Israel/Palestine: Where “Peace Process” is Sham by Design

“Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream”
— Gilbert & Sullivan, HMS Pinafore

[The ongoing repressive Israeli settler-colonial project on the Palestinian people, facing growing exposure and international opposition, has increasingly brought Zionist ideologues (an echo of American "manifest destiny" expansionists) as well as "soft Zionist" real-politicians to resort to ever-more arrogant and hyperbolic deceptions to prevent their imperial allies from thinking they've outlived their usefulness.  At the same time, the collaboration of the corrupt Palestinian "leadership" with the "realities" of imperial power and Israeli settler-colonialism, has spun a very thin theatrical disguise of Palestinian identity and loyalty.  Both the Israeli colonist-settlers and the Palestinian quislings (struggling to extend their credibility in their mutually-symbiotic weakened states) depend upon blasting the mutually-reinforcing lies and deceptions of each other.  The details of this slimy and shadowy faux "opposition" are revealed in this recent article by author Jeff Blankfort.  --  Frontlines ed.]

Palestinian Collaboration Overshadows Latest Talks

“Imagine for a moment, what the reaction would have been in Northern Ireland if the IRA had taken to guarding the streets of Belfast and Derry for Her Majesty’s occupation forces.”

by Jeff Blankfort, Dissident Voice, May 7th, 2014

Shortly after the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993, the Jerusalem Post ran a cartoon that depicted a critical aspect of those accords which has rarely been discussed much less acknowledged. In the cartoon, a smiling Yasser Arafat was sitting upright on a stretcher giving a “V” sign. The stretcher bearers were Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Its message was clear: the Oslo agreement had come to the rescue of the PLO chairman whose reputation among his fellow Palestinians had sunk to the bottom of the barrel. The price they were to pay was dear: the legitimizing of Israel’s presence in 62% of the West Bank, what is commonly known as Area C and which Israel is quite likely to annex. Arafat’s representative at Oslo who negotiated the accords that effectively signed away West Bank land to Israel and ended the first intifada was Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas  --  Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Netanyahu, Obama, and Abbas — Partners in a Theatrical Crime

Now, let’s jump ahead 21 years to the present where the support of West Bank Palestinians for Abbas, Arafat’s successor, has been even lower than it was for the late PLO chair and with good reason: By any definition one chooses, Abbas is a traitor, a collaborator with the enemy. His Palestinian Authority “Preventive Security” police force closely coordinates its activities with Israel’s security forces with the goal of suppressing resistance to Israel’s ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing while leaving Palestinians without a semblance of protection against Israeli raids on West Bank towns and refugee camps. For all intents and purposes, that goal has been achieved.

Continue reading

Obama Visits Mandela’s Old Cell, But Won’t Free His Own Political Prisoners

Tue, 07/02/2013 -— Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

“Obama has no sympathy, however, for political prisoners of any race in his own country.”

 

Barack Obama making a highly-publicised visit to Nelson Mandela's 1980's prison cell on Robben Island

Barack Obama making a highly-publicised visit to Nelson Mandela’s 1980’s prison cell on Robben Island

President Barack Obama, a man of infinite cynicism, made a great show of going on pilgrimage to Nelson Mandela’s old prison cell on Robben Island, where the future first Black president of South Africa spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration. With his wife and daughters in tow, Obama said he was “humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield…. No shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit,” said the chief executive of the unchallenged superpower of mass incarceration, a nation whose population comprises only 5 percent of humanity, but is home to fully one-quarter of the Earth’s prison inmates.

 

True sociopaths, like the commander-in-chief who updates his Kill List every Tuesday, have no sense of shame, much less irony. Obama feigns awe at Mandela’s suffering and sacrifice in the prisons of apartheid South Africa, yet presides over a regime that, on any given day, holds 80,000 inmates in the excruciating torture of solitary confinement. During Nelson Mandela’s nearly three decades of imprisonment by the white regime, he spent a total of only about one week in solitary confinement. The rest of the time, despite often harsh treatment, backbreaking labor, and unhealthy conditions, Mandela and other political prisoners at Robben Island and other South African jails were typically housed together. Indeed, Mandela and his incarcerated comrades called the prisons their “university,” where they taught each other to become the future authorities over their jailers. Continue reading

As China’s investments grow, Obama gives advice to Africans

[Obama speaks from the long experience of the US' empire in Africa, when he urges African caution when new investors come around.  These are not altruistic words; they come from the proverbial fox seeking to "guard and protect" the hen house from other predators.  Obama asserts that African development can only occur under his "trusted" US' tutelage.  But the pathbreaking writer Walter Rodney, author of the 1973 book "How Europe Undeveloped Africa," detailed those relations and concluded, "African development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system.”--  Frontlines ed.]

