Archive for July 2015

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Mumia “May Have Been Poisoned”

Six months after Mumia Abu Jamal nearly died from diabetic shock, the nation’s best known political prisoner’s underlying illness has yet to be diagnosed, said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at New York City’s Baruch College and member of Educators for Mumia. Abu Jamal’s maddeningly itching skin has turned a leathery black, and his output of commentaries and analysis for Prison Radio “has diminished significantly,” said Fernandez, who fears Mumia is suffering a “deeper, systemic problem” or “may have been poisoned.” Nevertheless, “Mumia is delighted and inspired by the movement against police violence that has emerged in the country,” and will continue to speak out “from the belly of the beast.” That’s why, she said, “over and over, the state has tried to silence and kill him.”

Obama’s Recent “Epiphanies” on U.S. Racism

President Obama’s recent discovery that “racism is part of the DNA of this country” was sparked by a need to reposition himself in the wake of the Charleston massacre and “the resistance that is growing among African people in this country,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition is gearing up for a national conference, in Philadelphia, August 22 and 23, with a focus on Black community control of police, a stance that Yeshitela believes “resonates with Black people” and can put the struggle firmly on the road to self-determination.

TPP is a Black Issue

“Any agreement that has a detrimental impact on workers anywhere, is a Black issue,” said Ajamu Baraka, veteran human rights activist and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “We are the victims of this global capitalist economy, and so we have solidarity and responsibilities to people in other parts of the world,” Baraka told Solomon Comissiong, of Your World News. President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership is “specifically a Black issue because one can’t understand the objective material conditions in places like Baltimore, Detroit, Gary, Indiana, and South Bend, Michigan, without connecting these conditions to the transformation of the U.S. economy” by deindustrialization – which will further intensify under TPP.

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Austerity Rendering Detroit Unfit for Habitation

A serious fire raged out control due to chronic low water pressure in Detroit, despite the majority Black city’s location in one of the world’s major fresh water regions. “The whole process of so-called rebuilding of Detroit has not been clearly thought out,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, veteran activist and editor of the Pan African News Wire. “How can you rebuild a city when you don’t have fundamental infrastructure, such as fire services, public safety, education, emergency services, simple things like being able to go to a supermarket?” The economic elite are “doing everything possible to drive out the African American population,” he said, but poor infrastructure discourages white resettlement. “What you have is the anarchy of capitalism.”

Big Business Tries to Roll Back Socialist Alternative in Seattle

Corporate contributions are pouring into Seattle Urban League chief Pamela Banks’ campaign to unseat Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative councilwoman who championed the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law. “It’s not so much about my opponent’s qualities,” said Sawant, “It’s because corporations, billionaires, the people who have an incentive to uphold the status quo, recognize that if we win re-election this year, then it really confirms to working people in Seattle and everywhere that we can prevail against the full might of big business and the political establishment.”

Mumia: “Flags and Rags”

The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is “one of terror and violence in support of a system of organized theft of Black labor, in the name of white supremacy and Black subjugation,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “Dylan ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Roof knew, instinctively, what the flag stood for.”

Justices OK Painful Death Drug

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term by allowing states to continue lethal injections with a cocktail that can cause horrific pain for condemned persons. “Prisoners remain less than human” in the High Court’s eyes, said Kenneth A. Hartman, a writer and prison activist serving life in California. “How else can a decision that allows for deliberate torture be explained?”

Fear of Blacks Triggered 1776 War of Independence

White settlers turned against the their mother country partly in fear that the British Crown would put guns in the hands of Blacks, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of more than 30 books, including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. In 1775, the British colonial governor of Virginia established an “Ethiopian Regiment” to counter rebellious white settlers. “One of the factors that caused formerly patriotic British subjects to revolt against British rule was this ‘Black scare’ that, I argue, led to the formation of the United States of America,” said Dr. Horne, in a lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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Shut Down the Prisons from the Inside

Prison inmates with the Free Alabama Movement have been placed in solitary confinement for advocating a national prison work strike. “Their argument is that all the attempts at prison reform and appealing to legislative bodies and courts to thwart the explosion of mass incarceration have failed, and that the only mechanism left is to shut down these prisons,” said formerNew York Times correspondent and veteran prisons activistChris Hedges, whose recent article is titled “America’s Slave Empire.” The prison gulag “can’t function without unpaid or poorly paid labor,” said Hedges. The imprisoned strike leaders urge outside supporters to boycott corporations that profit from prison labor, including the fast-food giant, McDonald’s.

Newark is the Destination, July 25

“We have a pandemic of police brutality all around the United States,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, drumming up support for a Millions March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality, July 25, in Newark, New Jersey. “We demand an end to the murder of unarmed people by the police, and to the use of excessive force by the police,” said Hamm, speaking in Plainfield, New Jersey. “First and foremost, we want community control and civilian oversight of all police forces in the United States. This is critical to any effort to reform the police.”

“Rise Up October” to End “Police Terror”

The co-founders of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network fired up an organizing meeting for the “Rise Up October” campaign against “police terror,” set for October 22-24. Veteran activistCarl Dix told the New York crowd: “We’ve got to do this because Black people continue to be targeted by racist killers, in and out of uniform, and this must stop.” The Charleston massacre was not simply the act of a “crazy, lone wolf. The rage that drove him was nurtured by the white supremacy that has coursed through the veins of America since the very first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains” said Dix.

Dr. Cornel West, the Union Theological Seminary-based public intellectual and activist and Network co-founder, said “young folk of all colors – but disproportionately chocolate – have been at the center of this movement for the last year or so. It’s been very much a new school leadership, and I like that.”

Twin Flags of White Supremacy

Dr. Jared Ball, a host for the Baltimore-based Real News Network, asked: Why the solitary focus on the Confederate flag, when Black people have been enslaved, Jim Crowed and mass murdered under the stars and stripes for the entire history of the United States? Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther political prisoner and current producer for the Network, replied: “That Confederate flag is flying over Chicago and wherever there is white supremacy. We need to recognize that as a distraction from who’s really getting the benefits” from the economic arrangement in the U.S. – the ruling class.

Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said: “We need to get to the nub of the question, which is the genocidal origins of the United States.”

Rwandan Suspect in Congo Genocide Arrested in Britain

Karenzi Karake, the intelligence chief for Rwanda, was arrested in Britain for overseeing mass murder of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three Spanish aid workers were among the victims, prompting an investigation and issuance of warrants by a Spanish judge. “It is a great embarrassment to the British authorities, because the British government is the number one donor to the Rwandan government,” said Claude Gatebuke, founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Congo genocide followed. “Even when Rwanda was invading the Congo and causing mayhem, to the tune of six million dead, the British government continued to support” the regime headed by Paul Kagame, Karenzi Karake’s boss.

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