Rise Up Times Editor’s Note: This week Rise Up Times will be focusing on articles about racism, particularly in America. This video from Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! is an important beginning. On today’s show (January 14, 2014) is an extensive interview with Erin Brockovich who has called a town hall meeting in Charleston, West Virginia, to see how the chemical water leak from a corporation is effecting people in that area and beyond. The second interview is with Ian Haney López, author of the new book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class”: One of Professor Lopez’s main points is how coded racism tricks people into voting for candidates who then support corporate interests rather than the interests of the people, something in electoral politics that is rampant in the American south, but also happening nationwide. The obvious link between the two interviews, although not articulated, is the lack of corporate accountability, and the local government’s complicity in that lack, in West Virginia (and around the country), speaking clearly to Professor Lopez’s point. If you look at the footage from Democracy Now! it will be obvious that at least those in the video are mainly middle class people. Here is the link to the video story on Democracy Now!: Erin Brockovich: After Chemical Spill, West Virginians Organizing “Stronger Than I’ve Ever Seen”
A side note on social media: A very large number of people have been exposed to the chemical pollution of their water supply and Brockovich says the people of Charleston are using Facebook to connect with each other to share information. Facebook—in spite of itself and its attempts to charge for everything these days—provides a community service, which is what it should really be about (and pretends it is), connecting people.
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Two months after 47 million food stamp recipients were hit with $5 billion in cuts, more are on the way as lawmakers finalize a new Farm Bill. The measure is likely to slash another $9 billion in food stamps over the next decade, depriving more than 800,000 households of up to $90 in aid per month. We look at how politicians have used coded racial appeals to win support for cuts like these and similar efforts since the 1960s with Ian Haney López, author of the new book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.” A senior fellow at Demos and law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, López argues that “this is about race as it wrecks the whole middle class. This sort of racism is being used to fool a lot of whites into voting for Republicans whose main allegiance is to corporate interests.”