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Ask questions on foreign investments, Obama tell Africans

Vanguardngr.com, PRETORIA, on June 29, 2013

US President Barack Obama urged Africans on Saturday to ask more questions about lop-sided deals with some foreign investors, while dismissing talk of a Chinese and US scramble for influence on the continent.

During a landmark visit to the continent of his father’s birth, Obama said he welcomed renewed interest from larger emerging markets.

“I actually welcome the attention that Africa is receiving from countries like China and Brazil and India and Turkey.”

But he urged African nations to make sure trade was not a one-way street.

“When we look at what other countries are doing in Africa, I think our only advice is make sure it’s a good deal for Africa.” Continue reading

South Africa: Protesters Denounce US Foreign Policy, as Obama visits

Obama meets Mandela family, police disperse protestersWhile the US media focused on Obama meeting the Mandela family, and claiming a link to the iconized figure of Nelson Mandela. police disperse protesters opposed to US drones and foreign policy

U.S. President Barack Obama met the family of South Africa’s ailing anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela but faced protests by South Africans against U.S. foreign policy.  Obama faced protests by South Africans against U.S. foreign policy, especially American drone strikes.

Police fired stun grenades on June 29 to disperse several hundred protesters who had gathered outside the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg, where Obama was due to address a town hall meeting with students.

JOHANNESBURG — Police fired rubber bullets and a stun grenade into a crowd of hundreds of protesters before President Obama arrived at the University of Johannesburg on Saturday.

The crowd quickly scattered as police officers walked up the street pushing protesters away with shot guns.

“I feel my rights are being infringed,” said 24-year-old Bilaal Qibr, who was at the protest. “We can’t protest anymore. Personally, I feel like this is an extension of the U.S.” Continue reading

Washington in Africa: Who will Obama ‘whack’ next?

[An important and detailed look at Washington's Obama-era African policy initiatives.  Lengthy, but well worth reading.  The conclusions drawn from the information provided are the author's, and do not necessarily imply Frontlines' perspective.  --  Frontlines ed.]

Graphic from The Economist

 

by Patrick Bond, Address to the Muslim Youth Movement 40th Anniversary Conference, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, September 30, 2012.  Article was posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author’s permission.

 

At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends. – Former US president Jimmy Carter, 25 June 2012, New York Times

US actions since 9/11 represent the final stage in the US’s century-long effort to complete the project of making US-led globalization a concrete reality across the world through three historical moments: 1) the attempted creation of a global Monroe doctrine between 1898 and 1919; 2) the Roosevelt administration’s creation of the Bretton Woods Institutions – the World Bank and IMF – and the UN; and 3) globalization – the US-led effort to establish a new global regime based on free trade, deregulation, and privatization. – Neil Smith, The Endgame of Globalization, 2005

The US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and former three-time ambassador, Johnnie Carson, was feted by Brooks Spector recently at Daily Maverick, in an article entitled “America’s Mr Africa”. While it is always fitting to honour African-Americans who persevere to the top despite that country’s deep internal racism, Spector makes contentious political and economic claims about the “new” US Africa policy. “For some observers at least”, he says, “Barack Obama’s new partnership with Africa was announced in his speech in Accra [July 11, 2009], when he declared the era of the authoritarian African big man to be over – kaput!”[1] As described below, however, Washington has maintained extremely cozy relationships with a variety of African dictators.

