Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

cast away illusions, prepare for struggle!

the memory of the migrant: what is home?

“Home” by Warsan Shire

Laith Majid cries tears of joy and relief that he and his children have made it to Europe. Photograph: Daniet Etter/New York Times/Redux /eyevine

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay. Continue reading

Assata Shakur: “I Am a 20th Century Escaped Slave”

Although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal

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My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.  Continue reading

For Black America the Dream is a Nightmare

Kali Akuno was the Coordinator of Special Projects and External Funding for the late mayor Chokwe Lumumba in Jackson, MS. He is the author of the organizing handbook Let Your Motto Be Resistance and wrote the preface to the report Operation Ghetto Storm. He is an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) (http://www.mxgm.org), former co-director of the US Human Rights Network, and served as executive director of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund based in New Orleans, LA. Kali currently resides in Jackson, MS.

Real News interview with Kali Akuno, transcript:

For Black America, the Dream is a Nightmare

JARED BALL, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome, everyone, back to the Real News Network. I’m Jared Ball here in Baltimore.We are joined again by Kali Akuno, veteran activist of many formations, but who joins us today to talk about a new film he’s working on, An American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation. As it is described, this is a documentary series exploring the roots of anti-black racism in the United States and asks the key questions: how can black communities defend themselves against deeply ingrained structures of racism? And how can they build collective resistance and unite with people of all races, nationalities, and ethnicities to root out racism, white supremacy, and dismantle the structures that make them necessary?Kali Akuno, welcome back to the Real News.

KALI AKUNO: Pleasure to be here.

BALL: So in the trailer for your documentary you start with this juxtaposition of sorts between Malcolm X and Barack Obama. And I’m wondering how this in fact sets up the rest of the film.

AKUNO:  That’s a good question. Just to give a little background, when we first started conceptualizing this project and started working on it, it was originally entitled The Myth of a Post-Racial America. And it was really focusing on trying to kind of teach a younger generation about how race is being constructed and what role it plays within the United States, within this empire. After Mike Brown, and the movement that has emerged to kind of confront different aspects of white supremacy, namely police terror and police violence being committed against black people and the extrajudicial killings being committed against black people, we started shifting up. Because that quickly exploded that myth, and even the state and the different forces of mainstream capitalist media had to expose the racism still very much alive and well in this society. So we said we needed to go a little bit deeper and get at the different, the underlying structures, that shape white supremacy and this society.And so what we’re really trying to do with this juxtaposition of Malcolm and Obama, there it’s really followup on that clip by [sister Melina] who’s saying that many people thought in 2008 that a particular historic kind of turnabout had occurred, and that black people had arrived at some kind of new pinnacle with Obama’s election. And what she’s really breaking down, I think quite excellently, is that even if Malcolm X had been elected, the U.S. presidency and the U.S. empire is what it is. And there’s not much agency that exists within that office except to kind of do the tactical and some of the strategic operations of managing the empire.And so what we really want to set up is that we have to look at the United States on a much deeper level to understand what this project is about, where it’s going, and where African people in particular fit into it. Continue reading

The Once-friendly Skies Now Rain a “Secret” War

VIEWED FROM HIGH ABOVE, Chabelley Airfield is little more than a gray smudge in a tan wasteland. Drop lower and its incongruous features start coming into focus. In the sun-bleached badlands of the tiny impoverished nation of Djibouti — where unemployment hovers at a staggering 60 percent and the per capita gross domestic product is about $3,100 — sits a hive of high-priced, high-tech American hardware.

Satellite imagery tells part of the story. A few years ago, this isolated spot resembled little more than an orphaned strip of tarmac sitting in the middle of this desolate desert. Look closely today, however, and you’ll notice what seems to be a collection of tan clamshell hangars, satellite dishes, and distinctive, thin, gunmetal gray forms — robot planes with wide wingspans.

Unbeknownst to most Americans and without any apparent public announcement, the U.S. has recently taken steps to transform this tiny, out-of-the-way outpost into an “enduring” base, a key hub for its secret war, run by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), in Africa and the Middle East. The military is tight-lipped about Chabelley, failing to mention its existence in its public list of overseas bases and refusing even to acknowledge questions about it — let alone offer answers. Official documents, satellite imagery, and expert opinion indicate, however, that Chabelley is now essential to secret drone operations throughout the region.

