13th: On the alliance between government, corporations, and media

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Do you believe the state has your best interests in mind? 13th’s center of interest is how the media and law have worked together to create fear toward and imprison blacks, especially men. Starting in the 70’s, the government persecuted black community leaders so much, that several left the country. For example, in the 1980’s, the news sensationalized the crack epidemic, and as a consequence, the 1990’s toughened drug crime sentencing. President Clinton’s presidency saw the greatest increase in detention centers and prisoners.

Now, we are contending with ALEC laws, which companies propose and fund. Examples of these businesses are Walmart, the tobacco industry, and CCA – Corrections Corporation of America, the fifth largest creator of prisons in the United States. You learn that private penitentiaries are a large source of profit. The more bodies they have in prison, the greater the income state officials make.

Do not engage in politics while half-asleep

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Oh man, I try not to talk about politics too much for a couple reasons:

  1. I’m ideologically atypical. I think people are generally the best judges of what’s appropriate for them, and if they’re not directly hurting anyone else, leave them alone. Yeah, there’s something deeply wrong with me alright.
  2. I kinda feel like the political system is basically a trap/no one with any “weight” in politics has much interest outside of their corporate backers and themselves….I was a PoliSci major ten (omg) years ago.

Unless it’s not even six in the morning and Ann Coulter bahhing about her shindig in Berkeley getting cancelled because the financers thought it wouldn’t be particularly profitable to send some right-wing person to talk in Berkeley?

That’s kind of like pulling out of funding a bakery on a diabetic colony.

Like, nothing against bakeries or diabetics, just…exactly how many people do we think are going to be utilizing this bakery? It’s almost as if…the money could be better used to do something else.

She’s complaining about her very important message being stiffled and is crying about free speech. Let’s look at this Wikipedia article on the censorship in the Soviet Union. Now compare this to what just happened.

 

It has been a really long time since this has been a part of my life, but isn’t this less about this poor little blonde girl being harrassed by the man or whatever, and more like a pretty good of free market economics at work? As in: “We’d fund this, but we’ve looked into this, and five people would show up, and all of them would be very angry, which means they’re probably not going to be doing stuff like paying for signed photos and buying books”

I guess that wouldn’t whip anyone into much of a frenzy, though.

*sighs*

I went to this libertarian event when I was 18, and the people there were great, actually, but I’m more like a warped left-libertarian and they were all very right-wing. As in “Ayn Rand: The Ultimate Sex Goddess” level right wing.

Although there was that guy who cornered me with a conversation about the metal content of coins and how fort knox is empty…Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but that may not be the subject to lead with in a conversation with an 18 year old.

They, did, however, have a free beer tent, and a tendency not to card, which the 18 year old alcoholic me really appreciated the hell out of.

Malala Yousafzai is a hero of our present and future

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Pakistani human-rights and education advocate Malala Yousafzai has just become the youngest person ever to be named a U.N. Messenger of Peace, an honorary title conferred by the body’s Secretary General António Guterres. Yousafzai, now 19 years old, has accepted the role with a special focus on girls’ education, the BBC reports. Messengers are typically…

via Malala Yousafzai Has Just Been Named the Youngest Ever U.N. Messenger of Peace — TIME

Emma Goldman: “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.”

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Emma Goldman was by career a nurse and cared for the sick and under served throughout her life – even when her activism landed her in prison, she took care of others and helped bring the ideals of Anarchism to the common man.

Here is her definition of Anarchy: “the philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.”

She was an idealist, a devoted friend, a lover, a fighter, one of the unspoken names of the women’s rights movement – she pushed Margaret Sanger to form Planned Parenthood and helped her organize & get contacts – and was considered “exceedingly dangerous” and an enemy of the state.

Look at this sweet, grandmotherly face:

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Did I not sell you on her yet? Are you an ADD-ridden millennial? If so, here’s a rap video about how awesome she was:

I’ll calm down now and tell you more about her. In 1869, she was born to a traditional Jewish family in Russia, who emigrated to the United States when she was 16. She worked in the sewing industry where she worked 10 1/2 hours a day for a mere $2.50.

Our heroine was drawn to the cause when labor activists fighting to create the eight-hour workday were bombed, blamed for the violence, and four of them were executed for the event known as the Haymarket Massacre.

The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.

-Emma Goldman

Soon she connected with Sasha Berkman, another anarchist. After this meeting, she became lionized to the cause and gave speeches. The two became lifelong friends and occasional lovers, although fate did not smile kindly on them -, they weren’t even on the same continent, and he spent 22 years imprisoned for his assassination attempt of a businessman named Henry Clay Frick.

She was soon arrested for inciting a riot. While imprisoned, she befriended a doctor and studied medicine, with the ambition of becoming a nurse. She spent time in Europe learning, and things were going well for a while. However, a man with mental health problems named Leon Czolgosz attempted to assassinate the president of the United States. When asked why he said he was inspired by hearing one of Emma’s speeches. The press ran with it and vilified her – she was at times reduced to homelessness and many friends turned their backs on her during this period. However, she only spoke of Czolgosz with sympathy and forgiveness and even went to the extent of petitioning for his release. For a time, she lived under an assumed name and resigned her activism in favor of living a quiet life as a nurse.

Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.
-Emma Goldman

Years passed, and Sasha was released from prison. In the book “Emma and Sasha: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman“, they include that when he entered prison, people were still driving horse-driven buggies. When he left, he was startled by the abundance of motorized vehicles whizzing past him. Emma was startled by his decline in health and form.

Reunited, they founded Mother Earth, an anarchist magazine. She toured Europe to promote her ideals, took a lover, and wrote her renowned “Anarchism and Other Essays”. Around this time, Margaret Sanger – a founder of Planned Parenthood, wrote in favor of birth control and women’s liberty. Emma reached out to her and helped her organize.

This fertile period ended when she was deported for encouraging young men to avoid the draft. She was deported to Russia, and at first supported the revolution there, but became disillusioned and traveled Europe afterward, trying to find a new home. She published again and gained entry into the United States for a lecture tour. While she was there, Sasha, who had been in ill health for quite some time, ended his life.

Through her grief, she continued her activism –  she was one of the leading voices in opposition to war, including the Spanish Civil War and the first World War. She kept true to the cause until her death from a stroke, four years after Sasha had died.

The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.
-Emma Goldman

Far from normal

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Six unique facts about me:

 

  1. I’m left-handed.

2. I’ve had a weird amount of health problems. I was born with a small cleft palate. I had a brain tumor at age 8, pneumonia a few times as a teen, a pulmonary embolism from birth control at age 19, and a spontaneously breaking leg at age 28.

3. I’m spiritual, but not religious. Once upon a time, I was a good Catholic but lost my faith as a teenager. I went through a period where I was chasing religion heavily – I tried Buddhism, Judaism, returning to Christianity – I went through religions like most people go through diets. Now I’ve settled on agnosticism toward the presence of a sentient God, but a belief that we’re all connected and here to learn.

4. I have no idea where I stand politically. In terms of ideals I’m an anarchist, but as I’ve aged I doubt that anarchism is a realistic and workable goal. I’m trying to find something more workable to support.  I guess it’s fair to say that in terms of philosophy, I’m an anarchist, though. I believe people should follow their own rules as long as they don’t harm others.

Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

-Winston Churchill

5. I feel like I went from a mentality of a 16-year-old to maybe a normal 30-year-old mentality in the last year.

6. I’m a formerly homeless, and female former polysubstance abuser, which tends to fascinate health professionals. Sometimes my doctor appts get waylaid into the hows and whys of homelessness and drug use, and their theories on why we do what we do – a lot of professionals are highly curious and nonjudgmental, but don’t know a lot of (open) former drug users, and have to go by their assumptions.

There was an instructor from a local nursing school at my ex-boyfriend’s half-way house and she ended up bringing me in for a Question and Answer session about drug use and recovery at the school. I’m like The Elephant Man crossed with an ambassador.

 

I also started out as an alcoholic and went super-nova with injecting meth, so there’s that.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X & Alex Haley

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I was going through the hardest thing, also the greatest thing, for any human being to do; to accept that which is already within you, and around you.

-Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

 

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.

-Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

If I had to use one word to describe the life of Malcolm X, I would use the word “growth”. He overcame poverty, a life of crime, drug addiction, poor education (despite being extremely intelligent), and the racism of his time. He eventually made peace with himself and humanity and began to teach love until he was assassinated.

Malcolm X is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of American human rights. He was part of the Nation of Islam, an organization that promotes independence, self-respect, and clean living in the black community, but also teaches segregation and hatred of the white race.

If you learn more about his early life and the struggles he overcame as a black man born in the early part of the 20th century in rural Michigan, you can understand why the teachings of the Nation of Islam attracted him.

His father was an outspoken minister and early proponent of black pride and nationalism. When Malcolm was young, his father was murdered. The insurance company refused to pay death benefits to his mother – they “investigated” the death and declared that it was an accident.

He had several siblings, and his mother struggled to keep the family together, and eventually had to swallow her pride and accept government aid. This allowed social workers access to the family, and they worked not to help the family, but to split apart. After several years, his mother was institutionalized, and the children were sent to different families. He began to dip into crime around this time and ended up in a juvenile care facility. He was known to be extremely bright, and had the ambition to be a lawyer, but was told to become a carpenter by a teacher because of his race.

He eventually moved to New York, to live with a female family member. Despite the fact that she was well-intentioned and a good influence, he got deeper into crime and began dealing and burglarizing. He was eventually sent to prison, where he taught himself how to read and write. This is where he was introduced to the teachings of the Nation of Islam (separate from the religion of Islam). He went from a staunch atheist to a deeply spiritual man and began his journey toward becoming a human rights figure and reinventing himself and his views on humanity.

I love Malcolm, because if he can turn his life around, so can I. Throughout his speeches and work, you learn that no one will respect you until you respect yourself.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who feels hopeless in their own life or anyone who wants to know more about the civil rights period in American history. I must warn you–he was quite adverse to the white race for a long time, so there is a lot of racist ideology…he grows out of it, though. This book gave me hope for the power of the individual to change, as well as hope for humanity as a whole.