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A Third Reconstruction

[ 164 ] March 29, 2015 |

untitled

Eric Foner on why the Reconstruction era is still vitally important today. He gives us the short history we need for the most basic understanding of the issues at play and why historians changed their views on the period over time, from lauding the racist white Democrats to noting the horrors they committed against African-Americans. For many readers here, this is a history they know well enough, even if it never hurts to become reacquainted with the argument. But I think the real key is just this single paragraph.

Issues that agitate American politics today — access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between political and economic democracy, the proper response to terrorism — all of these are Reconstruction questions. But that era has long been misunderstood.

Indeed, given how Republicans are seeking to strip voting rights from African-Americans and how the Supreme Court has overturned the most important part of the Voting Rights Act, that key legislative victory of the Second Reconstruction, and how Republicans are seeking to move power away from the federal government and give it to the states so that corporations, homophobes, and white supremacists can dominate American life rather than a national state that protects the rights of all.

Civil rights leaders and writers have long called for a Third Reconstruction
that would help solve the problems the first two did not. Unfortunately, that Third Reconstruction may be necessary simply to restore the rights stripped during this dark era of American history.

Onward to Revolution!

[ 143 ] March 28, 2015 |

liberty

I’m never quite sure why the New York Times writes about real estate and the lives of the rich in the way it does. Is it about sucking up to the 1 percent? Or are these writers actually secret Marxists seeking to spur class warfare against the rich by writing these articles? I know it’s the former but it sure seems like the latter sometimes.

I first read this article because it’s summary described how the wealthy buying houses in the Hamptons was a sign of an improving economy. Well OK then. But it is really so, so much worse than that. An excerpt:

It was that word “special” that doubled the project’s time for one room in his 8,000-square-foot home, taking more time to finish than the spa with the Turkish marble floors or the wine cellar.

“What most people call screening rooms are glorified dens, with a big television and leather chairs, maybe some stadium seating,” he said. “I wanted mine to have a vision. I feel it’s one of the most impressive screening rooms in the country.”

The screening room, which is oval, has a hand-painted ceiling that mixes silver and gold leaf with Swarovski crystals.

….

“It’s very hard for someone who is not trained to get all the subtle nuances of the houses right,” said Campion Platt, an architect and interior designer, who worked with Mr. Seltzer on his home. “It’s about scale and proportion. Until they see it all assembled, they can be surprised.”

The toughest spaces are not screening rooms, he said, but great rooms, those vast open spaces meant to be the convening spot of a home. “It has to do with the scale and placement of the furniture,” he said.

But people make seemingly smaller mistakes that have larger ramifications. They skimp on lighting and tile, said Shane Inman, an interior designer who specializes in kitchens and baths.

And just as bad as having too much furniture in the great room, people don’t allow enough space for a kitchen to be functional. “They don’t know how many inches they need to walk past something,” Mr. Inman said.

To minimize those gaffes that detract from a dream home, many people with means hire a team to help them, such as architects, contractors, craftsmen and landscapers. Finding them is not easy. One option is the famous architect route, picking a Richard Meier or Robert A.M. Stern, the dean of the Yale University School of Architecture. But that is out of reach of all but the wealthiest people, and even those who can afford them need to want a house that matches the architect’s style. Another option is to seek referrals from friends.

It’s so declasse not have Rem Koolhaas or Richard Rogers design your home. Really, if you don’t hire a Pritzker Prize winner, you end up with Swarovski crystals in your ceiling. And who wants that? Nouveau money, that’s who.

Seriously, Upton Sinclair or Leon Trotsky could not write a more effective tract to convert people to socialism.

The Stupidity of Pre-Draft Quarterback Analysis

[ 59 ] March 28, 2015 |

Washington Oregon Football

Following the NFL before the draft is always an exercise in stupidity, but never more so than when discussing quarterbacks. I admit I have a rooting interest this year since Marcus Mariota is the greatest Oregon player of my lifetime. And I have no idea how he will translate to the NFL. He’s an incredible athlete and very smart but he does miss some open receivers at times and fumbles a bit. I personally don’t think that he’s never huddled is a real issue. But you know what, it probably depends on the team who drafts him. I don’t know.

