May 1, 2008
Who's Uncle is Really Crazy?
[col. writ. 5/1/08 (c) '08
When conservative hit-shows first began raising questions about Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, the Democratic candidate essentially played down the relationship, suggesting that Wright was like the 'crazy uncle' common to many families.
Due to the pressure of the 24 hour news cycle, we have come a long way from there, to here.
While Sen. Obama no longer refers to him in this way, it's more than worthwhile to examine just what the Rev. Wright did say, which set off the belfry of mad bats who hold forth from the dark universe of right wing radio and TV commentators.
Among the Rev. Wright's "controversial" comments were these:
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye... and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America's chickens have come home to roost... Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y'all, not a black militant... An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised..."
Rev. Wright's words on how America has treated her darker citizens were also termed "controversial." These are some of them:
"And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. when it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains, the government put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, and put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America-that's in the Bible - for killing innocent people."
On the role of the U.S. government overseas, Wright preached the following:
"Governments lie. The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment... The government lied about bombing Cambodia...The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme orchestrated by Oliver North... The government lied about a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and a connection between 9-11-01 and operation Iraqi Freedom. Governments lie."
I don't know about you, but I've not heard one statement that isn't categorically, historically, and absolutely true. As my good country buddy, Bro. Willie might ask, "What the problem is?"
Obama's response, served up to placate the fascistic right, sounded like an apology: "I reject outright statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue."
The problem isn't that Rev. Wright was crazy, but that he spoke the cold, sober truth. That's the problem.
The US nationalists demand that anyone who states such truths be 'denounced.'
When will a candidate emerge who will denounce imperialism, and the endless ruinous wars against much of the Third World, for the profit of corporations here?
If this election is any measure, no time soon.
Who's uncle is really crazy? Uncle Jeremiah or Uncle Sam?
--(c) '08 maj
May 1, 2008
ILWU Strikes for Peace
[col./speech writ. 4/25/08] (c) '08
It should surprise no one that the mighty ILWU (International Longshoreman & Warehouse Union) is in the forefront of this 8-hour dock shutdown for peace.
The ILWU's proud and illustrious history is one of supporting peoples' movements, for life, freedom, workers solidarity and immigration rights, worldwide!
They remember the stirring words of Eugene V. Debs (socialist labor leader and 1900 presidential candidate), who said, almost a century ago "It is the master class that declares war. It is the subject class that fights the battles." For these words, and his antiwar sentiments, Debs was cast into prison.
That the ILWU is echoing his words today is proof of their power and truth - 100 years later!
It also proves how little we have moved from the dawn of the 20th century, to the dawn of the 21st; for war is still a tool of imperial power, to fuel corporate wealth and global domination.
Who can deny that this is a war for oil?
Who can deny that this is and illegal occupation (that is, in violation of international law), more concerned with what's under the earth, than for the millions living in dread upon it?
For Iraq may not've been a barrel of laughs before the US invasion and occupation, but it's surely hell now.
And Congress, like Nero amidst the fires of Rome, does little more than twiddle its thumbs.
It's labor power that makes the wheels go round - and this powerful demonstration of the denial of labor for May Day, for peace and an end to occupation in Iraq is workers' solidarity made real.
Kudos to the ILWU!
For Labor Power, Peace and anti-Imperialism!
Apr 13, 2008
[col. writ 4/12/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Our national politics is largely the stuff of illusion.
It is the stuff of spin. It is the manipulation of images to pluck the heartstrings, or to stoke the furnaces of emotion.
Any emotion will do: love, hate, fear, all are but instruments upon which politicians will play to move people to the polls, to get them either to vote for them, or against their opponents.
What all of this really means in the day-to-day lives of many of the voters, is actually quite minimal, for politicians don't really care about what voters want; they care about those who can afford them -- those who pay them well for their services.
In essence, politics is a business, and voters are merely bare necessities.
We see this in the vast, obscene amounts of money raised for virtually all political offices.
At bottom, politics is the elevation of symbol over substance, for it seeks to create the illusion of change, while leaving unchanged the essential power relations at the lower levels of society.
Politics is great for changing forms, but it stumbles at changing essentials.
We've seen that in South Africa, where the faces of those in political power have changed dramatically -- in its starkest sense, from palest white to darkest black -- and yet those who hold financial power, immense wealth, and thus, those who control politicians, remain predominantly white -- and remain in ultimate control.
Conversely, for the Black urban and rural poor, their lives are almost as hopeless as before, for what has changed is that a Black middle class has arisen into their political ascendency.
Here in the U.S., we often boast about Blacks having more and more political offices in local, state and federal government posts. Yet, if this is so (and it is) why are our lives so miserable, so threatened, so endangered? Why are our communities so dysfunctional?
Why are Black urban schools so under-performing?
Why are Black and Latino homeowners the bulk of folks losing their homes to foreclosures?
Why are so many of our lives nightmares of survival in the midst of plenty?
How is it that more Black politicians ultimately means less Black political power?
It's because black-faced politicians can best advance the aims of white economic supremacy. For they are but employees of white wealth, who do the duty of those who can afford them. That great French observer of American politics, Alexis de Tocqueville, aptly noted, "Than politics the American citizen knows no higher profession -- for it is the most lucrative."
Black politicians confuse us with their presence -- not their power.
For power is the ability to make change in the conditions of people's lives (for the better), to represent their interests, and to gain resources for the betterment of
Black people and their communities.
Presence is merely being there, being there in the place of a white politician, doing essentially nothing differently.
--(c) '08 maj
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