Watch the video above of Chris Crass - discussing the need for us to think about an idea called COLLECTIVE LIBERATION.
After watching the video answer the following questions
A defining characteristic of the United States is our federalist stance. Our model of government enables states (and sometimes territories) to have a partially autonomous legislative and legal system within the national structure. The relationship between the federal government and the states has been contentious from the start. Issues of constitutionality and morality are generally at the center of these debates.
This nuanced relationship between the federal regulations, laws and practices with the cultural differences in each state has shown to be tenuous and draining on our political system.
Below there are two excerpts from online publications that highlight a historical and contemporary issue that provides additional context to this central question in American political institutions. Choose one and comment below answer the guiding questions.
Marijuana Reform/ A Statement by - Ethan Nadelmann:
The suggestion that reform of marijuana prohibition laws in the United States must start by focusing on federal and international law is simply an excuse for inaction. Federal law in this area will only change as a result of political pressures associated with changes in state laws. This does not mean that no efforts should be made to change federal and international laws, just that reforming state laws is an essential part of the political process by which federal and international marijuana prohibition laws will ultimately be reformed and repealed. Keep in mind too that this country has a long tradition of states serving as incubators for innovative policy reforms.
Kevin makes two other mistakes in his commentary. It’s not true – although I wish it were – that "most places punish the use of small amounts of marijuana similarly to a speeding ticket." Few people are handcuffed or taken to a police station or incarcerated in a jail for speeding tickets, but all those indignities routinely are applied to people arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Government employees won’t lose their jobs for a speeding ticket but they may very well for a marijuana possession arrest. Punishment can be even more severe if the person arrested is among the roughly five million Americans on parole or probation, often for very minor offenses. Millions of Americans have suffered much worse than the equivalent of a speeding ticket in recent years for nothing more than being caught with a little marijuana.
As for the comparison with alcohol, the costs of alcohol abuse are so great in good part because alcohol can be a remarkably dangerous and destructive drug for a minority of consumers – much more so than marijuana. There is no basis to assume that the costs of marijuana misuse would be anything comparable to those of alcohol misuse if marijuana were made legally available.
Ethan Nadelmann is Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Excerpt from: http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/09/marijuana-and-states-rights-a-reason-deb.
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)
In Dred Scott v. Sandford (argued 1856 -- decided 1857), the Supreme Court ruled that Americans of African descent, whether free or slave, were not American citizens and could not sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that Congress lacked power to ban slavery in the U.S. territories. Finally, the Court declared that the rights of slave owners were constitutionally protected by the Fifth Amendment because slaves were categorized as property.
The controversy began in 1833, when Dr. John Emerson, a surgeon with the U.S. Army, purchased Dred Scott, a slave, and eventually moved Scott to a base in the Wisconsin Territory. Slavery was banned in the territory pursuant to the Missouri Compromise. Scott lived there for the next four years, hiring himself out for work during the long stretches when Emerson was away. In 1840, Scott, his new wife, and their young children moved to Louisiana and then to St. Louis with Emerson. Emerson died in 1843, leaving the Scott family to his wife, Eliza Irene Sanford. In 1846, after laboring and saving for years, the Scotts sought to buy their freedom from Sanford, but she refused. Dred Scott then sued Sanford in a state court, arguing that he was legally free because he and his family had lived in a territory where slavery was banned. In 1850, the state court finally declared Scott free. However, Scott's wages had been withheld pending the resolution of his case, and during that time Mrs. Emerson remarried and left her brother, John Sanford, to deal with her affairs. Mr. Sanford, unwilling to pay the back wages owed to Scott, appealed the decision to the Missouri Supreme Court. The court overturned the lower court's decision and ruled in favor of Sanford. Scott then filed another lawsuit in a federal circuit court claiming damages against Sanford's brother, John F.A. Sanford, for Sanford's alleged physical abuse against him. The jury ruled that Scott could not sue in federal court because he had already been deemed a slave under Missouri law. Scott appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reviewed the case in 1856. Due to a clerical error at the time, Sanford's name was misspelled in court records.
