Pan African solidarity with the Cuban people

Source:  Pambazuka News

A Statement by the North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress on the passing of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruiz

PanAfrican Wire

The Pan African Congress – North America

His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

November 30, 2016

 

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The North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress would like to express its solidarity with the Cuban people at the moment when Comrade Fidel Castro joined the ancestors. For over 60 years Comrade Castro gave leadership to first a rebellion and then a revolution after which he was appointed as Prime Minister and later as President and Commander-in-Chief of Cuba, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Secretary General of the Non Aligned Movement. His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

Leadership 

Noted for many of the internal social policies which addressed the quality of life for Cuban people such as increasing the literacy rate to 98% and decreasing the infant mortality rate to 1.1%, Comrade Castro and the Communist party of Cuba gave leadership to the peoples of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Castro was an undying opponent of all forms of colonialism and provided moral and political support to the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

Unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles

Among the African descendants, Fidel will be remembered for his unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles.  Soon after the decisive victory of the revolution, in the early 1960s Comrade Castro and the revolutionary leadership introduced a call for a “Marshall Plan” type program for Latin America. To counter this, the John F. Kennedy administration launched the Alliance for Progress to stifle the progressive initiatives of Cuba to support the oppressed of the American hemisphere.

Fidel y malcolm 5.jpgIt was among African Americans in the USA where the solidarity was manifest in numerous ways. Castro encouraged African Americans to visit Cuba, as a non-discriminatory country, and provided refuge for Pan African revolutionaries such as Robert Williams. Up to today, Assata Shakur is being protected in Cuba by the Cuban state. His visit to Harlem in 1960, talks with Malcolm X and other African-American leaders reaffirmed the growing ties between the two communities.

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A decade later he was one of the first to support President Salvador Allende against the right-wing elements of the Chilean military. In many ways it was the solidarity of the African progressive forces that cautioned the USA against an open invasion after the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961. After that it was reported that there were over 600 attempts at the life of Comrade Castro by the US intelligence services.

Deep and abiding ties to Africa

Comrade Castro had deep and abiding ties to Africa, beginning with his connections to the African descendent community in Cuba. After visits in the 1970s to Guinea and Algeria, he led Cuba to become a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and encouraged revolutionary movements everywhere, including Vietnam and Palestine. Comrade Castro actively supported the liberation forces of Africa and sent military advisers to assist Angolan President Agostinho Neto in 1975. Cuba then strengthened its support of the revolutionary forces in Mozambique and Southern Africa. In 1977 Comrade Castro was able to tour Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola and in each country was warmly greeted as a true friend of African liberation.

fidel-y-neto-2During the period of the Reagan and Thatcher counter-revolution, the CIA and apartheid intensified their efforts to crush the freedom fighters in South Africa and Namibia. When the United States and South Africa increased their support for the forces of UNITA in Angola and the MNR in Mozambique, the Cuban government dispatched over 25,000 troops to Angola which led to a major victory at Cuito Cuanavale. Fidel Castro personally worked with the commanders on the ground, and his military clarity during the battles at Cuito Cuanavale led to the decisive victory. This was the battle that changed the history of Africa and ended white minority rule in Namibia and South Africa. Afterwards Castro rightly stated that, “The history of Africa will be divided into before and after Cuito Cuanavale.”

Support for Reparations

Comrade Castro supported the Global Reparations campaign and his support for the position of the Caribbean position at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001 shifted the position of most of the progressive forces in Latin America to support the reparative claims of African descendants in the Americas. Pan Africanists remember Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries for their strong support for the health programs in Africa at a moment when the IMF and the World Bank called on governments to cut health expenditures. It was this tradition which was manifest in 2014 when Cuba dispatched thousands of doctors to West Africa to assist Africans in containing the Ebola virus.

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The North American delegation of the Global Pan African movement salutes the bravery and focus of Comrade Fidel as we pledge to continue the fight against capitalism and racism.

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Hasta la Victoria Siempre!  Patria o Muerte!  Venceremos!

