More stories

  • in

    'This is our time': Democrat Wes Moore becomes first Black governor of Maryland – video

    Democrat Wes Moore has made history after becoming the first Black governor of Maryland. He replaces Republican Larry Hogan, a moderate who managed to twice win election in what is otherwise a solidly blue state. 
    The newly elected official assured the electorate ‘I hear you’ and ‘this is our time’ in his victory speech. Referencing his time in the army, Moore said ‘leave no man behind’. Joe Biden joined Moore in a pre-election rally in Maryland the evening before election day

    Midterm elections 2022: Democrats beating expectations as John Fetterman wins crucial US Senate race – live
    Future of Congress hangs in balance as many races still too close to call More

  • in

    Midterm elections: the candidates who will make history if they win

    Midterm elections: the candidates who will make history if they winElections could usher in a younger and more diverse Congress in the House and governor’s mansions across the US American voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the crucial midterm elections, and a number of candidates will make history if they prevail in their races.In particular, the departure of 46 members from the House of Representatives has created an opening for a new class of young and diverse candidates to seek federal office.Two House candidates, Democrat Maxwell Frost of Florida and Republican Karoline Leavitt of New Hampshire, would become the first Gen Z members of Congress if they win their elections. Leavitt would also set a record as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she can defeat Democrat Chris Pappas in their hotly contested race, which is considered a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.In Vermont, Democrat Becca Balint is favored to win her House race, which would make her the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ politician to represent the state in Congress. If Balint wins, all 50 US states will have sent at least one woman to Congress, as Vermont became the sole outlier on that metric in 2018.Some House races will even make history regardless of which party’s candidate prevails. In New York’s third congressional district, either Democrat Robert Zimmerman or Republican George Devolder-Santos will become the first openly gay person to represent Long Island in the House.As Republicans look to take back the House, their playbook has relied upon nominating a diverse slate of candidates in battleground districts that will probably determine control of the lower chamber. The strategy builds upon the party’s momentum from 2020, when Republicans flipped 14 House districts where they nominated a woman or a person of color.Overall, Republicans have nominated 67 candidates of color in House races, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Those candidates could allow the party to dramatically expand its ranks of members of color, given that just 19 non-white Republicans serve in the House now. With Republicans heavily favored to take back the House, many of those candidates of color could join the new session of Congress in January.Latina Republicans have performed particularly well in primary races, with several of them expected to win their general elections as well. The nominations of candidates like Anna Paulina Luna in Florida’s 13th congressional district and Yesli Vega in Virginia’s seventh district, which is another tossup race, led Vox to declare 2022 to be “the year of the Latina Republican”.“Republicans have an all-star class of candidates who represent the diversity of our country,” Tom Emmer, chair of the NRCC, said late last month. “These candidates are going to win on election day and they will deliver for the American people.”Republicans’ strategy of nominating people of color in some key House races comes even as members of the party continue to make headlines for their racist comments on the campaign trail. For example, Republican senator Tommy Tubberville of Alabama was widely denounced last month after he suggested Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that”.And while Republicans boast about the diversity of this year’s class of candidates, Democrats’ House caucus remains much more racially diverse. Fifty-eight Black Democrats serve in the House currently, compared to two incumbent Black Republicans. Similarly, House Republicans hope to double their number of Latino members, which now stands at seven, but 33 Latino Democrats currently serve in the lower chamber.Beyond Congress, several gubernatorial candidates are eying the history books. Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Tina Kotek in Oregon, would become the first openly lesbian women governors in US history if they are successful on Tuesday. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary under Donald Trump, will also likely be the first woman to win the Arkansas governorship.Stacey Abrams had hoped to make her mark as the first Black woman to serve as Georgia’s governor, but incumbent Republican Brian Kemp has pulled ahead in the polls. Other candidates like Oklahoma Democrat Madison Horn, who would be the first Native American woman to serve in the US Senate, also face long-shot odds of prevailing on Tuesday.But even if certain historic candidates do not succeed, it appears certain that the halls of Congress and governor’s mansions across America will look a bit different after 8 November.TopicsUS midterm elections 2022US politicsHouse of RepresentativesRaceLGBTQ+ rightsnewsReuse this content More

  • in

    America is built on a racist social contract. It’s time to tear it up and start anew | Steve Phillips

