New York

Trump Blames Imaginary Far Left Conspiracy and the Press for BLM Protests and Riots

Someone really, really should take Trump’s phone away from him and shut down his personal internet connections. He really has no idea how to calm things down. His idea of pouring oil on troubled waters is to throw petrol onto fire. He didn’t address the American people about the crisis that has engulfed his country after former police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by asphyxiation by kneeling on his neck. Instead he tweeted ill-chosen comments about shooting looters. Then his bodyguards rushed him to a ‘special secure bunker’ in case the crowd outside the White House tried to storm it.

As Mike has shown in his article about the incident, quite a few of the peeps on Twitter also drew comparisons between Trump, and a couple of other people with extreme right-wing beliefs, who also went into hiding. Like a certain A. Hitler, who likewise hid in a bunker, and our own Boris Johnson, who ran away from awkward media questions in a fridge.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/06/01/trump-hides-in-a-bunker-while-us-descends-into-chaos-over-george-floyd-killing/

Now he’s made more inflammatory texts, blaming the disturbances on a ‘far-left’ conspiracy and stating it seems that this is concert with the lamestream media. Other far right nutters, like Andy Ngo of The Spectator USA, have also claimed that this is some kind of revolution that the far left has been preparing for years. According to today’s I, Trump tweeted about the rioting in New York, “New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left & Scum. The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces.” New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said that he was not going to use the National Guard, as when forces not trained to handle New York City crowds intervene, ‘still with loaded weapons and under stress, horrible things happen.’ Some of this reluctance may come from the memories of the 1968 race riots and the shooting of four people at Ohio University by the National Guard, called in by Richard Nixon.

I doubt very, very much that there’s any far left conspiracy behind the protests and rioting. The issue of police brutality towards Blacks, and the unprovoked killing of unarmed Black people by the cops has been simmering away for the past few years or so. It’s what Black Lives Matter was formed to protest. And underneath that are the continuing problems of racism, poverty and poor Black academic achievement in schools. Only a few years ago Barak Obama was being lauded for winning the race to the White House and becoming America’s first Black president. The country, it was said, had now entered a ‘post-racial’ age. In fact, the divisions remained under Obama. Things were undoubtedly better under him for most Americans than if the Republicans had won, but Obama was a corporatist Democrat. He described himself as a ‘moderate Republican’, and so the neoliberal policies that have created so much poverty in America and round the globe, continued. American jobs went overseas and Obama went ahead with trying to close down America’s public (state) school system by transforming them into Charter Schools, the equivalent of the privately run state academies over here. Their transformation is often against the wishes of parents, teachers and the wider community. But the privatisation was still pushed, and is still being pushed by Trump. Welfare is being cut, and wages for ordinary Americans, of whatever colour, have remained stagnant for years. If they haven’t actually fallen in real terms, that is.

America has also become more racist as the trade unions and old industries, which employed both Whites and Blacks and brought people of different races together were smashed. It’s created a more atomised and racially segregated society. The old forms of community which crossed racial barriers have declined partly due to the ‘White flight’ which saw White people migrate away from the inner city towards the suburbs. The book attacking the Neocons and their toxic policies, Confronting the New Conservatism, argued that this is what fueled the rise of George Dubya Bush’s administration. And the same processes are at work in Britain too. Hence the victories of the Tories over here, the disproportionate numbers of British Blacks and Asians dying from the Coronavirus, and the consequent Black anti-racist protests in Britain.

There might be some extreme left-wing malcontents stirring the crowds up. I remember during the race riots that hit St Paul’s in Bristol in the early 1980s a White man with a long, grey beard hanging around the school gates with a megaphone as we went home. He was haranguing us, trying to get us to join the rioting. I didn’t realise it at the time, but thinking about it, it seems to me very likely he was from the Socialist Workers Party or similar far left organisation. They have a reputation for joining any kind of protest and trying to radicalize it or exacerbate the problem. But the SWP in Britain was and is miniscule. They’ve been criticised by their left-wing opponents because they don’t ever start protests, they merely colonise those of others. The riots in St. Paul’s started over heavy-handed policing, and specifically a raid on the Black and White Cafe, which had a reputation for drug dealing. The underlying grievances were the same then – racism, unemployment and poverty. The SWP, Workers’ Revolutionary Party, British Communist Party or any other radical left group weren’t behind the riots then, whatever White guys with megaphones may have tried to do. They aren’t behind the protests and riots in America now.