Tim Brown, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org and expert on analyzing satellite imagery, notes that Chabelley Airfield allows U.S. drones to cover Yemen, southwest Saudi Arabia, a large swath of Somalia, and parts of Ethiopia and southern Egypt. Continue reading

Making Do in the Belly of the Beast

Thinking Outside the Box by Moving Into One

On a street in Oakland, Calif., a tiny home sits on wheels. The artist Gregory Kloehn, using recycled materials picked up from the streets, made several such homes and gave them to the homeless in the industrial neighborhood near the Port of Oakland.

OCT. 13, 2015 – nytimes.com

OAKLAND, Calif. — This summer, the median rent for a one-bedroom in San Francisco’s cityscape of peaked Victorians soared higher than Manhattan’s, sent skyward by a housing shortage fueled in part by the arrival of droves of newcomers here to mine tech gold.

And so, as the story of such cities goes, the priced-out move outward — in New York City, to Brooklyn and, increasingly, to Queens. For San Franciscans, the rent refuge is here in Oakland, where the rates are increasing as well — so much so that young professionals are living in repurposed shipping containers while the homeless are lugging around coffinlike sleeping boxes on wheels. Continue reading

Semi-“Left” Debate: Defy the Electoral Disorientation, or Buy Into It?

[Throughout the history of settler colonialism and its offspring, capitalism-imperialism, the most effective tool for disorientating, fracturing, disarming, and destroying the popular opposition to the state-administered systems of class exploitation and white privilege has been the routine electoral baits and traps, every two years (local) and four years (national).  Once again the stage is set for electoral “novocaine” (as Malcolm X called it) to help people suffer “peacefully.”  Frontlines will stay on this issue as long as the suffering people are being asked to suffer “peacefully.”  We reprint the following article from 2014, published by Black Agenda Report (www.blackagendareport.com/), which is a crucial ongoing voice of opposition to deceptive electoralism.  —  Frontlines ed.]

—————–

Making the Case for an Election Boycott: Why the Left Should Refrain from US Imperialism’s Electoral Charade

Black Agenda Report 06/17/2014

Image result for what kind of choice is this? lesser evil.  boycott. burn the ballot

The left should not participate in, “and thus provide consent for, the rule of imperialism every four years.” Say “No” to the charade. “Barack Obama’s two-term presidency has been a lesson for the entire left that voting for a Wall Street politician within the imperialist state can only bring more misery and political confusion, not less.”

by Danny Haiphong

The two-party US political system more clearly than ever works exclusively in the interests of the imperialist ruling class.”

There are many dangerous trends emerging from progressive and revolutionary forces in the US. One of the most concerning is a growing focus on electoral campaigns as a tactic to achieve grassroots objectives.  The electoral victories of Kshama Sawant, Chokwe Lumumba (Rest in Power), and Ras Baracka are a clear indication of popular discontent with austerity, gentrification, and privatization in US cities under capitalist siege.  However, whatever encouragement these victories provide cannot resolve the contradictions of US capitalism. The primary purpose of US capitalism’s state machinery is to manage the affairs of the ruling class. This poses the important question of whether electing representatives into political office is a worthy tactic for the left or whether it should be abandoned all together.  Continue reading

Rihanna and Mick Jagger party as gold-rush mood grips Havana

[Big predators with deep pockets and smiling faces are crowding in……. — Frontlines ed.]

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press , October 18, 2015

Tourists sit in the popular O'Reilly 304 Bar in Old  Havana, Cuba, Oct. 13.  Cubans with money and foreign backers are furiously rehabbing old homes into micro-hotels complete with high-end restaurants and conference rooms for business meetings.

Tourists sit in the popular O’Reilly 304 Bar in Old Havana, Cuba, Oct. 13. Cubans with money and foreign backers are furiously rehabbing old homes into micro-hotels complete with high-end restaurants and conference rooms for business meetings. The Associated Press

HAVANA — By midnight, the basement of one of Havana’s hottest clubs is packed wall-to-wall for a private concert by one of Cuba’s biggest pop stars.

Squeezed among the usual crowd of sleek young Cubans and paunchy, prowling European tourists, the owner of one of New York’s hippest restaurants discusses his new Havana boutique hotel project. At the bar, a Swiss venture capitalist describes meeting with Communist Party officials about partnering on a marina complex. An Ohio woman who runs a bespoke guide service for wealthy Americans shows her clients iPhone photos of the private villa where they will have a waterfront paella dinner the next day.

