The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Detroit on the Auction Block | Glen Ford

The corporate plan to abolish the last vestiges of urban democracy in the United States is proceeding on a “hyper fast track” with this week’s court ruling that Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy “protection.” Judge Steven Rhodes quickly made clear that the only parties to be protected in his venue are the bankers that will get first crack at the Black metropolis’s remaining assets. Public workers’ pensions, he ruled, are not entitled “to any extraordinary attention” under federal bankruptcy law, despite the Michigan state constitution’s prohibitions against tampering with or diminishing pension benefits. The stage is now set for Kevyn Orr, the state-imposed Emergency Financial Manager, to put Detroit in hock to Britain’s Barclays Bank for $350 million, in order to pay off Bank of America and UBS for a 2005 derivatives deal with the city. Barclay’s would then become Detroit’s “super-priority” creditor – King Predator – with first dibs on all city incomes and assets over $10 million.

The trial on Detroit’s “restructuring” begins December 17 in Rhodes’ court but, based on his conduct since assuming jurisdiction, there is little doubt of the outcome. The judge is an empathetic hangman who listens patiently to the pleas of the people – and then swiftly condemns them. He agreed with the pensioners that Orr had failed to negotiate in “good faith” with the unions, but then ruled that the petition for bankruptcy had been filed in good faith – which somehow negated Orr’s bad faith negotiations.

Municipal bankruptcies are very rare, and tend to be long and tortuous legal ordeals, but Rhodes has greased the skids for the banksters to gulp down the city like fast food. He is on an accelerated Wall Street schedule, and there is no time to waste. Detroit is the golden opportunity to shape anti-democratic legal precedents that can be applied, nationwide, with the least resistance from the white American public. The city is guilty of excessive Blackness (82%) and must be punished. In a racist society, Detroit’s bankruptcy fits perfectly the legal maxim that “hard cases” or “great cases” make “bad law.” Whites can be expected to applaud a negative judgment on a Black city, with little thought to the ramifications for their own situations. Michigan voters, who rejected the idea of state emergency managers in a referendum, nevertheless favored Orr’s filing of bankruptcy for Detroit. Whites have always made exceptions to common notions of justice when it comes to African Americans, resulting in grotesquely bad laws.

Wall Street is counting on reflexive racism to smooth the path to a new legal and social order, where capital is unencumbered by democratic constraints. Having already succeeded in disenfranchising a majority of the Black population of Michigan, there are now fewer legal impediments to doing the same thing to whites. After all, thanks to the Black Freedom Movement of the Sixties, the law is race-neutral.

Kevyn Orr, Judge Rhodes and Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder work for the banking cartel – as does President Obama and the leaders of the Democratic Party, who have done nothing to interfere with the urban doomsday process that is unfolding in Detroit. (Barclays Bank and UBS, the prime beneficiaries of Orr’s restructuring plan, were just this week cited for taking part in a massive conspiracy to rig global LIBOR interest rates, in what has been called the greatest financial collusion of the century.) Finance capital, which creates nothing, is confiscating the wealth of the world. In the U.S., a thin veneer of democratic structures stands in the way. Therefore, restructuring is in order. What better place to start than in Detroit, a city filled with people who can be made exceptions to democratic norms.

Soon, the exception will become the rule.

Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, have comported themselves with such brazen racial arrogance as to welcome a grand confrontation with the court – in much the same manner as white officialdom behaved in Dixie in the Fifties and early Sixties. Back in June, amidst voluminous court testimony on wildly disproportionate police stops of young Black and brown men, the mayor told listeners to his weekly radio show: “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say.” The dignity of whites, who make up only nine percent of those stopped, is precious, while the rights of Blacks are of no consequence to the mayor. Commissioner Kelly has been Bloomberg’s enforcer of race-based law during the whole period scrutinized by Judge Scheindlin. Kelly admitted to a Black state senator and retired police captain that the purpose of stop-and-frisk was to “instill fear” among Black and Latino men that they would be stopped and frisked whenever they left their homes – a quote cited by the judge. Expect “Massive Resistance” to Stop-and-Frisk Ruling (via azspot)

