Friday, June 03, 2011

Thomas Jefferson Dance Party On Saturday

The dancing will commence at noon Saturday around the nation to promote ... well, I'm not sure what is being promoted, other than the freedom to dance inside the dome of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.

I mentioned this earlier, how dancing at the Jefferson Memorial is not exactly legal ... or illegal, really, unless your dancing is meant to convey your convictions or beliefs in something. (The post details the recent arrests and legal issues being challenged)

So tomorrow, high noon, the dancing will commence - not just in Washington, but in most every state (and perhaps even globally), the dancing will take place. As of this hour, some 3000 people say they'll dance at the Memorial.

Here's the Tennessee Dance Party page on Facebook, and the page for the Memphis Party too.

Will you join in?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Republicans Playing Dangerous Games With Economy - Again

Economic turmoil games return/continue. Thanks so much.

"Late yesterday afternoon, Republicans brought a “clean” debt ceiling bill to the House floor for the express purpose of watching it fail. The point was to let a right-wing caucus thump its chest, telling the White House that the hostage strategy — give GOP lawmakers sweeping cuts or they’ll cause a recession on purpose — is still on.

"But the White House already knew that, making yesterday’s little charade the latest in a series of pathetic displays. When the dust settled, the final vote was 97 to 318, with 7 Dems voting “present,” and 9 members not voting at all. Every Republican voted against their own bill, as was predetermined when it was introduced.

"The GOP leadership is well aware of the dangers in stunts like these, so they “scheduled the vote for after the stock market’s close, and in the preceding days called Wall Street executives to assure them that the vote was just for show.”

"It’s all just a big game, which happens to put the global economy at risk. Few seem to believe Republicans would deliberately cause a catastrophe — basic American patriotism should prevent anyone from crushing the country’s economy on purpose — though the “the joke” itself may prove dangerous. As Ezra Klein recently explained, “The danger in this is that as the rhetoric ramps up, the market may not realize this is all just more of Washington’s fun and games. Brinksmanship runs the risk of misjudging what is the last minute, or the maximum amount of uncertainty, that the market will accept before it reevaluates the American government’s capacity to pay its debts back in a timely and smooth way.”

"The question becomes one of whether investors believe Republicans are crazy or really crazy. Yesterday, the GOP’s message was, “We’re pretending to be the latter, but don’t worry, we’re really the former.” The moment the financial industry stops believing that line, there’s cause for genuine alarm."

Via the Washington Monthly

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Morristown Documentary Goes Online and Interactive

"Morristown: In The Air and Sun", a documentary on migration of industrial capital and the arrival of immigrant labor in the town of Morristown by award-winner Anne Lewis is now online in a unique multimedia format which makes it very easy to explore. It's called Going South, Coming North: Migration and Union Organizing in Morristown, Tennessee.

First released in 2007, the documentary tracks not just changes in industrial development, but also the often perceptions of local officials and residents in Tennessee, the rugged traveling life of migrant workers and the social impact on all involved. It's a fascinating, on-the-ground perspective which becomes even more amazing as we see the efforts of migrant workers to organize and protect their rights at the workplace.

Created by Lewis and Fran Ansley with the University of Tennessee, this new web page on the Southern Spaces web journal, offers the story of the film in smaller sections of videos and facts, some newly updated, and makes it very easy to navigate and explore the film. I highly recommend you visit the site.

After years of working on Morristown and walking with the movements that it traces, we remain convinced that labor rights and immigrants’ rights are mutually dependent and inextricably intertwined. Campaigns and organizations that integrate both kinds of claims create spaces where workers can learn from each other and identify shared interests.44 However, serious obstacles to building class solidarity across divides of race and nation remain. Exclusionary whiteness runs deep, as does an exclusionary kind of Americanism. Anti-immigrant backlash is alive and well around the United States, and that backlash can be found among working class people and union members as among other segments of the population. But as Morristown documents, there are also working class southerners, both black and white, who can and do respond differently to immigration and to the question of immigrants’ rights, workers who express solidarity and see a basis for common ground. Shirley Reinhardt suggested something like this when she spoke with us before the Koch Foods election about what a victory would mean:

You’re saying to all the others from Mexico, they don’t have to treat you worse than anybody else. You can organize. That’s exactly what you’re saying. Not only are you saying that to the people from Mexico but you’re saying that to the people of Hamblen County, too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't Dance With The Stars At The Jefferson Memorial?

In fact, don't dance at all at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, as it will likely lead to your arrest, as it did yesterday. Dance as a form of protest is a growing trend, however.

Courts and media have been reporting on the dancing at the Jefferson Memorial dating back to 2008, when some folks were arrested for dancing at the site late one evening. A lawsuit brought by one dancer was rejected in mid-May of this year by the D.C. Circuit Court, in Oberwetter v. Hilliard, because current law has something very specific to offer about public performance and demonstrations at that particular location. (video of the April 2008 dancing is here)

The inside of the dome at the Memorial is designated a non-public forum, which means no protests or demonstrations of any kind are allowed. And one does not always need a permit to protest at the nation's capital, groups of 25 or less are allowed to express opinions with no permit. But see, the rules currently in place, as I said, designate the interior of the Jefferson Memorial dome as a non-public forum - except of course when folks are allowed to use it as just that for an annual Easter service or to kick-off the Cherry Blossom Festival.

But the dancing is surely an organized protest - since a website called Thomas Jefferson Dance Party is geared at promoting a very specific kind of protest at a very specific place.

Oh, America, can't we just dance?

No, apparently.

-- Dancing to protest about union status at a Target store (dancers are designated 'liberals"!! oh no!)

-- Students dance to protest college cost increases

-- Dance-Ins are planned for Apple computer stores next weekend

-- a Google timeline of dancing and protesting (looks to me like both are on the rise)

Can you shake yer groove thing in America just because you want to?