Tag Archives: Racism

Yes, Republican states are now starting to emulate the Civil War-era south

The Texas governor rejecting federal immigration laws has echoes of the Confederate states

By Chrissy Stroop. Published 2-1-2024 by openDemocracy

A “border security” rally in Eagle Pass, Texas on February 3, 2024. Screenshot: KENS5

We’re not even a full month into a crucial election year in the United States, and it already feels like the country is coming apart at the seams.

In a standoff that has dragged on for weeks now, Texas governor Greg Abbott, a right-wing Catholic, has refused to allow federal Border Patrol agents to enter a public park along the Rio Grande where refugees and asylum seekers are known to cross. As summarised by Camilo Montoya-Galvez, reporting for CBS: “Federal law requires Border Patrol to process migrants who enter the US illegally to determine whether they should be deported, transferred to another federal agency, sent to a long-term immigration detention centre or released pending a review of their asylum claims.”

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‘Death Sentence’: Reports Call for End to Big Oil’s US Sacrifice Zones

“People’s lives and the environment are being devastated at the hands of big business,” one human rights researcher said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 1-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Cancer Alley. Photo: Gines A. Sanchez/flickr/CC

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published reports on Thursday detailing how the fossil fuel industry has harmed the health and environment of communities in Texas and Louisiana, and how state and federal regulators have failed to protect them.

The Amnesty report, The Cost of Doing Business? The Petrochemical Industry’s Toxic Pollution in the USA, focused on the Houston Ship Channel, which has some of the worst air pollution measurements in the U.S. The HRW report, “We’re Dying Here”: The Fight for Life in a Louisiana Fossil Fuel Sacrifice Zone, looked at the state’s Cancer Alley, an 85-mile zone along the Mississippi that reportedly has the highest concentration of fossil fuel and petrochemical plants in the Western Hemisphere.

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‘Don’t Just Quote Him’: US Agencies, Politicians Under Fire on MLK Day

“It’s that day of the year where people who don’t know anything about MLK, and would hate him if he were alive today, post the one or two MLK quotes they know.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking against the Vietnam War, St. Paul Campus, University of Minnesota on April 27 1967 Photo: Minnesota Historical Society/CC

U.S. politicians, agencies, and departments provoked intense criticism on Monday—Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States—for sharing select quotes from the civil rights icon while ignoring his messages about important issues including militarism, poverty, and racism.

King—who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee—would have celebrated his 95th birthday on Monday.

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‘No, This Is Not a Parody’: Florida School District Bans Dictionaries Under DeSantis Law

Webster’s Dictionary & Thesaurus and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank are among the books that the Escambia County School District has yanked from library shelves.

By Jake Johnson Published 1-10-2024 by Common Dreams

A photo of a Florida K-8 school’s dumpster, filled to the brim with history and civics textbooks. As part of a new policy, schools must destroy all material not allowed by the state government. Photo: Yamasztuka/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are among the more than 2,800 books that a Florida school district has pulled from library shelves in an effort to comply with a law that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last year.

Judd Legum, author of the Popular Information newsletter, reported Wednesday that the Escambia County School District said the books that have been banned pending further investigation “may violate H.B. 1069,” which “gives residents the right to demand the removal of any library book that ‘depicts or describes sexual conduct,’ as defined under Florida law, whether or not the book is pornographic.”

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Minimum Wage Hikes Will Boost Pay of Nearly 10 Million US Workers in 2024

“These raises are the outcome of over a decade of workers organizing with Fight for $15,” said the National Employment Law Project.

By Julia Conley. Published 12-27-2023 by Common Dreams

Workers and activists march in support of a higher minimum wage. ) (Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr/cc)

Tireless campaigning by economic justice advocates helped to secure minimum wage hikes for nearly 10 million U.S. workers starting in 2024, and one think tank noted on Wednesday that further successes at the state and local levels are expected in the coming year—but experts said the federal government must catch up with state legislators to deliver fair wages to all workers.

January 1 will see 22 states increase their minimum wages, providing affected workers with an additional $6.95 billion.

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‘Unacceptable’: US Homelessness Hits Record High

“Without significant and sustained federal investments to make housing affordable for people with the lowest incomes, the affordable housing and homelessness crises in this country will only continue to worsen,” warned one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-15-2023 by Common Dreams

A homeless encampment in Minneapolis January 2023 Screenshot: KARE

The number of people in shelters, temporary housing, and unsheltered settings across the United States set a new record this year, “largely due to a sharp rise in the number of people who became homeless for the first time.”

That’s a key takeaway from an annual report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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Appeals Court Tells Texas to Remove Rio Grande Buoy ‘Death Traps’

“Despite this small victory, the razor buoys are only a fraction of Gov. Abbott’s racist and murderous Operation Lone Star,” one group noted.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-1-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Texas Military Dept./X

A federal appellate court panel on Friday delivered a blow to Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s anti-migrant regime, ruling 2-1 that the state must remove from the Rio Grande a buoy barrier intended to block people from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Texas and Abbott over the buoys, which are part of the governor’s Operation Lone Star, in July. U.S. Judge David A. Ezra of the Western District of Texas, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, ordered the state to remove the barrier and prohibited new or additional blockades in September.

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Xenophobic Rumors About Stabbing Attack Fuel Far-Right Riots in Dublin

“We saw last night in Dublin a consequence of politicians spending years demonizing immigrants,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-24-2023 by Common Dreams

Dublin, on November 23, 2023. Photo: Dr. Eli David/X

Irish authorities on Friday condemned a far-right, anti-immigrant faction that rapidly spread rumors about the perpetrator of a violent knife attack in Dublin and ultimately tore through the streets of Ireland’s capital Thursday night, setting cars and buses on fire and smashing storefront windows.

The country was shocked Thursday by a mid-day stabbing attack on three young children—including a five-year-old girl who sustained serious injuries—and a woman who were reportedly on their way to a daycare facility when a man assaulted them.

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In ‘Victory for Voting Rights,’ Federal Judges Adopt New Alabama Congressional Map

“Today’s order means for the first time, Black voters in two congressional districts will have an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice,” said the head of the state’s ACLU branch.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 10-5-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Black Voters Matter

Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Alabama Republicans’ open defiance of a federal tribunal’s order to reconfigure the state’s racially gerrymandered congressional districts, a three-judge panel on Thursday adopted a new map that will be used in the 2024 elections.

Proponents hailed the ruling by U.S. Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus, District Judge Anna Manasco, and District Judge Terry Moore as a win for democracy. The move creates a second “opportunity district” where voters will have a fighting chance to elect a second Black member of Congress for the first time since Reconstruction.

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UN Report Urges End to Forced US Prison Labor—a ‘Contemporary Form of Slavery’

One of the U.N. experts who compiled the report after visiting the U.S. earlier this year said its findings “point to the critical need for comprehensive reform.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 9-28-2023 by Common Dreams

There are no minimum wage or overtime pay requirements for prison work Photo: Meer

A report published Thursday by United Nations human rights experts condemns systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system and policing, while describing “appalling” prison conditions and decrying forced unpaid convict labor as a “contemporary form of slavery.”

The U.N. International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement report follows a visit to the U.S. earlier this year by a team of human rights experts. The U.N. officials collected testimonies from 133 affected people, visited five prisons and jails, and held meetings with advocacy groups and numerous government and police officials in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

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