There is no far left conspiracy at work here. Just poverty and despair caused by four decades of neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, Reaganomics, Thatcherism and just plain, old Conservatism. Tackling the protests will mean not only tackling racism, but also the economic and social grievances underneath them. Grievances that the Conservatives and Republicans exploit to bolster their own horrific policies.

If we want to create a better society for everyone, regardless of their colour, it means getting rid of Conservative policies as well as stopping the police from killing people.

And in the meantime, Trump should also stop making things worse with his stupid Tweets.

How a Bronx Community Is Winning the Census

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 9:00pm in

Co-Op City is amazing. A massive housing development on the eastern edge of the Bronx, it has its own schools, power plant, newspaper, even a planetarium. It was built by a clothing workers union and the United Housing Federation in the 1960s to provide affordable middle-class housing in New York City. From the beginning, it embraced a social justice mandate that included participatory self-government, ethnic diversity and a sharing of resources — values that laid the groundwork, half a century later, for the story below. — RTBC

Just 49 percent of New York City households have responded to the 2020 Census so far — well behind the national average of nearly 60 percent, in the first tally to ask most respondents to be counted via the internet.

At stake are potentially billions of dollars in desperately needed federal funds as well as seats in the House of Representatives.

But not all Census tracts are created equal. In Co-Op City, the world’s largest co-operative housing complex, with more than 15,000 apartments, residents are not only well ahead of the rest of the Bronx and of New York City — they also outpace much of the nation.

co-op city“Everyone has been emphasizing and reemphasizing how important the Census is,” said Co-Op City’s newspaper editor. Credit: Jules Antonio / Flickr

Among Co-Op City’s seven tracts, five exceed 70 percent in participating, and the others are not far behind — making “the city in a city” an outlier in the Bronx, where fewer than 40 percent in many tracts have responded to Census Bureau mailings.

Co-Op City resident George Torres said he filled out his Census as soon as he got it in the mail.

“I think it’s the nature of the people who live in the cooperative,” said Torres, who is also district manager of the Bronx’s Community Board 12. “We are active federal, state and municipal workers. The people who live here are the backbone of the unions representative of this great city.”

Connected Community

Clues abound explaining Co-Op City’s high response rates.

Noel Ellison, 67, general manager for Co-Op City’s property management company, Riverbay Corporation, said the coronavirus crisis has galvanized residents, bringing an already tight community even closer.

So did Co-Op City’s unusual inclusiveness, he suggested.

“In 2019, we had celebrated Co-Op City’s 50th anniversary,” said Ellison, a resident since the 1970s. “So, we had galas and such that tended to bring out people who used to live here, people who grew up here, and it sort of spurred a sense of community.”

When the MTA proposed changes to bus routes last year, residents protested and bonded over that experience, Ellison said, further uniting neighbors.

“Trying to encourage people to do the Census was a natural extension of the sense of community mission that we’ve been building up,” he said.

Ellison also noted that Co-Op City promotes the Census through its internal TV station, robo-calls and community newspaper, the Co-Op City Times.

Rozaane Boone, the newspaper’s editor, said when her staff recently discovered that Co-Op City placed third among Bronx communities in Census response, they wanted to motivate residents to participate even more by highlighting the stats in the paper.

But then they learned they rose to first. Boone opted to hold off on airing that bit of information.

“Our goal now is right back where we started — to encourage 100 percent participation, not to give the impression responses are no longer needed,” Boone said.

“Everyone has been emphasizing and reemphasizing how important the Census is and encouraging full participation, and we will continue to do so to achieve that or get as close as possible to that goal,” she added.

Mail Option

Co-op City stands out in two important ways, said Steven Romalewski of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, which maintains a Census map highlighting response rates in historically hard-to-count areas.

“No other area in NYC has the concentration of high-response-rate tracts like the Bronx does in Co-op City,” he said in an email.

He noted that Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island also have tracts where more than 70 percent of households voluntarily responded to the census — but just one apiece.

