A staff member of the Community Relations Service mediating at a march in Memphis in 2009. His jacket and hat displayed the Department of Justice seal. (Community Relations Service)
Posted in Analysis Black Lives Matter Civil Rights Pro Publica

How a Key Federal Civil Rights Agency Was Sidelined as Historic Protests Erupted

Launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the Community Relations Service has been without a director and short-staffed during recent unrest. The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to eliminate the agency. by A.C. Thompson and Robert…

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Rathke: Politicizing the military is dangerous

New Orleans       The role of the military in governments of any stripe can be a powerful thing, though rarely is this good news. In Asia, the military junta’s role in Myanmar has led to genocide…

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Rathke: Mass protests are back – what are we waiting for?

New Orleans       Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed?  If you can make it past the daily Trump wailing wall, there’s one report after another of protests.  Not some piddling ten- or twenty-person thing, though there’s…

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Rathke: When political parties lose control, welcome to crisis

New Orleans   Big ideas and popular demands move political parties, pro or con.  Politicians have to put their fingers in the air and see how the wind is blowing, especially if they lack core principles and…

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Sen. John Neely Kennedy

Rathke: We’re so sorry about Louisiana’s Senator John Neely Kennedy

New Orleans      Those of us who live in Louisiana or care about the role of the state and its people in public affairs are just as sorry as we can be every time our junior…

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Rathke: Voter Purges Coming in Wisconsin and Georgia

New Orleans       A Georgia judge allowed a 300,000 voter purge to happen hours ago in that state.  A lawsuit filed by Fair Vote Action seeking to prevent the purge will happen later this week on…

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Posted in Columns Democracy Rathke: Chief Organizer Report SCOTUS Voter registration Voter suppression

Alabama just doesn’t like its people it seems

by Wade Rathke Little Rock   There’s nothing new about states, particularly blood-red states, trying to suppress the vote. The Republican strategy continues to be not to change one iota in their far right, white grievance,…

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Posted in Analysis Social Media The Conversation

How fake accounts constantly manipulate what you see on social media – and what you can do about it

by Jeanna Matthews, Clarkson University Wednesday, June 24 Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram started out as a way to connect with friends, family and people of interest. But anyone on social media these days…

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Posted in Columns Democracy Rathke: Chief Organizer Report While we were looking elsewhere

We are all protesting in Hong Kong now

We need to follow the lead of our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong and make masks, hats, and even googles semi-standard wear for protests and demonstrations. by Wade Rathke Pearl River    The big reveal…

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Posted in Black Lives Matter Columns Democracy Rathke: Chief Organizer Report

Juneteenth is having its day

It’s time that Juneteenth got its due. We need a formal holiday that is centered around our national original sin, slavery, and especially one that celebrates its abolition.     by Wade Rathke Junteenth — Friday,…

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Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House, June 1, 2020 in Washington D.C., during a protest over the death of George Floyd. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana / AFP via Getty Images)
Posted in Common Dreams Democracy Investigations Justice News

1,250 former DOJ officials demand investigation into Barr’s involvement in violently dispersing demonstrators near White House

“None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.” by Julia Conley, staff writer Wednesday, June 10 More than 1,250…

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Screen shot A protester is seen with a placard reading, "I can't breathe" on the fourth straight day of racial justice demonstrations in New York on May 30, 2020. (Photo: Ron Adar)
Posted in Citizen Power Common Dreams Community organizing News The People Speak

New York State classifies use of chokeholds as felony, two weeks into racial justice protests

“Stay in the Streets. It’s Working” “Let’s keep pushing, marching, organizing, and winning for our communities.” by Julia Conley, staff writer Monday, June 8 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday urged Americans to stay the course in…

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Posted in Civil Rights Common Dreams Facial Recognition Government News

Civil liberties advocates applaud IBM decision to ditch facial recognition

“This huge IBM move will force other large tech companies to take a stand, even if their silence is their statement.” by Eoin Higgins, staff writer Tuesday, June 9 Tech giant IBM is getting out of…

