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We Have Fergusons in France—but the French Media Looks Away

"When we talk, though, about covering up police misconduct in the U.S., the racial prism seems obvious for France’s national commentators: A white police officer kills a black citizen and that falls within the context of American structural and historic racism. But even though France has its own long history of slavery and colonialism, our media, usually fond of highlighting this type of detail, omits mentioning it when discussing homegrown police violence.

On the contrary, in France, when an Arab or black citizen dies at the hands of white policemen, seldom is the skin color of the victim or the alleged killer mentioned. And while the French notion of “universality” is a big deal when it comes to seeing “colorless” French citizens, as opposed to the American “multiculturalism” that we love to put down, France is actually colorblind only when to it is to our advantage.”

Portland police's problem with race: 'This city is not as liberal as it thinks it is'

“This city is not as liberal as it thinks it is,” he said. “You have a strong progressive element but there are still strains of the old system of institutional racism in Portland. You don’t just get rid of that.”

‘In the 20s and 30s, the Klan pretty much controlled the council’

Oregon has an inglorious history of racial prejudice, including a clause in its constitution barring African Americans from living in the state. A law passed in the 1850s required black people to be “lashed” once a year, to encourage them to leave.

Until the late 1950s, Portland real estate brokers abided by an industry code under which they refused to sell houses in white neighbourhoods to African Americans.

“There’s a historical context that Portland even though it was a northwestern city, it was very segregated,” said Haynes. “In the 20s and 30s, the [Ku Klux] Klan pretty much controlled the city council here. A lot of the housing laws were Jim Crow.”

Haynes said the stain of prejudice still taints the city police and pointed to a controversy around a senior officer, Mark Kruger, who kept his job despite erecting a memorial in a public park to five Nazi soldiers, including a member of Hitler’s SS and an officer who was a war criminal. Kruger now heads the Portland police’s drugs and vice division.

The Justice Department report was damning of the police. It found that over many years the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) “engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of force against individuals with actual or perceived mental illness”.

Among the cases it investigated was that of a 42-year-old local musician who suffered from schizophrenia, James Chasse, who was shot multiple times with a taser and beaten so badly by police he had a punctured lung, 16 fractured ribs and 26 broken bones in all. He died in custody. The city later admitted that the police had no grounds to detain Chasse and paid his family $1.6m. The officer accused of leading the beating had previously come under scrutiny for shooting a 12-year-old girl with a baton round.

The Justice Department said it found “a pattern of dangerous uses of force against persons who posed little or no threat and who could not, as a result of their mental illness, comply with officers’ commands”. In one case, Portland police repeatedly tasered a naked and unarmed man who was acting oddly because he was suffering a diabetic emergency. The Justice Department said Portland police were also swift to escalate the use of force when its use “could have been avoided or minimised”.

Tom Steenson, a civil rights lawyer who represented the Campbell and Chasse families in lawsuits against the city, welcomed the recognition that the Portland police used too much force against people who are mentally disturbed. But he said that is just one manifestation of a broader pattern of behaviour that extends to the treatment of racial minorities.”

Sweden feminists roar into political arena


idk anything about swedish polling orgs but i’d bet the lower number is the more legit one. i do know that aftonbladet is a tabloid.

Nils Holmstrom, a 53-year-old administrator who marched in F!’s May Day demonstration, is among the 17 percent of F! members who are male. In fact, 15 percent of the party’s candidates for parliament are men.

Helene Bergman is a 68-year-old Swedish journalist who has been advocating for women’s rights since the 1970s, when the fight was for a woman’s right to work and access to public child care.

"I’ve lived in Turkey, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh; I’ve seen how far Sweden has come. You can always fight for more, but this should not be done through gender racism,” said Bergman.

F!’s greatest achievement, so far, has been to redirect Sweden’s political dialogue ahead of next month’s vote. It is no exaggeration that hardly any political speech since spring has been made without the mention of gender equality.

Parties already in parliament have jumped on the feminist bandwagon, making competing pledges to improve Sweden’s record.

Liberal Party leader Jan Bjorklund poses on posters that pronounce “Feminism without socialism”. His party is promising to increase financial incentives for a more equal share of parental leave.