What I do know is that the coverage of quarterbacks every year is really stupid. Last year, it was Teddy Bridgewater for all sorts of really stupid reasons. And it turns out he looks like a very solid quarterback. This year it is Mariota for many of the same stupid reasons. What’s crazy is how much so many coaches want their QBs to be “leaders” of a very particular type, which is mostly yelling a lot. They want Brett Favre. And if a QB reminds them of him, they’ll raise him in the draft.

“Just because a guy doesn’t yell and scream at a guy when he doesn’t run the right route, ask any of those guys if they’d take Eli Manning. I don’t see Eli Manning screaming and yelling at anybody,” said Chip Kelly, Mariota’s coach at Oregon before Kelly went to the Eagles. “But you talk about a stone-cold killer in the fourth quarter, look how many fourth-quarter comebacks Eli’s had.

“It’s the silly season. I’ve said it before. The NFL draft hype is the craziest thing in the world. Guys are going to go up, guys are going to go down. Cam Newton couldn’t play. There’s no reason to draft him in the first round. All of a sudden, he goes No. 1. It’s crazy.”

Zimmer, who had been known as a smart and cocky defensive coordinator before getting his shot with the Vikings, admitted he was one of those guys that wanted to see some swagger out of his quarterback. Zimmer might not have been as adamant about it as other coaches, but he certainly considered that factor a plus.

Bridgewater has made him a believer.

“Well, I did learn a lot about that, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said. “He’s a guy that leads by how hard he works, by the improvement that he makes in practice every day, the way he wanted to learn how to annunciate the plays, just all the extra effort that they guy put in. … He’s not one of those guys that is going to get in your face, this or that, but the players all gravitate towards this guy. He’s always got a smile, he’s confident but not cocky. It’s never about him, so it’s always about, How can I help this guy do this better or the team.

“Maybe it’s not your leadership style that everybody is thinking about, but it was really effective this year. So I learned quite a bit.”

So nice of an NFL head coach to learn that, hey, maybe a QB doesn’t have to be brash to be effective. I’m glad that basic logic has entered the NFL finally, at least in places. See also Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. Jameis Winston might be a great NFL QB. I don’t know. I do know that he throws A LOT of interceptions. A 25:18 TD:INT ratio is not going to fly in the NFL. Not to mention that it’s not like FSU had terrible receivers or played great defenses all year. Again, I don’t know. But Winston’s brashness and cockiness is serving him well with the troglodytes who staff so much of the NFL. And some of this is a combination of the NFL’s toxic masculinity and racism. If the QB doesn’t play those super manly games, then he’s not their man. And if he is a quiet Hawaiian dude (and Mariota is nothing if not a quiet Hawaiian dude) then there’s a problem with him. Forget what you’ve seen on the field and what you’ve seen in the interviews. How did he do in his pro day and at the combine and how loud is he? That’s true leadership!

Of course, none of this matches the all-time stupidest pre-draft fall of a QB, which was Aaron Rodgers, who fell partially because previous QBs coached in college by Jeff Tedford like Kyle Boller and Akili Smith had not done well in the NFL. I’m glad the science behind that proved so solid!

…I will also note that a) of all the Oregon uniforms, those are the best by far and b) this was the game when Oregon beat Washington for merely the 11th consecutive year.

Useful Idiots

[ 381 ] March 28, 2015 |

Welp, I’m glad the National Review finds our old friend Freddie DeBoer useful in making arguments about how the real McCarthyism is on the college campus today. Because Freddie is the real leftist after all. Perhaps we should take odds on when he will show up here to accuse me of being part of this McCarthyist mob silencing dissent.

This Day in Labor History: March 28, 1977

[ 10 ] March 28, 2015 |

On March 28, 1977, AFSCME Local 1644, a union primarily made of African-American sanitation workers, went on strike in Atlanta, hoping to force mayor Maynard Jackson to grant them a much needed pay raise. Jackson’s anti-union positions would deeply disappoint organized labor who believed that labor rights were civil rights. It would also demonstrated the willingness of many civil rights leaders to turn their backs on the needs of the poorest workers when they reached positions of authority. Finally, the failure of this strike showed that just electing supposedly progressive people to positions for power would not be a panacea for working class people.

The background for the AFSCME action in Atlanta goes back to its successful 1968 Memphis sanitation worker strike that served as the background for the assassination of Martin Luther King. Building on that, AFSCME continued trying to organize black workers in southern cities. Labor rights were civil rights and the martyrdom of King while supporting their cause was proof enough of this to black public workers around the South. The union became heavily involved in southern urban politics, seeking to elect blacks to power that would, presumably, use that power to increase the wages and working conditions of black workers.

