Boggs Center – Living For Change News – January 17th, 2022

January 17th, 2022

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Thinking for Ourselves

Serving the people
Shea Howell

The Republican Party has not believed in democracy for a very long time. The Democratic Party, in spite of its rhetoric, has not provided much defense. Elite politicians have never been the driving force for expanding democratic ideals. They have been forced into it by mass mobilizations that challenged their power and profits.

This nation began with grand compromises on democracy. Our Constitution enshrined slavery, partially counting people enslaved to balance the congressional power of land and slave owning white supremacists. The Electoral College is the product of another grand compromise between those who wanted the direct election of the president and those who wanted Congress to choose the chief executive. Its purpose was to protect elite power from what they regarded as the dangerous popular will.

Young people voting in this last election have lived most of their lives with presidents who did not have the support of the majority of the people and who advocated policies most people rejected. In the last 20 years two of the last three presidents lost the popular vote but garnered majorities in the Electoral College. They gained office with violence surrounding voter certification, the intervention of the Supreme Court, and deference to the Electoral College over public will.

The 2000 election was hotly disputed, especially in states with larger Electoral College votes. In the end, Al Gore secured the popular vote by more than 500,000. Yet George W. Bush claimed the greater number of electors by winning a dispute over Florida. The Supreme Court enabled Bush to secure the victory by a 5-4 decision, ruling that the Florida recount should not continue. This dispute featured a mob attack on the process of certifying votes. The people involved in what was called the “Brooks Brothers Riot” were better dressed than their counterparts in the January 6 2021 insurrection, but their intent was the same, to use violence and intimidation to disrupt the legal processes of vote counts and to overturn the will of the people. Roger Stone figured in both efforts.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million. She received the support of 48.2% of the voters while Trumps got 46.1%. Clinton gained almost 400,000 more votes than Barack Obama had in 2012. Yet her votes were not in key Electoral states, giving Trump the presidency.

Shocked by the outcome, retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College. “This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency,” Boxer said. “The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately.” New York Congressman Charlie Rangel put forth companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Neither effort was taken seriously.

Trump would go on to claim he really won the popular vote, because “millions” of Clinton voters had cast their ballots “illegally.”

The only popularly elected President prior to Biden in these last two decades was Barack Obama. For his entire presidency, his presence in this country was called illegitimate, as the “birther” lies spread.

Each of these junctures offered us the opportunity to recognize that representative democracy and our so-called system of checks and balances are no longer serving the will of the people. It should have been clear after the shameful behavior in Gore v. Bush that the Supreme Court needed to be recreated, its scope and power reframed. By 2000 the court was captive to a narrow, dangerous, and undemocratic right wing ideology. It was obvious then that the Electoral College only served to subvert the will of the people.

Today as we see Congress held hostage to the most regressive forces in the country, none of the institutions of government are functioning to protect the health, welfare and happiness of the people. It is well past time to reimagine a new kind of government, with new ways to provide for our common good and deepest aspirations.

aspirations.

In Honor of MLK Day

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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This keynote from University of Michigan, originally presented in 2019 features words from Julia Putnam and Tim Wise, centering the theme ‘Unravel’. Organizers note, “The time has long come to unravel the social fabric so as to remove the threads that strangle some populations. Unravel represents the value and frightening nature of unmasking and addressing institutional isms (racism, classism, sexism, ableism, etc…) and personal bias and discrimination in order to arrive at a more just and inclusive community.”

This keynote from University of Michigan, originally presented in 2019 features words from Julia Putnam and Tim Wise, centering the theme ‘Unravel’. Organizers note, “The time has long come to unravel the social fabric so as to remove the threads that strangle some populations. Unravel represents the value and frightening nature of unmasking and addressing institutional isms (racism, classism, sexism, ableism, etc…) and personal bias and discrimination in order to arrive at a more just and inclusive community.”

Julia Putnam is the principal of The James and Grace Lee Boggs School and Tim Wise has been addressing racism for over 25 years as reflected in his writing, including his memoir White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.

You can watch the entire keynote here.

Uplifting & Supporting our Community

An Appeal to All People of North Carolina for a Comprehensive Truth, Compassionate Justice, and Genuine Reconciliation Process’

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The Beloved Community Center’s NC Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission is launching their initiative for community truth and calls for participation on Thursday, January 20 at 11am. Its commission founded with the help of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2004, plans to use the initiative as a tool of ‘great value in changing our nation’s tragic trajectory’. The event is open to those everywhere who are committed to deep empathetic listening to one another, and space to respectfully share the truth of our own understanding and experiences.

Read more of their initiative here and register for the event using this link.

Detroit Safety Team calls for City-Wide Safety Team Members
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The Detroit Safety Team calls for dedicated individuals in Detroit who are interested in strengthening/developing an abolitionist mindset by building community-centered safety via a 2-year commitment of training/engagement.

Reach out to Curtis Renee at curtisr@redefinesafety.org with questions or find out more here.

PrintFlyerUpdatedVirtual People’s Forum: Discussing Compens Dignityation and Restoration

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Detroit homeowners have been taxed illegaly on their property taxes and are still fighting for justice. Join The Coalition for Property Tax Justice and City Council President Mary Sheffield for a forum, happening Saturday January 22 at 10:30am to understand and give feedback on Detroit’s proposed compensation ordinance as input is needed for our voices on injustice need to be heard more widely.

RSVP to attend!

What We’re Watching

Resist by Janis Ian
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Enjoy this video created by Carol Waechter for Ian’s song, ‘Resist’ to add to the inspiration held in rememberance of Dr. King this Monday

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What We’re Reading

Evaluation time: Prepper Pantry/Working Pantry?

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Earthseed Detroit shared with us some tips for building and organizing an emergency pantry in her recent Earthseed blog post. Whether you need motivation for organizing your current pantry or want inspiration for creating an emergency food stash, this post is a must read as it includes some helpful videos with tips as well.

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Described as, “A persuasive account of the philosophy and power of nonviolence organizing, and a resource for building and sustaining effective social movements,” this book by James M. Lawson, Jr. centers the historical philosophy of nonviolent organizing and its relevance in movement work happening today.

You can buy a copy of it here.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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