[This is another in series on electoral politics. In the US, every four years, presidential elections are theatrically staged, designed to confuse and disrupt popular movements against class exploitation and racial oppression, and other democratic movements. The elections claim to be the way democracy works, and people must vote for politicians to represent their interests. Whoever wins, the people’s interests have been lost in the shuffle, and their independence and political initiative and action has been suffocated or destroyed. As the 2016 election candidacies begin to control the political imaginations of millions, a fight-back begins to grow. In this report of a Black Lives Matter protest at a Bernie Sanders campaign event, a BLM leader says no politician deserves automatic support (but leaves open the option for later). — Frontlines ed.]
Monday, November 3, 2014
Young black males are at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police in the United States than their white counterparts, a new study has found.
Salon.com said on October 13 that Black youths were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings between 2010 and 2012.
The 1217 deadly police shootings over that time captured in the federal data show that Blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million. The study found just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Senator Rand Paul, Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley (also sponsor of his state’s Stand Your Ground law), along with a host of other Republicans, argued that had the teachers and administrators been armed, those twenty little kids whose lives Adam Lanza stole would be alive today. Of course, they were parroting the National Rifle Association’s talking points. The NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative lobbying group responsible for drafting and pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, insist that an armed citizenry is the only effective defense against imminent threats, assailants, and predators.
But when George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, teenage pedestrian returning home one rainy February evening from a neighborhood convenience store, the NRA went mute. Neither NRA officials nor the pro-gun wing of the Republican Party argued that had Trayvon Martin been armed, he would be alive today. The basic facts are indisputable: Martin was on his way home when Zimmerman began to follow him—first in his SUV, and then on foot. Zimmerman told the police he had been following this “suspicious-looking” young man. Martin knew he was being followed and told his friend, Rachel Jeantel, that the man might be some kind of sexual predator. At some point, Martin and Zimmerman confronted each other, a fight ensued, and in the struggle Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.
Zimmerman pursued Martin. This is a fact. Martin could have run, I suppose, but every black man knows that unless you’re on a field, a track, or a basketball court, running is suspicious and could get you a bullet in the back. The other option was to ask this stranger what he was doing, but confrontations can also be dangerous—especially without witnesses and without a weapon besides a cel phone and his fists. Florida law did not require Martin to retreat, though it is not clear if he had tried to retreat. He did know he was in imminent danger.
Where was the NRA on Trayvon Martin’s right to stand his ground? What happened to their principled position? Let’s be clear: the Trayvon Martin’s of the world never had that right because the “ground” was never considered theirs to stand on. Unless black people could magically produce some official documentation proving that they are not burglars, rapists, drug dealers, pimps or prostitutes, intruders, they are assumed to be “up to no good.” (In the antebellum period, such documentation was called “freedom papers.”) As Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president, succinctly explained their position, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Trayvon Martin was a bad guy or at least looked and acted like one. In our allegedly postracial moment, where simply talking about racism openly is considered an impolitic, if not racist, thing to do, we constantly learn and re-learn racial codes. The world knows black men are criminal, that they populate our jails and prisons, that they kill each other over trinkets, that even the celebrities among us are up to no good. Zimmerman’s racial profiling was therefore justified, and the defense consistently employed racial stereotypes and played on racial knowledge to turn the victim into the predator and the predator into the victim. In short, it was Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, who was put on trial. He was tried for the crimes he may have committed and the ones he would have committed had he lived past 17. He was tried for using lethal force against Zimmerman in the form of a sidewalk and his natural athleticism. Continue reading
[As the OccupyWall Street movement has spread nationwide, it has ignited widespread interest and involvement. And, inevitably, there have been efforts to restrict the focus to concerns of recent arrivals to the short end of the financial crisis–to unite in populist opposition to corporate greed. This is, in some places, coupled with an embrace of police restrictions–and blocking issues of police abuse or even “know your rights” training; or, an embrace of Democratic party candidates–and blocking attempts to maintain the independence of the movement; or, an insistence on non-violence pledges, though many activists utilize a full range of tactics, including self-defense and militant actions when needed; or, a restrictive “screening” of groups which are opposed to political repression. This has led to a discussion on the significant role played by the Black Liberation movement and other urban liberation activists–black, white, brown–in alliances and joint work developed over many years. Uprising Radio has a segment on this issue, as it found expression in the 60s and 70s. — Frontlines ed.]
“Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power”
October 6, 2011
After much internal criticism that the Occupy Wall Street protests were run by largely white activists, ignorant of the differences in economic oppression facing minorities, a new People of Color working group has been formed. According to a public statement put out by the group calling on people of color to join Occupy Wall Street, “[t]he economic crisis did not begin with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008. Indeed, people of color and poor people have been in a state of crisis since the founding of this country, and for indigenous communities, since before the founding of the nation.” The statement ends saying “The People of Color working group is not meant to divide, but to unite, all peoples.” Inter-racial activism has a long, rich history among American progressives. A new book by Amy Sonnie and James Tracy examines the history of activism in the 1960s and how radical organizations of different racial backgrounds came together to protest war and racial inequality. These included not just a handful of college-educated white activists, but groups of organized poor white working class youth, coming together with the Black Panthers and Young Lords. The book, “Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power,” is based on ten years of first person interviews with 60s era activists who redefined the concept of community organizing.
GUEST: James Tracy is a long-time anti-poverty activist based in Oakland, an Adult Education instructor, and poet.
James Tracy will be at Book Soup on Thursday October 6th at 7 pm, 8818 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood.
Article printed from uprisingradio.org: http://uprisingradio.org/home
By Kali Akuno
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions or BDS movement, launched in 2005 to uproot the zionist settler-colonial project and dismantle the Israeli apartheid state following the various setbacks to the Palestinian liberation movement stemming from the Oslo accords, is rapidly growing into a powerful international political force. As the movement continues to grow and expand it is bound to encounter more obstacles and roadblocks. One way to defeat these limitations is to study and learn how other peoples’ movements that have employed BDS strategies and tactics on an extensive level organized themselves to overcome or maneuver around the roadblocks on their path. One such movement is the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) in North America. The BLM has employed BDS strategies and tactics extensively for the greater part of the last 200 plus years in its unfinished question for liberation. What follows is a brief summary of the BLM’s experience and a short exploration of some of the lessons learned from this extensive experience. Continue reading
Black Agenda Report, Morning Shot Monday, May 23, 2011
22nd Annual Malcolm X Festival in Atlanta, GA organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Interview with Akinyele Umoja, MXGM Member and Chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University.
by Kali Akuno
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Manning Marable’s, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”, must be seen for what it is, an ideological polemic. The general focus of this polemic is Black Nationalism, and Black revolutionary nationalism in particular. Manning’s critical focus and fixation on Malcolm X as the quintessential point of reference for Black Nationalists since his cold blooded assassination in 1965, is a means to socially advance a line of reasoning against this broad political philosophy and social movement by turning its iconic figurehead on his head. The objective of this inversion is to prove, in 594 pages no less, that those who adhere to and seek to advance some variant of a Black nationalist program not only have it all wrong, but in fact are distorting what Malcolm himself stood for at the end of his days.
As Manning would have it, at the time of his assassination, Malcolm X had all but abandoned Black nationalism, and had instead become a pragmatic, liberal humanist, with social democratic political leanings. As several critics have already pointed out, this character bears a striking resemblance to Manning himself. Paraphrasing Patrick Moyniham, although Manning is unquestionably entitled to his own opinion, he is not entitled to his own facts. And the fact stands that the document that most clearly reflects Malcolm’s political philosophy and programmatic orientation at the time of his death was the Program of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. This program is without question a revolutionary nationalist program. The OAAU’s program is modeled on the anti-imperialist program of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) advanced by the Casablanca block of the Union in the early 1960’s. Continue reading