Black Lives Matter Mourns Fidel by Adopting His Vision

The U.S. movement rejected right-wing rhetoric against the Cuban leader as they listed the lessons they learned from his struggle.

Fidel y malcolm 5.jpgBlack Lives Matter, the U.S. anti-police brutality group, mourned the death of former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as it issued a statement reflecting on his life and how the movement could learn from his life and struggle against imperialism.

RELATED:  Black America and the Passing of Fidel Castro

“We are feeling many things as we awaken to a world without Fidel Castro. There is an overwhelming sense of loss, complicated by fear and anxiety,” the group said Sunday as the world reacts to the death of the larger-than-life leader.

The group further pushed back against the anti-Fidel rhetoric in the West and the mainstream media coming “to the defense of El Comandante.”

The group stressed that in their own struggle for freedom and justice, they will be using “the lessons that we take from Fidel” to realize their own goals.

“From Fidel, we know that revolution is sparked by an idea, by radical imaginings, which sometimes take root first among just a few dozen people coming together in the mountains. It can be a tattered group of meager resources, like in Sierra Maestro in 1956 or St. Elmo Village in 2013.”

The birth of Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of a viral hashtag of the same name following a jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

It has since evolved into a movement against police killings of Black people particularly following the high-profile cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, winning support among progressive and leftist voices in the U.S. and abroad.

The group highlighted that Fidel succeeded in his revolution because he managed to win “the hearts and minds of the people,” while continually adopting and reshaping the struggle to fit with what the grassroots wanted.

“No single revolutionary ever wins or even begins the revolution. The revolution begins only when the whole is fully bought in and committed to it. And it is never over.”

OPINION:  Black Lives Matter: The Real War On Terror

Revolution transcends borders

Another lesson the group is learning from the Cuban leader is how his revolution did not stop at the borders of Cuba. “Revolution transcends borders; the freedom of oppressed people and people of color is all bound up together wherever we are,” Black Lives Matter said in their statement.

“In Cuba, South Africa, Palestine, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, Grenada, Venezuela, Haiti, African America, and North Dakota. We must not only root for each other but invest in each other’s struggles, lending our voices, bodies, and resources to liberation efforts which may seem distant from the immediacy of our daily existence.”

Integrity

The group concluded with being thankful for Fidel for his support for Black movements and figures in the U.S. at a time when many in the world abandoned them. “A final lesson is that to be a revolutionary, you must strive to live in integrity,” the group said.

“As a Black network committed to transformation, we are particularly grateful to Fidel for holding Mama Assata Shakur, who continues to inspire us.”

The group went on to highlight the revolutionary’s support for struggles of people of color through the decades and his unwavering commitment to his ideals since the early stages of his Marxist revolution in the 1950s.

“As Fidel ascends to the realm of the ancestors, we summon his guidance, strength, and power as we recommit ourselves to the struggle for universal freedom. Fidel Vive!”

Black America and the passing of Fidel Castro

Source:  billfletcherjr.com

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

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It is impossible to discuss Fidel Castro outside of an examination of the Cuban Revolution. And, while I hear that there are many Cuban Americans dancing with glee upon news of the death of President Castro, I know that the emotions within Black America are and will continue to be quite different.

Haiti and Cuba

For any Black American who knows anything about the history of the Western Hemisphere, both Cuba and Haiti have a special significance.  Haiti, of course, for successfully ousting the French in 1803 and forming the second republic in the Americas; a Black republic.  Cuba, in 1959, kicked out the USA, the Mafia, and a corrupt ruling class that had enforced racist oppression against most of the Cuban population.  In the cases of Haiti and Cuba, their audacity in the face of a racist imperialism brought forth the wrath of their opponents.  How dare the Cubans stand up to the USA?  How could a country of all of these ‘brown’ and ‘black’ people insist that they should determine their own destinies?

