Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 13th, 2015

A CITY WHERE EVERYONE WORKS. THERE IS NO POLICE.

AND THE SALARY IS 1200 EUROS

image: http://www.the-open-mind.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Marinelada-e1423377793345.jpg

Marinelada

With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia.

Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian village in southern Spain that is prosperous thanks to its farming cooperative.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros01-600×223.jpg

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On the face of it, the Spanish town of Marinaleda is indistinguishable from any other in its region. Nestled in the picturesque Campiña valley, the surrounding countryside is made up of rolling green hills, miles of olive plantations and golden fields of wheat stretching as far as the eye can see.

The town is pretty, tranquil and typical of those found in Andalusia, Spain’s poorest and most southerly province.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros02-600×427.jpg

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It’s also a democratic, anti-capitalist village whose mayor actively encourages shoplifting.

Since the financial crisis began in 2008, Marinaleda has shot to fame — and so has its maverick mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, who earned the nickname,”The Spanish Robin Hood,” after organizing and carrying out a series of supermarket raids in a direct action protest last August.

Basic groceries such as oil, rice and beans were loaded into carts, wheeled from the store and taken to a local food bank to help the poor, as helpless cashiers looked on, some crying.

In an interview after the event, Gordillo, the democratically elected mayor since 1979, said it was not theft, but a non-violent act of disobedience.

“There are many families who can’t afford to eat,” he argued. “In the 21st century this is an absolute disgrace. Food is a right, not something with which you speculate.”

In this province alone there are 690,000 empty properties due to bank foreclosures. But not in Marinaleda, because Gordillo has a solution: anyone who wants to build their own house can do so for free.

Materials and qualified workmen are provided by the town hall, and the generous allowance of 192 square meters means the homes are spacious. Families then pay just 15 euros ($19) per month for the rest of their lives, with the agreement that the house cannot be sold for private gain.

In Andalusia, unemployment now stands at 37% (a staggering 55 percent for young people). But Marinaleda, population 2700, has virtually full employment through the town’s farming cooperative, where laborers earn equal wages of 1200 euros ($1600) per month.

Here, in a region where 1 in 3 people are unemployed, this achievement cannot be understated.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros03-600×400.jpg

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“We need to rethink our values, the consumer society, the value we place on money, selfishness and individualism,” Gordillo remarks. “Marinaleda is a small example, and we want this experience to extend throughout the world.”

 

 

 

Were they religious rituals?  These lynching and torture of blacks in the Jim Crow South

The cliché is that Americans have a short memory, but since Saturday, a number of us have been arguing over medieval religious wars and whether they have any lessons for today’s violence in the Middle East.

Jamelle BouieJAMELLE BOUIE

Jamelle Bouie is a Slate staff writer covering politics, policy, and race.

The lynching and torture of blacks in the Jim Crow South weren’t just acts of racism.

They were religious rituals.

A Ku Klux Klan rally in Frederick, Maryland, 1980.
A Ku Klux Klan rally in Frederick, Maryland, in 1980.

For those still unaware, this debate comes after President Obama’s comments at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, where—after condemning Islamic radical group ISIS as a “death cult”—he offered a moderating thought.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ … So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

It’s a straightforward point—“no faith has a particular monopoly on religious arrogance”—that’s become a partisan flashpoint, as conservatives harangue the president for “equating” crusading Christians to Islamic radicals, accuse him of anti-Christian beliefs, and wonder why he would mention a centuries-old conflict, even if it has some analogies to the present day.

What we have missed in the argument over the Crusades, however, is Obama’s mention of slavery and Jim Crow.

At the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates puts his focus on religious justifications for American bondage, and it’s worth doing the same for its post-bellum successor. And since we’re thinking in terms of religious violence, our eyes should turn toward the most brutal spectacle of Jim Crow’s reign, the lynching.

For most of the century between the two Reconstructions, the bulk of the white South condoned and sanctioned terrorist violence against black Americans.

In a new report, the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative documents nearly 4,000 lynching of black people in 12 Southern states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia—between 1877 and 1950, which the group notes is “at least 700 more lynching in these states than previously reported.”

For his victims, “Judge Lynch”—journalist Ida B. Wells’ name for the lynch mob—was capricious, merciless, and barbaric.

C.J. Miller, falsely accused of killing two teenaged white sisters in western Kentucky, was “dragged through the streets to a crude platform of old barrel staves and other kindling,” writes historian Philip Dray in At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America.

Miller’s assailants hanged him from a telephone pole, and while “the first fall broke his neck … the body was repeatedly raised and lowered while the crowd peppered it with small-arms fire.” For two hours his corpse hung above the street, during which he was photographed and mutilated by onlookers. Finally, he was cut down and burned.

More savage was the lynching of Mary Turner and her unborn child, killed for protesting her husband’s murder. “[B]efore a crowd that included women and children,” writes Dray, “Mary was stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground, gave a cry, and was stomped to death.”

These lynching weren’t just vigilante punishments or, as the Equal Justice Initiative notes, “celebratory acts of racial control and domination.” They were rituals.

And specifically, they were rituals of Southern evangelicalism and its then-dogma of purity, literalism, and white supremacy. “Christianity was the primary lens through which most southerners conceptualized and made sense of suffering and death of any sort,” writes historian Amy Louise Wood in Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890–1940.

“It would be inconceivable that they could inflict pain and torment on the bodies of black men without imagining that violence as a religious act, laden with Christian symbolism and significance.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2015
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