But it is an image that eases my heart somewhat.
But it is an image that eases my heart somewhat.
Perhaps the most important civil rights cases ever to be heard were a series of suits deliberately engineered by Charles Hamilton Houston (mentor of Thurgood Marshall was one of the least of his accomplishments) to test the meaning of “separate but equal”.
While the general public remembers Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, SCOTUS’ decision in that case was unanimous only because of the Socratic groundwork laid in earlier cases that targeted law schools. There were several that attempted to nail down the legal deficiencies of Jim Crow before activists pushed to desegregate K-12 schools. One of the last was Sweatt v. Painter, which challenged the University of Texas’ regime. UofT attempted several tactics, but one of the last was the emergency creation of an ad hoc Blacks-only law school at a separate location.
RBG’s first historically important decision was the VMI case styled US v. Virginia, where the last public, men-only college or university was challenged. Virginia, too, set up a special military academy for women as a last ditch attempt to evade integration, but it fell to Ginsburg in her first important case to declare that the deficiencies of racially segregated eduction were just as unconstitutional when they appeared in the context of gender segregated education.
This is how I will remember RBG: from the beginning of her career on SCOTUS she was fighting a rear guard action against the regressives who were unwilling to admit that precedents or principles existed, that certain issues had been decided, that certain values held constitutional significance.
The most obvious of such fights is the struggle to preserve the rights of privacy, autonomy & conscience embedded in the reasoning of Griswold, Eisenstadt, Roe, and Casey. But this is far from the only battle in which she played the rear guard, making the argument for constitutional values that most of us wander about life not noticing are still being questioned, still under attack. Shelby County v. Holder was another, though in that case less successful, instance.
Shelby County notwithstanding, she has been wonderfully effective in this role, and to lose her at any time is tragic. To lose her during this presidency is devastating.
Hey, folks! It’s time to PARRRRR-TAY!
BLM and their supporters have managed a major victory in Portland. Not only did Fed presence almost entirely disappear from Portland (we saw one FPS vehicle – a clearly marked SUV – anywhere downtown last night, Thursday the 30th, and it was parked and empty about 5 blocks from the Hatfield courthouse), but we ourselves did a good job of stopping any antics. One small fire was set, but protesters acted quickly to put it out with bottled water.
Although I don’t think that small fires or launching fireworks can possibly excuse the behavior of the Feds, in the PR war being waged in the media about whom to blame for the Portland catastrophe, making that first night without Feds as peaceful as possible was an important victory. For that PR victory, I’m quite glad.
So, you don’t believe your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke that the protesters have, yes, in the past thrown fireworks and set small fires of wood or trash on concrete (where they could not spread), but that we were getting more peaceful over time, the BLM organizers were calling for more peaceful activities every day she was there, and that they’d even gone so far as to call on people to just go home after the rally and skip the courthouse protests (though they did not repeat that call last night, I can’t say why, but seemed instead to endorse staying in the park and partying over the fact that the worst of the feds were in town for only one more night)…
…and that therefore all this violence by the feds was majorly, unutterably, supremely fucking undeserved?
Well maybe you just don’t like hearing things from a woman. This is why I gots you a REAL MAN and a YOUNG HOT GAY to boot to ‘splain the same things I been telling you, only this time on camera where your Crip Dyke will not put her face.
Note: I wrote this first as a comment over on Wonkette.com. I could have written up a description of he evening from scratch. in fact, I intended to, as I like to think that I have a little skill as a writer and I don’t normally want unedited, top-of-my-head thoughts to represent me. But I think that there’s some information in how this was written. My head was spinning when I got home from the Wed July 29th protests and the story below is also a circle. Maybe it’s not my best writing (hell, the tense changes alone drive me batty rereading it) but i think it is communicative of many things, including how rattled I was, and for that reason I’m copying it over almost untouched. As for the reference in the title, it’s to Marcus Ranum’s current post on the history of bloody, violent clashes between cops/ national guards/ security acting on behalf of capitalists and workers organizing for better wages and conditions. It’s titled How to Riot, and it’s a good read.
