Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson reflects on the movement for the Movement for BlackLives after the Dallas shootings. Recorded at the Common Bound conference in Buffalo for The Laura Flanders Show and New Economy Coalition
“With under 5 percent of the world’s people, the US accounts for 25 percent of the planet’s prisoners. More than half its 2.2 million prisoners come from the one eighth of its population which is black. Today, an astounding 3 percent of all African Americans languish in prisons and jails, and nearly as many more are on probation, parole, bail, house arrest or court supervision… Right now, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation.”
Yesterday President Obama repeated some of these same figures, and they are pretty much the same. Total US prisoners are still 2.2 or 2.3 million, and a slight drop in the black incarceration rate makes us now a little less instead of a little more than half, but the overall picture is unchanged in a decade. The president then announced the release of forty-some nonviolent federal drug offenders out of a total of about 70,000, and stopped in at a federal prison Thursday. The same day, ex-president Bill Clinton offered a half-hearted “apology” for his 1990s crime bills, which he admitted “set the stage” for state and federal governments to nearly double the US prison population.
Why? Why did President Obama wait six and a half years into his presidency to say the basic damning numbers and free a token handful of drug war prisoners? And how come Bill Clinton, fifteen years out of office chose this week to publicly admit that black mass incarceration was maybe not the best public policy?
Sky Valley Chronicle, December 7, 2014
(MONROE, WA.) — Five days ago Op-Ed writer Eugene Robinson wrote a piece for the Washington Post called, “What America’s police departments don’t want you to know.”
In that piece he provided information that many Americans may never have been exposed to — data relating to police shootings of civilians across the country.
Robinson came to the conclusion the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of a white police officer was not an isolated incident.
It was part of what Robinson called, “A tragic and unacceptable pattern: Police officers in the United States shoot and kill civilians in shockingly high numbers.”
How many civilians are shot to death every year by police? Nobody really knows, says Robinson because “police departments don’t want us to know.” Continue reading
(CNN) — Once again, the streets are electric with anger after a white police officer evades charges for fatally shooting a black man. Sirens screech and wood batons push back marchers protesting from Missouri to New York to Los Angeles. This time the cadence of “No Justice, No Peace” has been replaced with “Hand’s Up. Don’t Shoot.”
But there was another sign raised above the crowd in a recent protest in New York: “Doing Nothing with Saying Nothing. Changes Nothing.” The mathematics of this one are clear. Something’s gotta give.
A loose network led by African Americans in the film and arts world has emerged from the fog of tear gas to call for a quiet riot in response: a boycott of Black Friday shopping.
Ryan Coogler, who directed the 2013 film about police brutality called “Fruitvale Station,” told us he was confounded by the eruptions of “human rights violations committed by public servants.” Continue reading
Monday, November 3, 2014
[We are not accustomed to quoting the Bible, but sometimes the biblical words have become part of common culture, as in this: “Matthew 7:15-20, ‘You Will Know Them by Their Fruits’ — ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.'” Which is appropriate warned, when perusing the shifting claims and tides of Obama-ists like Angela Davis, whose latest statement (read down to her Guardian article) reaches into more radical territory to restore credibility. Davis, who partially broke with the path of the revisionist CPUSA many years ago, and who has made contributions to the growing prison abolitionist movement, still has promoted electoral-democratic-reform illusions about the imperialist system against revolutionary strategies. (our highlights, for emphasis). — Frontlines ed.]
[We have received other reports that, while the numbers of protesters were much smaller than claimed in this AJA press release, the action clearly and prominently challenged the fascist Modi’s claim of universal embrace and acclaim. The views of AJA are offered here by Frontlines, to understand the growing and diverse opposition to the Imperialist’s Modi. — Frontlines ed.]
Massive protests send clear demands to Indian PM Modi: End suppression of minorities and desist from clamping down on civil society institutions
Alliance for Justice and Accountability — Press Release
New York, NY | September 28, 2104
Alliance for Justice and Accountability, a broad coalition of organizations and individuals, announced that the rally this morning in New York City during Prime Minister Modi’s event at Madison Square Garden, was a huge success. Hundreds of people, including human rights activists, professionals, students and people from all walks of life attended the rally. Protesters were a large and spirited group of Indian Americans comprising of people of all faiths and ideological persuasions, with one thing in common: they were demanding justice and accountability in the case of Mr. Modi, and an end to repression of minorities and crony capitalism in India.