Co-Op City stands out in its census response rate as the most darkly shaded area on the uppermost right-hand side of this map of New York City. Credit: Will Welch / The City

Second, the U.S. Census Bureau targeted several Co-Op City tracts with special “internet choice” packets, mailed to some selected areas with nationally high populations of senior citizens, low internet access and low participation in the American Community Survey.

So while most households are being asked to respond to the Census on the internet, in several Co-Op City tracts, residents have the option of mailing their form in, too.

Romalewski said that the typical response rates for internet choice tracts are lower than average nationally — but that Co-op City’s tracts were just the opposite.

“Something is happening there that’s very different than what’s happening in most other places,” he said.

Speaking to Neighbors

Higher authorities also lend a hand.

Angelo Rosario, CEO of the Bronx Clergy Task Force, part of the Bronx Borough President’s Office, said the group asked leaders of roughly 20 houses of worship in the Co-Op City area to call members and explain the importance of filling out the Census.

Clergy also offered reminders during virtual sermons and prayer conference calls.

“We gave them a challenge.” said Rosario, also bishop at Church of God’s Children in Co-Op City.

“People of faith are just people of faith — whatever their faith may be. Jewish faith. Hindu faith. Christian faith. And they know that this is a need.”

Outreach in different languages has also been key, said David Coulibaly, Census program manager for the nonprofit African Communities Together.

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Coulibaly said before the coronavirus crisis hit, his team of a dozen workers was door-knocking, engaging Africans face-to-face in Co-Op City. They have since transitioned to phone-banking, harnessing their ability to collectively speak at least 14 languages, from Afemi to Mandingo to Yoruba.

“When we’re speaking to some folks who do not really understand what we’re speaking, we have the ability to switch,” he said.

That’s key to conquering fear within the city’s African communities, including over unfounded concerns information collected could be shared with immigration authorities.

“Someone speaking your language makes you feel at ease and comfortable to share your information with that person, and to listen to that person,” Coulibaly said. “That has been one of our strategies to really increase trust in our community.”

Coulibaly’s nonprofit has already exceeded its goal of confirming that 3,000 people completed the Census. “I’m confident that I’ve gone above and beyond,” he said.

Scared to Say

Participation isn’t going as smoothly in other parts of The Bronx.

Alida Quinones-Reyes, census manager for the community organization BronxWorks, said some folks feel jaded, don’t trust the government and believe one person isn’t going to make a difference.

Ultimately, says one Co-Op City old-timer, cooperating with the Census stems from love for the community. Credit: Eric Gross / Flickr

Others tell her they’ve already filled out the Census, when, in fact, they’re referring to the Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, which is different, she said. The longer ACS is sent to a smaller number of households, and seeks more detailed information.

“I already did it,” they say.

“No, you didn’t,” she tells them. “You gotta fill out the Census.”

Some are scared to disclose they live with immigrants, and she only finds out later — once they have underreported the number of people in their household. It is not possible to change Census responses once they are submitted.

“They say, ‘You know, I have like three other people living in my house, but I don’t want to say anything, because I didn’t want to get into trouble,’” she said.

Now, before she helps someone fill out the Census, she asks about everyone in their household — even people they might be afraid to mention.

Lemuria Alawode-El of the United Way of New York, which manages 66 nonprofits that received City Council Census outreach grants, also noted the fear immigrants experience.

“While New York is obviously a sanctuary city and a city that has tried to be very welcoming to immigrants, there’s still this fear that folks don’t know who to trust or what information is being shared where,” she said.

Alawode-El referenced a family she knows not having access to food, but being too afraid to take advantage of public benefits because of concerns it could jeopardize their immigration status.

She echoed the questions they ask: “If I respond to the Census, will they tell the police? Are the police connected to ICE? Does that mean they’re going to come get me?”

Ultimately, says one Co-Op City old-timer, cooperating with the Census stems from love for the community.

Bernie Cylich, 79, moved into Co-Op City when it opened half a century ago. He said he’s seen the complex evolve from mostly Jewish to a diverse population.

Through the years and changes, he’s noticed a constant throughline: people who take ownership and care for their neighborhood.

To Cylich, it isn’t surprising that Co-Op City’s Census response rates soar.

“Evidently, it’s a reflection of people who take pride in the fact they live here,” he said.

