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Rick Perry Sounds like a Confederate: Or why States’ Rights and Slavery are “Joined at the Hip.”

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BTW… Sorry for the slow posting from everyone here. Its vacation time and the various tentacles have dispersed for rest and relaxation.

Jesse Jackson Jr. has caused headlines by linking Rick Perry’s support of the 10th Amendment, and his related states’ rights extremism, to the Confederate defense of slavery.

“After all, it was the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights that protected the institution of slavery. The words ‘slave’ or ‘slavery’ did not appear in the Constitution. The institution of slavery, the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights are joined at the hip.”

I think Jackson is onto something here, and I want to explore a little bit more the idea that slavery and states’ rights are “joined at the hip.” Now, obviously it is theoretically possible to support states’ rights while being completely egalitarian and anti-slavery. I’m sure that Perry thinks that is his position. And there have been isolated incidents of certain movements or states which appeal to states’ rights because they want to do something more egalitarian than the Federal Government allows. Some abolitionists fought the Fugitive Slave Act on states’ rights grounds, as do some gay rights activists who attack DOMA.

But by and large Jackson is certainly correct that states’ rights has been almost always associated with those opposed to egalitarian movements. Defenders of slavery, of Jim Crow, of “right to work” laws, and other movements have almost always turned to states’ rights as their favored argument. Why?

One obvious answer is that states’ rights, for one reason or another, seems to be part of the Southern political tradition, and the South has generally been conservative on racial and economic justice issues. This is true, but isn’t enough.

I think there are two deeper reasons why states’ rights are so appealing to conservatives. The first has to do with thwarting democracy. When conservatives say we can’t, for instance, pass universal health care at the federal level, or we should allow each state to craft its own labor laws, they are essentially saying that the American people, through their elected officials, cannot deal with this issue. Conservatives would probably say that local elected officials should deal with them. But we have a national economy (really an international economy). Individual states do not have the economy of scales, resources, ability to debt-finance, or expertise to actually respond to most economic issues. Moreover, letting each state set its own labor and environmental laws creates a race to the bottom, effectively setting the laws at the level of that state most willing to crush unions and pollute rivers. Thus we have the Mississippification of America. In other words, denying the Federal Government the right to intervene in the economy is about neutering the only institution with enough power to effectively regulate that economy. Sure Vermont can pass whatever laws it wants, but big economic problems require collective action, something that Perry et al, what to deny us the ability to do.

Second, and most important, states’ rights is about protecting the rights of local elites at the expense of various minority or subaltern groups. This is where the legacy of slavery is clearest. Slaveowners preferred keeping as much power as possible at the local level because they knew that they could trust the legislature of South Carolina to protect slavery and abide by racial codes. They couldn’t trust a Federal Government that included people from Massachusetts and Ohio to protect slavery in the same manner. Shrinking the relevant space of decision as small as possible protected their racial and gendered prerogatives, most of which didn’t require any state activity anyway. During Jim Crow a similar process held, where local and state governments were given the rights to treat African-Americans as they wished, without dealing with meddlesome Northerners. The analogous situation today is with immigration, where racists in Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia want local officials to deal with what is, and always has been, a federal issue, exactly because local officials are more likely to treat Mexicans in dehumanizing ways. (Not that Barack Obama actually believes in treating immigrants in humane ways either, but that’s another story…).

The relevant intellectual source for these two strands of thought is John Calhoun, who hated democracy, equality, and the Federal Government, as much as he loved slavery and elite rule.

One consequence of this, if I’m right that states’ rights ideology has been tied to hatred of democracy and elite rule since at least the days of slavery, is that it becomes meaningless for anyone to defend the actions of the South during the Civil War as being just about states’ rights. Even if true (and its not true) that Southerners were only motivated by concerns about federalism, that concern cannot be disentangled from their own slave economy and the hatred of democracy that slavery taught them.

The point of all of this is that Rick Perry’s love of (and perverse mis-reading of) the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights is not neutral. It connects him to a disgusting and dangerous set of ideologies that have historically been used to oppress black people, crush unions, and, now, viciously discipline immigrants.

Written by Jenny Carlson

September 1st, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Main

The Huffington Post Strike, Matthew Yglesias, and the Decline of the Progressive Blogosphere

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Why am I not at all surprised to see blogger wunderkind—and member of the progressive establishment blogosphere in good standing—Matthew Yglesias advocate that people scab and cross a picket line? In this case, the dispute is over the strike at the Huffingtonpost. Two labor unions, the Newspaper Guild and the National Writers Union have called a strike and a boycott of the Huffington Post over the fact that they, you know, don’t pay their workers. At the same time, my brother in the UAW, Jonathan Tasini has filed a class action lawsuit against the Huffington Post on behalf of the unpaid bloggers. The activism was launched, of course, after it was announced that Arriana Huffington would make $315 million dollars selling the website to AOL without paying a cent to the bloggers who helped make it popular.

A couple of quick points about the strike and then some broader thoughts:
First, a strike has been called by legitimate unions. You might disagree with tactics, or even, as Yglesias claims, think that it’s counterproductive to the interests of the unpaid bloggers, but scabbing a picket line (even a virtual one) is a serious deal. Unless you have damn good reasons, you should always trust the workers who have called a strike. I don’t see how anyone can call themselves on the Left if they proudly cross a picket line.* And its one thing to do that in private, or because you were unaware of the picket line. Its another to publically advocate scabbing while taking money and publically representing a (supposedly) progressive organization like the Center for American Progress.

Second, It’s easy to overthink the complexity of an issue like this. Stepping back it is, like every other strike, a matter of class loyalties. Do you side with unpaid information-age workers, or AOL, one of the biggest information conglomerates in the world? There is no way that poorly paid information workers will ever get a fair deal unless they organize and fight. You either side with them (like Erik Loomis does) or you side with the faceless multinational corporation (like Yglesias does, whether he intends to our not). There’s no neutral ground in cyberspace.