A special significance

Thus, Fidel Castro immediately had a special significance for countless Black Americans.  When I was quite young I remember my father telling me how his brother-in-law, a professor at Johnson C. Smith University, had sat watching the television as pictures were shown of Cuban exiles entering the USA after the 1959 Revolution.  His comment to my father was that all that he saw were white-looking Cubans stepping off the planes or boats.  No brown and black Cubans.  This told him something about the nature of the Cuban Revolution and its leader, Fidel Castro.

Fidel in Harlem

fidel-y-malcolm-4Castro further endeared himself to much of Black America when he visited the USA and took up residence in the Hotel Theresa in New York’s Harlem.  It was there that he met another icon, Malcolm X.  It was situating himself in the Black community that shook much of the US establishment and told Black America that something very unusual was unfolding 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

In the weeks, months and years to come there will be exhaustive examinations of the work and life of Fidel Castro and his impact not only on Cuba but the world.  If you have not read Castro’s “spoken autobiography”, Fidel Castro:  My Life [http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Fidel-Castro-My-Life/Ignacio-Ramonet/9781416562337] I strong recommend it.  I will not try to offer anything approaching an analysis of the man and his times.  What I can say, however, is that there are certainly criticisms to be offered, and differences of opinion of the dynamics of the Cuban Revolution.  That is all fair game.  At the same time, it has been a rare moment when a leader, particularly of a small country, has been willing to thumb his or her nose at the capitalist juggernaut and seek a different path.  Added to this has been, particularly in a Western Hemispheric context, the challenge of taking on racist oppression and approaching it as the cancer that it is, a disease to be removed.

Meeting Fidel

The one and only time that I met Fidel Castro was in January 1999 when I was on a TransAfrica delegation led by the organization’s first president, Randall Robinson.  At the last minute, the night before we were to leave Cuba, we were informed that we would have an opportunity to meet with President Castro.

It was close to midnight when we were informed that we needed to board the bus and head to his office.  When we arrived we walked into a waiting room in anticipation of the meeting.  Suddenly a door opened and out came an old man in an olive green uniform.  Yes, it was Castro.  I think, quite irrationally, I was expecting the young Castro of the 1960s.  But here was someone about the same age as my father.  He circulated around the room and was introduced to our delegation.  We then retired to another room to begin our meeting.

The power of racism

It is hard to describe what happened next, and probably equally hard for anyone to believe it.  We sat in the room with Castro until about 3:30am.  He never lost a beat.  He never seemed tired.  In fact, as the minutes and hours went forward, he seemed to gain energy!  Castro spoke with us about the Cuban Revolution, race, and many other issues.  Yes, he spoke a lot, but we were transfixed.  And, when we asked him questions, he would consider the matter and always offer a thoughtful response, rather than retreating into rhetoric.  It was particularly illuminating when he informed us that the Cuban Revolution had underestimated the power of racism.  As he said at the time, when the 26th of July Movement (the revolutionary organization that led the anti-Batista struggle) took power they thought that it was enough to render racist discrimination illegal and that should settle the matter.  The entrenched power of racism, even in a society that was attempting to root it out, was more substantial than they had anticipated.

Hearing this from Castro represented a special moment.  There has frequently been a defensiveness among Cuban officials about matters of race in Cuba, despite the tremendous advances that they have made, advances probably of greater significance than any other country in the Western Hemisphere.  Yet, manifestations of racism remain and, to our surprise, Castro was prepared to address them.

Facing health challenges

Fidel Castro’s demise comes as no surprise.  He had been facing health challenges for some time.  Nevertheless, given the number of attempts on his life and the other challenges that he had faced, there has been a bit of magical thinking for many people, believing that he would, somehow, always be there.

For many of us in Black America, Castro represented the audacity that we have desired and sought in the face of imperial and racial arrogance.  While it is unfortunate that some of us have withheld concerns and criticisms out of respect for Castro and the Cuban Revolution, it is completely understandable.  After all, this was the country that deployed troops to Angola that helped to smash the South African apartheid army and their Angolan allies.  This was the country that has deployed doctors in the face of countless emergencies, to countries that could never afford such assistance.  This is the country that has studied and come to understand hurricanes in a way unlike most in the hurricane region, so much so that it offered assistance to the USA in the aftermath of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, assistance that the then Bush administration turned down.

