The FAIR Act will end forced arbitration for employment, consumer, antitrust and civil rights disputes

Forced arbitration "agreements" are how corporate America gets workers, tenants and customers to sign away their legal rights, substituting kangaroo courts where the "judge" is a lawyer paid by the corporation that abused you, and where the rules are whatever the corporation says they should be; The FAIR Act invalidates the use of arbitration to settle disputes over employment, consumer rights, antitrust and civil rights; it has 147 co-sponsors in the House and 34 in the Senate (all Democrats -- Republicans love forced arbitration!), and its only hope of passing is if Democrats nuke the filibuster rule the next time they control the House, Senate and Presidency (that is, in 2020). Read the rest

Tracking down Dick Davy, a mysterious "lost" comedian who once championed civil rights and antiracism

Jason from the Comedy on Vinyl podcast writes, "I've spent the last eight years interviewing people from Rachel Bloom to Harry Shearer about their favorite vinyl comedy albums on my podcast, 'Comedy on Vinyl.' A few weeks ago, inspired by the brilliant podcast 'Mystery Show,' I decided to do something new, as I attempted to uncover the true identity and life story of long-lost comedian Dick Davy. A character comic, a white guy who won over The Apollo, and a civil rights activist who later settled into obscurity, Dick Davy's story temporarily took over my life and renewed my faith in comedy as a potential agent for change." (MP3) Read the rest

"Capitalism has outlived its usefulness" -Martin Luther King, Jr

"I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems, it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes." Read the rest

Activist Shaun King relaunching Frederick Douglass' abolitionist paper, North Star

On Thursday, civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King announced that he will be bringing back North Star, the abolitionist newspaper started by Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany 171 years ago, after receiving full permission and blessing from Douglass' family.

He writes:

In 1847, with slavery still in full force, two brave men, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany (both pictured above), started an abolitionist newspaper called The North Star — named for the star, Polaris, that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North.

Douglass and Delany knew then, as we know now, that in order to fight back against injustice, their stories had to not only be well told — with the color and dimension and nuance that was frequently missing elsewhere, they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, and soul...

While The North Star was originally a print newspaper, we will be launching a news app, a full news website, a collection of podcasts, and an online nightly news broadcast. We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world.

King, with his friend Ben Dixon, are first gathering 100,000 people to assist in their November 15 launch through BuildingTheNorthStar.com. Since the announcement yesterday, over 61,000 people have signed up to help.

By the end of 2018, they hope to have 25,000 people signed up as members of the new North Star.

Go get'em, gentlemen!

Thanks, Kristen! Read the rest

Watch Sister Rosetta Tharpe perform ‘This Little Light of Mine’ in 1960

In 1960, Sister Rosetta Tharpe performed this rousing rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" at France's Festival de Jazz d’Antibes Juan-les-Pins. Most of us are familiar with "This Little Light of Mine" as a lovely children's spiritual, but the 1920s tune, written by Harry Dixon Loes, became an anthem of the Civil Rights movement.

Learn more about the song's history at NPR: "'This Little Light Of Mine' Shines On, A Timeless Tool Of Resistance"

(via The Kid Should See This) Read the rest

Here's the Starbucks racial bias training video employees saw

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson created The Story of Access, the video shown to all Starbucks employees on the day the store closed for racial sensitivity training. Read the rest

Weekend Tunes: The Clash - Know Your Rights

It's been 36 years since The Clash dropped Know Your Rights as the first single from their fifth studio album, Combat Rock. That it's just as relevant today as it was close to four decades ago leaves me unsure of whether I should laugh or cry.

If you're an American unsure of what your rights truly are, the ACLU has you covered. Canadian? Check out the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and this handy guide on dealing with the police.

If you're from another part of the world, help us out here: Add a link to your country's civic rights in the comments. Read the rest

Meet the mother of the Canadian civil rights movement

Viola Desmond was the badass mother of the Canadian civil rights movement.

Born in 1914 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she grew up in the predominately pale-faced province avoiding notoriety until until she was old enough to leave home. In her home province, her skin color made it impossible for her to attend beauty school – local educators wouldn't have her. Determined to better herself, Desmond traveled to Montreal for her education as an aesthetician, before continuing on to Atlantic city and New York City to round out her skills. Returning to Nova Scotia, she opened her own beauty salon – the first by a black woman in the province. While chasing down her dream of being a business owner is impressive, it's not what brought her the most notoriety in our country.

While attending a movie in the village of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946, she called bullshit on the theatre's bigoted ticketing rules. The owner of the theater demanded that whites and blacks sit in different parts of the building. Additionally, anyone with skin that wasn't as white as the driven snow was forced to pay an additional penny for the privilege of seeing a film. Desmond refused to pay more than the white moviegoers did, nor would she comply with the owner's order to leave the whites-only seating area. For her trouble, she was charged for a tax violation – it was the only way that the government of her day could punish her for daring to defy the horse shit of racial segregation. Read the rest

Motorists falsely arrested on DUI charges describe the life-ruining results

Imagine driving home from work clean and sober, getting stopped by police, then arrested on suspicion of DUI. Several people describe the months of stress and thousands of dollars they spent to clear their names. Read the rest

Watch this lovely primer on America's transgender rights movement since the 1960s

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a brief overview of the transgender rights movement, focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Read the rest

"Future Internment Camp" signs pop up across the country

Street artist Plastic Jesus recruited artists to affix signs at construction sites and fenced-off lots around the country that say "Lot Reserved for: Future Interment Camp." Download and print your own here. Read the rest

EFF presents: a guide to protecting your data privacy when crossing the US border

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just updated its 2011 guide to Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border with an all new edition that covers the law, administrative rules, technological options and potential repercussions of crossing the US border while not undergoing the warrantless seizure and indefinite retention of all of your sensitive data -- in a guide that breaks out the different risks for US citizens, US permanent residents, and visitors to the USA. Read the rest

As transgender rights get rolled back, America needs more bathroom cops

In this recruitment video for America's elite Bathroom Police, Officer Tammy Cox explains the duties and obligations of the crack force who will be carrying out Trump Administration mandates in public bathrooms. Read the rest

James Baldwin trounces William F. Buckley (1965)

This debate is always worth watching again.

Revered poet, playwrite and social activist James Baldwin debated a young William F. Buckley at The Cambridge Union in 1965, the question was "Is the American dream at the expense of the American negro?"

The students voted 540-160 in favor of Baldwin's thesis. Buckley demonstrates early moves to couch racism and bigotry as States Rights issues.

Here is a transcript of Baldwin's speech. Read the rest

Rep. John Lewis' civil rights comic trilogy still at #1. Thanks Trump!

After dismissing civil rights icon John Lewis as "all talk," Donald Trump catapulted Lewis' March trilogy comic on the civil rights movement back to the best-seller charts, where it has stayed all month. This week, it won four American Library Association Awards. Read the rest

Ball of Confusion, performed live by the Temptations

Yup. Read the rest

The revolutionary life of Emma Goldman, anarchist legend

Emma Goldman was dubbed "one of the most dangerous women in America" by J. Edgar Hoover. But that's just the beginning of a legendary life of keen insight, uncompromising anarchism, and burned bridges. Read the rest

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