    America is built on a racist social contract. It’s time to tear it up and start anewSteve PhillipsFrom the civil war to the January 2021 insurrection, the white nationalist response to democratic defeat has been to attempt to destroy US institutions and our national agreements. We shouldn’t tolerate this The current social contract in America is not an expression of our deepest values, greatest hopes and highest ideals. Quite the contrary, it is the result of a centuries-long series of compromises with white supremacists.Republicans are trying to win by spreading three false talking points. Here’s the truth | Robert ReichRead moreIn his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson included a forceful denunciation of slavery and the slave trade, condemning the “execrable commerce” as “cruel war against human nature itself”. The leaders of the states engaged in the buying and selling of Black bodies balked at the offending passage, and Jefferson explained the decision to compromise, writing, “The clause … was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina & Georgia who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.”The Constitution itself, the governing document seeking to “establish justice” and “secure the blessings of liberty”, is replete with compromises with white supremacists’ demands that the nascent nation codify the inferior status of Black people. The “Fugitive Slave Clause” – Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution – made it illegal for anyone to interfere with slave owners who were tracking “drapetomaniacs” fleeing slavery.And, of course, there was Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, which contains the quintessential compromise on how to enumerate the country’s Black population, resulting in the decision to count individual human beings – the Black human beings – as three-fifths of a whole person.The whites-first mindset about citizenship and immigration policy that still roils American politics to this day is not even really the result of compromise. It is in essence a complete capitulation to the concept that America is and should primarily be a white country. The 1790 Naturalization Act – one of the country’s very first laws – declared that to be a citizen one had to be a “free white person.” That belief was sufficiently uncontroversial that no compromise was necessary, and the provision was quickly adopted.In a unanimous opinion in the 1922 Ozawa v United States case, the supreme court ruled firmly and unapologetically that US law restricted citizenship to white people because “the words ‘white person’ means a Caucasian”, and Ozawa “is clearly of a race which is not Caucasian, and therefore belongs entirely outside the zone” of citizenship. The racial restriction was official law until 1952, and standard practice until adoption of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. This centuries-long, whites-first framework for immigration policy was most recently articulated by Donald John Trump – the man for whom 74 million Americans voted in 2020 – when he asked in 2018, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”The sweeping social programs of the New Deal were the result of compromises with Confederate congressmen working to preserve white power. In a Congress that prized seniority, many of the most senior and influential members came from the states that barred Black folks from voting. In his book When Affirmative Action Was White, Ira Katznelson breaks down how “the South used its legislative powers to transfer its priorities about race to Washington. Its leaders imposed them, with little resistance, on New Deal policies.”Social Security is perhaps the signature policy of the New Deal era, but in deference to white Southerners, the program explicitly excluded farmworkers and domestic workers. As Katznelson explains, “These groups – constituting more than 60 percent of the black labor force in the 1930s and nearly 75 percent of those who were employed in the South – were excluded from the legislation that created modern unions, from laws that set minimum wages and regulated the hours of work, and from Social Security until the 1950s.”Even the cornerstone of democracy – the right to vote – remains to this day the result of a creaky compromise with white nationalists. Most constitutional rights don’t require regular legislation to be renewed. There are no Freedom of Speech or Right to Privacy or Right to Bear Arms acts. We don’t revisit those fundamental rights every 10 or 20 years. When it comes to the fifteenth amendment, however, the right to vote has necessitated further legislation to guarantee enforcement, and the opposition has been so intractable and longstanding that the Voting Rights Act has to be regularly renewed by Congress, necessitating negotiation and compromise with those who fear the power-shifting implications of letting everyone of all races actually cast ballots.Even after extracting a cavalcade of compromises over the centuries, Confederates have consistently demonstrated that they do not feel obligated to honor any agreements or democratic institutions if those agreements or institutions fail to adequately protect whiteness. From the civil war itself to the January 2021 insurrection, the white nationalist response to democratic defeat has been to attempt to destroy American institutions and shred our national agreements. In contract law, a contract becomes null and void if one party did not enter into it in good faith, or if one party breaches the agreement and walks away from its mutual commitments. Given the clear bad faith and contempt for any allegiance to the common good, why do we have to cling to the old frameworks?The answer is we don’t. We do not have to stifle our dreams and surrender our principles. We can now craft a new, fundamentally different social contract.
    Steve Phillips is the founder of Democracy in Color and a Guardian US columnist. This is an extract from his latest book, How We Win the Civil War: Securing a Multiracial Democracy and Ending White Supremacy for Good (New Press, October 2022)
    TopicsUS politicsOpinionRaceDonald TrumpcommentReuse this content More