Let his soul rest easy.  And, let the Cuban people continue on their way free of outside interference.  Theirs path has been one upon which they have insisted.  Fidel Castro was one important component in making that happen.  And, if that was not enough, he and the Cuban Revolution shook the world of the 20thcentury.

—————————————–

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a talk show host, writer and activist.  He can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

Bigotry still Lives in America   

by Michael Heslop

 

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The sun will rise again shedding light on the dark clouds hanging over US in America,

Yet

The clouds have always been dark for those of US too dark to be blue in America,

So

How dark can the clouds become for those of US too dark to be blue under the bigot-elect?

No one knows for sure but as Africa is our mama, and as history not naivety is our guide, we will always bleed for the smallest progress in America,

Yet

The moon too will do its customary dance far above the dark clouds, shining brilliantly on the bigot elect and the civilized in the streets alike in America,

The rain, hopefully heavy rain, will burst through the sullen clouds to show not only America’s tears but the tears of the world for the abuse of democracy in America on Tuesday, November 8th,

There is unease as there should be about the victory of bigots in America,

Yet

Bigots have always ruled America since they expropriated it from its indigenous inhabitants,

There is fury and there will be and should be more to resist the agenda of the bigot elect and his angry band of white supremacists,

There is fear as there should be about the impending attacks of the bigots on progress as there will be,

Yet

There should also be the resolve to fight back against bigotry’s gleeful moments against progress,

These moments are inevitable as the bigots enter the centers of government to unleash their bigotry which is about all they have left to offer to America and the world,

For sure, there will be battles in the coming months and years as there must be in the streets and in the centers of power,

These coming battles will be between those who battle for unity and those who battle for division, those who battle for progress and those who battle for hate, those who battle for light and those who battle for the permanence of bigotry’s darkness that for much too long has ruled America,

The inevitable battles to come will be to define America’s soul and to give America a conscience that since the coming of the pilgrims has gone with the wind leaving it with a frigid soul for those of us too dark to be blue!

Obama Prepares to Reinforce the Militarized Police Occupation of Black America

Source:  Black Agenda Report
July 27 2016

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Barack Obama is “responsible for the biggest escalation in the history of the one-sided war against Black America. He increased militarization of local police 24-fold before banning some kinds of Pentagon weapons transfers, but is now preparing to send more battlefield weaponry to the streets of our cities. “Clinton or Trump will surely build on Obama’s lethal legacy.”

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“Obama is the biggest domestic war hawk in the history of the United States.”

Black activists confronted police terror on the cops’ own turf, last week, with actions at the Washington, DC, lobbying offices of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association headquarters in New York City. In stark defiance of demands that they stand down in the wake of the killings of eight police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas, Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter took the struggle to the very doorsteps of police political power: their unions, the bargaining and lobbying powerhouses that have erected interlocking legal walls of impunity around cops, making them the most protected “class” in the nation.

The official mythology

Protesters rejected the official mythology, that cops risk life and limb to “protect” the community. “They are not at risk. Police officers are the threat,” wrote BYP 100’s New York City chairperson Rahel Mekdim Teka. “Police do not keep us safe. Police do not protect us. They are the danger that keeps Black people unsafe.” Demonstrators at the two protest sites demanded action to “defund the police, and fund black futures.”

It is now common for protesters to demand that police funding be redirected to community social needs. This demand rejects the legitimacy of the armed occupation of Black communities, and makes a claim to control of the allocation of resources in those communities – a step towards self-determination.

‘Defund the police, fund black futures.’

President Obama, however, has diametrically opposite plans for these communities. According to the Reuters news agency, Obama is preparing to reverse his decision to ban the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in armored vehicles, battlefield weapons and riot gear to local police departments. The president reportedly agreed to review the restrictions after meeting with leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations.

