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Why Is Nicaragua’s Homicide Rate So Far Below That of Its Central American Neighbors? | The Nation
Of all the reforms initiated during the revolution, two stand out: One is Nicaragua’s rejection of US exports—specifically, the US-bred criminal gangs such as the Maras, along with the zero-tolerance US-style policing models that exacerbated their violence. A 2016 report by the Brookings Institution concluded that years of mano dura (heavy-handed) policing in El Salvador and Honduras had only served to exponentially enhance the prison gangs’ “projection of power”—their ability to consistently stage economic stoppages, control entire neighborhoods, and murder at will. Nicaragua has over 100 youth gangs, according to a study by Casa Esperanza, a Managua-based social-service agency. But these gangs have a fundamentally different culture from those of the more violent and homicidal Mara culture of similar groups in the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Also, mass migration to and from Nicaragua is now centered in Florida, not California, the birthplace of the Maras.
Nicaragua  ElSalvador  centralAmerica  TheNation  crime 
11 weeks ago by HispanicPundit
Joe Biden: Letters reveal how he sought support of segregationists in fight against busing - CNNPolitics
Biden, who at the time was 34 and serving his first term in the Senate, repeatedly asked for -- and received -- the support of Sen. James Eastland, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a leading symbol of Southern resistance to desegregation. Eastland frequently spoke of blacks as "an inferior race."

"Dear Mr. Chairman," Biden wrote on June 30, 1977. "I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week's committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote."

Two weeks later, Biden followed up with a note to Eastland "to thank you again for your efforts in support of my bill to limit court ordered busing."
JoeBiden  racism  segregation  1970s  Dixiecrat  busing  desegregation  TheNation  grade_A  grade_AA 
june 2019 by Marcellus
Joe Biden Once Made Common Cause With School Segregationists
“We’ve lost our bearings since the 1954 Brown v. School Board desegregation case,” Biden said in 1975, in an interview that he gave to a newspaper in Delaware that was recently unearthed by The Washington Post. “To ‘desegregate’ is different than to ‘integrate.’”

“The real problem with busing,” he said, “is that you take [white] people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s growth by busing them to an inferior school.” For him, it seems, the stunting of black children’s growth in the savagely unequal and deliberately segregated public schools I’ve been describing for years did not elicit the same sense of alarm.

“I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and…in order to even the score, we must now give the black man”—no reference to black women—“a head start or even hold the white man back.… I don’t buy that.”

In a series of letters, recently released by CNN, that he wrote to Dixiecrat Senator James Eastland in 1977, Biden expressed thanks to Eastland for supporting anti-busing legislation that Biden introduced.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help…in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote,” he wrote the Mississippi Democrat, a virulent opponent of civil rights who frequently referred to black people as “an inferior race.”

Biden, moreover, did not simply reinforce the efforts of Southern segregationists.
JoeBiden  racism  segregation  1970s  Dixiecrat  busing  desegregation  TheNation  grade_A  grade_AA 
june 2019 by Marcellus
At the Frontiers of Surveillance Capitalism | The Nation
Although her diagnosis is chilling, her solutions are few. Throughout the book, she decries the abuses perpetrated by Silicon Valley companies and argues that they represent a radical break from an earlier, kinder form of capitalism. But by refusing to acknowledge the continuities between past modes of exploitation and the latest horrors of surveillance capitalism, she ultimately leads readers away from the most promising paths of resistance.
book-review  Books  2019  privacy  TheNation 
may 2019 by suitable
France's Yellow Vest movement maturing into broad-based citizens' coalition Harrison Stetler The Nation Wed, 06 Feb 2019 16:13 UTC
At its first "Assembly of Assemblies" in late January, this grassroots democratic revolt brought together many people who had never participated in politics.

"The danger," Yanis warned, "is that the constant stream of information becomes its own type of ignorance. It's very easy to forget the human need to educate oneself, and to forge one's own opinion. What we need is for speech and debate to free themselves everywhere, that they fill every part of daily life, that everyone express themselves, respectfully of course."

What Yanis was recalling was his own initial reaction to the eruption of France's Yellow Vest revolt in late November 2018. "At the beginning, there was this fear," he continued. "The movement had been covered in media as a ploy of the far right and the fascist movement. I hesitated to go at first just because of that. But I finally decided that it was all the more important to go if that was actually the case, in order to not abandon the battle to them."

When people in his hometown of Montceau-les-Mines, in central France, began to organize town meetings at the beginning of December, Yanis decided to go and scope things out. Yanis was amazed to see that more than 1,000 attended the earliest assemblies in late November and early December. People were thinking and talking about politics in ways they had never done before. For too long, democratic life was little more than the habitual cycle of elections, with citizenship reduced to the occasional vote.

The assemblies continued on a weekly basis. "I realized that something was growing," Yannis remembers. People were organizing themselves and staying in contact, occupying critical road junctions and protesting. Now, almost two months later, on January 26, Yanis found himself making the roughly 200-mile trip to a village just outside of Commercy, a town in a rural, working-class region in eastern France. Currently unemployed after several stints working in cafeterias in local public schools, the 22-year-old Yanis had been selected by his town's local committee to attend the inaugural "Assembly of Assemblies" of France's nascent Yellow Vest movement.
yellow vest protest countryside rounabout
© Obier – CC-BY-4.0
Protest of the Yellow Vests around a roundabout in the town of Vesoul, France.
As he would no doubt attest, before this historic convention in Commercy, the Yellow Vests had fallen victim to a familiar trap. Like many other spontaneous and largely leaderless mass movements, the Yellow Vests have been defined and labeled by others.