  • in

    ‘I just care about change’: Nevada’s Latinos on their cost-of-living fears

    ‘I just care about change’: Nevada’s Latinos on their cost-of-living fears Nevada has an acute shortage of affordable housing – but do Republicans or Democrats have practical answers to curb one of America’s most pressing issues?Claudia Lopez, 39, is worried for her children.As her curly haired seven-year-old daughter bounced around a play area inside El Mercado, a shopping center within the Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas where the smell of arepas and tacos hovers over the shops, Lopez soaked in her day off from knocking on doors and talking to residents about the upcoming election.Latino activists have been changing Arizona politics. The midterms are their biggest challenge yetRead moreFor much of her life, Lopez, whose parents emigrated from Mexico to California, where she was born, didn’t care for politics. This year, that changed: since Lopez moved to Las Vegas seven years ago, rents have rocketed. In the first quarter of 2022, the Nevada State Apartment Association found that rent had soared, on average, more than 20% compared to the same period last year. That growth has since slowed, but the self-employed house cleaner worries about her children’s future: their safety, their schools, their shelter.“I don’t care about Democrats or Republicans,” Lopez says. “I care about change. I just want change for the better. Everything’s getting worse. You see little kids like, ‘Are they going to live to my age?’”In Nevada, the political stakes of this election are high. Latino voters are projected to account for one for every five potential voters in November, turning the state into a microcosm of the national influence voters of color will have on the election. While Nevada voted Democrat in the last election, its contests were won by slim margins. And as a voting bloc, Latinos are not monolithic: what they care about ranges from immigration to the economy and depends on where throughout the country they live.An emerging, central, and practical concern for this group, however, rests in the rising costs of living – especially housing. The state has the steepest affordable housing shortage in the country. For every 100 renters in Nevada, there are just 18 affordable homes available to extremely low-income households, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. By comparison, Mississippi, which has the highest poverty rate in the country, has 58 homes available for every 100 renters.“It’s a perfect storm,” said Melissa Morales, founder of Somos Votantes, a non-profit focused on encouraging Latino voter participation. “You have the state that was hardest hit by unemployment and its economy was the hardest hit by the pandemic. You have the first Latina US senator ever in American history that’s up for re-election.”“For Latino voters, they are less interested in a blame game and much more interested in solutions,” she added. “When they’re placing the economy and these sorts of costs that are at the top of their list, they are really looking at which party is providing hard solutions to these issues.”In the governor’s race, the Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak, who approved $500m in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan toward developing housing, plans on working with state lawmakers to curtail corporations from buying properties, reform evictions and impose rent control. He extended an eviction moratorium through last May in the midst of the pandemic.But on his website, his opponent Republican Joe Lombardo slammed Sisolak’s administration as a “roadblock for affordable housing”, stating that Lombardo would streamline permitting and licensing for housing.Despite political posturing, there’s concern about whether Latino voters will show up at all. That presents a vexing question for organizers attempting to cut past political rhetoric to capture Latino voters’ attention: who has the practical answers to curb America’s most pressing issues: the rising cost of living? And what will convince them that politicians will actually make good on these promises?Advocacy groups have taken to the pavement to try and bridge any voter education gaps.Morales says that of their canvassing operations in Nevada, Arizona and Michigan, those in Nevada spoke the most about the rising costs of housing and healthcare.Morales serves as president of Somos PAC, which has supported Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the US Senate, who is vying for re-election against former Nevada attorney general and Republican Adam Laxalt. While Cortez Masto’s website lauds her work to “expand affordable housing” and “combat housing discrimination”, Laxalt’s makes no mention of housing as an issue, focusing instead on the economy, crime, immigration and other issues.The Culinary Workers Union, whose membership of 60,000 hospitality workers is mostly made up of people of color, are also engaging in what they hope will be their largest canvassing operation in history, dispatching at least 350 canvassers, with more closer to election day, to neighborhoods six days a week.With hopes of reaching 1 million households, the union’s canvassers’ focus on calling for