Celebrating a revolution with a revolution

As I see it, America started “celebrating” this year’s Fourth of July holiday on May 26, when the first protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis to denounce the police murder of George Floyd. Those earliest actions have since led to nearly 5,000 protests in 2,500 towns and cities with an estimated 20 million people participating. It is, simply put, the most massive protest movement in the history of the nation and it is revolutionary, a fitting tribute to our Founders.

The revolution that is taking place in our streets, in our schools, in our churches, in our homes, is not the armed revolution of popular imagination. It is instead a revolution of values, the very sort of revolution called for by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous Riverside Church speech in April of 1967.

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Policing the Police: A Conversation with Judge LaDoris Cordell

Here’s the latest online version of Other Voices TV, a deeply moving conversation with Judge LaDoris Cordell.

Judge Cordell has been in residence in my personal pantheon for a long time. She is a brilliant and fierce advocate for justice, in the broadest possible sense of that word. And she is tireless.

She has spoken at so many rallies that I’ve organized that I’ve lost count. And she always — always — gets the loudest cheers for her speeches. Deservedly so.

Here’s a speech she gave — “Necessary Trouble” — at Unity Rally: Stand Against Hate, Racism and Misogyny, in December 2016, on the eve of the Electoral College vote.

She has also been on Other Voices TV multiple times:

Courting Disaster: The Supreme Court (Sept. 2018)
Jeff Sessions’ Dept. of INjustice (Oct. 2017) Remember Jeff Sessions?
Broken Justice: Rethinking Our Cops and Courts (July 2015) Sound familiar?

As long as I’m strewing your path with links, early on in this conversation a brief reference is made to Prof. Clay Carson of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute at Stanford. His appearance on Other Voices Online a couple of weeks ago, which prompted the reference, can be found here. (h/t to SR for suggesting this link)

Judge Cordell has a very long CV, so I’ll let her tell you herself. I lifted this from her website. Watch the video.

Coming Thursday: Reform? Defund? Abolish?

Hon. LaDoris Cordell
Superior Court Judge (Ret.) / Former Independent Police Auditor, San Jose

Host
Paul George
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center Director Emeritus

THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 4:00 – 5:00PM
Live Online!

Join us on Zoom
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83233112240

Or join us on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/penin.pjc

RSVP appreciated but not required

The sheer power of the historic Black Lives Matter protests of the past month have forced a belated acknowledgement: policing in America must be changed. Now.

Our guest is particularly well-suited to help us understand what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and the challenges we will face in getting it done. In addition to her years as a Superior Court Judge, LaDoris Cordell also served as the independent police auditor for the city of San Jose. The auditor served as an independent reviewer of citizen complaints against police and recommended policy changes for the department.

Judge Cordell has also served as Vice Provost of Stanford University and was a Palo Alto City Council member. https://judgecordell.com/

Paul George was the director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center for 30 years before retiring in 2019. He has continued to host PPJC’s monthly television (now online) program, Other Voices, which he created in 1997. Paul blogs at https://dissentment.com/

Photo credit: Robert Kuykendall https://flic.kr/p/5Jg2kt (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

There really is a Riot Act. Bill Barr is anxious to read it to you. Then he’ll search your computer.

If you happened to post any kind of statement in support of the George Floyd protests, guess what? You are in violation of the Anti-Riot Act of 1968, a federal statute. You may not be charged but you could be investigated. Please immediately send your phone and computer to the Attorney General so he can have a look at what other nefarious activities you’ve been up to.

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Video: Even the crashed economy is rigged

My first crack at hosting a webinar is now online. Another lively conversation with Dr. Jack Rasmus about the pandemic economy — or what’s left of it. We need a major stimulus bill aimed at creating jobs, green jobs. We’re not getting that. We are getting more talk about tax cuts for the rich. It’s sick.

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Webinar: Let’s Build a People’s Economy

I will be swapping a TV studio for a webcam in my living room in order to produce the next episodes of Other Voices TV. Like seemingly everybody else, we’re going to do the Zoom Webinar thing. And I hope you’ll tune in from wherever you are.

I created Other Voices TV for Peninsula Peace and Justice Center in the fall of 1997. It has been through some format changes over the years. It started out as a televised version of the monthly forums we had already been holding on a monthly basis. So it was a guest lecturer followed by Q&A with the audience.

