Waking up the NEW LEFT

The New Left emerged independently at two great postwar knowledge factories, the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley. More than a third of their students were in graduate or professional school. Michigan had more contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration than any other university in the country. Berkeley was the main federal contractor for nuclear research, and had more Nobel laureates on its faculty than any other university in the world.

Yeah, I skipped using the first paragraph. Lots of students in the New Left would have agreed 100% with it. In truth, the New Left was late to the dance. Folks, North and South, predominantly Black, had been leading an uprising against American Racism which came to be called the Civil Rights Movement. Lots of grassroots. Urban and rural. Students and workingclass activists alike had been building organizations like SNCC and CORE for a few years before, say, the founding of SDS. And these groups had already begun the reconstruction of an American Left that breached public comprehension with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963.

I was there as co-founder of my local CORE Chapter along with the other founder, a Black member of one of the biggest UAW locals in Connecticut.

As discussions of New Left analysis grew across the U.S., most of the “welcoming committees” were folks already committed to the civil rights movement. In general, as community-based organizations, we were working class, all colors. And saying that, please, move on and read this article. It is a useful, thoughtful, pretty direct depiction of what the New Left thought of itself and the land where it was born.

Mississippi frat rats pose with their guns before a bullet-riddled civil rights memorial


Click to enlarge

❝ First off, if you haven’t learned about – or are old enough that you should remember and don’t – here’s a link to the tale of Emmett Till. Tortured and murdered by racists in Mississippi in 1955.

❝ Second, here’s an article in ProPublica – the first place I saw mention, today, of an incident involving Ole Miss students posing with their guns in front of a bullet-riddled roadside memorial pointing out the site where Till’s body was discovered in 1955. Not a helluva lot changes in Mississippi, I guess.

This won’t get as much coverage in mainstream media as, say, our fake president’s just-as-evil twin being elected Prime Minister of the barely-United Kingdom of England, etc.by his obedient followers.

Trump’s papier-mache-education flunky cancels 1200+ civil rights probes

❝ Our data analysis shows that the Trump administration is less likely than its predecessor to find wrongdoing by school districts on issues ranging from racial and sexual harassment to meeting educational needs of disabled students…

❝ “This is indicative of how they are now evaluating and handling complaints,” said Kaitlin Banner, a senior attorney with the Advancement Project.

A ProPublica analysis of data on more than 40,000 civil rights cases, obtained through multiple public records requests, bears out Banner’s point. We found that, under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the department has scuttled more than 1,200 civil rights investigations that were begun under the Obama administration and lasted at least six months. These cases, which investigated complaints of civil rights violations ranging from discriminatory discipline to sexual violence in school districts and colleges around the country, were closed without any findings of wrongdoing or corrective action, often due to insufficient evidence…and other phony excuses.

This is what anyone who cares about maintaining and improving public education feared. Trump, DeVos, the whole wrecking crew on the racist, class war Right have looked forward to the opportunity handed over by populist chumps in the 2016 election. It doesn’t matter whether your excuse is “stupid” or ignorance or “golly, I never thought anything like this could happen in America” – it is happening and it was predictable. If you voted for Trump? You own it!

Most powerful sheriff in the country now faces 20 years in prison

❝ Once the most powerful sheriff in the United States, Lee Baca is now headed to prison.

A jury convicted the former Los Angeles County sheriff Wednesday on conspiracy charges stemming from his role in a cover-up of extensive civil rights abuses inside the county’s vast jail system.

❝ The scope of Baca’s actual conviction is much narrower than the departmental scandal that eventually chased him out of office in 2014, as dozens of his officers faced criminal charges.

❝ Baca’s own convictions tie back to one specific incident within a much longer saga of abusive and corrupt practices in the county jail system. Human rights lawyers had documented allegations of brutality and corruption inside Baca’s jails for years before federal investigators got involved. When Baca’s team discovered the investigators had an inmate informant, they hid the inmate from the FBI agents who were working with him and sent two people to confront the lead investigator at her home.

❝ Baca’s role in crafting and approving efforts to stymie an investigation put him in a legal box. But that’s akin to catching Al Capone for cheating on his taxes, considering the years of detailed reports on the culture of extreme and routine violence deputies used to maintain their authority within Baca’s jails.

❝ Baca, now 74, had initially sought to avoid trial entirely, copping a plea on lesser charges in exchange for a six-month sentence. A judge decided that the sentence was too light and refused to approve the deal.

Which is why continued vigilance over judges, how they are elected and/or appointed is critical. One of the last defenses against corruption and crime in a nation that often rewards criminal behavior with elective office. Worshipping the strong man syndrome.

Baca now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.