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Black America is getting screwed

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  • Shocking new study highlights the depths of economic disparities
  • Black retail workers are twice as likely to live below the poverty line, and twice as likely to be unemployed. Why?
  • 40 Reasons US Jails And Prisons Are Full Of Black And Poor People

David Dayen, Salon

unemployment-benefits.jpeg2-620x412.jpgA job seeker fills out an application during a National Career Fairs job fair Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (Credit: AP) 

Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 | Before being assassinated, Martin Luther King envisioned a Poor People’s Campaign descending on Washington to demand better education, jobs and social insurance. He saw it as an extension of his work on civil rights, equal in importance and scope. In “a nation gorged on money while millions of its citizens are denied a good education, adequate health services, meaningful employment, and even respect,” King wrote in announcing the Poor People’s Campaign, “all of us can almost feel the presence of a kind of social insanity which could lead to national ruin.”

Forty-seven years after the Poor People’s Campaign ended, political discussion in liberal activist circles has bifurcated in unnecessary ways. There are separate economic and racial justice movements, and as my Salon colleague Joan Walsh points out, political leaders too often speak to only one or the other. But these movements are different facets of one fight; if black lives matter, surely their economic lives matter too. And a new report shows that people of color still face discrimination and hardship in their fight for economic dignity, as sure as they do in the fight for basic respect.

David Dayen is a contributing writer for Salon

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40 Reasons US Jails And Prisons Are Full Of Black And Poor People, Bill Quigley, Countercurrents.org

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What does it say about our society that it uses its jails and prisons as the primary detention facilities for poor and black and brown people who have been racially targeted and jail them with the mentally ill and chemically dependent?

Henry A. Giroux | Flipping the Script: Rethinking Working-Class Resistance

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  • Subjectivity has been stripped of any meaning, reduced to the gaze of public relations industries that feed the dispossession by extraction machine. Capitalism has reached its endpoint, blind to its death march. Fortunately, more and more young people and others are refusing to stand by and let state terrorism and market fundamentalism define their everyday lives.
  • Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse

Henry A. Giroux,  Truthout.org / Rise Up Times

Images_2015_06/2015_0608giroux_.jpg(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

June 9, 2015 | I have often thought about when that moment came in which my working class sensibility turned into a form of critical class consciousness. For most of my youth, I was defined by ruling-class types and mainstream institutions through my deficits, which amounted to not having the skills and capacities to do anything but become either a cop or firefighter. For many working-class youth, this is standard procedure. We are told that we are too angry when we display passion, and too dumb when we speak in the restricted code. Our bodies for both sexes were the only cultural capital we had to define our sense of agency, either through an expression of solidarity, over-determined masculinity, or through a commodified and sexualized notion of the body. The message was always the same. We were incomplete, unfinished, excess and disposable. For many of us that meant a life governed by poor schools and never escaping the wide reach of the criminal legal system.

The struggle to redefine my sense of agency was about more than a perpetual struggle between matters of intelligence, competency and low self-esteem; it was about reclaiming a sense of history, opening the door to dangerous memories, and taking risks that enabled a new and more radical sense of identity and what it meant to be in the world from a position of strength. I found signposts of such resistance in my youth in Black music, stories about union struggles, the warm solidarity of my peers, and later in the powerful display of public intellectuals whose lectures I attended at Brown University. The people who moved me at those lectures were not academics reading papers I barely understood, or intellectuals who seemed frozen emotionally, spewing out a kind of jargon reserved for the already initiated, smug in their insularity and remoteness.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University.

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Another%20World%20Rainbo... Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse, Chris Hedges, Truthdig <http://www.truthdig.com>

Our corporate masters know that our obsession with hope—the irrational belief we are headed toward some glorious future—causes us to ignore reality and remain disempowered. And this is why they peddle the myth of inevitable progress across the cultural and political spectrum.

Living in America will drive you insane — literally.

Detroit Is the Front Line.

http://evergreenedigest.org/our-mania-hope-curse

 

No Shame In Using The Safety Net, Americans Say

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Just 14 percent of survey respondents said they thought people should feel ashamed for using welfare, while 62 percent said people shouldn't feel ashamed. 

Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post

images/n-TED-YOHO-large570.jpgChip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Tuesday June 2, 2015 | Most Americans think poor people shouldn't feel ashamed for using the safety net, according to a new YouGov poll.

Just 14 percent of survey respondents said they thought people should feel ashamed for using welfare, while 62 percent said people shouldn't feel ashamed. Republicans were more likely to favor shame than Democrats, 20 percent to 9 percent.

Arthur Delaney started working for HuffPost in 2009. He has written for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and ABCNews.com. In 2008 he won the Street Sense David A. Pike Excellence in Journalism award for a City Paper story about a man living on the median strip of a freeway in Washington. He and HuffPost D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim won a Sidney Award from the Hillman Foundation for their 2010 story "The Poorhouse: Aunt Winnie, Glenn Beck, and the Politics of the New Deal."

