“The Case of IRP6” – OUR COMMON GROUND – Saturday, January 25, 2014

 “The Case of IRP6” 

IRP Solutions Corporation

How a business dream became a nightmare


Saturday, January 25, 2014

01-25 IRP6-3

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OUR GUESTS:   Cliff Stewart,  Sam Thurman, IRP Solutions Partners

Rose Banks and Ethel Lopez, A Just Cause for the IRP6

 According to a report prepared by Dr. Alan Bean, Executive Director of Friends of Justice, “the IRP6”, owners of a company in Colorado that developed software for law enforcement, known as the “IPR6”,  Kendrick Barnes, Gary L. Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, David A. Zirpolo and David A. Banks, “. . . are six devout and dedicated executives serving hard time in a Colorado prison and their loved ones don’t understand why.  From the perspective of those who worked and worshiped with these men, the fingerprints of racial bias are clearly visible to the naked eye.” Bean further observes, “FBI agents and DOJ prosecutors never saw this (their prosecution) as a civil matter, a case of well-intentioned businessmen incurring business debt.  Instead, scores of federal officials concluded, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that this Colorado software development company had no prospects of success, no interest in success, and existed for the sole purpose of defrauding its business partners.

​This is a story about how prosecutorial tunnel vision created a tragic communication failure. ​The criminal justice system exists to give everyone a chance to tell their story. ​Juries decide who brings the best story to the table. ​Bad things happen when the system amplifies one story while silencing the other. (Dr. Alan Bean, Executive Director, Friends of Justice).

irp6

The IRP6 case concerns this African-American company (IRP Solutions Corporation) in Colorado that developed criminal investigations software for federal, state and local law enforcement. The case of the IRP6 is currently under appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The men were convicted in 2011 after fighting the U.S. Government pro se at trial and have been incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado since the summer of 2012. The IRP6 sentences range from 7 to 11 years in federal prison for non-violent, non-drug-related charges. The IRP6 continue to maintain their innocence. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

According to IRP proprietary documentation, the company was actively engaged with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and was working toward a $12 million pilot project. IRP also provided pricing to DHS for their Confidential Informant module of nearly $100 million. Company documents and email communication show that Amy Kurland, Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General was in detailed talks with IRP. “Just one of these contracts would have resolved IRP’s debt issues, but due to interference the deals didn’t close, and they (IRP) were not allowed to go into detail in trial to show all of the facts,” says Thurman.

“When the case went to trial in the fall of 2011, the jury never learned that the federal government had repeatedly frustrated IRP’s attempts to conduct legal business,” writes Dr. Bean in his soon to be released narrative, “Money for nothing: how racial bias destroyed six lives, stymied a black owned business and outraged an entire congregation.”

Bean’s examination raises a critical question, “Why did the U.S. Attorney’s office criminalize a debt collection case?” He concludes that “the only justification is the bogus business theory: The IRP case departs from the typical failed-scam scenario for the simplest of reasons: the government’s case can’t stand up to scrutiny. The fraud alleged in the federal indictments is a mirage.” “The bogus business theory is bogus,” adds Bean.

“This case is troubling. We are seeking a congressional inquiry,” says Sam Thurman of Just Cause, a a volunteer organization that was established in 2005 by a group of concerned citizens who were witness to a federal criminal case that was grossly over-criminalized. “When justice can be blocked and people are not allowed to defend themselves by presenting solid evidence, the fairness that should exist in our legal system becomes like vapor; it vanishes.” Though court records show that an analysis was requested, in the end the analyst’s report showing the legitimacy of the business was ultimately denied.

Court records show that prior to commencement of trial, David Banks, Chief Operating Officer for IRP Solutions filed a pro se motion requesting that Judge Christine M. Arguello recuse herself due to her personal relationship with Holland and Hart attorney Greg Goldberg. On March 8, 2004, Greg Goldberg hand-delivered a letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch requesting that IRP executives be criminally charged and articulated what statutes they should be prosecuted under. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA)

For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go tohttp://www.freetheirp6.org/ . For more information on the ongoing appeal or A Just Cause, contact Sam Thurman at (877) 573-5554 or visit http://www.a-justcause.com/.

