Brazil: Lula Says the Rich ‘Fear the People’s Choice’

Source:  TeleSUR

Published 14 July 2018

lula telesur july 2018Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. | Photo: Reuters

Lula: “My judicial persecutors not only want me detained, they want me silenced.”

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has taken to his Twitter account, on Friday, to speak to the people of Brazil about the denial of his habeas corpus earlier this week, which would have allowed him to walk free from prison.

RELATED: Brazil: Lula Absolved of Obstruction of Justice Charges, but Kept in Prison

“The fear surrounding my possible release is due to the fact that they know that they detained me based on lies,” he said, referring to judge Sergio Moro and prosecutors who argued his guilt, as well as ruled and sentenced the former head of state on corruption and money laundering charges.

“Their guilty conscious, stemming from their frame-ups, makes them nervous.”

Lula went on to tweet that he doesn’t harbor hate (towards his persecutors) but sympathy for the situation in which this group has placed Brazil, to sell our riches, and indignation for the suffering of the Brazilian people.

He said it becomes more difficult, with each passing day, for people “to find work and pay their bills…The fear exhibited by the rich is not against me – Lula said – but for them to accept the choice of the Brazilian people in free elections. The Brazilian people must recuperate their democratic liberty!”

On Thursday Lula was visited in prison by his former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Celso Amorim, and former Chief Minister of the Social Communication Secretariat Franklin Martins.

He told them that his judicial persecutors not only want him detained, but silenced, in respect to judge Carolina Lebbos, who prohibited him from giving interviews from prison. He also affirmed that he would not exchange his dignity for freedom.

Lula has been detained at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba since April 7. Despite his imprisonment, an event that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, he has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

The latest Ipespe survey, taken between July 9 and 11, indicates that Lula continues leading the pack of presidential hopefuls in the first round of voting at 30 per cent. It also showed him prevailing against his nearest rival, far right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro, in the second round of voting at 40 per cent to 33 per cent.

Lula’s two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.

Nicaragua is now the target

U.S. organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID have meddled in other countries’ affairs since their founding at the height of the Cold War

Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | informacion@granmai.cu

July 13, 2018

nicaragua now the target 1.jpgYoung people in Nicaragua have been victims of media and political manipulation. Photo: elpreg.com

Masked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas, block avenues, close the main streets, attack state institutions, burn tires, start fires, loot and kill.

To date, approximately 170 people have died as a result of the chaos and violence in Nicaragua. A powerful media campaign follows the events and more than that, openly promotes, falsifies, and multiples them.
The violent acts are presented as peaceful demonstrations by students, and the press publishes photos of those supposedly killed by the Sandinista government, but just as the truth will come out, the deception is discovered. Several have complained, demonstrating that the supposed dead are actually alive. One young man who resides abroad returned to state as such before the cameras, but of course this was not reproduced by the mainstream media.

U.S. author, journalist, and blogger Max Blumenthal recently published an article noting that a group of activists opposed to the current Nicaraguan government went to meet with leaders of Freedom House in Washington D.C. According to Blumenthal, the opposition group known as M-19, “were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing U.S. government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.”

The links between U.S. organizations and the events underway in Nicaragua and other parts of the world are clearly revealed in Blumenthal’s piece: “The NED (National Endowment for Democracy) is a leading agent of U.S. soft power that has meddled in other countries’ affairs since its founding at the height of the Cold War, in 1983.” And the author cites Allen Weinstein, a founder of the NED, in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The budget with which the NED operates comes from the United States Congress, which grants it millions of dollars every two years, as part of the State Department budget. The organization also receives donations from four associations: the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Ohin Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and Freedom House, indirectly funded by federal contracts.

nicaragua now the target 2.jpgMasked individuals, armed with homemade mortars and bazookas block the streets and incite violence in Nicaragua. Photo: telemetro.com

The money is distributed to the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the American Center for International Labor Solidarity of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which in turn distribute monetary and material resources to other organizations in the U.S. and around the world, and disburse money and materials for opposition organizations in countries whose governments are not to the liking of the U.S. government.

The report from this U.S. journalist identifies the culprits: “Aside from NED, USAID has been the most active promoter of regime change against socialist-oriented governments in Latin America. In Nicaragua, USAID’s budget topped $5.2 million in 2018, with most of the funding directed towards training civil society and media organizations.”

