The Black Panthers Had the Right Idea

Who will Protect and Defend Black Life?
by THANDISIZWE CHIMURENGA, Counterpunch
It’s kind of fitting that police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, murderers of Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, were cleared of criminal wrong-doing in the last several weeks. The eruption of protest, activism and organizing in response to the (bad) decisions of legal bodies to not hold these officers accountable for their crimes has occurred at a time of special significance for the legacy of the Black Panther Party (BPP).

October 15th saw the 48th anniversary of the birth of the BPP in Oakland, CA.  Originally named the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the BPP had a self-defense strategy against the brutal terror of the police. The strategy unashamedly and unapologetically maintained that Black people have human rights that are to be respected, including the right of armed self-defense, and BPP members had a right to intervene with those arms if necessary when law enforcement – those touted as the ones whose job was allegedly to protect and serve – violated those rights. In Los Angeles, the month of October also saw the deaths of Ronald and Roland Freeman, brothers who were co-founders and leading members of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party.  Ronald and Roland, who were born one year apart and died one week apart, were also survivors of the Dec. 8, 1969 shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT team on 41st Street and Central Avenue. The pre-dawn attack, the SWAT team’s first major engagement, lasted 5 hours and saw 13 members of the BPP stand trial for attempted murder of police officers. All 13 of the Panthers would eventually be acquitted of all charges in December, 1971 due to the illegal actions of the LAPD.

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Solidarity Statement from Hong Kong to Black Communities in the US

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Hong Kong…. Ferguson and New York City!

Solidarity Statement with Black Communities in Ferguson, Missouri and NYC

From Hong Kong to Ferguson and NYC, we send you our warmest solidarity!

No to injustice! No to white supremacy!

It was outrageous that the grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, who had shot unarmed 18-year old Mike Brown. We agree with you that: “The whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

It was even more outrageous, that after that, Eric Garner’s case also failed to be indicted!

How can anyone trust the justice system, when the police can shoot you dead while unarmed, before you even reach a court? And when a man is killed by a policeman using an illegal chokehold, recorded on video but the policeman is still not even indicted?

All the common sense evidence points to systematic bias, within the police, within the courts and within government. How can democracy exist when these state institutions of courts and law enforcement are ridden with injustice? It is clear to us that genuine democratic governance does not exist in American society.

In Ferguson, the jarring truth of racism and injustice explode with the case of Michael Brown, generating collective outrage against this system that produces these problems. We all know he is sadly, only one of many casualties of racist America.

We are aware that Black and poor communities in America face state violence, not only in the form of police shootings. It manifests in other aspects of your lives: unemployment, racist welfare laws, disproportionate policing, housing segregation, and health disparities.
We recognize that the police are not taking responsibility for your safety. Instead, not only do they squash dissent and free expression, they are sending in military ammunition into the streets of Ferguson. It seems that the US government and the police forces in your country are willing to use aspects of the military violence they have imposed on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, on to you.

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From Ferguson to New York to Palestine, Solidarity with the Resistance to Racist Oppression

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Dec 8, 2014

 

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them…Prisons are a profitable business. They are a way of legally perpetuating slavery. In every state more and more prisons are being built and even more are on the drawing board. Who are they for? They certainly aren’t planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government’s genocidal war against Black and Third World people.”

- Assata Shakur

“I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.”
- Malcolm X

“This trial cannot be separated from the process of the historical struggle in Palestine that continues today between the Zionist Movement and the Palestinian people, a struggle that centers on Palestinian land, history, civilization, culture and identity…As for your judicial apparatus, which is where this court comes from: it is one of the instruments of the occupation whose function is to give the cover of legal legitimacy to the crimes of the occupation, in addition to consecrating its systems and allowing the imposition of these systems on our people through force.”
- Ahmad Sa’adat

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the resistance led by the Black movement that has taken the streets of every major city and town in the United States in defense of Black lives and in resistance to state-sponsored police killing, targeting and profiling of Black people and of other oppressed communities. These protests, led by strong and militant Black youth and their comrades, have occupied highways, roads and bridges, disrupted “business as usual,” and are true sparks of Intifada against a racist system of exploitation and oppression.