blocking rent hikes and curtailing the cost of living, responding to a national crisis that upended the lives of voters of color in the area.On a recent trip to a quiet neighborhood in north Las Vegas, where roughly four in 10 Latinos live, Miguel Regalado trudged from door to door under the sweltering desert heat.A lead canvasser who has embarked on multiple campaigns since 2016, Regalado, like hundreds of others, had taken a leave of absence from his job to talk with voters. So did Rocelia Mendoza and Marcos Rivera, who joined him to stroll through the neighborhood full of nearly identical houses, with white exteriors and red roofs, Halloween decorations on their front yards.Regalado, a utility porter at The D Casino, and Mendoza, a dining bus person at the Wynn who worked her fourth campaign since 2017, checked their tablets for the list of addresses. When knocks went unanswered, they affixed literature and endorsement guides to people’s doors.Those who answered were largely Black and Latino residents, with Regalado and Mendoza relating to some in Spanish. They often framed their pitches around signing a petition calling for “neighborhood stability” – a collection of proposals to stop rent increases in Clark and Washoe counties, where Las Vegas and Reno are – and to support candidates, largely Democrats, who have signed on to support the cause. Those two cities represent battlegrounds for Republicans and Democrats alike as Republicans managed to persuade more Latino voters in Las Vegas since 2020 but lost ground with them in Reno.David Damore, chair of the political science department at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, said that the door-knocking operations were key to encouraging turnout from Latino voters. Without door-knocking from the union, whose membership is majority people of color, “Nevada would not have shifted from red to blue,” Damore wrote in an email. “There are hard-fought wins on the line this cycle.”Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Workers Union, told the Guardian that working-class Nevada residents across racial and ethnic backgrounds have expressed concern to members about rent, the cost of inflation and rising healthcare costs.“Our members can’t afford homes like they used to,” Pappageorge, who spent a decade as the union’s president, says. “We’re finding that folks are concerned, and they want to know what to do. And we have a plan to win.”The canvassers themselves are dealing with the housing constraints. Before the pandemic, Regalado tried to buy a house. He made offers and felt qualified. “I got outbid every time I did it,” Regalado says. He worried about what he had heard from community members about companies that have bought properties in Las Vegas as investments and the pressure that puts on people’s lives.“The price-gouging is making it harder for everyone to buy a house and find a place to live. They are buying up the rentals and jacking up all the prices at the same time, making it harder and harder for the community to have a decent place to live. We’ve seen eviction notices in apartment complexes, too, because of rents going up.”Marcos Rivera, who was canvassing for the first time, noted that he too wanted to buy a house but was forced to rent an apartment. His family’s rent rose more than 40 percent. He worried about landlords lobbying to raise rents mid-year.“If we don’t do something about it, it’s going to continue to grow. It’s absolutely insane,” Rivera says. “We should just have one job to support our family and our rent. We shouldn’t have to have two jobs to have a decent living.”In its latest canvassing operation announcement, the union noted that its goal of 1 million door knocks in Reno and Las Vegas would reach “more than half of the Black and Latinx voters and more than a third of the Asian American Pacific Islander voters in Nevada”.While her daughter fiddled with food at El Mercado, Lopez, who doesn’t support abortion rights, recounted how since the US supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, questioned what other constitutional rights would be taken away from women like her and her daughter.Underpinning that was the anxiety that she would be unable to provide the life her parents had for her, that as the costs of living in America, she would be unable to buy a home, even as her parents owned two houses.“As a Hispanic woman, I would love to say that we’re able to do what my parents came out to do,” Lopez says. “It’s crazy how my parents came here illegally. They own two houses. And I was born here and I’m not able to afford a house because they’re going up sky-high.”Lopez, who canvasses for the Culinary Workers Union, registered herself and her family to vote for the first time. She understood those she had encountered who were disenchanted with politics, who faced the evictions and instability from unaffordable living situations as their jobs were upended by the pandemic. But she is determined to make sure they have a say in the state’s political future.“Our voice does count,” Lopez told the Guardian when asked about the collective power of Latino voters. “We can make a change.”TopicsNevadaUS politicsUS midterm elections 2022RepublicansDemocratsRacenewsReuse this content More