This is the same USAID that used funds from the Alliance for Progress, a U.S. “economic aid,” “political” and “social” program, a kind of Marshall Plan and the first big attempt to halt the prospect of revolution in Latin American and isolate Cuba, and finance repression. Instead of engineers, technicians, and skilled workers, USAID trained unscrupulous police, soldiers, paramilitaries, torturers, and killers; instead of factories, farms, and schools, detention and torture centers were built.

Let’s not forget that this is also the same USAID that financed the training of death squads, promoted “health” programs that concealed inhumane sterilization processes in Central America, and collaborated with CIA narco agents in the Iran-Contra operation.

USAID has created an extensive network on our continent, which attracts cadres, manufactures leaders, and penetrates civil society. A true interventionist army of “experts,” “advisors” and “consultants,” working to develop its subversive plans. In its first ten years alone, the NED distributed more than 200 million dollars in 1,500 projects to support so-called “friends of America.”

Serbia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, and Venezuela; wherever there is a government that goes against the interests of the United States, these generously financed experts in destabilization and chaos swiftly act.

Mercenaries, delinquents, hirelings of the “Soft Coup,” of the “Color Revolutions,” or other “revolutions” with eye-catching and peaceful names, designed in Langley’s laboratories, such as the Rose Revolution, Tulip Revolution, Orange Revolution, or known by names closer to reality such as the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia; where the purchase of uncritical consciences and deception, seduction through the use of attractive concepts for young people, and a lot of money, all the money that is necessary, are the soldiers and weapons of this new war. And of course, Nicaragua is now the target.

Cuba will always support the just demands of Caribbean nations

Full text of speech by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel during the 39th Caribbean Community Conference meeting, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 5

by: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | internet@granma.cu

July 13, 2018

miguel diaz-canel in jamaica july 5 2018.jpgPhoto: Estudios Revolución

Speech by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, on the occasion of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 5, 2018 , Year 60 of the Revolution

Your Most Honorable Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica;
Honorable Heads of State and Government of CARICOM member states;

His Excellency Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, CARICOM Secretary-General;

Distinguished heads of delegations, ministers and special guests:

It is an honor to greet the leaders of our Caribbean, a sea that we share as a cradle and a challenging home, where we count the hours with more haste, due to the passion that derives from its heat and its strength that stops hurricanes, increasingly frequent and destructive, and also due to the rise in sea level, as a consequence of climate change, which we ourselves did not even cause.

I follow the spirit of my people, who first send enthused gratitude to the hosts, as we are in Jamaica, where, in the late nineteenth century, far from the hatred of the Spanish metropolis, Mariana Grajales found refuge, the bravest of our women and Mother of the Nation, whom “God has invested with the rank of General,” in the words of another front-line fighter, the wife of her son Antonio, the unsurpassable Maceo.

Here our Mariana, who died on Jamaican land 125 years ago, and today rests in the patrimonial cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, found refuge and received José Martí.

Jamaica is very close, geographically, historically, and humanly.

I wish, therefore, to express our gratitude to the people and government authorities of Jamaica, especially to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, for kindly organizing this meeting and offering us the possibility to share in this moment of Caribbean brotherhood.

I also interpret this invitation and the welcome that we have received, as an unequivocal demonstration of the excellent state of relations between the member nations of CARICOM and Cuba, whose solid foundations are built on an infallible friendship and the mutual recognition that we share challenges, so enormous that only united and cooperatively will we be able to face them successfully.

I am honored to convey the fraternal message of friendship and solidarity of compañero Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, and to reiterate the unwavering commitment that he made to you last December, at the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit, held in Antigua and Barbuda, stating that, “The Caribbean can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude, and support of Cuba.”

“Cuba does not wander around the world cadging: she is a sister and works with such authority. On saving herself, she saves,” warned José Martí when he organized the Necessary War. And the Cuban Revolution, which turned his legacy into law, has not hesitated to share what we have; offer what we know; support where we can; more so at difficult times than in fortunate moments, but simply always. With a single priority: firstly he who suffers the most, and if he is a brother all the more reason.

