What Would Malcolm X Think?

An Opinion column in the New York Times, February 21, 2015

By ILYASAH SHABAZZ

Malcolm X — Credit: Associated Press

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — FIFTY years ago today my father, Malcolm X, was assassinated while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. I think about him every day, but even more in the last year, with the renewed spirit of civil rights activism after the tragic events in Ferguson, Mo., on Staten Island and in countless other parts of the country. What would he have to say about it?

People still look to Malcolm as a model for strident activism. They lament the lack of such a prominent, resonant voice in the modern dialogue about race. But they might not like some of the critical things he would have to say about the strategies of today’s activists.

Of course, my father would be heartened by the youth-led movement taking place across the nation, and abroad, in response to institutional brutality. And he would appreciate the protesters’ fervor and skillful use of social media to rapidly organize, galvanize and educate. In a sense, his ability to boil down hard truths into strong statements and catchy phrases presaged our era of hashtag activism. Continue reading

Malcolm X: “Make It Plain”

[Taken from us on February 21, 1965 — 50 years ago — the life and words of Malcolm X continue to echo through the streets and halls of America, among those who continue to suffer, and to struggle for revolutionary change.  In this video, many speak to this enduring voice.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Breaking News: “Maoists in Kerala write slogans against Obama visit”

[DNA, an Indian financial paper which diligently gives voice to police disinformation campaigns, now reports that sneaky Maoists have attacked a tourist resort and left grafitti against Barack Obama.  And they report, the police are busy tracking them down. — Frontlines ed.]

Maoists in Kerala write slogans against Obama visit

dnaindia, Sunday, 25 January 2015
Suspected Maoists attacked a state-run tourist resort in Wayanad in north Kerala on Sunday and escaped into forests after vandalising the premises and writing slogans against US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country.
The six-member group carrying fire arms and wearing masks barged into the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation’s resort located in the forests and damaged computer and glass panes at the reception in the wee hours, District Police Superintendent P Vimaladitya said. They also wrote slogans against Obama on the walls of the resort, he said.

As per the information provided by the security guard at the resort, the gang entered the building around 3 AM, shouted slogans condemning the policies of the Central and State governments, littered the premises with Maoists literature before vandalising the reception and fleeing into the forests. They had raised slogans condemning the government policy of promoting tourism “trampling” over the rights of tribals and marginalised sections over traditional means of livelyhood. The gang, however, did not harm two groups of tourists who were staying in the resort, Vimaladitya said.

The posters and Maoist literature thrown around the premises carried the name of CPI(Maoists) Western Ghats Regional Committee. Police have launched a search for the group who had ran into deep forests of the area located on Kerala-Karnataka borders.

This was the latest in a series of attacks carried out by suspected Maoists in different parts of Kerala since last year, especially on the slopes of the Western Ghats.

Earlier this month, a group attacked a private stone-crusher unit in Kannur district. These attacks came at a time when the Kerala government had stepped up security following intelligence reports that Moists had sneaked into forest-fringe tribal settlements in the hill areas of Kerala, close to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu borders.

Kerala police rounding up activists and those who “look like Maoists”

[The broad brush which criminalizes all victims and opposition, and which justifies political repression on ever-growing scale, is characteristic of all repressive undemocratic states, but is especially so in India today, which is a prison-house for oppressed nations, adivasis (tribals), dalits (in Hindutva society, the outcasts, permanently dehumanized and scorned), the women who have no rights against patrirchy, and all who choose to resist.  And within India, the state of Kerala today reveals the intensity of these attacks, when all who are not part of the club of privilege and power are labelled “Maoist” and toward them no repressive move is unused, and the police wield this label to prevent the slightest sympathy in media coverage. — Frontlines ed.]

When Everyone Became A Maoist in Kerala

By Ajmal Khan, India Resists

Kerala police is hunting for Maoist’s from the last one year, innocent Adivasis and Dalit boys, people working among the tribals, human rights activists, people who respond to the daily injustice and human right violations and even people who “look like Maoist”are being picked up every day. What does it mean to be a Maoist Kerala? To answer this, an analysis of the so called Maoist incidents and arrests that have happen has to be closely looked at. There are many questions that are unanswered in the fog that are spreading from the last one year in the name of Maoist. The recent Maoist story in Kerala starts after the lookout notice which was displayed in the limits of Mananthawadi Police station in Wayanad district in April 2014.

The notice carried the names and pictures of around 40 people, including few alleged Maoist guerrillas and number of social and human rights activist who are active in the mainstream political sphere in the state. The notice carried names and picture of Adv. PA Pouran, state general secretary of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties , N Subramanian, a social activist with more than three decades of public presence, Adv. Thushar Nirmal Saradhy, president of the Jankeeya Manushyvakasa Prasthanam , MN Ravunni, general convener of Porattam , CRPP member Nikhil, CHRD member KK Rajeesh, RDF President Sugathan, Secretary Ajayan, Joint Secretary Devarajan, C. Ajithan, a trade union activist in public life for more than two decades, activist Karthikeyan, Vilayodi Sivankuti, Jaison Cooper, and Adv. Manuel. All of them have public appearance and life in the Kerala society actively engaging and responding to the different socio-political injustice that were taking place.

