Or, an incomplete list of responses I get when I talk about the things I care about. “Yeah, well, what did you expect?” That’s an easy one to answer. I expect better. “So what, are you surprised?” …
A collection of photos showing defiance in all its forms around the world.
A demonstrator offers a flower to security forces during an anti-government protest in Bahrain, March 2011. Photo by Anmar Abdulrasoo.
I’m telling [my daughter] all about the Thatcher legacy through her mother’s experience, not the media’s; especially how the Thatcher government directly supported Pinochet’s murderous regime, financially, via military support, even military training (which we know now, took place in Dundee University). Thousands of my people (and members of my family) were tortured and murdered under Pinochet’s regime—the fascist beast who was one of Thatcher’s closest allies and friend. So all you apologists/those offended [by my celebration]—you can take your moral high ground & shove it. YOU are the ones who don’t understand. Those of us celebrating are the ones who suffered deeply under her dictatorship and WE are the ones who cared. We are the ones who protested. We are the humanitarians who bothered to lift a finger to help all those who suffered under her regime. I am lifting a glass of champagne to mourn, to remember and to honour all the victims of her brutal regime, here AND abroad. And to all those heroes who gave a shit enough to try to do something about it.
Demonstrator celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death, as quoted in The Nation piece, Why Would Anyone Celebrate the Death of Margaret Thatcher? Ask a Chilean
So, yes, Mr. Serwer, the French did take the Bastille in 4 hours—that is, in fact, true—and when they finally decided to overthrow the Old Regime, they managed to do it fairly quickly. And one of the reasons they were able to do it so quickly is that there was a locus of symbolic power in France, and an imperfectly yet steadily centralizing state apparatus, that provided them with the levers and instruments to achieve that transformation.
In the United States, activists have often wanted but seldom had those levers and instruments. Not for lack of trying: as I’ve argued elsewhere, the entire history of American social movements has been about trying to bring the power of a—often sadly non-existent—centralized state apparatus to bear on private regimes of power (on the plantation, in the family, and in the workplace), to use a decentralized, federated national state to break the back of private autocracies. In the process, these activists have managed, on occasion, to centralize the national state, but only rarely and often imperfectly.
The overwhelming trend has been one of resistance to those attempts. And the reason that trend has been so successful is that the American state is not nearly as unified or centralized—not by accident or because of the vagaries of history but by constitutional design—as other states. This kind of programmatic decentralization gives local elites, with all their ideological legitimacy, economic power, and coercive power, an automatic and tremendous advantage. And even when local or state-level activists manage by some small miracle to achieve victory, they are immediately confronted by a sea of hostile forces around them, in nearby states and the federal court system—not to mention federal armies—that often overturn their victories.
So if we simply imagine some of the labor wars in copper country of Colorado, or in West Virginia’s coal country, we see a level of violence and Jacobin ferocity that certainly parallels that of the revolutionary street fighting in Paris. But what we don’t see is the demonstration effect that revolutionary Paris had throughout the French countryside. Nor do we see, except rarely, a national state that would be able to take those local victories (more often defeats) and turn them into national achievements.
10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced for Freeing JSTOR Articles
On Friday, Internet pioneer and open information activist Aaron Swartz took his own life at the age of 26. At the time of his death, Swartz was under indictment for logging into JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles, and rapidly downloading those articles with the intent to make them public. If Swartz had lived to be convicted of the charges against him, he faced 50 years or more in a federal prison.
To put these charges in perspective, here are ten examples of federal crimes that carry lesser prison sentences than Swartz’ alleged crime of downloading academic articles in an effort to make knowledge widely available to the public:
- Manslaughter: Federal law provides that someone who kills another human being “[u]pon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion” faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if subject to federal jurisdiction. The lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of only six years.
- Bank Robbery: A person who “by force and violence, or by intimidation” robs a bank faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. If the criminal “assaults any person, or puts in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of a dangerous weapon or device,” this sentence is upped to a maximum of 25 years.
- Selling Child Pornography: The maximum prison sentence for a first-time offender who “knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell” child pornography in interstate commerce is 20 years. Significantly, the only way to produce child porn is to sexually molest a child, which means that such a criminal is literally profiting off of child rape or sexual abuse.
- Knowingly Spreading AIDS: A person who “after testing positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and receiving actual notice of that fact, knowingly donates or sells, or knowingly attempts to donate or sell, blood, semen, tissues, organs, or other bodily fluids for use by another, except as determined necessary for medical research or testing” faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
- Selling Slaves: Under federal law, a person who willfully sells another person “into any condition of involuntary servitude” faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, although the penalty can be much higher if the slaver’s actions involve kidnapping, sexual abuse or an attempt to kill.