(via afrometaphysics)

The idea of ‘place’ in a hierarchical society requires explanation of why the hierarchy is just, and therefore socially stable, or is a formula for political economic struggle. Given the history of race in America– kidnapped blacks forced into slavery by British and European whites followed by post Civil War strategies using ‘law’ to maintain the political economy of slavery without direct chattel relations, hardly suggests the racial (and class) hierarchy is just or stable. With the empty babble by American whites about ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ ever-present in the context of historical strategies of domination, control and exclusion from democratic ‘processes’ of blacks, American whites claim rights and privileges for themselves they have no intention of granting to ‘others.’ As the ‘stand-your-ground’ law used to excuse the murder of Trayvon Martin, the racist policing under policies like New York City’s ‘stop-and-frisk,’ and the for-profit prison industrial complex illustrate, the political economy of racism is alive and is as destructive to human lives and dignity as ever. Rob Urie

The Murder of Trayvon Martin and Racist America | Rob Urie

The racist murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin as he walked the streets of the Florida town in which his father lived (a/k/a ‘home’) is proving a Rorschach test for race ‘relations’ in the U.S. The acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman, who first stalked the young Trayvon and then disregarded police instructions to remain in his car as he proceeded to accost and murder him, is testament to the power of denial of the institutional racism that haunts America. Under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, the product of corporate-state lobbyist ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), it was Mr. Martin who by law had the right to use deadly force to protect himself from Mr. Zimmerman. That Mr. Martin lacked the necessary weapon to do so raises an unproductive conundrum for any black, male youth living in America. And it is deluded to believe Mr. Martin would have been acquitted had he killed George Zimmerman in similar fashion.

As the fate of blacks across American history who have taken up arms to protect themselves from white racists has taught, the ‘right’ of self-defense is the right by whites to murder blacks with impunity. When the original Black Panthers took up arms to protect themselves, their families and communities from racist murder at the hands of the police and white racists they were murdered in their beds, fire-bombed, spied on, infiltrated, and many spent decades in prison on charges the Federal government subsequently admitted were bogus. More broadly, the argument around self-defense in America is a racist canard put forward by privileged whites to maintain race and class hierarchy from which they materially benefit. Put another way, if ‘self defense’ is the right, white America is the greatest threat, and has always been, to the lives and livelihoods of black, brown and indigenous peoples.

[W]here was the outrage over Stop And Frisk or any of New York’s other recent surveillance and anti-whistleblowing excesses? Oh, that just happened to Blacks, Hispanics, and Muslims. Where was the outrage when we were openly intercepting the e-mail and phone communication of all non-Americans regardless of probable cause? Oh, that just happened to foreigners, they’re not protected by our laws. These inherently xenophobic reactions, which of course are nothing new, highlight our problem: the surveillance state stops being ok when it goes from racist to all-encompassing. … The surveillance state is not a new problem; it’s a new problem for white people. The surveillance state has been a daily thorn in the lives of New York’s minorities for years, but it’s not just inconvenient. The surveillance state as a racist institution has been destroying the economy of majority-black cities and non-white neighborhoods for decades. Surveillance State Is Only New to Whites

sinidentidades:

The Dangerous, Infectious Logic of National Security
Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall tried to tell us. “We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote in a public letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last year. They were correct, both in their warnings and in their judgement of the public’s stunned response. The senators are bound by oath from offering details since the Obama administration’s collection of mass data about Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications is classified. But thanks to good journalism, we know the truth this week: In the name of fighting ‘terror’, President Obama has continued and expanded George W. Bush’s secret trampling of basic civil liberties. The administration has routinely violated rights that American law and culture hold sacred and that this president has repeatedly claimed to defend.
But Wyden and Udall aren’t the only ones who’ve warned, loudly and repeatedly, that the national security apparatus is out of control, verging on lawlessness. Since 2001, Muslim American communities have been under siege. Religious and racial profiling has become the norm, from the FBI down to local police agencies. Some of the most shocking behavior—among the practices we know about, at least—has come from the New York Police Department. Following what we’ve now learned to be common logic at the federal level as well, NYPD has engaged in widespread, indiscriminate spying on Muslim residents across the Northeast. In mosques, universities, restaurants—wherever Muslims gather, NYPD has sent spies and collected information. Everyone making a life inside a Muslim community is guilty until proven innocent.
Muslim community leaders and civil liberties advocates have insisted this sort of preemptive surveillance is unjust and unproductive. But following the logic of the Obama administration, Ray Kelly and Mike Bloomberg insist they must spy on everyone they deem dangerous because a ‘terrorist’ could emerge at any moment.
Others have warned of this reckless expansion of “national security” as well. Like Muslim communities, immigrant communities of all sorts have been battered by it since 2001 and with particular force by this president. The Obama administration has deported more people than any previous one. It has done so using legally questionable enforcement programs that shrug in the direction of things like due process—of the systems we’ve created as a nation to protect residents from the whims of the state. Anecdotal evidence suggests detainees are deliberately housed in places that make it more difficult for them to access legal support. States and localities have been compelled to turn over to the feds information about people accused of crimes in order to begin the deportation process. In one border-state program, which is poised to expand as part of the Senate’s immigration reform bill, detained immigrants are processed together in mass hearings that make a mockery of measured justice. They accept plea deals en masse and with limited legal counsel for the crime of crossing the border without authorization, deals that land them in detention for anywhere from a couple of weeks to 20 years. In fact, border crossing has been prosecuted with such haste and so little measure that, according to one study, “illegal entry” and “illegal re-entry” were the most prosecuted crimes in the federal judicial system in 2011, accounting for more than 70,000 prosecutions.
Immigration reform advocates have for years been warning that these processes are ‘un-American’. They have argued that the legal and political justifications for our breakneck deportation system degrades our basic values as a nation. But the Obama administration has defended its deportation pipeline, successfully and with vigor, by draping it in national security. It is necessary, we are told, to keep us safe. We must violate our ideals to defend our laws and hold our border.
And we can’t stop with Muslims and immigrants. The same logic has long been used to justify the so-called war on drugs. Our political leaders long ago exempted many urban, black communities from due process protections. Our prisons and jails are filled today with hugely disproportionate numbers of black men and women not by accident, but because Congress and states passed laws that, like the Patriot Act, declared the state could do as it pleased when pursuing those it deemed dangerous. Prosecutors and police were given unchecked power; judges were stripped of their balancing authority. Today, in New York City, in the name of keeping my neighborhood safe, the police routinely detain and search young black and latino men with no more justification than their desire to do so.
It is comforting to believe these things have nothing to do with one another, to insist that the administration’s shocking spying program is a distinct issue from the trends we’ve witnessed in communities of color for years. But the logic used to defend secretly collecting the communications data of people not accused of any crime is the same logic used to defend NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and Homeland Security’s deportation apparatus. The logic of “national security” was developed and honed by law enforcement practices inside communities of color. It is one of the more striking examples of a basic truth: racial injustice is cancerous; it eats the national body from the inside out.
“The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in a withering June 6 op-ed. Indeed, but a fair review of the record must conclude that credibility was lost long ago perhaps somewhere along the way to deporting 400,000 people a year via morally, if not legally, questionable powers. It’s a cautionary tale for people across the ideological spectrum on state power. Injustice ignored will surely spread.

sinidentidades:

The Dangerous, Infectious Logic of National Security

Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall tried to tell us. “We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote in a public letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last year. They were correct, both in their warnings and in their judgement of the public’s stunned response. The senators are bound by oath from offering details since the Obama administration’s collection of mass data about Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications is classified. But thanks to good journalism, we know the truth this week: In the name of fighting ‘terror’, President Obama has continued and expanded George W. Bush’s secret trampling of basic civil liberties. The administration has routinely violated rights that American law and culture hold sacred and that this president has repeatedly claimed to defend.

