Monday, July 22, 2013

A Shout Out from Cornel West

"That’s why Brother Snowden and Brother Manning are the John Browns of our day, and the Glenn Greenwalds and the Chris Hedges and Glen Fords and Bruce Dixons and Margaret Kimberleys and Nellie Baileys are the William Lloyd Garrisons of our day, when we talk about the national security state."

Cornel West was a guest on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. He said many important things about Barack Obama's statement on Trayvon Martin but I have admit I was most excited about getting a shout out from Cornel West himself.

But enough about me. Dr. West did not spare Obama or his supporters.

"Well, the first thing, I think we have to acknowledge that President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminal—George Zimmerman is a criminal—but President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there’s actually parallels here."

"Then he tells stories about racial profiling. They’re moving, sentimental stories, what Brother Kendall Thomas called racial moralism, very sentimental. But then, Ray Kelly, major candidate for Department of Homeland Security, he’s the poster child of racial profiling. You know, Brother Carl Dix and many of us went to jail under Ray Kelly. Why? Because he racially profiled millions of young black and brown brothers. So, on the one hand, you get these stories, sentimental—"

"But the rage is going to hit up against a stone wall. Why? Because Obama and Holder, will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so. Don’t hold your breath. And when they don’t, they’re going to have to somehow contain that rage. And in containing that rage, there’s going to be many people who say, "No, we see, this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people." We’ve got a black leadership that is deferential to Obama, that is subservient to Obama, and that’s what niggerizing is. You keep folks so scared. You keep folks so intimidated. You can give them money, access, but they’re still scared. And as long as you’re scared, you’re on the plantation."

"Black people, we settled for so little, so we get a little symbolic gesture, we get a little identification, and like on MSNBC, which is part of the Obama plantation, they start breakdancing again: "Oh, isn’t it so wonderful? He’s really one of us. We can now wave the flag again. We can now support our mindless Americanism," in the language of my dear brother Maulana Karenga, intellectual that he is. No. We ought to be over against injustice, no matter what, across the board, and be vigilant about it. I don’t care what color the president or the governor or the mayor is."

America Still Ruled by White Supremacy

There is so much to be said about the verdict which acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin but I believe in keeping things simple. It is all about white supremacy. Period. The end.

Here is a link to my interview with Stan Heller of Economic Uprising. It takes me about 15 minutes to discuss it all, but the title of this post tells you what I said.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Martin Rally Harlem, July 14, 2013

I was able to see one of the many demonstrations which took place yesterday after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. Honk for Trayvon!
"It's a White Man's World"

I'm proud to have Forrest Palmer as a Facebook friend. He is a phenomenal writer and a very conscious man. Today he kept it short and sweet but he is always on point. He had this to say today about punditry and the George Zimmerman verdict.

"I saw a lot of black media types on the idiot box after the verdict...and I know could never make it on television because when George Stephanopoulos or Piers Morgan or Anderson Cooper or any of those other fuckwads asked me about it, I would just say one thing: "It's a white man's world. Thank you."...
Zimmerman Walks

Alas, all the cute white men in the world couldn't get George Zimmerman convicted for murdering Trayvon Martin in cold blood. I was hopeful, but in truth I knew it all along. The white jurors had no intention of convicting Zimmmerman of murder. One of them is already shopping a book deal and admitted as much in a CNN interview. This is what I wrote last week in my Black Agenda Report column.

