Tag Archives: policy

Hate Crimes Always Have A Logic: On The Oak Creek Gurudwara Shootings

By Guest Contributor Harsha Walia

Candles at the Vigil. Photo: Overpass Light Brigade via DailyKos.

The Oak Creek Gurudwara is my brother’s and frequently my parent’s sangat. Over the years, they have described to me how, with deep love and commitment, the community came together to build the Gurudwara. How every week the Gurudwara provided a refuge, a sanctuary, a sense of home, a sense of belonging from the isolation of being an accented brown-skinned immigrant living in Wisconsin. When I heard about the shooting at Oak Creek Gurudwara, I happened to be facilitating at an immigrant and refugee youth camp. Dozens of young middle-school and high-school aged racialized immigrants and refugees from Latin America, Asia and Africa were describing being taunted and bullied at school, feeling discriminated against by their teachers, the hardships of systemic poverty, daily fears of detention and displacement, and feeling like “unwelcome and unwanted parasites.” As young people in British Columbia, Canada they were articulating an experience of racism similar to that which my family faces living in the Midwest of America.

While these murders were abhorrent, they were not ‘senseless’. The ad nauseaum suggestion that the killings were senseless attempts to construct the shooting as random and without logic, when in fact racist hate crimes operate through the very deliberate and precise logic of white supremacy. Continue reading

The Healthcare Reform Debate in Atlanta, With a Racial Update

by Guest Contributor (and regular commenter) Atlasien

UPDATE: There is a guy with a gun outside of Obama’s town hall. This shit is getting ridiculous. Gawker has details:

MSNBC just aired video of a man with a pistol strapped to his leg waiting for Barack Obama to arrive at a townhall in New Hampshire.

The man is carrying a sign that says, “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty.” That’s a reference to a Thomas Jefferson quote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It was a favorite slogan of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was wearing a T-shirt when he was arrested with a picture of Lincoln on the front and a tree dripping with blood on the back.

Now, this guy is carrying a legal weapon, says NBC News’ Ron Allen. The local chief of police has no objections. Open carriage of licensed handguns is legal in New Hampshire, and the man is standing on the private property of a nearby church (!) that has no problem with an armed man hanging around.

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I live in Georgia’s 4th District, and I just attended Representative Hank Johnson’s healthcare town hall meeting. The event drew thousands of people. Our group got there an hour early, but even with that lead time, there was obviously no chance of getting inside.

So we stood outside with signs: large, simple, direct, polite signs. We got some good attention and maybe some media coverage.

Judging from the signs in the incredibly long line, supporters of healthcare reform outnumbered opponents by a lot, maybe 4 to 1. The 4th District is majority African-American and overwhelmingly Democratic. It was almost a sure bet that many healthcare opponents drove into the district from much further away. I saw a lot of exurb county license plates in the parking lot.

There were a few weird screamers. Someone yelled “YOU’RE NAZIS” at us. Another man yelled “you want to send all our money to Kenya!” However, there were so many supporters that the really rude people never achieved critical mass, and the atmosphere outside remained calm.

There was heavy security, and apparently the rules for the town hall were very strict and carefully explained at the beginning. People who yelled or were disruptive would be escorted out. I can’t wait to read a summary to see how the town hall worked out.

It was certainly nothing like the mass chaos at the town hall in St. Louis that made national news. In this event, a black conservative named Kenneth Gladney claims to have been attacked and racially insulted by (black) SEIU union activists. Depending on your point of view, Gladney could be a a brave martyr or a scam artist… or perhaps just a regular person in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a difficult situation to get a hold on. Continue reading

Microcredit: “A political economy of shame”

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

It’s easy to understand the appeal of microcredit. Poor women from the Global South use loans as small as $20 to start businesses and lift themselves from poverty. The creditors make a profit when the loans are repaid. Win-win.

What do they say about things that look too good to be true?

A whopping 90 to 99 percent of these loans are paid back with interest, another shining indicator of microcredit’s success. But there is an ugly side to ensuring repayment, where poor women are made to police one another and punish defaulters with collective acts of aggression.

In her study of Grameen Bank microcredit programs in rural Bangladesh,* Leila Karim finds that the focus on the 98 percent loan recovery rate hides how beneficiaries are co-opted into “a political economy of shame.” Continue reading