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

Source:  Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)

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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.

Jamaica: New Foundations Congratulates President Maduro and the Venezuelan People on their Electoral Victory

Source:  New Foundation
May 26 2018

maduro wins may 2018.jpgThe New Foundations, a long established and registered group of the People’s National Party, in the face of deafening silence by the usual vocal groups, is expressing on behalf of those comrades and democratic minded Jamaicans who are joyed by the results and wish to proudly and openly express congratulations to President Nicolas Maduro Moros, as the newly democratically re-elected President of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The elections of last Sunday, 20th May, 2018, were monitored by over 150 international observers and were declared to have been free and fair. The Opposition’s boycott was only because they knew that they faced certain defeat and we are confident that if there had been fully contested elections, more Venezuelans would have turned out at the polls to ensure a still resounding victor for President Maduro, whose policies have admittedly and unapologetically been skewed and directed to improving the quality of life of those who are in greatest need and not pandering to the Venezuelan oligarchy and the super-rich as previous right-wing governments had done in the past.

We say that the victory of President Maduro is a tremendous victory for the Venezuelan people and in particular those in the three lowest economic quintiles, for democracy and the right to self-determination in this hemisphere and for the anti-imperialist struggle against economic re-colonization.

Cuba celebrates African Liberation Day

Source:  Granma
May 26 2018

In Havana, a ceremony was held to commemorate the 55th Anniversary of African Liberation Day

cuba celebrates africa dayPhoto:  Ismael Batista

“Cuba was the only country in the world to shed its blood for us,” stated Ambassador of Guinea Bissau in Cuba, Abel Coelho de Mendonça, during a ceremony in honor of World Africa Day, May 25, in Havana.

“For this eternal debt, Cuba will always have our support,” he added.

Presided by First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba Salvador Valdés Mesa, Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, and member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee Secretariat, José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, the event served to recall the shared history between Cuba and Africa.

“Celebrating this date is an important event,” stated Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra Díaz, on World Africa Day.
As well as thanking African countries for their long-standing opposition to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States, Sierra highlighted Cuba’s historic support for the continent, home to almost a third of UN-member states.

“The fraternal ties with Africa are part of our history,” he stated, recalling that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of South African leader Nelson Mandela, 30 years since the battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the 40th anniversary of the Cassinga massacre.

9,000 Africans studying in Cuba

Sierra also mentioned the over 5,000 Cuban collaborators offering services in different countries across Africa, as well as the almost 9,000 young people from the region studying on the island.

“African blood runs through Cuba’s veins,” stated the Deputy Foreign Minister, recalling the words of Army General Raúl Castro, and noting that “Cuba’s relations with African are indestructible.”

Meanwhile, Mendonça offered his condolences on behalf of member states of the African Union (AU) following the tragic aviation accident on May 18 in the Cuban capital.

He also expressed his confidence in the Cuban government’s commitment to continuing the legacy of Fidel and Raúl, and offered Africa’s support in these efforts.

Also participating in the ceremony were Party officials, representatives of mass organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, and members of the accredited diplomatic corps in the capital, as well as African delegates and students in Cuba.

Remembering Fidel and Cuba’s Internationalism on African Liberation Day

 

 

South Africa:  Economic Freedom Fighters – ” … we want to be like Cuba in South Africa …we want to pursue a progressive socialist agenda that will bring about free education for all … that’s why we say here in the South African parliament, that the Cuban flag must fly forever …      Floyd Shivambu

Venezuela: More Congratulations Follow Maduro’s Re-election

Source:  TeleSUR
May 23 2018

maduro greets supporters after elections may 2018.jpgVenezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters after being confirmed
winner of the May 20 elections. | Photo: Reuters

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda resoundingly congratulated Maduro on his second win, as the EU and OAS rejected the results.

More heads of state have come forward to congratulate Venezuela‘s President Nicolas Maduro on his successful re-election on May 20, while the European Union and Organization of American States (OAS) refuse to recognize the results.