- Genocidal Eugenics: A person who “imposes measures intended to prevent births” within a particular racial, ethnic or religious group or who “subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part” faces a maximum prison term of 20 years, provided their actions did not result in a death.
- Helping al-Qaeda Develop A Nuclear Weapon: A person who “willfully participates in or knowingly provides material support or resources … to a nuclear weapons program or other weapons of mass destruction program of a foreign terrorist power, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years.”
- Violence At International Airports: Someone who uses a weapon to “perform an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury” faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years if their actions do not result in a death.
- Threatening The President: A person who threatens to kill the President, the President-elect, the Vice President or the Vice President-elect faces a maximum prison term of 5 years.
- Assaulting A Supreme Court Justice: Assaults against very senior government officials, including Members of Congress, cabinet secretaries or Supreme Court justices are punished by a maximum prison sentence of just one year. If the assault “involved the use of a dangerous weapon, or personal injury results,” the maximum prison term is 10 years.
Women are slaves in all societies. Women are property. All property must belong to somebody. If nobody claims it, the government takes it. It is not possible to have property with no owner. For women, they are property which belongs to their father or, if the father is dead, to the next male who is in charge of the family — grandfather, uncle, brother. If somebody damages the property (female), the owner can demand reparations, and may want to get rid of the property. The damage can be sufficiently bad that it makes the property worthless. Rape, for example, makes a young girl relatively worthless as property since no man will want to own her. If a young girl gets raped, she not only disgraces her owner, she also becomes a burden. That’s why many societies allow the owner to murder the raped girl, or the unchaste one — she has disgraced her owner, and now has no value in the market. Cannot be sold or bargained away. Who wants to be stuck feeding and caring for a valueless female for decades? Nobody.
When a female is sold (married), her title transfers to the buyer, just like when you sell a car. Once she belongs to the new owner, she becomes his slave. As a married female piece of property, the woman must clean house, garden, cook, bear and raise children, keep all the other family relatives happy, be obedient to her owner’s every demand, always remember she is inferior to all men and is not very intelligent. She should be quiet, speak when spoken to, and always be soft spoken and ladylike. She should cover her body so other men do not desire her.
When the female is sold into marriage, her buyer acquires the full ownership of her body. From that point on, he owns her breasts, butt, and vagina, and is free to use them whenever he likes, as often as he likes. She no longer owns her own body, and has no say whatsoever in what her husband does with her body. In some societies a girl’s clitoris is cut off to prevent her from enjoying sex ever, to make it less likely she would ever stray. In some societies girls’ labia are sewn together to make a tight impenetrable cover for their vagina, which is considered pleasurable for their future husbands. When those girls are sold (married), their husbands rape them repeatedly to rip the labia apart, leaving the girls bleeding and in severe pain for weeks. This is part of the marriage rights of the man. Because the woman is property which he owns, he does not see this action as the cruel infliction of pain on another human. He’s just breaking in his property.
Rape is nothing more than an extension of the basic sexist system in the world which is installed through physical violence and injustice, and reinforced by religion and by economies which consistently refuse to allow women to earn a living sufficient to support themselves and their children. No matter how brutal the husband and how intolerable her life, women cannot leave and must remain slaves until death. In some societies, a woman who wants to leave her husband is labeled a whore, and may be murdered. In other societies, she is simply left to starve. Rape is nothing more than the natural and inevitable result of societies which consider women slaves and property with no rights, whose body parts can be acquired by men for their own use regardless of what the woman may want. Without affirmative action and a commitment to equality for women, rape will always be a weapon used by men to enforce what they are taught is their “right” to use property.
Fiona Bernard, attorney and feminist.
This shouldn’t even need to be explained.
THERE WILL be real effects from VAWA not being renewed. Among other things, the act provides funding for rape-crisis centers and community violence prevention programs around the country, as well as money for legal aid for female victims of violence and the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. It also established a federal rape shield law that prevented rape victims from being interrogated on the stand about past sexual behavior.
As the Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence noted:
Since its enactment in 1994, VAWA has improved how our nation addresses these crimes and has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of victims. As a result, more victims report domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to the police, and both the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence and the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner have decreased.
Because of VAWA, victims have unprecedented access to services that enable them to escape abuse and rebuild their lives. In 2012, programs under VAWA will provide lifesaving services to approximately 740,000 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
Even without reauthorization, VAWA will remain on the books in its 2005 form. However, budget crises at the state and local levels mean that without renewed authorization, the withholding of federal funding will have a dramatic impact on the ability of groups to provide services to the victims of assault, abuse and sexual violence.