But Wyden and Udall aren’t the only ones who’ve warned, loudly and repeatedly, that the national security apparatus is out of control, verging on lawlessness. Since 2001, Muslim American communities have been under siege. Religious and racial profiling has become the norm, from the FBI down to local police agencies. Some of the most shocking behavior—among the practices we know about, at least—has come from the New York Police Department. Following what we’ve now learned to be common logic at the federal level as well, NYPD has engaged in widespread, indiscriminate spying on Muslim residents across the Northeast. In mosques, universities, restaurants—wherever Muslims gather, NYPD has sent spies and collected information. Everyone making a life inside a Muslim community is guilty until proven innocent.

Muslim community leaders and civil liberties advocates have insisted this sort of preemptive surveillance is unjust and unproductive. But following the logic of the Obama administration, Ray Kelly and Mike Bloomberg insist they must spy on everyone they deem dangerous because a ‘terrorist’ could emerge at any moment.

Others have warned of this reckless expansion of “national security” as well. Like Muslim communities, immigrant communities of all sorts have been battered by it since 2001 and with particular force by this president. The Obama administration has deported more people than any previous one. It has done so using legally questionable enforcement programs that shrug in the direction of things like due process—of the systems we’ve created as a nation to protect residents from the whims of the state. Anecdotal evidence suggests detainees are deliberately housed in places that make it more difficult for them to access legal support. States and localities have been compelled to turn over to the feds information about people accused of crimes in order to begin the deportation process. In one border-state program, which is poised to expand as part of the Senate’s immigration reform bill, detained immigrants are processed together in mass hearings that make a mockery of measured justice. They accept plea deals en masse and with limited legal counsel for the crime of crossing the border without authorization, deals that land them in detention for anywhere from a couple of weeks to 20 years. In fact, border crossing has been prosecuted with such haste and so little measure that, according to one study, “illegal entry” and “illegal re-entry” were the most prosecuted crimes in the federal judicial system in 2011, accounting for more than 70,000 prosecutions.

Immigration reform advocates have for years been warning that these processes are ‘un-American’. They have argued that the legal and political justifications for our breakneck deportation system degrades our basic values as a nation. But the Obama administration has defended its deportation pipeline, successfully and with vigor, by draping it in national security. It is necessary, we are told, to keep us safe. We must violate our ideals to defend our laws and hold our border.

And we can’t stop with Muslims and immigrants. The same logic has long been used to justify the so-called war on drugs. Our political leaders long ago exempted many urban, black communities from due process protections. Our prisons and jails are filled today with hugely disproportionate numbers of black men and women not by accident, but because Congress and states passed laws that, like the Patriot Act, declared the state could do as it pleased when pursuing those it deemed dangerous. Prosecutors and police were given unchecked power; judges were stripped of their balancing authority. Today, in New York City, in the name of keeping my neighborhood safe, the police routinely detain and search young black and latino men with no more justification than their desire to do so.

It is comforting to believe these things have nothing to do with one another, to insist that the administration’s shocking spying program is a distinct issue from the trends we’ve witnessed in communities of color for years. But the logic used to defend secretly collecting the communications data of people not accused of any crime is the same logic used to defend NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and Homeland Security’s deportation apparatus. The logic of “national security” was developed and honed by law enforcement practices inside communities of color. It is one of the more striking examples of a basic truth: racial injustice is cancerous; it eats the national body from the inside out.

“The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in a withering June 6 op-ed. Indeed, but a fair review of the record must conclude that credibility was lost long ago perhaps somewhere along the way to deporting 400,000 people a year via morally, if not legally, questionable powers. It’s a cautionary tale for people across the ideological spectrum on state power. Injustice ignored will surely spread.

