Monday, July 29, 2019

How, and Why Trump Uses Racism

The conversation surrounding Trump’s latest racist rants has provoked us to revisit author Toni Morrison’s 1975 keynote address at Portland State University on the true purpose of racism.
ByJulia Craven.  Huff Post. 
It began on July 14 when President Donald Trumptold four Democratic congresswomen of color — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — to “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Hedoubled downon this attack during a press conference on the 15th and in another series of tweets the following day. He renewed the attacks once more duringa campaign rally on July 17. He insisted, repeatedly, that given their criticism of his politics and policy, they must hate America. (The crowd even shouted “Send her back!” in response to his comments about Omar.) 
On July 27, Trump called Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) a “brutal bully” who was failing to “clean up” Baltimore, his “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” of a district (as the president put it). Later that evening, Trump conjured up a Reconstruction-era tropeof black politicians and proclaimed without evidence that Cummings was a corrupt congressman who “has done nothing but milk Baltimore dry.” Two days later, Trump went after civil rights leaderAl Sharpton, referring to him as “a con man” and “troublemaker” who allegedly “hates whites and cops.”
Simmering underneath the public outrage over the president’s attacks has been a conversation among journalists, political observers and pundits who are mulling over whether calling Trump a “racist” is accurate, how this will play as a political strategy for the next presidential election and whether anything the president has said can trulyspeak to his heart and mind.

It’s an exhausting, pointless conversation that serves no true function, and time is wasted when spent explaining why telling people of color to “go back” whence they came or baselessly claiming that black public figures are corrupt is deeply racist. But the conversation has provoked me to revisit author Toni Morrison’s 1975 keynote address at Portland State Universitywhere she outlined the responsibility of artists and scholars to tell the truth, the true purpose of racism and what underlines the motivations of racists.
It’s important, therefore, to know who the real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.  

This quote, arguably the best known from the keynote, has been getting a bit of play online. It’s poignant and speaks to the frustration many black folks and people of color more broadly share about this week’s news cycle. Yet the full context of this speech makes it even more relevant to what’s currently unfolding before us — both Trump’s language, the surrounding debate and people’s reactions to it all — and lays more plain the utter failure of journalism in this moment. 
Morrison begins her keynote by reading an inventory list from ”The Historical Statistics of the United States from Colonial Times to 1957.” She makes extensive note of the dehumanizing language used to describe enslaved Africans and how they were listed as “imports and exports,” devoid of all humanity and treated as monolithically as rice. It isn’t the responsibility of historical statistics to provide such information, she maintains. That responsibility lies with artists and scholars, who also have the duty of unpacking how race itself has never been the real issue. This is, and has always been, about using distraction as a tool to create a dynamic that maintains white supremacy and the access white people have to power and profit. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Trump Wants to Take Food From Families

While the mainstream media focuses on twitter fights: 

Trump USDA Wants To Take Millions Off Food Stamps

Trump USDA proposes new rule to strip food stamps from over 3 million Americans. Common Dreams: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday proposed a new rule that would strip food stamps from more than three million Americans. USDA chief Sonny Perdue, in a call with reporters Monday, said the rule change would end automatic food stamp eligibility for those receiving other forms of federal and state assistance. The 60-day comment period on the proposal is set to begin Wednesday. Tens of millions of people suffer from hunger and food insecurity each year in the United States, and the SNAP program is widely recognized by experts as an effective way to reduce hunger—particularly among children. Policy experts, lawmakers, and commentators warned the Trump administration’s proposed rule—described by one critic as ‘unconscionable’—would increase hunger among vulnerable Americans. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that the rule would ‘take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance.'”

Refusals To Expand Medicaid Causes 16,000 Deaths

New data show that failing to expand Medicaid has led to 16,000 unnecessary deaths. LA Times:“Adversaries of Medicaid expansion have always pointed to the lack of evidence that enrollment in Medicaid improves health and saves lives, and therefore the expansion is a waste. A new study should put that argument to rest, permanently. The researchers found not only that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act brought appreciable improvements in health to enrollees, but also that full expansion nationwide would have averted 15,600 deaths among the vulnerable Medicaid-eligible population. In other words, the 22 mostly red states that refused to accept expansion starting in 2014 caused 15,600 unnecessary deaths among their residents. ‘This highlights an ongoing cost to non-adoption that should be relevant to both state policymakers and their constituents,’ write the study’s authors, charitably. Fourteen states are still holding out. Medicaid expansion has been a litmus test for Republican governors and legislative leaders aiming to demonstrate their anti-Obamacare bona fides.”

