All Articles Tagged "protest"
(New York Times) — Anti-Wall Street protesters marched past the gates of the White House on Thursday, bringing their message of economic injustice to the capital and posing an opportunity, but also a threat, to President Obama, who presents himself as a fervent defender of the middle class. Brandishing placards that said “No More Wall Street White House” and chanting “Shame! Shame!” the crowd took aim at the president, even if it saved most of its vitriol for the nearby headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — or as one banner labeled it, “Chamber of Corporate Horrors.” To hear some Democratic analysts tell it, the mushrooming protests could be the start of a populist movement on the left that counterbalances the surge of the Tea Party on the right, and closes what some Democrats fear is an “enthusiasm gap” between their party and Republicans in the 2012 election. But that assumes the president is able to win the support of these insurgents, rather than be shunned by them.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news already. But after a a four hour delay, Troy Davis was executed last night around 11 p.m. by lethal injection. The delay was caused by the fact that Davis filed an eleventh hour plea to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the execution. The stay was denied. After hundreds of thousands of signatures to prevent the execution circled around with the help of Amensty International, Change.org, the NAACP and others, along with Davis offering to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence, justice wasn’t served, and reasonable doubt all of a sudden meant nothing.
For those looking for the President to step in, a statement was released yesterday by press secretary Jay Carney saying, “It is not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution.” So it was up to the people who kept getting signatures, spreading the word through social media and protesting. Davis’ sister Kim, who created the campaign for Troy’s life on Change.org, wanted people, including supporters around the world, to know that Troy was grateful:
“When Troy saw that more than 650,000 signatures had been delivered to the board in his name, he called to tell me he was deeply moved. He told me he knew that he had supporters around the world, but he had no idea that the support was that widespread. ”
While we’re very sad that Davis had to be executed, especially with so much doubt surrounding the case, we hope that this spurs people to step up and fight and not deal with injustices like this in the future. We aren’t silly enough to believe that Davis was the only man on Death Row or in prison in general possibly wrongfully convicted. It’s better to know you tried to make your voice heard and fight, than to just shake your head when it’s all said and done. Don’t take these things lying down folks! On top of that, as many of our Facebook followers pointed out, stay doing positive things with positive people so that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. Tell that to your children and let them know about this case so they know what the justice system is capable and incapable of. That goes out to young men, grown men, young women, grown women, children, anybody–spread the word.
There have been some really deep and thought-provoking articles about Troy Davis’ case, the issues with the death penalty and the impact of Davis’ execution all over the web. We leave you now with a few links to those. R.I.P. Troy Davis:
- “Troy Davis is Dead; The Movement Continues” – Rashad Robinson: The Huffington Post
- “A death in Georgia” – J.F.: The Economist
- “Troy Davis’ Execution: Outrage for Opponents, But Closure for Victim’s Family?” – Nathan Thornburgh: Time
- “Watching an execution: AJC reporter was inside the death chamber” – Rhonda Cook: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
With all the big issues to talk about and deal with in the world, you would think people would rally behind bigger issues and causes than a shirt. Well, you thought wrong.
After a shirt that says, “I’m Too Pretty to Do Homework So My Brother Has to Do It For Me” popped up on JCPenney’s website recently, folks were NOT having it. The long-sleeved shirt, on sale by the way for $9.99, brought back a lot of bad memories for folks still reeling from the days of women being seen as only pretty faces and dull minds. I guess you have to be on the defensive after living in the age of Teen Talk Barbie. You remember the doll from the early ’90s! She caught heat for preferring shopping to more educational activities, with controversial quotes like, “Math class is tough!” The big fuss with the shirt comes over the fact that it’s marketed to girls as young as seven years old, wooing them with marketing copy that says: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out?” I guess you’ve got to mold their minds young huh? What’s next, a shirt that says “I’m Going to College to Get My MRS Degree?”
It is a tacky top no lie. However, I doubt making such a fuss as to call for it to be removed was all that necessary. Is it really that deep? For any parent to purchase a top like this for their child that basically picks beauty over brains any day says something about their own sense, or lack thereof. We know businesses like JCPenney are about the mulah, the guape, the dollars, so why be surprised by a shirt like this? They obviously weren’t thinking when they put it on shelves in the first place. That’s why parents have to have the sense to step in and tell their child that clothes like this one are in no way cute or a good representation of them. While it does perpetuate an idea that doing homework is for suckas and a woman’s looks are going to be what gets her furthest, I wouldn’t have spent the time writing a letter to JCPenney, nor would I have protested about it. Seems like more of a SMH (shaking my head) moment. As long as you, the parent, instill the opposite belief in your child, why waste the time protesting over a $10 shirt sure to shrink in the dryer? But hey, it worked.
What do you think? Do you feel like this top is harmless, or did it deserve to be pulled?
By Charlotte Young
After years of living in a community devastated by oil spills, the Bodo people in Nigeria can finally exhale a bit. Msnbc.com reports that oil giant Shell, which is responsible for oil spills in Nigeria, has accepted responsibility for two large spills and will compensate the community in an English court for the environmental damage to their land.
