Archive for June 2020

The statues are only symbols, and whether they are disposed of by local authorities or taken down by members of the public, there's so much more to accomplish.  But symbols are important, and taking these statues down is an important part of the process of re-framing the mainstream historical narrative, so that it might someday become an honest one.

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2015: Mother Emanuel Massacre

A white supremacist intent on instigating a race war spent an hour praying with parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, before opening fire on them, killing nine, including the church's pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney.

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2017: The Grenfell Tower Fire

A 24-story building in London caught fire, causing the deaths of 73 people, on June 14th, 2017. For many, it was the very embodiment of decades of austerity budgets, beginning with the rule of the still widely-reviled Margaret Thatcher, but continued on with various Conservative and New Labor governments.

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No matter what is said about it, the ruling class in the US will not defund the police. To do so would be to overthrow their brutally unequal, sick form of society. But it's nice to imagine what it might be like to be liberated.

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The degree to which people have been shocked by the violence around them in the US over the past week or so is probably generally directly proportionate to how violent their lives were before the flames began to rise. Mostly the terrible, but silent forms that violence takes -- such as hunger, poverty, uncertainty, fear, lack of health care, to name a few.

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1839: The First Opium War

On June 3rd, 1839, Chinese troops burned 20,000 crates of opium that was grown in India under British overseers, which had been intended to be sold in the illegal Chinese opium market.  Thus began what was known as a trade war, known to history (if ever mentioned) as the Opium Wars, in which tens of thousands of Chinese people lost their lives.

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1831: The Merthyr Rising

In June, 1831, the mining town of Merthyr Tydfil and the region around it in Wales was in a state of revolt.  The bosses had announced cuts in wages that were already impossibly low, and the people had had enough.

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