Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.

On Friday, the preferred president of assholes everywhere issued a shitty proclamation declaring that today’s federal holiday is exclusively a celebration of Italian-American contributions to our nation and the exploits of a particular 15th century Italian explorer, said exploits necessarily encompassing the ensuing brutal colonization and genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. This proclamation is much, much worse than I even imagined. (And I write this as a person with significant Italian-American heritage.) If you choose to read on, you will first want to ensure that your irony meter is in excellent working order and – this is the important part – still under warranty.

For one thing, consider what Pres. Alpha Asshole and his Merry Minions of Masklessness would be saying and doing about Italian immigration a hundred years ago. You know: before Italians suddenly and miraculously became white. I’m pretty sure my grandmother, who happened to be exceptionally dark-skinned even for southern Italy, would have been locked up in a cage along with her sister and all the other Italian immigrant children.

Of course those among us who think we should instead recognize and reckon with the truth of our nation’s history are deemed “radical activists” and “extremists” who “seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy” and instead promote a “radical ideology” and “revisionist history” just to “spread hate and division.”

Let us pause for a moment here so that you can recalibrate your irony meter and/or attempt to extinguish the flames emanating therefrom.

Okay now? Good. The preceding was merely setting the stage for what I really want to talk about on this Indigenous Peoples Day. If you guessed that is “Indigenous people,” you win all the internetz! 🏆⭐️🏅

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NYPD Beat, Arrest Peaceful Protesters in Planned Assault.

[CONTENT NOTE: police violence against peaceful protesters, lying police liars who lie.]

A new report from Human Rights Watch documents the NYPD’s brutal assaults against peaceful George Floyd protesters at a June 4 rally in the Bronx (via New York Daily News):

NYPD trapped over 300 George Floyd protesters in the Bronx and waited until after curfew to ‘assault and arrest’ them: report

The NYPD trapped over 300 protesters in the Bronx marching for George Floyd and waited until the 8 p.m. citywide curfew to arrest them for breaking the law, a human rights group wrote in a scathing report released Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch said Bronx cops surrounded protesters on June 4 in a tactic known as kettling, refused to let them disperse, then began “whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground and firing pepper spray in their faces” as soon as the curfew hit.

The 8 p.m. shutdown was imposed a few days earlier to stem widespread looting amid marches against the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody.

“As protesters cried out — some with blood dripping down their faces — the police began to arrest them. They forced people to sit on the street with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, at times so tight that their hands went numb,” said Human Rights Watch in their report.

[Human Rights Watch] said they questioned 81 protesters and reviewed 81 videos and police scanner calls for the report. They also released a 12-minute video filled with diagrams of the Mott Haven clash, interviews with witnesses and protesters, and cellphone videos taken at the scene.

Here is video from Human Rights Watch detailing the sequence of events on June 4.

CONTENT NOTE (from the filmmakers):

“This video contains violent and disturbing images and profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.”

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Labor Day in the USA.

My state’s governor Andrew Cuomo emails me every (non-holiday) weekday with a COVID-19 update. In Friday’s missive he mentioned that Labor Day, celebrated today in the United States, was first celebrated in New York City.

As is the governor’s practice, he included an “image of the day.” Here it is:

The bottom caption reads: NEW YORK CITY—GRAND DEMONSTRATION OF WORKINGMEN, SEPTEMBER 5th—THE PROCESSION PASSING THE VIEWING-STAND AT UNION SQUARE—From a Sketch by a Staff Artist—See Page 55 The side caption reads: September 16, 1882] FRANK LESLIE'S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER.In case it’s hard to discern in this format, the bottom caption reads:

NEW YORK CITY—GRAND DEMONSTRATION OF WORKINGMEN, SEPTEMBER 5th—THE PROCESSION PASSING THE VIEWING-STAND AT UNION SQUARE—From a Sketch by a Staff Artist—See Page 55

The left side caption reads:

September 16, 1882]  FRANK LESLIE’S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER.