Obama’s short-lived retreat from the federal government’s frenzied militarization of local police, announced with great fanfare in May of 2015, was his sole substantial concession to the movement that swept the nation after the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri. The sight of armored vehicles and battle-ready cops on the streets of American cities was an international embarrassment for the United States – bad “optics” for the First Black President’s legacy. However, the sad truth is that Obama is responsible for the biggest escalation in the history of the one-sided war against Black America.

President Obama oversaw a 24-fold (2,400%) increase in the militarization of local police between 2008 and 2014

A recent study show that, under the Pentagon’s 1033 program, enacted in 1997, the value of military weapons, gear and equipment transferred to local cops did not exceed $34 million annually until 2010, the second year of the Obama administration, when it nearly tripled to more than $91 million. By 2014, the year that Michael Brown was shot down – and when the full Congress, including 32 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, rejected a bill that would have shut down the 1033 program – Obama was sending three quarters of a billion dollars, more than $787 million a year, in battlefield weaponry to local police departments. In other words, President Obama oversaw a 24-fold (2,400%) increase in the militarization of local police between 2008 and 2014. Even with the scale-back announced in 2015, Obama still managed to transfer a $459 million arsenal to the cops – 14 times as much weapons of terror and death than President Bush gifted to the local police at his high point year of 2008.

The numbers show that Obama is the biggest domestic war hawk in the history of the United States

This was not simply a “surge” in militarization of the police; Obama escalated the war against Black and brown communities by several orders of magnitude. Based on these numbers, Obama is the biggest domestic war hawk in the history of the United States – bigger than Bush, Clinton and all his predecessors since the genesis of the Black mass incarceration regime in the late Sixties.

The legacy of the First Black President

No wonder all it took was a conversation with two police organizations, this month, to put Obama back on the urban warpath. His return to full combat domestic mode is not an exaggerated response to the death of eight cops in Baton Rouge and Dallas – that was only an excuse to reinstate his original Order of Battle. Obama came into office with the intention of vastly reinforcing the two-generations-long siege of Black America, but was temporarily chastened by the emergence of a resistance movement during his second term. Now he’s preparing to double-down on the strategy by setting a new bar for the politicians that will follow him into the Oval Office: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Such is the legacy of the First Black President.

What separates the current era of mass Black incarceration, and all of its attendant police atrocities, from the period before the 1960s, is that the “New Jim Crow” has been financed and directed by the federal government. In previous eras, mass incarceration was a state affair. However, since passage of the Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 1968, the feds have made suppression of Black people a national priority, directing, coordinating and financing a vast expansion and militarization of local police, as well as a seven-fold increase in per-capital prison capacity.

A new stage in the street war against Black and brown people

The Obama administration marks a new stage in the street war against Black and brown people – a war he escalated before the emergence of a new Black movement, rather than in response to it. Activists should dismiss, out of hand, the Obama administration’s propaganda about “community policing,” a catch-all for finessing an ever deeper police presence in Black communities. When Obama was earmarking $163 million for U.S. Justice Department “community policing” projects in 2015, he was simultaneously budgeting more than half a billion dollars for militarization of the police. Conclusion: Obama is willing to invest limited funds in cultivating more snitches, but he’s really gung-ho about outfitting the cops with tanks, machine guns and grenade launchers.

Expulsion of occupying forces from Black communities

In light of such stark realities, there can be no pause in mobilizing Black America and its allies for the clashes to come. Clinton or Trump will surely build on Obama’s lethal legacy. Black people must draw on our own legacy of resistance, with the clear understanding that self-determination is the ultimate goal of the struggle. Self-determination – which is the purpose and fruit of democracy – requires the ultimate expulsion of occupying forces from Black communities. It is Black people’s – and all people’s – right to achieve self-determination by any means necessary. The choice of the means is the stuff of politics. It is critical that the full range of self-determinationist politics be thoroughly explored by the emerging Black movement with all deliberate speed, especially in light of Obama’s planned escalation of the war of occupation in Black America.

The next venue in that discussion is August 13 and 14, in Philadelphia, when the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds a conference on a National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination. One of the proposed Agenda points demands “the immediate withdrawal of all domestic military occupation forces from Black communities.” This is a democratic demand that “assumes the ability of Black people to mobilize for our own security and to redefine the role of the police so that it no longer functions as an agency imposed on us from the outside.”