Erik Loomis, who originally called Yglesias out, compares the bloggers to grad students, and the comparison is apt. In both cases there are groups of information workers who are paid little or nothing on the empty promise that one day in the future you might get a cushy job. Like Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, or tenured professor. In both cases, though, the very fact that people are willing to work for free at the beginning of their career erodes the need for people in those cushy jobs at the end of the career. In the case of academia, universities won’t hire lots of full time professors when they can rely on TAs and adjuncts (who are all hoping one day to become professors) to teach all the classes. As universities need less and less professors, the competition becomes more and more fierce, and so grad students are more and more willing to take poorly paid jobs in order to pad their resume. The vicious cycle continues.

Yglesias seems to think that because some people are willing to blog for free (as I do!), this means that the bloggers at the Huffington Post shouldn’t strike. By that logic, of course, the workers at the Stella D’Orofactory shouldn’t have struck since many people bake chocolate chip cookies for fun. The obvious difference between most blogs and the Huffingtonpost is that something different happens when your labor enters a marketplace and someone begins to profit off it. Especially when we’re talking $315 Million in profit. I think most of us have a pretty good moral economy in which we understand that you have a moral claim on money that is being made off your labor.

Moreover, as writers on the (actual) left are well aware, the appropriation of cultural work by capital is a central aspect of neoliberalism. The sale of the Huffington Post can be put in the broader context of the enclosure of the digital commons. As Michael Hardt defines it, biopolitical production relies on “the production of ideas, affects, social relations and forms of life.” Neoliberalism is dependent on “capitalist strategies for privatizing the common through mechanisms such as patents and copyrights.” In other words, this isn’t the 1930s anymore, when the relevant fights were in the Ford factories. Today, increasingly labor is intellectual labor, about manipulating data, ideas, and culture. (Of course, there were labor fights in the cultural industry in the 1930s too, I know, but I’m simplifying for the sake of the argument.) The Left has to respond to these changes in labor by finding ways to organize and advocate for workers in these information industries.

But in a broader sense, as Loomis originally pointed out, this whole issue is symptomatic of a larger issue: the decline of the progressive blogosphere as an independent and outsider voice. Yglesias, of course, is a perfect symbol for this. Today, from his nice perch in the Center for American Progress, he spends most of his time lecturing Teachers’ Unions on why we need to privatize our education system, advocating deregulation of one form or another, and asking himself, for every social problem, “what would my econ 101 textbook say?” If he isn’t writing for the New Republic and hosting cocktail parties in 10 years I’ll be shocked. His good friend Ezra Klein, although not as eagerly neoliberal, openly celebrates the technocratic worldview, seemingly unaware that bureaucratic efficiency is not the same thing as justice, equality, and dignity.

The other blogs have either become election oriented advocacy sites (like Dailykos) or got sucked up into one establishment think-tank or establishment magazine or another. The anti-establishment tone, the sense that the Democratic Party had to be saved from itself, the skepticism of elites, etc… are all mostly gone now, replaced by this weird fetishism of the technocrat or sadly predictable loyalty to the Democratic Party. Its true there are still a couple of left-overs from the original wave of bloggers. Your Atrioses, Digbys, and Glenn Greenwalds, who keep alive the flame. But it’s nearly impossible for new voices to enter into the conversation like they are.

And ironically, of course, it is this very system—the control of the blogosphere by established writers and institutions—that shuts out new bloggers and forces them to do humiliating things like work for free for the Huffington Post in the vain hope that they will one day be able to make a living out of it.

* The only exceptions I see are if the strike is a hate-strike, in which case you should cross the line, or rare instances in which some conservative workers strike to derail socialist policies, as when the Canadian doctors tried to prevent the single payer system from being implemented, or the CIA funded anti-Allende strikes in Chile. In those cases a broader solidarity trumps the solidarity you owe the workers. Obviously a virtual picket line can be more difficult to respect than a flesh and blood one. I certainly have followed links to the Huffington Post, and see no purpose in getting too self-righteous about people still reading it now and then. But I certainly won’t advocate it. And certainly won’t advocate the far greater action of writing for it.

Written by Jenny Carlson

June 15th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Main

The “Gay Girl in Damascus” Hoax: Some Reflections

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I’m pleased to once again be able to introduce a great guest post from friend-of-PhD-Octopus, Mircea, who takes on the case of the mythical Syrian lesbian blogger, Amina, and its personal and geopolitical fallout.  –Luce

by Mircea

It’s been not 24 hours since the mystery behind detained Syrian lesbian blogger Amina Abdallah Arraf Al-Omari has been solved. What began as an international outcry over the arrest of a popular blogger giving voice to the queer side of the “Arab Spring” quickly turned into a frenzy of Internet investigations, carried out by journalists and bloggers, that has reached a sad and predictable end – there was never an Amina in the first place. The blog, and even more disturbingly, an entire online identity going back almost four years, was the creation of a 40 year-old American man from Georgia now studying in Edinburgh, Tom MacMasters, and his wife Britta. In what follows I’ll quickly recount the story, from first suspicions to this morning’s denouement, then offer a few thoughts on what this might mean in the larger context of queer politics and the Middle East.

It all began with this post detailing Amina’s capture by Syrian security forces, ostensibly put up by Amina’s cousin Rania Ismail. The response was swift, with several newspaper reports and a flurry of “Free Amina” facebook groups, like this one and this one, mobilising concerned people around the world. But within a few days, as reporters and State Department officials in Syria attempted to contact Amina’s family, doubts began to emerge. No one, it seems, had ever met or spoken to Amina, not even her girlfriend in Montreal, Sandra Bagaria (they had only communicated via e-mail). One of the first to publicly question the story was NPR’s Andy Carvin, who was sceptical yet cautious to declare that she didn’t exist. Maybe she was simply very good at concealing herself, as all activists living under repressive regimes must be. But then a Croatian woman living in London, Jelena Lecic, noticed that the photos of Amina being circulated were actually of her. There were hundreds, including all the photos on Amina’s personal facebook page, all apparently stolen from Jelena’s facebook. Troubled, she went on the BBC to prove her identity, and wonder how all this had come about. The evidence was increasingly pointing to an elaborate hoax.

