Tag Archives: activism

Screengrab from OP KKK 2015

Anonymous Outs KKK Members

Yesterday, Anonymous released the Official OpKKK HoodsOff 2015 Data Release. The list has only been vetted by members of Anonymous – however, a few names on the list have been known, active members of various hate groups (like the leader of Stormfront) for some time. There is also commentary associated with some of the names, like indicating people who are retired law enforcement with ties to the Klan or people who have been banished from their chapter due to criminal history.

In their collective statement, Anonymous is clear to stress that the believe in the right of the Ku Klux Klan to exist and hold their views, however abhorrent. But to commit acts of domestic terrorism under the cloak of anonymity is not acceptable to members of the collective, hence the mass outing. The statement begins:

Where to Start? The basics. The Ku Klux Klan has approximately 150 active cells, operating in 41 states, with membership concentrated in both the South and the Midwest. The KKK is not what it once was but it does continue to survive in various locations throughout the United States. At its peak, membership was in the millions. Now, membership is likely less than 5,000. It is very important to understand – the KKK does not have a central unified leadership. Instead, they are split off into local cells or groups.

These groups generally oppose interracial relationships, homosexuality and illegal immigration and historically express this ideology through acts of terror. We want to remind you: This operation is not about the ideas of members of the Ku Klux Klan. This is about the behaviors of members of KKK splinter cells that bear the hallmarks of terrorism. When members of the KKK like Frazier Glenn Miller, (founder of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party) murdered three innocent individuals at a Jewish retirement home during Passover – the word “terrorism” was seldom found in mainstream media’s coverage of the attack. Why? What sort of violence does it take to call *some* factions of Ku Klux Klan what *some* of these cells really are?

We defend free thought and free speech. The anons responsible for this operation will not support *acts* of terrorism and *acts* of hate inflicted upon the public. The KKK is part of an important cultural landscape and history in the United States.

We need to make room for important, blunt, honest, public, productive conversation. Violent bigotry IS a problem in the United States. This is not a colorblind society. It deeply divided on racial lines.

#WhiteHouseIftar and the Tactics of Activism

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

 (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson via The White House Blog)

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson via The White House Blog)

As many marginalized groups know, it’s not a party until we’re all arguing among each other. If you caught the #WhiteHouseIftar hashtag on Twitter, you saw some intense back-and-forth among American Muslims. But I’d like to share the two best pieces that characterize the debate, rather than focus on infighting.

I enjoyed the respectful consideration from Omid Safi, who asked those invited to the White House and State Department iftars to boycott them for the following reasons:

We should, all of us, collectively, politely, and firmly, decline the State Department Ramadan and White House Iftars until the following three measures are taken:

1)   The United States immediately abandons the policy of extra-judicial drone attacks in all countries.
2)   The United States immediately releases the political prisoners who have been cleared for release at Guantanamo Bay
3)   The United States immediately abandons the policy of profiling and surveillance based on race, ethnicity, and religion. Continue reading

An African Election: What American Women Can Learn From Ghanaian Feminists

By Tamara Winfrey Harris

The Manifesto therefore provides a platform of a common set of demands for the achievement of gender equality and equity and sustainable national development. It allows women to articulate their concerns in the 2004 Elections and beyond. Women are thereby empowered to use their votes as a bargaining tool and recruit others to do the same. The Manifesto provides female and male candidates with an agenda once they are elected to parliament and the District Assemblies.  Finally, it would ensure political party accountability as they would ultimately be assessed on the basis of where they stand in relation to issues that concern women as outlined in the Women’s Manifesto. (Read the full Women’s Manifesto for Ghana here.)

In America, we are so convinced of our brand of democracy’s superiority that we are loathe to look beyond our shores for inspiration. And if we did, it is safe to say we would not look to Africa, a place the mainstream still imagines as a “dark continent” of indistinct and disadvantaged countries and peoples. What could the U.S.A. possibly learn from a country like Ghana?

AfroPop’s documentary “An African Election,” which premieres at 8:30 pm ET, Monday, Oct. 1, illustrates that riveting, hard-fought elections; charismatic politicos; and engaged, change-focused electorates are not exclusive to America. In a short 55 years, Ghana won its independence from the British, experienced four coups d’etat, and successfully transitioned into democracy. And there is something else to be learned by American women concerned about legislative efforts to curb our freedoms–Ghana is exactly where we might look for a response to the “war on women.”

Read more at Clutch Magazine…

On Richard Aoki

Say it ain’t so.

When the news broke that beloved radical activist and former Black Panther Richard Aoki may have been working as an FBI informant, I was floored. I had the same reaction as Phil, over at Angry Asian Man:

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Granted, Aoki, who committed suicide in 2009, is not around to verify, deny, or explain these claims–claims that will no doubt help to sell the crap out of this new book. I’m not willing to accept this bombshell just like that, especially based on one article that happens to be written by Seth Rosenfeld, the same guy who wrote the book making these claims.