Esteemed Heads of State and Government and guests:

The challenge facing our small states to achieve sustainable development is not new, although it is intensifying, because the obstacles and dangers derived from an unjust international order, that has lasted too long, are even greater and more complex

An increasingly unequal world, in which the access of our products to markets is obstructed, and we are deprived of the essential technological and financial resources for development, while rivers of money and resources are squandered on military spending and endless wars beyond the borders of their promoters, where there is little room for the hopes of the nations that lost out on centuries of progress, fuelling that of our metropolises.

This is why Cuba will always support the just demands of the Caribbean to receive fair and differential treatment in access to trade and investment. And we will support, without hesitation, the legitimate demand for reparations for the horrors of slavery and human trafficking, while rejecting the inclusion of CARICOM member states on unilateral lists of alleged non-cooperative tax jurisdictions drawn up by international financial capital centers.

We also reiterate that the demand to foster cooperation based on the needs of developing countries, and on the basis of the historic debt as a result of colonialism, and not a mechanical and incomplete measurement of national income, is necessary and just.

As mentioned earlier, the effects of climate change and the progressive destruction of the environment threaten human survival, and cause natural disasters and phenomena to affect more intensely small island states. As such, we urgently need to find joint responses to face them and demand a fair, special and differential treatment.

Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations, such as the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of threat or use of force, the respect for self-determination, territorial integrity, the sovereign equality of states, and non-interference in their internal affairs, are continuously violated, which constitutes a real danger that demands our strictest observance and will to uphold the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, a commitment signed in Havana in 2014 by the heads of state and government of the region.

We cannot ignore the serious and alarming messages of arrogance and contempt with which United States authorities address our nations.

The declared intention of a return to the Monroe Doctrine, a direct expression of its ambitions of domination, together with acts of intervention, which provoke violence, humanitarian crises, and instability, merit strong condemnation, just as the application of unilateral coercive measures and non-conventional war tactics, that have become a direct threat to the stability and true integration of our nations.

Esteemed Heads of State and Government:

Now 45 years ago, in a historic decision, the first four independent nations of the Caribbean reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba.

That act would be described by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, as an “unquestionably courageous political decision… [insofar as it] was a fundamental step toward breaking the diplomatic and trade blockade of Cuba in the region… Cuba will never forget this noble gesture on the part of its Caribbean brothers,” Fidel said then and we reiterate today.

We will continue, with our modest resources and in spite of the current difficulties, joint cooperation projects.

We have the opportunity to further deepen our ties.

We will pursue efforts to start the activities of the Regional Arts School, whose conception is the result of common interest and political will.

We must, at the same time, make sustainable the advance of the Centre to Stimulate the Development of Children, Adolescents and Youth with Special Education Needs, located in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Cuba ratifies the decision to continue cooperating in the training of human resources, in particular the possibility of pursuing specialization studies in the health field.

We maintain the will to exchange experiences and best practices in comprehensive disaster risk management, and in confronting the effects of climate change, and to explore other spheres of common interest.

We also have novel instruments that we must continue to strengthen, such as the expansion of the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the Caribbean Community and Cuba, which supports the promotion of trade and investment development; the possibility of working on multi-destination tourism and cultural exchange development. In other words: to make more systematic and constructive use of all of our scarce, but powerful, shared advantages.

Esteemed Presidents and Prime Ministers:

In Cuba we are advancing in a process of perfecting our socialist model of economic and social development, and working on the reform of our Constitution. We do so in the midst of economic difficulties and enormous financial tensions, exacerbated by the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, and the setback in bilateral relations with the United States.

Despite these enormous obstacles, the Cuban people persevere in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous, and sustainable nation, without abandoning any of the principles that have guided the honorable history of their Revolution.

In this context, Cuba would like to express its appreciation for the permanent support and friendship of the Caribbean peoples.

And before you, I wish to reiterate, in the name of our common history, of the present and future generations of Cuban men and women, the invariable solidarity, eternal gratitude, and irrevocable commitment of Cuba to its closest brothers, its equals in need and hope, given the good fortune and the challenge of sharing the Caribbean that embraces us.

Thank you very much!

