Monday, November 10, 2008

Save Troy Davis; Celebrate Halloween.

New World Notes News
Volume 1, Number 15, Part 1 -- October 28, 2008

This week’s newsletter comes in 2 parts. Part 2--out this weekend--will describe next week’s show. I usually save my Acme-brand soapbox for use on the radio, but a couple of the bees in my bonnet need to get out now, so I hope you’ll indulge this Part 1. If not, your keyboard has a key marked “Del.” and that doesn’t represent “the people of DELAWARE” -- any more than Joe Biden does! (Ouch! Sorry. I do feel your pain.)

Troy Davis Update:

Two decades ago, a young Black man, Troy Davis, was convicted of a capital felony for his alleged fatal shooting of a white police officer in Savannah, Georgia. The evidence strongly suggests that Davis is innocent. Nonetheless, Davis’ execution is scheduled in less than a week. There's still time for people who prefer justice to ritual sacrifice to help stop this state-sanctioned murder.

New World Notes’s muse has been oddly silent on this travesty of justice, but an excellent journalist, radio producer, and program host, Dori Smith, has been on the case like a bloodhound with a personal grudge. Dori produces public-affairs programs for the Pacifica radio network and for WHUS-FM 91.7 in Storrs, CT. Her weekly program, Talk Nation Radio, has been covering the Davis case extensively.

Here are two good resources for people wishing to get up-to-speed on the case or learn how they can help. Dori's (.com also works) has much clear, concise information and several good links, including to her recent broadcasts. Amnesty International USA has a long, comprehensive, but very readable report plus other good links:

Please Celebrate Halloween!

Unlike Super Bowl Sunday, the American Halloween celebration is an authentic folk tradition, centuries old. It serves mainly the social and psychological needs of the "common people"--not entrenched economic interests, not the war machine of the State.

Most cultures celebrate a "topsy-turvy" day (or week) in which the rules are upended, the last become first, the Lord of Misrule temporarily trumps the Establishment, and the community comes together in a public party. Compared with Bacchanalia, Saturnalia, the Feast of Fools, Carnaval, and Mardi Gras, our Halloween is pretty tame. But it’s the best we’ve got.

Especially if you’ve accompanied a child on trick-or-treating rounds, you’ve probably seen and felt the community being drawn closer together. If you’re really lucky, the child with you will discover that the scary strangers who live down the street are actually very nice people.

If you’re home handing out snacks to apprentice goblins, you might even discover that the kids from the Projects are more polite than the middle-class ragamuffins from your immediate neighborhood. I’ve seen this repeatedly. (So much for the “incurable social pathology” of the urban poor in single-parent households! Come to think of it, if middle-class white kids can come from single-parent “families,” how come poor Blacks get only single-parent “households”?)

Since 2001, we’ve seen certain powerful and nasty interests profiting from making the American people increasingly afraid. And we’ve seen the results: the people now have fewer rights, less security, less liberty, less power, and (collectively as well as individually) a good deal less money.

Such powerful interests have been using false fear for years, in an attempt to make Halloween go the way of May Day. Who wants a holiday (they think) that increases solidarity among working people . . . that encourages people to look to their own community for support, not to their superiors . . . that resists being turned into an orgy of buying and consuming and corporate profit? Super Bowl Sunday and (as celebrated) Christmas are much more corporate-friendly.

This year, please celebrate Halloween in the traditional way. And please resist all attempts by your town, church, or school district to offer a “safe alternative” to trick-or-treating. What could be safer than a street filled with happy pedestrian-neighbors?

And those Snickers bars with razor blades inside that you’ve heard so much about? They’re all buried outside of Mosul, next to Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, the remains of the original Kentucky Fried Rat, and thousands of those 115-miles-per-gallon carburetors that GM bought the rights to and then suppressed!

Feel free to forward any or all of this message to appropriate people.

If you’re not on the
New World Notes mailing list and would like to be . . . or conversely . . . just send a note to Kenneth Dowst: kdowst at hotmail dot com.

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