The AFSCME-affiliated sanitation workers in Atlanta worked hard to elect who they thought was one of their own to the mayor. The Maynard Jackson campaign was an extension of the labor rights as civil rights theme. Jackson became a force in Atlanta politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jackson was the first black attorney to work for the National Labor Relations Board office in Atlanta. As vice-mayor Jackson supported organized labor, breaking with mayor Sam Massell over a 1970 sanitation strike. In 1973, Jackson was elected mayor and it was a moment of rejoicing for African-Americans across the United States, as the rise of black political power seemed a confirmation of the civil rights movement, especially in the South. At first, Jackson did work to fight for the rights of the black poor, firing the racist white police chief in 1974. But the racial tensions this built and Jackson’s desire to be reelected in difficult economic times began to win out over racial and class equality concerns.

To say the least, Jackson did not repay the sanitation workers for their help. In his first three years as mayor, the workers received no raises and salaries remained stuck at an average of $7500 a year ($29,000 today). This placed a full-time worker supporting a family of four below the poverty line. Worker anger began to grow. Jackson would not give any ground. Instead, he embraced the city’s powerful white business community. They were concerned about the growing inflation of the 1970s and so Jackson decided to alleviate their concerns and drive workers deeper into poverty without raises to match that inflation. The workers demanded a 50-cent an hour raise. He refused to negotiate with AFSCME on the pay raises. Instead, Jackson became an austerity politician, stating “There will no deficit while I am mayor.” Jackson wouldn’t even return AFSCME’s phone calls by 1975. Over the next two years, smaller labor actions began popping up such as a one day strike in July 1976 and a wildcat strike in February 1977.

Finally, on March 28, 1977, the workers marched to City Hall to demand a meeting with Jackson. While Jackson did come out, he completely dismissed them. They were shocked that their own man, a hero of the civil rights movement, would treat them so shabbily. Basically there was no meaningful difference between Jackson and the white mayors of the past when it came to their work. At this point, the workers decided to strike. The next morning, 1300 workers went on strike.

Jackson quickly moved to isolate the workers by claiming AFSCME was attacking black political power. AFSCME president Jerry Wurf, the man who brought Martin Luther King into Memphis, was called a “racist manipulator” for for wanting to see black political power in Atlanta die, which really meant siding with the black workers over the black mayor. This is particularly ironic since the 1977 strike started without Wurf’s knowledge. It came completely from the rank and file and local staffers angry over Jackson’s betrayal. Jackson accused AFSCME of seeking to eliminate black political leadership throughout the South, saying “I see myself as only the first domino in [labor’s] Southern domino theory. If organized labor makes the move on black political leadership, I think it’s going to have severe consequences for labor Southwise, particularly AFSCME.” This was a cynical attempt to undermine community support for the strikers, an open race-baiting move by Jackson.

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Meeting between Maynard Jackson and striking workers

Jackson then fired all the striking workers on April 2. The black middle class fully supported this move. Sadly, so did the civil rights leaders. Martin Luther King, Sr. said Jackson should “fire the hell” out of the sanitation workers. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, also came out against the strikers. James Farmer was an important exception to this, appearing at rallies with AFSCME. The union also took out advertisements in the New York Times to highlight Jackson’s betrayal.

It didn’t work. Jackson simply crushed the union. By the end of April, half of the strikers had already given up and applied to get their old jobs back. Leamon Hood, the AFSCME staffer in charge of the strike, recommended on April 26 that workers end the strike. AFSCME itself cut off funding for the strike on April 29. Over the next year, the workers who wanted their jobs back did eventually return to work. Somewhat ironically, the most militant workers accused Hood and Wurf of selling out but there was simply no way to win this strike in the face of overwhelming opposition from the heroes of the civil rights movement.

In the end, the strike showed that electing supposedly progressive leadership was not a panacea for worker power. Electing the right politicians is a necessary part of what unions have to do to get their members’ better lives, but it is often difficult to hold them to their promises, even when they come out of something as transformative as the civil rights movement.

