Many years ago, in a situation that still produces much pain, close friends were thinking through treatment for their gravely ill child. They had exhausted conventional and experimental therapies; their doctors were urging them to do what they could to make their son feel comfortable and loved. Then, suddenly, after years of suffering, our friends had smiles on their faces. A cure was available! For a brief moment, I shared their joy but then realized that we were victims of quackery. I had no reasonable alternative to offer them, but I knew that the quacks and their expensive cure would only rob our friends of their last memories of their son. That pain has resurfaced as I contemplate how to respond as a progressive organizer to the recent events in Libya.
Suren Moodliar's blog
For a time, most Americans believed theirs to be a liberal democratic republic respectful of individual freedoms, and many including some with authority, behaved as if it were. As long as there was a separation of powers—the federal authority limited by the power of states, while itself divided by across executive, judicial and legislative branches, and big business balanced by government regulation—it was believed that space exists for individual freedom. Where the individual confronted the state, due process would guard against abuse. However plausible as a theory, or even as a description of reality, the United-States-as-a-liberal-democratic-republic notion now appears to be antiquated and tattered.
The decision, by President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to impose the Secure Communities Program on the State of Massachusetts, seriously undermines reasonable sovereignty claims of the states, encourages the practice racial profiling, and erodes individual rights to due process. Of course, it targets immigrants and specifically Latinos. But this is no aberration. Secure communities is cut from the same cloth as the National Defense Authorization Act providing for the indefinite worldwide detention of individuals, or the executive branch assertion that it has the right to kill anyone it deems to be a threat (regardless of their citizenship and without benefit of any judicial process), or the attempt via SOPA/PIPA and now CISPA to make either federal agencies or powerful companies the arbiters of internet content and property claims. If fabricated by a broader more repressive set of legislation and executive actions, Secure Communities is also colored by a harsh, xenophobic dye of anti-immigrant animus. In short, the program electronically connects local law enforcement with the federal government, all arrestees' information is shared, individuals are then subject to the whim of the federal officials and potentially slated for deportation in an expedited process.
Former Mass. Global Action board member and Boston resident, Kaveri Rajaraman, was arrested in Bangalore, India, on Saturday Jan. 19, while trying to protest the bulldozing of a low-income community. Along her 20 other activists and residents of the community, including toddlers, were put in custody. They were all released on bail on Sun Jan 20. For now, we are awaiting further updates from activist networks on the ground in India but we will issue a focused action alert with aimed at (1) dropping charges against Kaveri and the other arrestees and (2) demanding a moratorium on removals/bulldozing in the area.