Repeal UAPA

This look out notice was contested and condemned by the larger civil society with huge shock that was inflicted to the political activist. It was also a reminder to the activist by the state that, if you engaged in activities “against the state” this can be the result, this has to also be understood in the context where people are waking up and started voicing against the injustice that is historically imposed upon them and the new forms of injustice that are being manifested in the recent times. All of those whose names were appeared were also from outside the main stream political parties and in fact their enemies or threat to them in many ways.

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India: New Arrest in Kerala Spurs Broad Protests

[Continuing the ever-intensifying state repression of democratic and dissenting activists, the recent arrests in Kerala State of India have brought new waves of angry protest and demands for the release of political prisoners.  See the following statements from the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), followed by the statement from the Democratic Student Union (DSU).  —  Frontlines ed.]

Release Thusar and Jaison Cooper!

release1Statement by the Committee for the release of Political Prisoners

31 January 2015

Condemn the arrest of Thusar Nirmal Sarathy, Secretary Kerala Chapter, CRPP and Jaison Cooper, People’s Activist.

Release Thusar Nirmal Sarathy and Jaison Cooper Immediately, Unconditionally

Friday, the 30th January turned out to be a day when the Kerala state machinery and its lawless police brazenly demonstrated yet again that they can’t for once uphold the law of the land while dealing with political dissent of any nature. If post-1947 India have demonstrated that successive governments at the centre or the states used its police and the state machinery for targeting political rivals from different political combinations of the day, it is incriminating to note that all the governments that occupied power throughout the last 68 years have been unequivocal in maintaining the state of permanent emergency for tackling political dissent of the people!

On the 30 January 2015, the Kerala police and the special branch arrested Jaison Cooper in Ernakulam from his work place and Adv. Thushar Nirmal Sarathy from Calicut while he was addressing the press about a protest programme to be held there the following day against the increasing violations of the fundamental rights of the people in the state. At the same time, the police raided the residences of Thushar Sarathy, Advocate Manuel Joseph who is a people’s activist, Ms. Jolly Chirayath, convener of the Women’s Collective, and a artist activist. From the residence of Thushar Sarathy the police took away several case files without even bothering to record the list of the ‘seizures’ that they have done. Even the search was conducted without any warrant being shown to the custodians of the residences.

As increasing instances of impunity have become the hallmark of the police and investigating agencies in the Indian subcontinent with the Kerala police refusing to be different, one can only foresee a motivated police out to incriminate, frame those who are critically looking at the policies of the government. For the police, the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution of the largest democracy seemed to, for every practical purpose, remain in permanent suspension, all in the name of ‘national interest’, ‘national security’ and last but not the least that weapon of mass destruction—‘development’.

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In the Belly of the Beast, too — Capitalism Sucks

[Once again, reality is a stunning refutation of the claims of the irresistable American Dream, ever-progressing, of US superiority over all others, greatness, a “gold mountain” for migrants running from poverty and oppression elsewhere.   Since most of the statistics cited here come from official sources, which routinely give all such stats a cosmetic “uplifting sheen”, the situation on all fronts is actually many times worse, as the re-proletarianization of the falling middle class becomes the main stream.  — Frontlines ed.]

Sobering New Evidence: at Least Half of Americans are Broke

 

“Happy Monday! S&P 500 now up 10% for year” CNN Money
“Third-quarter U.S. economic growth strongest in 11 years” Reuters
“The U.S. economy is on a tear” —Wall Street Journal

Half of our nation, by all reasonable estimates of human need, is in poverty. The jubilant headlines above speak for people whose view is distorted by growing financial wealth. The argument for a barely surviving half of America has been made before, but important new data is available to strengthen the case.
1. No Money for Unexpected Bills  A recent Bankrate poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans didn’t have savings available to cover a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit.  A related Pew survey concluded that over half of U.S. households have less than one month’s income in readily available savings, and that ALL their savings — including retirement funds — amounted to only about four months of income.  And young adults? A negative savings rate, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Before the recession their savings rate was a reasonably healthy 5 percent.
2. 40 Percent Collapse in Household Wealth  Over half of Americans have good reason to feel poor. Between 2007 and 2013 median wealth dropped a shocking 40 percent, leaving the poorest half with negative wealth (because of debt), and a full 60% of households owning, in total, about as much as the nation’s 94 richest individuals.  People of color fare the worst, with half of black households owning less than $11,000 in total wealth, and Hispanic households less than $14,000. The median net worth for white households is about $142,000.

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Chris Hedges: Malcolm X Was Right About America

[Journalist Chris Hedges describes his personal views on the life and teachings of Malcolm X, whose life was stolen with his assassination 50 years ago. — Frontlines ed.]

Our refusal to face the truth about empire, our refusal to defy the multitudinous crimes and atrocities of empire, has brought about the nightmare Malcolm predicted.
By Chris Hedges  truthdig.com  February 1, 2015

Malcolm X about two weeks before he was murdered in 1965. AP/Victor Boynton

NEW YORK—Malcolm X, unlike Martin Luther King Jr., did not believe America had a conscience. For him there was no great tension between the lofty ideals of the nation—which he said were a sham—and the failure to deliver justice to blacks. He, perhaps better than King, understood the inner workings of empire. He had no hope that those who managed empire would ever get in touch with their better selves to build a country free of exploitation and injustice. He argued that from the arrival of the first slave ship to the appearance of our vast archipelago of prisons and our squalid, urban internal colonies where the poor are trapped and abused, the American empire was unrelentingly hostile to those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” This, Malcolm knew, would not change until the empire was destroyed.


“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. “Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

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