The case is considered the first of its kind because it will take place in a court in the UK, where cases usually have more media coverage and larger payouts.
“The mood music is changing — oil companies are going to have to start no longer employing a double standard for the developing world and apply the same standards for America and Europe,” Daniel Leader, one of the lawyers for the Bodo people told msnbc.com.
Protest groups have become increasingly more vocal in attempts to seek compensation against large western oil companies. The Bodo people, comprised of a community of about 69,000, live in Bodo, Ogoniland, along the oil-rich creeks of the Niger delta.
While their eco-system and livelihood have been threatened by the activities of western oil companies for five decades, Shell has recently claimed responsibility for two large oil spills in 2008 and 2009.
Shell stopped pumping oil from Ogoniland in the early 1990s, but still owns pipelines and oil infrastructures in the region that can leak. Rights groups claim that oil companies have done decades worth of damage to the environment in Nigeria.
According to Reuters, the two spills in 2008 and 2009 amount to about 20 percent of the amount spilled into the Gulf of America by BP during the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Audrey Gaughran, director of the Global Thematic Issues Programme at Amnesty International, tells msnbc.com that “BP did more in 6-months for the U.S. communities than Shell has done in 50 years for the Ogoniland.”
But this current case opens Shell up to possibilities of greater financial loss in the future. Ben Amunwa, a spokesperson for the British group PLATFORM, an international energy company monitoring group, says that the decision in this case could leave Shell facing a host of claims stemming back to fifty years of environmental desolation along the Niger delta.
A spokesperson from Shell’s Nigerian company tells msnbc.com that the company acknowledges the two big spills, but says that most of the other spills that took place, including 13 in the Bodo area this year, are the result of “sabotage and theft.”
It’s a question many have speculated about before, especially in the wake of the Wisconsin protests that have gone on for months. However, those protests have mostly been limited to Wisconsin and have yet to inspire the masses to take their grievances to the nation’s capital—that is until now, or should I say four months from now. In October, thousands, if not more, are expected to stand outside the White House and demand that our troops be brought home. The protest is expected to last not just for a day, but for as long as it takes until the protestors’ demands regarding the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, among other things, are met.
According to published reports, a plaza two blocks from the White House is being envisioned as a U.S. version of Tahrir Square where thousands of citizens will engage in ongoing, nonviolent protests. The start of this alleged U.S. uprising would begin on October 6th 2011, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.
A group of prominent activists and grassroots organizations are said to be behind the upcoming protests, and have started a website to solicit at least 50,000 individuals to camp out at the nation’s capital for as long as it takes. So far, the guest list for this event reads like a who’s who of progressive activism, including Cornel West, Bill Moyer and Glen Ford of The Black Agenda Report. Initially, the goal of the protest was to call for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, but the coalition will add more demands that relate to social, economic and environmental justice.
Clearly, this planned movement has been inspired by similar social and political movements that have been happening in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Europe on a lesser scale. But in America, how likely is the possibility that ordinary people will take up the call for action since these sorts of radical political and social change movements seemed to have died out sometime in the ‘60s. For a movement to have the desired impact, there needs to be a commitment from the average Joe and Jane who are willing to give up a day—or several days of work—and come together for the common good.
The climate is certainly right for an uprising of sorts considering the number of issues that are affecting the general public. Most Americans agree that the troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, and six in 10 Americans think that the “humanitarian efforts” in Libya was a bad idea. Moreover, unionized workers are suffering from efforts to strip away collective bargaining and in some cases, are finding their efforts to organize under the scrutiny of the Justice Department. Cities and municipalities around the country have to decide between balancing budgets and keeping schools open. The rich got tax cuts and bailouts while millions of middle class and poor citizens lost their homes. Then of course there is the growing concern over a possible student loan bubble and the stagnation of the job market.
It would appear that whatever hope we had for a brighter future just might be spiraling into a cycle of cynicism and hopelessness. However, certain destructive and divisive policies, such as woman’s reproductive rights, gay marriage and yes, even race, have only seem to act as a wedge preventing people from coming together. This division has enabled our lame duck leadership to manipulate support and keep their powerful positions in tact – even as their constituency continues to suffer.
At some point the American people are going to say enough. They are going to rebel. Now will that day be today, in October or even next October? If Wisconsin is an indication, then we might be heading down that road. The time has certainly come for people to take to the streets and demand that their grievances be addressed. If all goes as planned it may not be an Arab Spring but it could turn into a U.S. Fall.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
How would you feel if a hairdresser refused to service you because of the texture of your hair?
That’s what Dr. Darryl Fisher experienced when he walked into a barbershop in Bellows Falls, a town with a population of nearly 3,500 people located on the Vermont-New Hampshire border. According to the Associated Press, a month ago Fisher, a Black physician from N.M., was in town visiting medical practitioners. He walked into the barbershop of Mike Aldrich and asked if the barber was in. Aldrich said no and Fisher left.
But when Fisher walked past the shop an hour later, he noticed Aldrich cutting the hair of a white customer.
Fisher wrote about the incident in a letter he sent to the editor of the local newspaper, The Brattleboro Reformer. In it, he wrote, “I am very pleased to know that I would not want to work or live in Bellows Falls with the above behavior of your local businesses.”
Aldrich admitted that he honestly does not have the expertise to cut black hair, a problem that is nothing new for black folk. How many hairdressers or barbers have we gone through just to find the right one who knows our hair? Aldrich told Fisher there was no barber available to avoid embarrassing himself and Fisher due to his inability to cut his hair.
If one thinks of the situation from another view, Fisher may have been better off. It sure would have been a waste of his time and money to walk out of that barbershop with a messed up haircut.
But granted, there was a much better way Aldrich could have expressed his discomfort and inexperience in cutting the doctor’s hair. In fact, he has handled a similar situation before. Aldrich told the Brattleboro Reformer that three months ago, a black man came in and asked if Aldrich could cut hair. Aldrich responded, ‘No, I’m very sorry,’” and the gentleman thanked him and left.
How simple was that? So why couldn’t Aldrich have done the same for Fisher? As Aldrich’s interview with The Reformer continues, it’s clear that he thinks light of the situation and felt that Fisher was blowing the incident out of proportion. The paper reported that he didn’t hesitate to use the word ‘Negro’ more than once and that he believes black people are more racist than white people.
But other residents of the town took the situation more seriously and organized a protest outside of the barbershop this past weekend. According to the Reformer, residents were concerned that because of one person’s actions, that the rest of the town, which is 97 percent white, would be declared racist.
Fisher said he was impressed with the protest and will not be “so nervous walking up and down the street” going forward.
Read more about the town’s protest and resident responses here.
Last week an estimated 3.5 million protesters took to the streets of France in protest of French President Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Unlike Americans, the French feel a responsibility to counter any assault on the rights which they’ve fought so hard to win.
Here’s the difference between us and them; if you pull a French protester aside (as many news organizations have done) and ask him or her why they’re protesting, they’ll generally offer up a strong, salient, consistent answer. Herein lies the difference between French protests and American folly.
Let’s compare the French protesters with the Tea Party protesters who’ve been caught red-handed receiving government benefits while flailing against government spending or, in Christine O’Donnell’s case, running on a Tea Party platform- the overriding theme of which is an adherence to Constitutional principles, and then asking “where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”
Intellectually, we’re a lazy lot. Each day, Americans robotically offer up their bodies and prostitute their minds on behalf of faultfinding corporations. Admittedly, this is hard work. And I am in no way minimizing the mind-numbing challenges faced by the hardest working people in the first world. But viewing this back and forth to work, or the occasional (and almost effortless) vote every two, four, or six years as sufficient acts of citizenship is a flat, one dimensional interpretation of life’s meaning and its accompanying responsibilities. Repositioning our psyche in such a way that we are continually responsive to life’s demand for constant inventiveness seems the only anecdote to our lethargy and garden variety foolishness.
It is not that the French are necessarily any smarter than us (although they’d like to think so), or that they will be any more successful in their protests than we’d be if we took to the streets with fiery lanterns and provocative homemade signs, but at least they’ve accurately framed the crisis. They have correctly cast market speculators as villains and themselves as victims in this melodramatic financial boondoggle. They realize that average global citizens were not the market wizards who encouraged blind risk at the expense of the entire financial system.
They’ve wrapped their heads around the fact that the massive amounts of wealth which were quickly accumulated by many players in the global financial sector were not shared with the public and thus, the public should not bear the expense. Cunning gamblers created the financial patchwork products which operated under the label of ‘derivatives’, many of whom were made multimillionaires by betting on these shadowy financial products. The unfairness is staggering.
Contrast this French outrage with American inertia. We live in a political environment where only the Tea Partiers are fighting (and I give them credit for doing something even if it’s not the right thing) and African Americans, once the moral barometer of this country, have exchanged objectivity for Obama.
So when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell convenes a deficit commission comprised of former lawmakers and announces (like magic) that we can eliminate the deficit if we behave as grownups, face the facts, and raise the retirement age to 70, Americans shrug. France is fighting a raise in their retirement age from 60 to 62, and we’re acquiescing to 70.
In a country where only 16% of the public rates Congressional performance as good or excellent, our Bastille moment is imminent. Each day we’re nearer and nearer to our own flashpoint. Whether that moment devastates or empowers us will depend on both our psychological readiness and collective understanding of the events which lead us to this point. Sadly, going to work and going to vote just aren’t enough.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and GoGirlGuide.com.
(News One) – When you watch much of the news coverage on the reaction to the Oscar Grant/Johannes Mehserle verdict, you hear more about the looting, vandalism, and so-called “rioting,” creating this sense of a violent and destructive atmosphere. Even though some of the news coverage has stated as an aside the rally started off peaceful, the focus was still on the negative. The truth is that the criminal mischief that occurred in downtown Oakland after the rally was a very small aspect of what happened yesterday.