The sports industry, a gulf separates two worlds

The global sports industry’s income exceeds the GDP of entire nations, and continues to foster inequality

by: Aliet Arzola Lima | aliet@granma.cu

July 12, 2018

nike vs adidas.jpg

Photo: Granma

Lightweight footwear under one hundred grams; swimsuits designed by experts in hydrodynamics that “cut” through the water with maximum efficiency; sensors placed in different accessories that calculate heart rate and provide other real time information; rackets that reduce vibration transfer resulting from the impact of the ball…

These are just a few glimpses of the advances of the global sports goods industry, which is evolving as fast as the strides of Usain Bolt, or the strokes of Michael Phelps, icons of the athletic world who, in particular, have enjoyed the benefits of this huge production empire and, in addition, have contributed to its constant development.

Historic brands such as Adidas, Puma, and Nike, or the emerging Under Armor, four of the large consortia that sponsor and dress various competitors, completely control the sports market and have a direct impact on the main sporting events, from the Olympic Games to the World Cup – the two events that attract the most global attention.

The manufacture of sports goods saw early development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the industrial boom, the proliferation of clubs and the consequent professionalization of sports changed the essence of what today cannot be described as anything other than a business, given the huge network of companies it involves.

According to studies conducted by Plunkett Research, specialized in “market research, business analysis, industry trends, statistics,” according to its website, the value of the global sports industry can match that of annual U.S. exports, and exceed the GDP of entire nations. In addition, powerful soccer and baseball clubs see revenue of more than 500 million dollars, and a single boxing match can generate more than a trillion dollars.

The figures are shocking, especially when in this day and age, a high percentage of the world’s population continues to live in extreme poverty and need. However, they also make clear that sports is a profitable business for the major powers and brands, which invest, generate, and receive huge sums of money through television contracts, advertising, licenses, merchandising, and tickets.

But beyond the impact of these firms on athlete representation and their transformation into true cult heroes according to their results, let us pause for a minute to think about their real scope in terms of the equitable growth of sports.

Can Puma’s state-of-the-art products really reach a poor kid from a favela in Brazil, or the most remote villages in Central America or Africa? Does the unbridled competition between Adidas and Nike really pursue, at least as a secondary objective, the discovery and financing of emerging talents in underdeveloped countries?

The answer to these questions is a resounding no. Rather companies have used sports as an ideal source of prosperity; they have fostered inequality and increased the economic gap between rich and poor, the latter with very few opportunities to acquire equipment or develop infrastructure for the practice of any discipline.

The fact that the main sports goods firms pursue the same goal and have similar effects in underdeveloped countries does not mean that there is any sense of alliance or cooperation among them; on the contrary, their relations are marked by grudges stemming from past gimmicks, and competition in areas of technological research, development, and advances.

The emporiums of Adidas and Puma, for example, have their origins in Germany. In fact, they arose following the breakdown of relations between the Dassler brothers (Adolf and Rodolf), who had founded Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in the 1920s.

The company gained worldwide fame in the 1930s on signing Jesse Owens, the stellar Black sprinter and long jumper who won four Olympic gold medals in Berlin 1936, before the defiant and frustrated gaze of Adolf Hitler. However, the Dassler brothers’ project disintegrated after WWII, leading to the creation of Adidas and Puma. Paradoxically, from that moment on they were never at peace.

The height of their run-ins came during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, for which the two powerful rival brands agreed to what became known as the “Pelé Pact” – a mutual agreement not to approach the Brazilian star to sign a sponsorship deal.

Despite the pact, a representative of Puma took advantage of the fact that the legendary striker had no knowledge of such an agreement, and signed him up without the company’s approval, which later gave the go-ahead. The move unleashed an ongoing fight with Adidas, which didn’t turn out very well for Puma, as in the last 20 years, the brand of the three bars has completely overtaken it in the market.

Nike emerged much later, and for a long time looked askance at the struggle between the two flagship brands, until Michael Jordan changed the fate of the U.S. brand forever with his Air Jordan shoes, a success all over the world. Since then, Nike has been Adidas’ rival par excellence, in an all-out war that constantly engages millions of consumers.

michael jordan nike

The competition has reached such a degrading point that personalities like LaVar Ball, the eccentric former U.S. football and basketball player, attempted to spark a bidding war over his son Lonzo Ball’s feet, to see which of the two firms (Adidas or Nike) would offer the most lucrative contract in exchange for the player wearing its sneakers in his NBA debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Modern sports are sold on a daily basis as a lavish spectacle, while millions of people simultaneously consume the brands that sponsor the events, and the athletic product itself. This practice has been established through and through, especially thanks to communications monopolies, which bombard all competitions with advertising, no matter the level.

