Saturday, June 23, 2018

1968 Part 2

During this era of 1968, massive changes existed in America plus the world. The unjust murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 changed our country. Many people were saddened at the cruelty of such an act. People mourned worldwide. His death in Memphis, Tennessee represented the end of the old school Civil Rights Movement era and the beginning of the post-civil rights era. Immediately, over 100 American cities had rebellions which lasted for several days. Buildings were destroyed, people mourned, and society had to reckon with the point that racial injustice has no place in the planet. On this same day of April 4, the Apollo Program allowed Apollo 6 to be launched. This was the second and last unmanned test flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle. Robert F. Kennedy gave his “The Evil Menace of Violence” speech at the Cleveland City Club on April 5, 1968. It was a very eloquent speech. The speech outlined the vicious nature of violence and how constructive avenues are key measures in establishing a society where justice is made real for all, regardless of someone’s race or color. By April 6, 1968, the Black Panthers and Oakland police had a shootout. Many people were arrested and died. One person who died was 16 year old Black Panther Bobby Hutton. This was personal to the Panthers since Bobby Hutton was one of the original members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. He carried guns as a means to promote self-defense. Witnesses say that Hutton was unjustly murdered by the police.

There was a double explosion in downtown Richmond, Indiana that killed 41 and injured 150 people on April 6, 1968. President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 on April 11, 1968. This came after pressure from civil rights leaders and other Americans following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After 1966, this law was difficult to pass since Republicans dominated the Congress by 1966. This law banned housing discrimination in all of its forms. Vice President Hubert Humphrey announced his candidacy for President in the Democratic side on April 27, 1968. He was one of the greatest progressives on domestic issues of the 20th century (he was right to promote racial equality as far back as the 1940’s), but his weakness was that he was too tied to LBJ’s agenda (he supported LBJ's Vietnam war policies in public while having questions about it in private. Humphrey would split with LBJ in public on Vietnam completely late in the 1968 Presidential campaign by September). New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller ran for President on the Republican side on April 30, 1968.

The situation in Columbia started on April 23, 2018 (in about 50 years ago lasting until April 30, 1968) when students occupied Columbia University in New York City. The students protested racial discrimination and the Vietnam War. It was a very historic time in America plus the world. This event revolved around the student activist movement which desired an end to the war in Vietnam, women's rights, black studies in colleges, the embrace of social equality, and an overall change in society whereby the status quo is gone (and true justice is subsequently made real for the human family). Hamilton Hall in Columbia was occupied first. The reason was that many progressive students wanted to protest against the institution’s ties to a Vietnam War research firm, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). Also, the students (made up of people among many backgrounds) wanted to fight against Columbia University's construction of a new gymnasium whose design plan appeared to offer segregated access to black residents of Harlem, which was adjacent to the building’s lower side. This proposed gymnasium was heavily opposed by Harlem residents and many student activists. Five buildings were occupied and one dean was held.

It lasted for over one week. It involved hundreds of students. The occupiers demanded the reinstatement of six students suspended for protesting against the IDA, an end to the construction of the gym, amnesty for all students joining in the occupations, and the reversal of an edict by university president Grayson Kirk banning indoor protests. Later, the authorities went too far in suppressing the student revolt. Kirk called the police. He cut the power and water off from the occupied areas. On April 30, at 2:20 in the morning, some 1,000 police brutally attacked the students. Cops used axes to cut the doors. They or the NYPD assaulted not only students unjustly and viciously. They assaulted journalists and photographers for no reason. Many students were beaten by plains clothes NYPD officers. Some cops destroyed photographic equipment. Within three hours, the occupation was crushed. About 720 students and faculty were arrested, and 136 demonstrators suffered injuries in the police attack. Leaders of the Columbia protests were Black Power activists and SDS members like Mark Rudd. The protests achieved two of their stated goals.

Columbia disaffiliated from the IDA and scrapped the plans for the controversial gym, building a subterranean physical fitness center under the north end of campus instead. More protesting Columbia and Barnard students were arrested and/or injured by New York City police during a second round of protests on May 17–22, 1968, when community residents occupied a Columbia University-owned partially vacant apartment building at 618 West 114 Street to protest Columbia's expansion policies, and later when students re-occupied Hamilton Hall to protest Columbia's suspension of "The IDA Six." Before the night of May 22, 1968 was over, police had arrested another 177 students and beaten 51 students.

The legacy of the Columbia protests was that student activism could cause change. All of the freedom that we have today was a result of activists, who in many cases, shed blood in order for us to live on this Earth. We have to always honor the sacrifices of heroes (both men and women including the youth) who desire social and economic justice. The struggle continues and we shall overcome in the end.

