[As the first days of the Trump regime take shape, the lurch from the ways things have been is shocking and angering many who have never considered the path now unfolding. Old plans and assumptions have been tossed into irrelevance. As the great revolutionary Karl Marx once noted about earlier crises, “All that is solid melts into air . . . . and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” Anxiety has spilled into the streets across the US and around the world, and millions discuss and debate the situation and what to do about it. A powerful analysis begins to dissect what is happening, and chart the contours of the pathways out of the hell that the majority of people face–for many, a continuation and intensification of ago-old nightmares, now joined by many millions more whose lives have been roughly and rudely interrupted, with no prospect of returning to an idealized past. Moving forward against this tide is the challenge that fills the air. We have received, and share, this article as a first step in joining the debate at hand. — Frontlines ed.]
Build and Fight: Beyond Trump and the Limitations of the United Front
by Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg
On Inauguration Day, we note the considerable range of the opposition to Trump, from traditional activists to very mainstream folks. In many respects the opposition mounted was unprecedented, on a day where patriotic and jingoistic hyperbole is typically concentrated and loudly broadcast more than at any other time, and when, traditionally, new Presidents make appeals to the heart and to democratic unity while all who know how false the claims are, bite their lips, party, and hope for the best. The opposition struggling to find expression is broad and deep. But, nearly all expressions of opposition are resorting to traditional methods of reformist oriented protest while millions of people throughout the United States and the world are discussing and debating how they are going to survive and resist the emerging Presidential regime of Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing populism and a resurgent “America first” white nationalism. Continue reading →
The Black Panther Party was founded 50 years ago in Oakland, on Oct. 15, 1966, and within two years it had chapters across the country. The New York Times is taking this opportunity to explore the Black Panthers’ legacy, through their iconic use of imagery and how they were covered in our own pages.
The Black Panther Party is often associated with armed resistance, but one of the most potent weapons in its outreach to African-Americans in cities across the country was its artwork. In posters, pamphlets and its popular newspaper, The Black Panther, the party’s imagery was guided by the vision of Emory Douglas, its minister of culture.
His art came from many sources. As a teenager in San Francisco during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Douglas found himself incarcerated at the Youth Training School in Ontario, Calif., where he got involved with its printing shop. He went on to study graphic design at San Francisco City College, where he developed a deep interest in the Black Arts Movement, the artistic arm of the Black Power Movement.
On August 1 the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of over sixty organizations, rolled out “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice,” an ambitious document described by the press as the first signs of what young black activists “really want.” [see https://policy.m4bl.org/ for the complete “Vision for Black Lives” document] It lays out six demands aimed at ending all forms of violence and injustice endured by black people; redirecting resources from prisons and the military to education, health, and safety; creating a just, democratically controlled economy; and securing black political power within a genuinely inclusive democracy. Backing the demands are forty separate proposals and thirty-four policy briefs, replete with data, context, and legislative recommendations.
But the document quickly came under attack for its statement on Palestine, which calls Israel an apartheid state and characterizes the ongoing war in Gaza and the West Bank as genocide. Dozens of publications and media outlets devoted extensive coverage to the controversy around this single aspect of the platform, including The Guardian, the Washington Post, The Times of Israel, Haaretz, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Of course, M4BL is not the first to argue that Israeli policies meet the UN definitions of apartheid. (The 1965 International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the 1975 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid define it as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”) Nor is M4BL the first group to use the term “genocide” to describe the plight of Palestinians under occupation and settlement. The renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, for example, wrote of the war on Gaza in 2014 as “incremental genocide.” That Israel’s actions in Gaza correspond with the UN definition of genocide to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” by causing “serious bodily or mental harm” to group members is a legitimate argument to make.
On my way to get a burrito before work, I was detained by the police.
I noticed the police car in the public lot behind Centre Street. As I was walking away from my car, the cruiser followed me. I walked down Centre Street and was about to cross over to the burrito place and the officer got out of the car.
“Hey my man,” he said.
He unsnapped the holster of his gun.
I took my hands out of my pockets.
“Yes?” I said.
“Where you coming from?”
How’d you get here?”
He was next to me now. Two other police cars pulled up. I was standing in from of the bank across the street from the burrito place. I was going to get lunch before I taught my 1:30 class. There were cops all around me.
“I feel anyone in my color in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I’m thinking, ‘do I have to call them and tell them, don’t go outside.’”
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Wimbledon champion Serena Williams said on Saturday she was concerned about the safety of her nephews in the United States after two black men were shot dead by police and five law enforcement officers were killed in an assault in Dallas.
