NJRR Live Welcomes You Back!
Welcome back to our #NJRR Live Show! We are coming back at you after a hiatus of nearly two months. It’s exciting to be back and we hope to see some familiar faces as well as new ones. If you happen to be new here, New Jersey Revolution Radio has been creating anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist content for about two years. Our theme here is art, activism, and the powerful intersection of the two. There are a lot of systemic issues that need solving and we try to highlight them in order to bring about solutions. When we left off, we here at NJRR didn’t think we’d be coming back in the middle of a civil uprising.
Tonight, our special guests are Kim Meudt from the Green Party and Christian Perez from the Modernity and Absurdity podcast. We begin with a discussion on police presence at protests. In Asbury Park and Ocean County in general, the police presence is often oppressive. Christian remarks that the police still have a 38 percent approval rating in America, noting that this means 38 percent of America still has to be educated. Otherwise, we are stuck with them and their broken mindsets polluting our world.
Brian’s hometown is Clark, New Jersey, which he describes as a white suburb. He attended a protest in that town which had some tense moments. For a community like Clark to fully realize and reevaluate how they treat Black people that enter their town will take more than one protest.
There’s a phenomenon that takes place in historically white towns. Cops in these “white islands” know that they are paid for by the town, by the taxes of the voters. They prefer not to shake things up with their constituents and they figure that people who have any skin color besides white are from out of town. This is how people of color become subject to fines for simply driving through a town. This issue runs deep and intersects with segregation throughout the state.
Racism, Subtle and Overt
Christian highlights that racism is a ubiquitous issue in the United States. Therefore, if a town claims that they are not racist, they have something that they are hiding — they have put a spotlight on themselves: What are they sweeping under the rug?
Another way that racists put a spotlight on themselves is by being overtly offensive. Kim shares that at a recent protest in Franklinville, two men with Trump flags mimicked the scene of George Floyd’s tragic and horrific death. As one man lied down, the other man put his knee to his neck. The men have since been identified and fired from their jobs. Their lives will never be normal again and they will have trouble finding employment. Kim expresses that this is how it should be. Racism runs deep, and the capacity and willingness to put on such an overtly racist and horrific display demonstrates that the offenders should not be accepted into the public sphere where they can damage the lives of others.
Political Action and Inaction
The demand that protestors have is to abolish the police, and that is not something that is going to happen easily at a town level. Some municipalities are going to see change, but we know societies do not modernize all at once. Even though we see police being defunded in Camden, we cannot expect reform to happen on the same level in towns like Clark and Asbury Park.
Brian and Kim both work for the Green Party. Kim reveals that it has been difficult to gather electronic signatures. You’re more likely to get more responses with a face to face approach. However, she will not give up. We as a country desperately need to abandon the two-party system where the only answer is the lesser of two evils. Nothing has changed on Capitol Hill. We need more than just the abolishment of police: we need jobs and education in communities that currently operate on school-to-prison pipelines. A guy walking around with a gun in a school shouldn’t be what makes kids feel safe.
Coronavirus Around The World
We return from the break for a conversation with Christian about the coronavirus pandemic and the situation in Brazil. 38,543 Brazilians have now died from the coronavirus. Brazil as a country has the third-highest number of deaths globally, and the world’s second-highest number of cases. Over half of the Brazilian population is Black, and it is the poorest members of society in Brazil who are disproportionately affected by the virus. The president of Brazil has been downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, calling it the “little flu” and threatening to defund the World Health Organization. The narrative was that the virus only affected the weak, lazy, and sick. The misinformation that informs institutional racism works similarly. Information that does not fit the narrative is manipulated, disregarded, and silenced by those in power.
Sweden’s government decided not to close the government at all and they are suffering tangible consequences, with this inaction directly causing the deaths of thousands of citizens. Hungary’s president is using the coronavirus as a Trojan Horse to persecute those standing up for human rights issues. He and his allies own 90 percent of the media in the country. In Bolivia, voting has been pushed from May to September, and police have been authorized to harm citizens with impunity. In many parts of the world, the right is clamping down in response to the pandemic.
2020 has revealed people for what they truly are. This can apply to pandemic response as well as the protests erupting around the world. There are horrible people, but at the same time, the solidarity is there and there are good people doing good work out there.
No Statues for Racists
Kim shares one of the positive results of the recent protests. The statue of Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia came down. Frank Rizzo was Commissioner of the Police Department in Philadelphia and mayor of the city. Racists liked him because he was “tough on crime” — translation: he treated minorities unfairly.
The reality is that there should be no statues for racists or imperialists. It’s especially damaging to keep these monuments up because people really do still believe propaganda. There are those who still believe Christopher Columbus was a brave and noble explorer, and they’re the same people that still believe George Washington never told a lie. We don’t realize how thick the propaganda runs.
Thank You Very Much for Being Here!
Christian Perez is hosting a class called Conspiracy Theories and Exploration through Brookdale Community College. It’s happening this Tuesday, June 16th, from 2:00-3:30 pm. It is only $19 and if you’re interested, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-324-2215.
Thank you very much for joining us here at NJRR Live. We’ll be coming at you weekly on Wednesday night at 8:00 PM EST! Our show streams live on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. NJRR can get more done with your donation, even if it’s small! We take Paypal, Venmo, and more on our donations page. We look forward to seeing you all next week!
-Leah Giannantonio, for New Jersey Revolution Radio