The Social Democrats have proposed a ban on sexualised advertising, while the Greens are pushing for free contraceptives for women under 26. The Moderate party presented a five-point economic programme for greater equality.

gender racism and feminism without socialism are two of the funniest things i’ve heard in a while

The principled abandonment of condoms has led to scenarios of purposeful HIV transmission and, on that basis, to the creation of new sexual identities and communities. Thus the emergence of what has come to be known as bareback subculture represents not only an unprecedented situation in the history of AIDS but also a new chapter in the history of sexuality.
It’s not hard to envisage how this shift in sexual practice has become the subject of intense controversy both inside the gay community and beyond it. My view of the controversy is that, while focusing on an extremely significant phenomenon, it has tended to generate more heat than light.

One of the most insistent questions that I have encountered when lecturing on barebacking concerns the subcultures racial demographics. Given how studies of AIDS epidemiology have shown that the incidence of HIV infection in the United States has been rising most significantly in nonwhite populations, such questions are highly apropos. However, other questions lurk behind the ostensibly innocent request for more information about subcultural demographics. One question involves trying to ascertain the participation of African American men in the subculture and its overlap with DL subculture – of men of have sex with other men “on the down low,” that is, in secret, without assuming a gay identity. Wondering whether black men are as “bad” as white gay men may be a way of wondering whether bareback subculture is a product of privilege – all those financially comfortable white guys with good medical insurance who can afford the latest drugs and who boast the means to cultivate new forms of hedonism – or whether it is a subculture of the disenfranchised and desperate, those who see no future for themselves in a society whose principles of equality and opportunity are pitilessly ironized by its accelerating material inequities.

Mainstream feminism is tepid and cowardly: Work, sex, race, “having it all” and true liberation

The feminism that has mattered to the media and made magazine headlines in recent years has been the feminism most useful to heterosexual, high-earning middle- and upper-middle-class white women.

Every few months, it seems, the media rediscovers feminism and decides it’s a trendy new way to sell books and magazines, as long as it doesn’t scare people by posing any actual threat to their way of life. The sort of feminism that sells is the sort of feminism that can appeal to almost everybody while challenging nobody, feminism that soothes, that speaks for and to the middle class, aspirational feminism that speaks of shoes and shopping and sugar-free snacks and does not talk about poor women, queer women, ugly women, transsexual women, sex workers, single parents, or anybody else who fails to fit the mould. That sort of feminism does not interest me. Let others write it. Let others construct an unchallenging feminism that speaks only to the smallest common denominator. The young women of today know far better than their slightly older sisters who came of age in the listless 1990s how much work is still to be done, and how unglamorous much of it is. They know how bloody important it is to talk about power, and class, and work, and love, race and poverty and gender identity.   



We were lied to. The women of my generation were told that we could ‘have it all’, as long as ‘it all’ was marriage, babies and a career in finance, a cupboard full of beautiful shoes and terminal exhaustion – and even that is only an option if we’re rich, white, straight and well behaved. These perfect lives would necessarily rely on an army of nannies and care-workers, and nobody has yet bothered to ask whether they can have it all.

We can have everything we want as long as what we want is a life spent searching for exhausting work that doesn’t pay enough, shopping for things we don’t need and sticking to a set of social and sexual rules that turn out, once you plough through the layers of trash and adverts, to be as rigid as ever.

As for young men, they were told they lived in a brave new world of economic and sexual opportunity, and if they felt angry or afraid, if they felt constrained or bewildered by contradictory expectations, by the pressure to act masculine, make money, demonstrate dominance and fuck a lot of pretty women while remaining a decent human being, then their distress was the fault of women and minorities. It was these grasping women, these homosexuals and people of colour who had taken away the power and satisfaction that was once their birthright as men. We were taught, all of us, that if we were dissatisfied, it was our fault, or the fault of those closest to us. We were built wrong, somehow. We had failed to adjust. If we showed any sort of distress, we probably needed to be medicated or incarcerated, depending on our social status. There are supposed to be no structural problems, just individual maladaption.

The world has changed for women and queers as much as it possibly could without upsetting the underlying structure of society, which is still sexist, homophobic and misogynist, because it relies for its continued existence on sexual control, on social inequality and on the unpaid labour of women and girls. Further change will require more ambition than we have hitherto been permitted. Further change will require us to speak what is unspoken, to refuse to accept the world as it is. It will require us to ask big, challenging questions about the nature of work and love, sex and politics, and to be prepared for the answers to be different from what we had expected.”