(Excerpt from: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/antebellum/landmark_dred.html)
In 2014 California voters decided to approve a measure to reduce lower offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. This comes after a long history of criminal justice reform in California that aims to reduce the prison population.
Respond to the questions below after reviewing the video and the ballot measure specifics.
'Power is rooted in the control of coercive force and in the control of the means of production. However, in capitalist societies this reality is not legitimized by rendering the powerful divine, but obscuring their existence.' - Poor People's Movement Article
Read this article on the relationship between power and class. Within the political system participation is highly regulated by access to a variety of social and economic resources. This article highlights the various barriers to political participation and the use and misuse of power within the government.
March is Women's History month. Review this calendar from the National Women's History Project. Each day in March has a woman's birthday on it. Choose one of the women on the calendar. Conduct online research to learn more about her. Answer the following prompts.
Tensions are running high during this election season. In Chicago there were dozens of people arrested for protests at a Trump Rally. Some of the protestors were from other campaigns, others were individuals who didn't want Trump to be considered a presidential candidate.
Review the articles below to learn more.
The presidential election tells us a lot about American culture and our values. For this week's assignment each students will choose a candidate from this website. After you chose the candidate you want to learn more about - watch a few videos and read a few articles about the candidates. Answer the prompts below.
Review the results of the Super Tuesday primary election results. Super Tuesday (March 1) is an aspect of the presidential election that can make or break a candidates campaign. Below you will see the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States.
Human Rights are for everyone. Review the Declaration of Human Rights formed in the 20th Century. In our country we acknowledge fundamental rights and human rights (selectively). In the video above the orator explains that Europe was able to maintain rights for themselves, but not for the rest of the world. The video describes that the rest of the country was conquered and invaded. Do online research to learn about a country or region or a group of people who who are currently not able to express their human rights. Give 2 examples and describe the conditions that does not allow them to have full human rights.
Abortion has been part of family planning since ancient times, with natural abortifacients being found amongst a wide variety of tribal people and in all our written sources. Our earliest texts contain no mention of abortion or abortion law. When it does appear, it is entailed in concerns about male property rights, preservation of social order, and the duty to produce fit citizens for the state or community. The harshest penalties were generally reserved for a woman who procured an abortion against her husband's wishes, and for slaves who produced abortion in a woman of high status. Religious texts often contained severe condemnations of abortion, recommending fees but seldom enforcing secular punishment. As a matter of common law in England and the United States, abortion was illegal anytime after quickening—when the movements of the fetus could first be felt by the woman. Under the born alive rule, the fetus was not considered a "reasonable being" in rerum natura; and abortion was not treated as murder in English law.
In the United States we claim to have a seperation of church and state - which means that the U.S. government cannot establish a religion for the nation. However, our abortion laws and laws about women's reproductive health are in question.
Review the links below and answer the prompts.
What is Roe v Wade and how does it impact the right of a woman to choose? Name and describe three types of restrictions put on women to remove the choice of having an abortion. Who should have the right to determine what a woman does with their own body? Should religious views impact American law making? Why or why not?
Democracy is a way of thinking, a responsibility and agreement between the government and the people. This agreement is based on social and cultural values. In a strong democracy the governing doctrine implies that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government, which allows for effective public oversight. Often times this does not happen.
Every day people are fighting for the right for access, full implementation of laws and programs that will increase inclusivity and to be heard. Democracy is not only about being heard or having the ability and interest in speaking about political and social problems. Being in a democracy can also mean that you have an equal position of power as the representatives that, but being listened to. Democracy is when you are given an equal vote on decisions that directly affect you. And when given this tremendous responsibility, people will surprise you. They rise to the occasion and educate themselves on the issues at hand. They also work hard to ensure that the next generation is knowledgeable.