RELATED:   Maduro Declares Top US Diplomat Persona Non Grata, Gives Him 48 Hours to Leave

The prime ministers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbudaresoundingly congratulated Maduro on his second win.

Prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, said: “We applaud your government and your people for conducting these elections. We congratulate you (Maduro) wholeheartedly on this re-election.

“It is with joy that the government and the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines welcome the good news that the government and the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held presidential elections on Sunday, May 20, 2018, which is consistent with the high standards required of the international community.

“We congratulate you whole-heartedly on your own re-election to the presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

Gonsalves also voiced hopes the shared multi and bilateral agreements between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela, such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELEC), will strengthen during Maduro’s upcoming term.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ambassador to CubaEllsworth John, headed the Caribbean Electoral Observer Mission to monitor Venezuela’s electoral process first-hand.

Both Gonsalves and the Antigua and Barbuda prime minister, Gaston Browne, say they are looking forward to another six years of working with Maduro.

RELATED:   Mozambique Congratulates Re-elected Venezuelan President

Browne said: “I look forward to working with you and expanding our cooperation in projects related to development for the mutual benefit of both peoples.” He concluded by saying Maduro’s re-election is a “victory for… national sovereignty… a cornerstone of international law.”

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) President Brahim Gali also wished Maduro success: “Venezuela is and will continue to be an important reference… in the fight against colonialism, imperialism.” SADR controls a portion of land within Western Sahara.

At the other end of the spectrum, the OAS and the EU confirmed their rejection of the results.

The EU claims that the date of the May 20 general elections was not agreed upon by all parties so didn’t comply with “international standards for a credible process,” despite opposition parties verbally agreeing to the date late last year.

The EU is now considering “appropriate measures” in response to the election outcome.

RELATED:  World leaders congratulate Nicolás Maduro for his reelection

Cubans living in Kentucky, USA, honor José Martí (+ Photos)

Source:  Prensa Latina /La Santa Mambisa
May 19 2018

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Cubans living in the US state of Kentucky paid tribute today to the National Hero of his native country, José Martí, on the occasion of the 123 anniversary of the famous patriot’s fall in action.

More than 20 members of the so-called Casa Cuba organization from Kentucky gathered and laid a wreath before a bust of the Apostle, located in a park in the town of Shively.

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The sculpture was relocated there six years ago thanks to the efforts of Cuban businessman Wilbert Fonseca and local authorities, including Mayor Sherry Sinegra Conner.

Coming from the largest of the Antilles, the piece arrived in Louisville, the most populated city of that territory, in the mid-1950s of the last century and was in public view until 1962, when it was removed and later stored in a warehouse .

After this event, which was attended by the Consul General of Cuba in the United States, Alejandro Padrón, an exhibition of photos and reproductions of Martí was inaugurated in a center of the aforementioned city.

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This show also recognizes the work of the American sculptor Anna Hyatt, who gave life to the equestrian statue of the war organizer of 1895-1898 against Spanish colonialism, which is located in the Central Park of New York, and a replica of him in Havana.

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Likewise, María Elena Segura, deputy director of the Center for Martial Studies of the Cuban capital, spoke about the final moments of Martí’s life, and highlighted the dedication to the independence cause of his country.

During her speech, the specialist referred to the Cuban Revolutionary Party, the Patria newspaper, the Montecristi Manifesto, the Master’s relationship with the military strategists Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo, and the role of emigration in preparing for the war.

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He answered several questions from the audience, which also offered assessments and highlighted the work of the eminent politician, writer, journalist and diplomat.

On the other hand, Segura donated texts and compact discs with the 27 volumes of the critical edition of the Complete Works of Martí, that arrive until now to 1889, when the man of the Golden Age was 36 years old.

“We wanted to pay homage to our National Hero, who summoned everyone for the good of all,” Raul Cuan, head of Casa Cuba of Kentucky, told Prensa Latina.

This entity emerged last July in order to group the Cubans as a community and keep alive collectively the love and ties with their native country.

We maintain the purpose of continuing to strengthen our unity, said Cuan, who also mentioned the importance of evoking historical events on the Caribbean island, at least in a simple way.