  • in

    LA city council members defy calls to resign after racist recording, setting up power struggle

    LA city council members defy calls to resign after racist recording, setting up power struggleMagic Johnson joins in with citywide denunciations of De León and Cedillo, but council is powerless to expel them The Los Angeles city council appears to be headed for a long and bruising power struggle, as two councilmen resist widespread calls for their resignation amid a racism scandal and state investigation.‘We ain’t done dancing’: Los Angeles festival brings Black community togetherRead moreA week since the president of the city council, Nury Martinez, resigned over crude and racist remarks she made during an October 2021 meeting with other Latino leaders, two other councilmembers present at the meeting have refused to step down, despite Democratic leadership – up to Joe Biden – calling on them to do so.On Wednesday, Magic Johnson, the superstar athlete, philanthropist and one of the city’s most respected celebrities, added his voice to the calls for their resignation, tweeting: “Let the city heal and move forward! The people of Los Angeles voted you in the position, and now they are calling for you to resign.”Activists from Black Lives Matter Los Angeles pledged to hold a 24/7 protest outside one of the councilmember’s houses until he agrees to resign.We have a long history of Black & Brown #Solidarity…because smashing white-supremacy benefits us all. @kdeleon betrays that history and must #ResignNow. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/cQJQe3kjFv— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) October 16, 2022
    Rise and shine. @blmla embarks on first full day of 24/7 encampment in front of LA Councilmember Kevin de Leon’s Eagle Rock home. LAPD is keeping a close watch. pic.twitter.com/QySJQBJnXo— Proud Member of The Blacks (@Jasmyne) October 16, 2022
    But that councilmember, Kevin de León, a brash, longtime power player in California state politics, disclosed in media interviews on Wednesday that he would not step down but wanted to take a leave from council meetings to attempt to restore his reputation. The city council president, Paul Krekorian, called that unacceptable.The standoff is unfolding even as there seem to be few hard rules about personal conduct and consequences for public officials. The council already has stripped De León of much of his power in an effort to pressure him to resign, but it has no authority to expel members.De León also could face a recall election if he refuses to resign, a measure some progressives in Los Angeles have been advocating.The remaining councilmember who participated in the meeting, Gil Cedillo, is already scheduled to leave office in December, after being defeated by a young progressive challenger, Eunisses Hernandez, in a primary election earlier this year.The uproar began with the release nearly two weeks ago of a previously unknown recording of a 2021 private meeting involving De León, two other councilmembers and a powerful labor leader, all Latino Democrats, in which they schemed to protect their political clout in the redrawing of council districts during an hourlong conversation laced with bigoted comments, with particularly demeaning remarks about Black, Indigenous and gay politicians and local residents.The conversation focused on the relative lack of Latino political representation in a city where nearly half of the residents are Latino, but documented Los Angeles’ most powerful lawmakers talking in derogatory terms about the “Blacks” and about Indigenous people from Mexico, as well as comparing the Black son of one of their colleagues to a monkey.The blunt backroom talk has prompted conversations about racism and colorism among Latinos in the United States, while also highlighting the enduring American scandal of political gerrymandering, in which voting districts are drawn and redrawn to protect the political power of individual incumbents.Disclosure of the recording has been followed by days of public outrage and protests, including a march of hundreds of Oaxacan Angelenos demanding the resignation of the Latino leaders who disparaged Indigenous people.A sign of more trouble came from two Black developers working on a downtown project who said in a letter to the city council that they could no longer work with De León, whose district includes the project that would be anchored to two hotels.The developers, R Donahue Peebles and Victor MacFarlane, called for his resignation and wrote that De León had been dismissive of their proposal, meeting with them just once over a two-year period.Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio said it is possible for De León to survive, but he must make sincere apologies and win back his constituents’ trust. That would start with small private meetings with business leaders, or coffee with community groups; any larger event would attract protests.He pointed to former Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who survived calls for his resignation after a picture surfaced from his 1984 medical school yearbook showing a man in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. The Democrat initially acknowledged he was in the photo and apologized, then reversed course, saying he was not in it.One person unlikely to lend a sympathetic ear to De León will be the state’s most powerful Democrat, Gavin Newsom. The governor and the councilman, who was once a Democratic leader in the state senate, have had strained relations for years that worsened when De León embarked on a failed attempt to oust Senator Dianne Feinstein in 2018.TopicsLos AngelesRaceCaliforniaUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

  • in

    California to investigate LA redistricting after leak of officials’ racist remarks

