Elections and Black Power

On August 18 and 19, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparation holds its national conference in Newark, New Jersey, under the theme: Obama, the Elections, and the Struggle for Peace, a Better Life, and Black Power. “We’re going to take it away from simply a discussion around Obama and place it in a context of elections in a capitalist system: What are they about, who funds them, and their role” under capitalism, said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. “This is something that the movement at-large hasn’t done since the Civil Rights era, when there was an assumption that elections were the way to gain power for Black people.”

Prison for Poor People

In a practical sense, debtors prisons are a reality in America, say two Birmingham, Alabama, lawyers who have defended hundreds of people thrown in jail by private companies for non-payment of fines and fees. Companies contracted by localities to handle probation “services” pile on fees that often “exceed the amount that the person can afford to make payments,” said Atty. Lisa Borden. In many cases, people who are jailed are charged additional fees to pay for their incarceration. Atty. William Dawson, who brought suit against many Alabama cities and towns, said: “The fact that this has gone on for six or eight years throughout the South and other parts of America is outrageous.”

The Philadelphia Plan: Marginalize Blacks

Philadelphia pubic school authorities want to close at least 40 schools and convert 40 percent of remaining classrooms to charter operations. The plan was financed by large corporate interests. “There’s big business in moving us out of the way,” said Rev. Alyn Waller, pastor of the city’s Enon Tabernacle Church. “We need to recognize that there is a larger strategy, here, to disenfranchise and marginalize people in the African American community.

U.S. Persecutes Eritrea

The northeast African nation of Eritrea, which fought a 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia, “is on America’s hit list,” said Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report executive editor. The U.S. pressured the UN Security Council to renew sanctions against Eritrea, even though a monitoring group found no evidence that the country had assisted Shabab resistance fighters in Somalia over the past year. Especially in Africa, said Ford, Washington’s policy is “to create chaos and horrific human suffering in those regions it cannot directly control.”

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