I began following the controversy at Liz Henry’s blog, where commenters took to the Internet to uncover as many details about Amina as could be found. The mass of details was confusing, and involved an extensive cast of characters, some real and some fictional. Amina had stated she was born in Virginia and went to high school and college in Georgia. She had a previous blog where she declared her intention to mix fact and fiction; she had also been active in posting on alternate history Yahoo mailing lists, declaring her interest in medieval Byzantium. There were several online dating profiles, one in which she listed her language as Hebrew. Some used pictures of Jelena Lecic, some of another woman. Her cousin Rania Ismail’s facebook page turned out to be a likely fake; no one had been able to contact her either. Anything seemed possible. Was she the creation of Rania, a married Syrian woman looking for an escapist fantasy? Did Rania even exist? Was Amina a creation of Sandra Bagaria, the Canadian girlfriend? Or perhaps it was Jelena Lecic herself, whose first statement to the media was released through a suspicious P.R. agency? These theories may seem ridiculous in retrospect, but only through this kind of free-thinking exercise could all options be considered. The truth, when it came out, was perhaps stranger still.

Parallel to Liz Henry’s and Andy Carvin’s efforts, which later turned out to involve e-mail communications with someone likely to be the person behind the hoax, the website Electronic Intifada and the Washington Postwere putting together a story based on two concrete leads. One came from Paula Brooks, an editor at the website LezGetReal (which was the first to introduce Amina’s blog to a wide readership). She provided two IP addresses used by Amina, both in Edinburgh. The other came from Scott Palter, a moderator on the alternate history boards, who had once gotten a mailing address from Amina in Stone Mountain, GA. This, it turned out, was Tom MacMaster’s home. Suddenly all the pieces fell into place: MacMaster was born in Virginia, had lived in Georgia, currently studies in Edinburgh, and plans to write a thesis on medieval Byzantium. He is a pro-Palestinian activist, and his wife Britta, a Quaker, was involved in organising events on Syria and Israel. Britta is a fellow at St. Andrews in the Centre for Syrian Studies, writing a thesis on the Syrian textile industry. She had posted pictures of her travels in Damascus, the same ones also used by Amina. The game was up.

MacMaster’s so-called apology on the blog, posted this morning, is a remarkable display of narcissism, self-delusion and self-righteousness. He declared, “While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground,” with the exception, of course, of all the key facts on the blog – that a gay woman, living in Damascus, was experiencing the revolution and had been detained by security forces. He had the gall to claim that, “I do not believe that I have harmed anyone.” Let me count the ways:

  1. Closest to home, it was Sandra, the Canadian girlfriend, who had been privately lied to for months. Reading her tweets from before the abduction story, one is struck by the sincerity and passion with which she speaks of Amina. She had to endure constant media questioning, when it became clear just how deep the deception went. Interestingly, the abduction story was posted only a few days after Sandra attempted to call Amina at home in Syria and got no answer. That day Amina wrote about security forces visiting her family and her subsequent need to go underground. It may be that this is the point at which Tom and Britta freaked out and looked for a way to take their character off the stage, at least temporarily.
  2. Everyone else who had an online relationship with Amina, and who has been affected by the investigation. The website LezGetReal, for example, was subjected to intense scrutiny because Paula Brooks and other editors, who have families working for the federal government and do not wish to be outed, write under pseudonyms; they, too, were suspected of being fake.
  3. Finally, most obviously and most importantly, this is a devastating blow to queer activism in Syria and everywhere else in the Middle East. These furious reactions from actual Syrian activists give a sense of the damage. Not only does the hoax make it more difficult for Syrian bloggers to be heard in the future without undue suspicion, but it puts LGBT activists currently in Syria under the spotlight of the authorities. In every way, MacMaster has done about as much harm to the Syrian revolution as could be imagined from a computer in Scotland.

It is, however, the following sentence that deserves the greatest outrage: “This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.” Not only is MacMaster not apologising, he is in fact blaming everyone else for the very sin he has committed. In a sense, “A Gay Girl in Damascus” was the perfect instantiation of liberal Orientalism, wherein Western audiences are enjoined to sympathise with a young, attractive, Westernised and courageous individual battling against the forces of dark, oppressive Islam. If Amina didn’t exist, one would have had to invent her. MacMaster’s twisted activist vision piled on all the desirable characteristics for what he thought the West should know of the Middle East, but didn’t bother because of the biased, Zionist media. The cruel irony is that in not finding a real Syrian who could represent some or all of these things, he confirms the very fantasies he set out to dismantle are just that, fantasies.

It is also troubling, it must be said, how those sceptical of Amina’s story from the start have slipped into the same traps of Orientalist fantasy. One of the earliest arguments for the hoax was that, “No one in Syria would ever kiss their girlfriend in public,” or speak so freely, etc. Though this may be in a very general sense accurate, it further adds to the erasure of the public presence of LGBT Syrians. Another argument from a commenter on one of the investigating blogs was that MacMaster had wished to show that being gay in Arab countries is not so bad, when in fact he had proved the opposite. There could be no one as free as Amina in Syria; but, the commenter added for good measure, there could be in Israel. It was MacMaster’s anti-Israel bias that made him paint such a rosy picture of an Arab country. Both Amina’s blog and the arguments of the sceptics are symptomatic of a wider set of highly debilitating discourses. In effect, it is becoming impossible to speak of what being queer in the Middle East is like without falling into one extreme or the other.

All of this brings to mind Jasbir Puar’s extraordinary theoretical work Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, in which she tracks the complex ways in which queer activism in the West has become implicated with imperialist projects and mindsets. One effect is the erasure of Muslim queer sexuality, and its converse — Israel’s propaganda efforts to brand itself as the only “gay-friendly” country in a homophobic region (known as “pinkwashing”). One of her tasks is to affirm the voices of queer Muslims and queer Arabs speaking out against state violence, against religious intolerance, and against US and Israeli colonialism all at once.

This is the kind of person whom MacMaster, no doubt familiar with this literature, wished to concoct. Two of Amina’s blog posts, for example, were on the phenomenon of “pinkwashing.” What this odious, despicable individual has managed to do instead is produce the perfect mockery of queer scholarship and activism, a farce that feeds right back into the very discourses he sought to resist, feeding them to the brim and sustaining them for years to come.

