Month: March 2006

In God We trust

Atheists are identified as America’s most distrusted minority. Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry. Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. Today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society Respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher. (Findings by the University of Minnesota, March 2006. To appear in …

Oprah Winfrey, Tommy Hilfiger and Subtle Racism

Feel the power even of the anarchic online media? Let’s remind ourselves of the Pepsi-Kanye West chain mail. It claimed that the relationship had gone sour following his political rant and Pepsi had fired him. After a few weeks of online activisms, Pepsi declared that it was not the case at all. That Kanye West and the people of color should continue the support to Pepsi. Recently the Oprah Winfrey and Tommy Hilfiger mail has started doing the rounds again. So once again, I received a mail that carries a subject line hailing Oprah in order to condemn racism. To substantiate it, there is a chain email which narrates her “interview” with Tommy Hilfiger. But this time, it was from a friend in India. Clearly people in the Other World also got affected by racism. The accompanying text to condemn racism was the same: that a black man was discriminated against on a BA flight. Popularly known as “BA Flight anti racism” mail, you can read the entire content here: And here. This piece has …

No Worker Is Illegal!

Where would one read all this at one point?1. Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, JF Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Freedom & Unity, You!, and Me! 2. Chicano Power! 3. We did not cross your borders—The border crossed US! 4. Dignidad! 5. Bush is the real criminal. Not us! 6. Bush & Fox Build a North America with Open Borders! Reform USA, Mexico, Canada. 7. All Americans are immigrants to this country—USA! Increase peace and love to all people of color 8. Arnold—Back to Hollywood 9. We are the People 10. My Hands built America Each Day. I am not a Criminal. We are not terrorists 11. You say Immigrants, like it’s a bad thing! At today’s rally where more than a half a million people took to streets to denounce the HR 4437 (aimed at amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen enforcement of the immigration laws, to enhance border security, and for other purposes). What the president says on Thursday as “I urge people who like to comment on …

A spectre is haunting Europe

Come senators, congressmenPlease heed the call Don’t stand in the doorway Don’t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There’s a battle outside And it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin’. Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’. (Bob Dylan (1963). His anthem for the American Freedom Movement of the 60’s!) Class societies thrive on racial discriminations. And Europe provides the recent most glaring example. In November 2005, when a huge number of young people from the minority communities protested in France, it was being called a riot. The race-blindness that afflicts the privileged French exhibited its true color when the Blacks and the Muslims were being systematically deprived of what has been their overdue. …

Recalling Bhagat Singh

As an initial conversation with the Unrepentant Marxist Louis Proyect regarding the Indian revolutionaries, I produce in full a letter written by Bhagat Singh to his father Sardar Kishan Singh, who in the eve of judgment submitted a petition to the trial judges for permission to produce a defense witness to save his son. I have typed it out from a chapter written by Bhagat Singh’s friend and comrade Bejoy Kumar Sinha. For reproducing this work, I am thankful to the Delhi-based People’s Publishing House for the book “India’s Freedom Struggle: Several Streams”, edited by Sarkar, Bardhan, & Balaram, 1986; and to my dear father who introduced me to this work of eternal significance. The letter is being published online for the first time to commemorate March 23, 1931– the date that saw Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom. I am sure readers will go beyond the sentiments to view a glimpse of India’s freedom struggle, and yet understand that the deep seated well meaning sentiments do affect revolutionary goals negatively at many times. The line between professed …