A Paean to Reality | Blue Life

“As a moral claim, ‘Blue Lives Matter’ is predicated on the existence of blue life. And yet blue life does not exist prior to the articulation of that moral claim. Blue life is merely constituted through the anticipation of violence and the projection of criminality. Blue life is not a personhood but rather a spectral legal identity that mimics vulnerability. Blue life is no more than a figuration … It is impossible to inhabit the ‘I’ of blue life. No one can be on the side of blue life. It is merely a conceit that simulates a threat in order to justify the expansion of state power.”

Blue Life | The New Inquiry

The Mexican Town of Cheran | How a Bunch of Indigenous Folk Toppled the Cartels, Replaced the Local Government and Took Full Control of their Community

A comparison is in order, between the supposed semi-autonomy of the native nations in USA, and that of the people in Cheran.

[Many of the self-defense movements that have sprung up over the past year or so in other parts of Michoacán have taken their inspiration from Cherán. There are several meaningful differences, however, in how Cherán combated La Familia versus what’s happening elsewhere in Mexico. These differences are what has made the comunitarios, as Cherán’s security force is known, successful and respected.

The Purépecha community rose up to protect its land and its people. It’s not always clear if some of the other militias have the same purity of purpose. Also, because Cherán citizenry is made up of indigenous people, they have rights that allow them a level of autonomy from the Mexican government that other groups barricading the entries to their towns don’t enjoy.

cheran

Three years ago the people of the town of Cherán were terrorized by members of La Familia cartel, who brazenly plundered their sacred forest in broad daylight, likely selling the wood to transnational corporations. The plight facing the community of 16,000 people, situated in the western portion of the Mexican state of Michoacán, was just part of a trend taking place throughout the region.

Other cartels, such as the Knights Templar, were extorting money from other industries, forcing farmers growing avocados, limes, and other produce to pay ad hoc taxes on their crops. Those who didn’t pay and their families were subject to kidnapping, murder, and other violent tactics. To make matters worse, in many towns in Michoacán, local governments and police forces were either aiding and abetting the criminal elements or were powerless to stop them. The antagonism from the cartels has led to several towns forming so-called self-defense forces, picking up arms to barricade and police their communities, protect their valuable crops, and hunt their intimidators, as well as Knights Templar’s informants.

Cherán was the first town to do so back in 2011. A community of indigenous people belonging to the Purépecha culture, its traditions included debating issues of great importance to the townspeople via discussions over some 200 bonfires throughout the town, where community members would huddle. After watching 70 percent of their forest, or Pakua Karakua, being dismantled tree trunk by tree trunk, the talk around the bonfires finally turned to action. The community had had enough.]

Read the full story here | AL JAZEERA AMERICA

Also, read: The Mexican Town That Kicked Out the Cartels—and Told the Police and Political Parties to Get Lost Too | REASON MAGAZINE

Thugs | Language and President Obama’s Press Conference

[As has often been reported, when white teenagers riot over a sports game or a bad concert, these people are not thugs. Even though they may be masked, in the streets, destroying property, injuring and killing, these people aren’t thugs because they aren’t black. This form of violence receives to the terror code status of ‘rabblerousers.’ They are dismissed as drunken mobs, fools, idiots, or the more European and jovial-sounding hooligans. In the morning after a riot, hooligans get to put back on their suits and ties. They get to chalk up violence to alcohol or a stupid referee call, or even a surprising victory.

Thugs are masked men. Thugs are in the street. Thugs are black.]

Read the full article | Talking Points Memo

Baltimore’s Anguish

Freddie Gray, the drug war, and the decline of “real policing.”

David Simon is Baltimore’s best-known chronicler of life on the hard streets. He worked for The Baltimore Sun city desk for a dozen years, wrote “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” (1991) and with former homicide detective Ed Burns co-wrote THE CORNER: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF AN INNER-CITY NEIGHBORHOOD1 (1997), which Simon adapted into an HBO miniseries. He is the creator, executive producer and head writer of the HBO television series “The Wire” (2002–2008). Simon is a member of The Marshall Project’s advisory board. He spoke with Bill Keller on Tuesday.

Read the full interview | The Marshall Project

DAVID SIMON

What Happens When, in USA, a Civilian Kills a Cop in Self Defense in Their Own Home

Power relations and jurisprudence |

[Marvin Louis Guy, an African-American man who is now 50, was the target of a no-knock drug raid on May 9, 2014. Narcotics officers, operating on a tip from an informant who claimed that Guy was selling bags of cocaine, carried out a SWAT raid on his home in Killeen, Texas at around 5:30 AM—and Guy grabbed his gun and opened fire. Charles Dinwiddie, one of the officers, was hit and died two days later. Guy was charged with capital murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty despite his assertions that he thought he was acting in self-defense. Guy’s trial is scheduled for June of this year.

No drugs were found during a search of Guy’s home, only a glass pipe and a grinder—which indicates that Guy was, at worst, a recreational drug user and not a drug dealer. Journalist Radley Balko, author of the 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, has commented on the case in the Washington Post, saying: “The fact that the police didn’t find any drugs in the house suggests that Marvin Louis Guy didn’t know he was shooting at cops. Drug dealer or no, unless he had a death wish, it’s unlikely that a guy would knowingly fire at police officers when he had nothing in the house that was particularly incriminating.”]  Read the full article | ALTERNET

Ansel Adams as a Defender of Constitutional Rights

An issue photographers face when shooting on federal lands, including national parks and monuments, is that they must pay a fee, otherwise the commercial use of these photographs is not legal. There are other implications outside the realm of photography purely in itself, as –this is only one example– journalists consistently have been scrutinized for documenting police officers in action. With the introduction of the Ansel Adams Act in Congress on 1 January 2015, First Amendment rights are being addressed. Esquire has a detailed article on this subject.

Representative Steve Stockman [R-TX-36] referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and the Judiciary.

ANSEL

Disappearances in Mexico (by the numbers)

Since 2006, when then President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels, more than 22,000 people across the country have disappeared, creating a veritable humanitarian catastrophe. The grave problem has continued under President Enrique Peña Nieto, despite his attempt to shift focus from the drug war to economic reforms.

See the graphs and read the full article: GlobalPost

MEXICO