The Trayvon Martin tragedy

The Zimmerman Verdict Is a Wakeup Call to Address the Deep and Structural Injustices in America By Makani Themba,  AlterNet, July 15, 2013   Makani Themba is executive director of The Praxis Project.- …The legal argument that led to this verdict, which is centuries old, could not exist without de facto acceptance of racism as legitimate motive and Blackness itself as life threatening…law is so much more than cases.  Law is a fluid amalgamation of principle – ideals like freedom, liberty, equality; public perception and meaning – how we come to understand what principles mean in our current context; code – the nitty gritty words and technicalities that make up how these principles are implemented to and for whom; and coercion and intimidation – we follow laws that don’t work for us because we’d rather not deal with the consequences. The Right understands the importance of all these elements in the forging of law and social norms…Yes, we should support efforts to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges. Yes, we should support efforts to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges and boycott the companies that fund groups like ALEC that are responsible for the law that made his acquittal possible.  We also need a DOJ investigation and suit to address the blatantly racist patterns in the application of stand your ground type laws and extrajudicial killings in general.  .….…. We must also be more adept at leveraging human rights tools at our disposal to take our efforts beyond the limited framework of the Constitution  and reimagine remedies at a macro-systemic level including, yes, even reparations. Ending this tragic history of murder and mayhem; ensuring that there are no more Trayvons or Oscars or Vincents or Addie Maes requires an upending of the deeply entrenched structures that led to their deaths in the first place.  Let’s hope that this latest wakeup call will inspire more of us to take on the deeper work of structural transformation to make tragedies like these a thing of the past. full text

The Zimmerman Acquittal: America’s Racist God by Anthea Butler,,  July 14, 2013 - The lamentation of the African-American community at yet another injustice, the surprise and disgust of others who understand, stand against this pseudo-god of capitalisms and incarceration that threaten to take over our nation…While many continue to proclaim that the religious right is over, they’re wrong. The religious right is flourishing, and unlike the right of the 1970s, religious conservatism of the 21st century is in bed with the prison industrial complex, the Koch brothers, the NRA—all while proclaiming that they are “pro-life.” They are anything but…As a historian of American and African-American religion, I know that the Trayvon Martin moment is just one moment in a history of racism in America that, in large part, has its underpinnings in Christianity and its history. Those of us who teach American Religion have a responsibility to tell all of the story, not just the nice touchy-feely parts. When the good Christians of America are some of its biggest racists, one has to consider our moral responsibility to call out those who clearly are not for human flourishing, no matter what ethnicity a person is. Where are you on that scale? I know where I am. Full text

The Spiritual and Political Warfare of the New Religious Right by Bill Berkowitz for Buzzflash at Truthout, July 9, 2013 — …the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the charismatic evangelical political and religious movement… …  [Lou Engle] and his organization have also become deeply involved in U.S. politics, especially in anti choice and antigay organizing,” …Engle calls for massive “spiritual warfare” that will result in a complete worldwide “political and social transformation” …To achieve its goals, the NAR aims to have its apostles seize control over every important aspect of society, including, the government, military, entertainment industry and education.” If the NAR falls short of world denomination, it intends, as a minimum, to “turn America back to God.”… full text

The American Legislative Exchange Council Is Hard at Work Privatizing America, One Statehouse at a Time, By Bill Moyers, June 22, 2013 - A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge. In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, “United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up” explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work… full text

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