Reads of the Week - 02.12.2016

Compiled By Doctor Comrade (follow @HCELindsay)

This Is Why Poor People Can (And Should) Have Nice Things - Everyday Feminism (follow @evrydayfeminism, @carmenriosss)

Carmen Rios excoriates the "false narratives about what poverty looks like... what kind of poverty is valid or invalid." The contradictory images of impoverished people conjured by reactionary politicians typify the property relations inherent to capitalism: "This is the real reason we can’t have nice things: Because our culture tells us that only certain people should have certain things. The myth that poor people shouldn’t, and can’t, have 'nice things' – and that having those things invalidates their experiences – is all around us."

Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote - The Nation (follow @thenation)

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, provocatively argues that policies passed by Bill Clinton and supported by Hillary Clinton demonstrate how black people should reevaluate their seemingly unending loyalty to the Clintons. Alexander says, "[Bill Clinton] capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes—ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did."

The Bundy brigade’s delusional last stand: What the failed wing-nut revolt really tells usSalon (follow @salon)

Gay Legum's poignant analysis points squarely to the right-wing echo chamber that promotes paranoia as a virtue and misinformation as morality. The Oregon standoff ended this week after reinforcements never arrived to help the last four holdouts avoid jail or fight off the tyrannical FBI. Legum's best line is about how "these were people steeped in the muddled and reactionary right-wing politics that have turned the base of the Republican Party into a stew of resentment and victimization. These were people who have spent years being told by conservative media that everyone is out to get them and everyone is stepping all over them while minorities and liberals and immigrants and jackbooted federal officers steal their jobs and their guns and turn America into a giant, sharia-ruled suburb of Tijuana."

For Black History Month: The Black Belt Communists - Jacobin (follow @jacobinmag)

Historian Robin D. G. Kelley argues that black sharecroppers in Alabama challenged oppression in the 1930s by forming a militant movement with the help of the Communist Party. "When the stock market collapsed and cotton prices reached an all-time low, the real victims were small landholders who were forced into tenancy and tenants whose material wellbeing deteriorated even further. It is no coincidence, therefore, that black farmers straddling the line between tenancy and ownership formed the nucleus of Alabama’s Communist-led rural movement."

In History

On February 12, 1946, Isaac Woodard, an African-American WWII veteran, was attacked en route from Georgia to New York. Policemen in Aiken, South Carolina, pulled Woodard off a Greyhound bus and beat him. They arrested him, took him to jail, and beat him again. They used nightsticks to gouge out his eyes, causing permanent blindness. After NAACP Executive Secretary Walter Francis White met with President Truman in September, Truman ordered a federal investigation, which led to an indictment of the sheriff and his deputies. In November, after only thirty minutes of deliberation, the sheriff was acquitted by an all-white jury. (Listen to Orson Welles impassioned reading of Woodard's affidavit, followed by Welles' spirited denunciation of the officer who blinded Woodard.)

Handsy Comprehensive Exam Weekend Roundup

The (Million) Dollar Menu: The Real Costs of Cheap Food - Comrade Sloth's post covers the economic, environmental, social, and nutritional costs of fast food. She argues "It seems that to most of the public, these dangers are neither immediate nor real; most will concede that they are aware of the detrimental health effects of fast food on their body, but it’s an allowance they’re willing to make in exchange for dollar hamburgers. In blaming the consumer, we only punish those who are already victimized by an economic system that limits their access to healthy and practical food options."

Marco Rubio's Embarrassing and Robotic Speech Says Volumes About His Campaign Strategy - I argue that Rubio's "glitch" at the most recent Republican debate is not only indicative of the underlying messages of his campaign, but also exemplifies the ideological basis for his worldview. Rather than calling Obama incompetent, Rubio asserted that Obama, who was also an inexperienced first-term Senator when he ran for President, has been able to affect change, purposefully undermining American values. Moreover, Rubio set himself up for campaign strategies he will use against Sanders, should both Rubio and Sanders win their respective nominations.