Spector then endorses Carson’s claims that “US interests in the continent fundamentally stem from its interest in strengthening trade to help African states grow their economies and meet development needs”, and that “the US wants to work with African nations to strengthen democratic institutions, good governance and efforts to stamp out corruption [and] to spur economic growth through market-driven, free trade principles”. Sorry, but we recall Washington’s deregulatory support for Wall Street’s market-driven binge, which in 2008-09 contributed to the worst global economic crash in 80 years, resulting in around a million South African job losses. We know that only the wealthy recovered so far, and that in the US, the top 1 per cent received 93 per cent of all new income since 2009, because the system wasn’t fixed. And who can forget White House hypocrisy when it comes to vast and often illegal US agro-corporate subsidies which continue to thwart African production? And is there any capital city whose political system is more corrupted by corporate (especially banking) campaign contributions than Washington, resulting in such extreme malgovernance that Obama cannot even make an effort to convict a single banker for world-historic economic misdeeds?

Spector’s most flawed assumption is that by increasing trade with (and vulnerability to) the world economy, “Africa” grows. Although a few elites have certainly grown rich from extraction, the opposite is more true, if we make a simple, rational adjustment to GDP: incorporating the wasting of Africa’s “natural capital” (a silly phrase but one used increasingly by powerbrokers eyeing the ‘Green Economy’). Measuring this loss is something that 10 African leaders agreed to start doing so in May, in the Gabarone Declaration initiated by Botswana president Ian Khama and the NGO Conservation International. The adjustment entails counting the outflow of natural capital (especially non-renewable mineral/petroleum resources) not only as a short-term credit to GDP (via “output of goods” measuring the resources extracted and sold), but also as a long-term debit to the natural capital stocks, as non-renewable resources no longer become available to future generations. Number-crunch the resource depletion, and net wealth declines in Africa as well as the Middle East. Continue reading

Liberal Anti-Drone-Policy activists ask legal accountability — but Obama and Congress could not care less

Rights Groups, in Letter to Obama, Question Legality and Secrecy of Drone Killings

[Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency -- A drone model burned Friday at a protest in Sana, Yemen. Most American drone attacks have been in Yemen and Pakistan.]
By , New York Times, April 12, 2013

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, the nation’s leading human rights organizations questioned the legal basis for targeted killing and called for an end to the secrecy surrounding the use of drones.

The “statement of shared concern” said the administration should “publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm.”

The nine-page letter, signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundations and several other groups, is the most significant critique to date by advocacy groups of what has become the centerpiece of the United States’ counterterrorism efforts.

While not directly calling the strikes illegal under international law, the letter lists what it calls troubling reports of the criteria used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command to select targets and assess results. The reported policies raise “serious questions about whether the U.S. is operating in accordance with international law,” the letter says. It is also signed by the Center for Civilians in Conflict and units of the New York University and Columbia Law Schools. Continue reading

The US War on Iraq: a Criminal Enterprise — But Where Will Justice be Found?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A decade after the US attempt to “shock and awe” humanity and usher in its new “American century” more than a million Iraqis are dead, and trillions of dollars have been squandered, while the high ranking architects and enablers of these monstrous crimes are still riding high…

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity: The story of U.S. Exceptionalism in Iraq

by Ajamu Baraka, in Black Agenda Report

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq, one of the most egregious expressions of naked power and imperial ambition since the Second World War. The attack defied both an outraged world opinion — expressed by global mass demonstrations — and the United Nations charter. It also marked a change from the previous veiled decorum of supposed adherence to international law that defined post-war international relations. The Bush administration, armed with the ultimate expression of the arrogance of U.S. exceptionalism – legislation passed by the U.S. Congress – unleashed a murderous assault on the people of Iraq dubbed “Operation Shock and Awe.”

Ten years later, the awesome consequences of that criminal assault are clear. More than a trillion dollars spent, almost five thousand American lives lost, more than 32,000 Americans wounded, estimates of a million dead Iraqis and almost five million displaced, an epidemic of Iraqi birth defects from “depleted” uranium, daily bombings, devastated public services and the dismemberment of the country. Yet, ten years later, no one, not one government official, has been held accountable. The obvious question is: how is it that, in light of one of the most heinous crimes ever committed by a State, there have been no investigations, prosecutions or convictions of the officials responsible for this assault?