We’re also talking about the FBI, who definitely aren’t amateurs when it comes to shady discrediting tactics. It’s not hard to believe that there are holdovers from that era who would go to these lengths to tarnish Aoki’s legacy. Hell no. Not buying this. Need more information.

So I went looking for all the information I could find–and what remains is frustratingly inconclusive. Here’s a quick walkthrough of FOIA requests, COINTELPRO, other informants, and why the truth in these situations is so hard to find. Continue reading

Must Read: Jessica Colotl’s DREAM and Legal Reality

Jessica Colotl: Eye Of The Storm is a twelve page comic exploring one of thousands of stories behind the DREAM act. The description:

Jessica Colotl is an undocumented immigrant who was brought to America as a child – and who now faces deportation. Reporter Ryan Schill and artist Greg Scott bring to life the story that has become a flash point for America’s immigration debate. This comic was produced in cooperation with the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. It is available in Spanish here.

“Losing the Movement:” Black Women, Violence, And Prison Nation

by Guest Contributor MK, originally published at Prison Culture

Last week, I was privileged to organize an event for a project that I am affiliated with called Girl Talk. As part of the event, my friend, the brilliant Dr. Beth Richie, spoke about her new book Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. I can’t recommend the book any more highly.

Beth suggested on Thursday that the book is to some extent autobiographical, in part tracing her personal involvement as an activist in the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement. In reading the book, I found my own story also represented in the history that she illuminates through her research.

Today, I want to focus on one key aspect of the thesis that Beth advances in the book. She contends that the “success” of the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement in passing legislation and gaining public legitimacy was in large part due to the increasingly conservative political climate that was emerging in a parallel way. That conservative political climate emphasized a “law -and-order” and “tough-on-crime” approach to addressing social problems.

Beth pointed out in her talk that many activists within the anti-violence movement (particularly women of color and queer people) spoke out about the fact that increasing criminalization would adversely affect certain populations. Their voices, however, did not win the day. Continue reading

Celebrate Mothers/Mamas/Mami’s Day!

Looking for a way to celebrate the folks who raised you–but from a slightly different perspective than you would get down at Hallmark? The good people over at Strong Families (a project of Forward Together/Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice) present Mama’s Day, a multicultural, queer-friendly celebration of the folks who do some of the most significant (and unpaid) work in our society.

As usual, Jamilah King at Colorlines has the scoop:

“I can’t find a Mother’s Day card that looks at our identities in a way that is sentimental for me and my mom,” says Shanelle Matthews, communications coordinator at Forward Together, an Oakland-based organization that’s leading the e-Card drive through its Strong Families initiative. Matthews grew up as one of three kids in a single-parent black household, and wants to celebrate her mother’s hard work. “This campaign is personally close to be because I can finally say something to my mom on Mother’s Day that’s actually of cultural relevance and value.”

Help support Mama’s Day!

(Thanks Perez for the tip!)

Quoted: Ethan Zuckerman On Parsing Kony 2012 And Digital Activism

It makes perfect sense that a campaign to create widespread awareness of conflict in northern Uganda would want to simply this picture down to a narrative of good versus evil, and a call towards action. While I resent the emotionally manipulative video Invisible Children have produced, I admire the craft of it. They begin with a vision of a changing global world, where social media empowers individuals as never before. They craft a narrative around a passionate, driven advocate – Jason Russell – and show us the reasons for his advocacy – his friendship with a Ugandan victim of Kony. The video has a profound “story of self” that makes it possible for individuals to connect with and relate to. And Invisible Children constructs a narrative where we can help, and where we’re shirking our responsibility as fellow human beings if we don’t help.

The problem, of course, is that this narrative is too simple. The theory of change it advocates is unlikely to work, and it’s unclear if the goal of eliminating Kony should still be a top priority in stabilizing and rebuilding northern Uganda. By offering support to Museveni, the campaign may end up strengthening a leader with a terrible track record.

A more complex narrative of northern Uganda would look at the odd, codependent relationship between Museveni and Kony, Uganda’s systematic failure to protect the Acholi people of northern Uganda. It would look at the numerous community efforts, often led by women, to mediate conflicts and increase stability. It would focus on the efforts to rebuild the economy of northern Uganda, and would recognize the economic consequences of portraying northern Uganda as a war zone. It would feature projects like Women of Kireka, working to build economic independence for women displaced from their homes in Northern Uganda.

Such a narrative would be lots harder to share, much harder to get to “go viral”.

I’m starting to wonder if this is a fundamental limit to attention-based advocacy. If we need simple narratives so people can amplify and spread them, are we forced to engage only with the simplest of problems? Or to propose only the simplest of solutions?

As someone who believes that the ability to create and share media is an important form of power, the Invisible Children story presents a difficult paradox. If we want people to pay attention to the issues we care about, do we need to oversimplify them? And if we do, do our simplistic framings do more unintentional harm than intentional good?

—From “Unpacking Kony 2012” by Ethan Zuckerman

(Image Credit: Colorlines)