John Brown Broke Rank

By Tommy Airey, re-posted from social media and his blog Easy Yolk

For centuries, white people from lower economic classes have been hired as police patrol by the white ruling class. White folks have been given guns and badges to exercise unlimited force on enslaved people, poor people of color and dark-skinned immigrant labor. This power is so intoxicating that white people consistently choose to police vulnerable people instead of finding solidarity with them in a common struggle against wealthy white exploiters. Sure, Kyle Rittenhouse shot white protestors. But his mother drove him to Kenosha to police people of color—and protect wealthier white people and their property. Policing people of color remains common practice in classrooms, curriculums, churches, stores and neighborhoods, where white people do not necessarily need guns and badges to demand “others” know their place.  

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She Wove Us Together

Linda Marie Thurston, August 7 1958 to May 23, 2021. Re-posted from her obituary site.

Linda Marie Thurston, who spent a lifetime forging connections between and among people, organizations, and ideas in peace and justice movements, passed away in her Brooklyn, NY home due to natural causes. She was 62 years young.

Linda was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 7, 1958, the oldest child of James Thurston Sr. and Barbara Thurston (née Oliver). She attended Classical High School and excelled academically, where, as she liked to tell it, a bet between guidance counselors led to Linda applying and being accepted to Harvard University. Linda graduated from Harvard in 1980 with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology where she was a student organizer against South African apartheid and was the president of the Black Community and Student Theater. After working for some years at the American Friends Service Committee, Linda took time out to attend grad school at Temple University where she obtained an M.A. in Sociology in 1994. 

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The Womanist Theology of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon

An excerpt from a reflection on the life of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon by Angela D. Sims. Re-posted from Religion and Politics, February 2019.


In every generation, a “remnant” of scholars emerges that challenges status quo perspectives. Their critiques of normative constructs serve as models for subsequent scholars who learn how to work not only to eat but also to work in a manner that enables others to eat. The Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon was indeed such a person. She loved life, loved people, loved laughter, loved food, loved imagining the not yet, loved calling things into existence. The progenitor of womanist theological ethics, Cannon was a brilliant scholar, a mentor extraordinaire who possessed an ability to discern what was most needed, and generous (almost to a fault) in the sharing of her time and resources…

…Born January 3, 1950, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Cannon became the first black woman to be ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, a precursor to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). After earning her doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York City—the first African American woman to do so—Cannon laid the foundation for womanist ethics in her 1985 essay, “The Emergence of Black Feminist Consciousness.” Many black women in theological disciplines, including Cannon, have gravitated to the use of author Alice Walker’s term “womanist” as both a challenge to and a confessional statement for our own work. Womanist, as defined in Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, contains elements of tradition, community, self, and a critique of white feminist thought and provides a fertile ground for religious reflection and practical application.

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NO MORE STATE-SPONSORED CRUCIFIXIONS IN THE NAME OF “SAFETY”

StephonA Holy Week Declaration From First Congregational Church of Oakland.
Issued on Good Friday, March 30, 2018. More relevant than ever. 

As followers of Jesus, we recognize:

That Lent is a season of spiritual searching and wilderness wandering when we recommit ourselves to following the way of Jesus Christ.  

That we face temptations that threaten to make us complicit with violence against our neighbors and ourselves, including the temptation to try to secure our own safety, survival, and comfort at the expense of other human beings and the planet. Continue reading “NO MORE STATE-SPONSORED CRUCIFIXIONS IN THE NAME OF “SAFETY””

Running and Reckoning

caitBy Cait De Mott Grady, kicking off the virtual Peter De Mott Peace Trot, an annual race in Ithaca to honor the late Plowshares activist on Father’s Day

Greetings from Detroit!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cait De Mott Grady. I’m Peter De Mott and Ellen Grady’s second daughter. I live in Detroit, MI where I work as a felony public defender and organizer.

It’s so good to be with all of you virtually tonight, though I long to be with you all in person. Continue reading “Running and Reckoning”

Let Us Imagine

ZinnFrom Chapter 24 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (2000).

Let us imagine the prospect-for the first time in the nation’s history–of a population united for fundamental change. Would the elite turn as so often before, to its ultimate weapon–foreign intervention–to unite the people with the Establishment, in war? It tried to do that in 1991, with the war against Iraq. But, as June Jordan said, it was “a hit the same way that crack is, and it doesn’t last long.” Continue reading “Let Us Imagine”

To Rebirth This Country

AlexanderFrom Michelle Alexander, on a panel with Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor and Naomi Klein in May 2017.

I have been having some trouble with the frame of “resistance” for some time. I understand completely why the term, the phrase, the rallying cry emerged following Trump’s election — it makes complete sense to me. But I think we’ve got to think beyond resistance. Resistance is inherently defensive. Continue reading “To Rebirth This Country”

MLK was a Radical

MLK
PC: Underwood Archives/UIG/REX/Shutterstock

By Dr. Cornel West, for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., originally posted in The Guardian

The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day. Continue reading “MLK was a Radical”

Mourning the Loss of George MacLeod: Most Assuredly & Absolutely No “Brady Bunch Dad”

GeorgeBy Oz Cole-Arnal, former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

George and Julie MacLeod have now both crossed the Jordan to rest and enjoy full and complete embrace with the God they served so faithfully and courageously this side of glory. And this very God so embodied in Yeshua bar Miriam/Joseph sided outrageously and gloriously with those discarded by our society—people of color, indigenous folk, immigrants, Hispanics, women, LGBTQ+, street folk, the homeless–indeed all the poor. But today I remember with tears the impact they had on my life. They were absolutely key in transforming me and wife “Bunny” (and ultimately our two guys by dint of attachment to us) from well-intentioned liberals, who believed naively that reasonable and calm discussion over time could solve all problems, into radicals determined to follow Christ through “thick and thin.” Continue reading “Mourning the Loss of George MacLeod: Most Assuredly & Absolutely No “Brady Bunch Dad””

The Moral and the Ethical

CornelFrom Cornel West, in an interview last month with Salon.

Part of [the global struggle for human rights] is realizing that we are in a moment now where people’s conception of community has been degenerated into a conception of constituency. It’s that people’s conception of a cause has been degenerated into a conception of a brand. People’s conception of the public has been degenerated into PR strategies. This creates a spiritually and morally impoverished culture. And so in order to have some notion of human rights that is actually full of content and substance, one has to have some primacy of the moral and the ethical. The calculations cannot be just the Machiavellian. So much of the culture just comes down to strategies and questions such as, “How am I going to make more money? How am I going to get something out of somebody?” Continue reading “The Moral and the Ethical”