The lack of accountability is even more incomprehensible in light of the fact that it is now widely acknowledged that the real reason for the Western invasion of Iraq had little to do with its concern about weapons of mass destruction and everything to do with its desire to steal Iraq’s oil. Continue reading

Ten Years Later: Remembering the “liberals” Who Led Us, with bi-partisan deceptions, Into War

The Liberal Hawks Who Lead Us into War 

Michael Ratner, AlterNet, March 19, 2013

The liberal establishment willfully played along with the preposterous claims that led to the Iraq War.
Ten years ago, between January and April 2003, it is estimated that an unprecedented 36 million people around the world took to the streets in protest against the Iraq War. They believed the war entirely unjust, the evidence of a threat, flimsy, and the costs, in terms of lives and otherwise, potentially astronomical. Worldwide protests, from Rome to Manhattan, brought together hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions to collectively voice opposition.In any just government, these astounding numbers would give pause to the war-wagers in power. In a truly democratic America, these sentiments should have been represented in Washington.  And surely this moment should have been the cue for our “liberal media” to echo the cautionary cries of our protesters to deafening levels. Instead, our reliably bellicose Republican congressmen were joined in support by an overwhelming majority of our so-called liberal representatives, and war went ahead as planned.Even more alarmingly, in the months preceding the start of the war, the pages of the  New York Times would greet us with more banging of the drums: a demand by Thomas Friedman that France be kicked out of the Security Council for its refusal to join up, or a startling piece of war propaganda by then soon-to-be Executive Editor Bill Keller, fantasizing about the impact of a one-kiloton nuke detonated in Manhattan – 20,000 incinerated, many more dying a “gruesome death from radiation sickness.” But make no mistake: although the  New York Times has a shameless history of supporting war after war, other prominent mainstream journalists and intellectuals were eager to ride the bandwagon.  These names include George Packer of the  New Yorker, Newsday’s Jeffery Goldberg,  The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart, Fareed Zakaria, Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Paul Berman to name a few.The late Tony Judt sized up this whole lot most aptly with the label “Bush’s Useful Idiots.”  The “useful idiots,” he said, were those from within the liberal establishment who, either through a misguided attempt to project strength, willfully played along with preposterous WMD claims, or simply allowed themselves to get carried away with the imperialistic fervor surrounding a new call to war, abdicating the responsibilities upon which liberal ideology is based. Instead, they aligned their positions with the neo-conservative architects of the Iraq War. Continue reading

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres

Exclusive: General David Petraeus and ‘dirty wars’ veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse

The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013

The Guardian investigation was spurred by the 2010 Wikileaks release.  Their initial video report, “The Torture Trail: What did General Petraeus’s special advisor, James Steele, know?”, showed how the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went.  That 7-minute  video, from 2010, is shown here:

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VIEW THE COMPLETE AND FINAL 2013 VIDEO REPORT (51 minutes): James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows. Continue reading

In The US, Mass Child Killings Are Tragedies. In Pakistan, Mere Bug Splats

, The Guardian, Monday 17 December 2012
 
A memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut. The children killed by US drones in north-west Pakistan 'have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and teddy bears'. [A memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut. The children killed by US drones in north-west Pakistan 'have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and teddy bears'. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty.]

“Mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts … These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” Every parent can connect with what President Barack Obama said about the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. There can scarcely be a person on earth with access to the media who is untouched by the grief of the people of that town.

It must follow that what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world’s concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them, no pictures on the front pages of the world’s newspapers, no interviews with grieving relatives, no minute analysis of what happened and why. Continue reading

Obama’s Presidency Through Palestinian Eyes

By Dr. Elias Akleh

13 November, 2012
Countercurrents.org

People worldwide were very interested and following the 2012 American election believing that their future would, somehow, be affected by the foreign policies of the new American President. Only the Palestinian people were totally apathetic to the election. They believe that the American stance toward the Palestinian cause, specifically, and towards the Middle East, generally, would not change no matter who becomes the American president; whether a democrat or a republican.

Many people, including large percentage of the American people, are under the illusion that the President really has the power to change things. It appears that a president may have the power to take his country to war, to create jobs, to improvise and improve medical care plans, or to change tax laws or any other law, in that matter. Such matters are determined by a power elite representing the very rich and very influential 1% of the population, who owns, controls and manipulates the economic, political, industrial, and social structures of the country. The President is just an employee, who is appointed in a theatrical game of fake democratic election, in order to carry the plans of this power elite.

