Author Archive | aaroncynic

Newtown, CT, and America’s Serial Aversion to Substance

Picture: US DOD (PD)

Daniel Edward Massoglia writes at Diatribe Media:

“Now isn’t the time.”

Jesus Christ. “Now isn’t the time.” When is the time? What does that even mean? Why are you saying it?

It is a peculiar society in which the common response to one of the most horrific shootings in its history can be telling others not to talk about it, to not think about it, to not feel it. That can hold engaging in the scripted, often-disgusting exercise of gaudy, superficial grief the best of all options. The United States is the mass murder capital of the world. Please, sir: when is the time?

For people intent trying to make sense of the Newton, CT tragedy with the familiar grief process—a tear from the president, a solemn nod from the anchorwoman: there’s no way to make sense of a mass murder at an elementary school. There’s no way.

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A Mother’s Story: Her Child’s Health Threatened By Tax Breaks For The Greedy

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

“If she doesn’t have her immunization, she can’t attend school,” my daughter’s school administrator explained.

I thanked her and hung up the phone. I touched my beautiful daughter’s hair as she looked up from her Junie B. Jones book and smiled at me. I wondered what I was going to do. I was looking for work, living on my savings from my former position as a university graduate teaching aide. When I graduated, my job was no longer available. My department was gasping for air because enrollment was suffering, students couldn’t afford to attend school, classes were shrinking and being condensed. Where once there were five courses offered at different times throughout the week, there was now two, and one of those classes was taught by tenured or tenure-track professors. My little girl, Ella and I existed by spending most of our money on food, playing in public spaces, and walking almost everywhere.

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End The NATO5 Witch Hunt

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

Boots on the ground is one aspect of protest, arguably the most fun, most invigorating, and proffers the sentiment that our voices and bodies are transforming the system.

With our manic dancing to the song of our unified voices singing, “Ah! Anteee! Anteee-capeeetalista!” in the streets under the ruling class’s nose, how could the public remain unmoved? How can they not join in and support us, even for a moment?

With our energy, spirit, dedication, and words, we are altering reality.

We are unstoppable.

We are building a better world with every step forward towards the heart of downtown Chicago. When we stand in the streets, screaming for social change, educating and empowering our sisters, brothers and the masses, the power structures do their best to remove us. All those bastard cops step in and attempt to silence our voices by making arrests. When de-arresting fails and our family is ripped from us by the state’s savage hands and those boots on the ground are transformed into prison slippers on a cold cement floor, how does our movement stand?

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Slutty Feminist = Determining One’s Own Sexuality

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

SlutWalk centers on empowerment of women to own their sexuality, to reconstruct or destroy traditional gender roles in which women who enjoy sex are criminalized as “sluts” and even worse, asking for rape.

“We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault [as Toronto Police have in 2011],” (via SlutWalk Toronto)

SlutWalk stomps past raising awareness to cast off the shackles of accepted misogyny, normalized patriarchy and rape culture. Feminists (whose ranks include men, too!) are joining forces to deny their consent to this domination and seek to build a world without sexual double standards and victim blaming.

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What ‘Hair’ Can Teach Us About Current Social Justice Struggles

Agnieszka Karoluk writes at Diatribe Media:

I was about 11 or 12 years old and my father was so excited to finally let me watch his favorite movie, Hair (based off the 1968 Broadway musical of the same title). The opening scene shows a young man from farmland Oklahoma saying goodbye to his father as he gets on a bus to New York City. What follows is a psychedelic story of rebellion, love, loss, sex, drugs and every human emotion you can imagine all packed into a musical frenzy of hippies and yuppies, military men and hustlers.

For those of you who have never seen it, the young Oklahoman travels to New York City because he was chosen in the draft and needed to report to the U.S. Army base. On his first day in the city, he meets a group of hippies: Wolf, Hud, Janie and Berger. Along with these four, Claude Bukowski gets into all sorts of mischief and mishaps including a few drug-induced adventures and dreams, falling in love with a daughter of a high-society man and a few ethical dilemmas.

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Free Speech Scores A Hat Trick

Picture: NARA (PD)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Freedom of speech had a hat trick of victories last week, proving that despite the interest of law enforcement and other machinations of the state to put down protesters, ultimately, the law still sides with activists. On Wednesday, the University of California settled with 21 students who sued after campus police hosed them with pepper spray during a demonstration. Images from UC Davis became iconic, particularly the photo showing an officer casually spraying peacefully sitting demonstrators as if he were watering a lawn. Each student will receive $30,000 and a written apology from the chancellor, according to the agreement. Additionally, the San Francisco Chronicle reports the settlement calls for UC Davis officials to work with civil liberties advocates on police policies.

The incident had a chilling effect on some students, but galvanized others to holding police accountable for their actions. One sophomore told the Chronicle that he avoided demonstrations after the event, saying “they had silenced me.” Another student of the University who recently graduated said that she hoped the suit would keep police clad in riot gear away from demonstrations.

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Education Is No Cakewalk: The Picket Line Against The 1%

Photo by Ryan Williams (used with permission)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Chicago teachers have been on strike for a week, and two other suburban areas have since followed suit. Predictably, the argument coming from critics of the CTU centers around teachers making too much money, putting children at risk while “whining” about pay, and teachers being some sort of self entitled class uninterested in hard work (re: lazy).

Given that the majority of Americans attended school at some point and more than likely, had at least a few good teachers who helped their education and changed their lives in some positive way, it’s already hard to imagine the cognitive dissonance it takes to make sweeping generalizations about a group of 30,000 people. But, critics of the CTU seem readily able to forget what the classroom looked like in their day with themselves on the other side of the podium, more than likely not always sitting still and paying attention.

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Seeing Red: Why The Chicago Teachers Strike Is The Best Lesson The CTU Could Have Planned

Picture: Basil D. Soufi (CC)

“When the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.”

Via The Occupied Chicago Tribune:

When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, “Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.” For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the “right” message is simple—shut up and do what you’re told.

Of course, Carroll, who makes $165,000 per year, isn’t paid that kind of money to tell the truth. Luckily for us, neither Chicago teachers nor the larger education community are giving much credence to CPS talking points.

The corporate education “reformers” have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children.

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Undercover Agents Threaten and Attempt To Intimidate Journalists At DNC

Picture: Anna Bal (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Police in Charlotte, North Carolina detained and threatened two journalists covering a march outside the Democratic National Convention over the weekend. Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake and Steve Horn, a contributor to Truthout covering the DNC for WORT-FM in Madison, Wisconsin, noticed four men taking photos of a contingent of undocumented immigrants during a march called “No Papers, No Fear.” Gosztola and Horn noticed the men, who were later revealed as undercover officers, trying to blend in with demonstrators and began taking photos.

Both Horn and Gosztola were concerned the men could be shooting photos of the undocumented immigrants for targeted deportation. After following one of the men in question, the two journalists were confronted by him, who claimed he was a protester and did not like his photo taken. During the conversation, the man threatened to punch Gosztola in the teeth, then grabbed Horn and pulled him to a street corner.

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Occupy Obama: A Communiqué from Occupy Chicago

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media

Every four years we are asked to step into the ballot box and select a fellow citizen to represent the United States of America at home and abroad. Again and again we are presented with two options whose solutions for the world fail to address even our most basic of needs. The situation is so dire that we are often told to select “the lesser of two evils” without even the slightest hint of humor, and this election cycle is no different. We have been presented with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, whose plans for the United States fail to address the gravity of the global failure of capitalism. In response, this year we must refuse to put our future in the hands of any evil, be it Democrat or Republican.

With the upcoming presidential election we are going to be given two sides of the same corporate coin.

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