I relied on Joseph McCartin, “Managing Discontent: The Life and Career of Leamon Hood, Black Public Employee Union Activist,” in Eric Arnesen, ed., The Black Worker: A Reader and Manning Marable, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America to write this post.

This is the 140th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

Sweet Dreams

[ 4 ] March 28, 2015 |

Nighty-night!

Mapping Occupation

[ 11 ] March 27, 2015 |

Freedman_bureau_harpers_cartoon

The historian Gregory Downs and the historian and visual designer Scott Nesbit have put together a pretty fantastic visualization of the U.S. Army occupation of the South during Reconstruction. Looking at this really demonstrates the tenuous hold the military had over the white South, even at its height in rural places. The Army guaranteed the civil rights the emancipated slaves demanded but the lack of a long-term and sizable military force meant it could do little about white violence. This is worth your time.

Same-Sex Marriage Pre-History

[ 37 ] March 27, 2015 |

f1-medium

Reasonable Moderate Sam Alito and other theocrats claim that same-sex marriage is illegitimate because it is a brand new perversion of a perfect and long-lasting institution. This is of course hooey. First of all, much of the history of the United States is based around the right to marry the person of your choice and live a dignified life with that person. Let’s not forget that slaves could not marry.

If you have access via a library to the latest edition of the Journal of American History, I highly recommend Rachel Hope Cleves’ article on the prehistory of same-sex marriage. And if you can’t read it, she did a podcast you can listen to. She basically tracks down a long history of gay marriage, going back to berdaches among southwestern indigenous peoples through gold miners in 19th century California and to many cases throughout American history of people accepting marriage and marriage-like arrangements between same-sex couples. So much of our gay history, even from gay activists, comes from a touchstone that the past was a horrible place and that only after 1969 did things improve. This is not so dissimilar from our popular history of sexuality. Both on both counts, the history is much more complicated and if the 1950s and early 1960s were a period of repression of gays (and sexuality more broadly), before World War II, it’s a whole other country out there. Take the image above, which is in her article. This is a circa 1820 marriage silhouette of Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant. Such silhouettes were common among married couples at that time. Drake and Bryant made a life together and maybe not everyone was comfortable with it, but they made it work, living as active church members in their Vermont community.

Even the New York Times could speak positively of same-sex marriages, at least in theory. This comes from Cleves’ article and the reference is an 1883 story uncovered of two women married to each other, one of whom was passing as a man.

Now that the Waupun public has succeeded in ascertaining that Mr. Dubois, the husband of Mrs. Dubois, is really a woman, it is assumed, as a matter of course, that the pair must separate. Public opinion will not tolerate the marriage of two women, and Mr. Dubois has escaped probable imprisonment and threatened tar and feathers by confessing her sex and agreeing to abandon her wife. At this distance from Waupun it may strike unprejudiced people that Mr. and Mrs. Dubois have been subjected to rather harsh treatment. If Mrs. Dubois chose to marry a woman, whose business was it? Such a marriage concerns the general public less than the normal sort of marriage, since it does not involve the promise and potency of children. It has been well established that if a woman chooses to wear trousers she has a right to wear them, and no one will venture to deny the right of any two women to live together if they prefer the society of one another to solitude. Why, then, has not Mrs. Dubois the right to live with another woman who wears lawful trousers, and why should so much indignation be lavished upon Mrs. Dubois’s female husband? There are many women who, if they had the opportunity, would select other women as husbands rather than marry men. The women who regard men as dull, tiresome creatures, incapable of understanding women, would find sympathy and pleasure in the society of female husbands.

These stories are important in fighting back against the false history of marriage pushed by theocrats. Yesterday’s passage of a discriminatory bill in Indiana shows just how important this is. While gay marriage seems like it will soon be universal, the theocrats will not give up and equal rights for all will need defense. A usable past is a key part of that defense.

….Another summary of the article in the Washington Post for those without access to the original.

