I found lots of exciting ideas in this artile from Catalyst Project. They have developed a grassroots toolkit to help people take some of these ideas into their communities:
Catalyst Project believes we need to create a new world, where all people are free from all forms of oppression and are able to live in sustainable relationship with the earth. We envision a world based on global justice where everyone has housing, income, water and food, relevant education and healthcare. Creating this type of material change is no small order and will require a fundamental transformation of power on a global scale. It will require vibrant, massive, multiracial social movements that unite the 99% around the world, and build power at the grassroots. Another way to say this is we want global revolution that liberates all people from oppression.
The mountains near here rise as jagged and unforgiving obstacles on the horizon for immigrants and smugglers who cross the border by moonlight and make their way northward along the foothills, stopping in the cypress groves for rest. It’s a natural passage and the easiest route to travel.
But it was also here, on April 8, that a group of what was described as four white men wearing camouflage opened fire on a packed truck carrying immigrants illegally into the country, killing two of them. The victims, Gerardo Perez-Ruiz from the central Mexican city of Toluca and another man believed to be from Guatemala, were part of a group of 20 to 30 immigrants driving through a remote desert wash near Eloy when the group of gunmen suddenly appeared.
Article on the federal court decision yesterday about redistricting in Texas:
The map of congressional districts drawn up by Texas elected officials just after the 2010 census was not only illegitimate and illegal, but designed with a “discriminatory purpose” that aimed to limit the influence of Latino voters, a federal court in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday.
The ruling will not affect the districts in which people vote for the November election, though Texas will likely have to redraw its district maps by 2014, as the heated political and legal wrangling over those maps continues. The sharply worded ruling provided a detailed account of Texas officials' plans to draw districts for four new congressional seats created by the state’s booming Latino population that were almost certain to elect Congress members preferred by white Republican voters. And it's a ruling that should serve as a cautionary tale, according to voting rights advocates.
Woohooo! Another great article from Anthea Butler at Religion Dispatches:
Dear Gov. (Bishop) Romney:
I’m assuming you’ll understand why, as someone who teaches the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a classroom, your comment yesterday at a rally in Michigan irked me tremendously. In case you’re trying to forget what you said, let me repeat it for you. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this [Michigan] is the place that we were born and raised.”
I have tried my best to give you the benefit of the doubt. It seems however, that you are the same bully who cut your classmate’s hair back in high school. The reality is, you are the product of white privilege; some from your money, but also from the racist history of the LDS beginning with Brigham Young. You might think that it’s unfair to bring up the LDS’ troubled past, but I think it is, in part, a big issue for you in this campaign. Let me explain.
An article on solitary confinement from a philosopher's point of view:
There are many ways to destroy a person, but the simplest and most devastating might be solitary confinement. Deprived of meaningful human contact, otherwise healthy prisoners often come unhinged. They experience intense anxiety, paranoia, depression, memory loss, hallucinations and other perceptual distortions. Psychiatrists call this cluster of symptoms SHU syndrome, named after the Security Housing Units of many supermax prisons. Prisoners have more direct ways of naming their experience. They call it “living death,” the “gray box,” or “living in a black hole.”
Great story on an important issue of justice and human rights, with audio links as well:
Tamms Correctional Center on 200 Supermax Road, near the southern tip of Southern Illinois, may be as far from the hustling and bustling city of Chicago, with its constant city throb of noise, as you can get. And it's likely that no one can feel the difference as much as its inmates.
The only supermax facility in Illinois, meaning it is the only prison built to keep the majority of its prisoners in isolation, Tamms prison was consigned for closure by the state's governor in July.
But the battle between former prisoners, the families of those hurt by conditions at Tamms, anti-torture advocates, the union determined to keep its jobs and the state legislature struggling to contain costs continues to rage.
The story of Tamms is the story of something positive that may have come out of a recession, about what may be the last throes of the supermax movement, and what a campaign against torture accomplished in less than four years.
Really interesting article about the links of our modern food system to plantations and slavery, and how some folks are working to change that system:
If, back in the 18th century, you could see all the way across the Atlantic, you would find an unbroken line of plantations that stretched from Buenos Aires to Baltimore. Down this entire line, slaves harvested sugar for British tea, rice for the West Indian consumption, and cotton for the textile mills of New England. These were vast monocrops that broke the body and ruined the soil—but made money for planters and big companies that traded the goods.
Here, you see the logic of the modern industrial food system in its rawest form—a logic of prioritizing profit over human and environmental welfare. A lot has changed in the 400 years since the Elmina Fort was built, but this principle has not gone away. The logic of the plantation is the logic of today's industrial food system.
A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths.
CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention. GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.