The 34-year-old, whose elder half-sister Yetunde Price died in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 2003, was asked about the violence back home shortly after winning her seventh Wimbledon singles crown and 22nd grand slam singles title.
The shooting of two men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week led to a protest march in Dallas where a lone gunman opened fire killing five police and injuring seven.
“I feel anyone in my color in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I’m thinking, ‘do I have to call them and tell them, don’t go outside. If you get in your car, it might be the last time I see you?’” Williams told reporters.
Thousands of people took to the streets in U.S. cities on Friday to protest the fatal police shootings of two black men earlier this week. USA TODAY
The government of the Bahamas is urging its citizens to be careful when traveling to U.S cities where there have been incidents of police shooting blacks.
In a strongly worded advisory issued Friday, the Caribbean nation wants residents, nearly 91% of whom are black, to be aware of potentially volatile situations if they visit the U.S. during the former British colony’s three-day holiday weekend. The Bahamas are celebrating their Independence Day.
“In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police,” according to the advisory issued Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, “Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”
[Bruce Dixon provides an important (but beginning) critique of the new Stanley Nelson film, which portrays the Panther’s iconic nature as helpful survival programs and electioneering. The film shows the Panthers as beaten by police, but gives no lessons for contemporary self-defense or revolutionary systemic challenge. The film in this sense plays a similar role as SELMA: a superficial memorial. The strengths and weaknesses of the film are being discussed and debated. Reactionaries and white supremacists hate it, liberals love it, but revolutionary organizers today will not find it contributing much to the materials which could guide new efforts on the ground today. — Frontlines ed.]
Stanley Nelson’s documentary on the BPP is “history” by and for lazy American liberals. He turns the BPP into a pop culture icon a T-shirt. Nelson mentions guns hundreds of times, big naturals and swagger a few dozen times but not the word “socialism” once in 2 hours. The BPP described its Breakfast For Children and Free Medical Clinics every day as “socialism” in person and in our newspaper, to each other and to the neighborhoods we served.
“Vanguard of the Revolution” is Liberal History, Strips and Omits Socialism from History of the Black Panther Party
by Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A.Dixon, February 17, 2016
“Stanley Nelson is what Americans call a “liberal” and that’s what Vanguard of the Revolution is…. a liberal’s take on the BPP….”
I used to have a Che Guevara T-shirt. It was a pretty good shirt, but it told me nothing about the man or his life’s work. It had Che’s face on it, but by itself the face is just a pop culture icon, shorthand or short-brain for everything you want to know, or everything think you already know about it. That’s what Stanley Nelson’s film, Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution does to the Black Panther Party. He made the movement of my youth an icon. A T-shirt.
On the plus side, it’s a pretty good T-shirt. Vanguard of the Revolution contains some great interview footage from Erika Huggins, Elaine Brown, the freedom fighting Freeman brothers and Wayne Pharr, my old comrade Michael McCarty and several others. On the minus side, Nelson omits and obscures the domestic and global political context the BPP came out of and thrived in. According to Vanguard of the Revolution, the BPP arose out of black northern frustration after the passage of civil rights legislation. It caught on due to the irresistible appeal of its naturals, big guns, the murdermouthing rhetoric of Eldridge Cleaver, downright sexiness, and black is beautiful, all of which earned the BPP pop culture stardom. And pop culture stardom needs no further explanation. Cue the music, fists in the air, and power to the people…
A proclamation from Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declaring April as “Confederate Heritage Month,” is one that has appeared online in previous years, and similar to ones issued by previous administrations, a spokesman said.
Bryant’s proclamation appears on the website for the Mississippi division of the Sons of the Confederacy, but not on the governor’s official proclamation page, as reported by the Jackson Free Press Wednesday. The governor’s site allows users the ability to request proclamations.
300 black people killed by US police at highest rate in year of 1,134 deaths total
Final total of people killed by US police officers in 2015 shows rate of death for young black men was five times higher than white men of the same age
Jon Swaine, Oliver Laughland, Jamiles Lartey and Ciara McCarthy | The Guardian | Thursday 31 December 2015
Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.
The Guardian view on killings by US police: why we must keep counting The Counted has made up for the Obama administration’s failings, but the lack of oversight remains. So we will restart our count of people killed by police until the government does its job
Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age. Continue reading →
[The writer Mannish Sethi relates the court order to the arbitrary and malevolent character of law in India today. — Frontlines ed.]