Written by Jenny Carlson

June 13th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Main

Chomsky on Postmodern Theory

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Over at the American Intellectual History Blog, Andrew Hartman offers a positive assessment of François Cusset’s recent book French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States. I found the review pertinent because I’m putting together a syllabus for an introductory course on the “postmodern condition.” While part of the class involves examining the difficulty of defining exactly what the postmodern condition entails, we will be exploring themes typically associated with postmodernism. These include the social construction of knowledge, the relationship between truth and power, and the deconstruction of essentialist categories of identity.  As one might expect, readings for the class include works by Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and Judith Butler (among many others).

The postmodern condition explained

We’ll also be reading a number of postmodernism’s critics, which during its academic height in the 1990s were legion.  While its conservative opponents such as Allan Bloom probably got the most media attention, it also attracted plenty of condemnation by intellectuals from across the political spectrum. As I was searching out such critics for the syllabus, I came across this amazing 1995 list-serve post by Noam Chomsky. In it, he not only delivers a blistering attack on scholars such as Derrida, Kristeva and Lacan, but also on the American humanities establishment more generally.

Now, clearly, this wasn’t the first time Chomsky attacked the American academic class. Perhaps his most famous essay, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” published at the height of the Vietnam War in 1967, tore into scholars whom he believed had abandoned their commitment to truth in favor of service to the state. In the years since, he has frequently laced into mainstream academia for what he considers its political complacency and ideological rigidity.

Unlike his more typical attacks on intellectual cheerleaders for American militarism, however, in the list-serve post Chomsky aims his rhetorical sites on the proponents of “postmodern theory.” Asked why he engaged so little with theorists such as Lyotard, Derrida, and Lacan, Chomsky responded:

I’ve dipped into what they write out of curiosity, but not very far: what I find is extremely pretentious, but on examination, a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts that I know well (sometimes, that I have written), argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial (though dressed up in complicated verbiage) or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish.

Unlike postmodernism’s critics on the right, however, Chomsky doesn’t stop there. He goes on to argue that these theorists, far from being the dangerous radicals of the conservative imagination, are actually apolitical charlatans doing nothing to advance the cause of social justice. In a move that does echo the populist stance one more often associates with conservatives, though, Chomsky argues that most working-class Americans have an easier time understanding what’s wrong with the country than do many out-of-touch humanities professors. Discussing the challenges of explaining his views to different audiences, he notes:

I’ve never found that a problem [providing alternative frames of reference] when I speak to people lacking much or sometimes any formal education, though it’s true that it tends to become harder as you move up the educational ladder, so that indoctrination is much deeper, and the self-selection for obedience that is a good part of elite education has taken its toll.

This is how I took notes for comprehensive exams

Of course, Chomsky’s beef with many post-modern thinkers goes beyond their sometime incomprehensible language and their questionable scholarly rigor, but instead goes into deeper conflicts over questions such as basic understandings of the human condition. Chomsky’s admiration for the principles of the enlightenment and his belief in a universal human nature put him at odds with some of post-modernism’s main currents.  These disagreements are at the heart of his famous debate with Foucault in which the two disagree over the possibility of universal foundations for a just society (in the list-serve attack on postmodern theory, Chomsky makes some—but not too many—exceptions for Foucault’s work).

Personally, I’m sympathetic with much of Chomsky’s critique. Particularly the writers he refers too. On the other hand, I’m willing to be convinced that I’m just not familiar enough with their work. I do think, however, that people like Foucault, Butler, and Said (and Chomsky would certainly agree with me on the latter) have actually developed a number of insights not only worth considering for their own sake, but that are necessary sources of wisdom for any movement that claims to advocate for social justice—but that’s the subject of another blog post.

For now, I encourage you to read Chomsky’s blast. I’m curious to hear what people think, especially those more familiar with Kristeva, Lacan, etc.

Written by Jenny Carlson

May 24th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Main

Neoliberalism and Corruption

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The core assumption of our neoliberal moment, of course, is that markets are the best ways to distribute goods and organize society. Right-neoliberals end there, and declare war on all public goods and any attempt whatsoever to regulate that market. Left-neoliberals maintain that individuals should have access to some basic social welfare, but always reject the idea that the state should be in charge of distributing it. Thus you end up with bizarre, hideously complicated, and inefficient systems like Obama’s health care plan. Since it is almost literally unthinkable that the state could provide a good better than the Market could (every time you say the word Market, by the way, an angel should be playing flutes inside your brain), left-neoliberals have to invent complicated ways to bribe, coerce, and manage the Market God into sort-of-kind-of-not-really providing the resource that left-neoliberals admit is essential.

This critique of neoliberalism is well known. Two recent stories, though, have reminded me just how much this brand of brain-dead market worship isn’t just inefficient and wasteful, but contributes directly to corruption and the erosion of our democracy. First, this one from Albany. Charter schools are, of course, neoliberalism’s wet dreams– you get abundant public money, little oversight, and, best of all, get to hide behind cute disadvantaged kids, all while doing Goldman Sachs’ bidding. Problem is, of course, they don’t actually perform any better than most public schools, so given a choice parents might not send their children to charter schools. The first solution, of course, is to spend money on advertising, a horrible waste of public money, which doesn’t in any way contribute to a better educational experience. The second option we see in Albany, where Charter Schools are spending their money, which comes, remember, from the taxpayers, to advertise against the local school budget. Why? Well, the budget didn’t affect them at all, but it would increase support for the city’s public schools. So they used public money, in order to try to lower the funding for their competitors, who happen to be public schools. Cute, huh? Public money in order to hollow out public institutions.

Next, we have the prison industry, where the New York Times reports that private prisons are no cheaper, and often more expensive, then public government run prison. If Dostoevsky famously said that the conditions of prisons demonstrates the level of your civilization, then the fact that we have turned our prisons over to faceless, unaccountable corporations seems appropriate. But even more appropriate to our time, is that the prison industry often uses their money, which comes from the public, to advocate for brutal racist immigration policies that are guaranteed to produce more prisoners. Specifically, they were behind the push for Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 law, cracking down on undocumented immigrants.

Connecting both stories, obviously, is that fact that the market is not some neutral “tool” that can be manipulated to serve the ends of the state. By turning public goods over to private entities, we empower people who have a particular interest in public policy. The (attempted) underfunding of Albany schools and the racist immigration laws of Arizona, then, are partly the product of seemingly separate political decisions about how to provide certain services.

