Revelations: The Catastrophozoic Era

December 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism, International Law, Intersectionality

 A black rhino in Namibia's Etosha National Park. Frans Lanting DPA/Landov

A black rhino in Namibia’s Etosha National Park.
Frans Lanting DPA/Landov

Today’s deadly change agent.. is man himself. And by the end of this book, she’s left us with a harrowing appreciation of the ways in which human beings have been altering the planet: hunting to death big mammals (like the mammoth or giant sloth or, more recently, elephants and big cats); introducing alien (sometimes invasive) species to regions where they disrupt a delicate ecological balance; and altering the geologic surface of the earth (damming major rivers, mowing down forests and cutting up habitats in ways that impede migration)…

Over the years.. “a number of different names have been suggested for the new age that humans have ushered in”: including the “Catastrophozoic era,” the “Homogenocene,” the “Myxocene” (from the Greek word for “slime”) and the “Anthropocene.

THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: An Unnatural History By Elizabeth Kolbert

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the Redlist

Read the rest of this entry →

Happy Holidays – Christmas As We Grow Older

December 23, 2014 at 6:00 am by: seeta Category: Spirituality

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


What Christmas is as We Grow Older, Charles Dickens

Nearer and closer to our hearts be the Christmas spirit, which is the spirit of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness and forbearance! It is in the last virtues especially, that we are, or should be, strengthened by the unaccomplished visions of our youth; for, who shall say that they are not our teachers to deal gently even with the impalpable nothings of the earth!

Therefore, as we grow older, let us be more thankful that the circle of our Christmas associations and of the lessons that they bring, expands! Let us welcome every one of them, and summon them to take their places by the Christmas hearth.

Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy, to your shelter underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet. Welcome, old projects and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among the steadier lights that burn around us. Welcome, all that was ever real to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to Heaven! Do we build no Christmas castles in the clouds now? Let our thoughts, fluttering like butterflies among these flowers of children, bear witness! Before this boy, there stretches out a Future, brighter than we ever looked on in our old romantic time, but bright with honour and with truth. Around this little head on which the sunny curls lie heaped, the graces sport, as prettily, as airily, as when there was no scythe within the reach of Time to shear away the curls of our first-love. Upon another girl’s face near it–placider but smiling bright–a quiet and contented little face, we see Home fairly written. Shining from the word, as rays shine from a star, we see how, when our graves are old, other hopes than ours are young, other hearts than ours are moved; how other ways are smoothed; how other happiness blooms, ripens, and decays–no, not decays, for other homes and other bands of children, not yet in being nor for ages yet to be, arise, and bloom and ripen to the end of all!

Welcome, everything! Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is sits open- hearted! In yonder shadow, do we see obtruding furtively upon the blaze, an enemy’s face? By Christmas Day we do forgive him! If the injury he has done us may admit of such companionship, let him come here and take his place. If otherwise, unhappily, let him go hence, assured that we will never injure nor accuse him.

On this day we shut out Nothing!

What Christmas is as We Grow Older, Charles Dickens

There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, — apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belonging to it call be apart from that, — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it! — Ebenezer Scrooge’s Nephew, A Christmas Carol

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!” — Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Revelations: Assata

December 21, 2014 at 11:24 am by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Police Brutality, Police State, Prison Industrial Complex

CI: Torture and the Lie: “That’s Not Who We Are”

December 17, 2014 at 6:13 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Military Industrial Complex, Police State, Prison Industrial Complex

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.


CI: Torture and the Lie: “That’s Not Who We Are”

by Kay Whitlock

“That’s not who we are.”

The phrase is repeated endlessly, like a mantra, in the wake of the release of the redacted 525-page executive summary of the post- 9/11 “torture report” – the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program [PDF].  Even President Obama uttered it.

It’s a reassuring phrase that seeks to (ever so) briefly acknowledge some expression of sadistic violence inflicted by powerful people on vulnerable others that somehow, inconveniently,  enters public awareness. At the same time, it asserts this violence is an aberration, a temporary departure from American values of goodness, freedom, and democracy. Others take refuge in the idea that recent torture revelations are evidence that a once moral nation has “lost its way.”

More accurate phrases would be: “That’s not how we want to see ourselves,” or “That’s not who we wish we were.” Or even just “Blame somebody, anybody else, except me/us.”

