Being religious is often conflated with being conservative, but there are radical change-makers on the left who are combating systemic issues every day as part of their faith. One such issue is prison-industrial complex (PIC) abolition. Abolitionists believe in dismantling the entirety of the carceral state — freeing people from prisons, ending policing and providing communities with the resources they need to thrive. The idea of PIC abolition is not new; it has been theorized and organized around for decades, mostly by Black feminist theorists like Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Mariame Kaba and Rachel Herzing.
We remember the life of Bob Moses, the civil rights leader who left his job as a New York City high school teacher to register Black voters in Mississippi in the 1960s, facing down horrific violence and intimidation to become one of the icons of the movement. He died Sunday at age 86. Moses spent his later years as an advocate for improved math education, teaching thousands of students across the United States through the Algebra Project, the nonprofit he founded. Moses spoke to Democracy Now! in 2009, on the first day of the Obama presidency, recalling the 1964 fight for Black representation within the Democratic Party, the struggle against Jim Crow in the South and his passion for education. “In our country, I think we run sharecropper education,” Moses said, warning that unequal educational opportunities would continue racial disparities in the country. “We need a constitutional amendment, something which simply says every child in the country is a child of the country and is entitled to a quality public school education.”
The corporate media have been bashing the Cuban government in response to the recent protests in Cuba, while President Joe Biden claims, “We stand with the Cuban people.” But they ignore or minimize the leading cause of economic suffering in Cuba: the U.S.’s illegal and punishing economic blockade that Biden has left in place. Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has maintained the blockade against Cuba. Although former President Barack Obama was constrained by the 1996 Helms-Burton Act from completely lifting the blockade — which is now exclusively within the power of Congress — he took several steps to ease its effects on the Cuban people.
“If matters continue as they are,” I wrote on July 6 about vaccinations and the Delta variant of COVID, “a bright new line will be drawn between ‘Two Americas’: The Vaccinated vs. the Unvaccinated.” The Wall Street Journal this morning would seem to agree: “The Delta variant is hardening a divide between people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and those who aren’t, prompting hospitals to brace for new case surges and health authorities to redouble vaccination efforts. Now the most common strain in the U.S., Delta is spreading as public life resumes at restaurants, sporting events and other public settings across the country.”
The remains of nine Indigenous children were buried by the Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota after being transferred back from the former Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where the children were forcibly sent over 140 years ago. Carlisle was the first government boarding school off reservation land, and it set the standard for other schools with its motto, “Kill the Indian,
With billionaire Jeff Bezos set to take flight into space Tuesday aboard an unpiloted Blue Origin rocket, the humanitarian group Oxfam International blasted the world’s richest man as the avatar of a system that allows a handful of people accumulate enough wealth to flee the planet amid widespread suffering on an increasingly polluted, warming, and pandemic-ravaged Earth. “We’ve now reached stratospheric inequality,” Oxfam’s Deepak Xavier said in a statement Monday. “Billionaires burning into space, away from a world of pandemic, climate change, and starvation.”
NSO Group, a private Israeli firm that sells surveillance technology to governments worldwide, insists that its Pegasus spyware is used only to “investigate terrorism and crime.” Leaked data, however, reveals that the company’s hacking tool “has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale.” That’s according to an investigative report published Sunday by the Pegasus Project, a media consortium of more than 80 journalists from 17 news outlets in 10 countries. The collaborative endeavor was coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media nonprofit, with technical assistance from Amnesty International, which conducted “cutting-edge forensic tests” on smartphones to identify traces of the military-grade spyware.
Earlier this month, a Honduran court found David Castillo, a U.S.-trained former Army intelligence officer and the head of an internationally financed hydroelectric company, guilty of the 2016 murder of celebrated Indigenous activist Berta Cáceres. His company was building a dam that threatened the traditional lands and water sources of the Indigenous Lenca people. For years, Cáceres and her organization, the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH, had led the struggle to halt that project. It turned out, however, that Cáceres’s international recognition — she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 — couldn’t protect her from becoming one of the dozens of Latin American Indigenous and environmental activists killed annually.
It isn’t often that we see a New York Times paragraph so freighted with syrup and honeyed goo, but there it was on Sunday afternoon, like something you’d order at IHOP to beat back a hangover: “Soaring more than 50 miles into the hot, glaringly bright skies above New Mexico, Richard Branson at last fulfilled a dream that took decades to realize: He can now call himself an astronaut.” Better lede: “Fulfilling his desire to beat a fellow billionaire into the lowest verge of space, notorious tax cheat Richard Branson burned some of the money he owes his home country in order to fling himself past the troposphere so he could experience weightlessness for as much time as it takes to make a decent bowel movement. An achievement that will go down in corporate history, Branson now holds bragging rights over the guy whose monopolies are eating the economy alive.” Not what I’d call the right stuff.
At a concession stand at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Adelaide Avila was pingponging between pouring beers, wiping down counters and taking out the trash. Her Los Angeles Lakers were playing their hometown rival, the Clippers, but Avila was working too hard to follow the March 2019 game. When she filed taxes for her previous year’s labors at the arena and her second job driving for Uber, the 50-year-old Avila reported making $44,810. The federal government took a 14.1% cut.