Freedom Rider: If George Zimmerman Goes Free
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The corporate media have given very little attention to these extrajudicial killings. We call them ‘extrajudicial’ because they happen without trial or any due process, against all international law and human rights conventions. Those few mainstream media outlets that mention the epidemic of killings are unwilling to acknowledge that the killings are systemic – meaning they are embedded in institutional racism and national oppression.” – Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement
Lynch law has never been repealed.”
Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. The 17-year-old was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida and left his home to buy junk food at a local store. This simple act made him the target of George Zimmerman, a 21st century vigilante of the old slavery era patroller school.
The Zimmermans of this country have a very long history. The much debated Second Amendment to the Constitution gave the 18th century vigilante the right to control the enslaved and Native American populations. The “well regulated militia” was nothing more than a means of making sure that the white population had every other group under control with the threat and use of violence. Slavery was a perfect means of doing that. When it ended, Jim Crow and lynch law ruled. As we previously pointed out in Black Agenda Report, lynch law has never been repealed. Trayvon Martin is just the most famous victim of recent times.
George Zimmerman is now on trial for Martin’s murder and expert legal observers agree that a guilty verdict on the charge of murder is far from assured. The case ought to be open and shut. Martin was minding his own business and breaking no laws as he returned to his father’s house. The unarmed Martin was attacked by Zimmerman and a physical altercation followed. Trayvon Martin had a right to defend himself from being assaulted and there was no reason for Zimmerman to have ever approached him. Zimmerman ought to be found guilty and pay the heaviest penalty possible under Florida law. Instead he stands a good chance of going free because the deceased and any other black person who speaks for him has been put on trial in the court and in the court of public opinion.
Trayvon Martin had a right to defend himself from being assaulted and there was no reason for Zimmerman to have ever approached him.”
The defense claims that the man without a gun threatened the life of the man who did have a gun. Rachel Jeantel, the friend who spoke to Martin before he was attacked was herself attacked in and out of the court room. It couldn’t be otherwise because her words should be enough to put Zimmerman behind bars for a long time.
If not for the courageous persistence of Trayvon’s parents Sabryna Fulton and Tracy Martin, Zimmerman would never have been charged. The local police didn’t arrest Zimmerman who they said acted properly under Florida’s “stand your ground” laws, an updated version of the 18th century militia. Stand your ground laws have been repeated in many venues across the country. At first glance they seem just silly, a solution in search of a problem. They are in fact quite serious, giving white people the right to shoot anyone for almost any reason. There are long standing and universally observed self-defense statutes which made stand your ground unnecessary. But if one group of people is to successfully maintain its power over others, no means of control can be over looked.
From the beginning, the victim was made out to be the criminal. Martin’s body was tested for drugs. Zimmerman was not. Martin’s grades in school, his facebook postings and his temporary suspension from school were and are still made an issue. Zimmerman’s history, education and deportment were never issues to law enforcement, or to the media for the simple reason that they don’t think he did anything wrong when he killed Trayvon Martin.
The deceased and any other black person who speaks for him has been put on trial.”
In 2012 the Macolm X Grass Roots Movement published a report which detailed the extra judicial killings of black people by the police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers like Zimmerman. In the first half of that year they reported that 120 black people were murdered in this manner, one death every 36 hours. That report was report was recently updated to show that modern day lynch law takes place every 28 hours.
If Zimmerman goes free how will black people respond? There will surely be public expressions of anger and anguish, but there is a larger question. As a group, how will we react to the denial of justice for Trayvon Martin and the hundreds of others whose names we don’t even know? It wouldn’t be enough to tell people not to be violent, or to march in silent protest.
There must be very public, very outspoken acknowledgement that our system demands that black people be victimized by those in authority on a regular basis. A volunteer security guard qualifies as an authority if he kills a black person. The songs, parades and kumbayahs should be kept to a minimum. Anyone who speaks about the case should be unafraid to tell the ugly truth about the many ways in which black people are targeted in this country.
The well paid pundits and black misleaders should be called out if they aren’t willing to speak openly about why Trayvon Martin was killed. If the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is correct, some 300 black people have died in the same manner since the day Trayvon was killed. Their names need to be known and there should be a frank discussion about why they died. Mealy mouthed platitudes urging us to “talk about race” and silly questions about why black and white people see things differently are an affront to intelligence and to justice.
Trayvon Martin is dead because lynch law still lives. If George Zimmerman is acquitted that simple fact ought to be spoken loudly and often. If it isn’t then the injustice is magnified for Trayvon Martin and the hundreds of other unknown victims.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Snowden Litmus Test

I was honored to once again be a guest on Doug Lain’s Diet Soap podcast. I spoke about my Black Agenda Report column on Edward Snowden.

This conversation is especially timely. Snowden has requested asylum from numerous nations but is still stuck at an airport in Moscow. The United States is threatening and bullying those countries and violating Snowden’s right to asylum. Not much of a right if the president decides you don’t really have it.

Thanks again Doug.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

America’s Gangsta Government

‘’This is a lie, a falsehood. It was generated by the U.S. government. It is an outrage. It is an abuse. It is a violation of the conventions and agreements of international air transportation.” Ruben Saavedra, Bolivian Foreign Minister

Let’s get this straight. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, travels to Moscow doing the kind of thing that presidents do. In this case he was attending a conference of gas exporting nations.

While in Russia, Morales said he would consider giving asylum to Edward Snowden. Because of this statement, his plane was denied permission to travel in French or Portuguese air space all because the U.S. suspected that Edward Snowden was on board. Morales was forced to land in Austria and his government was none too happy about that fact.

We should all be angry and very afraid. If the U.S. doesn’t respect the rights of a head of state, then Snowden’s goose is cooked.

This also proves that Obama flat out lied when he said he wouldn’t “scramble any jets” because of Snowden. There may not have been any jets scrambled, but a plane thought to be carrying him couldn’t go anywhere that America’s subservient allies wouldn’t allow.

Snowden has a right to request asylum and other nations have the right to give it to him. Presidents of Bolivia or Russia or Fredonia have the right to travel as they please.

At least they used to. But that was all before president nobel peace prize took office.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Edward Snowden

“One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression.
Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.”

Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013'