(via randomactsofchaos)

If your name is Ahmed or Fatima, you are a person of interest to the NSA | Anna Lekas Miller

One of the most common responses from the 66% of American citizens in favor of the NSA’s data-collection programs is, “I have nothing to hide, so why should I have anything to fear?”

But what if you have nothing to hide but are targeted as a suspect nevertheless?

By that I mean, what if your name is Ahmed, Jihad, Anwar or Abdulrahman? Fatima, Rania, Rasha or Shaima? What if some of your phone calls – which the NSA is tracking with particular interest – are made to loved ones in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon or Palestine? What if the language you speak on these phone calls is not English, but Arabic, Urdu or Farsi, not because it is a special jihadist code, but because it is your native language that you still speak in your home.

In other words, what if you are one of America’s 1.9 million Arab-Americans or 2.8 million Muslim-Americans?

President Barack Obama defends the NSA’s recently revealed spying apparatus as essential to helping to prevent terrorist attacks. But how does the Obama administration define a terrorist or terrorism? In Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or anywhere else that is designated a “strike zone” by the US government, subject to so-called signature strikes by drones, any military-age man – meaning all men between the ages of 16 and 40 – are potentially categorized as a “militant”.

If he is killed in a US-authorized drone strike, his death is recorded as a “militant” death rather than a civilian death. The rhetoric helps to feed the victories of the war on terror as innocent civilian casualties are recorded in history as militant terrorists. A number of said “militants” have spent significant amount of time in the west and many have family there. Sixteen-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was even a US citizen.

Are these innocent civilians labeled as militants the same as the terrorists Barack Obama is talking about?

Back on United States soil, invasive spying and government surveillance in the name of fighting terrorism is hardly news for Arab and Muslim-American communities. Starting as early as 2001 – immediately following the attacks on 11 September – the FBI began spying on Arab and Muslim communities across the United States, while the NYPD specifically kept tabs on Arab and Muslim communities in New York City. Any mosque, local business, community or student organization run by Arabs or Muslims – or focusing on Arab and Muslim issues – was fair game for informants to lurk, “befriend” patrons and watch. After all, any of them could have been seasoned terrorists planning radical jihad.

Despite more than six years of surveillance, the NYPD program hasn’t foiled any terrorist plots, according to the Associated Press reports. The FBI claims some success stories, but it is unclear whether they come from their specific targeting programs. What is clear is that these programs worked to create a pervading sense of depression and anxiety throughout the Muslim and Arab American communities and a blanket distrust of authorities.

Arab and Muslim communities are hardly new to the United States. Once upon a time, the neighborhood surrounding where the World Trade Center would later be built was known as Little Syria. Of course, these communities have since been pushed out of New York’s financial district, but still thrive in pockets of Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Dearborn and many other American cities.

In the Middle East, most of the time when you mention you are from the United States, rather than spewing aspirations for radical jihad, locals will respond with, “Oh, the United States! My cousin lives in Chicago, do you know him?”

Despite the perception that the United States and the Arab and Muslim world operate in opposition to one another, the two regions are inextricably connected via the Arab and Muslim communities who immigrated, or are the descendants of immigrants to the United States. A snippet of Arabic conversation or a phone call to Syria, Yemen or Pakistan is more likely to be a standard family phone call than the prelude of the demise of western civilization.

After all, most of us really do have nothing to hide – so why is it that we have everything to fear?

Grant Program May Incentivize More Weed Arrests Among Blacks - COLORLINES

afrofuturisticlingo:

Black Americans were nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana posession in 2010, even though the two groups smoke weed at similar rates, according to new federal data. The American Civil Liberties Union cites the Edward Bryne Justice Assistantship Grant Program as one possible reason for the disparity. The program incentivizes increasing drug arrest numbers by tying the statistics to funding. Law enforcement then concentrates on low-income neighborhoods to keep those numbers up.

