Human Rights

“What to the Slave is 4th of July?”

https://youtu.be/4Vx8cuCGhaU “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

There Is No Plan(et) B: A Primer on Trump’s Refusal to Abide by the Paris Agreement

By Patricia Valoy, Contributing Editor, Science and Social Justice

Earlier this month the president of the United States withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, a pioneering agreement formed at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2015. Countries from all over the world came together to discuss the effects of climate change and the catastrophic impact of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The convention culminated in an agreement signed by 195 countries vouching to reduce emissions in order to keep the global temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius. Simply put, every country committed to a goal and the responsibility for figuring out how to meet their goal.

Democractic Eco-Socialism

https://youtu.be/iqr7UlgjkO0 “Due to the shortcomings of efforts to create socialism in the twentieth century, the notion of socialism has been discredited in many quarters. […] Nevertheless, it is important for progressive people to come to terms with the historical discrepancies between the ideals of socialism and the realities of what passed for it. This is so they can reconstruct a viable global socialist system, with manifestations at regional and local levels, that is highly democratic rather than authoritarian, that ensures that all people have access to basic resources, and that is at the same time environmentally sustainable.”

Sociology of Migration AKA: Migration as Mirror to the “State” of the “Nation”

One in five people in Canada were not born in Canada. The economic engine of both the Philippines and central Mexico is based on remittances. Rural and “dying” communities throughout Europe and North America clamor for refugees in order to boost their economies. Twenty years ago no one expected this to be the reality. Why? And what does this teach us about what migration will mean in the future? That is the driving thread of this class. In a time of increasing xenophobia worldwide, this class explores how discussions of “migration” and “migrants” are actually discussions of the state and the nation at a given time. We will detangle concepts of “the nation” and “the state” by discussing notions of self-determination and exploring the ongoing nationalizing process. We will also distinguish between “migration” as a multi-faceted process that can be regulated informally or formally, and “migrant” as a category of…

Prison Abolition Syllabus

Black Perspectives On September 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, prisoners from at least twenty-one states began striking against what they called “modern-day slavery.” The strike stands as one of the largest in U.S. history (figures are difficult to verify and the California prison hunger strike in 2013 involved at least 30,000 people) and several prisoners have lost their lives in this struggle. Prison strikers’ language is not hyperbolic. As Ava DuVernay’s new documentary on the 13th Amendment highlights, the very amendment that abolished slavery and guaranteed the legal emancipation of nearly four million enslaved people also carved out space for the continuation of slavery “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The current prison strike’s struggle to achieve visibility (organizers have alleged a “mainstream-media blackout”) has been a central obstacle since the origins of prison organizing. In light of the dangerous implications of…

The urgency of intersectionality | Kimberlé Crenshaw

https://youtu.be/akOe5-UsQ2o Now more than ever, it’s important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias — and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term “intersectionality” to describe this phenomenon; as she says, if you’re standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you’re likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.

The Dangers of Drinking Coffee Alone: The Precarity and Isolation of Social Justice Work

By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights

What does it mean to “have a coffee?” It is a fairly universal expression – but it is not just a verb, it is an event. An invitation. To “have a coffee,” means to get together with someone and talk. This talking may be about work. Or family. Or politics. Or your latest crush. You may be complaining or conspiring or commiserating and there may, or may not, be coffee involved. I have “had a coffee” in bars and in parks as well as in coffee shops. What distinguishes “drinking coffee” from “having a coffee” is setting aside the time to connect with someone in an unscripted manner. It is in this space that ideas flow, relationships strengthen and trust is maintained. After having a coffee, I go back to my life of work, family and revolution knowing that I have shared and am not alone. I return rejuvenated with connection.

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