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Posted in Democracy Op/Ed OtherWords

We hold this truth to be self-evident: it’s happening before our very eyes

The man in the White House has taken all the necessary steps toward achieving the despot’s dream of dominance. by Bill Moyers Saturday, June 6 At 98, historian Bernard Weisberger has seen it all. Born in…

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Posted in Authoritarianism  Democracy Op/Ed The Conversation

Trump’s use of religion follows playbook of authoritarian-leaning leaders the world over

by Laura R. Olson, Clemson University Sunday, June 7 It was a striking moment: Donald Trump, Bible in hand, posing for photos in an apparent moment of political theater made possible by the dispersal of protesters…

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Demonstrators and police face off near the White House during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2020. (Photo: Olivier Douliery)
Posted in Common Dreams Democracy Justice News

‘American secret police’? Trump deployment of unidentified law enforcement officials across DC sparks alarm

“The United States would normally condemn this tactic if used by dictators of other countries, and its use here directly threatens our democracy.” by Jake Johnson, staff writer Saturday, June 6 Civil liberties groups and Democratic…

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Posted in Civil Rights Common Dreams Democracy News US Military

“When They Say We Don’t Have the Right to Protest,” Says Naomi Klein, “That’s the Moment to Flood the Streets”

As Trump declares “law and order” clampdown against peaceful demonstrations, author and activist reminds people of most important lesson she’s learned studying history of shock doctrine tactics. by Jon Queally, staff writer Thursday, June 4 Amid…

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Posted in Civil Rights Common Dreams Democracy News Social Justice

Global protests erupt in solidarity with racial justice crusaders in US

“Police brutality has created a flashpoint for unrest that was already simmering,” read an editorial published Monday in The Times of London. by Julia Conley, staff writer Monday, June 1 People in a number of international…

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Posted in Columns Democracy Hightower OtherWords

How pro-Trump millionaires robbed small businesses of coronavirus aid

Thanks to a specially carved loophole, one multi-millionaire claimed 339 times more than the average small business received. by Jim Hightower May 20, 2020 Monty Bennett was just another faceless right-wing millionaire on the long list…

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Posted in Common Dreams Democracy Justice News

‘Watershed moment in election law’ as judge rules ‘modern day Poll Tax’ in Florida unconstitutional

Advocates for restoring the voting rights of people with past convictions welcomed the ruling as “a powerful reminder that no one can trump the U.S. Constitution.” by Jessica Corbett, staff writer Monday, May 25 Civil liberties…

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Noam Chomsky, April 2014.
Posted in Analysis Common Dreams Coronavirus Democracy Public Policy

Chomsky says Trump a ‘Sociopathic Megalomaniac’ who made US ‘singularly unprepared’ for pandemic

New comments from the renowned academic come after he accused Trump of wanting “to destroy the prospects for all organized human life… in the near future.” by Andrea Germanos, staff writer Monday, May 25 World-renowned intellectual…

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Posted in Analysis Columns Democracy Rathke: Chief Organizer Report

Religious Nationalism

Pearl River   This whole thing about religious opposition to the stay-at-home orders and the social distancing can sometimes seem a head scratcher. In central Louisiana a minister already noted for refusing to call postponement of…

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Posted in Bailout 2020 Common Dreams Coronavirus Democracy News Voter suppression

Without a functioning Postal Service there is no vote by mail

Experts Warn Trump Assault on Postal Service Threatens November Elections “All the plans we have for a safe and legitimate general election in November depend heavily upon the ability to expand vote-by-mail. Yet those plans would…

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Posted in Analysis Citizen Power Civil Rights Community organizing

Birthed by HBCU students, this organization offers important lessons for today’s student activists

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) founded 60 years ago today.   Jelani Favors, Clayton State University April 15, 2020 marks 60 years since the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, perhaps better known as SNCC,…

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