More at the Atlantic Wire:

The argument resonantes with criticism of the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” program, which overwhelmingly targets young, black or latino men in the city (and, indeed, demonstrates a racial disparity in arrests for marijuana possession). But as the ACLU and the Times show, the problem of racial bias in arrests for possessing a drug that is, after all, gaining acceptance across the U.S., is a national one. the ACLU found a bias in “virtually every county in the country,” they told the Times, regardless of the proportional population of minorities in that county.

Back in 2010 the NAACP called the racial discrepency in weed arrests a “civil rights issue.” One year later, to mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S. War on Drugs, author Michelle Alexander told a crowd of 1,000 at Harlem’s Riverside Church back in 2011, “The enemy in this war has been racially defined. The drug war, not by accident, has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color.”

To see just how that war has played out in communities of color, check out our infographic [at the link].

(Source: afrometaphysics)

ACLU report confirms PoC make up most of marijuana arrests | The Raw Story

brashblacknonbeliever:

And in other news water is very wet and fire is still extremely hot.

Statistics like this are the reason why I would like to see marijuana legalized. I don’t give a shit about the white hipsters who wanna smoke a blunt with their friends while listening to Bob Marley and retwisting their “dreads.” I don’t give a shit about the white college students who get pissed and cry to mommy and daddy when they get a ticket for possession.

What I do care about are the PoC who are stopped, searched, and abused by police who think they have drugs on them. I care about the parents ripped from their families to serve mandatory sentences in prison because of a three strikes law. I care about the fact that in Iowa, Black people are eight times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana-related charge than white people.

If your “legalize it” campaign revolves around making sure white people can get high whenever and wherever they want, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your actions.

(Source: womanistgamergirl, via randomactsofchaos)

randomactsofchaos:

“American Capitalism is preserved by two essential and integral factors: fraud and force. Fraud is the ideological and cultural hegemony of the capitalist creed: that enterprise is free and competition exists for all in the marketplace; that success is available for all who work hard, accumulate capital, and participate as voters in the electoral process; that democratic government is dependent upon the freedom to own private property. Blacks, Latinos, and white workers are barraged daily with illusions about the inherent justice and equal opportunity within the American System. The educational institutions, churches, media and popular culture all in their own way participate in creating the logical framework for a system that remains irrational and inhumane. Beneath the velvet glove of fraud exists the iron fist of force. For reasons of history, Black people are more aware than whites of this delicate dichotomy between consensus vs. coercion. The essence of slavery was coercion of the most primitive kind - the relationships between master and slave were characterized by mutual distrust, fear, hatred and undisguised force. All slaves, whether the proverbial Uncle Toms or Nat Turners, recognized that production could not take place without the daily use of physical or psychological violence. Even the most paternalistic master had to divide Black families occasionally or employ the whip to get the crop to market on schedule. Under industrial capitalism, however, the essence of production involves force of a different kind: the extraction of surplus value from the labor power of the worker. Force is generally disguised within capitalist societies with democratic forms of government. The worker never receives the actual or real value of his/her own labor, but is technically “free” to sell his/her skills or services to the highest bidder, or employer. Blue collar and service workers are “less free” than professional workers, but all are forced to accept the conditions of employment that the owners of capital are willing to grant.”

— Manning Marable, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (via howtotalktogirlsdialectically)

(Source: goneril-and-regan)

Capitalism and Economic Imperialism | Rob Urie

… The economic-social nexus at work in for-profit prisons is a microcosm of the imperial tendencies of the capitalist West. Its parts are the integration of state and private functions where presumed social legitimacy derives from the state function (right to imprison) and the structure (private prisons) derives its economic legitimacy from capitalist ‘efficiency.’ The broader context is political-economic relations as they have developed historically with the result of a social taxonomy (race, class) with embedded place in the existing social hierarchy. The explicit relation of domination and control affected by prisons to the systemic theft of labor of slavery finds its contemporary expression in for-profit prison labor with the ‘innovation’ of technocratic cost containment through deprivation that provides the ‘added’ profit motive. Quite explicitly here one person’s table is full because another’s has been emptied.

