Katherine Hughes @ Truthout - My passion for the protection of civil liberties was sparked at the age of 14 when I saw a documentary on the Allies' liberation of Bergen-Belsen. For the past 40 years, in an effort to understand how something like that could happen, I've been reading first-hand accounts of 1930s and 1940s Europe and the former Soviet Union. Over the last 25 years I began noticing similar circumstances in both Europe and the United States: wars creating millions of refugees, financial crises, erosions of workers' rights and sharpening income inequality, along with national and individual poverty and debt, a xenophobic and racist climate, and attacks on civil liberties, including freedom of speech. Read more.
Our nation’s prison and jail population had quintupled in 30 years, leaving us with the highest incarceration rate in the world. A third of black men had felony records — due in large part to a racially biased, brutal drug war — and were relegated to a permanent second-class status. Tens of millions of people in the United States had been stripped of basic civil and human rights, including the right to vote, the right to serve on juries and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, education and basic public benefits. Read more.