At first, they were taken to be a manifestation of the inchoate and inarticulate rage of the French middle class. This anger, which had long provided fertile ground for the likes of Marine Le Pen, finally boiled over into street violence and open revolt when Emmanuel Macron's government announced tax increases on gasoline. Macron had already made a name for himself by pushing through unpopular reforms in the name of "necessity." Was this just another occasion of the French being unable to take the bitter medicine, this time in order to reduce carbon-fuel emissions?

The dismissal of the Yellow Vests was made all the more easy because some of the worst elements in French society have tried to capitalize on the climate of disenchantment and anger. Some Yellow Vest social-media groups have contained unmistakable echoes of anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic conspiracies. Likewise, bands of skinheads have infiltrated some street marches, attacking most recently a group of left-wing activists in Paris during the January 26 day of protest. All of this has given credence to smug talking heads - no doubt with an eye on their checkbooks - who wish to sign the entire movement off as yet another worrisome sign of France's slide into right-wing populism.
ultra right attacks yellow vests
© Eric Feferberg/Agence France-Presse
A group of about thirty ultra-right activists attacked a procession of the NPA in Paris,January 26, 2019
To any honest observer, however, the Yellow Vests' dynamism and staying power, now going on their 13th weekend of protests at the time of writing, suggested that something deeper was happening. Weekend after weekend, the marches continued and the occupations of roundabouts in rural and suburban areas stood their ground. General assemblies organized on a weekly basis in every corner of France continued to attract people who for years had stood on the sidelines of political life. Teachers and students started to organize and unions began discussing strikes-culminating in a round of work stoppages set to begin on February 5, bringing together Yellow Vests, several unions, and left-wing parties, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon's France Insoumise.

France's battered social movements, fatigued after many retreats before Macron's steamroller of reforms, started to show new signs of life. Polls in late January still showed that a majority of the population continue to support the movement, even after Macron canceled the planned tax increases and granted other concessions in December, before launching a highly choreographed "national debate," consisting of staged town-hall meetings and the pro forma taking of grievances in localities, as a means to regain legitimacy. Over the weekend of February 2-3, speculation even began to mount as to a possible national referendum to be held in May, the structure and outlines of which remain vague.

Whatever or whoever they were, the Yellow Vests had clearly managed to give voice to a general feeling of anger and political disenchantment. More and more people were coming to the conclusion that a distant and arrogant elite was to blame. This elite had overseen the steady erosion of public services, from hospitals and schools to public transportation, stewarding rising inequality while abstaining from paying taxes, and stood by as working- and middle-class job security gave way to the precarious fluidity of the contemporary labor market. What's more, people were realizing that something should be done about all of this. And this was a reflex that could not be dismissed as the machinations of a few fascist gangs or Internet trolls-or, even worse, abandoned to them.

If you have to pick your battles, then the most enduring revolt of Macron's presidency and the first that successfully brought his forced march of pro-business reforms to a halt was a fight not to be missed. A political space had opened up and many concerned citizens, including thousands of activists, workers, and teachers, mobilized to fill it. Just what were the real contours of this "peripheral France," whose anger and resentment against elites has boiled over in weeks of protests and occupations? What would it take to bring under the same banner not only the struggling white working and middle classes, but also France's perennially abandoned immigrant communities, who for decades have borne the brunt of austerity, exclusion, and police repression? Does a healthy democracy require more than top-down parties and bureaucratized unions? How can we confront climate change in a just way? Might a broad and horizontal movement, organized around participatory democracy on the local level, finally breathe energy into a public life that for too long has been abandoned to professionals?

These were the questions that made for two days of lively debate and democratic experimentation among the roughly 300 delegates at Commercy on January 26-27. Representing more than 75 Yellow Vest groups from every corner of the country, the assembly marked a significant departure in the history of a movement that had up to this point been characterized by its centrifugal structure.

"Twenty-six billionaires possess as much wealth as half of humanity; this is unacceptable. Share wealth and not misery!" The declaration that emerged is simply a product of democratic common sense. With a vociferous denunciation of inequality and police violence, calls for the restoration of free public services, a radical response to climate change that targets the greatest polluters in society, and a celebration of the cultural differences in France and among the movement, the declaration cuts against the common narrative about the Yellow Vests.

Comment: As listed here:
Gilets Jaunes' List of Demands

A constitutional cap on taxes - at 25%
Increase of 40% in the basic pension and social welfare
Increase hiring in the public sector to re-establish public services
Massive construction projects to house 5 million homeless, and severe penalties for mayors/prefectures that leave people on the streets
Break up the 'too-big-to-fail' banks, re-separate regular banking from investment banking
Cancel debts accrued through usurious rates of interest
Constitutional amendments to protect the people's interests, including binding referenda
The barring of lobby groups and vested interests from political decision-making
Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty, and the French people ignored)
Clampdown on tax evasion by the ultra-rich
The immediate cessation of privatization, and the re-nationalization of public goods like motorways, airports, rail, etc
Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques
Quadruple the budget for law and order and put time-limits on judicial procedures. Make access to the justice system available for all
Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda
Guarantee citizens' liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters
No more 'planned obsolescence' - Mandate guarantee from producers that their products will last 10 years, and that spare … [more]
GiletsJuanes  YellowVests  HarrisonStetler  TheNation  YellowVestDEMANDS 
february 2019 by juandante
In the Shadow of the CMS
How content-management systems will shape the future of media businesses big and small.
TheNation  KyleChayka  CMS  publishing  media  websites  newspapers  licensing 
january 2019 by briansholis
Becca Rothfield, "Ghostly Presences," The Nation
Unable to write effectively but unable to remain silent, W.G. Sebald, like the narrator of The Emigrants, is condemned to speak unsatisfactorily.
BeccaRothfield  WGSebald  LiteraryCriticism  BookReview  TheNation  writing  literature 
january 2019 by briansholis

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