases, they have always been considered not only a working class but an underclass that the corporate elite relies on in order to exploit their labor and vulnerable position in society.

This extortion is known as capitalism. We know that even with all of the gains made by workers’ struggles to date, there continue to exist those on the margins who fall victim to the exploitative capitalist. Women, people of color, transgender people, immigrants (documented or otherwise), refugees, and others are among the most vulnerable when it comes to workers’ rights. This system has also been systematically tearing apart the Earth and plundering peoples, putting never-ending growth above all hopes for a livable planet.

This exploitation of autonomous labor and ecosystems is wholly contrary to human nature, the natural tendency to establish and maintain true human connections through mutual aid, and to know and care for the land bases surrounding us. Within capitalism, those whose labor is not classified under the normal definition of work, such as caretakers, domestic workers, and sex workers, are excluded. These workers tend to be from the very same marginalized communities that are most exploited in every area of life.

All of this combined with the ascension of white supremacist and neo-Nazi presence since inauguration 2017 necessitates a more radical and creative May Day. As anti-authoritarians we seek nothing short of total liberation. No one is free until all are free.

This May Day, we call for a return to its original anti-authoritarian roots as we participate in a nationwide strike once again. Join us as we create a visible presence and stand side by side in defense and solidarity with communities in struggle. The beast of capital will fall.

Events:

 – Hartford on Saturday April 29th: Rally: CT Immigrants Are Here To Stay!
 – May 1st in New Haven: General Strike, Solidarity and Resistance, Rally and March
 – Danbury May Day Rally! Un Dia Sin Immigrantes
 – Bridgeport May Day: Sanctuary City March!
 – Stamford: Gather at 888 Washington Boulevard at 4:00

This submission came to It’s Going Down anonymously through itsgoingdown.org/contribute. IGD is not the author of this post.

 

On Saturday folks from furbirdsqueerly join with about 45 other people in what was dubbed an Equality March. It was wonderful to see so many LGBT and queer folks out that day. Young folks, old folks, Black folks, Brown folks, white folks, all out for equality bringing their issues out to the streets of Hartford Ct. we wrote this as a response:

“We would like to bring up a point here as lesson. A lesson for learning to all of us in these dreadful times. A light to shine in darkness. A please remember others beside yourselves. A all for one and one for all! This article has been adapted from our comment over at The Equality March Page found HERE.

Before marching I had asked the organizer if she would please have the march go a little slow as some of us would most likely not be able to keep up. This was met by some off remark by someone in the crowd and a laugh by her. When the march was going down Pearl Street I noticed that the front of the march was getting further and further away. I yelled out a few times to slow down and was met with a few off handed remarks from other marchers which took me by surprise, until Pickles heard me say “Slow Down- Pass it On” and repeated it. Thank you Pickles for passing it on. Thank you for helping stopping and slowing down the marchers. I couldn’t understand why the rush, why would we want to become a blur? The cops were blocking the intersections, no need to rush through, why the rush, were we out to please them so they wouldn’t have to stand there? Did we care about the people sitting in their cars waiting for us to pass so much that we forgot about those who were all ready standing with us? Funny I heard no honks in support of the march from any motorist waiting. It wasn’t pouring rain, or freezing cold. Some of us older people and folks with children were having a hard time keeping up. The children in this march had some wonderful signs that they had made. What did it say to them that the march left them way up Pearl Street.

What was at play here? Self centered ableism? Getting into the moment of the thing and forgetting that everyone who was out that day would help to make this resistance succeed? Breaking a number one rule of revolution (yeah I will call it that for now, when push comes to shove that will be another story) “all for one and one for all.” Forgetting that some are not as able as others for whatever reason? Or as one person said, “These people are just oblivious and only think to the tip of their nose.” Sad commentary on our state if that is the case. What is next non-accessible meeting spaces?

I would like to tell a little story here. In my long history of resistance, I started as a young queer child, I have always made it a point to say when any action was to be taken, or laws to be passed, how will this effect the least of those among us? How will this affect the poor, the elderly, the young? Then I would work up from there. If I couldn’t see advancement for those of us who were not privileged then I would not take part. Many years ago there was an argument about a space that some in the LGBT movement wanted to use. Well the space had 3 stairs to get into. I knew that one of the speakers was in a transportation chair. I couldn’t believe my ears when one person a very able bodied lesbian said, “Well all we have to do is carry him up the stairs.” Needless to say folks on my side of the fence booed her out of the picture and another meeting space was found. What length were we willing to go to? Busting up the group and forming a new one? We were willing at that point. 

