Archive for January 2014

A Black-Green Alliance in Libya?

Reports of intense fighting in southern Libya against the NATO-installed regime indicate that “Green” supporters of the former Gaddafi government could form an alliance with Black Libyans, who have been subjected to murderous ethnic cleansing, said political analyst Eric Draitser, of StopImperialism.com. “As these two forces begin to fight back against these racist and imperialist puppets that run the country, we’re beginning to see a form of mass resistance. What form that ends up taking still remains to be seen,” said Draitser.

NSA is Like J. Edgar Hoover on Steroids

The recent report of the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which described the omnibus NSA spy program as unconstitutional, will make Congress “more responsive to the public outcry” against the Surveillance State, said Carl Messineo, legal director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “Public opinion polls are clear that a majority of Americans recognize that there has been an unacceptable loss of civil liberties in the so-called pursuit of anti-terrorism,” said Messineo. “This is J. Edgar Hoover’s intelligence program on steroids.”

Sexual Abuse Rampant in U.S. Prisons

A Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows continued high rates of sexual misconduct against inmates in the nations federal, state and local prisons and jails. However, only a very small proportion of cases lead to prosecutions of prison staff, said Chris Daley, deputy executive director of Just Detention International, a watchdog group. Most sexual abuse victims get no medical care, despite the fact that “the vast majority of facilities have medical folks on staff who, within about a 12-hour period, could easily provide both emergency care and collect evidence needed for prosecution” – but that rarely happens in U.S. prisons, said Daley.

NYC Police Commissioner Bratton is “War Criminal of Our Communities”

A father recently took his two daughters to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to hear Angela Davis and watch a film on political prisoners. Instead, the place was packed with “establishment Democratic Party speakers backslapping each other about [Mayor Bill] de Blasio’s election,” including Bill Bratton, de Blasio’s new police commissioner and an architect of stop-and-frisk. “I was aghast that this type of forum” during MLK week “would give a voice to this war criminal of our communities,” said Greg Butterfield, of New Yorkers Against Bratton.

Bring Mumia Home Campaign

The Fraternal Order of Police is spearheading a drive against former NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer Debo Adegbile’s nomination as head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The LDF helped overturn the death sentence against Mumia Abu Jamal, in the killing of a Philadelphia policeman in 1981. Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of history at Baruch College and a member of Mumia’s defense team, said the FOP “distorts race to delegitimize the claims of Mumia Abu Jamal and all people who have been wrongly incarcerated by the state.”

Anthony Monteiro spoke in support of the Bring Mumia Home Campaign. “At some point, white America has to confront itself and its own contradictions,” he said. “It is not Mumia that they fear; it is the truth that Mumia represents.” Temple University has refused to renew Dr. Monteiro’s contract as a professor of African American Studies – in retaliation, many believe, for his political activism.

Amiri Baraka Eulogized by His Son

“My father was – IS – a revolutionary,” said Ras Baraka, in his eulogy for famed poet/activist Amiri Baraka, who died at age 79 in Newark, New Jersey. City councilman Ras Baraka is running for mayor of Newark.

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The Friends and Foes of Amiri Baraka

Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, wants there to be no mistake: His friend and mentor Amiri Baraka, the activist/poet/public intellectual who died last week at age 79, “was a revolutionary. In the days ahead, until he’s buried, everybody is going to look back upon him with fond remembrances. But, for some of those people, if Amiri Baraka was coming down the street, they would cross to the other side.” Baraka’s funeral will be held on Saturday, in Newark.

War on Poverty was Underfunded and Restrained

From the very beginning of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, launched 50 years ago, “there was a push to keep the lid on new spending on anti-poverty programs – and that only got worse with the funneling of money to Vietnam,” said Alice O’Connor, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara and author of Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy and the Poor in Twentieth Century U.S. History. Although newly created federal agencies were mandated to give the poor a voice in anti-poverty efforts, “there was pressure from the localities to keep that money out of the hands of groups that were going to challenge the status quo,” said O’Connor.

From Many Struggles, One

Progressive forces can achieve victory by building a “movement of movements,” said Margaret Flowers, co-author with Kevin Zeese of the article “Task of a People-Powered Movement for 2014.” Flowers and Zeese, directors of It’s Our Economy, have identified ten “fronts of struggle,” ranging from health care to jobs to peace. “Our task is to help connect these individual struggles to the broader struggle,” said Flowers.

Worthless Democrats

President Obama’s recent promises about combating economic inequality are meaningless rhetoric,” said Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer. “The problem is, the Democrats are now so thoroughly a Wall Street party, that they can’t do anything serious” to help poor and working people. “I expect nothing out of the Democratic Party, nationally or locally.” Real social progress will require grassroots mobilization, said Henwood.

The Washington Post as a CIA Asset

RootsAction.Org co-founder Norman Solomon will this week present a petition to editors of the Washington Post, demanding the newspaper inform its readers of owner Jeff Bezos’ intimate business relationship with the CIA. Bezos is also the billionaire owner of Amazon, which last year concluded a $600 million contract with the CIA. “The responsibility of the CIA is to keep secrets, and the responsibility of journalism is to expose secrets,” said Solomon.Post journalists should be worried that it become commonly known as “being in bed with the CIA.”

Tutu Wrong About ICC, Says Herman

Edward Herman, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, takes issue with former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu’s contention that the International Criminal Court is a force for justice in Africa. The ICC only indicts Africans, and only those Africans that are not allied with the United States, said Herman, co-author of The Politics of Genocide. “The bias has been blatant.” U.S. allies Uganda and Rwanda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo and “killed literally millions of people,” with no response from the ICC, said Herman.

Mumia: Support the Dallas Five

On January 21, trial begins for five Pennsylvania inmates charged with riot and incitement stemming from a 2010 protest against violence by guards at a prison in the town of Dallas. The Dallas Five “are fighting for their lives,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, reporting for Prison Radio.

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