Shifting Tides, Shifty Obama-ists

[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.]

  • From Black Agenda Report, by Glen Ford — March 27, 2012 — “Angela Davis Lost Her Mind Over Obama” —  The “delusional effect” that swept Black America with the advent of the First Black President has warped and weakened the mental powers of some of our most revered icons – and it has been painful to behold. Earlier this month, Angela Davis diminished herself as a scholar and thinker in a gush of nonsense about the corporate executive in the White House. The occasion was a conference on Empowering Women of Color, in Berkeley, California. Davis shared the stage with Grace Lee Boggs, the 96-year-old activist from Detroit. The subject was social transformation, but Davis suddenly launched into how wonderful it felt to see people “dancing in the streets” when Barack Obama was elected. She called that campaign a “victory, not of an individual, but of…people who refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a person, a Black person, who identified with the Black radical tradition.”……There was a hush in the room, as if in mourning of the death of brain cells. Angela Davis was saying that Barack Obama is a man who identifies with the Black radical tradition. She said it casually, as if Black radicalism and Obama were not antithetical terms; as if everything he has written, said and done in national politics has not been a repudiation of the Black radical tradition; as if his rejection of his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was not a thorough disavowal of the Black radical tradition. In his famous 2008 campaign speech in Philadelphia, Obama blamed such radicals for compounding the nation’s problems.
  • From Democracy Now, January 21, 2013  —  Addressing the Peace Ball in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, the renowned author, educator and political activist Angela Davis urges those content with President Obama’s re-election to continue pushing him for social change. “This time around we cannot subordinate our aspirations and our hopes to presidential agendas,” Davis says. “Our passionate support for President Barack Obama … should also be expressed in our determination to raise issues that have been largely ignored or not appropriately addressed by the administration.”
  • And Angela today, adjusting her tone, more accurately and radical, to the shifting tides, as anger and defiance grow…………

“From Michael Brown to Assata Shakur, the racist state of America persists”

by Angela Davis, The GuardianSaturday, 1 November 2014 
 
Although racist state violence has been a consistent theme in the history of people of African descent in North America, it has become especially noteworthy during the administration of the first African-American president, whose very election was widely interpreted as heralding the advent of a new, postracial era.

‘We are all Trayvon Martin’ mural unveiled at Florida State Capitol

The Trayvon Martin mural by Huang

The Trayvon Martin mural by Huong

A mural showing a man shooting another man resembling Trayvon Martin in a hoodie was unveiled Friday at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, a local CBS affiliate reported Friday.

Miami artist Huong, from Vietnam, released the 100-foot mural she’s calling “We All Are Trayvon Martin.” The painting has those words written in several languages, as well as images of civil rights leaders like the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with blood flowing from his head.

The man pointing the gun looks similar to George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch leader who was acquitted in the shooting death of Martin, and he’s shooting a person wearing a hoodie, much like the one Martin was wearing the night of his death. According to the report, there is a mirror in the mural where the teenager’s face would be so visitors can see themselves in his image. Continue reading

Jose Campos Torres, and Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, and countless more of us

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

Florida: Jordan Davis murder sparks new protests of racist “Stand Your Ground” killing spree

Jordan Davis Shooting Death Reignites ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Repeal Push

12/05/2012

Two days after Jordan Davis’s parents buried the body of their 17-year-old son in the Georgia ground, a campaign to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and elsewhere appears to be gaining steam.

Davis was shot to death in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 23 after Michael Dunn, 45, said he felt threatened by the two black teenagers and one young black man sitting with Davis in an SUV. Dunn told police he argued with the group over the volume of their music, saw a shotgun emerge from one of the SUV’s windows then, fired his handgun eight or nine times before fleeing. Three of Dunn’s bullets struck and killed Davis, a lawyer for the boy’s family said Tuesday. Police said those in the SUV were unarmed. Continue reading

A National Plan of Action on Racial Justice — a Call to Build an Independent People’s Movement for Power

Friday, May 11, 2012

by Ajamu Baraka

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement recently called on the Obama administration to commit to the development of a national plan of action on racial justice, in light of the Trayvon Martin case. This is an important and necessary call, and an example of how to use human rights processes and discourse to demand accountability for human rights violations.