But torture is who “we” are as a society, whether we want to believe it or not.  It is not a case of unintentionally wandering astray, off some unambiguously moral and ethical path so designated by unambiguously good people. No amount of denial or distancing from that terrible and painful truth can change the reality that torture isn’t – and never was – primarily the province of evil others – “extremists,” psychopaths, crazed loners and misfits, depraved criminals, terrorists, and a handful of “bad apples.”  The real culprits are much closer to home; often, they look, uncomfortably, just like you and me.

Read the rest of this entry →


His Eye Is On The Sparrow…

December 14, 2014 at 8:56 am by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Police Brutality, Police State

CI: Beyond Words

December 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, Police Brutality, Police State, Prison Industrial Complex

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.


Beyond Words
by nancy a heitzeg

How many words have been written of Mike Brown? of Ferguson? How many more will come — Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Darrien Hunt, Vonderitt Myers, Kajieme Powell, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, one every 28 hours?

We’ve written many ourselves — some here, here, here, here, and here – but now, what new words are there?  Suspended for the moment – like an ant in ancient amber- I can only return again to the first words on Ferguson, written before we even knew Darren Wilson’s name… Back to the beginning, to August 13, to Jelani Cobb in The Anger in Ferguson:

“The hazard of engaging with the history of race in the United States is the difficulty of distinguishing the past from the news of the day….The truth is that you’ve read this… so often that the race-tinged death story has become a genre itself, the details plugged into a grim template of social conflict.”

In this spectacle and script, all that has changed are the names. What it is left to say?

So no words now. The bodies in the street, the die-ins on the freeways, the symbolic protests will carry us through. And the artists will give us strength to fight another day.


The New Age of Slavery by Patrick Campbell

The New Age of Slavery by Patrick Campbell

h/t @Luvvie, Luvvie’s Lane

Run and Tell That – In Memory of Robinswing

December 09, 2014 at 5:15 pm by: seeta Category: Sistahspeak, Spirituality

Dear Esteemed CMP Readers:

We are heartbroken to inform you that Robinswing, the Editor and Writer of the renowned and powerful Sistahspeak series, passed away yesterday. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

To many of us, Robinswing was a powerful and inspirational voice for social justice, a good friend, a teacher, and an unabashed pure heart. Robinswing, a warrior for peace, justice, and kindness, graced us with some of her prophetic pieces here.

Tonight we pay tribute to Robinswing by re-posting a link to some of her resonant — and more relevant than ever — articles. Below is one of Robinswing’s most powerful and moving pieces. Her eternal light will continue to shine on and inspire us. May she Rest in Eternal Power.

Robinswing, thank you for sharing your gift and your powerful presence with us. We will miss you more than words can express.

Seeta, on behalf of CMP

Read the rest of this entry →

John Lennon (10/9/40 – 12/8/80) ☮ ☮ ☮

December 08, 2014 at 1:14 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Military Industrial Complex, What People are Doing to Change the World

“He Was a Holy Fool” ~ UK Guardian


The Death and Life of John Lennon, by Pete Hamill

New York Magazine, December 20, 1980

“The news arrived like fragment of some forgotten ritual. First a flash on television, interrupting the tail end of a football game. Then the telephones ringing, back and forth across the city, and then another bulletin, with more details, and then more phone calls from around the country, from friends, from kids with stunned voices, and then the dials being flipped from channel to channel while WINS played on the radio. And yes: It was true. Yes: Somebody had murdered John Lennon.

And because it was John Lennon, and because it was a man with a gun, we fell back into the ritual. If you were there for the sixties, the ritual was part of your life. You went through it for John F. Kennedy and for Martin Luther King, for Malcolm X and for Robert Kennedy. The earth shook, and then grief was slowly handled by plunging into newspapers and television shows. We knew there would be days of cliché-ridden expressions of shock from the politicians; tearful shots of mourning crowds; obscene invasions of the privacy of The Widow; calls for gun control; apocalyptic declarations about the sickness of America; and then, finally, the orgy over, everybody would go on with their lives.

Except . . . this time there was a difference. Somebody murdered John Lennon. Not a politician. Not a man whose abstract ideas could send people to wars, or bring them home; not someone who could marshal millions of human beings in the name of justice; not some actor on the stage of history. This time, someone had crawled out of a dark place, lifted a gun, and killed an artist. This was something new. The ritual was the same, the liturgy as stale as ever, but the object of attack was a man who had made art. This time the ruined body belonged to someone who had made us laugh, who had taught young people how to feel, who had helped change and shape an entire generation, from inside out. This time someone had murdered a song. “

black line Capture