BAR executive editor Glen Ford an be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Cornel West: Why I Endorse Green Party’s Jill Stern over Hillary Clinton

Source:  Democracy Now
July 18 2016

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: You are endorsing Dr. Jill Stein. You were a surrogate for Bernie Sanders. You spoke all over the country for him.

CORNEL WEST: Yes, yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: What made you decide to support the Green Party presidential candidate as opposed to Hillary Clinton?

CORNEL WEST: Well, I’ve never been tied to one party or one candidate or even one institution. And that’s true even with one church as a Christian. I’m committed to truth and justice. And Brother Bernie, no doubt, was the standard-bearer for truth and justice during the primary at a national level, at a highly visible level. Once he endorsed Hillary Clinton, who, for me, is a neoliberal disaster, it was clear—

AMY GOODMAN: What do mean by that?

CORNEL WEST: A neoliberal disaster is one who generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras, undermines some of the magnificent efforts in Haiti of working people, and so forth. That’s the record of Hillary Clinton. So there was no way—when my dear brother, who I love very deeply, Bernie Sanders said she will make an outstanding president, I said, “Oh, I disagree with my brother. I think she’ll—I don’t think she’ll make an outstanding president at all.” She’s a militarist. She’s a hawk. She could take us into war with Russia. She could take us into war with Iran. So, I mean, I think she’s—she’s dangerous in terms of her neoliberal ideology—not as a woman, because I’m supporting, of course, my dear sister Jill Stein.

I think after a magnificent campaign of Bernie Sanders, the next step is a green step. The next step is a progressive step. And when you’re calling for reparations, you’re calling for the release of prisoners who have been historically unfairly treated, especially tied to nonviolent crimes, and then saying they should vote and that vote should never be taken away, when you’re calling—putting people and planet and peace before profits, Sister Jill Stein, for me, is somebody that’s worth fighting for. And she’s not a spoiler. You know, a lot of people use that term “spoiler.” If Hillary Clinton can’t make the case to progressives, she doesn’t deserve our vote.

Now, Trump is a neofascist in the making. There’s no doubt about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Donald Trump.

CORNEL WEST: Yeah. Oh, there’s no doubt about that. But the thing is, is that you can’t just be a non-Trump and deserve one’s vote. If Hillary Clinton wants the vote of progressives, she better be real about it. But I don’t think she has the capacity to be real about it. She’s so tied to Wall Street. She’s so tied to the corporate elite.

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you say he’s a neofascist, Donald Trump, the—

CORNEL WEST: Because neofascism in the United States takes the form of big money, big banks, big corporations, tied to xenophobic scapegoating of the vulnerable, like Mexicans and Muslims and women and black folk, and militaristic policies abroad, with strongman, charismatic, autocratic personality, and that’s what Donald Trump is.

And we should know. This is why I salute you, my dear sister. Corporate media has played a fundamental role in the making of Donald Trump—$2 billion free time. They made big profits. They put their profits ahead of the public interest. They covered every speech, every word in Twitter for the last 14 months, just to make big money. Even this convention, even this—they can’t wait. They’re salivating for the profits. And what do they do? They throw out this mediocre, dumbed-down xenophobic-speaking brother, who—I mean, he’s a human being like anybody else, so, I mean, you know, he’s made in the image of God, in terms of my own Christian faith and so forth, but he’s a neofascist in the making. And corporate media is going to have to acknowledge the tremendous responsibility they have of making sure Donald Trump was center stage. If Bernie Sanders had received one-half of that kind of attention, we’d be in a very different place. If they would put more stress on what Jill Stein is saying, the unbelievable fairness, subtlety of analysis, moral passion of Sister Jill—corporate media won’t touch her with a 10-foot pole, for the most part. But it’s changing. It’s going to change.

AMY GOODMAN: What does Dr. Jill Stein represent? What—why are you drawn to the Green Party platform, now that Bernie Sanders has conceded?

