All posts tagged: #BlackLivesMatter

Bernie Sanders and the emerging populist alignment

There’s a lot wrong with how pundits (among others) tend to talk about movements. They may say, for example, “Occupy Wall Street — what did it accomplish? It didn’t go anywhere. Where is it now?” And what they fail to see is that Occupy Wall Street was not about itself—was not about existing forever as a thing. The moment of Occupy Wall Street served to name crises that are still with us: unconscionable economic inequality and a political system that has been rigged to maintain the privilege, power, and concentrated wealth of the few, against the interests of the many. Solving these crisis was not the exclusive burden of occupiers in a public park in New York’s financial district; solving these crises is up to all of us. Along similar lines, “Is the movement fading?” is an imprecise and unhelpful question to ask about Black Lives Matter. We might instead inquire about the crises named by the movement: continuing anti-black racism in US society, police violence against communities of color, an out of control criminal …

Celebrate progressive victories

This weekend I am celebrating with friends. I am celebrating that the confederate flag has overnight become a pariah, even among mainstream conservatives. And I am celebrating that gay people can now marry each other anywhere in the United States. Do I think that these victories have solved structural racism or discrimination against LGBTQ people? Of course not. Nonetheless, I am celebrating these victories. They were hard won. These shifts will positively impact a lot of people in meaningful ways. And these victories point the way forward. Some of my radical friends’ dismal reactions to good news this week has reminded me of something I wrote a few years back about the story of the righteous few. I decided to repost a lengthy excerpt today: Radicals tend to become radicals because we become disillusioned with aspects of the dominant culture. When you feel like you’re up against the culture, it’s easy then to develop an inclination to separate yourself from that culture. When we begin to become aware of the destructive impacts of capitalism, racism, sexism, and whatever …

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.” #BaltimoreUprising

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” —Frederick Douglass

The personal is political. #FreddieGray

The phrase “the personal is political” was originally intended to mean that the oppression that you experience as an individual is patterned—that there are structural factors underlying your experience, and so there are probably others experiencing similar things. “The personal is political” encouraged individuals who were experiencing oppressive situations—for example, a woman abused by her husband, or a worker exploited by her employer—to view these situations not as personal problems, but as political problems, and to realize that remedial action requires coming together with others to address the issue collectively in the public sphere. Such a process is precisely what has been happening across the United States as police killings of our black and brown brothers and sisters are now being seen as a pattern, a structural problem, and a political problem, by more and more people. This means that each needless death and each instance of excessive force is now understood as part of a bigger moral narrative. Victims’ families and communities no longer have to struggle on their own, isolated from each other. …