The Economist's review of my book reveals how white people still refuse to believe black people about being black

"But the Economist didn’t apologize for dismissing what slaves said about slavery. That kind of arrogance remains part of a wider, more subtle pattern in how black testimony often gets treated – sometimes unknowingly – as less reliable than white. The Economist reviewer was saying that the key sources of my book, African Americans – black people – cannot be believed.

As the historian Jelani Cobb pointed out to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Friday night, the reviewer’s ideas about slavery’s history are not actually as uncommon as many of us would like to believe. He’s right: All across the American south, you can go to historic plantation sites still pushing the idea that slaves who had a “good” master were happy, and “faithful”.

If you write about the history of slavery, you become used to the pattern: No matter how many accounts you cite from ex-slaves, people often say they need more information before they can accept what former cotton pickers say about how cotton picking worked. And when we’re talking about contemporary events, the presumptive doubt is just as bad.

For instance: white people have had numerous opportunities, especially after Ferguson, to hear what African Americans think about how policing takes place when white civilians aren’t around. Yet twice as many white Americans as black Americans still think that police treat African Americans fairly.”

'Endies': Employed with No Disposable Income are struggling in London

"The report claims that low- to middle-income workers have been hit hard in the capital because rents are around 50% higher than in the rest of the UK. For households with incomes between £20,800 and £28,500 a year, rental costs have risen 4% in real terms over the last decade. Rent now accounts for about 41% of their incomes.

It warns that “endies” who do not own a home have almost no chance of buying one. “There are now only three boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham – where home ownership is potentially affordable for two people earning that borough’s median wage,” the report says.”

Poverty pay isn’t inevitable. Look to the cleaners of New York

"So, what makes the difference between the hotel staff in London and New York? In our capital, between 2% and 4% of all hotel workers are in a trade union. Over the Atlantic, about 70% of New York hotel staff are unionised. Offer such high memberships to a public sector union official over here and they’d bite your hand off. And the hotel and motel trades council has just signed a deal taking a room cleaner’s salary up to $69,000 by 2024. A lot of Gotham city’s junior academics and journalists can only dream of such guaranteed earnings.

Go to the TUC conference in Liverpool this week and you’ll hear plenty of speakers complain about how Britain’s booming jobs market is really a boom in the lowest-paid service work. Graduates are becoming not barristers but baristas – and not just for a few weeks but for years. All true enough; but such complaints can slide into a lazy fatalism that restaurants and hotels and adult social care must inevitably be low-paid and exploitative of insecure migrant labour.

That response is wrong for two reasons. First, for the labour movement to recognise that Britain’s major growth industries are in poverty-pay sectors, and then not to try organising those sectors, amounts to little more than an early call for its obituarists to get typing. Second, workers in those sectors can not only organise – they can take serious industrial action. Rather than accept a 35% pay cut, care staff in Doncaster have been on strike for nearly nine weeks. After seeing one in three of their colleagues made redundant, carers in the north London borough of Barnet have just begun a planned walk-out. Cleaners and other ancillary staff at parts of the University of London have fought for, and won, living wages.”

After Ferguson, U.N. Calls on U.S. to Get Its Act Together on Race Discrimination

"Because much of the world is tired of the U.S. double standard when it comes to human rights. It should come as no surprise that people associated images from Ferguson – full of teargas, rubber bullets, and militarized police deployed to suppress protests – with countries with poor human rights records, like Egypt, Bahrain, Israel, and Turkey. Global opinion is informed and influenced by the internet and social media, with domestic human rights abuses quickly and easily disseminated. Even when the violator is a superpower, we are reminded, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

These sentiments were on full display earlier this month when the United States appeared before a U.N. human rights body to defend its record on racial discrimination. Today, this body — the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — issued its verdict: a 14-page-long scathing report on the U.S. failure to fully comply with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in numerous areas affecting racial and ethnic minorities. While it commended the Obama administration for steps it has taken to combat racial discrimination, it highlighted the gaps between the administration’s stated commitments and the glaring reality of laws and practices that continue to discriminate against and disproportionately impact people of color and indigenous communities.     

The committee’s findings are based on hundreds of pages of reports submitted by the U.S. government as well as advocacy groups, which are then produced after a public hearing in Geneva attended by a high-level U.S. delegation. The U.S. review coincided with the protests in Ferguson after the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, a development that did not go overlooked during the hearing. Members of the committee were also moved by testimonies from the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, who attended the review to share their loss and lessons to be learned from their own tragedies.”   

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