CORNEL WEST: Well, one, in the language of Coltrane, she’s a major force for good, accenting the role of poor and working people being center stage. She’s green in terms of trying to save the planet in the face of corporate greed. She’s fundamentally concerned with issues of racial justice, legacies of white supremacy as well as male supremacy. She’s concerned about empowering working people. She opposes TPP, trying to make sure we don’t have the corporate reshaping of the world economy—the kind of policies, of course, Democratic Party has supported, President Obama has supported. It’s hard to find somebody at the national level who provides a certain kind of hope, given the unbelievable spiritual decline and moral decay. And by spiritual decline and moral decay, I mean greed and indifference and contempt in the driver seat among our elites vis-à-vis all working people and poor people. It’s just sad to see so many fellow working people and fellow citizens supporting a pseudo-populist and neofascist like Donald Trump. They’re in pain. The pain is very real, but they’re moving in a right-wing direction.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened with the Democratic platform? You were one of the people on the committee. A lot of people don’t know how this stuff is made, how the sausage is made. Explain what happened. What did you win? What did you lose?

CORNEL WEST: Well, I was blessed to be put on the committee by Brother Bernie Sanders. We had wonderful deliberations. Brother Elijah Cummings was very fair. He was the chairperson. But we lost TPP. We lost Medicare for all. We lost, of course, Israeli occupation and Israeli settlements included within the platform, keeping track while precious Palestinian brothers and sisters—

AMY GOODMAN: What about them? You lost—what do you mean, you lost them?

CORNEL WEST: We lost them, in that we made the case, and we lost the vote.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you looking for?

CORNEL WEST: We were looking to include them within the platform, so at least it was on paper. Now, of course, putting it on paper is different than putting it in practice. A declaration is different from the execution. But we lost over and over again, because the Clinton people lined up and voted against it. That’s why I, of course, abstained, initially, at the move from writing the draft, and then we took it to the platform committee in Orlando. I was also a member of the platform committee. And I had to abstain again, because—even though they didn’t allow for abstention; it was just no or yes. But there’s no way, based on moral grounds, those based on my own moral conscience, that I could support that platform.

And once my dear brother moved into his endorsement, his strong endorsement of the neoliberal disaster that Sister Hillary represents, there was no way that I could stay with Bernie Sanders any longer, had to break with the two-party system. The duopoly has to come to an end. I was hoping we could bring the neoliberal era to a close, because a year ago, populist, Bernie Sanders; neofascist with Trump, or neoliberalism limps on with Hillary Clinton. Right now the Democratic Party still run by big corporations, big lobbyists and so forth, from AIPAC to a host of other lobbyists of big money, and it looks like they want to hold on for dear life. And it’s a sad thing to see, because the country is having a nervous breakdown. And you just hope that there can be enough people with compassion and courage to hold onto justice, keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Edward Said and Dorothy Day alive.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, when you look at what Donald Trump is calling for—the wall on the border with Mexico, banning Muslims from coming in—barring Muslims from coming into the country, hesitating to disavow the support of the white supremacist David Duke and other issues—for those who say it’s only Hillary Clinton who could defeat that, what is your response?

CORNEL WEST: My response is, and when you actually look at the mass incarceration policies, when you actually look at the reinforcement of the new Jim Crow and the segregation of our educational systems and so forth, that occurred under Democrats. It would persist under Hillary Clinton. What Donald Trump talks about in the abstract has actually been concretely enacted under neoliberal regimes of the Democratic Party.

Same would be true in terms of foreign policy. Foreign policy, for me, is very, very important in terms of the no-fly zones in Syria that can lead toward war, the kind of encirclement of Russia. I mean, can you imagine Russian troops in Mexico and Canada? What would the U.S. response be? Oh, my god. Well, that’s very much whatNATO troops are vis-à-vis Russia. Now, we know Russia is run by autocratic Putin, but that kind of provocation for Russia, who has nuclear arms, is the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton, of course, supported. And her connection to the Robert Kagans and Henry Kissingers, of course, are just frightening in regard to militaristic orientations.