The strategies used to legitimate this system are fundamentally political—social taxonomy is history embedded in current relations. Statisticians call ‘crime’ statistics resulting from racist laws and policing ‘selection bias’ because the premise—the social artifact of ‘crime,’ is predetermined to derive from subsets of the population and the strategies of crime suppression ‘prove’ the predetermination by overwhelmingly targeting these subsets. The result that few ‘white collar’ criminals are in prison is a function of rich whites writing the laws and the police practice of partitioning the types of ‘crime’ they target and enforce to exclude rich whites. This tendency has multiplied with the ascension of finance capitalism with the predictable consequence economic ‘freedom’ is the freedom of the financier class to imprison historic and new under-classes under the veil of ‘efficiently’ providing a state function at a profit. The innovation is the mode of exploitation, not its purpose.

Of relevance here is the history embedded in social classes, the fact of these classes, and the social divisions produced by economic exploitation. The history of race in America, with its extended accoutrement of theoretical apologetics, provides the illusion of binary taxonomy, a convenient ‘other’ to be conquered with ‘divide and conquer’ imperial strategies. Blacks, and increasingly browns, have historically been excluded from political and economic participation to the extent their economic production has been stolen from them and put forward as the product of those who did the stealing. To the extent economic power buys political power, stolen slave labor is reified across history as a tool of economic domination.

The suggestion slavery is an existing mode of economic production in the U.S. in 2013 is twenty steps beyond outrageous to most Americans because the formal institution was ‘abolished’ one hundred and fifty years ago. I leave it to readers to decide the semantic matter yourselves with reference to the work of scholars Michelle Alexander and Kahlil Gibran Muhammad. The points of current relevance are slavery was a (radically egregious) mode of political economy premised on domination and control to expropriate labor from its producers; this stolen labor was put forward as the product of the people and institutions that stole it; and it bought exponentially greater social power for them as it aggregated and time abstracted it from its source.

The ‘innovation’ learnt from the ‘end’ of slavery was [that] degrees of the same political-economic outcomes can be produced without it. The remnants of social catastrophe left behind by incarnations of European and American imperialism and related ‘world’ wars provided the ‘natural’ states of existence conducive to labor ‘freely’ choosing to work for multi-national corporations for subsistence wages. The unstated fact of history is people by degree ‘got by’ for millennia with no help from, or need for, the institutions Western capitalists today put forward as indispensable. Where history didn’t suffice ‘free-trade’ agreements supported by conspicuously imperialist economic theory produced the local misery necessary for Western capitalism to ‘come to the rescue.’ [continue]

When he completed Volume II sixteen years ago, the 78-years-old Allen, in words that resonate today, ended by describing ‘unmistakable signs of maturing social conflict’ between ‘the common people’ and ‘the Titans.’ He suggested that ‘Perhaps, in the impending … struggle,’ influenced by the ‘indelible stamp of the African-American civil rights struggle of the 1960s,’ the ‘white-skin privileges may finally come to be seen and rejected by laboring-class European-Americans as the incubus that for three centuries has paralyzed their will in defense of their class interests vis-à-vis those of the ruling class.’ It was with that prospect in mind, with its profound implications for radical social change, that the independent, working class intellectual/activist Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) concluded The Invention of the White Race. Jeffrey B. Perry, Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race

Clashes erupt as settlers storm al-Aqsa | Al Akhbar

Israeli settlers, guarded by soldiers, stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem Tuesday, injuring several people and arresting at least three, local media reported.

A group of over 40 settlers, accompanied by members of the far-right Likud party, broke into the mosque interrupting student study sessions as Israeli forces stood guard outside the entrance to bar Palestinians from entering.

Soldiers also fired tear gas at Palestinians protesting the takeover.