The case of IRP Solutions (IRP6) is currently under appeal (US District Court for the District of Colorado, Honorable Christine M. Arguello, D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA; Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492). For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org/ . Appellant Court panel includes the Honorable Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock, Honorable Judge Harris L. Hartz, and Honorable Judge Jerome A. Holmes

    OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

 “Speaking Truth to Power and Ourselves” 

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Update: Marissa Alexander Is Given No Bail Today – New Evidence Comes To Court

WED NOV 13, 2013

Updated: Marissa Alexander Is Given No Bail Today – New Evidence Comes To Court

by Leslie SalzilloFollow

in SOLIDARITY mARISSAMarissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, was granted no bail Wednesday afternoon in a Jacksonville courtroom. The mother of three will most likely not get to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with her children, as the ‘deciding judge’ opted to make no decision and set another hearing for January 15, 2012 – pending of course, that he does, or does not, change his mind.In 2010, just days after giving birth, Marissa Alexander fired a warning shot in self-defense to keep her abusive husband, Rico Gray, from attacking her. In his deposition, Gray who has a history of abusing Alexander, admitted it, stated he intended to hurt her had she not fired the warning shot, and said she did the right thing. He also said Alexander did not aim he gun at him. Gray then changed his story once the case went to trial. He walked out a free man – Marissa Alexander, the battered wife, received 20 years. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law did not work for Alexander because she fired a warning shot. Had she shot and killed Rico Gray that day, she would have most likely served no time at all.

My source who was in the courtroom today, reported new evidence has been brought forth – a text message of Rico Gray asking Marissa to come over for sex while there was an order of protection. Rico Gray claims Marissa should not be let out on bond because he is afraid of Marissa; he fears/feared for his life. Does asking her for sex sound like someone who feared for his life?

“I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her.”~ Rico Gray in his deposition on November 22, 2010.

Again, does this sound like a man fearing for his life?Marissa Alexander’s case has been highly publicized from the start, and the Free Marissa Now campaign has grown throughout social media. The case was catapulted into even more national spotlight, following the George Zimmerman case. In July 2013, Zimmerman was set free after killing teenager, Trayvon Martin, even though Zimmerman was the aggressor. Ironically, the same state attorney that failed to successfully prosecute George Zimmerman, is the same attorney that sent Marissa Alexander to prison. State Attorney Angela Corey ‘twisted the knife’ by refusing to drop Alexander’s case,even after it was overturned in September.

Unless something changes, it doesn’t look as though Marissa Alexander and her three children will be having happy holidays, as she awaits a new bail hearing, and then a whole new trial in March 2014. Supposedly the next trial will be different. This time, Florida courts say the burden of proof will be placed upon them rather than Marissa Alexander. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work, Florida?

If you’re in an abusive relationship, or know someone who may be, there is help: Call: 800-799-SAFE/National Domestic Violence Hotline or Call: 800-656-HOPE/RAINN (Rape,Abuse, & Incest National Network) 

OUR COMMON GROUND “In Conversation with George Curry”

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Transforming Truth to Power, One Broadcast At a Time”

“In Conversation with George Curry”

October 26, 2013 
10 pm ET                                     LIVE and Call -IN

10-26-13 Curry

About our Guest George Curry

George E. Curry is the editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. The former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, Curry also writes a weekly syndicated column for NNPA, a federation of more than 200 African American newspapers.

Curry, who served as editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service from 2001 until 2007, returned to lead the news service for a second time on April 2, 2012. His work at the NNPA has ranged from being inside the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases to traveling to Doha, Qatar, to report on America’s war with Iraq.
As editor-in-chief of Emerge, Curry led the magazine to win more than 40 national journalism awards. He is most proud of his four-year campaign to win the release of Kemba Smith, a 22-year-old woman who was given a mandatory sentence of 24 1/2 years in prison for her minor role in a drug ring. In May 1996, Emerge published a cover story titled “Kemba’s Nightmare.” President Clinton pardoned Smith in December 2000, marking the end of her nightmare.

