Sunday, October 15, 2017

Like fighting any malignant, tenacious disease

GUEST: Peter Heymann, member of The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond and the Anti-Racist Alliance, talks about his Undoing Racism Workshops and the anti-racist structural analysis of educational, corporate and community institutions.

There are surprises to be had when studying racism. The book, "Sundown Towns" reveals how towns all across North America forced their Black populations out, starting in 1890. Another book, "The Color of Law" presents research on how this policy was augmented by local, state and national regulations. Segregation didn't just happen; Blacks were ethnically cleansed. 

Recent studies of Islamophobia reveal the active hand of the Jewish Defense League in spreading hate. The JDL even produced movies equating Muslims with terrorists, and somehow one of these films was used to train police in New York City. 

So racism is complex, with unexpected players. Fighting racism becomes a process of learning the hidden history of our country. And that's before we actually confronts the racism that our culture has implanted in us. Racism from fathers and mothers. Racism from TV shows we have grown up with. Fighting racism is a long term project, like fighting any malignant, tenacious disease.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Palatable to a white majority

GUEST: James Kilgore, college professor, social justice activist, and author of three published novels while he was incarcerated, talks about his latest campaign, Challenging E-Carceration.

It was great having James Kilgore back again, talking about prison reform and e-carceration. 

James reminds us that prison reform won't come through technology, but through a rethinking of racism in America. Of course, we must be aware of the system before we have the moral courage to change it. Racism has long been used by our politicians. Trump is only the latest example. 

Racism, combined with a global crisis of capitalism, puts us in a dangerous time. For the very wealthy to increase their gains, there has to be more and more surveillance and repression. The prison system is built to criminalize poverty and dissent, and racism is the hatred that will make such a system palatable to a white majority. 

Determined to rule the rest of the world

GUEST: Laura Finley, associate professor of sociology and criminology and author of several books on social justice, talks about her current focus on the militarization of police forces in inner city communities.

The price we pay for empire. A society armed to the teeth with weapons and drenched in killing. Gun control is part of the problem. But a society that can somehow justify the killing of millions abroad for corporate profit, is already debased, its humanity already striped away. 

The characteristic that will bring down our species is most apparent in the American Empire and its murderous allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel. High tech combined with corporate greed and unrelenting violence brings about a unique form of fascism. Like the Third Reich, there are no norms, no boundaries for bloodshed. 

Americans are unequally unaware of the empire, even though we pay 700 billion a year to feed the cancer. We grieve our losses, but memories are short, and few see the overarching problem of a country determined to rule the rest of the world at any cost.