Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Dream and The March

Open Thread -- please share your thoughts and links. To get you started:
On this 50th anniversary of the rally for rights and jobs, let's remember that immediately after Martin Luther King's iconic I Have a Dream speech, the USG went into full clinical paranoia mode, stepping up their surveillance of him. He was considered a "dangerous Negro," a subversive, back in the day. That radicalism cannot even be tolerated by the current PTB, who've stepped up their surveillance of all the brothers and sisters, black and white alike. But the bowdlerization of MLK continues apace: from pro-labor socialist anti-war preacher to touchy-feely personification of Kumbaya. Otherwise, how could a trio of temp emps (former/current presidents) tolerate giving their own touchy-feeling speeches in his honor?
Economist and humanist Joseph Stiglitz has cut to the chase: the march was not just about racial injustice, but about economic injustice. The racial animus is still alive and well, albeit muted and dog-whistled, but the economic injustice is getting louder and more blatant by the day. Wealth disparity, with the neo-feudalism it engenders, is the de facto policy of the multinational shadow government of unfettered capitalists now ruling the planet. As Stiglitz writes in a New York Times op-ed,
In so many respects, progress in race relations has been eroded, and even reversed, by the growing economic divides afflicting the entire country.
The battle against outright discrimination is, regrettably far from over: 50 years after the march, and 45 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, major United States banks, like Wells Fargo, still discriminate on the basis of race, targeting the most vulnerable of our citizens for their predatory lending activities. Discrimination in the job market is pervasive and deep. Research suggests that applicants with African-American sounding names get fewer calls for interviews. Discrimination takes new forms; racial profiling remains rampant in many American cities, including through the stop-and-frisk policies that became standard practice in New York. Our incarceration rate is the world’s highest, although there are signs, finally, that fiscally strapped states are starting to see the folly, if not the inhumanity, of wasting so much human capital through mass incarceration. Almost 40 percent of prisoners are black. This tragedy has been documented powerfully by Michelle Alexander and other legal scholars.



Will said...

As Anne mentioned recently, always has an interesting perspective on things. Today's a great day to stop by for a visit if you've never been.

Tara Crowley said...

I will stop by, thanks.

Yes, the original march was billed as economic and racial justice. In 50 years, the economic divide has become much more vast. The racial divide - I couldn't say. In some ways, we are a more inclusive country, but the insidious, every day racism still affects us all. Just ask any black person or person of color: they'll have hair-raising stories to tell.

James F Traynor said...

Yes, from time to time, I drop into I guess a lot of white progressives do. Glen Ford is a pretty sharp guy.