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“I can’t breathe.” “Hands up, don’t shoot.” “Black Lives Matter.” The slogans, in their clarity, are an assertion of existence and resistance in the face of a racist system that has been built for centuries on the devaluing, dismissal and suppression of Black rights, existence and struggle.

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I Grew Up in Guantanamo: Now That You Have Heard My Story, You Cannot Turn Away

Fahd Ghazy has been illegally detained at Guantánamo since he was 17. He is now 30 years old. He has been cleared for release since 2007. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

 

 

by Fahd Ghazy, long-term uncharged prisoner at Guantanamo, December 9, 2014

To begin, please forgive me for not saying the right things or making the right points. There are different cultures between us and many different experiences.

It hurts me that I do not have the privilege to express myself. I want to have the honor to speak out in my own voice and reach you directly — you who are thinking people. I want to say thank you for caring. You are willing to view me as a human being and that is something so precious to me.

My exposure to the world came through Guantanamo. I was 17 when they sent me here. At that time, I had rarely seen a television or heard a radio. Every significant event in my life, from funerals, to my own wedding, to the birth of my beloved daughter, Hafsa, happened in the Diwan of my own home. Now I am almost 31.

That means I grew up in Guantanamo. I grew up in this system. I grew up in fear. I hope that helps you to understand me.

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The System That Failed Eric Garner and Michael Brown Cannot Be Reformed

 by Mychal Denzel Smith, The Nation blog, December 3, 2014

 

That a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing 43-year-old Eric Garner the same week that President Obama proposed spending $75 million in federal money to outfit 50,000 police officers across the country with body cameras would seem to be hack Hollywood writing with neatly applied plot points. Garner’s death was caught on video—video that the police were aware was being taken—and it still was not enough to indict anyone, least of all the man responsible for choking Garner to death, for any type of wrongdoing. It’s as if this decision was handed to us at this time in order to get us to say, “Now what?”

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Israel: The Jewish-Exclusivist State, Running Out of Borrowed Time

[Caught between its long-discredited mythological claim of “democracy” and its Jewish (Settler-Colonial and Palestinian-Expelling) State reality, the discrediting and de-legitimizing of Israel and the unraveling of its power relations is accelerating by the day.  Even Israel’s closest backers are finding that the defense of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes carries an exceptional political price, so large that it not only damages the credibility of Israel, but the credibility of its backers, with no chance of recovery.   —  Frontlines ed.]

Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia

Philip Weiss on December 6, 2014
omar-barghouti

OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Omar Barghouti’s appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday night felt like a landmark in the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. A large hall at the law school was crowded to overflowing and the mood was celebratory. Luminaries of the community were in attendance, among them Lila Abu-Lughod, Rula Jebreal, Rashid Khalidi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Dorothy Zellner, Lia Tarachansky. Barghouti’s speech was hugely optimistic. He said that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement was racking up victories far faster than the organizers had imagined when they began nine years ago, faster than the South African movement had progressed. And the BDS movement has the “closet” support of the Netanyahu administration, which was doing its utmost to demonstrate the fallacy of a Jewish democracy.

The suspense of waiting for the Israel supporters to say something was a bit of a fizzle, not the big drama it used to be at such events. Law professor Katherine Franke had urged the crowd not to be civil in discussing one of the most challenging moral questions of our time, and at the end, a man at the back said he had a short question.

“Do you believe that the Jewish people have a right to self determination?” And if so, “Where should it be?”

Barghouti said it was not up to him as a Palestinian to decide whether Jewish communities make up a nation, and where they should have a state. Though he pointed out that there was not consensus among Jews globally about whether they are a people; this is a recent debate, and in fact up till the 1945 the majority of  Jews did not support Jewish nationhood. Then he said sharply:

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