Curry is the author of Jake Gaither: America’s Most Famous Black Coach and editor of The Affirmative Action Debate and The Best of Emerge Magazine. He was editor of the National Urban League’s 2006 State of Black America report.

His work in journalism has taken him to Egypt, England, France, Italy, China, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, Cuba, Brazil, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Canada, and Austria. In August 2012, he was part of the official US delegation and a presenter at the US-Brazil seminar on educational equity in Brasilia, Brazil.
George Curry is a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. His speeches have been televised on C-SPAN and reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day magazine. In his presentations, he addresses such topics as diversity, current events, education, and the media.

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Women’s lives don’t matter: The lesson of Marissa Alexander

TUESDAY, OCT 1, 2013

Women’s lives don’t matter: The lesson of Marissa Alexander

Laws fail to effectively stop violent men or protect us — that’s why we have to stand up for ourselves

BY 

Women's lives don't matter: The lesson of Marissa AlexanderMarissa Alexander (Credit: AP/Lincoln B. Alexander)

I am passionate about domestic violence, because I am a childhood survivor of domestic violence. I know all too well the ways in which men like my father, many of whom are themselves subjugated on the basis of race and class, use home spaces to assert dominance and control that they are not able to wield in the larger world.

I know intimately the terror of being under surveillance in one’s own home, of the prerogative that many men assert to control the comings and goings of their partners and children, often through the threat of violence and force. I have seen how difficult it is to stand your ground, when society is structured to give men economic and political control over private, domestic space. I know what the journey to survivor status looked like for my mother, and the way that my father’s violence demoralized him and ruined our relationship.

I think of the women survivors of gun violence that I personally know (and of the gun violence that snuffed out my father’s life at the age of 33, as he ironically tried to prevent another woman and her children from becoming the victims of domestic violence at the hands of another man).

I think of two high school classmates, a white girl named Mary Dee and a black girl named Jackie, both killed by fatal gunshots in murder-suicide scenarios involving their partners. I think of a class of first-year, college-age African-American women (18 and 19 year olds) that I taught several years ago, in which fully one-quarter of them admitted to having been in violent relationships in high school.

I think about all the stories that are almost too terrifying to remember and much too personal to confess.

Last week, a judge ordered a new trial for Marissa Alexander, a 33-year-old African-American woman from Florida currently serving a mandatory 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot into the wall to scare off her violent and abusive husband.

The new trial order comes just in time for our annual October commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it calls attention to startling new statistics released from the Violence Policy Center. In 2011, 1,707 women were murdered by men in single victim, single offender incidents. In 94 percent of these cases, these women were murdered by men they knew, and in 51 percent of the cases, they were murdered by guns. Sixty-one percent of these victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers. This means that intimate partner relationships constitute one of the most significant contexts through which women experience violence within our culture.

The disproportionate amounts of violence toward black women, who are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than their white female counterparts, were significant enough to warrant their own section of the report. In 2011, 470 black women were killed in single victim/single offender homicides. In cases where the relationship could be determined, 94 percent of black women knew their killers.

That number is entirely consistent across racial categories, because most violent crime is intraracial. On the one hand, that fact would seem to highlight the erroneous nature of designations like “black-on-black” crime, an incendiary term use to pathologize black people, while failing to acknowledge that among white people most crime is “white-on-white” crime.

Beyond the racially problematic dimensions of these kinds of demographic designations, there is the problem of gender. Black women are never the subject of either community or national discussions about “black-on-black” crime, which is largely focused on stopping the epidemic of homicidal violence among young black men. The invisibilization of black women from discourses about victims of violence makes it hard to actually see black women as victims.