Demands for public services, the right to organize, the fight for a living wage, de-militarization of our communities, ending discriminatory hiring practices against transgender people, ending internal displacement because of mega-development projects, stopping paramilitary violence (George Zimmerman), halting FBI infiltration and disruption of lawful organizations—these are just a few of the demands that are being reconceptualized as human rights demands locally and are also being seen as fundamentally linked to global fights for working class power, self – determination and individual and collective dignity. This reformulation, emerging out of social practice and reflection from the bottom-up, is at the heart of what I have termed a “people-centered” approach to human rights struggle (see “From Civil Rights BACK to Human Rights: Reclaiming the African American Radical Human Rights Tradition,” www.ajamubaraka.com)

It is only through the process of building independent movements for power that the national and global structures of white supremacy will be defeated. This is true for the developing human rights movement in the U.S. and also for the broader social justice movement.  Independent power bases not linked to either of the major parties and the liberal establishment is a historical imperative. But what is also imperative is to recognize that the essential task now is to build structures that are grounded in and represent the interests of the people. A people-centered human rights approach recognizes that “advocacy” is not enough. It is important and should not be discounted, but appeals to the State are not enough when the State itself is responsible for massive human rights violations. What a people-centered human rights approach argues for is a process that builds independent power, so that the people will have the means to restructure society to realize the full range of interconnected human rights.  This is the position that most differentiates the people-centered approach from mainstream, liberal human rights practice. The liberal approach, with its privileging of legalism, elite change model, and anti-radical stance is unable to meet the critical needs of people suffering the catastrophic effects of the global capitalist crisis, growing repression and systematic racist assaults. Continue reading

“Million Hoodie and Hijab contingent” on May Day

ROOTS (formerly Occupy the Hood), People’s Community Medics, and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement invite you to

Join the Million Hoodie & Hijab contingent on May Day!

as part of the Dignity and Resistance march in Fruitvale & the International May Day mobilizations for workers & im/migrants

Tuesday, May 1

Meet at 3:00pm at Fruitvale BART plaza.
After the rally, we’ll join the march to San Antonio Park and on to Downtown Oakland.

Uniting our struggles against racist profiling and oppression
In honor of: Trayvon Martin (Sanford, FL), Sergio Huereca (El Paso), Shaima Alawadi (San Diego), Oscar Grant (Oakland), Ramarley Graham (Bronx), Rekia Boyd (Chicago), Danny Chen (U.S. Army), Kenneth Chamberlain (NY), Agnes Torres (Puebla) and all people attacked, detained, brutalized, and killed by racist violence.

We will wear our hoodies, our hijabs, our rebosos, in solidarity with each other for:

* An end to police brutality and vigilante murders *
* An end to splitting up and deporting our families *
* An end to the oppression of all immigrant communities *
* An end to all forms of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia *
* An end to evictions, foreclosures, and gentrification *
* An end to school closures and funneling our children into private prisons *

We call for Black, Brown, & Arab Unity against institutional racism
We want: Schools not jails. Homes not banks. People not profits. Immigrant rights. Civil Rights. HUMAN rights for all! Continue reading

New York: “Operation Clean Halls” and racial profiling at home

New York police sued over patrols inside apartment buildings

March 29, 2012|Jonathan Allen | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A civil liberties group said on Wednesday it was suing the New York City Police Department for patrolling inside apartment buildings, saying residents are routinely stopped while simply going to check their mail.

Nearly every day police “unlawfully” stop and question residents of apartment buildings enrolled in a program called Operation Clean Halls, according to the lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and a dozen tenants.

“If you live in one of the thousands of apartment buildings enrolled in Operation Clean Halls, you are a suspect for no other reason than where you live,” Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU’s executive director, said at a press conference.

“Taking out the garbage, checking the mail or, yes, even going out for a pack of Skittles, can result in you being detained, thrown against the wall for police questioning, and even arrested for trespassing if you so much as dare to leave your apartment without an ID, particularly if you’re a young black or Latino man,” she said. Continue reading

The I Am Trayvon Martin Project

[The Trayvon Martin murder has brought the issue of systematic abuse and racial profiling to a new level of recognition and response.  Now there are new efforts to gether evidence and publicize not only on this case, but of the ongoing horrors which Black, Brown, and all targeted communities and oppressed people face daily and hourly–an experience which refutes the false claims of “American democracy” and “post-racial society.”   One such effort among many was announced in the Huffington Post by Rob Smith–whom we do not know, but we applaud this initiative.  He describes himself in this way: “Rob Smith is a writer, lecturer, activist, and Iraq War Veteran. His work has appeared on Salon.com, CNN.com, and USA Today among others, and he is currently working on a memoir detailing his time spent in the Army as a young gay man. He makes his literary debut this summer in the anthology book ‘For Colored Boys.’ Smith currently resides in New York City.  He can be reached at robsmithvet@gmail.com.”  — Frontlines ed.]
03/28/2012
by (Iraq War Veteran, Writer, Lecturer, and Activist)

A month ago, a black teenager named Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida while walking back from running an errand for his brother. His killer was not tested for drug or alcohol. Trayvon was. His killer has not been arrested. In the past 30 days the case has received a great deal of media attention, but we’ve heard little about the fear, anger, and oppression that black men feel every day for being constantly profiled as criminals. Those voices aren’t being heard as much as they should be, which is where the “I Am Trayvon Martin Project” comes in.