A thorough analytical study of American policies and regulations shows that the long succession of the American Presidents, democrats as well as republicans, had abused and manipulated the majority of Americans to serve the interests of the rich 1% to acquire and control the natural richness of the US and other countries around the world. The American people have been in uninterrupted continuous state of wars of aggression against other countries since the establishment of the federation for the control of natural resources locally and around the world. The real war has always been a class war, where the rich abuse and manipulate the poor.

The Palestinian people understand very well that such self-acclaimed righteous American presidents, who call for justice, freedom and democracy to all, would not help them achieve these noble goals.Successive American administrations had always armed Israel , supported the Israeli occupation of Palestine , and covered the Israeli war crimes, terrorism and violations of international laws and humanitarian rights of Palestinians and other Arab citizens. President Obama had done that during his first four years, and he will continue to do the same during his next four years.

When Obama was first elected a president in 2008 with the slogans of “change” and “yes we can” addressing the Muslim and Arab world in his June 2009 speech in Cairo university, many Arabs and Palestinians had the illusion that Obama; coming from a black African and Muslim background, may be more sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause than any other American President. Unfortunately Obama turns out to be a more aggressive president towards the Muslim world and worst to the Palestinian cause.

His previous four years of presidency show that Obama cared about Israeli citizens more than he cared even about his own American citizens. During the last four years many Americans had lost their jobs, their businesses, and their homes. American jobs and businesses were exported to other countries, where labor is cheaper and environmental regulations are laxed. Some states and major cities had filed for bankruptcy. Public schools were devastated by budget cuts and overcrowded, and university tuitions were raised out of proportion. Budget cuts had devastated many Americans including military veterans, who served their country but don’t get social re-habilitation leading many of them to crimes of family violence and many are homeless. Necessary social services were severely decreased. Many Americans lack medical coverage and the suffering and misery of many others are numerous to mention. The American wars and failed economical policies had raised the national dept to staggering amount of $16 trillion.

There is a dire need for Americans to spend their tax money internally to solve their own problems. Yet, during the past three years the Obama administration, instead, had contributed American tax money to Israeli military budget more than the contribution of the Israelis themselves according to Israeli military commander Gabi Ashkinazi. Continue reading

US: After the elections, how will Obama’s liberals grease the “austerity” path?

[Glenn Greenwald, an analyst/journalist of progressive reform politics, reveals the likely path of Democratic/Obama/liberal cuts in major historic social programs such as Social Security and Medicare in the weeks ahead.  Many who supported Obama as the last, best defense against such cuts, will find, now, that the system, which has created the economic and fiscal crisis, has no means or will  to solve the problem it has made. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Obama and progressives: what will liberals do with their big election victory?

With fights over social security, Medicare, ongoing war, and other key progressive priorities looming, what will they do with their new power?

guardian.co.uk

Wednesday 7 November 2012
The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night’s election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant.

To begin with, it is hard to overstate just how crippled America’s right-wing is. Although it was masked by their aberrational win in 2010, the GOP has now been not merely defeated, but crushed, in three out of the last four elections: in 2006 (when they lost control of the House and Senate), 2008 (when Obama won easily and Democrats expanded their margins of control), and now 2012. The horrendous political legacy of George Bush and Dick Cheney continues to sink the GOP, and demographic realities – how toxic the American Right is to the very groups that are now becoming America’s majority – makes it difficult to envision how this will change any time soon.

Meanwhile, new laws to legalize both same-sex marriage and marijuana use were enacted in multiple states with little controversy, an unthinkable result even a few years ago, while Obama’s late-term embrace of same-sex marriage seems to have resulted only in political benefit with no political harm. Democrats were sent to the Senate by deeply red states such as Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, along with genuinely progressive candidates on domestic issues, including Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, who became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate. As a cherry on the liberal cake, two of the most loathed right-wing House members – Rep Joe Walsh of Illinois and Allen West of Florida – were removed from office.

So the delirium of liberals this morning is understandable: the night could scarcely have gone better for them. By all rights, they should expect to be a more powerful force in Washington. But what are they going to get from it? Will they wield more political power? Will their political values and agenda command more respect? Unless the disempowering pattern into which they have voluntarily locked themselves changes, the answer to those questions is almost certainly “no”.