And so, this idea that somehow we’ve got to opt for a neoliberal disaster as the only option vis-à-vis the neofascist catastrophe, as a blues man, I appreciate you playing that blues, said I can deal with catastrophe, not by panicking and being driven by fear, but I can look the catastrophe in the face and still tell the truth and still go down swinging with a smile and, most importantly, love, Coltrane’s love—and for me, Jesus’s love—at the center of how we proceed.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there, but we’ll be talking to you through the week, Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for president last summer and was appointed by Sanders to serve on the Democratic platform committee, author of a number of books, most recently Black Prophetic Fire, now is endorsing Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Istanbul and stay right here to talk about the attempted coup over the weekend. Stay with us.

 

Telling Lies – Jamaican artist Elad

July 28 2016

Yu network tell so much lie, it come in  like the real

Elad ina the building, Babylon a get burning

Say dutty Babylon you will be burning

Falling like wall a Berlin

The legacy you stole

You will be returning, one day

Cause you see,  you neva practice, what you preach

telling lies 2Telling lies cause deceit,

You be telling lies, cause deceit is your game

Murder in God’s name,

Murdering in God’s name

Fire pan Babylon

Six million dead ina Congo-land

congo holocaust

Pan the story you put a media ban

Cause Black lives no matter ina your programme,

That’s so appalling

Me sey yu network tell so much lie, it come in  like the real

Turn Libya ina battlefield

Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah

Libya – from Africa’s wealthiest nation to a battlefield

Syria suffering can’t find a meal ina the morning

Children starving

Say In God You Trust but that’s a lie

Iraq still a suffer Afghanistan a cry

While you a spend millions put drones ina the sky

Fi more bombing

Babylon tell so much lie come in like the truth

Build up your army fi try stray the youth

Every day you a search fi a new recruit

Fi do you warring

But dutty Babylon you will be burning

Falling like wall a Berlin

The legacy you stole

You will be returning, one day

Cause you see, you neva practice, what you preach

Telling lies, cause deceit,

You be telling lies, cause deceit is your game

Murder in God’s name,

Murdering in God’s name

Murdering in God’s name

american indians 2Them use smallpox kill the Red Indians

Thief way the land from the Mexicans

Rob the Aztec and the Mayans

Left them bawling; without a warning

Stole Africans from the motherland

Bring we forward to the Caribbean

plantation slaverySlave we aff pan the plantation

Fi cane farming,(Babylon yu falling)

Say we came here before Columbus

Him no discover nowhey, yu presumpsous

Is a murderer you waan present us, as a darling

(Fire a go scald him)

But dutty Babylon you will be burning

Falling like wall a Berlin

The legacy you stole

You will be returning, one day

Cause you see, you neva practice, what you preach

Telling lies cause deceit,

You be telling lies, cause deceit is your game

Murder in God’s name,

Murdering in God’s name

(Fire pan Babylon)

sandra blandWell me say Black Lives Matter and that’s no chatter

Them kill Sandra Bland a lef her a hang

Well  Black Lives Matter and that’s no chatter

So cool and satta mek we bun Babylon

Six million dead ina Congo-land

Pan the story you put a media ban

Cause Black life no matter in your programme,

That’s so appalling

Me sey yu network tell so much lie it come in  like the real

Turn Libya ina battlefield

Syria suffering can’t find a meal ina the morning

Children starving

Say In God You Trust but that’s a lie

Iraq still a suffer Afghanistan a cry

While you a spend millions put drones ina the sky

Fi more bombing

Babylon tell so much lie, come in like the truth

Build up your army, fi try stray the youth

Every day you a search fi a new recruit

Fi do you warring

But dutty Babylon you will be burning

Falling like wall a Berlin

The legacy you stole

You will be returning, one day

Cause you see, you neva practice, what you preach

Telling lies cause deceit,

You be telling lies cause deceit is your game

Murder in God’s name,

Murdering in God’s name

Murdering in God’s name

(Fire pan Babylon)

elad 15.jpg