In Marissa Alexander’s case, she inadvertently encountered her husband, a man against whom she had a restraining order, when she went to their home to retrieve her clothes unaware that he would be there. When he showed up, she felt threatened, went to her car to retrieve her gun, and then fired a shot into the wall in order to scare him away. Perhaps, this is why the judge also ruled that Alexander cannot use a “stand your ground” defense in her own trial.

The failure of the law to protect Marissa Alexander from her husband, who has admitted under oath to treating her violently, placed her in a difficult set of circumstances. There is no reason that she should be serving 20 years in prison for defending herself against a violent attacker. Yet, she was sentenced through a combination of overzealous prosecuting, by the same Florida district attorney, Angela Corey, who had to be convinced through national protests and marches to prosecute Trayvon Martin’s killer, and extremely punitive mandatory minimum sentencing laws that require some crimes in which a gun is used to carry a 20-year sentence.

Yet again, Angela Corey, and the Florida justice system in general, seem to have a hard time distinguishing victims from perpetrators.

In an ironic twist, Shellie Zimmerman, wife of acquitted killer George Zimmerman, has also had trouble finding any protection on the basis of Florida’s domestic violence laws.  In early September, Shellie Zimmerman called 911 to report that George Zimmerman was brandishing a gun at her and her father, as she attempted to remove her belongings from their home after filing for divorce. Mrs. Zimmerman never saw the actual weapon, but instead observed her husband using threatening body language, while gesturing toward his waistband. She concluded that he had a gun, and since he is legally entitled to carry his gun after being acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder, that seems like a credible conclusion on her part. To date, no charges have been filed against George Zimmerman, even though this is not his first run-in with the law on charges of domestic violence.

Fifty-one percent of female homicide victims are killed with guns. In a world where women’s lives matter, robust gun control would be non-negotiable. But in a world where women’s lives don’t matter, Marissa Alexander doesn’t have any ground on which to stand, nor a fighting chance at freedom.

Lest folks convince themselves that these kinds of occurrences are anomalous, I would encourage you to spend some time this month talking to the women you know about the violence they have experienced at the hands of men in their own lives.

Marissa Alexander stood up for herself. She did not retreat. She refused any longer to take her husband’s shit. Unaided by laws that can effectively stop violent men in their tracks, all women survivors reach a point where they refuse to take it anymore. Even as we work to transform our culture of misogynistic violence into a world safe for women to inhabit, we must stand with and for those women who are standing up for themselves.

Brittney CooperBrittney Cooper is a contributing writer at Salon. Follow her on Twitter at@professorcrunk.

LISTEN LIVE TO OUR LIVE INTERVIEW WITH Ms. Alexander hours following her sentencing.

5-12 aCTION aLERT

Cabinet Passes, for Now, on Pardoning Marissa Alexander, Pending Stand Your Ground Appeal

Cabinet Passes, for Now, on Pardoning Marissa Alexander, Pending Stand Your Ground Appeal

 | AUGUST 7, 2013

Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she termed a warning shot at her abusive husband, and not allowed to use the stand your ground defense.

Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she termed a warning shot at her abusive husband, and not allowed to use the stand your ground defense.

Members of the Florida Cabinet said Tuesday it’s too soon to consider a pardon for Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a shot into a wall during a domestic dispute.

But an appeals court will decide whether Alexander should have been able to use a “stand your ground” defense to fight the charge.

Alexander, a 32-year-old mother of three, was sentenced last year under Florida’s “10-20-Life” mandatory-minimum law. (She was prosecuted by State Attorney Angela Corey, whom Gov. Rick Scott picked to prosecute the Gorge Zimmerman case. Corey offered Alexander a three-year prison sentence in a plea bargain, which Alexander turned down. The prosecution’s version of events is posted here.)