Left-neoliberal’s love to wrap themselves up in the language of hardheaded pragmatism (generally the sign that you are about to do something fucked up) and say that they don’t care how people get, say, health care, education, or safe streets. And if they have to resort to the market, they don’t mind doing it (implication– they care more about these issues than you, you dogmatic ideological leftist). Problem is, the market is not just some tool, that is completely neutral. Rather by using it as a means, we predetermine a set of ends that we never agreed upon in the first place: ends like anti-immigrant laws and poorly funded public schools, since those things are in the interests of the entities that we are funding to provide our services to us.

Written by Jenny Carlson

May 19th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Main

Neoliberalism and Corruption

without comments

The core assumption of our neoliberal moment, of course, is that markets are the best ways to distribute goods and organize society. Right-neoliberals end there, and declare war on all public goods and any attempt whatsoever to regulate that market. Left-neoliberals maintain that individuals should have access to some basic social welfare, but always reject the idea that the state should be in charge of distributing it. Thus you end up with bizarre, hideously complicated, and inefficient systems like Obama’s health care plan. Since it is almost literally unthinkable that the state could provide a good better than the Market could (every time you say the word Market, by the way, an angel should be playing flutes inside your brain), left-neoliberals have to invent complicated ways to bribe, coerce, and manage the Market God into sort-of-kind-of-not-reallyproviding the resource that left-neoliberals admit is essential.

This critique of neoliberalism is well known. Two recent stories, though, have reminded me just how much this brand of brain-dead market worship isn’t just inefficient and wasteful, but contributes directly to corruption and the erosion of our democracy. First, this one from Albany. Charter schools are, of course, neoliberalism’s wet dreams– you get abundant public money, little oversight, and, best of all, get to hide behind cute disadvantaged kids, all while doing Goldman Sachs’ bidding. Problem is, of course, they don’t actually perform any better than most public schools, so given a choice parents might not send their children to charter schools. The first solution, of course, is to spend money on advertising, a horrible waste of public money, which doesn’t in any way contribute to a better educational experience. The second option we see in Albany, where Charter Schools are spending their money, which comes, remember, from the taxpayers, to advertise against the local school budget. Why? Well, the budget didn’t affect them at all, but it would increase support for the city’s public schools. So they used public money, in order to try to lower the funding for their competitors, who happen to be public schools. Cute, huh? Public money in order to hollow out public institutions.

Next, we have the prison industry, where the New York Times reports that private prisons are no cheaper, and often more expensive, then public government run prison. If Dostoevsky famously said that the conditions of prisons demonstrates the level of your civilization, then the fact that we have turned our prisons over to faceless, unaccountable corporations seems appropriate. But even more appropriate to our time, is that the prison industry often uses their money, which comes from the public, to advocate for brutal racist immigration policies that are guaranteed to produce more prisoners. Specifically, they were behind the push for Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 law, cracking down on undocumented immigrants.

Connecting both stories, obviously, is that fact that the market is not some neutral “tool” that can be manipulated to serve the ends of the state. By turning public goods over to private entities, we empower people who have a particular interest in public policy. The (attempted) underfunding of Albany schools and the racist immigration laws of Arizona, then, are partly the product of seemingly separate political decisions about how to provide certain services.

Left-neoliberal’s love to wrap themselves up in the language of hardheaded pragmatism (generally the sign that you are about to do something fucked up) and say that they don’t care how people get, say, health care, education, or safe streets. And if they have to resort to the market, they don’t mind doing it (implication– they care more about these issues than you, you dogmatic ideological leftist). Problem is, the market is not just some tool, that is completely neutral. Rather by using it as a means, we predetermine a set of ends that we never agreed upon in the first place: ends like anti-immigrant laws and poorly funded public schools, since those things are in the interests of the entities that we are funding to provide our services to us.

Written by Jenny Carlson

May 19th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Main

Republicans Target Teaching American History

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Our department’s librarian sends along this disturbing news: the Republican House is moving to eliminate the Teaching American History program.

I, along with many historians, have benefited from these grants in the past. They are Federal grants given to school districts in order to improve the quality of history education. In my case, I was paid a small amount of money ($3000 I believe) to give a semester’s worth of lectures on Civil War era historiography to New York City high school teachers. The point was to expose high school teachers to more nuanced academic debates than might appear in their textbooks. It was hardly an extravagant program– no one is exactly getting rich on $3000 dollars a semester– but it is a good program. I especially liked it because it offered a chance, however small, for Ivory Tower academic history to filter into more general audiences.

In the grand scheme of Obama era “Austerity,” it is small beans compared to the far greater cuts to education, health care, and housing that are being proposed or enacted. TAH’s entire budget is small (according to the National Coalition for History, in the 2011 budget it is given $46 Million, a rounding error for the Pentagon). But you can bet that if eliminated now, it is unlikely that it will ever be resurrected. A reminder that it won’t just be the poor, the elderly, and the vulnerable who will suffer from the bipartisan mania for cutting services, it will also be us Ivory Tower academics, as well as the general state of American education.

Written by Jenny Carlson

May 14th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Main

Aid and Intervention

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Humanitarian rhetoric has ramped up recently.  Do we have a moral duty to intervene on the behalf of those civilian populations in Libya being targeted by Qaddafi (or in Bahrain, or Yemen, or Egypt, or Cote d’Ivoire)?  Is it our responsibility to respond to the ‘humanitarian’ disaster following the earthquake in Japan (or New Zealand, or Haiti, or Chile)?

Accompanying this increased (over)use of ‘humanitarianism’ has been a growing reaction against it.  Pundits from Fox News to the Guardian who pointed to a humanitarian crisis before the intervention are now questioning its relevance – do we need to intervene because it is a humanitarian crisis?  Or is it a humanitarian ‘crisis’ because we need to intervene? And once we’ve intervened, what comes next?  State-building? Humanitarian relief? Regime change?

