On April 4, the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, thousands will join Fight for $15 and the Movement for Black Lives to march in Memphis and in cities across the country in the fight for decent pay and racial justice.
These demonstrations are more than a fitting tribute to Dr. King; they are taking up his unfinished agenda. Dr. King saw the Civil Rights Movement as a symphony with many movements: First came the victory that ended apartheid in America. Then came the victory to guarantee voting rights. In his last days, Dr. King was working feverishly on the third movement, the movement for economic justice, organizing a Poor People’s Campaign that would bring together people from across lines of race, religion and region to demand economic justice. King understood that what he called the “giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism” had to …
While much of the country tunes into March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the White House has unleashed a March Massacre, its “skinny budget” plan for 2018. Budgets often seem impenetrable, packed with a blizzard of numbers too big to comprehend. But budgets are value statements. They tell us what we value and what we discount. President Donald Trump’s budget reveals who counts and who does not.
Trump believes in walls. This budget includes a $2 billion-plus down payment — paid by U.S. taxpayers, not the Mexicans — for his famous wall on the border. It also builds a wall around the wealthy and around the military-industrial complex. They are protected and rewarded; the rest of us are at risk.
The first priority for Trump is a “massive” tax cut for the wealthy and the corporations. A first installment came with his health care plan that cuts the top-end …
In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens contrasted the plight of the poor in France with the lavish wealth of the aristocracy, the city of need with the city of greed. That harsh exploitation eventually erupted in the French Revolution, and the brutal revenge of the revolutionaries on their former oppressors.
In some ways, Selma and Shelby County, Alabama represent our tale of two cities. Fifty-two years ago, John Lewis, Hosea Williams and a host of ordinary heroes were beaten by Alabama state troopers as they sought to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, marching for the right to vote. The demonstration followed nearly 250 years of slavery, the whitelash against Reconstruction following the Civil War, and another six decades of legal apartheid and segregation.
In Selma, the modern civil rights movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, chose nonviolence over violence, reconstruction over revolution and forgiveness over revenge. The …
Next week, March 7, will mark the 52nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the historic march and shocking police riot in Selma, Alabama, that helped build public support for passage of the Voting Rights Act. Now, a half-century later, an avowed critic of that law — former Alabama Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who was born in Selma — has been confirmed as attorney general of the United States. In one of his first acts in office — reversing Obama’s order to phase out the federal government’s use of private prisons — he has begun to weaken civil rights protections.
The decision on private prisons reflects Trump’s desire to repeal all things Obama. It expresses the ideological bias of reactionaries like Sessions toward privatizing public functions. It also reveals the pervasive corruption already apparent in the Trump administration. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States — GEO Group …
By Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times
Donald Trump’s first three weeks in office have left Americans reeling from what Republican speechwriter Peggy Noonan called his “cloud of crazy.” His cabinet nominees seem intentionally perverse: an education secretary who has no clue about public schools; an energy secretary who wanted to eliminate the department; a treasury secretary from Goldman Sachs who ran a home foreclosure factory. So when a white nationalist sympathizer, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, was confirmed to be attorney general, it passed by as just another absurdity.
The coverage of the confirmation battle focused primarily on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s outrageous muzzling of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as she tried to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King criticizing Sessions.
The muzzling was an unforgivable indignity. Lost in the furor was the thrust of King’s letter. She was writing to urge the Republican-led Senate of the time …
By Jesse Jackson
January 31, 2017
President Donald Trump’s most recent provocation — suddenly issuing an order banning the admission into the United States of refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries — created chaos and fury that had to be expected.
Airports across the world were engulfed with demonstrators. Judges issued emergency orders staying enforcement of parts of the order. Families found their children studying abroad unable to return home, or their loved ones attending a funeral stranded in an airport. Translators who had risked their lives for American soldiers in Iraq suddenly found their green cards useless and their lives at great risk. Both intelligence professionals and State Department diplomats have protested the order.
Trump clearly revels in this chaos. He proves to his voters that he’ll fulfill his campaign promises, despite opposition. He shows them that he’s getting things done. He postures strong on securing Americans …
January 17, 2017
How should Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday be celebrated? It should be celebrated in many different ways.
Dr. King was an intellectual who reflected seriously and critically on the dilemma facing African-Americans, people of color generally and poor people specifically — of all races.
He was also an activist. He didn’t get bogged down in the paralysis of analysis. The choices he saw available to the oppressed were threefold: The first option was to respond to institutional violence with violence. But he didn’t see that as moral, practical or able to really address and solve their problems. In fact, he saw it as counterproductive. Secondly, the poor and people of color could just endure injustice and essentially do nothing. Again, he didn’t see that as moral or practical, and he thought that such repression would eventually explode into violence. The final choice, the one he recommended, …
December 27, 2016
The final days of the Obama presidency are upon us. His popularity is rising with the economy, and with the increasingly stark contrasts to his successor. It is worth being clear about the legacy that he leaves behind.
Obama came to office facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The global financial system teetered on collapse; the auto industry faced bankruptcy; the economy was shedding 400,000 jobs a day. He also inherited the catastrophe George Bush had created with the debacle in Iraq and government misrule dramatized by the shame of Katrina and New Orleans.
Now, eight years later, the economy nears full employment, with more than 15 million jobs created and private sector jobs growth at a record 81 consecutive months and counting. Wages are beginning to rise, after long years of stagnation or worse. The auto industry has enjoyed some of its most …
December 20, 2016
On Monday, the Electoral College met to cast their ballots for the new president after a bitterly contested election in a deeply polarized nation. On Sunday, the vast majority of Americans will celebrate Christmas, literally the mass of Christ, marking the birth of Jesus.
Christmas is not simply a day for exchanging presents and cards. It is not simply a holiday; it is a holy day. Each year, I use this column to remind us of the real meaning of Christmas.
Jesus was born under occupation to a couple ordered to go far from home to register with authorities. The innkeeper told Joseph that there was no room at the inn. Jesus was born in a stable, lying in a manger, an “at-risk baby.”
He came at a time of great expectation among the poor and the oppressed. Prophets had predicted that a mighty Messiah would be …
December 13, 2016
The CIA conclusion that the Russians intervened in our elections in order to help elect Donald Trump has sent Washington into one of its fabled tizzies.
President Barack Obama has ordered an intelligence agency report before he leaves office. Democrats and responsible Republicans are calling for congressional investigations. Pundits are arguing the Russians — combined with FBI Director James Comey’s outrageous interventions — cost Hillary Clinton the election. In response, President-elect Trump is tweeting furiously about voter fraud, peddling lies about millions of illegal immigrants voting and many other things to distract from the escalating scandal.
Left out of this brouhaha is the systematic and purposeful voter suppression that certainly cost Clinton the election. The Russians didn’t do it. It was done by right-wing partisan state officials eager to suppress the vote of people of color, the young and the working poor. These efforts were open, systematic …
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April 25, 2017
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- Lessons from Fox and O’REILLY
April 24, 2017
- Beyond the Evil of Trump: Living King’s Legacy of Steadfast Resistance
- Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism
April 17, 2017
- I Won’t Be Silenced by the Solar Industry’s Intimidation Tactics
April 15, 2017
- Standing Steadfast With Paul Robeson: Refusing to Change With the Weather
- The Arab Spring and the Corrosion of Democracy
April 11, 2017
- Honoring August Wilson: Holding Hallowed Cultural Ground
April 9, 2017
- The March Unemployment Report Is Mixed News
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