This is what racism does. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We Are Here Because You Were There

Refugees at the U.S. Border 
Pat Hynes


Why would so many Guatemalans make the arduous journey to the US-Mexican border seeking refuge, knowing the hatred heaped on them by the Trump Administration? A short list of our long history of corporate exploitation and military aggression in that country might explain. In 1928 the American United Fruit Company (present-day Chiquita Banana International) instigated a massacre of thousands of Guatemalan workers who struck for better working conditions. Brigadier General Smedley Butler, who gained the highest rank and a host of medals for leading military interventions in Central America and the Caribbean in the 1920s (popularly known as the Banana Wars), put it bluntly. He confessed, in his iconoclastic book, “War Is a Racket,” to having been “a bully boy for American corporations,” making countries safe for U.S. capitalism.

In 1954 President Eisenhower ordered the overthrow of democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz who had issued the Agrarian Reform Law, which redistributed land to some 500,000 landless indigenous peasants. Ten years of democracy in that country (1944-54) was gutted, and the US installed an authoritarian government to roll back agrarian and worker reforms and, thus, protect United Fruit’s land interests. Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s Cold War era, the US backed coups and aided right-wing leaders with troops and weapons to repress left-leaning social movements, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans. One president we championed, Efrain Rios Montt, was convicted of genocide in 2013 for trying to eliminate Mayan peasants. The inequality and violence that we have fostered and aided forced those Guatemalans under attack, rendered landless and impoverished to leave and migrate north. They are here because we were there.


In 2009 reform-minded President Manuel Zelaya, who had raised minimum wage, built new schools, instituted school lunch programs and provided pensions for the elderly, was kidnapped by the Honduran military and flown out of the country to Costa Rica. (The general who led the coup was trained by the US Army at its School of the Americas, popularly known as the School of Assassins for the generous number of Latin American graduates who have instigated coups and tortured and murdered political opponents). The Obama Administration tacitly supported the 2009 coup and had an assisting role in preventing Zelaya’s return to Honduras. The US administration has continued to approve subsequent illegal presidents who have intimidated and violently suppressed rural and indigenous farmers’ land rights in favor of large agro-corporate land grabs. Over the past 10 years, police, military and hired militias have murdered thousands of indigenous activists, peasant leaders, journalists, human rights and union activists, opposition candidates and judges. By 2016, Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

ABC 7: LAUSD not properly accounting for $2 billion in funding

The same applies to Sacramento Unified. LULAC has been working on this for 4 years.

Defend Our Families- Know Your Rights

antiracismdsa: Defend Our Families- Know Your Rights: Prepare Your Community to Assert Their Rights Against Possible ICE Arrests! Advocates and community members can work tog...

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

SCUSD Trying to Break Teachers Contract

Reposted from       Majority,  July 08, 2019

The Sacramento School District is trying to set a dangerous precedent of breaking contracts
By Katie Ferrari

Sacramento teachers have been fighting their district to get their contract implemented for nearly two years. Their struggle puts them on the frontlines of contract enforcement. If the district gets away with breaking the law and not honoring the legally binding contract, it sets a dangerous precedent for other districts and employers across the country.

David Fisher, president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), says that the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) “feels like [the teachers union] got too good of a deal…because we were too well organized, so now they’re reneging.” He points out that “other districts that have signed agreements that are going to be costly would like to have the precedent of a district like ours to be able to break a contract based on ‘inability to pay’ or budget problems, because if they are successful here, they can be successful in Oakland, LA, or anywhere else.”

District vs. the Union: A Play-by-Play 

In November 2017, teachers won a groundbreaking tentative agreement with major concessions from the district three days before they were scheduled to go on strike. The three-year contract included three annual 2.5% raises, the first of which was retroactive, dating back to July 2016. The union also won an additional 3.5% raise in the 2018-19 school year for mid-career teachers to keep experienced teachers from leaving for higher pay in neighboring districts. Fisher says that mid-career teachers in Sacramento “made anywhere from $10-18k less” than nearby districts.
Most significantly, teachers proposed a way to fund the smaller class sizes and more student supports they were demanding. They would switch their healthcare to a less expensive pool and funnel those savings back into classrooms. 
Nearly two years have passed since teachers won this contract, but it has still not been implemented fully. Instead, the district has done everything it can to renege on the contract. It has manufactured budget crises by hiring 18 new administrative positions (at an estimated cost of $3 million) despite a decline in enrollment and undertaking a $6 million vacation buyout for top administrators. 

Friday, July 05, 2019

Robert Reich: Should We Abolish Billionaires?

U.S. Presidential Candidates on Schools

Educators are asking presidential candidates how they will prioritize public education in their administration.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Former HUD Secretary Juli├ín Castro
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Rep. Tim Ryan
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
This is your opportunity to hear directly from many of the presidential candidates on a variety of issues that affect public education students and educators.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

U.S. Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

We Demand: Close the Camps

antiracismdsa: We Demand: Close the Camps: Over 170 Demonstrations nation wide today. Several hundred at Congresswoman Matsui's Office in Sacramento Open Letter:  All ...

Video of the demonstration today in Sacramento.
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