Tag Archives: jobs

Review of a book worth buying: Separate and Unequal

Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American LiberalismSeparate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism by Steven M. Gillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How sad that the contents and conclusions of this report are still relevant, and still ignored, today, 50 years after it was released in response to the riots in Newark and Detroit of the “long hot” summer of 1967. I found this book after seeing Dr. King’s response to the question, during the Memphis garbage workers’ strike, of what it would take to prevent or call off his Poor People’s March on Washington: the answer was to implement the recommendations in this report.

The report was commissioned to find out what caused the rioting, not how to prevent further riots. The clearest distinctions between those who actively participated in the rioting and their neighbors who did not, at least at the start of each riot, was the trigger of having witnessed or experienced police brutality. But what primed that trigger for action was the underlying anger, poverty, constant discrimination, and despair to which the Black community in particular was subjected over a very long period of time.

The report called for various measures to be taken which would have improved the lives not only of members of the Black community, but also everyone else in the nation. Measures like the elimination of sub-standard housing in inner-cities, building new schools, health centers, and community facilities, and introducing a guaranteed minimum income would help all citizens, not only those bereft of resources and hope when they were freed with only the clothing on their backs, unable to melt into White American society. From the disrespect by police, to the lack of garbage collection in inner-city neighborhoods, Black Americans were fed up with White America’s deliberate disregard for “the realities of life for many poor blacks” in the United States. This anger, combined with the criminalization of poverty (which was just beginning to kick off the era of Mass Incarceration), the lack of Black faces in [the media, police, highly paid professions and other areas of potential] power, led to a sense of hopelessness and fear that non-violent resistance would never break down a system which was inherently designed to break down the Black community. Ideas like the War on Drugs, brought back by Reagan after the Carter years, and Law and Order, parroted by both right and left, muddied the discourse around solving the problems that led to the riots, instead creating a cloud of convenient reasons to blame inner-city Black communities for their problems while ignoring the structural issues that had created and perpetuated the problems since the slavery era.

The conclusion drawn by the report, above all, was that the entire nation needed education and “a richer portrait of life in urban areas” and to hire many many more Black police officers.

I think that many of the issues of perspective mentioned in the book by the author in his analysis of the report and its time are now beginning to be looked at again, as the discussion around White Privilege becomes louder and more mainstream. That discussion is a necessary but insufficient part of the solution to our current problems, which go back to pre-existing problems pointed out by the report. Please read this book on the Commission report (and also see Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin), and then, write your reps!

Pages I found especially relevant included:

P. 6: 1966 result of creation of ghettos by the 1930s-50s urban renewal aka Negro Removal all across the USA
** P. 12: What a contrast: only 1/100 white people thought that blacks were poorly treated in the USA…
***Ribicoff P. 37: recos…
P. 100: “in the ghetto” last garbage collection (if at all), police disrespectful, school & housing dilapidated
P. 228 (and the answer to that boot-straps baloney:) discrimination and segregation prevented many blacks from following the same patterns which had been followed by immigrant groups, and limited blacks to all but the lowest … jobs

Let’s #EndPoverty & #EndMoneyBail by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting for ALL!!!!, Walk !


March, 12019 HE

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SafetyPin, IRV, NVC and HE: Suggestions for Immediate/short-term, mid-term, long-term, and Dream-term strategies

We are all working to continue to recover from the shock of this past week.  Still, certain strategies that many of us began putting into place some time ago continue to have value.  One strategy is working to build inclusive cultural structures that can reframe our ways of thinking as a culture (clearly long term work), such as using the Holocene Calendar.

Adapting to the needs of the moment, however, are also clearly important, and more vicerally compelling as well.  To that end, many of us are standing, like the Sargents from Herland, together with the most vulnerable, ready to calmly, even grimly, but non-violently, face down those who would threaten or do harm.  Like those Sargents, we stand with the discipline that Dr. King and Gandhi taught, of non-violent resistance.  Those who wear a #SafetyPin are pledging to stand with all of our fellow human beings under threat.

But we need intermediate strategies, between the short-term reaction of the #SafetyPin movement, and the long-term, evolving toward inclusive cultural change.  I would suggest that one mid-range strategy to work for is Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), also known as Ranked Choice Voting, such as the state of Maine recently adopted.

A second mid-term to long-term strategy is to study and share Non-Violent Communication (NVC) while working toward better jobs (especially via worker’s cooperatives and unions/labor activism) for ALL races and classes.

So, short, medium and long-term: Stand together using NVC to work for IRV, and eventually changing our year designation from Anno Domini/Common Era to Holocene/Human Era (HE).

Finally, my personal Dream-term (very long-term) goal is to see both single payer health care and a Universal Basic Income, such as Dr. King called for over 40 years ago.  These would allow every person, of any creed, color, class, etc, to reach his or her full potential as a human being.  That is, after all, the real American Dream, isn’t it?

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

November 13th, 12016 HE

Job-seekers collective, anyone?

Following the example of Feruze from Sihirli Annem: (1).

1.) Don’t Give UP!!  (See (1.) below for my personal inspiration…)

2.) Ok, so for those of us hunting for a job, any job, and getting more and more tired and  frustrated by the day, what to do? (June 12017 update -here is my resume: JonesPolicyResumePublic)

Help each other:  how?  By looking over each other’s CVs (résumés), and Cover Letters, and if neccesary, sending them or posting them for those friends who are temporarily too tired to do so themselves.  Yes, a bit invasive, but with the permission of the person, potentially life-saving.

What do you think, Dear Readers?

Read, Write, Run, Teach !

6 February,12016 HE

(1.): Put one foot in front of the other, even if you are doubled over in breathless tears, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and find a solution.  Like Feruze Abla, from Sihirli Annem.

AND: Remember to reach out -either IRL or on-line. Get help!! Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

23 March, 12016 HE