Saturday, April 22, 2017

Items of Interest: Bright Week

Divided We Fall
by Ganesh Sitaraman (New Republic). «The Founders shaped their new republic around its economic parity. Nothing short of ‹equality of property,› declared Noah Webster, could ensure the social stability and national solidarity that any constitutional system needs to function properly. This, Webster added, was ‹the very soul of a republic.› Our Constitution, in short, was literally founded on an egalitarian distribution of wealth. Without property being ‹pretty equally divided,› the anti-federalist Samuel Bryan warned during ratification, ‹the nature of the government is changed, and an aristocracy, monarchy, or despotism will rise on its ruin.›»

Historical Interviews: Oriana Fallaci interviews Dom Hélder Câmara
by Oriana Fallaci (Socialista Morena). Google Translated from Portuguese (Original here). 1970 interview of Dom Hélder, in which he lays out his real vision for justice. «Justice does not mean to assign all the same amount of goods in the same way. That would be awful. It would be as if the whole world had the same face and the same body, the same voice and the same brain. I believe in the right that everyone has to have different faces, different bodies, different voices and brains. God can take the risk of being considered unfair. But he is not unjust and wants neither privileged nor oppressed, he wants each one to have the essential to live - while remaining different. So what do I mean by justice? I mean a better distribution of goods, nationally and internationally. There is an internal and external colonialism. To demonstrate the latter, all you have to do is remember that 80% of the resources of this planet are in the hands of 20% of the countries, in the hands of the superpowers or the nations that serve the superpowers. Just to give two small examples: in the last 15 years the United States has made well over $11 billion in Latin America - that figure is provided by the statistical office of the University of Detroit. Or simply to say that for a Canadian tractor Jamaica has to pay the equivalent of 32 tons of sugar ... On the other hand, to demonstrate internal colonialism, all you have to do is think about Brazil. In the north of Brazil there are areas that, being generous, may be called sub-developed. Others still remember the prehistory: the people there live as in the time of the caves and are happy to eat what they find in the trash. And what can I say to these people? What do they have to suffer to get to paradise? Eternity begins here, on earth, not in paradise.»

Response to “Hillbilly Elegy”
by Ivy Brashear (The Young Kentuckian). «‹Elegy› has no class, no heart, and no warmth. It's a poorly written appropriation of Appalachian stereotypes that presents us as a people who aren't worthy of anything but derision and pity, and who cannot be helped because we refuse to help ourselves. It ignores the systemic capitalist oppression that encourages persistent poverty. It assumes there is some special sect of the working class that is especially dedicated to white people. It is rife with fragile masculinity that actively diminishes the critical role that Appalachian women play in the culture, the resistance, in the workforce, and in the new economy...Misrepresentation of Appalachia matters for several reasons. It obscures and intentionally eclipses the pride and dignity of being Appalachian. It has told us we should be ashamed of who we are, where we come from, and the people in our blood. It says to us that we aren't worthy or deserving of anything more than being the butt of a joke. It hits us hard in our guts because the truth is way more complicated and way more real, and nobody likes tales to be carried about them.​»

who’s listening when we talk about abortion?
by Rebecca Bratten Weiss (Suspended in Her Jar). «Most women who end up opting for abortion do so because of pre-existing pressures. And one can hardly call it a ‹choice› when they are given so few other options. A sad irony is that many in politics loudly clamor for an end to abortion while at the same time trying to deprive women of realistic opportunities to make better choices. When someone cuts your health care, cuts your access to cash or food benefits, pollutes your air and water, does nothing to protect you from workplace discrimination, dismisses rape accusations, votes for a sexual predator – then says ‹don’t have an abortion!› – it’s hard to think of that person as genuinely pro-life.»

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