Political Economy of Racial Inequality: Challenging Racism
August 20, 2014, Pete Bohmer,
For Black Prisoners Caucus at Clallam Bay State Prison
Question? What has changed and what hasn’t changed with regards to U.S. racism over the last 50 years?
A.“Race” and racism central to understanding the U.S. past and present, e.g. ,immigration
B. “Race” as a social not biological construct, but socially relevant, (story)
C. Changing forms of racism, easier to criticize past than present. …
Resistance in Theory and Practice to Global Capitalism and Austerity, September 19, 2014, Gwangju, South Korea
By Peter Bohmer, faculty in Economics and Political Economy,
The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, U.S.A.
Presented at the International Symposium Lecture series, Globalization and Democracy at the at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Gwangju South Korea, September 19, 2014
I want to thank the organizers of this event for inviting me. It is an honor to be here. I also want to thank the Korean people who have struggled for democracy and for economic justice, who have resisted U.S. militarism and neoliberalism. I am inspired by the heroism of so many in Gwangju in the May, 1980 uprising against the military dictatorship, for the unification of Korea and for self-management . From May 18th-May 27th, 1980, you showed what a participatory democracy could look like. I hope to learn from you about past and current struggles in Gwangju and South Korea and to share my understanding and insights based on 47 years as an activist in struggles against U.S. imperialism, and as a college professor of economics. By economics, I do not mean neoclassical economics which justifies the obscene global inequality of income and wealth and takes capitalism as a given. I consider myself a people’s or political economist which takes as its starting point the needs of all people for food, quality health care, shelter, clothing, education, communication, transportation, meaningful and joyous work, and the ability to live in harmony with nature. Economics should investigate the role of past, present and possible alternative systems in meeting or not meeting human needs. If our current system systematically prevents these needs from being fulfilled, let us imagine and create alternatives. …
Talk given at “In the Face of Repression: Organizing in Spite of the Surveillance State” Workshop, September 6th, 2014, Portland ORSeptember 27, 2014
Lessons on Resisting Repression talk given at Portland State University, Sept. 6, 2014, at a day of Workshops organized by Resistance Ecology and Oregon Jericho
“I have been asked to share my experiences and knowledge of government repression with you not to scare you but so that we can deal with it and build stronger and more effective movements today for social, environmental and economic justice, locally, nationally and globally. I want to thank the organizers of this event such as Adam Carpinelli of the Jericho Movement”. …
I argue in this paper that prefigurative politics are an essential part of economic and social transformation. However, on their own, they cannot gain sufficient importance and scale to undermine the dominant capitalist structures. It is necessary to also win the state in order to transform it and end its repressive power. Developing this position is the focus of this paper. Although the examples from this paper are drawn primarily from Latin America and the strategy put forward is most applicable there, it is also relevant for the United States and other societies. What is presented is quite general. The specifics depend on the political economic context within the nation and globally, the political consciousness and organization of oppressed classes and groups, and the nature of ruling class power. …
There are many similarities between the conditions faced by children of low-income families in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador with children in Gaza, Palestine. In both cases, they are facing murderous violence. The Central Americans face a dangerous trip across Mexico and are not permitted to enter by the U.S. Israel is waging a murderous war against the population of Gaza. In both cases the United States bears a lot of responsibility. It is racist to devalue the lives of Palestinians and Central Americans. Let us do more than be outraged at U.S. support for Israel and our closing of the border with Mexico. It is people’s responsibility in the U.S. to challenge our government’s oppressive policies–let us organize to end all support for Israel, to open our borders and grant refugee status to those fleeing violence and poverty in places such as Central America and Mexico, and against CAFTA, NAFTA and other neoliberal policies.
(letter I sent to the Olympian July 19, 2014–anniversary of Nicaraguan Revolution)
Right now, Central Americans in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, live in an atmosphere of perpetual violence and extreme poverty. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children and youths, often alone, migrate to the U.S.A.
The U.S. has contributed to this humanitarian crisis by actively supporting murderous military dictatorships there in the past. In 2009, the U.S. supported a military coup in Honduras against democratically elected and progressive President Zelaya. It has since supported repressive, corrupt governments there. The U.S.A contributes to poverty, high unemployment and limited educational opportunities in Central America through our current economic policies. This furthers opportunities for gangs like MS-13 to recruit. The selling of U.S. weapons to gangs there and the high demand for drugs like heroin here, fuels the violence. This is taking a huge death toll on Central American youths.
These children and their families fleeing extremely dangerous conditions are refugees. They should be given asylum and welcomed in our communities. The position of the Democratic and Republican Parties to deport those who have crossed the border is inhumane. The U.S. government should set up centers in Central American countries to grant refugee status and finance safe passage to the U.S., and grant asylum to those already here.
The protests in communities such as Murietta, California against these young immigrants are mean-spirited and racist. Soon, many Central American youths will be arriving at JBLM. Others are coming here directly. Let’s welcome them, by opening our schools, communities, social services and hearts to them.
Included here is first the text of my talk and then second, a YouTube video of the forum where I gave this talk–at the Southside Commons space of LELO-Seattle.
I haven’t posted for awhile and hope to start posting more regularly. Here is a brief proposal I made today in response to discussion about the Evergreen police possibly spying on and epecially sharing information with other police agencies and Fusion Center.
That some Evergreen police spy on protesters is very likely and intolerable. Spying on and reporting on PMR (anti-war group) and its members sadly would not be the first or last time of campus police or occasionally right-wing groups on campus doing behavior of this kind. Larry Hildes, the lead attorney in the case against Towery, is an Evergreen grad and has evidence of the Evergreen police, receiving, gathering and sharing information with regards to port protests (PMR) with other police agencies. He spoke today, February 25th, on Democracy Now. This spying, passing on information is an attack on all concerned about democracy and the right to protest. I propose that the GSU, Evergreen faculty and faculty union, the staff union, Longshore union, concerned student groups and concerned students, staff and faculty demand:
1) that the Evergreen administration support a full and open investigation that includes involvement of students, faculty and staff that is transparent into any and all spying or intelligence gathering by the Evergreen police and their sharing of “intelligence” with other police agencies, Fusion centers since the formation of the Evergreen police.
2) That the Evergreen police or others who have given this information on non-violent anti-war protesters and groups to police agencies should be disciplined.
3) That the Evergreen administration should make a commitment to stop this behavior so that this violation of our civil liberties and 1st amendment rights does not happen again.
4) That there be an independent oversight committee that has access to all relevant documents so that people can organize for justice without fear of being surveilled.