    California to investigate LA redistricting after leak of officials’ racist remarksThe former president of the LA city council, Nury Martinez, resigned on Wednesday after widespread calls for her departure California’s attorney general said on Wednesday that he would investigate Los Angeles’ redistricting process, as three city councilmembers face calls to resign after a recording surfaced of them using racist language to mock colleagues and constituents while they planned to protect Latino political strength in council districts.The move by Rob Bonta, a Democrat like the three councilmembers, comes amid growing calls to address the way politics can influence the redrawing of district maps after the census count each decade.“My office will conduct an investigation into the city of LA’s redistricting process,” Bonta said, without providing many details. “We’re going to gather the facts, we’re going to work to determine the truth and take action as necessary to ensure the fair application of our laws.“It’s clear an investigation is sorely needed to help restore confidence in the redistricting process for the people of LA,” he added.Bonta said the results could bring civil or criminal results. “It could lead to criminality if that’s where the facts and the law dictate,” he said. “There’s certainly the potential for civil liability based on civil rights and voting rights laws here in the state of California.”Bonta’s investigation comes days after the leak of audio recordings of an October 2021 meeting between the three Latino members of the city council and a labor leader sparked disbelief across the city and prompted calls to investigate the redistricting process.The discussion between the then city council president, Nury Martinez, the council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, and the labor leader Ron Herrera centered on protecting Latino political power during the redrawing of council district boundaries, known as redistricting.Biden calls for resignation of LA city council members over racist remarksRead moreThe recordings document the political leaders crudely discussing the power dynamics behind the redistricting process. But they also recorded Martinez mocking the young son of her fellow councilmember Mike Bonin, calling Indigenous immigrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca ugly, and making crass remarks about Jews and Armenians.Martinez on Wednesday resigned from the city council, after she had previously stepped down as its president and announced she was taking a leave of absence.De León and Cedillo have apologized, but have so far resisted calls to give up their seats, despite intense pressure to do so, including from Joe Biden.Bonta on Wednesday spoke in Los Angeles while the council itself was trying to conduct business nearby, possibly to censure the three members, none of whom were in attendance. But the board was unable to operate because a crowd of protesters outside. Demonstrators inside shouted “No resignations, no meeting.” The acting council president eventually announced that there was no longer a quorum and adjourned the meeting.The council cannot expel the members; it can only suspend a member when criminal charges are pending. A censure does not result in suspension or removal from office.A city council meeting the previous day – the first since news of the recording broke – was interrupters by demonstrators filling the chambers, demanding the council members’ resignation.In emotional remarks at Tuesday’s meeting, Bonin said he was deeply wounded by the taped discussion. He lamented the harm to his young son and the fact that the city was in international headlines spotlighting the racist language. “I’m sickened by it,” he said, calling again for his colleagues’ resignations.“Healing is impossible as long as you remain in office,” Bonin said in a tweet directed at the trio on Wednesday. “Resign. Now.”In one of the most diverse cities in the nation, a long line of public speakers at the meeting said the disclosure of the secretly taped meeting brought with it echoes of the Jim Crow era and was a stark example of “anti-Blackness”.There were calls for investigations and reforming redistricting policy.Many of the critics also were Latino and spoke of being betrayed by their own leaders.Candido Marez, 70, a retired business owner, said he wasn’t surprised by the language used by Martinez, who is known for being blunt and outspoken.“Her words blew up this city. It is disgraceful,“ he said. “She must resign.“Calls for the council members to resign have come from across the Democratic establishment.Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said Tuesday that the president wanted Martinez, De León and Cedillo to resign.“The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable, and it was appalling. They should all step down,” Jean-Pierre said.The US senator Alex Padilla, the outgoing mayor, Eric Garcetti, the mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso and several members of the council have called on the three members to depart.California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, has stopped short of doing so, denouncing the racist language and saying he was “encouraged that those involved have apologized and begun to take responsibility for their actions”.TopicsLos AngelesCaliforniaRaceUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