Blind to justice
Why the December 23 order of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court — refusing Professor Saibaba bail and issuing a notice of contempt to Arundhati Roy — takes one’s breath away.
Social activists staged a protest in Nagpur Thursday, demanding Saibaba’s release on bail. (Source: Express Photo)
Law is no stranger to prejudice or moral anxieties. Judicial pronouncements can sometimes cast aside constitutional values and defer to societal biases masquerading as righteousness. The recurrence of “collective conscience” in terror cases, where the threat of terrorism looms so large that it can overshadow the lack of evidence, is only too well known. Even so, the December 23 order of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court takes one’s breath away. It rejected the regular bail plea moved by the lawyers of Delhi University professor, Saibaba, cancelled his interim bail which allowed him to receive treatment till December 31, and ordered him to surrender within 48 hours. Besides, the court issued a notice of criminal contempt to Arundhati Roy for her article, ‘Professor, POW’, published in Outlook magazine. The order will be remembered for its naked display of contempt for civil rights, partisanship and renunciation of judicial independence.
Wheelchair bound, Saibaba spent over a year in jail before the division bench of the Bombay High Court granted him interim bail on the plea of a social activist in June 2015. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar)
[Professor GN Saibaba has been ordered to return to prison in India, adding yet another political prisoner to the many hundreds of thousands of activists who have been imprisoned, often on the basis of British colonial-occupation laws. — Frontlines ed.]
Saibaba expressed disappointment over the HC order.
Social activists staged a protest in Nagpur Thursday, demanding Saibaba’s release on bail. (Source: Express Photos)
“I DON’T feel like a victim but certainly feel I am being used and it is unfair,” said Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, responding to a question if he was a victim of a tussle between two benches of the Bombay High Court.
Saibaba, who was arrested last year for alleged Naxal links and was out on bail, arrived here on Friday evening by flight from Delhi to present himself before the central prison authorities following a Nagpur HC bench’s order two days ago cancelling his bail and asking him to surrender within 48 hours.
“Right from the beginning, I have been subjected to constant witchhunting and false framing. Without any evidence to justify the prosecution, I am being returned to incarceration,” Saibaba said in a statement to journalists. Continue reading →
[The IMF and the World Bank are key instruments of the finance/montary/credit-debt management of the entire world. Enacted at the end of WWII to establish US leadership of the world imperialist system, both IMF and WB have come under endless criticism and challenges over the decades, but the emergence of new imperialist powers from post-socialist Russia and China has posed historically-contending blocs-in-formation as unprecedented dangers to the once-presumed “permanent” US hegemony. Both IMF and WB have become increasingly tattered and less effective instruments, as challenges have grown. Congressional reforms aimed at a more durable structure for the IMF are hailed by the media-of-empire NY Times in the following editorial, which writes, strategically, ‘If the fund and the World Bank are to remain relevant and be truly global organizations, they cannot be seen as European and American fiefs.’ — Frontlines ed.]
Congress Gets Out of the I.M.F.’s Way
By The New York TimesEDITORIAL BOARD, December. 22, 2015
The House went into holiday recess after passing a measure that included ratification of International Monetary Fund reforms.
After five years of Republican foot-dragging, members of Congress last week ratified an agreement that will increase the capital of the International Monetary Fund and give developing countries like China and India a greater say in the organization.
This should strengthen the fund at a time when its expertise is needed to help revive a slowing global economy. In 2010, the Obama administration negotiated an agreement with other countries to double the I.M.F.’s capital to about $755 billion, so it could lend more money to troubled countries like Greece and Spain. The changes also gave more voting power in the fund’s management to China, India, Brazil and Russia while slightly reducing the clout of European countries and the United States. Continue reading →
[The World Bank, an instrument of the US-led reorganization of the world imperialist system since World War II, has enabled the maintenance of neocolonial systems with successions of comprador and puppet regimes around the globe. The suffering brought under the “development” slogan in the mis-named “developing nations” has brought displacement to hundreds of millions who, in response to such oppression, have continually and repeatedly rebelled. Even the superficial credibility of present-day World Bank has been challenged, and so, the World Bank aims to put lipstick on the pig. — Frontlines ed.]
CounterView, Wednesday, December 23, 2015
World Bank decides action on “sweeping failures” in rehabilitating people affected by projects funded by it
Fishing community in Gujarat “affected” by World Bank power project
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a powerful group of cross-border journalists, has appreciated that, after years of delay, the World Bank has initiated “action to address sweeping failures in its oversight of development projects that force people from their land or harm their livelihoods.” Continue reading →