 

It is precisely these commercial advertising commitments (for which millions are paid) and the sponsors that determine to a large extent how, when and where competitions take place. This has completely changed the situation for athletes, who must prepare to face an increasingly high competition volume.

These demands, to which we must add the constant and universal pressure of their followers, have led an endless number of athletes to resort to other means (doping, bets, match-fixing), all to secure six or seven digit advertising contracts – a privilege reserved for a minority group that reaches economic and publicity “glory” in line with its results in the competitive arena.

Commodification and commercialization have attacked the sports world, and its protagonists are treated as mere objects, sometimes pushed to sacrifice their prestige and values to achieve a result, even risking death by consuming prohibited substances. It’s an endless cycle, a loop in which often not even the athletes themselves can appreciate that they are trapped.

Developing nations generally excel in sports thanks to specific talents but, frequently, that success fades, as it lacks the solid foundations to support it.

It’s not surprising that this happens, as underdeveloped countries suffer from limited access to all the facilities of an overly classist sports goods industry, which views the athletic world as a source of easy and safe revenue.

Surviving this neoliberal approach is not easy, but Cuba has achieved it and stands at the forefront of the most disadvantaged nations, even now when its sports movement is not enjoying its best moment.

What has its formula been? In this small Caribbean archipelago, sports has been defended as a right of the people, as a source of health and well-being, a dignified concept that has allowed us to consolidate an organized and successful system in multiple disciplines – a real achievement if we consider our scarce economic resources and the limitations imposed by the most powerful country on the planet.

Without the benefits of the big brands, without access to cutting-edge technologies developed in the specialized laboratories of these companies, Cuba has not only exalted its virtues, but has also charted a path for nations with the same limitations.

Encounter with Lula in prison: spirituality and politics

Source:  Cube Network in Defense of Humanity / alainet

by Leonardo Boff
May 23 2018

lula speaks from prison.jpgAs of May 7th, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had spent 30 days in prison. For the first time, he was allowed to receive visits from his friends. I had the honor of being the first to visit him, due to our friendship of more than 30 years, and that we share the same Causa: Liberating the impoverished, and reinforcing life’s spiritual dimension. I fulfilled the evangelical precept: “I was in jail and you visited me”.
Filled with energy

I found him as we knew him before he was imprisoned: the same face, hair, beard… only somewhat more slender. Those who hoped to see him angry or depressed must be disappointed. He is filled with energy and hope. His cell is large, very clean, with built-in-cupboards, and a bathroom and shower in an enclosed space. The first impression is good, even though he lives in isolation because, other than his lawyers and children, he can only talk with the guard, who is of Ukrainian origin, gentle and attentive, who has become his admirer. He brings Lula his food tray, more warm or cool, and coffee whenever he requests it. Lula does not accept the food his children bring him, because he wants to eat as the other prisoners do, without any privileges. He has his time to take in the sun. But lately, when he does that, drones appear overhead. As a precaution Lula leaves, because the purpose of those drones is unknown: to take photos of him, or perhaps something more sinister.

Spirituality

Among our discussions of politics, the most important was our conversation on spirituality… Lula is a religious man, but of the popular religiosity, for which God is existential evidence. I found him reading one of my books, The Lord is my Shepherd, (from editorial Voces) a commentary on the famous Psalm 23, the most read of the Psalms, which is also read by other religions. He felt fortified and confirmed, because the Bible is generally critical of pastor/politicians, and praises those who care for the poor, the orphans and the widows. Lula feels that he belongs in that line, with his social policies that benefited so many millions. He does not accept criticism as being a “populist.” Lula says: “I belong to the people, I come from the people and direct my policies, as much as I can, towards the people”.