Already, organizations that serve the victims of violent crimes are facing a crisis. In an interview for the Pottsville, Pa., Republican Herald, for example, Jenny Murphy-Shifflet, of the Sexual Assault and Resource Counseling Center of Schuylkill County (SARCC), said her organization is currently waiting for $30,000 of promised funding.
“We have to cut back on all operational funds, transportation,” and other costs, she told the paper. “This just isn’t about money. This is our country taking a stand to say it will not tolerate violence.”
This funding crisis will be further impacted by the next round of negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which will likely include major cuts in funding of most federal programs, including those that help the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.According to the Campaign for Funding to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, an 8 percent cut to such federal programs—which has been threatened several times as part of the debate about the “fiscal cliff”—would mean:
— 112,190 fewer victims would have access to domestic violence programs and shelters;
— Approximately 64,000 fewer victims would have assistance in obtaining protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital based advocacy, transitional housing services, and help with civil legal matters;
— Newer-funded programs that specifically meet the unique needs of rape and sexual assault victims, including medical and legal assistance and other direct services, would be significantly compromised;
— Programs that provide services to children and youth exposed to violence would also face cuts that would undermine their ability to reach and protect victims.
It wasn’t too long ago that Eric Cantor said the Republicans “need to be a party of inclusion not exclusion. We need to be promoting tolerance.” Apparently, though, in Cantor’s world, immigrants, the LGBT community, Native Americans and women in general aren’t to be tolerated.
One of the biggest challenges is that we lacked long-term data,” said John P. Smol, the paper’s lead author and a professor of biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “So some in industry have been saying that the pollution in the tar sands is natural, it’s always been there.”
The researchers found that to the contrary, the levels of those deposits have been steadily rising since large-scale oil sands production began in 1978.
Samples from one test site, the paper said, now show 2.5 to 23 times more PAHs in current sediment than in layers dating back to around 1960.
“We’re not saying these are poisonous ponds,” Professor Smol said. “But it’s going to get worse. It’s not too late but the trend is not looking good.” He said that the wilderness lakes studied by the group were now contaminated as much as lakes in urban centers.
The Tar Sands Blockade has launched a “die-in” at the TransCanada offices in Houston, Texas to protest the Keystone XL pipeline.
Activists in Massachusetts have also engaged in direct action in TransCanada’s office telling stories of the Keystone’s destructive consequences.
Solidarity actions are currently taking place all over the country today, including right now in Detroit & tonight in Austin.
From the Tar Sands Blockade: “This action kicks off a new phase of the Tar Sands Blockade targeting the corporate and financial infrastructure behind the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada’s pipeline uses seized land to transport toxic tar sands oil through Texas and Oklahoma communities, in order to export it from Houston ports. These dangerous business practices and the backlash from communities across the country make this pipeline a toxic investment for our state and TransCanada’s corporate lenders.”
It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:
“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”
Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.
This is Mallory Owens. 23. Has a girlfriend and an adorable little boy. She lives in my county in Daphne Alabama.
She was assaulted and beaten nearly to death by Travis Hawkins Jr. She will need reconstructive surgery after what was done to her.
Her assailant is already out of jail and is only being charged with second degree assault.
I can’t hyperlink on a phone, but there is already a petition to bring him to justice. Please signal boost this. This hate crime is too close to home. This cannot go unpunished.
The details of this are still blurry but regardless, he nearly beat a woman to death, and he’s only getting second degree assault. I will update when I get more details.
Warning, the images of the damage done to her is graphic. This is inexcusable.
Edited to add:http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/nov/26/family-seeking-justice-girl-who-was-badly-beaten-ar-5050348/
A family is seeking justice after they say a girl named Mallory Owens was badly beaten on Thanksgiving day for being gay. They want charges upgraded on her alleged attacker, 18-year-old Travis Hawkins Jr. Hawkins turned himself in Sunday for second degree assault charges, but bonded out the same day.
Owens’ supporters believe those charges should be upgraded to attempted murder.
Today, News 5 stopped by Mallory’s room where she is currently staying at USA Medical Center. Although she is recovering from her injuries, her face was badly beaten. Her nose was broken, and she had to have reconstructive surgery on her face.
Her mother told News 5 her daughter was beaten by Hawkins because she is in a relationship with his sister and he does not approve. The family is calling this a hate crime and cannot believe her alleged attacker is walking free.
I’m surprised that this even needs to be debated (well, not entirely surprised given the society we live in). Paid sick leave isn’t just ethical, but sensible: we should have ill people handling food or caring for our children (food service and child care are the two occupations lead likely to offer paid leave for ill or injured workers).