Sunday, July 14, 2013


I feared from the beginning that it would be impossible to convict George Zimmerman in a racially polarized country; then, when a photo of his injuries emerged more than a year ago, I said the chances of a conviction had "dropped to zero" (never mind the fact that this evidence was unconvincing even to a doctor regularly employed by the Murdoch press). So he's been acquitted now; I wish I were surprised, but I'm not.

Predictions of a violent reaction on the part of Trayvon Martin supporters haven't come true, with, as far as I can tell, one exception:
Protesters angered by the acquittal of George Zimmerman held largely peaceful demonstrations in three California cities, but broke windows and started small street fires Oakland, police said....

Small demonstrations also took place in a handful of cities in Florida, as well as in Atlanta, Washington and New York.

The Oakland police dispatch office said about 100 people protested, with some in the crowd breaking windows on businesses and starting small fires in the streets....

Local media reports said some Oakland marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters' path.

The Oakland Tribune said some windows on the newspaper's downtown offices were broken, and footage from a television helicopter show people attempting to start fires in the street and spray painting anti-police graffiti.

Protesters also reportedly burned an American and a California state flag and spray painted Alameda County's Davidson courthouse....
There are inevitably going to be more protests, and the vast majority, if not all, will be peaceful, but I find myself wonder whether anyone should even bother. White America doesn't care. White America's empathy fatigue kicked in decades ago. We're hopeless. Yeah, a lot of us voted for Obama, but many white Obama voters just wanted to close the books on race.

Marches in the streets aren't going to make much difference. An economic boycott of Florida and other states with Stand Your Ground laws would probably have a greater impact, because in America money talks. And if that's wildly unrealistic, then this isn't:
When the story of Trayvon Martin's killing first made national news, attention quickly turned to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- a conservative group with corporate backing that crafts model legislation and recruits members of local governments to propose and pass it. ALEC is the group that crafted Stand Your Ground.... Since the trial started, though, discussion of ALEC has faded from the national conversation. On Sunday, in the wake of the jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty, President of the National Urban League Marc Morial tried to refocus people's attention back on ALEC, calling for concerned activists to demand that ALEC's corporate partners denounce the group.

Morial made the call on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki:
MORIAL: It's important to recognize a year ago when there was some sunlight on ALEC, many of us called for many of its major supporters to withdraw. I want to renew that call this morning, because the poison of the stand your ground law was from ALEC....
In the months following the killing of Trayvon Martin, over 46 groups -- including Wal Mart, MillerCoors, Best Buy, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola -- dropped their ALEC memberships. Non-profit groups including the Gates Foundation also abandoned the group.

But with the lack of "sunlight," as Morial calls it, the flow of groups leaving ALEC slowed and eventually stopped altogether....
March if you must, but concentrate on hitting the bastards in the wallet, or threatening to. Drain the swamp.

Fox really, really wants footage of unrest in the wake of this verdict -- and, hell, even peaceful protests will probably stir its viewers' fight-or-flight mechanisms. And not just Fox:
CNN Heavily Features New Black Panthers In Dramatic Zimmerman Verdict Reaction Montage

The morning after an emotional verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin, CNN viewers were treated to a dramatically-scored montage of reactions to the jury's "not guilty" decision, and those viewers could be forgiven for thinking that quasi-militant barely-group The New Black Panthers figured heavily in the mix. The video package featured several shots of New Black Panther members holding Skittles, and chanting with protesters....

... the group that's leading CNN's montage managed a contingent of two [in courthouse protests]. Somehow, CNN managed to get both Kojo Kayrallah and Brother James Muhammad into their montage, in front of a huge banner that wasn't theirs, chanting with people who weren't in their group. Given the right-wing media's longstanding campaign to aid the New Black Panthers in scaring white people by inflating their numbers, this is an important piece of context to that video, which could have included any number of the peaceful demonstrations that occurred last night.
]The press wants a "long, hot summer" story. I hope it not only doesn't get one but can't even cobble together enough misleading footage to make one up.

Meanwhile, here's a story that probably won't get much play:
Disturbing news that Lester Chambers, 73, a founder of the classic '60s group The Chambers Brothers (the immortal psychedelic/soul "Time Has Come Today" and much more) was attacked on stage at a blues festival this weekend and badly hurt--after he dedicated "People Get Ready" to Trayvon Martin. Details murky and trying to confirm timing of attack but here's report so far. Lester seems to be feeling better now with bruised ribs and more.
The Chambers Brothers are one of the few African-American bands from the late 1960s to cross over to "classic rock" status; I haven't been able to learn anything about the assailant, but I'm going to take a while stab in the dark and predict she'll turn out to be rather low in melanin. (UPDATE: Yes.) And I bet she won't figure much in news reports about the verdict aftermath.


Victor said...

That song is one of my all-time fave's!!!
And I wish Mr. Chambers, a speedy recovery.

Now back to the main point - ALEC.

Yes, we need to put a spotlight on ALEC, and KEEP it on.

The imbeciles in Red State legislatures can't write their own bills, without, like FL and computers, something unforeseen, but predictably stupid, happening as a consequence.

So, these morons depend on ALEC to hand them bills that they change a word or two around, and present as their own.

These are the horrible laws that the NC legislature passed, and TX, and OK, and, etc.

They are pro-corporate laws, and anti-human (especially women) laws.

And corporations only care about one color - green.
So, yeah, the only way to get their attention, is a boycott.

And it would sure help if the MSM would report on the boycotts.

But they won't. Because 5 or 6 wealthy corporations and individuals own 90 of the mediums by which we get our news.

aimai said...

Marching doesn't do any good not because of white americans apathy but because the anarchy inherent in marches leads the marchers themselves to become sites of (seemingly) uncontrolled violence. In addition, in this case, the marches wouldn't have a clear cut goal and the people who police the marches would be put in the position of reacting violently when the goal of the march is to show up the generic white racism which led to the killing, not really the generic white racism that led to the mishandling of the case and the passing of the SYG laws in the first place.

I agree that Florida should be boycotted but I doubt it will do any good. Any state with a SYG law, with lax gun laws, where the police and prosecutors have spent more time on drug wars than on preventing vigilante behavior by citizens like Zimmerman, ought to be boycotted. But I doubt if it will do much good. The power of the purse and of routism is too defuse. Even when families have socked localities and governments with million dollar law suits behavior at the legislative level doesn't change.
Its not apathy, its complexity.

Kathy said...

I was talking with my activist 20YO and one of her activist friends Saturday about the general bad direction of the country, and I told them (paraphrased, of course), "Don't march. It's too easy for political leaders to ignore you. Go to their offices. Get in their faces (politely, of course). Bring your friends to show that you're not alone. Organize. Start at the grass roots. Build support. Run for office." That's how the right wing built enough power to run the country, and that's what liberals have to do as well.

Victor said...

Sound advice!
And this comes from a long-time organizer of protests and marches.

I wish I knew then, what I know now...

Anonymous said...

No picture, but this arrest record supports your melanin-deficient hypothesis.

This is my surprised face.

Kathy said...

Thanks, Victor!