The post How a Bronx Community Is Winning the Census appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

We’ve Got to Save Our Lives, I Guess

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 31/05/2020 - 5:50am in

Tags 

New York, Politics


Sarah Schulman How could you expect that [the gay community] would be able to meet the challenge of AIDS? Larry Kramer That’s a great question. But I did and I still do, and they still haven’t. We were dying and it happened first—so far as I could tell—through my people around me, my friends, our […]

Public Record

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/05/2020 - 1:06am in

Tags 

New York


In 1977, the 38-year-old artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles convinced an administrator at the New York City Department of Sanitation to name her its Artist in Residence. Ukeles’s resulting projects built previously unimaginable bridges around public perceptions of the sanitation workers who maintained the city. One such effort, Touch Sanitation, involved shaking hands with every one […]

Cuomo Announces Partnership with Bill Gates to “Revolutionize” NY Schools in Wake of Coronavirus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 5:18am in

Taking time off from mismanaging a pandemic and turning lifesaving masks sent from all over the country into an art installation, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared yesterday that he would use the deadly COVID-19 virus as an opportunity to “revolutionize” the state’s school system, inviting Microsoft founder Bill Gates to implement his controversial ideas about education statewide. Cuomo did not divulge many details of what his imagined education revolution would look like but did mention virtual education and remote learning. However, Gates is best known for one thing in education: charter schools.

“Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he’s spoken about for years but I now think we have a moment in history where we can incorporate and advance those ideas,” Cuomo said. “When does change come to a society?…[when] we get moments in history” he added, “I think this is one of those moments.”

One of only two centibillionaires in history, Gates is the world’s most popular businessman according to polling company YouGov, enjoying a 54 percent positive and only nine percent negative opinion rating. Nevertheless, Cuomo’s announcement was met with consternation by many. “Right-wing Wall Street puppet Cuomo is going to work with billionaire capitalist Bill Gates, one of the richest human beings in history, to privatize public education. “Philanthropy” is a scam. The Gates Foundation’s goal is to privatize everything so billionaires can profit,” wrote journalist Ben Norton. 

Gates is one of the most important driving forces leading the assault on the American public education system through the promotion of charter schools. Charter schools effectively privatize the public school system, where the public continues to foot the bill for the school, but has no influence or say in how it is run. While very popular with both the private sector and the religious right, the large majority of unionized public school teachers oppose them. 

Thus, Cuomo’s attempt to push through what he promises to be a massive overhaul of the state’s entire education network is a perfect example of what writer Naomi Klein called “disaster capitalism.” In her seminal book, “The Shock Doctrine”, Klein describes how regressive forces wait until the collective panic of a disaster to force through legislation that the population would never accept and would fight back against in normal times. 

During Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school system was privatized in an instant. Before the disaster, the school board ran 123 public schools, afterward, it ran only four. Meanwhile, the number of charter schools quickly rose from seven to 31. Unionized school teachers were all immediately fired, with some rehired at reduced salaries and virtually no benefits. As a result, the racially diverse city has effectively been privatized and remodeled to exclude much of its poor black population. As Klein wrote: 

The auctioning off of New Orleans’ school system took place with military speed and precision. Within nineteen months, with most of the city’s poor residents still in exile, New Orleans’ public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

While maintaining an affable public facade, behind the scenes Gates appears obsessed with the discredited pseudoscience of eugenics and has made it a priority to reduce the population of Africa especially. He also has funded programs to circumcise millions of men and boys across the developing world. Another of his more questionable ideas is that of tattooing the entire human race with a so-called “microdot” once they have been vaccinated. And, as Whitney Webb cataloged for MintPress, Gates is a close associate of infamous sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, finding a 2001 article noting that Epstein had made his fortune out of his close ties to the Microsoft co-founder. “His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing” Gates said of Epstein in a leaked 2011 email, three years after he was convicted of sex crimes with children. 

Therefore, while Governor Cuomo sees the pandemic as a wonderful opportunity to reorganize New York’s flagging school system, it is far from clear whether the public should embrace his ideas and the supposed generosity of the world’s second-richest man.  

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York surpassed 330,000 today. The state has more confirmed cases than any foreign country in the world. At least 25,436 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19, although local officials accept this is certainly an undercount.

