Louis Further

Notes From the US

Louis Further’s monthly column for Freedom was written shortly before events in Charlottesville, where a white supremacist, allegedly Unite the Right supporter James Field, drove his car into a crowd of anti-fascists, killing one and injuring 19. The idea of driving cars through protesting crowds has become an increasingly popular fantasy in “alt-right” circles in recent years, and represents a major attempted escalation of far right violence in the… Continue reading

Notes from the US

Louis Further looks at wealth disparity, institutional racism and environmental issues in the Land of the Free for this month’s column

Freedom regularly picks up examples of inequality, of course. But a recent statistic is truly staggering. Credit Suisse Research, no less, published a report reflecting the way things stood in terms of income distribution in 2016. It found that those men (they are all men) in the five “lowest”… Continue reading

Notes from the US: Racist attacks rise while green protections fall

In his latest column Louis Further reports on spiralling intolerance in the land of the free — unless you happen to be an irresponsible business tycoon.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Islamophobic attacks rose by 57% in 2016. This includes arson at mosques, assaults on Muslim women and the illegal targeting of Muslims for interrogation by the FBI. CAIR says this is likely to be the… Continue reading

Louis Further: Notes From The US

Early one morning a dirty but originally silver oil tanker on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California, near the busiest traffic intersection in the world could be seen with this message painted on its oval back:

John 3:18: Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Minutes later,… Continue reading

Louis Further: Notes From the US

Freedom’s long-running US correspondent does his monthly roundup of some of the lesser-known stories that have emerged over the last few weeks.

The Run ’em Over law

In the middle of January, the legislature in North Dakota took an extraordinary move to confront those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They tried to make it legal to injure or kill them! Included in the wording of House Bill 1203 [… Continue reading

Louis Further: Notes from the US

Elections hold only a morbid fascination for anarchists, we know they achieve little. But when events like those of last November threaten to change the state of affairs in the most powerful country in the world as radically as they do, there are points to be noted.

In the first place of course, Trump’s opponent (hawkish Establishment figure Hillary Clinton) won something in the region of 3 million more… Continue reading

Notes from the US

Louis Further’s regular roundup column with analysis and news from North America that you might have missed.Violence and the Dakota pipelineIllegal, vicious, violent and punitive measures continue to be taken by the élite against the water protectors resisting attempts to build the Dakota Access pipeline across sacred lands in the central north west of the United States. Sophia Wilansky, for instance, was severely injured during one police… Continue reading

Notes from the USA: September 2015

Spying ======

Documents continue to emerge from Edward Snowden, the former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA). Significant data was published in mid-August which detailed how telecommunications giant AT&T willingly gave the Agency access to literally billions of emails transmitted across the former’s domestic networks – conceivably every one. These included the headquarters of the United Nations for many years. By 2013, the NSA’s top-secret budget for this partnership… Continue reading

Notes From America: November

Louis Further rounds up news from the USA for the months of October and November.

 

Racism

Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school student from the Bronx when he was accused of stealing a Rucksack by a mistaken witness driving around in the back of a New York Police Department police patrol car. Although Browder did not take the Rucksack, indeed proved to the police at the time that he had none of the belongings of his accuser (who then changed his accusation to suggest the alleged theft was ‘attempted’), he spent nearly three years in solitary confinement at the notorious Rikers jail complex in New York City. Yes, Three years in solitary confinement! He was never convicted and maintained his innocence requesting a trial rather than accept a plea bargain for release, which would have given him a criminal record. Only at the end of September were matters successfully brought to the attention of a judge, who dismissed the case against Browder. Continue reading

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Notes From the US: October/ September

 

Education

No-one ever got taller by being measured. In schools, the only tests that help are the ones that

offer guidance on what’s next, not ‘summative’ ones that merely record children’s progress. Last month in Florida a kindergarten (5-year-old children) teacher took a stand by refusing to administer the state-mandated standardised test to her pupils. In Gainesville, Florida 59-year-old Susan Bowles explained how the FAIR assessment (computerised for the first time in 2014) is difficult to administer, unfairly tests 5-year-olds’ computer abilities, and eats up hours and hours of critical classroom time. Bowles wrote on her own FaceBook page content that was then copied elsewhere within her local and the wider educator communities:

“This assessment is given one-on-one. It is recommended that both teacher and child wear headphones during this test. Someone has forgotten there are other five year olds in our care. There is no provision from the state for money for additional staff to help with the other children in the classroom while this testing is going on. A certified teacher has to give the test. If you estimate that it takes approximately 45 minutes per child to give this test and we have 18 students, the time it takes to give this test is 13½ instructional hours. If you look at the schedule, a rough estimate would be that it requires about one full week of instructional time to test all of the children.” Continue reading

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