Alexander argued that the “stand your ground” self-defense law should apply, but a judge ruled against her because she ran to the garage for her gun and returned with it instead of escaping. A jury later found her guilty — in 12 minutes — of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to filings at the 1st District of Appeal in Tallahassee, Alexander’s attorneys contend that the trial court erred in denying Alexander’s pretrial motion for immunity based on “stand your ground.” They wrote that due to the history of domestic violence in the relationship with her husband, Rico Gray, Alexander had reason to fear bodily harm and had no duty to retreat.

They also argued that the trial court’s instruction to the jury “erroneously shifted the burden of proof, requiring that Alexander prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was in danger of imminent harm in order to invoke self-defense,” according to the motion filed last November.

Alexander’s case drew enormous attention when she was sentenced in May 2012. It returned to the spotlight last month, when a Sanford jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman did not use a “stand your ground” defense, but the case has sparked widespread debate about the law. Approved in 2005, the law says a person who is not doing anything illegal and gets attacked “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.”

Alexander’s case also has become part of a sit-in at the state Capitol, where a group called the Dream Defenders has occupied Gov. Rick Scott’s waiting area, demanding a special legislative session on the “stand your ground” law. Tuesday marked the third week of the sit-in.

Members of the Dream Defenders have followed Alexander’s case, and their political director, Ciara Taylor of Jacksonville, was in court when Alexander was sentenced.

One good thing to come out of the verdict, Taylor said Tuesday, is the need to explore cases like Alexander’s — “cases involving the black-and-white … disparity within using ‘stand your ground.’ ” She also said it’s important “to talk about domestic violence against women in this country.”

On Monday, state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, wrote to Scott and the Cabinet, asking them to pardon Alexander when they next sit as the clemency board. Bullard noted that Alexander had reason to fear because her husband had battered her in the past.

Scott and Cabinet members could take up Bullard’s call for a pardon for Alexander on Sept. 25, when the clemency board meets. But on Tuesday, they were noncommittal. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Pam Bondi said that because Bondi’s office is representing the prosecution in Alexander’s criminal appeal, “it would not be appropriate to discuss clemency-related matters until the court has made a determination regarding the disposition of the criminal appeal.”

The appeal is also based on what Alexander’s attorneys argue are two additional errors by the trial court: denying her the right to consult her attorney during the single overnight recess of her two-day trial, and giving the standard jury instruction on the use of force.

“The instruction given effectively negated Alexander’s sole defense — that is, self-defense — by erroneously stating that an injury to the victim was a prerequisite to successfully invoking self-defense,” the motion said.

“She had every right to be afraid and every right to defend herself,” said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “It is often the case that when a battered woman fights back and protects herself, the full force of the law comes down on her.”

–Margie Menzel, News Service of Florida

 

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“Talking about White Privilege Is Not Profound, Its Just for Profit” Dr. Tommy J. Curry

THE NATIONALIST

“Talking about White Privilege Is Not Profound, Its Just for Profit”

By: Dr. Tommy J. Curry

tcurry1

Dr. Tommy J. Curry Coming to OCG September 14, 2013

There is a growing economy for discussions about white privilege in this country that are employing Black and brown intellectuals and whites who profess anti-racism, to be the missionaries that save white souls. white privilege, or the idea that white individuals are born with unearned benefits and advantages, over others has been making its way through out the public media as well as the classroom. On the face of it, this seems like a radical conversation. Black, brown and some white people calling out white liberals and conservatives for their racism, and starting “real” conversations about race that air on MsNBC,CNN and even the Huffington Post. But conversations about white privilege are not really conversations about race, and certainly not about racism—its a business—WHERE BLACKS MARKET THEMSELVES AS RACIAL THERAPISTS.

