By David Unger
“C-U-N-Y…Don’t Let CUNY Die!”
Over the past few years, we have been lying down on the pavements of New York. In Grand Central Station, in front of Barclay’s Center, in the middle of streets in Brooklyn, near Union Square, in Harlem and in the Bronx. We have been asked to lie down — to Die In — in order to demand recognition of Black Lives, to condemn violence against and killing of people of color, many of whose names are by now familiar in a tragic way: Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin…and on and on.
Many times, everyone has been asked to die in, to lie down. Other times, white allies have been asked to stand in silence. Either way, the impacted communities have been calling the shots and leading the way.
At times, the die-ins have been done by “other groups,” including the Fight-for-15, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and others, marching in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and calling out the intersection between racial and economic violence. Each time, no matter what intersections have been highlighted, the violence against people of color has been the primary concern of the actions. Continue reading On Escalation, Dying-In and the Fight to Fund CUNY
By Ken Francis
It’s October, and a group of students are lined up against a fence outside their school, bundled up against the unexpected frost. Hoodies are pulled taut, hands are gloved and beanies with bright pom-poms are pulled low. These students, aged 10 through 15, are waiting to shake their principal’s hand before they enter the school building. Afterward, they’ll bound into the building and bounce against each other like so many marbles in a bowl. They are disorderly, they are playful, they are children. Or are they?
How much will any of them mature in the next year? At 16, could they appropriately be considered adults? And, if one of them makes a mistake and commits a crime, should s/he be prosecuted as an adult? Continue reading Raise the Age!
With: Jelani Cobb | Kendall Fells | Alicia Garza | Francis Fox Piven
This event is currently at capacity. To watch the conversation, check back here on 10/19 from 8:30 AM to 10:15 AM (EDT). Livestream will appear below.
Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 are linked, growing social movements. As these two movements converge, how are they influencing each other? What are the chances their convergence might sow the seeds for a broader social and economic justice movement? What obstacles remain?
- Jelani Cobb, journalist, historian, Director of the Africana Studies Institute, UConn, Hillman Judge
- Kendall Fells, Fast Food Forward- SEIU/Fight4$15
- Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance, #SayHerName, #BlackLivesMatter
Introductory remarks by Francis Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor, CUNY, Consortial Faculty, Murphy Institute
This event is being co-sponsored by:
Photo by Paul Silva via flickr (CC-BY).
Murphy Prof. Michael Fortner’s new book Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment has taken the media world by storm, garnering press from publications, radio and television. In addition to coverage in the New Yorker and Chronicle of Higher Ed, the book has been featured in the NYTimes and New York Magazine and on Brian Lehrer.
From Fortner’s own op-ed in the New York Times last week, The Real Roots of 70’s Drug Laws:
Today’s disastrously punitive criminal justice system is actually rooted in the postwar social and economic demise of urban black communities. It is, in part, the unintended consequence of African-Americans’ own hard-fought battle against the crime and violence inside their own communities. To ignore that history is to disregard the agency of black people and minimize their grievances, and to risk making the same mistake again.
Murphy Institute Professor Michael Fortner’s hotly anticipated new book Black Silent Majority: the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment gains yet more coverage with the latest edition of the New Yorker. In Kelefa Sanneh’s review, Body Count, the writer places Fortner’s book in conversation with the latest from Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) as well as Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow:
This summer, the Black Lives Matter movement got a literary manifesto, in the form of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” (Spiegel & Grau), a slender but deeply resonant book that made its début atop the Times best-seller list[…]
Four decades ago, a number of black leaders were talking in similarly urgent terms about the threats to the black body. The threats were, in the words of one activist, “cruel, inhuman, and ungodly”: black people faced the prospect not just of physical assault and murder but of “genocide”—the horror of slavery, reborn in a new guise. The activist who said this was Oberia D. Dempsey, a Baptist pastor in Harlem, who carried a loaded revolver, the better to defend himself and his community. Dempsey’s main foe was not the police and the prisons; it was drugs, and the criminal havoc wreaked by dealers and addicts. Continue reading New Yorker Coverage of Book by Prof. Michael Fortner
No matter where they might fall on the political spectrum, it seems like everyone’s got something to say about the presidential candidates — and it’s only August. And in the space of it — in no small part due to the tactics of some #BlackLivesMatter activists — people are talking about racial justice. Here’s some of what’s been happening in progressive circles and beyond:
- #BlackLivesMatter activists disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, setting off a progressive firestorm, question of allyship and tactics, and more. Dara Lind gives a good summary of the way it’s all shaken out over at Vox. The upshot, at least in the short-term? The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a racial justice platform.
- Since then, Sanders has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls. Meanwhile, the National Nurses Union became the first trade union to endorse Sanders.
- The one year anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO came the past week, and with it, demonstrations and arrests — including the arrest of Cornel West — over a “weekend of resistance” to the ongoing assault on black lives in the United States.
- Meanwhile, California has banned secret juries and affirmed the right to film police (via DemocracyNow!)
- More coverage of the toll that unpredictable schedules is taking on the lives of workers, this time in the form of a NYTimes editorial by Teresa Tritch. A choice excerpt: “being on-call, even when one is not called, decreases an employee’s well-being and increases the need for “recovery,” (read: sleep and time off).” Meanwhile, Sabri Ben-Achour at Marketplace.org asks: Will last-minute work soon be history?
- Academic freedom may soon be a memory in the state of Wisconsin, thanks to new policies pushed forward by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature (via the Guardian).
- 4000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike at a GM plant in Brazil in the face of ongoing layoffs (via LaborNotes)
- Verizon contract negotiations continue, with Verizon East contract workers rallying up and down the coast. Meanwhile, AT&T faces a possible strike thanks to the expiration of a contract covering 23,000 of its union workers.
- Ever wonder how Amazon continues to offer those low prices, that quick delivery, that effortless consumer experience? David Golumbia wrote a piece (The Amazonization of Everything) for Jacobin explaining who pays and how.
- In NYC yesterday, protesters demonstrated outside of the offices of Paulson & Co in response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems and those who appear to be profiting off of them.