At the head of his bed there is a crucifix. He uses the time of solitary confinement to reflect, meditate, to review so many things in his life, and to deepen the fundamental convictions that give meaning to his political actions, all that his mother, Lindu (whom he considers his protector and inspiring angel), often repeated to him: always be honest, and struggle and struggle more. Lula sees in that the meaning of his personal and political life: a struggle that everyone may have a dignified life, and not just a few at the expense of the others. “The greatness of a politician is measured by the greatness of his Causa”, he emphatically told me. And the Causa must be to make a life for everyone, starting with those who have the least. For that reason, Lula does not accept definitive defeat. Nor does he want to fall on his face. He does not want to fail, but to remain always faithful to his basic purpose, and to make of politics a great tool for organizing a life of justice and peace for all, especially for those who live in the hell of hunger and misery.
I am a candidate

This dream has an undeniable ethical and spiritual greatness. It is in the light of these convictions that Lula maintains his tranquility, because he says and reiterates that he lives for that interior truth, one that possesses its own strength, that one day will become evident. “I only hoped”, he commented, “for it to happen after my death, but it is already happening, even now, while I am alive”. He becomes profoundly indignant at the lies spread about him, based on which they have mounted the triplex procedure. He wonders: “How can these persons consciously lie and sleep in peace?” He challenges Judge Sergio Moro: “show me a single shred of evidence that I own the triplex of Guaruja; If you show me one, I will renounce my candidacy to the Presidency”.

He asked me to pass a message on to the press and the people in the encampment: “I am a candidate. I want to carry on with rescuing the poor, and to create social policies in their favor, State policies, and that the costs –that are investments– are in the budgets of the Union. I will radicalize these policies for the poor, with the poor, and to dignify our country”.

Meditation has made him understand that prison has a meaning that transcends him, me, and the political disputes. It must be the same price that Gandhi and Mandela paid, with prison and persecution, to reach what they accomplished. “This I believe, and hope”, he told me, “that this is what I am going through now”.

I who came to encourage him, left encouraged. I hope that others are also encouraged. and shout “Free Lula!”, against a Justice that does not manifest justice.

50 Years in the Making, We Must Again Confront and Reject U.S. Warmongering

Source:  Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)

ajama baraka.jpg

The need to break the silence

50 years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King reconnected with the radical black tradition by adding his voice of opposition to the murderous U.S. war machine unleashed on the people of Vietnam. For Dr. King, his silence on the war in Vietnam had become an irreconcilable moral contradiction. He declared that it was hypocritical for him to proclaim the superior value of non-violence as a life principle in the U.S. and remain silent as the U.S. government engaged in genocidal violence against a people whose only crime was to believe that they could escape the clutches of French and then U.S. colonialism.

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems,” Dr. King said. “I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”

In his speech at Riverside Church, King not only criticized U.S. actions in Vietnam but identified the cultural pathologies at the center of U.S. society. “I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values,” he said. “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

50 years later, what rational person can honestly argue against the position that the U.S. is still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet?

A militant anti-war and anti-imperialist movement

 But what existed in 1967 that helped put moral and political pressure on King was a militant anti-war and anti-imperialist movement; a movement that in many respects was born out of the black-led pro-democracy and social justice struggles and organizing in the South. Many of the young white activists who took up opposition to the war and built such organizations as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) cut their activist teeth while working with black activists in the South. From the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) to the Northern-based Black Panther party, the cutting edge of the Black liberation movement took an early and resolute oppositional stance against the war on Vietnam.

After almost three decades of pro-war conditioning by both corporate parties and the corporate media coupled with cultural desensitization from almost two decades of unrelenting war, opposition to militarism and war is negligible among the general population. The black public has not been immune to these cultural and political changes. And with the ascendancy of the corporatist President Barack Obama, during whose tenure the U.S. continued its militaristic bent unabated and in fact ratcheted up its aggressive posturing in some parts of the globe, particularly in the Middle East, there was a decidedly rightward shift in the consciousness of the black public and a significantly dampened anti-war sentiment among black people.

Politically the result has been disastrous for the society and for the U.S. anti-war movement. The bi-partisan warmongering over the last two decades has met very little opposition, and the traditional anti-war stance of the black population has almost disappeared.

Opposition growing among young people

But once again we are seeing opposition to militarism, violence and war developing among young people. And once again we are seeing young black voices making the connections between opposition to domestic state violence and the moral necessity to be in opposition to the U.S. war machine reflected in the policy statements from the Movement for Black Lives, BYP 100 and the Black Lives Matter network. Those positions are supported by the Black Left Unity Network, the Black is Back Coalition and other black formations. What is needed at this historical moment is for those forces to be galvanized and given more strategic focus.