Feature photo | Bill Gates speaks at a Toilet Expo in Beijing, Nov. 6, 2018. Mark Schiefelbein | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Cuomo Announces Partnership with Bill Gates to “Revolutionize” NY Schools in Wake of Coronavirus appeared first on MintPress News.

Anti-Semitism Witch-Hunters Targeting Prospective Labour Politico for Something She Hasn’t Yet Done

As Asa Winstanley, another anti-racism activist falsely expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism remarks, this is beyond thoughtcrime. It’s pre-crime. Mike in his article about Keir Starmer reprimanding the respected Black women MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy also mentions that the witch-hunters are demanding he censure their next target, Salma Yaqoob. Yaqoob is a prospective Labour candidate for mayor of the West Midlands, and a patron of the Stop the War Coalition. She is also due to appear in an online discussion from the Coalition about the new Labour leadership’s position on anti-war issues and Palestine on the 8th of this month, May 2020, alongside Paul Kelemen, the author of The British Left and Zionism: A History of a Divorce, and Tony Greenstein, ‘Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner’. And it is his appearance on the panel that has sent the witch-hunters into a fearful bate, as Molesworth would sa. 

Greenstein is very definitely a Jewish socialist and anti-war campaigner. He a fierce, bitter opponent of Fascism and racism. This means that he also criticises Zionism for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and the movement’s own crimes against Jews. He has pointed out again and again that throughout their history Zionists and the Israeli state have supported Fascists against Jews and other ethnic minorities when it has served their purpose. Israel sought out an alliance with another White Supremacist state, apartheid South Africa. In the 1970s and ’80 they also allied with Fascist regimes in South and Central America, including Guatemala during its dictatorship’s genocidal civil war with the Mayan Indians, and the neo-Nazi regime in Argentina, which targeted Jews for torture, massacre and murder. At the same time, the Board of Deputies of British Jews attacked the Anti-Nazi League in this country, forbidding Jews from joining it or allowing it to hold meetings in synagogues, because the founder was an anti-Zionist. Some left-wing Jews, who defied the ban and joined it nonetheless, like David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group, say that there were rumours that the Board opposed it for different, racist reasons: they didn’t want Jews joining the Black and Asian fight against racism.

Yaqoob’s appearance was picked up by Ian Austin, the former Labour MP complaining of anti-Semitism while the real reason was that Jeremy Corbyn had returned it to its socialist ideals. He has complained to Starmer and demanded Yaqoob’s suspension. Hence Asa Winstanley tweeted

This racist fanatic wants a prominent Muslim woman expelled from Labour for a future event with the “wrong” kind of Jewish person.

This is beyond Thought Crime, it’s Pre-Crime.

Jackie Walker, another Jewish anti-racism activist smeared as an anti-Semite and expelled from the Party, also commented: It’s open season on black women.

Kerry-Ann Mendoza, the mighty head of The Canary said

Corbyn’s Labour:

For the many, not the few.

Starmer’s Labour:

For us, not you.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/02/keir-starmer-has-turned-labour-into-the-party-of-hypocrisy-and-racism/

During the smear campaign a few years ago, the Board, Campaign for Anti-Semitism, Jewish Leadership Council and the other pro-Israel groups and their supporters waved placards at their protests bearing the slogan ‘Labour Party – For the many, not the Jew’. It was a play on Corbyn’s slogan ‘Labour – for the many, not the few’. According to Tony Greenstein, it was made up by British literary author, Howard Jacobson, when he was living in New York. It was supposed to show how anti-Semitic the Labour Party is. But the witch-hunters themselves have particularly targeted Jewish critics of Israel and pro-Palestinian activists. These entirely decent, self-respecting men and women have been viciously smeared as ‘self-hating’. The Board and the other pro-Israel organisations have also misrepresented themselves as standing for Britain’s Jewish community as a whole. They don’t. Board doesn’t represent Orthodox, Haredi nor secular Jews. It really only represents the United Synagogue. I find it very significant that when the I ran an article from a Jewish journalist denouncing Labour as anti-Semitic apart from their own columnist, Simon Kelner, that journo was always described as a member of the United Synagogue. As a Zionist organisation, the Board also doesn’t represent anti-Zionist Jews. The Board and the other organisations attacking Labour and Corbyn were also incensed when the Labour leader attended a Passover Seder with Jewdas, a left-wing Jewish group. This was another anti-Semitic affront to the Jewish community. They were the wrong kind of Jew! Which is itself a noxious, anti-Semitic gesture.

In fact the Board and the other witch-hunters targeting of Jews means that you could reasonably invert their slogan so it reads ‘Board of Deputies – For Israel, not the Jew’. 

It was Tony Blair’s administration that launched the invasion of Iraq, against which the Stop the War Coalition protested, and the Blairites shared the same goals as the Neocons. After George Dubya left office, and was replaced as President by Barack Obama, it was Blair and Sarkozy in France who really wanted an attack on Libya and the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafy. The result has been the destruction of one of Africa’s most prosperous states, which had a strong welfare system and was relatively secular. It has now been replaced in some areas by a hard-line Islamist theocracy, which has returned to slavery with Black migrants now being openly sold in markets. Before the appearance of Coronavirus plunged the world into lockdown, the American right seemed also to be preparing and agitating for a war with Iran. The Neocons also want that country’s regime overthrown because of its militant opposition to Israel, accompanied by frankly genocidal rhetoric, and its defiance of American hegemony in the Middle East. They and their Saudi allies also covet its oil reserves, which they also wish to seize, just like they did Iraq’s.

And there’s also a streak of islamophobia in the witch-hunters a mile wide. People have turned up at pro-Israel and anti-Palestine protests wearing Kach T-shirts. This is a far-right organisation banned in Israel for terrorism. They also wear T-shirts and wave placards for its successor, the Jewish Defence League, which is also banned. One of the witch-hunters turned up next to one anti-Palestinian demo two years or so ago next to Paul Besser, the intelligence officer of the infamous islamophobic group, Britain First. These pro-Israel demonstrators also include open supporters of Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and Pegida UK. One of the Board’s members even appeared with him in a video for Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian internet broadcaster.

It therefore very much seems to me that Austin and the other witch-hunters, by making this complaint against Yaqoob, are desperately trying to keep debate and criticism in the Labour party of Israel and its genocide of the Palestinians very firmly closed. They are also seeking to keep Blair’s Neocon agenda alive in Labour. And they are terrified of Muslims and Muslim influence in the Labour Party. There have been polls showing that 85 per cent of British Muslims support Labour. Muslims are one of the largest ethnic minorities in contemporary Britain. The Radio Times a few years ago covered a radio programme about Jewish comedy and literary festivals that were being held up and down the country. These festivals were open to the wider British population. According to the Radio Times, they were partly being held in order to encourage the broader population to support the Jewish community at a time when that community felt its respect was slipping away and being replaced by concern for other ethnic groups.

Now I’ve got absolutely no objection to such festivals, whether by Jews or any other religious or ethnic group. And with the Far Right on the rise in Europe, Jews do need the support and solidarity of non-Jewish anti-racism activists. But Austin’s complaint about Yaqoob, a Muslim patron of the Stop the War Coalition, suggests that the general insecurity felt by part of the Jewish population is shared by the Israel lobby. And they’re scared of competition from Britain’s Muslims for our sympathies.

The witch-hunter’s targeting of Salma Yaqoob is therefore about preserving the Neocon project and protecting Israel from criticism by silencing genuine anti-racism activists, particularly Jews and Muslims. It’s yet another example of the racism of the Blairite Right.

A Walk in the Park

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 4:45am in

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New York


The thought occurs to me that if the park were to be sealed off with everyone inside, it could develop its own political and social system. It would be an opportunity to completely remake society, refashion a kinder, more equitable way of life. But then the subcultures would form alliances and rivalries. Perhaps the cyclists would go to war with the joggers over control of the roadway.

In Bloom

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 1:04am in

Tags 

New York


I scrambled around my neighborhood to different stores. I was sweating in my jacket in the blaring sun as people gathered together on stoops or smoked outside the coffee shop on my block, buds of magnolia blooms sprouted on bare branches. It was spring in Brooklyn. When I came home my head started to hurt. Maybe it was allergies. I started feeling foggy.

Right-Wing Americans Campaign Against Lockdown

Last night the Beeb reported that there were demonstrations in America against the Coronavirus lockdown, encouraged by presidential clown, Donald Trump, against the advice and desires of his own administration and its medical advisers.

The Beeb interviewed some of them. One was a man dressed in protective gear, holding up a sign saying ‘American worker’. He objected to the lockdown because he wanted to work. Other placards declared that ‘Liberty is God-Given’, and that ‘Health Is My Choice, Not the Governments’. The Beeb’s reported stated that the demonstrators felt that the lockdown was unconstitutional and was an attempt by the government to expand its powers. Meanwhile, Trump had been supporting the protesters by issuing a series of Tweets demanding that Virginia, Idaho and a number of other states should lift their lockdowns. This naturally did not go down too well with those states’ governors, such as Cuomo in New York, who was particularly scathing. It was leading to a constitutional crisis over just who had the right to lift the lockdown. And the states were insistent that it wasn’t Trump.

It’s easy to sympathise with them up to a certain extent. People in this country are worried about their businesses and jobs. We have a larger welfare state than America, which means we’re better cushioned against poverty. Even so, thanks to the Tory dismantlement of our welfare system and the gross inadequacies of their emergency legislation, millions of people are still wondering how they’ll feed and clothe themselves and their families, as well as pay the rent or mortgage. America has a much smaller welfare system, which does far less to stop people falling into destitution and poverty. There’s also a psychological dimension to this. Americans have more of the work ethic. If you’re on welfare, it’s through some fault of yours. You’re a moocher and a loser. And so the fear of unemployment, which is very much present in the UK, is much greater over the Pond.

But it also shows how the bonkers libertarian right have also created an extreme fear about the state. Any expansion of state power, even it is beneficial, is seen as a dangerous threat to American freedom, a threat that will eventually lead to the establishment of a Nazi-Communist-Atheist-Muslim dictatorship. A few years ago, when Alex Jones and Infowars were in full flood all over the internet and Obama was in the White House, Jones was screaming about emergency legislation that had been passed. Obama, he announced, would declare a state of emergency and force the American people into FEMA camps in order to deprive them of their freedom and establish the one-world Satanic state for the globalists. Or something like that. Others on the right said the same. The pastors on one right-wing church radio station blithely told their listeners that Obama was infused with a hatred of Whites, and was set on creating a dictatorship which would kill more people than Chairman Mao. Others considered that he was going to start a genocide of White Americans. Well, Obama has come and gone, and showed himself to be none of these things, and committed none of the predicted horrors. But that clearly has left a deep-seated terror of the state.

The emergency legislation would be a threat to liberty, if it wasn’t framed within the context of constitutional, democratic government. When governments enact, or activate such legislation, they do so with provisions that limit its duration and provide for its lifting. There were worries about legislation passed by Boris which gave him, the police and armed forces extraordinary powers for two years. But the legislation now in place, passed in the 1980s, which demands that the state of emergency be reviewed every so many weeks, strikes a far better balance in favour of personal freedom.

As for it being a personal choice what someone does about their health, in most cases that’s true. But not here. Because it’s not just the person that’s choosing whether or not to expose themselves to the virus who’s affected. Their choice affects the lives of others, and in too many cases it’s a matter of life and death. So for their sake the issue is taken out of the hands of the private citizen.

Human lives are more important than the economy, and a properly functioning welfare state enhances personal freedom, not detracts from it. The libertarians and organisations like the Freedom Association over here are flat wrong in their attacks on the welfare state and their demands for absolute privatisation and a minimal state.

Lives, and people’s businesses and jobs, are at threat from the lockdown, but this can be ameliorated by state aid and a properly functioning welfare state.

Unfortunately, this is what Trump, Murdoch and other right-wing media loudmouths, want to prevent. Because it’ll stop them getting richer.

 

Quarantine Pastoral

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/04/2020 - 4:55am in

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New York


The coronavirus pandemic afflicts the already afflicted. The death tolls in Black communities, like the one where I find myself, is astonishing. Asthma rates in these communities were already terrible, the lack of basic preventive care and frontline medical treatment chronicled in reports and studies that piled up in Departments of Health and Human Services unread or unacted upon. To this add the studies that show that stress and economic hardship are themselves a kind of “pre-existing” medical condition that weakens immune systems and literally saps the will to live. The ingredients of the unfolding mass death rates were already present. It took just the one spark.

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