Consider the very first controversial issue Obama is likely to manage, even before the glow of his victory dims, literally within the next couple of weeks. It is widely expected – including by liberals – that Obama intends (again) to pursue a so-called “Grand Bargain” with the GOP: a deficit- and debt-cutting agreement whereby the GOP agrees to some very modest tax increases on the rich in exchange for substantial cuts to entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare, the crown legislative jewels of American liberalism. Continue reading

Black Agenda Report on what happens when you believe the hype

Doing Us Proud: Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, 11/07/2012

When a Bush, a McCain, or a Romney condones corporate crimes against the rest of us, lies to us, tortures and imprisons at will and murders civilians at a whim, it’s a moral disaster. When a black Democrat does it, it’s nothing personal, just business. And we are soooo proud. What’s wrong with us?

Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

At our October 12 affair at Harlem’s Riverside Church, Black Agenda Report’s executive editor Glen Ford said that the most damning and lasting result of the Obama presidency might be that black America was losing its moral compass

Those of us, this author included, who reached adulthood in the brief eight or nine year heyday of the modern Freedom Movement got to see our elders shuck the shackles of what was proper and legal and take to the streets in defiance of evil in authority. We learned that going door to door, organizing our friends, our neighbors, our fellow workers on the job, calling meetings and demonstrations, and standing up to unjust authority, at whatever cost was the highest duty of citizenship and the only way things ever changed.

During the eight years Obama will have served in the White House, Ford observed, black youth can expect to see nothing like this. Where we learned to be skeptical of what our government, and often our elders told us, they are learning to believe, or pretend to believe whatever they’re told. Where we learned the highest goal of the struggle was improving the lives of ordinary people, they are learning that the highest goals are the big house, the prestigious career, the large lifestyle of those who serve the power and unlock the mysteries of the Market. Continue reading

US election: Who will wage — and win — the battle for full health care and reproductive rights?

[For all the talk of democracy that fills the air and sucks all the oxygen out of the air preventing honest discussion, the capitalist / imperialist system continues to maintain the system of bourgeois class rule with its essential pillars of patriarchy/misogyny/traditional familial property relations, white supremacy/black and brown oppression, xenophobia/exclusion/aggression, Christian club membership, and, bottom line, class exploitation and privilege.

At election times, competing candidates -- who have been fully vetted (by the bourgeois powers-that-be) as potential administrators of these systems of power and privilege, oppression and despair -- spew volumes of hype and fatuous solutions to the more contentious divides.  But none, ever, speak to the root cause of these systems in the structures of capitalist power, which have invented and/or maintained these pillars throughout its time in power, (and have re-worked and re-branded,  from time to time, these systems).

So, with the Democrats, there has been an embrace of the process of making full use of women workers, professionals, and technicians in service to imperialism.  Upholding women's reproductive rights including abortion is a critical part of women's inclusion, BUT it has been steadily restricted (and in many places, practically eliminated and non-existent) on the resource level for poor, working, migrant, imprisoned, unemployed, black, brown, and undocumented women, under every recent President including Obama.  There does not appear to be any effort by the Obama administration or the national Democratic Party to block and roll back these restrictive measures at the state level.  Activists and pro-choice Democratic politicians on the state level have been losing round after round without help from their national party. In this sense, Obama and the national Democratic Party are silent partners and complicit in the growing restrictions on abortion rights.  Obama Democrats have formally supported Roe v Wade but have still let the substantive rights go.  But because rich and professional/petty-bourgeois women have not suffered the loss of reproductive and abortion services -- and most people tend to look at these services through their access by privileged classes, (as that is how the mass media tends to frame the issue) -- they are praised, though the poor have increasingly lost access to these basic health services.

The other capitalist/imperialist presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, in line with the Republican party program, has cast the issue as a formal rejection of public-financed reproductive rights, and toward the formal elimination of Roe vs Wade.  Given the way power works, a Romney in the White House would likely appoint a fellow Christian misogynist to the Supreme Court, which could lead to elimination of Roe vs Wade.  For poor women, this would mean the expansion of forced pregnancies and childbirth, and rapid re-establishment of illegal abortion mills on a massive scale.  At the same time, for privileged women, abortion services would be concealed within readily available and re-named health services, and continued as a class privilege.