We want to hear the stories of the young Black and Latino men from the mailroom to the boardroom who have been harassed, racially profiled, and have feared for their lives for no other reason than the color of their skin. We want to have an online space so that these voices can be heard, so that these stories can be shared, and so that the issues brought up by the death of Trayvon Martin are no longer kept to the shadows. Continue reading

Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush (former Black Panther) wore Hoodie for Trayvon Martin

[When a politician–a Congressman–calls for justice for a victim of racial profiling, he has stepped over the line of acceptable conduct for bourgeois politicians.  Bobby Rush, who is the only politician who defeated Barack Obama in an election, has moved a long way from his Black Panther roots–but felt the need to make a call for justice over the outrageous murder of Trayvon Martin.  Yet, he was removed from the floor of Congress for wearing a symbolic hoodie while making this call. — Frontlines ed.]

Illinois Rep. Removed From House Floor After Donning Hoodie for Trayvon Martin

March 28, 2012


Video of Congressman Bobby Rush wearing hoodie on House Floor 3/28/2012

Members of the New York City Council have worn them. Players on the Miami Heat were photographed wearing them. Numerous celebrities have donned them. And on Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was escorted from the House floor for wearing one while addressing members of Congress over the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who was gunned down last month.

We’re of course talking about hooded sweatshirts. A hoodie is the article of clothing that Geraldo Rivera claimed was as much responsible for Martin’s death—he was wearing one at the time he was shot—as George Zimmerman, the man holding the gun that claimed Martin’s young life.

Rush took to the House floor to call for a full investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin. Continue reading

Why those in power will not say that Trayvon Martin was a victim of murder and racial profiling

[After millions took to the streets in protest, President Obama, and Republican candidates Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum, all agreed: Trayvon Martin’s death was a “tragedy” which “needs investigation” — and no mention of race, racial, or racism will be made.

The language used (and avoided) reveals a lot.

  • If someone slips and falls, hits their head, and dies, that is clearly a “tragedy.”  But if someone is shot and killed in cold blood, that is something different than a tragic accident—it is “a horrifying crime.” 

  • If a mysterious event has occurred, then it deserves “a serious investigation.”  But if an obvious crime has occurred, and an innocent life has been taken, then “justice” –not just a call to “investigate”–is needed. 

  • If a victim of a vicious murder has been attacked (and his terrible fate foreshadowed) because of the color of his skin, and shares that racial condemnation with tens of millions, that is “racial profiling”—and “collective oppression”—and that race-based oppression, and the system of white supremacy, are the fundamental, underlying reasons for such crimes that occur with relentless frequency. 

  • Simply invoking the parental tragedy, as Obama did, evades the larger question–that while many are voicing the solidarity chant “we are all Trayvon Martin”, it is important to recognise that “some are more victims like Trayvon Martin than others.” 

  • In the face of these events, when politicians maintain the myth that a “post-racial America” has been achieved,  and that “racial profiling”, and systematic oppression do not exist, they ensure that such crimes will continue without restraint, and only “investigated” on a case-by-case basis, if and when thousands and millions take the streets in protest.

  • And the murder of Trayvon was not the only crime—the endorsement (by delay and inaction) of the crime by officials of the mis-named “justice” system in Florida and in Washington, was an even larger crime, expressing the ongoing system of oppression and the active systemic threat to the lives of yet another generation of Black youth. — Frontlines ed.]

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BET Commentary: Trayvon Martin, Barack Obama and the Silence of Powerful Black Men

Why did it take nearly a month for the most powerful Black man in the country to speak out about the tragic death of an innocent Black boy in Florida?

By Keith Boykin, as posted on BET.com, 03/23/2012

Last week I wrote about Trayvon Martin and the vilification of young Black men. But in the week since this story has blown up, I’ve noticed another story that has been underreported: the silence of powerful adult Black men and how racial expectations are often used to prevent us from speaking up.

Let’s start with President Obama. On Friday morning, the president finally weighed in on the Trayvon Martin shooting, delivering an eloquent statement as a father. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said. [ed. note:  he evoked this as parental identification with Trayvon, but carefully avoided using “race” or “racial.”] Continue reading

NBA: Miami Heat players make ‘hoodie’ protest over murder of Trayvon Martin

NBA: Heat make `hoodie` protest over Florida teenager death

LeBron James game shoe

LeBron James tweeted an image of the Miami Heat players wearing hoodies along with the message #WeAreTrayvonMartin #Hoodies #Stereotyped #WeWantJustice

Dwayne Wade

By TIM REYNOLDS, Huffington Post,  03/23/12

LeBron James tweeted an image of the Miami Heat players wearing hoodies along with the message #WeAreTrayvonMartin #Hoodies #Stereotyped #WeWantJustice

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat has posted a photo of himself wearing a hooded sweat shirt to his Twitter and Facebook pages, in response to the death of a black teenager shot by a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer.

Later Friday LeBron James also posted a photo on Twitter of Heat players in hoodies, all with heads bowed and their hands in the front pocket.

Wade says he posted his photo early Friday because “as a father, this hits home.”

Trayvon Martin, unarmed and wearing a hooded sweat shirt, was shot and killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood crime-watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who says he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested.