Category Archives: Racism

‘Downright Scary’: In 2021 Alone, GOP Introduces 100+ Voter Suppression Bills in 28 States

“Democrats have a clear choice. They can get rid of the filibuster to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act to stop GOP voter suppression, or they can allow the GOP to undermine democracy for the next decade.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-5-2021

Photo: Mark Buckawicki/Public Domain

Since former President Donald Trump failed to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Republicans in more than two dozen states have introduced over 100 bills to restrict voting access, an alarming development that voting rights advocates have pointed to as yet another reason for Democrats to abolish the filibuster, an anti-democratic tool currently allowing the GOP minority to block the enactment of a suite of popular pro-democracy reforms.

Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman on Thursday reported on the GOP’s ongoing nationwide push to make voting more difficult—particularly for communities of color and other Democratic-leaning constituencies—and in some cases to empower state legislatures to overturn election results. He called state-level Republicans’ efforts “a huge scandal that should be getting as much attention as Trump’s plot to overturn the election.” Continue reading

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‘No One Can Censor Reality’: Human Rights Group Pushes Back After Israel Retaliates Against ‘Apartheid’ Label

“Israel cannot be considered a democracy, for it works to advance and perpetuate the supremacy of one group of people, Jews, over another, Palestinians.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2021

Palestinian workers queue up along the separation barrier often called the apartheid wall by critics as they wait to clear an Israeli military checkpoint. (Photo: delayed gratification/Flickr/cc)

The prominent Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem on Monday defiantly defended its position that Israel is an apartheid state after the country’s education minister banned members of groups that call the Jewish state “false, derogatory names” from entering its schools.

Last week, B’Tselem published a position paper that cited “a wide array of Israeli policies” it said are “advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians” before concluding that “we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.” Continue reading

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‘Classic Case of Crisis Opportunism’: Republicans in Three States Introduce Bills Criminalizing Protest in Wake of Capitol Attack

These proposed laws are “aimed at police brutality protests, not right-wing insurrection.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-13-2021

George Floyd protests in Washington DC. Photo: Rosa Pineda /CC

Progressives are sounding the alarm that a handful of Republican lawmakers are exploiting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by an insurrectionist pro-Trump mob to push for anti-protest bills that critics say do not aim to stem the tide of right-wing extremism but instead criminalize dissent by those seeking social change and justice.

In the immediate aftermath of last week’s invasion of the halls of Congress, GOP lawmakers in Florida, Mississippi, and Indiana introduced bills that “do not represent new strategies designed specifically to prevent future right-wing insurrections… [but] draw from a set of policies that numerous state legislators introduced [last] summer in order to appear tough on protests against police brutality,” The Intercept reported Tuesday. Continue reading

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Google Workers Form Union to ‘Promote Solidarity, Democracy, and Social and Economic Justice’

The tech titan “has a responsibility to its thousands of workers and billions of users to make the world a better place,” two of the union’s leaders wrote. “We can help build that world.”

By 

The Googleplex (Google headquarters) in Mountain View, CA. Photo: The Pancake of Heaven!/CC

Decrying numerous policies and practices they say violate Google’s “don’t be evil” founding principle, more than 200 of the Silicon Valley tech giant’s workers on Monday announced they are forming a union, a move that was applauded by progressive lawmakers and labor advocates nationwide.

The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU)—named after Google’s parent corporation—says it “strives to protect Alphabet workers, our global society, and our world,” and to “promote solidarity, democracy, and social and economic justice.” It will operate as part of the Communications Workers of America and will be open to all 120,000 of the company’s employees.

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7 ways women of colour resisted racism this year

Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement. #12DaysofResistance

By Sophia Seawell  Published 12-30-2020 by openDemocracy

Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.

And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading

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Biden Already Facing Pressure to Tackle Backlog of ‘Unfunded’ Toxic Waste Sites Threatened by Climate Crisis

More broadly, campaigners are calling on the incoming president to deliver on the environmental justice promises he made as a candidate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-28-2020

Formerly an open pit copper mine, the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is now part of the largest Superfund site in the United States. Photo: Kolopres/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A joint report on Monday highlighted the pressure that President-elect Joe Biden is already facing to deliver on his environmental justice campaign promises—particularly when it comes to the 34 Superfund sites nationwide for which there is no reliable cleanup funding—the largest backlog of “unfunded” sites in 15 years.

The federal Superfund program began with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), passed by Congress in 1980. While cleanup efforts were initially paid for by a trust fund created by taxing the chemical and petroleum industries, lawmakers let the tax expire 25 years ago. Continue reading

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US Votes Against UN Resolution Condemning Nazis, Labels It “Russian Disinformation”

This is far from the first time the US has voted against similar resolutions; it has done so every year since 2014, dismissing them as Russian attempts to delegitimize the Ukrainian government.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-18-2020 by MintPress News

Supporters of the ultra far-right Azov Battalion march in Kyiv on August 24, 2019. Photo: Goo3/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The United States and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a United Nations resolution Wednesday on, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The resolution passed 130-2.

The resolution featured 70 fairly bland statements condemning the crimes of Adolf Hitler, while also expressing concern at the rise of contemporary Neo-Nazi groups. Continue reading

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“In Case There Was Any Doubt Regarding ‘Stand By'”: Four People Stabbed After Pro-Trump DC Rally

“This is all on you, Republicans. You have enabled all of this.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-13-2020

Proud Boys in Washington DC on December 12, 2020. Photo: Julie Pillay/Twitter

At least four people were stabbed Saturday as supporters of President Donald Trump, including maskless Proud Boys in helmets and bulletproof vests, descended on the nation’s capital and clashed with counterprotesters—violence that some critics tied to the president’s pre-election directive to the self-described “western chauvinists.”

During a debate ahead of his loss in November, Trump had told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” which swiftly elicited criticism that he was inciting violence. Designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Proud Boys are known for their white nationalistanti-Muslim, and misogynistic rhetoric as well as their presence at the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Continue reading

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France’s New Security Law May Have Just Sparked a “George Floyd” Moment

Sparked by a new bill that would make publishing photos of police illegal and a viral video soon after that shows French police brutally beating a black man, it appears that France may be headed for its own “George Floyd” moment.

By Alan Macleod. Published 11-30-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: EuroNews

Award-winning Syrian photographer Ameer Alhalbi lies dazed on the ground. His head is heavily bruised and bandaged, blood covers his face, arms, and much of his body. Lengths of cotton wool have been stuffed up his broken nose, giving him an almost comical appearance. Alhalbi has been badly beaten by police. But this is not Syria, it is Paris, where he was covering — ironically — huge, nationwide protests against police brutality this weekend.

Perhaps even more concerning is that new laws pushed through by the government of Emmanuel Macron and passed by France’s National Assembly (akin to the U.S. House of Representatives) mean that sharing images of Alhalbi or other victims of police brutality might soon be considered illegal.

Article 24 of the country’s new national security bill, which now only needs to be ratified by the Senate, specifically outlaws the publishing and dissemination of images of police that undermine their physical or psychological “integrity,” and is punishable with a fine of up to €45,000 and up to one year in jail. The bill specifically states that filming police in such a manner would be against the law, but questions have been raised about how liberally authorities would interpret the nebulous language of the new edict. Media unions and human rights groups warn that it could prevent journalists from documenting police abuses.

The National Assembly’s decision to approve the law last week sparked large protests in many major cities around France, including Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier, and Nantes. However, an incident caught on camera on Saturday threw large amounts of fuel on the fire of resentment, drastically increasing the demonstrations’ size and intensity.

Images from mobile phones and closed-circuit television showed an unprovoked police attack on a young black music producer at his place of work. A group of four officers can be seen chasing after Michel Zecler, following him from outside into his studio, where they kick, punch and beat him with truncheons. Zecler also alleges they shouted racial abuse while they assailed him.

Before the videos went viral on social media, the officers testified that Zecler had, in fact, attacked them, and was resisting arrest. The officers have now been charged with “deliberate violence” and with “falsifying statements.” Two of the gang of four, including a 44-year-old senior officer with the rank of brigadier, remain in custody, while two others have been released.

The viral images provoked a storm of condemnation across the country this weekend, and propelled as many as 500,000 people into the streets, with demonstrations in dozens of cities. Protestors marched through the streets, setting light to cars, damaging buildings, and clashing with police, of whom a reported 98 were injured nationwide. Many of Paris’ iconic boulevards resembled a war zone as thousands of demonstrators pitched battle with lines of police in riot gear.

President Macron said he was “very shocked” by the footage of the police attack on Zecler, yet continues to be a driving force behind the new security law, under which many have noted that the images might never have come to light, given as they essentially identify the Parisien officers and clearly undermine their integrity or authority. Without the footage, it is possible that Zecler would have been facing prosecution himself.

Although the bill and the protests against it are dominating French politics, the story has been covered sparsely in the American corporate press, with no coverage whatsoever in MSNBCCBS News, or CNBC. Fox News, meanwhile, reprinted one Associated Press article, featuring an egregious, uncorrected error in its subheadline, asserting that protestors were shooting tear gas at themselves.

While foreign desks have been seriously cut in recent years, huge demonstrations in central Paris should not have been too difficult to cover. Lebanese political commentator Sarah Abdallah suggested that if the rallies had been happening in countries antagonistic to the United States, they would have been front-page news. Certainly, similar protests in Iran and Hong Kong dominated the news cycles last year, prompting constant reaction from Mike Pompeo. The Secretary of State is yet to comment on the events in France, suggesting that they are not at the front and center of his thoughts.

President Macron came to power in 2017, winning in the final round of the election against far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. A strong believer in neoliberalism and an admirer of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he has insisted that France must not merely be reformed, but transformed, and has attempted to radically alter the shape of French society, away from a social democratic model to one more resembling the United States. Almost immediately after gaining the presidency, however, his average approval rating tumbled and has not risen above 40% since.

Indeed, the 42-year-old former investment banker has faced almost constant resistance to his agenda from the general public. His attempts to increase the cost of fuel in 2018 sparked the Yellow Vest movement across the country. Meanwhile, his plans to raise the age of retirement and reform France’s pension system was met with a months-long general strike that paralyzed the country last winter. Despite losing over 50,000 people to the coronavirus pandemic, he has seen his popularity increase this year due to the government’s financial response to the virus, which included aid to small businesses and paying employees to stay home. Despite this, it appears possible that France might be headed for its own “George Floyd” moment, where its racial injustices are finally reckoned with.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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Following Outcry, US Government Halts Deportations of Women Who Allege Medical Abuse in ICE Detention—At Least for Now

“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women… But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2020

Screenshot: WFAL

Women who have spoken out about alleged abuse by a gynecologist while in U.S. custody won a reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to halt their deportations until President Donald Trump is nearly out of office.

The motion filed by the DOJ must still be approved by a federal judge, but the department reached an agreement with the lawyers of several women who say Dr. Mahendra Amin abused them and subjected them to invasive procedures without their consent while they were being held at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. Under the agreement, the government will not deport the women until at least mid-January. Continue reading

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