Category: Civil Rights (Page 1 of 21)

When Labor Fought for Civil Rights

When Labor Fought for Civil Rights

The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order—memorialized in the classic anthology of that title edited by Gary Gerstle and Steve Fraser in 1989—might be history, but it never gets old. Eighty-plus years after FDR was inaugurated, the New Deal still excites the liberal left imagination even as it, perhaps, stunts it, too. How we got from Roosevelt to Reagan continues to generate conflicting arguments from those who think the New Deal was the “great exception” to American individualism and federalism unlikely to be repeated (Jefferson Cowie); a reluctant capitulation to the white supremacist South which was the best it could do (Ira Katznelson); or, an honorable surrender following the desperate rearguard fight by workers and farmers against the consolidation of corporate capitalism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (Steve Fraser).

As for white unionized workers, despite all of the stories about how pissed off they are at neoliberal Democrats and how they were attracted to Donald Trump’s trade message, the fact remains that white men in unions have still voted for Democrats at a rate of about 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts. (This pattern likely did not hold this year. Exit polls from the 2016 election indicate that Clinton carried the union vote by 51–43, the lowest margin for a Democrat since 1984.)

Two recent books about the New Deal order, one by political scientist Eric Schickler and the other by legal historian Reuel Schiller, complement each other in their attention to the relationship between unions and the movement for African-American civil rights. But while Schickler writes a story of liberal ascension, driven largely by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), stopping in 1965 after the monumental legislation of the civil rights era, Schiller chronicles a liberal declension, ending with deindustrialization in the 1970s and tension between labor and civil rights activists. Both books end at roughly the same historical moment. Schickler sees in it labor liberalism’s triumph—the CIO and then the civil rights movement pushing to bring racial justice into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Schiller, on the other hand, sees the labor movement and those fighting racial injustice, despite their many efforts to work together, as chained to separate legal protocols, doomed to “[talk] past each other.” To paraphrase Bob Dylan, for Schickler, labor liberalism is busy being born at the same time, according to Schiller, it is busy dying.

Coretta Scott King’s Lost Letter to the US Senate

The lost letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow opposing Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986 has been found, and it’s a doozy..

“The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago ago, when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody heads in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the time, it was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official, sworn to uphold the law, who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children; who ordered the Rev. James Bevel to be chained to his sickbed; who clubbed a Negro woman registrant, and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negroes peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote”

Read the original here

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Trump Administration Suspends First Amendment

#womensmarchThe NPS, on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, filed a “massive omnibus blocking permit” for many of Washington DC’s most famous political locations for days and weeks before, during and after the inauguration on 20 January. Large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities will be closed to protesters.

The Facebook event page still has the Lincoln Memorial listed as the event’s address, but it won’t be held at the historic location.

“The Lincoln Memorial is not possible,” said Cassady Fendlay, spokeswoman for the women’s march on Washington. She said march organizers were not associated with the Answer Coalition, and have “had no issues with the permitting process at all”.

“We are in conversation with the police. We have secured another location,” said Fendlay, declining to name where the march would now take place but saying it would be nearby.


RSVP on our OFFICIAL EVENTBRITE: (not required, but greatly helpful for planning!)

This is an INCLUSIVE march, is FREE to join and EVERYONE who supports women’s rights are welcome.

Women’s March on Washington barred from Lincoln Memorial

National Park Service documents bar access to key sites around time of inauguration, including those celebrated for their role in 1960s protests For the thousands hoping to echo the civil rights and anti-Vietnam rallies at Lincoln Memorial by joining the women’s march on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration: time to readjust your expectations.

What now, you ask? Work for the ACLU of Virginia!

ACLU VirginiaWe have been honored and a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since the presidential election from people who want to make a difference as we embark on what ACLU national Executive Director Anthony Romero has called “the fight of our life.”

Based on the policy proposals put forward by President-elect Donald Trump, we are facing an unprecedented assault on civil liberties in the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have made it clear that if Mr. Trump intends to implement his unconstitutional proposals — which include mass deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., punishing women who access abortions, reauthorizing waterboarding and other forms of torture, and restricting free speech rights — we will see him in court.

We welcome others to join us as volunteers in this important effort. We want to be sure that we can do this right, that is, use volunteers where we need them most and do so in a way that syncs as much as possible with the skills and passion of the people volunteering.

If you are willing, please complete our volunteer sign-up form. Upon submission, you’ll receive suggestions for some things you can do to help right away, and we will be in touch with other opportunities as events unfold.

The ACLU of Virginia is ready to fight for your civil liberties. Are you?


Claire G. Gastanaga photo Claire signature
Claire G. Gastanaga
Executive Director, ACLU of Virginia

P.S. If you aren’t already a card-carrying member of the ACLU, now is the time to become one — join and support our advocacy work!

Time for Healing. And Resistance.

We must reach out in solidarity and protection to those who feel and are most vulnerable.

Donald Trump ran on racial bigotry and misogyny — not implicitly and covertly, but explicitly and overtly. In an America that is rapidly changing demographically and culturally, Donald Trump chose to run on white identity politics and to bring white nationalism back into the mainstream of American public life. The beginning and foundation of his political career was to become the primary promoter of a racist, conspiratorial birther movement, saying our first black president wasn’t really one of “us” — that he was not a real American. At the core of his opening speech to launch his presidential campaign, he chose to denigrate Mexicans and immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” Then he called for the banning of all Muslims coming to America. Trump ran as the “law and order” candidate, promised to build a wall, and regularly boasted of his endorsements from police, border patrol officers, and the ICE agents who round up and deport undocumented immigrants. His ubiquitous hat that famously says “Make America Great Again,” now clearly does mean “Make America White Again.” Donald Trump ran a campaign based on racial bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia — and an overwhelming majority of white American men voted for him. And, very sadly, a majority of white Christians voted for him.

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