Some will vote against Romney this year with hopes that this will secure reproductive rights.  But since this election bears no prospect of eliminating the systems of privilege and power which continue to require restrictions on reproductive rights, no electoral solution  is at hand.  Capitalism vs socialism is not on the ballot.  In the period ahead, as grassroots forces organize and set an independent course from the degrading and confusing bourgeois electoral process, there must be an emphasis on building  and struggling for grassroots health services, including contraceptive and abortion services.  And the importance of developing programmatic unity on these issues -- as part of fighting to establish free and complete medical service for all -- is essential for the development of the revolutionary forces.

The following article from the New York Times (representing the bourgeois forces who advocate continued administration of the system by Obama) which argues the view that Romney's program would create more problems.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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How Romney Would Treat Women

By , New York Times, OP-ED COLUMNIST,  November 3, 2012
IN this year’s campaign furor over a supposed “war on women,” involving birth control and abortion, the assumption is that the audience worrying about these issues is just women.

Give us a little credit. We men aren’t mercenaries caring only for Y chromosomes. We have wives and daughters, mothers and sisters, and we have a pretty intimate stake in contraception as well.

This isn’t like a tampon commercial on television, leaving men awkwardly examining their fingernails. When it comes to women’s health, men as well as women need to pay attention. Just as civil rights wasn’t just a “black issue,” women’s rights and reproductive health shouldn’t be reduced to a “women’s issue.”

To me, actually, talk about a “war on women” in the United States seems a bit hyperbolic: in Congo or Darfur or Afghanistan, I’ve seen brutal wars on women, involving policies of rape or denial of girls’ education. But whatever we call it, something real is going on here at home that would mark a major setback for American women — and the men who love them.

On these issues, Mitt Romney is no moderate. On the contrary, he is considerably more extreme than President George W. Bush was. He insists, for example, on cutting off money for cancer screenings conducted by Planned Parenthood. Continue reading

Obama’s Destructive Foreign Policy and Black Disillusionment

Black Agenda Report, Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It is painfully distressing to witness members of my community so willfully complicit with lethal war policies simply because they are coming from a brown skinned man,” writes the author. “African-Americans’ honorable legacy of opposing Euro-America’s imperialist wars is quickly eroding.”

by Solomon Comissiong

We must undo the mental spell placed upon us by the Democratic Party and their Trojan horse – Barack Obama.”

The anti-imperialist war legacy of African (black) people in United States is a rather long one. Most American born Africans have historically opposed Euro-America’s bloody legacy of global military engagements aimed at everything from regime change to plunder to flat out planetary domination. Prominent African leaders like Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, not only opposed Euro-America’s voracious appetite for death and destruction, by way of war – these leaders were outspoken in telling the world exactly why they opposed these wars. For instance, it was in 1967 at Riverside Baptist Church [5] in New York City that Dr. Martin Luther King said:

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

 Dr. King, like countless other Africans, simply could not accept the US’s deadly imperialist war in Southeast Asia. It clearly weighed heavily upon his conscience. He was not fearful that his rightful opposition to the Vietnam War would greatly distance himself with President Lyndon Johnson – doing the right thing mattered much, much more. Dr. King was not alone; a critical mass of African people refused to support this war.Professional athletes, like Muhammad Ali, were also among the great number of Africans who took courageous stances, vociferously speaking out against the war in Southeast Asia. I say all this to, not only provide historical context, but also to contrast history to the present day.

Dr. King was not alone; a critical mass of African people refused to support this war.”

It distresses this African author to slowly come to the realization that African-American’s honorable legacy of opposing Euro-America’s imperialist wars is quickly eroding. This is by no means a rush observation on my part; my assessment dates back to 2008. It was in 2008 that a United States senator named Barack Obama was elected president. I was definitely within the minority of Africans who made the strong decision not to vote for either corporate candidate (Barack Obama & John McCain).  Senator Barack Obama made it clear that he intended to expand the war in Afghanistan if he was elected – and he more than made good on that promise. This is merely one of the reasons I had for not supporting Barack Obama as president. And if there was no better option for me, I would simply not have voted in that election. I don’t buy in to the lesser of two evils argument; if you do you are ultimately still voting for evil. Continue reading