  • in

    Waging a Good War review: compelling military history of the civil rights fight

    Waging a Good War review: compelling military history of the civil rights fight Thomas E Ricks applies a new lens to a familiar story, showing how those who marched for change succeeded – and sufferedThomas E Ricks has written a sweeping history of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, retelling many of its moments of triumph and tragedy, from the Montgomery bus boycott spawned by the courage of Rosa Parks in 1955 to the bodies bloodied and broken by Alabama troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge 10 years later.‘It’s good to think strategically’: Thomas E Ricks on civil rights and January 6Read moreThe stories are familiar but Ricks is the first author to mine this great American saga for its similarities to a military campaign.James Lawson, a key figure in training a cadre of influential movement leaders, called it “moral warfare”. Cleveland Sellers said the 1964 Freedom Summer campaign in Mississippi “was almost like a shorter version” of the Vietnam war. Ricks points out that “the central tactic of the movement – the march – is also the most basic of military operations”.But the greatest value of this compelling account lies in its capacity to remind us how a relatively small group of intelligent, determined, disciplined and incredibly courageous men and women managed after barely a decade of pitched battles to transform the US “into a genuine democracy” for the very first time.As Martin Luther King Jr remarked, the attempt to undo the ghastly effects of the 90-year campaign after the civil war to keep Black Americans effectively enslaved became an effort to “redeem the soul of America”.The crucial ingredient was the nonviolent philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Ricks writes that it was “at the core” of how the movement “attracted people and prepared them for action”. It was the dignity of the marchers, who declined to counterattack the hoodlums who viciously attacked them, that would gradually “catch the attention of the media, and thereby the nation”.As Gandhi explained it, nonviolence did not “mean meek submission to the will of the evil doer”. It meant “the pitting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant”. As an American disciple explained, “Your violent opponent wants you to fight in the way to which he is accustomed. If you adopt a method wholly new to him, you have thus gained an immediate tactical advantage.”Lawson compared the strategy to “what Jesus meant when he said ‘turn the other cheek’. You cause the other person to do the searching … We will not injure you, but we will absorb your injury … because the cycle of violence must be broken. We want the cycle of violence in America and racism stopped.”Early in the Montgomery protest, after a bomb exploded on the porch of King’s house, “filling the front room with smoke and broken glass”, the budding leader demonstrated his commitment. When supporters gathered, he ordered, “Don’t get your weapons. We are not advocating violence.” Go home, he said, “and know that all of us are in the hands of God.”King said Montgomery “did more to clarify my thinking on the question of nonviolence than all of the books I had read … Many issues I had not cleared up intellectually were now solved in the sphere of practical action.”As in a conventional war, martyrs played a vital role in inspiring soldiers. Nearly all of the students who led sit-ins at Nashville lunch counters had visions in their head of Emmett Tell, the 14-year-old boy who was tortured and lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman.During Freedom Summer, in Mississippi in 1964, the brutal murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner became the turning point in the campaign to get the federal government to transform the nation.Two of the victims were white. Ricks writes: “The simple, hard fact was that the American media and public cared more about killings of whites than of blacks. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s hard calculation about white lives mattering more than Black ones had been confirmed … It was no different from Winston Churchill celebrating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”But the most influential martyrs of all were John Lewis and 140 fellow marchers who were brutally attacked as they tried to march from Selma to Montgomery. The images blanketed network television, leading directly to Lyndon Johnson’s speech before Congress one week later in which he electrified the nation by declaring: “We shall overcome.” Just four months later the president signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the movement’s two most significant legislative accomplishments.“Now you were having brought into every American living room … the brutality of the situation,” remembered Bayard Rustin, one of the key architects of King’s March on Washington. “I think that if we had television 50 years earlier, we would have gotten rid of lynching 50 years earlier.”Ricks does a tremendous job of putting the reader inside the hearts and souls of the young men and women who risked so much to change America. In just three months in Mississippi in summer 1964, there were at least six murders, 80 beatings, 35 shootings and 35 church bombings, not to mention policemen who routinely put guns to the heads of protesters and cocked them without firing.The Nation That Never Was review: a new American origin story, from the ashes of the oldRead more“There were incipient nervous breakdowns walking all over Greenwood, Mississippi,” Sally Belfrage wrote to a friend. Her roommate, Joanne Grant, said it was an understatement to say she was frightened most of the time. And yet, “as with all of us, it was the best time in my life. I felt we were changing the world.”Ricks of course points out all the reversals of this progress accomplished by disastrous supreme court decisions and hatred rekindled by Donald Trump. He ends by calling for a “third reconstruction”, a new “focused effort to organize, train, plan, and reconcile”.I only hope this riveting account of the glorious exploits of so many civil rights pioneers will inspire a new generation to make that gigantic organizational effort.
    Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968 is published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    TopicsBooksCivil rights movementRaceProtestMartin Luther KingUS politicsHistory booksreviewsReuse this content More