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The seas are rising and so are we! A virtual climate rally.

I’ve been away from the blog for a bit because I’ve been helping my former employer, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, organize an online Virtual Climate Rally. In addition to learning and testing the online platform (Zoom … what else?), I’ve mostly had my head buried in Adobe Premiere editing the video you see above. It was worth the effort.

Friday, April 24 was originally set as the date for another round of global protests like the Global Climate Strike that took place last September. The virus dashed those plans.

As a result of going virtual, however, we’ve ended up with a film filled with inspiration. As the individual videos arrived from the student activists who had been invited to speak, I was touched time and again. Here they are facing two immense threats to their future — a global pandemic that is still burning out of control and the specter of climate change — yet each of them expressed determination and hope.

“Virtual” anything is a poor substitute for the real thing. But the dedication and commitment evinced by these young people is absolutely authentic.

In addition to the inspiration, the video features a moving musical interlude from blues man Kenny Neal and some fun video surprises engineered by editing wizard TD. After watching, please share far and wide!

Here’s the contact info for everybody appearing in the video.

Julia Zeitlin – Student and founder of Sunrise Movement Palo Alto Hub
https://www.facebook.com/SunrisePaloAlto/ or email sunrisemvmntpaloalto@gmail.com

Aria Luna – Young artist and climate activist Aria Luna, who showcases a short animation she created for this special event.
https://www.arialuna.com

Kristy Mualim – Kristy Mualim is formally trained as a computational geneticist at Stanford University, and is also part of the Sunrise Movement fighting for state-level Green New Deal policies. email sunrisemvmntpaloalto@gmail.com

Kenny Neal is known as a modern swamp-blues and multi-instrumentalist. His Grammy nominated songs draw from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana.
http://www.kennyneal.net/

Tahoe Roe – Student and member of the outreach team from Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike
https://www.svyouthclimatestrike.org/

Priyanka Joshi – Student and member of the Mitty Advocacy Project
https://www.mitty.com/campus-ministry/social-justice-advocacy1

Maggie Dong –  Maggie Dong is an outreach lead for the California Youth Climate Strike and the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike team.
https://www.svyouthclimatestrike.org/

Jamie Minden – Student and co-founder of Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strikes. Active member of the Sunrise Movement.
https://www.svyouthclimatestrike.org/

Chris Field – Professor and Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Former Chair, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
https://woods.stanford.edu/

Trump’s looming crisis: too much democracy!

Back in 1975, an influential think tank called the Trilateral Commission issued a report titled “The Crisis of Democracy.” The report gloomily described the problems of governance in the major western democracies. According to the report, the problems stemmed “from an excess of democracy” caused primarily by the “new activism” in the United States, especially the robust antiwar movement.

You read that right. Too much democracy was causing headaches for the ruling elite. Poor things.

Today, Trump and the morally bankrupt Republican Party are facing a similar crisis of too much democracy. This time the excess of democracy arises from the growing calls to have universal mail-in balloting for the November presidential elections. Mail-in voting is, in fact, the number one recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control for keeping voters safe in the age of coronavirus.

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Letters from lockdown: Let’s call it “physical” distancing and practice social “solidarity”

One thing that’s been bothering me from the start of this virus outbreak is the use of the term “social distancing.” Obviously, its widespread use has worked pretty well. People are definitely learning to keep their distance from one another, students on Spring Break in Florida being a notable and regrettable exception.

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Letters from lockdown: We’re up first. Let’s get this right.

Okay, California. We’ve given the world skateboarding, Napa wine, sourdough bread, valley girls and hippies. How about we make this social distancing thing the next hot trend? To do that, we need to take it really seriously. Without losing our California cool, of course.

I think Rose Aguilar summed it up best on her radio program this morning. Rose said she had been “struck” by something she read, that what we need to focus on is setting a good example for the rest of the country. 

That hit home for us, as well. We’re up first. Let’s get this right.

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Rose Aguilar’s program, Your Call Radio, is a key part of the daily routine in our house. We highly recommend it. She’s focusing on the coronavirus emergency these days, of course, and is bringing great resources — and inspiration — to the community. https://www.kalw.org/programs/your-call  In the Bay Area, 10:00 AM Mon – Fri, KALW 91.7 FM.