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The rush to humiliate the poor, Dana Milbank, Washington (DC) Post

  • Never mind that few can afford filet mignon on a less-than-$7/day food-stamp allotment; they’re more likely to be buying chuck steak or canned tuna. This is less about public policy than about demeaning public-benefit recipients.
  • 10 Government Handouts That Prove Who The Biggest ‘Takers’ Actually Are

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Congress Did Not Pass an Anti-Surveillance Law (And Other Thoughts About the USA Freedom Act)

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  • June 2 was a day that the people won against the security state. US citizens took away the government’s control of nearly all of their domestic call records. And power was forced to act because their operation of a program and the operations of a secret surveillance court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, were no longer seen as legitimate. The extent of the victory, however, probably ends there.
  • Series | They Know Everything About You, Part 3: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on Surveillance, Corporatism and the National Security State

Kevin Gosztola, firedoglake

One%20Nation%20Under%20Surveillance%20graphic.jpgJune 3, 2015 | When President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, it did not end bulk data collection or mass surveillance programs. It did not address many of the policies, practices or programs of the NSA, which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. It did not sharply limit surveillance nor was it an anti-surveillance law. The USA Freedom Act renewed Patriot Act provisions, which had sunset days ago. However, it is difficult to disagree with Snowden’s generally optimistic assessment.

During an Amnesty International UK event, as the Senate was about to pass the law, Snowden declared, “For the first time in forty years of US history, since the intelligence community was reformed in the ’70s, we found that facts have become more persuasive than fear.”

 

Kevin Gosztola is an American journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker known for work on whistleblowers, Wikileaks, national security, secrecy, civil liberties, and digital freedom. He writes The Dissenter beat for the blog Firedoglake.

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Series | They Know Everything About You, Part 3: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on Surveillance, Corporatism and the National Security State, Kasia Anderson, Truthdig

  • Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer continue their discussion for The Real News Network about Scheer’s new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” debating in this segment about whether there is room for any optimism vis-à-vis the surveillance of American citizens and the plunder of personal data by the fused corporate-political state.
  • Part 2: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on How the Private Sector Buys and Sells Your Privacy
  • Part 1: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex

Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse

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  • Our corporate masters know that our obsession with hope—the irrational belief we are headed toward some glorious future—causes us to ignore reality and remain disempowered. And this is why they peddle the myth of inevitable progress across the cultural and political spectrum.
  • Living in America will drive you insane — literally.
  • Detroit Is the Front Line.

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

hedgeshopecurse_590.jpgDemonstrators protesting the influence of big corporations march on Wall Street amid heavy police presence in 2011. (AP / John Minchillo)

May 24, 2015 | The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt. 

The yearning for positivism that pervades our corporate culture ignores human nature and human history. But to challenge it, to state the obvious fact that things are getting worse, and may soon get much worse, is to be tossed out of the circle of magical thinking that defines American and much of Western culture. The left is as infected with this mania for hope as the right. It is a mania that obscures reality even as global capitalism disintegrates and the ecosystem unravels, potentially dooming us all. 

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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Living in America will drive you insane — literally, Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet

  • Data suggests the US is experiencing an epidemic of crippling mental illness. We may have only ourselves to blame.
  • How Your Job Is Slowly Killing You
  • Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

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Detroit Is the Front Line, Richard J. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future

  • The people of Detroit are not Other than us. They are us. And if we sacrifice their neighborhoods, our neighborhoods won’t be far behind.
  • Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work
  • Survey Finds Working Poor Have Dimming Faith In Economic Mobility, Policymakers

Karl Marx Was Right

  • The economist and philosopher foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction, that the greed of a tiny elite would eventually bring down the system. The final stages that he predicted are visible all around us now.
  • America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending April 11, 2015

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

8858900120_3a9985933d_o_copy.jpgA bust of Karl Marx. (gravitat-OFF / CC BY 2.0

May 31, 2015 | Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called “the bourgeois mode of production.” He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies—think neoliberalism—were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production” and “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships … the relationships which make one class the ruling one.” He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was “an astronomer of history, not an astrologer.” Marx was keenly aware of capitalism’s ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism’s most prescient and important critic.

In a preface to “The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” Marx wrote:

No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending April 11, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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  • “…it seems that our remedies are instinctively those which aggravate the sickness: the remedies are expressions of the sickness itself“. --Thomas Merton
  • Part 1: Two Great Depressions: Roosevelt’s “New Deal” vs. Obama’s “Secular Stagnation”
  • Part 2: The Alternative To Long-Term Austerity: Less Work, Higher Wages, No Mere Utopian Dream

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