Another point that should be well taken and contemplated is this, in these times when in small marches we must look out for each other. Folks left behind could become victims and when we rush ahead we put them in danger. No one in that line of march should have made an off remark about stopping and slowing down. One person had the nerve to say, we were “power walking.” So funny I forgot to laugh. What only the able folks got the power? Honey get with it. With messages such as ours wouldn’t a stroll be nicer. Give folks on the sidelines time to read your signs, to hear your chants. Instead we go rushing by, to beat the band, to get to the fire, the fire is in the streets not in front of an empty state capitol.

In the future please remember to check out others, look behind you, get off and out of yourself. Extend your compassion. If you see folks falling behind you and your friends please go and walk with them. One thing please don’t be just like trump and his boys, leaving seniors and the young behind. That is what I took away from this lesson. I know many folks who are out and about protesting today are new at the game with many lessons to learn and I know one lesson is to stop being so damned privileged. You and I well know, we all have a lot to learn in these times.

Onward and forward! Remember, “What force on earth is weaker than the feeble force of one!” Together we are strong. This resistance will not succeed with only you, if you think so welcome to the end of the cliff.  Equality March? Equality March? Equality March? Come on folks forget your able body fast walking selves? Equality march no it isn’t when some are left way up the next block. 

Now we don’t usually publish anything by democrats or those who sniff around with them but we thought this is very interesting. We have been saying this for months now. Of course we know full well that when Obama was president that the drones flew and the bombs dropped. Yesterday I wore to the Equality Demo a button from back in the day but a button that is just as true today as it was then. You remember it, War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things. I talked to anyone who would listen. I will continue to keep talking and talking and talking. So read what Sen. Murphy has to write. From what we gather he is a decent guy. All we can say is We know and we knew and we say NO TO WAR!!!

Trump Is Dragging Us Into Another War… And No One Is Talking About It

While Americans have been focused on the ACA and Trump’s ties to Russia, Trump has been busy expanding the American troop presence inside Syria.

By Sen. Christopher Murphy, CT.

Quietly, while Americans have been focused on the ongoing drama over repealing the Affordable Care Act and the new revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, President Trump has been busy dramatically expanding the American troop presence inside Syria. And virtually no one in Washington has noticed. Americans have a right to know what Trump is planning and whether this will lead to an Iraq-style occupation of Syria for years to come.

Without any official notification, Trump sent 500 new American troops into Syria, ostensibly to take part in the upcoming assault on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. News reports suggest this deployment may just be the tip of the iceberg, with some saying that the plan is for hundreds more American troops to be added to the fight in the coming weeks. No one actually knows how many troops are inside Syria now, because the administration has largely tried to keep the build-up a secret.

This deployment poses a significant, potentially catastrophic risk for the United States and the future of Syria and the Middle East. Congress cannot be silent on this matter. I have long been against putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria—I opposed the idea during the Obama administration and I oppose it now, because I believe we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the Iraq War if we try to force political stability simply through the barrel of a gun. I would urge my colleagues who have not focused on the question of U.S. troop presence in Syria to, at the very least, demand the administration answer two basic questions before signing off on the money to fund this dangerous escalation.

First, what is our mission and what is our exit strategy?

The public explanation of the military escalation has been to prepare for the assault on Raqqa. Taking Raqqa is a necessary and long-desired objective. The problem lies in making U.S. troops an indispensible part of the invasion force, which likely will require us to stay and become an indispensible part of the occupation force as well. This is what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I see no reason why we wouldn’t face the same trap in Syria. But if this is not the administration’s plan, they should be explicit about this. They should assure Congress and the American public that we are in Syria simply until Raqqa falls, and no longer.

There are other important questions to ask. Recently, Trump sent a small group of Special Forces operators to Manbij to keep the peace between Kurdish and Turkish-backed forces fighting for control of this remote section of northern Syria. This suggests our military mission is much broader—and more complicated—than simply helping to retake Raqqa.

(more…)