Fuck, fuck, and triple-ultra-fuck.
Remember when i was wondering a few hours ago if the Feds, knowing that they were on their way out tomorrow, would be more laid back or if they would be extra violent?
EXTRA VIOLENT IT IS.
Well, two bits of important news.
First, the tear gas they’ve been firing at us? Well, it turns out that a lot of it is past its expiration date.
What does that mean? We don’t know. It could be a good thing, with the most toxic chemicals breaking down into less toxic or inert chemicals. It could also be a bad thing, with toxic chemicals breaking down into even more harmful reaction products.
Much more to come later. Got home at 1;30 am and set some water heating for tea. Desperately needed to take a shower and get the tear gas off my skin.
It was a mostly safe night, though I got knocked down in a panic from a nearby flash-bang and several tear gas grenades/ canisters/ thingies going off at once. I honestly don’t know who knocked me down, but there were several people that bumped into me nearly simultaneously and one kicked one of my crutches out from under me. The other crutch went as soon as my weight was no longer directly over it and a different person bumped into the now-unstable crutch. I actually fell onto the backpack of someone in front of me and they slowed my fall (fortunately they also didn’t hit the ground). On the way down I got kneed in the left side, more or less. It was right next to the kidney right where my side meets my back. While on my knees I couldn’t gather my crutches and someone stepped on my heel. As my toes were pointed it couldn’t drive them into the ground, so I felt lucky not to break a toe. Almost immediately 3-4 generous people were helping to pick me up. I think one of them was the person who stepped on my heel, but I don’t really know for sure.
Man, tonight was just lots and lots of tear gas. They did so many small gassings, many of which were down the block from me and hardly affected me at all. The more I experience tear gas from even a small distance away, the more I realize that how incredibly fucked up I was on Tuesday night was because I was clearly sucking in a super-heavy dose. On Tuesday I remember 3 tear gas canisters around me, all very close, none farther than 5 meters away for sure, and I don’t think any of them were even 3 meters, but I was in shock from the flash bang, so I’m saying less than 5 meters just to be safe. But here’s the thing, I had my eyes mostly closed after that until I was just over a block away, but when I would open them for a moment to try to plan a safe path to walk with my eyes closed, I was still in a fog of tear gas for a good 3/4 of the way through the park. I had previously reported that they had kept the tear gas close to the courthouse on Tuesday night’s 1st offensive, but tonight I was upwind of the tear gas and could remain longer and watch more closely. The tear gas from a single canister just isn’t that dense 30 feet/ 8-9 meters away from the canister. It’s a very, very light mist . except sometimes when the wind moves the cloud more or less intact. It’s still only maybe a 3 meter diameter of intense smoke, but sometimes that 3 meter bunch moves more-or-less intact on the wind instead of being stretched and thinned.
So, I’m sure the people reading along have been wondering about my take on Ted Wheeler. This is part of it.
As we all know, the protests in Portland are important. They’re about Black lives. They’re organized with absolutely the best of intentions. So there couldn’t be any racism right there at the protests, right? Right????
Aw, fuck. You know the answer.
You’ve likely already read the thread I posted about the personal experience of being exposed to tear gas, how your body responds, how your mind panics. But of course that doesn’t tell people much about what actually happened – the narrative that one might get in a newspaper. This post is more about that: the story of late July 21st and the earliest bit of July 22nd and the rally that happened in front of the
Federal Services Building [Correction:] Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland.
The nightly protests themselves are a sort of jamboree. There are people who take it upon themselves to be leaders. They speak and initiate chanting. But they’re mostly limited to use of bullhorns, which simply aren’t loud enough to reach the whole crowd. So if you don’t work your way to the front, it takes you several rounds of a chant before you can pick it up – except the obvious and most frequent chant, “Black Lives Matter”. That one gets started a lot.