The foreigners visiting Havana used to be Canadians and Europeans on cheap beach package tours and left-leaning Americans on dutiful rounds of organic farms and neighborhood health clinics. Ten months after the U.S. and Cuba declared the end of a half-century of official hostility, the mood in Havana has changed.

Continue reading

New Advances of Brazil’s Poor Peasant League

[The following is an unauthorized draft translation from A Nova Democracy. — Frontlines ed.]
8th Congress of the LCP North and South of Minas Bahia
Year XIV, No. 159, 2nd half of October 2015

 ‘Take all the lands of large estates!’

MÁRIO LÚCIO DE PAULA | RAFAEL GOMES PENELAS – A Nova Democracia

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Ahead of the demonstration, went activist-combatant youth, workers and peasants – Photo: Victor Prat

The city of Januária in the North of Minas Gerais, received in the last 10 and 11 October, the 8th Congress of the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) North of Mines and southern Bahia.

THE BRAVE PEASANT PEOPLE

Since March it has not rained for most of the North of Minas Gerais and southern Bahia. The creations lose weight and the earth is only in clod. The reserves dwindle and many fields were lost. Through drought months of drought, this brave black people and peasant, like dry land, resists. Just one drop of water to get up and thrive.

Thus, the peasants – this backcountry people, the cerrado, the executioner and the savanna, the people who are mixing the quilombo remnants and indigenous peoples, who never lowered his head and resists the land facing the large estates and their gangs of gunmen, facing the persecution of the old state and its repressive forces, facing the antipovo government policies and opportunism – rose once again with their red flags and, under the scorching sun from 11 am, took to the streets of Januária, announcing with a large, vibrant demonstration on the morning of October 10th: we are completing the activities of the 8th Congress of the League of Poor Peasants of Northern Mines and Southern Bahia! Conquer Earth! Destroy the Latifúndio! Long live the Agrarian Revolution! Long live the workers and peasants Alliance! Continue reading

Revolutionary Black Nationalism for the Twenty-first Century — An Interview With Kali Akuno

 

[A recent (earlier this year) analysis and the related programmatic plans, in an interview of Kali Akuno by editors of New Politics magazine.  It is an analysis well worth studying.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Riad Azar and Saulo Colón, New Politics, Summer 2015

Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno served as the coordinator of special projects and external funding for Jackson Mississippi’s late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He is co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson as well as an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He was interviewed by email by Riad Azar and Saulo Colón, both members of the New Politics editorial board.

New Politics: Kali, part of your work and that of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) has been strategically and organizationally focused on the South. Can you explain the thinking behind this and also how it connects to your understanding of the specificity of the South (especially due to its changing demographics because of the recent migrations of Latino workers) in terms of capitalist power and racism?

Kali Akuno: First and foremost, it is critical to understand that the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is a revolutionary nationalist organization that is part of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. Revolutionary nationalism is a left-wing variant of nationalism, practiced by colonized and oppressed peoples, that seeks to liberate them from the yoke of their colonizers and oppressors and replace the capitalist-imperialist social order imposed upon them with a socialist social system. The New Afrikan Independence Movement is a multi- tendency movement struggling to liberate the southeastern portion of the so-called mainland territories now colonized by the United States government. The New Afrikan Independence Movement recognizes that territories it is claiming for its national territory rightfully belong to the indigenous nations of Turtle Is- land, and makes no claims that supersede their just claims. However, our aim is to unite with indigenous peoples and with other oppressed peoples throughout the United States empire and break the back of white supremacy and the settler-colonial project through a unified anti- colonial, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist struggle. So, it is critical to understand MXGM, and its parent organization, the New Afrikan People’s Organization, and their commitment to the South in this context.

It is also critical to understand the economic and political role of the South within the colonial-imperial framework of the United States government. Since the defeat of the Confederacy, the South has largely operated as an internal colony from which cheap natural resources and labor could be readily drawn. This strategic site of super-exploitation provided critical capital accumulation and other developmental competitive advantages to the U.S. settler-colonial project in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that played a critical role in the ascendency of U.S. imperialism on a global scale later in the twentieth century. And given the structural acknowledgement of colonialism and slavery within the U.S. political framework—specifically the creation of the electoral college, the unrepresentative Senate, and the limited number of congressional districts— the South has always played a disproportionate role in determining the overall politics of the empire. The South typically plays a decisive role in deciding the presidency and the makeup of the Congress, bending both toward right-wing settler-colonialism. This historic reality is what gives rise to the phrase, “as the South goes, so goes the nation.” Continue reading

The Corporate Controllers of US “Democracy”

They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.

Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, according to a New York Times investigation. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago. Continue reading

Intifada or not, something powerful is going on

Palestinians are coming together, regardless of age, gender and political affiliation, in a show of solidarity

Palestinian protesters take position during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Bet El [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Nigel Wilson | Aal Jazeera | 17 Oct 2015As the student cafeteria at Birzeit University empties after the lunchtime rush, Ehab Iwidat leans back on his chair and sips from a bottle of mineral water. The wiry, 20-year-old business and French student is suffering from a cold, but that has not stopped him from attending some of the recent demonstrations in the West Bank.

“It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve seen this,” he says. “I’ve seen young people, old people, females, males, protesting in the streets together. You can see rich people alongside poor people too.”

Like many in the so-called Oslo generation of Palestinians, who have little or no memory of previous Intifadas in Palestine, Iwidat only knows life under occupation as a second-class citizen. Continue reading

Bihar, Jamui (India) — Maoists Launch Election Boycott

[Revolutionaries in India call for electoral boycott, expose the lack of content or substance in the government’s claims of “democratic reform.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

Days ahead of Bihar polls, Maoist posters surface in Jamui, police on alert

JAMUI: Days ahead of the first phase of election in Bihar, posters have surfaced in Jamui issuing a warning from the Maoists to boycott polls.

Days ahead of Bihar polls, Maoist posters surface in Jamui, police on alert

The posters that have surfaced in Jamui.

Majdoor, kisan, chhatra aur naujawan jaan gayee netaon ki chaal… humsab milkar karengay vote ka bahiskar (labourers, farmer, students and youth have understood the viewpoint of politicians and hence will boycott the poll),” read one of the posters which was found pasted on the wall of welcome-archway and Charka Patthar in Sono Block of Jamui district on Friday.

“Operation green-hunt ke naam par nirdosh janata kay saath maar-peet, hatya, jail aadi daman chalanay walay neta ka aaj vote bahiskar karen (let us stay away from the poll of the politicians who have subjected innocent people through coercion like assault, killing and jail in the name of operation green-hunt),” said another poster.

The posters, painted in bold red color and written in Hindi, were in the names of Communist Party of India (Maoist). Such posters had earlier surfaced in Boutha, Musharatand and other villages under Maheshwari panchayat in the district in the past fortnight. Continue reading

US: Most Police Killings are Not Counted or Reported

Eric Garner and Tamir Rice among those missing from FBI record of police killings

Only 224 of 18,000 law enforcement agencies reported fatal shootings in 2014

Previously unpublished FBI data sheds new light on flawed voluntary system
New York Michael Brown Eric Garner

Emerald Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, right, cries while standing next to Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s wife, center, and Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, in April. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland in New York, The Guardian

Thursday 15 October 2015

Killings by police that unleashed a new protest movement around the US in 2014, including those of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and John Crawford, are missing from the federal government’s official record of homicides by officers because most departments refuse to submit data.
Analysis The tracking of police violence in the US may have reached a turning point
The past week has seen a series of comments regarding the state of documenting US police killings – and some clarity on how the government plans to do so

Only 224 of 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the US reported a fatal shooting by their officers to the FBI last year, according to previously unpublished data obtained by the Guardian, which sheds new light on flaws in official systems for counting the use of deadly force by police. Continue reading

Question: When is shooting a 12-year-old child reasonable?

Answer: When the child is Black and the shooter is a police officer.

Welcome to America, where #BlackLivesMatter is a trending hashtag, but police impunity is a lethal reality of Black life.

There’s an old saying that the definition of a consultant is “someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is.” That is true when it comes to police experts as well.  Cops and prosecutors come from the same culture. So it surprises no one that the experts hired by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty to investigate the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice are reading the time from the watch supplied by law enforcement and have come to the same conclusions as the county police and (let’s be honest) McGinty himself: that the shooting was “reasonable.”

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Tamir Rice, 12-year old, killed by police November 23, 2014

Continue reading