The NYPD has declared a portion of Flatbush a “Frozen Zone”, meaning media are not allowed in and people can be subjected to arrest for not following police orders. It basically means the area is under temporary martial law. The last times the NYPD declared a Frozen Zone was on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and during the beginning of OWS.
Please call 311 to demand that everyone in connection to tonight’s Kimani vigil/march be released from the 71st precinct in Brooklyn. There’s one Malcolm X Grassroots Movement member arrested & two Justice Committee (JC) members arrested. A ton of community members who were at the vigil/march were also arrested. If you have friends/family in NYC please tell them to call 311. If you live in NYC please call 311. Let’s get them free! Please share!
NYPD decided not to release community members and Cop Watchers arrested at the vigil for Kimani “Kiki” Gray. Please call 7182502001 to demand NO charges be brought against all arrested
For prospective countries, hosting world sporting events can appear to be a solid investment in their economy and employment, potentially producing an economic boom for the nation. But the lasting effects are much more complex. Following a sonic boom an eerie silence settles over the land, a vacuum of sound. Likewise, the housing bubble, dotcom surge, and credit wave were all followed by collapsing support and a scramble for the exit. Yet the obscenely large sums of money given out by FIFA to shore up infrastructure and build multiple strictly regulated stadiums for World Cup sites still attract a clatter of vying nations, unable or unwanting to see the consequences. After international agencies and corporations slink away what is left are silent monuments to progress, built upon the ruins of the enduring margins of society. And in five, ten, twenty years from now, when the costs of operating these high-maintenance stadiums surpass any revenue the government hopes to gain, the once gleaming structures may very well crumble from disuse, becoming ruins of their own.
The Brazilian government, flush with FIFA funds, aren’t replacing homes torn down for transportation and coliseums with better housing or improved access to food, health care, or education. They are erecting momentous structures to be used for a single event, and rail systems to ferry the fleeting tourist surge from game to game. Japan, which shared hosting of the 2002 World Cup with South Korea, found that maintaining the stadiums they built for the event are costing far more than any revenue they can get from their usage. And in Beijing the beautifully designed Birds Nest Stadium built for the 2008 Olympics is largely empty the majority of the year due to its immense size and outrageous operating costs. With this in mind who really benefits from these endeavors in the end?
What is clear is that the World Cup could not exist without corporate sponsorships like Adidas, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. In funding these games they receive exclusive rights to the areas surrounding event locations to eliminate any possibility of local vendors profiting from an increase in tourism, as seen in South Africa in 2010. And with the 2010 World Cup reportedly reaching 3.2 billion people around the world it appears to be a sound investment for the multi-billion dollar organizations. But it is the residents of low-income and impoverished areas that are paying the highest price for these events, with projections of at least 1.5 million families losing their homes ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Do these corporations see the human toll as an accepted sacrifice to the gods of capitalism? If so, they are firmly complicit in the destruction and dislocation of entire communities across Brazil.
After FIFA and its sponsors hoist their weighted purses out of South America what could be left is a nation of displaced people and huge, costly obligations to impractical new structures. It is the government of Brazil’s responsibility to protect all its citizens and make a choice as to what kind of legacy it wants: one of boom and bust or one of evolving progress, benefiting all strata of society.
History should be a lesson in skepticism. To go forward in evolving our efforts for an inclusionary voting system, we must remember past abuses and discriminations. Therefore it should be no surprise that the new voter ID laws sweeping the nation call up memories of the times when voting laws favored white, land-owning men. Or how about more recently when language, literacy, and wealth were used to prevent citizens from participating in elections. Not to mention the manipulation, intimidation, and violence enacted to enforce the beliefs of the few over the many. Overt instances of limiting voter eligibility of the poor, non-whites, and females gave way to systematic restrictions meant to enact the same purpose. Much of this was done under the auspices of preventing fraud and corruption, the same key terms being trotted out today with no merit.
What is being ignored, either consciously or unconsciously, is that the same people disenfranchised by past discriminatory voter laws are the same ones who would be most affected by the current proposed amendment in Minnesota. Young people of color are shown to be the largest percentage that lacks proper ID. This includes African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and their children. And what about the elderly, who perhaps need the greatest assistance in advocating for themselves? Many older citizens have allowed their state identifications to lapse out of disuse. Though, perhaps those most overlooked are the homeless or those in housing transitions. All of these citizens are currently allowed to be vouched for at the polls, but would be shut out by the new regulations. In our individualist society those left behind in the rush to achieve success are all too often the first to be forsaken.
What many see as a simple amendment that has little to no affect on their lives is actually much more complex beneath the surface. While many questions about the amendment remain unanswered, what has been determined is that it would make the process more restrictive by ending same day registration and having a major effect on absentee voting. What is an acceptable form of ID will not even be decided by the voter but by the next legislative body in 2013, which will no doubt include many of the same members that proposed this suppressive law. So far, it appears that passports, Military, Tribal, student, out-of-state, and expired IDs wouldn’t be viable as proper identification. At what point is it enough?
As we go to the polls remember the people who put their livelihoods, their freedom, and even their lives on the line to secure open and free voting for all. As Northerners we have a special privilege whereby we don’t need approval from the Justice Department to change our voting regulations. Let’s not misuse this position to suppress people’s voices, let’s utilize it to make sure that all are included and encouraged to exercise their voting power, extending Minnesota’s heritage of the best voter turnout in the country. If you want to limit the voting rights of the disabled, the deployed, the disadvantaged vote yes. If you want to prevent grandparents who’ve voted in the past 15 major elections from continuing their legacies vote yes. But if you want to make sure all citizens, no matter their economic or domestic status, are allowed to exercise their right to have a say in our government vote no. If you want Minnesota to remain at the forefront of voter participation and inclusion VOTE NO on November 6th.
January 14, 2012
Photo by Joanna Calabrese
Our departure from the MST settlement yesterday afternoon was bittersweet. Bitter because, as we were coming to know, the departure from each of these strong, miraculous communities left us all with hearts full of new knowledge and inspiration, minds full of questions yet to be asked, and bodies aching to take part in the work of solidarity. Sweet, though, because the community shared with us a moving goodbye ceremony, painting a stirring masterpiece of their struggles and aspirations.