Black Power Revisionism

[ 70 ] March 27, 2015 |

Black-Power-Gossip

Randall Kennedy has an interesting long book review of new biographies of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Huey Newton. I haven’t read any of them, not even Manning Marable’s acclaimed Malcolm book, but there are a couple of points worth discussing here anyway. First, Kennedy accuses each author of engaging in hagiography over proper historical analysis. I can’t judge the claim, but that does seem to be the case with the Newton book, which just seems bad from multiple reviews. As for the other two, both Marable and Peniel Joseph (who is speaking at URI next week so come out if you are around) are both outstanding historians, but it is often a problem with biography that authors start apologizing for their subject. And as Kennedy points out, there is plenty that is distasteful about both. I find that more convincing with Carmichael, whose leadership of SNCC was disastrous and who seemed somewhat less serious about what he was doing after he achieved fame (although he did largely avoid the spotlight after he went to Africa). But with Malcolm, Kennedy’s problem is the Nation of Islam. I don’t think too many people are really going to defend NOI at this point. Its murders of its own members and the rank hypocrisy of Elijah Muhammad are well known now. But while Kennedy admits that Malcolm shows significant room for personal growth, he also wants to make sure that he is held accountable for his actions before his expulsion from the organization in 1964.

Well, OK, but this gets to my second point, which is about context and the passage of time. In other words, it is very easy to write in 2015 about how the Nation of Islam was horrible, how the Black Panthers were violent and cruel, and how Carmichael ran SNCC into the ground. It’s not that Kennedy forgets the context in which these people were working, but it’s also worth reiterating it. Malcolm and Newton were operating in urban centers where African-Americans had moved for the promise of a better life, but that promise had been a lie. In 1960s Oakland, Los Angeles, Newark, Chicago, Detroit, etc., police brutality was a way of life. There were no jobs. Most people could not afford a car. Public transportation was almost nonexistent. The only economic outlet for many was drugs. The Civil Rights Movement could win concrete victories in the South because it battled legal segregation, but the de facto segregation of northern and western cities made victories much, much harder to win, as Martin Luther King and the SCLC found out in the failed Chicago housing campaign of 1966. It’s hardly surprising that black pride and black power organizations, whether Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, the Nation of Islam, or the Black Panthers, would rise out of this. It’s equally unsurprising that those organizations would be problematic and violent, as violence ruled the communities from which they arose and organized.

As for Carmichael, while his leadership of SNCC didn’t work out, the overall move away from racial inclusion to black power within the student led side of the Civil Rights Movement also makes sense in context, even if it was a bad idea strategically and organizationally. Let’s not underestimate the bitterness that led SNCC to design Freedom Summer because its organizers knew that only when white kids were killed would the media pay attention to anything happening in rural Mississippi. This analysis was of course exactly right when the three SNCC workers, two white, were murdered by the KKK. Ten years of struggle, suffering, and death in the face of overwhelming violence is a bravery I can barely imagine. If people burn out and snap or turn to black power and racial exclusion, it’s not surprising at all. It says much for John Lewis’ character that he never went down this road, but it is an understandable response to the horrifying experiences of these people’s lives.

Finally, I thought this was unfair to Malcolm X:

While Malcolm X and other followers of Elijah Muhammed put on cathartic performances in safe surroundings, however, King, Carmichael, Medgar Evers, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Farmer, Julian Bond, Bob Moses, Diane Nash, James Lawson, and others risked their lives repeatedly in face-to-face confrontations with heavily armed, trigger-happy white supremacists. While Malcolm X was taunting King and company for rejecting violence, the tribunes of the Civil Rights movement were successfully pressuring the federal government to bring its immense weight to bear against the segregationists through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. While Malcolm X talked tough—“if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery”—he and the NOI refrained seeking revenge when racist police brutalized Black Muslims. While Malcolm X spoke with apparent knowingness about racial uplift, at no point did he communicate a cogent, realistic strategy for elevating black America.

But Marable is not denigrating any of those other civil rights activists. No one is saying those people did not do amazing things or put their lives at risk. They were also, outside of Hamer, college-educated. This movement Kennedy lauds in comparison to Malcolm was a decidedly middle-class movement. They came out of a different African-American tradition than Malcolm. Second, one could basically say the same thing about the relationship between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, with the former safely ensconced in Cambridge and the latter risking his life in rural Alabama. Yet in this case, even most historians today sympathize with DuBois instead of Washington (in part because the Civil Rights Movement proved DuBois’ “talented tenth” idea correct and Washington’s rejection of political gains wrong). But mostly I don’t think this is a useful comparison to make at either time. There were many paths to African-American freedom. Some were more effective and some more problematic, but I don’t think basically calling Malcolm a poseur compared to SNCC activists is useful.