Settlers entered the mosque through the Moroccan Gate, denying all Muslims under 50 access to the mosque.

Female students were also denied access to the mosque, resulting in clashes between the women and Israeli forces.

Forces injured a woman attempting to enter. She was later taken to a nearby hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

Palestinian woman injured by Israeli attack on worshipers in Al Aqsa Mosque few hours ago, evacuated by medics. twitter.com/AlqassamBrigad…

— Alqassam Brigades (@AlqassamBrigade) May 7, 2013

Settlers toured the mosque in commemoration of what Israelis call “Jerusalem Day” marking their military takeover of the Old City in 1967.

In a separate incident Sunday night over 1,000 settlers escorted by soldiers forced their way to the site of Joseph’s Tomb near Balata refugee camp east of Nablus.

Clashes broke out between the forces and Palestinians near the site resulting in three teenagers being treated for tear gas inhalation.

Al-Aqsa is a site of frequent violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

In other West Bank news:

Netanyahu quietly curbs settlement expansion: reports
and: Report: Netanyahu promised Kerry to put ‘hold’ on settlement construction

Anti-Immigrant Zealots Capitalize on Boston Bombings | Dispatches from the Underclass

Muslims, Arabs and more recently Chechens aren’t the only ones bearing the brunt of collective blame following the Boston Marathon bombing last week.

Since learning that bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev immigrated to the United States as children, anti-immigrant zealots have capitilized on the moment to argue against immigration reform.

Right-wing talk radio host and frequent Fox News contributer Laura Ingraham insisted that the US block Muslim immigrants from entering the country, particularly from the ex-Soviet region of the world where the bombing suspects were born.

“I would submit that people shouldn’t be coming here as tourists from Chechnya after 9/11,” Ingraham said. “Dagistan, Checnya, Kergystan, uh-uh. As George Bush would say, ‘None of them stans.’”

You might be thinking: Who cares what Ingraham says? She’s nothing more than an inflammatory radio host with no power over actual public policy. But Ingraham isn’t alone.

For example, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.) has demanded that the US government investigate and deport all Chechen immigrants with violent leanings.

Because the Boston Marathon attack came as the Senate began debating an immigration reform bill, certain politicians wasted no time in using the tragedy to pile on additional fear and hatred of immigrants.

Today, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined in the hatefest in a letter he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calling for the bill to be delayed in light of the Boston bombings.

“Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism?”, wrote Paul, who is now apparently an expert on Chechnya and ex-Soviet Muslims.

But the notion that stricter immigration policies could have prevented the Boston bombings is ridiculous given that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsaraev were 15 and 8 when they came to this country with their parents as asylum-seekers. As The Atlantic‘s Elseph Reeve explains, “The two individuals were allowed to immigrate because we don’t expect children to become terrorists just because people of their ethnicity live in a violent place.”

Nevertheless, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) used the bombings to denounce the immigration bill as well, expressing disgust to MSNBC host Martin Bashir that the bill bans law enforcement from racial profiling. In a creative mix of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric, Walsh said the following:

“We’re at war, and this country got a stark reminder last week again that we’re at war,” Walsh said to host Martin Bashir during an appearance on MSNBC. “And not only should we take a pause, Martin, when it comes to immigration, we need to begin profiling who our enemy is in this war: young muslim men,”

“The fact is, Martin, neither you or I or Jonathan knows of the 11 million, and it’s more than 11 million, how many are bad characters,” Walsh continued, addressing Bashir and fellow guest, columnist Jonathan Alter. “And what we’re going to do is replicate what we did in ’86, provide amnesty to all of them, which in essence is providing legal status to a lot of bad characters. You know, Martin, there’s also a piece of this legislation that bans our law enforcement officials of profiling. We need to profile even when it comes to our immigration policy.”

I wonder if these hate-mongerers know that Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat being hailed as a hero for providing life-saving services immediately after the Boston bombings, was once an undocumented immigrant. Probably not. Facts don’t seem to be their forte.