Linda Polman’s excellent book War Games (in some markets, The Crisis Caravan) highlights how humanitarian claims have in the past fueled increasingly inhumane wars in Sierra Leone and Kosovo.  In Libya, Qaddafi, an astute assessor of the Western and Arab press, claims that the primary victims of the campaign against his rule have been ‘children’s hospitals.‘  Parts of the press and the public seem willing to accept that humanitarian rhetoric is a bit tricky when it’s applied to situations that involve warring parties.  It is too easy for either side to use humanitarianism against one another.

However, most criticism of the humanitarian infrastructure is dismissed when it comes to natural disasters.  Felix Salmon’s somewhat aggressively worded op-ed about aid to Japan after the earthquake/tsunami is case in point.  Most of the commenters didn’t even appear to have read the article, which (despite its title) encourages people to donate generally but not specifically because earmarked funds are inefficient funds.  But after a natural disaster, in which no one is at fault, everyone feels like they should do something, anything, to help.

Again, though, I point to Polman’s book, and my own research on humanitarians in the 19th century.  The desire to help is completely worthy and understandable.  But the feeling that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing is a little more complicated than pure motive would suggest.  Polman gives the example of the ‘salvation army store’ look across Africa.  Salmon gave the example of piles of socks mounting up in Japan.  This is also where humanitarian pragmatism comes in: the sense that ‘you do what you can’ in a situation.  So in Japan/Haiti/Christchurch you send in the Red Cross and provide what you can.  In a world convulsing with disputed elections, tyrannical regimes, and general unfairness, you target certain regimes to do what you can.  The problem is not the sentiment.  The problem is that humanitarian interventions – even emergency aid relief – rarely end with the intervention themselves, but go on for decades as state rebuilding, refugee placement, and capacity rebuilding take place.

Looking to the 19th century shows that humanitarian intervention has always faced these issues.  Those imperialists who used the abolition of the slave trade to justify carving up Africa in the 1880s were drawing on a still-deeper tradition of humanitarian intervention.  Setting up colonies for refugee former slaves (‘Liberated Africans’) in Sierra Leone, for instance, required vast expense from the British tax payer.  It was frequently challenged and several times (in the 1820s and the 1850s) nearly cut loose from British funding.  But there was a general feeling amongst the British population that something must be done about slavery.  Anything. This ongoing project had its share of ‘MONGOs’ (My Own NGOs – Polman’s term for humanitarian adventurers not tied to a large international NGO), manipulators of aid, and, especially, those who manipulated the budgets of the missions/governments that sent them to Sierra Leone: unaffiliated missionaries would show up with schemes for improving the lives of the ‘Liberated Africans’; savvy businessmen and women would exploit the ongoing slave trade, claiming to be ‘Americans’ so they could participate, only to seek British protection when their slave trading allies turned against them; Governors would use budgets designed for humanitarian relief to build themselves large houses in the hills.  Thomas Fowell Buxton even launched an expedition to teach Africans how to build European-style farming communities, full of consultants on tropical agriculture, medicine, and tradesmen for training those in need of ‘skills.’  (The expedition was a total failure – nearly everyone died of tropical diseases).

All of this is to be expected, of course: it’s what we’ve come to understand about colonialism.  What is harder to grasp is how similar it is to the present situation, and, much more pressingly, what can be done to change what is obviously the same paradigm for dealing with humanitarian crises in all but name.  Because if the parallels with the 19th century are extended, then what emerged after the liberal interventionist stage theorists (‘by inserting our modern know-how we can speed up their progress to ‘modernity”) were the Social Darwinists (‘we’ve tried and tried and our aid and intervention just doesn’t work because some people are superior to others’).  The danger in becoming cynical about aid and intervention is in repeating this fatalism.

Did the measures taken by investing in the Liberated Africans in Sierra Leone pay off?  They did help to abate the slave trade – sort of.  Domestic slavery actually increased as a result of interventions, but ultimately (nearly a century later) tapered out.  Meanwhile, what emerged was a British Empire in West Africa.  And a whole way of thinking about the world as those with skills (medical, educational, technological) and those without, that has shaped our dealing with humanitarian interventions ever since.

Written by Jenny Carlson

March 24th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

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The Great Filipino Hope? A Brief History of Race in the Ring

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It was not long after Filipino congressman and champion boxer Manny Pacquiao defeated Antonio Margarito in a masterful 12-round unanimous decision that somebody decided to play the race card.

In boxing, this sort of thing is inevitable. The sport has long been racially charged, perhaps most famously when Jack Johnsonfought Jim Jeffries in Reno, Nevada in 1910. Much of the American public imagined Jeffries as “The Great White Hope.”  Johnson dashed those hopes, brutally battering his opponent for 15 rounds until Jeffries’ corner called it quits and riots erupted across the country (often simply in response to blacks celebrating in the streets), killing 23 African Americans and two white people.  The story of Jack Johnson has achieved legendary status, immortalized in a 1967 play, The Great White Hope,starring a young James Earl Jones, and later in Ken Burns’ documentary Unforgivable Blackness.

That story, of course, extended far beyond the ring. Johnson broke many racial taboos of his time, most infamously in his very public relationships with white women. He played upon stereotypes to suit his purposes, purportedly even wrapping his penis in gauze underneath his shorts to make it appear bigger. Johnson’s effect on American conceptions of race and masculinity is best explored in Gail Bederman’s introduction to her excellent study, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917.

The story of race and boxing doesn’t stop there. As NYU historian Jeffrey Sammons chronicles in his Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society, discussion of race played a huge role in the career of Joe Louis, the first Black heavyweight champion after Johnson, and of course in the life Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most famous athlete who ever lived.

jack johnson1 McCain Seeks Justice For Deceased Boxer Jack Johnson (Photos)

Today, racial discourse in boxing usual surrounds the action inside the ring. We live in strange times for spectators of the “sweet science.” The demographics of fighters and fans has shifted dramatically. Boxing has always been popular among American immigrants. Every young Jewish schlemiel who aspired to some sort of masculine ideal has devoured books like The Jewish Boxer’s Hall of Fame or When Boxing was a Jewish Sport. In the beginning of the 20th century the sport was especially popular among Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrants, as many fighters of that era drew the colour line and refused to box against African-Americans, especially after the “Great White Hope” affair. At this time, boxing was the second most popular sport in America, after baseball, the national pastime.