“The protests have demonstrated the rejection of a leader who represents a hateful and divisive agenda, ” said Robindra Deb, a key AJA organizer of protest on September 28. “We represent the 70% of Indians that did not vote for Mr. Modi,” added Mr. Deb. Continue reading
[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.]
“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.
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.
November 4, 2013, McClatchy DC
WASHINGTON — The general counsel of the National Security Agency on Monday compared the agency’s telephone metadata collection program to the highly controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice used by law enforcement officers, saying the agency uses that same standard to choose which phone numbers to query in its database.
“It’s effectively the same standard as stop-and-frisk,” Rajesh De said in an attempt to explain the evidentiary use of “reasonable and articulable suspicion” to identify which phone numbers to target from the agency’s huge database of stored cellphone records. Continue reading
By Brandon Cottrell
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON, D.C., United States – As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in France today, Le Monde, an authoritative newspaper, published a report based on the secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It is expected that France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will discuss this issue with Kerry during his visit.
Adding already to the previous disclosures of the N.S.A’s worldwide surveillances in Germany, England. Brazil, and Mexico, today’s report stated that the N.S.A. recorded over 70 million digital communications in France over the span of one month. It is believed that businesses, officials, and terror suspects were specifically targeted.
France’s American Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, stated that, “These kinds of practices between partners are totally unacceptable and we must be assured that they are no longer being implemented.” Additionally Manuel Valls, France’s Interior Minister, called today’s report “shocking” and that it “will require explanation.” Continue reading
MANILA – The Philippines and the United States on Wednesday opened talks on increased American military presence, amid protests by leftist groups warning against foreign interference.
Filipino activists hold up placards as they stage a lie-in before a police line during a protest against a meeting between Philippine and US officials in Manila on Wednesday. The protesters were opposing the talks over an increase in US military troops in the country. (AFP photo)
Gil Scott-Heron — Jose Campos Torres, and a Visual Poem for Oscar Grant
Gil Scott Heron’s “Jose Campos Torres” (1978) and video by TripleTruth
Trayvon Martin (no justice, just us)
Inspired by Gil Scott Heron’s “Jose Campos Torres” Brooklyn born lyricist/poet/singer Glennjamin Bishop digs deep and touches real-life issues and emotions in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
Published on Apr 4, 2012
The Zimmerman Verdict is a Reflection of the Times. WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!
The People Must ORGANIZE!
Statement by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, July 13, 2013
Trayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because millions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.
Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people. As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.
We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves. Continue reading
“Obama has no sympathy, however, for political prisoners of any race in his own country.”
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
Protesters greet Obama, June 28, 2013.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
July 1, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – US President Barack Barack Obama’s weekend trip to South Africa may have the desired effect of slowing the geopolitical realignment of Pretoria to the Brazil-India-Russia-China-South Africa (BRICS) axis. That shift to BRICS has not, however, meant deviation from the hosts’ political philosophy, best understood as “talk left, walk right” since it mixes anti-imperialist rhetoric with pro-corporate policies.
Overshadowed by Nelson Mandela’s critically ill health, Obama’s implicit denial of a US imperial agenda could not disguise Washington’s economic paranoia. As expressed on June 25 by White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, “What we hear from our businesses is that they want to get in the game in Africa. There are other countries getting in the game in Africa – China, Brazil, Turkey. And if the US is not leading in Africa, we’re going to fall behind in a very important region of the world.”
Over a century earlier, another Rhodes – Cecil John – explained that very game: “We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labour that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.” Although there is no longer formal slave labour within formal colonies, this sentiment readily links the neoliberal agenda of both the BRICS and the US.
Perhaps embarrassed, Obama himself retracted Ben Rhodes’ confession of inter-imperial rivalry when asked by the White House press corps: “I want everybody playing in Africa. The more the merrier. A lot of people are pleased that China is involved in Africa.”
This must have raised cynical eyebrows, because he added, “China’s primary interest is being able to obtain access for natural resources in Africa to feed the manufacturers in export-driven policies of the Chinese economy.” Continue reading