Something that really resonates with me about this image is my own presence at Union Square countless times, including for  protests and political gatherings. (And the truly amazing greenmarket. And chemo and radiation and too many doctors appointments to keep track. And monitoring the Sciuridae menace.)

Long ago, there was a pavilion built specifically for protesting at Union Square; once upon a time, the city was actually required to construct spaces for public meetings and protest. (More Union Square history and some great historical pics at this link, including the immediate aftermath of an anarchist’s failed mass bombing of a socialists meeting in 1908, and a barbers strike in 1913.)

It’s both exhilarating and humbling to know I’ve walked the same paths – and for many of the same reasons – as so many before me.

Of course, it’s also very, very disheartening. Which brings me to the second thing that really strikes me about that image: the messaging on the signs.

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QUEASHA HARDY #SayHerName: Black Trans Lives Matter.

[CONTENT NOTE: murder of Black transwoman Queasha Hardy; murders of transgender people generally and related statistics; misgendering; deadnaming. Post below the fold, because despite what we atheists like to tell you, HELL IS REAL. It is right here, right now, for far too many of the wrong people, and far too often Made In Amerikkka® by members of our own species.]

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Petition to Manhattan DA: drop charges against Derrick Ingram, and hold NYPD accountable!

This is Derrick Ingram.

photo of Derrick IngramDerrick Ingram
Black Lives Matter Protester and Organizer
Co-Founder,Warriors in the Garden
(photo via Amnesty International USA)

On August 7, dozens of NYPD officers in riot gear swarmed his apartment’s hallways, his fire escape and surrounding locations. They had no warrant. They did have a helicopter hovering overhead, though. They also brought police dogs right to his door and threatened to break it down. They lied to him about his rights and tried to interrogate him without legal counsel.

This siege lasted FIVE HOURS. It ended only after Derrick started livestreaming the incident: in response, a large group of protesters showed up, along with some media types who started asking questions. That is when the NYPD Stormtrooper Squadron™ finally took their toys U.S. military surplus equipment and went home.

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‘Twas Ever Thus: U.S. Women 100 Years Post-Suffrage.

Uh-oh! Must be a day that ends in Y! The New York Times is pissing me right off.*

Today’s email briefing starts with a splashy paean to the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The 19th Amendment, which granted (some) women voting rights, was enacted on this date one hundred years ago.

The email piece naturally links to recent Times articles on women’s suffrage and related topics. As usual, their failure to connect the blazing red dots of our history – history they themselves reported – does a criminal disservice to readers. And as usual, what they don’t deliver is at least as damaging as the disinformation they do.

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Defund Police FOUNDATIONS.

Are you familiar with Color of Change? If not, check out their web site or just watch this brief recap of 2019 activism.

If you are already familiar with their work, omg how much do you freaking love them?

Color of Change logoOne of my favorite CoC campaigns is the yearly drive in early May to raise bail money for incarcerated Black mothers so they can be reunited with their children in time for Mothers Day. These are women who would otherwise languish behind bars (and as of this year in COVID hot houses) because they are too poor to post bail. And yes, also because they are oversurveilled, overpoliced and oversentenced relative to whites in the first place; those are other columns supporting our criminal injustice system that must be toppled in addition to abolishing cash bail. I love this campaign because it’s something we can do collectively to help these women, along with their families and communities, in a meaningful and tangible way.

Another reason to love Color of Change? Their spot-on messaging.

I am a devotee of the STFU-&-Listen School of Allyship™; it serves the privileged ear very well to be informed directly by the very people one wishes to serve. (In case this needs to be said, we must NOT do this by demanding the less-privileged do the work to educate and inform the more-privileged. The least one can do is one’s own research on such matters. It’s not like any of this information is hidden. Quite the opposite: the oppressed have been trying desperately to get their message through our thick white skulls since forever.) This approach helps guard against our instinctual inclination to support “solutions” that may have great appeal through a privilege-warped lens, but are not in fact the solutions marginalized people and communities need. Just as you know what you need better than I do, they know what they need better than we do.