What is needed is a Black Alliance for Peace (BAP).

The BAP must be a people(s)-centered human rights project against War, Repression, and imperialism that seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. So, on April 4, we are calling for a new alliance to help revive the black anti-war and peace movement in the black community as an essential component of a revived broader anti-war and pro-peace movement. Moreover, this new movement is even clearer on the connection between state violence and repression and the global war-mongering of the U.S. The pivot to Asia, the rotating of NATO troops on the borders of Russia, the destabilization of the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), continued support for apartheid Israel, police executions and impunity in the U.S. and mass incarceration are all understood to be part of one oppressive, desperate structure of global white supremacy.

Dr. King also called upon the nation to understand the link between the unfulfilled economic needs of the majority of the population ground down by the ravages of an unforgiving racialized capitalism and the ruling class commitment to direct public funds toward militarism. His call for a poor people’s campaign was the human rights foundation of his anti-war position.

Militarism has a direct impact on working people and the poor. Even Republican president Dwight Eisenhower understood this when he issued what in today’s right-wing U.S. culture would read as a radical statement:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

There must be an alternative to the neoliberalism of the Democrats and the nationalist-populism of Trump. We need an independent movement to address both the economic needs of poor and working people and the escalating attacks on the Black community, immigrants, women, unions, the LGBTQ community, refugees, Muslims, the physically and mentally challenged, youth, students, the elderly, Mother Earth – all of us. We need a new movement to end the wars on black people and people around the world. The BAP is a significant step toward helping to revive the anti-war, anti-imperialist and anti-state-repression movement in the U.S. Let us on this 50th anniversary re-dedicate ourselves to building a movement for social justice that rejects the de-humanizing effects of war on everyone.

Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace

Black Caucus Sells Out Its Constituents Again – to the Cops

Source:  Black Agenda Report
May 22 2018

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor

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“This bill will be received as yet another attack on these communities and threatens to exacerbate what is already a discriminatory system of mass incarceration in this country.”

The bigger the Congressional Black Caucus gets, the more it betrays its constituents. Last Wednesday, three out of every four members of the Black Caucus in the U.S. House voted to make assaults on police officers a federal hate crime. The Protect and Serve Act of 2018 is totally superfluous, since cops are already the most protected “class” in the nationNearly a million sworn officers inhabit a legal dominion of their own, where immunity from prosecution for even the most heinous crimes is the norm. As People for the American Way point out : “All fifty states have laws that enhance penalties for people who commit offenses against law enforcement officers, including for homicide and assault,” and federal laws already “impose a life sentence or death penalty on persons convicted of first-degree murder of federal employees or officers, killing state and local law enforcement officers or other employees assisting with federal investigations, and killing officers of the U.S. courts.” However, like the Israel lobby, the cop lobby demands abject, groveling obeisance from the people’s representatives — lest there be any doubt as to who rules in either of the world’s white settler states.

“Nearly a million sworn officers inhabit a legal dominion of their own, where immunity from prosecution for even the most heinous crimes is the norm.”

The Protect and Serve Act, which sailed through the U.S. House on a vote of 382 to 35 , is a “Blue Lives Matter” bill that serves no other purpose than to give a giant middle finger to the Black Lives Matter movement. When the cops demanded to know, Which side are you on? three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus kissed the feet of the Blue Beast: “Your side, Boss!”

The Ugly

Twenty-nine CBC members paid homage to the world’s largest police state.

Alma Adams (NC); Joyce Beatty (OH); Sanford Bishop (GA); Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE); G.K. Butterfield (NC); Andre Carson (IN); Emanuel Cleaver (MO); James Clyburn (SC); Elijah Cummings (MD); Danny Davis (IL); Val Butler Demings (FL); Keith Ellison (MN); Dwight Evans (PA); Marcia Fudge (OH); Al Green (TX); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Hakeem Jeffries (NY); Hank Johnson (GA); Robin Kelly (IL); Brenda Lawrence (FL); Al Lawson (FL); John Lewis (GA); Donald McEachin (VA); Gregory Meeks (NY); Bobby Rush (IL); David Scott (GA); Terri Sewell (AL); Bennie Thompson (MS); Marc Veasey (TX)

The Worthless

Three Black Caucus members did not bother to vote, which was the same as casting a “Yea” for the Act.

