Archive for August 2014

Obama and ISIS in Dance of Death

prn_montage_20140827.jpgThe growing U.S. bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria serves no one but war profiteers, said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson. “I know that ISIS had to be aware that slitting throats on camera would result in more bombing, just as President Obama had to be aware that blowing men, women and children up with 500-pound bombs would result in slitting throats,” said Swanson, publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.Org. “The beneficiaries of escalation, which is entirely predictable, are the weapons makers.”

Black Strategies Must Include Self-Defense

“First and foremost, it is right for our people to rebel,” said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and co-author of the groundbreaking report “Operation Ghetto Storm,” which documented extrajudicial killings of Black Americans under color of law. “I think it boiled over in Ferguson as a result of a transformation in our people’s consciousness, especially our young folks,” said Akuno. “They’ve had enough of the brutality, of being systematically excluded.” Black community self-defense must be part of any organizing strategy. “This has been part and parcel of what we know we have to do in the face of white supremacy and in the face of the brutality that the capitalist system has reserved for us, in particular.”

Black Passivity is Mentally Unhealthy

Political protest is therapeutic for Black Americans, said Dr. Vernellia Randall, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton and author Dying While Black. “I want us to be less passive, I want us to engage in civil disobedience” – and not the kind of protest-like activities sanctioned by the authorities. “If they’re telling us, Here’s how you can protest, then that, to me, is not civil disobedience,” said Randall. “If you are coloring within the lines that the establishment establishes, then you are putting no pressure on the establishment.”

Cuba Should Join in Fight for Slavery Reparations

The young United States was a horrible example of democracy, but it did lead the way in the business of human trafficking. “After the establishment of the United States, it quickly became the leader in the African slave trade to Cuba,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. “They also became the leader of the African slave trade to Brazil, helping to account for the fact that Brazil has more people of African descent than any other nation outside Nigeria,” said Horne, who hopes to enlist Cuba in “our journey to claim reparations for the enslavement of Africans in the Americas.”

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Police Brutality is Built into the System 

 

 

“Police brutality is not caused by a few aberrant, rogue cops. It is a systemic problem that arises from the system of social, economic and political oppression that we live under,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Abuses persist, even in those cities that have community police review boards “because the use of violence against Black people has been necessary and condoned since the creation of the United States of America.” You can’t keep people in slavery, or commit genocide against Native Americans, without massive applications of violence, said Hamm, speaking at the annual conference of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, in Philadelphia.

Black Is Back Coalition to March on White House

 

The police response to Black protest in Ferguson, Missouri, has called attention to the massive militarization of U.S. police behavior and equipment. “They call it surplus military equipment that they have given to police departments, but that’s not surplus,” said Black Is Back Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “The military budget includes the resources they are shooting into communities to control African people. It’s not surplus when you understand that the local police department is an extension of the same state apparatus that’s functioning today in places like Afghanistan. That’s colonialism,” said Yeshitela. The Coalition announced plans to march on the White House, on November 1, under the banner “Peace Through Revolution.”

Justice Department Should Review Every Police Killing of Unarmed Blacks

 

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund called on the U.S. Justice Department to mount a “comprehensive review of all police-involved assaults and killings of all unarmed individuals, with a particular focus on the killings of unarmed African Americans,” said associate director Janai Nelson. The review is one of four recommendations outlined by the LDEF in a letter to the Justice Department. “There are concerns of over-policing in these communities, of ‘broken windows’ policing, of racial profiling, that has led to this disparate number of killings among African Americans,” said Nelson.

Mumia: “We are All Michael Brown”

 

The Black people of Ferguson, Missouri, “have resisted every attempt to sidetrack or silence their efforts to achieve the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the white cop who shot and killed Mike Brown,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “The face of sweet-talking politicians promising peace; police with dark faces promising protection; preachers praying for placidity,” did not deter the protesters. ”They kept on marching for justice.”

“Broken Windows” Policing Must Go

 

Robert Gangi, director of New York City’s Police Reform Organizing Project, has documented the racial bias inherent in the NYPD’s pursuit of so-called “quality of life” offenses. “Police in New York arrest people for occupying two seats on the subway, even though it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and there’s nobody else in the subway car,” said Gangi. “Far too much of the NYPD’s resources focuses on activities that are not criminal, that are not dangerous, that are not predatory; activities that are engaged in by people of color,” like selling loose cigarettes. “The senseless death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD is a worst-case scenario of what can happen with the aggressive application of broken windows po licing.”