And that, my friends, is why I read and absorb every word of Color of Change’s content: I learn. SO. MUCH. Which brings us to one of their newest campaigns: the call for defunding police foundations. Here is what I learned – and it’s goooood.

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Best Crip Dyke Update ever: BLM WINS.

Here’s what I woke up to today:

BLM Won – Just wait til they win some MORE!

Go read the whole thing – it’s truly fantastic, and well worth celebrating!

Now because I am a cynical bitch realist, I cannot help but reflect on the sheer enormity of human effort and sacrifice it took for Black Lives to Matter in one small U.S. city – and on how much more effort and sacrifice will be required to maintain this progress once the news crews are gone.

But pay no mind to Negative Nellie over here! This is a good and necessary victory, and it deserves aaaaallll the kudos!

Here are a few more previous posts to bring our collection up to date:

Being Uncomfortable (referenced and linked in my earlier post about that lying piece of shit AG Barr)

Brain ipsa loquitur (LOL)

Past the expiration date (saving the fresher batches of tear gas for Chicago and New York?)

Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s bad. (referencing Marcus Ranum’s excellent How to Riot post at stderr.)

Interview with a YOUNG HOT GAY (❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❗️)

There will be more Crip Dyke posts forthcoming. Although I hoped there would be a much-needed break for rest, rejuvenation, self-care and especially time to process recent intense and traumatic events, Crip Dyke is returning to the protests tonight. Because of course she is. 💜

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Oregon…

…some shit is really pissing me off. And there’s something YOU can do about it.

[CONTENT NOTE: racist police, prosecutor, judicial and parole office malfeasance toward an innocent, mentally ill child, denial of care, unjust sentencing and imprisonment of a child, racist bullying, racist harassment and public violence against black people by other community members with no police action taken, sexual harassment, physical and sexual assault, self-harming…fuuuuuuuuck.]

The following is an email I received this morning from change.org.

change.org

Iris — 14-year-old Saraya Rees battles with mental illness. After being abruptly taken off her antidepressants by a local pediatrician, she suffered a mental health crisis. She poured gasoline on the living room carpet and her parents contacted Coos Health & Wellness for help. But the clinic called the police. Saraya was arrested and sentenced to 11 years in juvenile prison. Kelsey and more than 250,000 signers say this is inhumane. Add your name to demand that Saraya’s case be reopened and the charges reassessed.

painting of a teenage biracial girl (uncredited).268,349 have signed kelsey darragh’s petition. Let’s get to 300,000!

Well that all sounded pretty fucked-up to me, but this was just a summary. Even before my morning coffee, it occurred to my sleepy, chemo-addled brain that there were pieces missing in this story, some of which could be enormously consequential and thus color the true picture, in one way or another. So rather than sign-now-with-a-click and move on in the direction of my coffee pot, I read the rest of the email. And readers? When those gaps were filled in, the picture became so much uglier and far more disturbing than anything I could have imagined.

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AG Barr: Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland protests!

[CONTENT NOTE: police violence, white supremacist tropes and victim-blaming (“black-on-black crime”), lethal levels of sarcasm and snark.]

OMG YOU GUYS! The Attorney General of the United States stated in sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that my friend and FtB colleague Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland Black Lives Matter protests! I HAD NO IDEA.

I mean it’s not like anyone connected to the Trump administration would ever lie to Congress or government officials, so obviously AG Barr is telling us the truth! Q.E.D.

Clearly Barr and his merry band of like-minded stable geniuses know how to decrypt and decode the sooper seekrit violent anarchist messages in Crip Dyke’s posts propaganda, including the most recent entry (as of this writing). Therein, Crip Dyke merely pretends to be an incredibly thoughtful, compassionate (white) ally who has gone to Portland to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters, to use her platform and privilege to amplify their voices, and to help counter false and misleading media narratives (and U.S. Attorney General statements) about the protests – and at considerable personal risk. FFS Crip Dyke is disabled and on crutches.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR IS ON TO YOU CRIP DYKE!

Now let’s see what other Truth Bombs™ AG Barr dropped on us!

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