Category Archives: Opposing oppression and injustice

People oppose injustice and oppression in  a social system.  These are some examples of the oppression and the opposition.

Image: The U.S. has fallen below its traditional democratic peers.

Freedom in the World 2020 finds established democracies are in decline

Freedom House March 4, 2020. Despite mass protests in every region, world suffers 14th consecutive year of deterioration in political rights and civil liberties.

Democracy is under assault around the globe, and the effects are evident not just in authoritarian states like China, Russia, and Iran, but also in countries with a long track record of upholding basic rights and freedoms. While protest movements in every region have illustrated widespread popular demand for better governance, they have yet to reverse the overall pattern of declining freedom, according to Freedom in the World 2020, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of political rights and civil liberties, released today by Freedom House.

Countries that suffered setbacks in 2019 outnumbered those making gains by nearly two to one, marking the 14th consecutive year of deterioration in global freedom. During this period, 25 of the world’s 41 established democracies experienced net losses.

The report also found an alarming global erosion in governments’ commitment to pluralism, a defining feature of liberal democracy. Ethnic, religious, and other minority groups have borne the brunt of recent state abuses in both democracies and authoritarian countries. Left unchecked, such violations threaten the freedom of entire societies.

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Opposing oppression and injustice 2020

Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, civil rights leader and King aide, dies at 98 Douglas Martin New York Times March 28, 2020
Mr. Lowery helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and gave the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Darius Swann, lead plaintiff in Supreme Court busing case, dies at 95 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 23, 2020
He and his wife sued the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in 1965 to send their son to an integrated N.C. school.

Betty Williams, Nobel laureate and leader of peace movement in Northern Ireland, dies at 76 Emily Langer Washington Post March 23, 2020
After witnessing the deaths of three children during the Troubles, she co-founded a campaign that drew thousands of protesters to the cause of peace.

Catherine Hamlin, OB/GYN who healed injured and ostracized mothers, dies at 96 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 22, 2020
She and her husband perfected surgical techniques to treat obstetric fistulas, a debilitating childbirth injury common in Ethiopia.

Charles Trimble, advocate for Native American rights, dies at 84 Katharine Q. Seelye New York Times March 20, 2020
He dedicated his life to advancing the tribal causes of self-determination, sovereignty and human rights.

Tex’ Harris, U.S. diplomat who exposed human rights abuses in Argentina, dies at 81 Matt Schudel Washington Post February 29, 2020
Sending reports through a special ‘dissent channel,’ he brought worldwide attention to the military junta’s ‘dirty war.’

José Zalaquett, champion of human rights in Pinochet’s Chile and around the world, dies at 77 Emily Langer Washington Post February 20, 2020
A Chilean lawyer, he was jailed and ultimately expelled from his country for his efforts on behalf of political prisoners and “disappeared” people.

Thich Quang Do, defiant rights champion in Vietnam, dies at 91 Seth Mydans New York Times February 24, 2020
As the patriarch of a banned Buddhist church, he endured prison, house arrest and internal exile but refused to bend to the Communist authorities.

Fernando Cardenal, Nicaraguan priest who defied Pope, dies at 82 Sam Roberts New York Times February 23, 2020

José Zalaquett, leader in Chile’s search for truth, dies at 77 Neil Genzlinger New York Times February 22, 2020
He incurred the wrath of the dictator Augusto Pinochet, was exiled, and became an expert in how to heal traumatized countries.

2019 review of exploitation and oppression in the world

Lane Vanderslice December 31, 2019

Exploitation and oppression continued to play a major role in the world in 2019. Standard economics principally looks at income obtained from production. This website looks at income or other benefit gained by harming others.  We prefer the term harm, as being correct and also indicating a range of behavior. Types of harm in a society may not rise to the level where they could reasonably be termed exploitation and oppression.  Harm, no matter the term(s) used is much more important than suggested by standard economics1. This follows Kenneth Boulding in The Economy of Love and Fear. Boulding distinguishes not only the productive economy but also the grants economy, which consists of two parts: exploitative grants from threats or ignorance, and integrative grants from love or kindness. In Boulding’s terms, this is an exploitative grant. A principal aspect of this website is publishing links to articles that describe a current aspect of harm in the United States or elsewhere; this is reviewed here.

The analytical view taken in this website is that through control of a society and its key elements of the society (economy, government, social system) some people/groups in the society obtain income from others. This income is not based on production, but some form of taking away from others. This taking away is typically resisted. So, there are two basic aspects in a social system where harm is important: obtaining income and maintaining control.  This is expressed in the principal categories used in the website (can be seen in the right column of each page).  For obtaining income, we have Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption, Harm through the market, two discrimination areas Discrimination: race – ethnic – religious – class, and Discrimination against women — gender inequality Also included Slavery, Forced Labor. Crime, Control of land and natural resources, which can be considered as important subcategories of one of the above categories. (Specific situations of harm can often fit into more than one of these categories.) For control we have categories including  Staying in power – Struggle for control, Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed and Conflict.  Harming people and conflict are part of staying in power/the struggle for control; we have made them separate categories because of their importance.

Staying in power/struggle for control

An important part of the struggle for control is between democratic/popular forces that want to expand human rights and opportunities and those who want to restrict access to key rights and opportunities to their group. HE published a summary of what Freedom House had to say about 2018. Here is an excerpt from that summary. (2019 report not yet available.)

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Oppression and Exploitation News December 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020

Opposing oppression, injustice 2019

All the political revolts America ignored in 2019 Juan Cole Truthdig December 26, 2019

25 journalists killed in 2019 64 journalists missing in 2019 Committee to Protect Journalists December 2019

Special Report: Iran’s leader ordered crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’ – about 1,500 killled Reuters December 23, 2019

A year of protests sparked change around the globe Alan Crawford Bloomberg News December 6, 2019

Harm through the market 2019

Prime power: How Amazon squeezes the businesses behind its store Karen Weise New York Times December 19, 2019
Twenty years ago, Amazon opened its storefront to anyone who wanted to sell something. Then it began demanding more out of them.

Prime leverage: How Amazon wields power in the technology world Daisuke Wakabayashi New York Times December 15, 2019
Software start-ups have a phrase for what Amazon is doing to them: ‘strip-mining’ them of their innovations.

Discrimination 2019

We are witnessing a rediscovery of India’s Republic Rohit De and Surabhi Ranganathan New York Times December 27, 2019
Indians protesting against a discriminatory citizenship law are using the Constitution as a rallying cry.

Indian parliament passes divisive citizenship bill, moving It closer to law Jeffrey Gettleman and Sushasini Raj New York Times December 11, 2019 Updated December 16, 2019

Obtaining income through the government 2019

How big companies won new tax breaks from the Trump administration Jesse Drucker and Jim Tankersley New York Times December 30, 2019
As the Treasury Department prepared to enact the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, corporate lobbyists swarmed — and won big.

Corporate tax avoidance in the first year of the Trump tax law Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy December 16, 2019
When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate. Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones. The unsurprising result: Profitable American corporations in 2018 collectively paid an average effective federal income tax rate of 11.3 percent on their 2018 income, barely more than half the 21 percent statutory tax rate.