With the rise of Joe Louis, African Americans began to achieve prominence in the sport in greater numbers. After WW2, Jewish participation in boxing fell off dramatically, though other white ethnics, especially Italians, continued to succeed, most famously Rocky Marciano. For this reason, the image of the Italian fighter resonated enough to make the 1975 Oscar-winning movie Rocky so successful.  By the 1960s, however, Blacks dominated most weight classes. This began to change, though, as Latinos earned championships, especially at the lighter weights. In the 1980s, though Mike Tyson ruled the heavyweight class and Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns all achieved stardom, fighters like Roberto Duran and Alexis Arguello ushered in a wave of Latino champions. In the 1990s, many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, along with Puerto Ricans and Cuban defectors, entered the ranks of boxing’s best. Boxing in the United States remained an immigrant sport, but the immigrants had changed.

Still, African Americans dominated much of boxing, like they came to dominate baseball, and to an even greater extent football, basketball and track and field. Scholars reached for scientific explanations. Books like John Hoberman’s 1997 volume Darwin’s Athletes: How Sport has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race takes a historical and cultural perspective, while Jon Ensine’s 1999 work, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, tackles the “science” more directly, concluding that a combination of biology and culture has led to Black athletic success. While Ensine’s conclusions are controversial and questionable, his contribution to the dialogue on this “taboo” issue is extremely valuable. To this day, when we see the runners line up for the 100 meter dash in the Olympics, most of us can predict accurately that the top three sprinters will be people of African origin. Why this is deserves to be studied.

In boxing, however, things are a bit different. Today, the fight game is not nearly as popular as it once was to the broader American public, but it remains extremely popular among Hispanics. And while African Americans once dominated the heavyweight class to such an extent that it was mocked in the 1996 parody, The Great White Hype, now the sport’s glamour division is ruled by two Ukrainian giants, the brothers Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Great Black athletes who weigh over 200 pounds are turning to football and basketball, and to a lesser extent baseball, where there is more money, less risk, and the possibility of getting a college education through athletic scholarships. The integration and growing popularity of America’s other major sports sounded the death knell for boxing’s prominence in American life. In a sense, Jackie Robinson killed the African American heavyweight, though he died a slow, illustrious death, and lived long enough to give the United States Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson, among many other greats.

At the lower weights, however, things remain different. If you’re a great athlete, but only 5’5” and 125 pounds, your options are pretty limited if you want to make money in sports. Boxing may be your best or even only route. Indeed, this is probably true for men under 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, with some exceptions among middle infielders and point guards, and maybe the odd running back or tennis player. And so while Latinos (from the US and elsewhere) and now Asians and Europeans are an enormous presence in the ring, Black fighters in the lower weight classes still win championships, none more famously than Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather, aka “Pretty Boy Floyd,” aka Floyd “Money” Mayweather,” may be the best pound-for-pound fight in the world. The only other candidate is Pacman, Manny Pacquaio. Mayweather has already hurled ethnic slursat Pacquaio, making fun of Manny’s Filipino heritage. Mayweather also may have beaten his ex-girlfriend. Leaving that aside (which, I recognize, is a lot to ask), many believe a fight between these two men, despite their relatively small size, could be the biggest boxing match in years. Both men stand to make millions from it. Unfortunately, they’ve had trouble agreeing on drug testing specifics before the fight. Most observers agree that Mayweather seems to be the one ducking Pacquaio, though at this point his legal troubles might derail the whole thing even if the two boxers do come to an agreement.

Bernard Hopkins - View the Professional Career RecordIf they were to fight, however, who would win? Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, aka B-Hop, the Philadelphia fighter and former middleweight champion, clearly favours Floyd. Why? Because of his race.

“Floyd Mayweather would beat Manny Pacquiao because the styles that African-American fighters — and I mean, black fighters from the streets or the inner cities — would be successful,” said Hopkins, according to Fanhouse.com. “I think Floyd Mayweather would pot-shot Pacquiao and bust him up in between the four-to-five punches that Pacquiao throws and then set him up later on down the line.”

Interestingly, Hopkins does not attribute Mayweather’s advantage to any biological or genetic superiority. Essentially, his strength is one of culture. For as the article notes:

Pacquiao fought and defeated Joshua Clottey of Ghana earlier this year, but Hopkins discounted that win, saying “Clottey is ‘black,’ but not a ‘black boxer’ from the states with a slick style.”

Hopkins also said this:

“Maybe I’m biased because I’m black, but I think that this is what is said at people’s homes and around the dinner table among black boxing fans and fighters. Most of them won’t say it [in public] because they’re not being real and they don’t have the balls to say it,” said Hopkins, a 45-year-old future Hall of Famer and a multi-division champion. “Listen, this ain’t a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is,” said Hopkins. “But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting.”

So Joshua Clottey, from Ghana, doesn’t have it, though it’s “embedded” in most Black fighters. This a new, and interesting form of racial essentialism. It’s the same kind of rationale behind the argument that China will never produce a great point guard, because Chinese basketball players don’t develop the toughness that African American guards practicing on inner city playgrounds do. Is there any truth to this? Who knows? I do agree with the ESPN commentators that it is strange and surprising that Pacquiao has never faced an African American opponent. But I also agree that this has nothing to do with race.

In any case, I’m not sure if these race and sports questions can be answered. But I do want to see Pacquiao and Mayweather fight. Lord knows I’ll be rooting for Pacman, and not because of his race, but because he’s a class act and Mayweather’s a criminal and a dick. Also, I think Pacquiao should be the underdog, and I always root for the underdog.

Who do I think would/will win? I think Mayweather will be much harder to hit than Margarito was. Mayweather is a defense master and he hates getting hit. Pacquiao has incredibly fast hands, but they used to say that about Oscar de la Hoya until he came up against Shayne Mosley and Mayweather, both of whom were faster. I think Mayweather might have faster hands than Manny as well. I also think Floyd’s punching power is underrated. Though he’s not a brawler, he can punch.