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Wall Street is Milking Detroit Dry

Mass water cutoffs are set to resume on August 25, a prelude to privatization of Detroit’s water and sewage department, while plans are afoot to put public parking up for auction. “The underlying agenda” of the state-imposed bankruptcy process is the “sell off of public assets; the destruction of the strength – to the extent it exists – of the labor movement; and the expropriation of public pension funds,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, of the Moratorium Now Coalition. A similar fate awaits other cities across the country, because “the crisis of the overall American capitalist system has worsened and, therefore, there’s more pressure being put on municipalities to extract more wealth for the benefit of Wall Street.”

Black Is Back Coalition to Gather in Philadelphia

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which has consistently opposed the corpora tist and warlike policies of the Obama administration since its founding in 2009, holds its annual conference in Philadelphia, August 16 and 17. “More and more people are being awakened to the catastrophe that the Obama regime has become, not only for the struggle and rights of African people here in the United States, but for people around the world,” said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. The Coalition plans to mount another march on the White House on November 1.

Black Liberation in the Age of Climate Change

ooperation Jackson, a campaign to bring cooperative economics to Jackson, Mississippi, is one of the legacies of the late Chokwe Lumumba’s brief tenure as mayor of the mostly Black city. The grassroots effort has joined forces with the Climate Justice Alliance, according to veteran organizer Kali Akuno. “We’re looking not only to control the means of production in Jackson – and eventually throughout Mississippi, and beyond – but we’re trying to make sure that we produce goods and services differently than the standard capitalist methods, which are over-reliant on petrochemicals and unhealthy products,” said Akuno.

Mumia: Immigrant-Bashing is Part of Americana

Resentment of new immigrant groups is “as old as the country, itself,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner. “Every generation, anxious about their place in this turbulent society, gives new arrivals hell,” said Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. Anti-immigrant sentiment helped fuel a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. “It doesn’t take much to spark it back up again, as we see with the children of Central America.”

CIA Battles to Keep Its Torture Secrets

Congress adjourned without resolution of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s attempt to declassify a 6,000-page report on CIA torture programs. Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said the agency “destroyed the evidence of its crimes – obstructing justice in the process – and then, when investigated by the Senate, hacked the Senate servers, infiltrated the Senate computer system, stole documents from the Senate, and then filed false allegations with the Justice Department seeking prosecution of Senate staffers.” Arguably, the CIA is “the world’s most successful terror organization,” said Buttar.

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The Chosen People – for Incarceration

“They’ve created a permanent caste from which people cannot escape,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress (POP), referring to America’s system of mass Black incarceration. POP supports the New Jersey Decarceration Act, aimed at drastically reducing prison populations. Historically, police forces and prisons have expanded to contain Black people, socially and geographically. “What they’re worried about now is there’s a potential for us to build alliances with other groups that have been economically disenfranchised in the last few decades, and that there could be an even wider societal response to the suffering that’s going on in this country,” said Hamm.

Challenge to Arbitrary Solitary Confinement

Prison inmate Lester Alford has hauled New Jersey into court, charging prison officials with arbitrarily locking him in solitary under appalling conditions. “They only gave him one set of clothing for three years, and didn’t let him clean his cell for three years,” said Jean Ross, a lawyer who has advised many state prisoners. The state accused Alford, now middle-aged, of being a gang leader. “There is no excuse, no defense to the fact that they placed him under isolated confinement without any kind of due process of law, and under conditions that we would not keep animals in,” said Ross, who is also an organizer with the People’s Organization for Progress.

Former Panther Blasts Huey Newton

Wayne Pharr, a former captain in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, has just published a book titled Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival. “I don’t bash anybody but Huey Newton,” the Panther co-founder who, Pharr writes, set himself up as Supreme Commander and sent hit squads against members considered disloyal. “That’s what turned me off from the whole thing, because that spoke of ego and no humility,” said Pharr, who now makes his living in real estate. The FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO played a role in the party’s demise. “We knew were under surveillance with COINTELPRO,” said Pharr, “and COINTELPRO is still working, right now.”

U.S. Complicit in Israeli Crimes

“Not a minute of this war would be possible without complete and total U.S. funding, political support, and diplomatic support every step of the way,” said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center. But, “the world has not been silent” to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 2,000 of whom – overwhelmingly civilians – have died at Israeli hands. What the Israeli’s want, said Flounders, “is the silence of the grave; that’s their only plan.” A huge demonstration is set for this Saturday, August 9, at the United Nations building in New York, said Flounders, who is also an organizer with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition.

Mumia: Zionists Lust for Land

America’s best known political prisoner says “Israel intentionally targets civilians, which is a war crime.” Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio, called Israel “a settler colonialists state which has no use for the indigenous people of Palestine, yet lusts for its land.” President Obama claims Israel “has the right to defend itself. But, one wonders: doesn’t Palestine have that right, as well?”

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