Anthony Brown (MD); Cedric Richmond (LA); Frederica Wilson (FL)

The Few That Did Not “Comply”

Below are the 11 members that stood up the police lobby, voting “Nay.”

Karen Bass (CA); Yvette Clarke (NY); Wm. Lacy Clay (MO); Alcee Hastings (FL); Johnson, E. B.(TX); Barbara Lee (CA); Gwen Moore (WI); Donald Payne (NJ); Bobby Scott (VA); Maxine Waters (CA); Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ)

A Slap in the Face

Donald Trump and three-quarters* of the Black Caucus are on the same side, despite all the Democratic rhetoric seeking to distinguish between the two parties. When it comes to the Mass Black Incarceration State, Black Democrats are First Responders, ever ready to buttress the power, prestige and immunities of the cops and jailers.

As People for the American Way, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights put it : “Rather than focusing on policies that address issues of police excessive force, biased policing, and other police practices that have failed these communities, the Protect and Serve Act’s aim is to further criminalize. This bill will be received as yet another attack on these communities and threatens to exacerbate what is already a discriminatory system of mass incarceration in this country.”

Worse than Misleaders, the CBC is the Enemy

The advent of the Black Lives Matter movement has wrought virtually no change at all in the political behavior of the Congressional Black Caucus; collectively, they are just as treacherous as in the pre-Ferguson days. Back in June of 2014, two months before Mike Brown’s murder sparked a national movement, four-fifths of the Black Caucus voted down an amendment to halt the Pentagon’s infamous 1033 program that has funneled billions of dollars in military weapons and gear to local police departments. Twenty-seven members voted to continue the militarization of local police forces, five abstained from voting, which amounted to an endorsement of the status quo, and only eight members – one out of five — supported the Grayson Amendment. We at BAR called the Black Caucus super-majority “The Treasonous 32.” Below is the breakdown of the vote from that day of shame:

The Ugly

Karen Bass (CA); Joyce Beatty (OH); Sanford Bishop (GA); Corrine Brown (FL); G.K. Butterfield (NC); Andre Carson (IN); Yvette Clarke (NY); Wm Lacy Clay (MO); Emanuel Cleaver (MO); James Clyburn (SC); Elijah Cummings (MD); Danny Davis (IL); Chaka Fattah (PA); Al Green (TX); Alcee Hastings (FL); Steven Horsford (NV); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Hakeem Jeffries (NY); E. B. Johnson (TX); Robin Kelly (IL); Gregory Meeks (NY); Gwen Moore (WI); Donald Payne (NJ); David Scott (GA); Terri Sewell (AL); Marc Veasey (TX); Frederica Wilson (FL)

The Worthless

The abstainers of 2014, as four years later, effectively endorsed the status quo: militarization of the police.

Marcia Fudge (OH); Charles Rangel (NY); Cedric Richmond (LA); Bobby Rush (IL); Bennie Thompson (MS)

The Few for Demilitarization

John Conyers (MI); Donna Edwards (MD); Keith Ellison (MN); Hank Johnson (GA); Barbara Lee (CA); John Lewis (GA); Bobby Scott (VA); Maxine Waters (CA)

Are Black People Represented in the Congress?

When 80 percent of Black Democrats in the U.S. House vote for continued militarization of local police forces, and then four years later 75 percent of these same Black Democrats give “protected class” status to cops, then we must conclude that the intervening period of “Black Lives Matter” agitation had no effect on Black Democratic Party politics — and further, that the Caucus is wholly and brazenly unaccountable to its constituents.

As Malcolm X said: “You’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok.”

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

* Of the Congressional Black Caucus’ 48 members , two are U.S. Senators (Cory Booker and Kamala Harris), and two are delegates from Washington DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands, who cannot vote on the House floor. BAR does not count Mia Love, the Black Republican CBC member from Utah, in its tabulations on Black Caucus behavior. (She voted “Yea” on the Protect and Serve Act.) That leaves 43 Black Democrats with full voting privileges in the U.S. House.