At the same time, Pacquiao hits very hard, and he will eventually hit Mayweather. I don’t think the strategy he used against the bigger Margarito, in-and-out, pot-shot from different angles, will work against Floyd. He’ll have to crowd him, stay busy, stay on him, go to the body. I still think Floyd probably wins by decision or late stoppage. But then again, Manny has surprised fans over and over again. He started his career at flyweight, and now has won a junior middleweight belt, beating a guy who weighed over 165 pounds on fight night. Manny was able to hurt Margarito, so he will definitely be able to hurt Floyd. I don’t see Manny winning a decision, but just maybe he knocks Mayweather out. If he does that, he may be the greatest fighter of all time.

Written by Jenny Carlson

November 21st, 2010 at 10:00 pm

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Rand Paul on William Lloyd Garrison and Segregation

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A couple of days ago Rand Paul had his balls surgically removed by Rachel Maddow on her show, concerning the issue of whether or not private businesses have the right to discriminate. Watch it below, if you haven’t at one of the ten million places that already linked to it.

Particularly obnoxious, to me at least, was when Paul mangled the history of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Here is the relevant part:

PAUL: You know, one interesting historical tidbit, one of my favorite historical characters is William Lloyd Garrison. And one of the interesting things about desegregation and putting people together, do you know when it happened in Boston?
MADDOW: What do you mean, the desegregation? In general?
PAUL: You know when we got — you know, when we got rid of the Jim Crow laws and when we got rid of segregation and a lot of the abhorrent practices in the South, do you know when we got rid of it in Boston?
MADDOW: I — why don’t you tell me what you`re getting at?
PAUL: Well, it was in 1840. So I think it is sort of a stain on the history of America that 120 years to desegregate the South.
But William Lloyd Garrison was a champion and abolitionist who wrote about freeing the slaves back in the 1810s, ’20s and ’30s and labored in obscurity (ph) to do this. He was flagged, put in jails. He was with Frederick Douglass being thrown off trains.
But, you know, they desegregated transportation in Boston in 1840, and I think that was an impressive and amazing thing. But also points out the sadness that it took us 120 years to desegregate the South. And a lot of that was institutional racism was absolutely wrong and something that I absolutely oppose.

Paul’s history is, well let’s say, a bit shaky here. His point, I guess, is that segregation ended in Boston because Garrison changed public opinion, rather than through government action. This is not accurate for reasons that are very relevant for the debate about libertarianism.

First of all, the low hanging fruit: This is picky, perhaps, but William Lloyd Garrison started abolitionist agitation in 1831, 1829 if you count his speech at Park Street Church, but most historians would say 1831, when he founded The Liberator. So, Paul fails on the dates when he claims Garrison started in 1810s.

Second, segregation did not end in 1840s in Boston. Perhaps Paul means the segregation of the railroads, which the abolitionists did largely achieve in the 1840s in Massachusetts. But the Public School system was not desegregated until 1855, Harvard did not graduate an African-American until 1870, and many churches, theaters, lecture-halls, and other public institutions remained segregated throughout the period. The leading scholars on Black Boston write: “In antebellum Boston, blacks were segregated into a few highly concentrated areas of the city, restricted to Jim Crow accommodations on public transportation, isolated in schools that were rapidly deteriorating, and scholastically inferior, excluded from juries, and seated apart in white churches, lecture halls, and places of entertainment.” (Horton and Horton 73)

Here, for instance, is a quote from The Liberator, Dec 12, 1853: “Rev. Theodore Parker administered, in a recent Sunday discourse, a well-deserved rebuke of the spirit of caste, which in the Puritan city is exhibited towards that portion of God’s heritage whose skins are colored unlike the majority; and for an illustration, referred to the concerts of Monsier Julian, at Music Hall, from one of which respectable colored persons had been excluded.”

Charlotte Forten, a black feminist, keep a meticulous journal throughout the 1850s and 1860s. A relevant entry from September 1854:

“I have suffered much today,- my friends, Mrs. P and her daughters were refused admission to the Museum, after having tickets given them, solely on account of their complexion. Insulting language was used to them.—Of course they felt and exhibited deep, bitter indignation; but of what avail was it? None, but to exit the ridicule of those contemptible creatures, miserable doughfaces who do not deserve the name of men. I will not attempt to write more.—No words can express my feelings, but these cruel wrongs cannot be much longer endured. A day of retribution must comes. God grant that it will come very soon! (Forten 98)

The point, of course, is that moral suasion and consumer choices—Rand Paul’s solution to segregation—did not work. Let me repeat. Non-state consumer action did not desegregate all public facilities in Massachusetts. Abolitionist pressure did convince some theaters, a number of railroads, and other companies to let in African-Americans. But, by any standard, segregation, but de facto and de jure, remained a fact in Boston.

Which is why—you guessed it—abolitionists and their allies turned to the government. First the State Government, and then the Federal Government. Wendell Phillips—Garrison’s close ally—testified in front of the Massachusetts legislature in 1841, on the issue of Railroad Desegregation (the abolitionists began a boycott campaign only after the State Government failed to act on the issue). This is a description of the event from his biography:

Privately owned railroads received “special privileges and franchises” from the state, he argued. The state, therefore had the right and the duty to make these enterprises treat all citizens as equals. “These corporations are public servants,” Phillips maintained,” and therefore bound to serve in accordance with the laws of the commonwealth,” which had been designed “to secure the rights of all the people.”…Since law, according to Phillips, must insure the public’s good above all else, legislators should override the private choices of the segregationists…. As Phillips had made clear during this contest, however, he now equated racial equality with the public’s good and insisted that positive law must prevent an individual’s discriminatory use of private property.” (Brewer p. 98-99)

No politician was as associated with the abolitionist legacy as Charles Sumner. Sumner devoted the last of his life to passing a Civil Rights Bill that would, in the words of Eric Foner “Guarantee all citizens equal access to public accommodations, common carriers, public schools, churches, cemeteries, and jury service.” (504) As he died, Sumner whispered to a visitor “you must take care of the civil rights bill… don’t let it fail.” (533) But fail it did, shot down by compromises in the Senate, and then a Supreme Court, and so segregation lasted, in much of America, for another 100 years.

In case the point isn’t obvious, Rand Paul’s idea of how to fight segregation and racism is simply nonsense. The power of privately owned business, institutions, and individuals is too great to be fought simply by consumer choices and moral suasion.

Written by Jenny Carlson

May 21st, 2010 at 4:31 am

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