See the first discussions of white privilege like W.E.B. DuBois’s Black Reconstruction (1935) or George Lipsitz’s The Possessive Investment in whiteness, or even Cheryl Harris’s “whiteness as property,” came from the radical Black intellectual tradition (race-crits, Black nationalists, Pan-Africanists) that did not believe that whites would simply donate their power and act against their global racial interests to be good people IN THE EYES OF BLACKS, people they owned and still imprison.  DuBois, and Lipsitz understood there is an antipathy and power in being against Blacks. Like George Jackson said, regarding the ILLUSION many Black academics have in romanticizing their ability to solve racism, “the white race, the economic elites of America, are not going to let themselves be educated out of existence. But today, you sound radical, progressive and insightful by MARKETING YOURSELF as therapist for whites, and know nothing about the actual conditions, structures, and ills that concretely effect the lives of Blacks. You can even talk about white privilege and not even know the names of the Black thinkers, the literature, the context, or the history the term comes from, and get acclaim for only citing white celebrities like Peggy McIntosh or Tim Wise.

It’s not genius to say in an oppressive society there are benefits being in the superior class instead of the inferior class. That’s true in any hierarchy, being on the top is better than being on the bottom, but the speaker of white privilege gets to pretend that America is not oppressive, they love America, they just want whites to surrender their privilege so we can be equal. See the revolutionary doesn’t have white friends: the government killed MLK, Assata is called a terrorist, Derrick Bell is erased from a field he started, because they spoke about the actual racial and economic tyranny of corporations, governments, the military and the white public,  but the for profit revolutionary wants to be commodified by whites…that Black friend that feels like they cured the racist white, while that same white person gets to point to these very relationships as proof they are healed and show to other whites they are the “white ally.”

Conversations about white privilege are simply moral appeals to the conscience of whites who have shown themselves to be committed to racism and social inequity IN THE IDLE HOPE THAT THEY change their mind. The implication of talking about privilege suffers from a childlike naiveity, it suggests that simply exposing racism and the privilege of whiteness to the white mind motivates whites to no longer act in their own self interest. See like the liberal utopia born out of integration, there is an unjustifiable assumption that telling whites about their social position means they are willing to surrender their power to appease a pop culture account of oppression. Think about the dishonesty of this approach. Black people, oppressed people, know there is a fundamental difference between being oppressed/Black and not oppressed, a citizen, white. We call for “national conversations on race,” where these public intellectuals get credit for starting conversations that amount to little more than allowing white America the opportunity to deny the actual realities Black America suffer from. And regardless of the outcome they come out LOOKING LIKE PROPHETS. This issue is white supremacy, and anti-Black death…trying discussing that…and see if your oppressor recognizes you then.

I remember at a recent APA I sat next to a feminist of color trying to get her white male student who couldn’t get a job in the white figures he studied and wrote a book on, and never studied race, racism, or Black philosophy, a job. This professor felt comfortable telling him if you start talking about white privilege, where she claimed the field was going, he could land a race job easily.  Think about this. So all the Black, Brown, and Indigenous scholars who study the raw histories of oppression and resistance lose out because they don’t want to give white liberals and conservatives a guilt trip. This is a powerful example of how as an academic discussion white privilege distracts the oppressed, and empowers the oppressor class to be employed in discussing systems they have no real interest in dismantling.

“The Nationalist”

Returning 9-14-13

Connecting the Dots to a Frightening Future l Dr. Wilmer Leon l Black Agenda Report

Connecting the Dots to a Frightening Future

 Tue, 01/22/2013 – 22:16 — Wilmer J. Leon III

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Austerity, perpetually high unemployment and other aspects of the New Domestic Order are creating a new “precariat” – a class condemned to permanent precariousness and insecurity.

Connecting the Dots to a Frightening Future

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

They are saddled with debt from school loans, working two and three jobs at subsistence wages with no health care, no pension, and no sense of permanency or security.”

Post Racial America, New Normal, Austerity, and The Precariat Class.

These concepts, when discussed individually, make for interesting dialogue. Moreover, when assessed in a larger context, these same concepts should become a cause for concern.

Right after Senator Obama became President there were many discussions and articles written about a Post Racial America. Had we evolved into an America devoid of racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice?During the 2008 presidential campaign The New York Times published an article by Matt Bai entitled Is Obama the End of Black Politics? The premise of the article was that in 2008, 60 years after Strom Thurmond left the Democratic Party over the issue of integrating the armed forces and 45 years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” the Democratic party was poised to deliver its nomination for the nation’s highest office to an African-American. Bai’s article asked if Obama’s nomination somehow signaled the end of Black politics?