It’s an interesting and challenging review, but I think if anything Kennedy is moving toward hagiography toward the mainstream CRM (after all, he might well call Malcolm sexist and socially conservative, but MLK could certainly be accused of the same) and therefore overcompensates in his analysis of these people. He occasionally makes pretty easy judgements about which group was right or wrong in 1965 when in reality everyone working for black freedom in the 1960s faced overwhelming white violence and police brutality. That certainly doesn’t mean that we should take Huey Newton at his word or not question the self-mythologizing all three of these men could engage in, but, as always, everything should be contextualized and our own positions questioned.

TPP

[ 21 ] March 27, 2015 |

Greg Sargent has what I think is a pretty solid run-down of where progressive Democrats are with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In short, it’s not a strong hand. In this era where many congressional Democrats basically ignore labor and neoliberalism rules the day, we are stuck relying on a combination of Democrats who care more about the American working class than U.S. foreign policy advantages and Republicans who won’t vote for anything Obama supports. And I think most of the latter will fall by the wayside. The AFL-CIO is working the best angle, which is trying to create conditions for its passage rather than full rejection. First and foremost is the ability for Congress to come back after the deal is finalized and vote it up or down. This just makes sense. Given how much of the TPP has been negotiated in total secret, it’s ridiculous to give any president the ability to fast track without Congress having say later. If Obama says that it could torpedo the whole deal down the road, well good. Make the deal palatable to organized labor.

As for the arguments Obama and TPP supporters make, I have a very hard time buying any of them. Obama says it will have strong labor and environmental protections. Without labor and environmentalists’ input in this process, will said provisions be strong? Almost certainly not. If Clinton didn’t need labor and environmentalists’ support to pass NAFTA, Obama certainly doesn’t need it for the TPP and I suspect the agreement’s final language will reflect that. If it actually has enforceable provisions that put power in the hands of the world’s workers, then that’s great. I’m not holding my breath. As for the position that we need to support the TPP so that China doesn’t impose its own trade agreement, I just don’t think Cold War-esque fears of a communist rival are reason to pass an agreement that will send even more American jobs out of the country. It’s not like we are forming NATO here and that Vietnam can’t also sign a trade agreement with China. But this kind of foreign policy argument will always appeal to moderate Democrats who aren’t too close to unions anyway.

As you may have heard, Wikileaks was able to leak some of the TPP proposed language. And it’s as much a document about international corporate rackets as you fear.

According to an analysis of the leaked chapter by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, tens of thousands of foreign and US owned companies would be able to access ISDS courts under the TPP to challenge signatories’ rules and regulations.

The tribunals, which fall under the jurisdiction of the World Bank and the United Nations, would operate without transparency, and be staffed by private sector attorneys who would rotate between advocate and judge.

Although the purpose of ISDS courts is to provide safeguards for companies against improper property seizure and to guarantee that they aren’t discriminated against by host countries, they’ve increasingly been used to challenge public interest laws.

In 2012 alone, there were sixty cases brought to ISDS by private companies against sovereign governments—the majority came from US businesses looking to skirt regulations in developing countries.

Under previous trade agreements, corporations have used these international courts to attack environmental, public health, and financial regulations and laws. Companies have been awarded more than $440 million from taxpayers under previous investor-state settlements associated with US free trade agreements.

They appear designed to have a chilling effect on regulation—particularly in countries that can ill-afford to lose expensive court battles.

In other words, corporations are creating the type of international legal framework to oppress workers and support their own interests against national regulatory structures that I want for workers to force corporations to abide by international labor and environmental laws. The TPP is going to be a great deal for multinational corporations. Whether it’s anything less than a horrible deal for the world’s workers, well, I guess we are going to find out.

Superfly

[ 35 ] March 26, 2015 |

This week in my film class, I made the students watch Birth of a Nation out of class and Superfly in class to get at depictions of African-Americans in film over the 20th century. The great Gordon Parks directed the latter and while it is a cheaply made blaxploitation flick, it also has some truly great scenes. Like the cocaine montage, which we should all watch tonight.

Why Doesn’t the Republican Party Fight Climate Change?

[ 63 ] March 26, 2015 |

Film Title: An Inconvenient Truth.

Above: History’s greatest monster oppressing Republicans by talking about climate change

Al Gore of course, at least according to VERY SERIOUS presidential candidate Lindsey Graham.

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