The answer to Matt Bai’s question is; of course not. America cannot be closer to being post racial when a candidate for president has to run a deracialized campaign in order to make the masses comfortable with the obvious aesthetic. We are not in a post-racial America when the unemployment rate in the African American community is more than double the national average and the wealth accumulation of the average European American family is 20 times that of the average African American family. The dangerous subtext to that question is that it ignores the struggle for justice and equality that African Americans still face. It also reinforces the conservative view that the government should no longer enact and enforce legislation guaranteeing the rights of minorities.

We are not in a post-racial America when the unemployment rate in the African American community is more than double the national average.”

As the American economy has remained stagnate with 1.3 percent growth, the national unemployment number has stayed close to 8%, 17% in the African American community. Close to 5.4 million people have dropped out of the workforce and now analysts and commentators have started talking about a “New Normal.” Americans are supposed to get used to dismal rates of growth and high unemployment while the stock market soars and American corporations sit on record cash balances. According to CNBC, corporate “cash balances have swelled 14 percent and are on track toward $1.5 trillion for the Standard & Poor’s 500, according to JPMorgan. Both levels would be historic highs.”

These record amounts of cash being stockpiled by corporations are not “trickling down” to the working and middle-classes. The “job creators” are not creating jobs. According to Pimco Investment founder Bill Gross. “It’s time to recognize that things have changed and that they will continue to change for the next—yes, the next 10 years and maybe even the next 20 years.” This is the “new normal” and it’s not good.

The solution being proposed by conservatives and subtly endorsed by President Obama to address the financial crisis is “austerity.” Austerity is the policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and services provided by the government. Instead of focusing on what to save, they are debating what to cut.

The ‘job creators’ are not creating jobs.”

In challenging times such as these the government should be investing in the economy not cutting back.Reductions in government spending tend to increase unemployment which increases demands on social programs or “safety-net” programs. Increased unemployment also reduces tax revenue. As with the Great Depression, short-term government spending, financed by deficits may be required to support economic growth when consumers and businesses are unwilling or unable to do so.

When you start to connect the dots between, New Normal and Austerity, you see a new picture. There is a new class of existence being created in this country. Professor Guy Standing calls this new class the “precariat”. “Millions of workers, mainly young and educated are being habituated to a life of unstable labor and uncertainty, a precarious existence…The precariat is wanted by multinationals and many corporations”…because their precarious existence makes them easy to exploit. They are saddled with debt from school loans, working two and three jobs at subsistence wages with no health care, no pension, and no sense of permanency or security.

As the African American community continues to be plagued by disproportionate rates of unemployment, poverty, hunger, wealth disparities, incarceration rates and other social ills the development of a precariat class will prove to be catastrophic. African Americans and many others would continue as Dr. King said in 1963, to live “…on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity…languishing in the corners of American society and find(ing) (themselves) an exile in (their) own land.”

The development of a precariat class will prove to be catastrophic.”

If the underclass, working class and precariat become dissatisfied with their existence what will they do? Will there be an uprising from the masses? What would the government do? How would the government protect its interests and repel the domestic uprising?

When you assess the implications of a Post Racial America, the New Normal, Austerity and The Precariat Class in a larger context, you begin to see a different America than the one being portrayed in mainstream media. When you connect these dots with a government that is engaging in warrantless wiretapping, calling for the ability to indefinitely detain American citizens, stop and frisk laws, and an American Attorney General who states that the president has the authority to assassinate American citizens any place in the world without judicial review, you get a very frightening picture. The picture reflects a battle between democracy and fascism and the battle for democracy should begin now.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon,” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: wjl3us@yahoo.com.www.twitter.com/drwleon, and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facbook.com.

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