The musical Hair opened on Broadway officially on April 29, 1968. It was a play that was ahead of its time that dealt with racism, the counterculture, religion, astrology, sex, sexuality, the Vietnam War, the counterculture, and other issues. The musical promoted the Age of Aquarius (which is a New age teaching of massive change in the world from the Age of Pisces) and hippie living being against the Vietnam War. The play resolves around characters deciding about the draft and how to live in a changing world.

The Prague Spring lasted from January 5, 1968 to August 21, 1968. Today, we witness 50 years after that incident. It was one of the most important events of 1968. It revolved around the people of Czechoslovakia seeking independence and true freedom from the Stalinist Warsaw Pact. During that time, there was the viciousness of capitalist imperialism and the viciousness of Stalinism. After World War II, the victorious U.S. and U.S.S.R. divided Europe in that the Eastern Bloc was controlled by the Soviets while Western Europe was controlled heavily by other Western powers. The reformist Alexander Dubček was elected as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) on January 5, 1968. He replaced the hardliner Antonin Novotny. Dubček declared the party's mission was "to build an advanced socialist society on sound economic foundations ... a socialism that corresponds to the historical democratic traditions of Czechoslovakia, in accordance with the experience of other communist parties ..." During the Prague Spring, Dubček established numerous reforms in giving more rights to the people of Czechoslovakia. They included: the partial decentralization of the economy, democratization, ending restrictions on the media, promoting more free speech, and ending travel restrictions. On March 4, 1968, Dubcek abolished censorship. He split the nation into 2 republics being the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Other activists used nonviolent resistance to promote democratic freedoms too. Workplace democracy among workers grew. Dubcek made the mistake of denouncing workers’ strikes. The Soviets hated the reforms and fought back. On the night of August 20-21, 1968, Eastern Bloc armies from four Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary—invaded the ČSSR (or Czechoslovakia). That night, 200,000 troops and 2,000 tanks entered the country. They invaded Czechoslovakia in trying to promote the status quo. The people resisted by painting street signs to confuse the Stalinist invaders. Many of them defied curfews. Some like Jan Palach used self-immolation suicides (i.e. burning oneself to death). After the invasion, the Soviets didn’t crush the aspirations of the people completely. People throughout the Warsaw Pact fought for their freedom continuously. Gustáv Husák ended the reforms of Dubeck. Also, it is important to note that the criminal acts of Stalinism are not representative of all socialists. There were revolutionary socialists who opposed the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. Ultimately, the Prague Spring inspired the future revolutions of the 1980’s that ultimately ended Stalinism in Eastern Europe, East Germany, and the Soviet Union itself.

Today, it is 50 years after one major Poor People's Campaign march in Washington, D.C. The people at the location were black people, Latinx people, Native Americans, white people, etc. The Poor People's Campaign was the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wanted the poor to have economic justice firmly. Many of these human beings on May 29, 1968 marched on the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., to protest a high court ruling that affirmed limits on Native American fishing rights in several rivers of Washington state. One leader of this movement was Ralph David Abernathy, the principal leader of the Poor People’s Campaign following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.. Another leader of the movement was Reies Tijerina, a leader of the Chicano movement in the state of New Mexico. Many protesters were at the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court building seeking justice. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., before he died, was moving to be more left wing and more revolutionary. He saw that civil and voting rights are great, but you have to address an economic system that harms people of all colors if you desire true liberation. You have to have a massive redistribution of economic and political power in order to cause real change in our society. Dr. King wanted the Poor People's Campaign to be like the Bonus March back in the 1930's when WWI veterans wanted higher wages (while setting up tents in Washington D.C.). Douglas MacArthur used his troops to end the Bonus March brutally. One of the greatest mistakes of Douglas MacArthur was his excessive response to the Bonus March.

Also, it is important to note that Sister Mary Wright Edelman inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to go forward with the Poor People's Campaign. Since Dr. King was gone physically by April 4, 1968, Ralph Abernathy took over the SCLC and the Poor Peoples Campaign. Dr. King wanted the Poor People's Campaign to give the poor a living wage, adequate incomes, true land, allow to give the poor to experience true political and economic power, and the establishment of other policies. This was part of the Economic Bill of Rights. The Poor People's Campaign asked for the federal government to prioritize helping the poor with a $30 billion anti-poverty package that included, among other demands, a commitment to full employment, a guaranteed annual income measure, and more low-income housing. Even during that time (with the peak of the American post-World War II economic boom in the midst of the lowest economic inequality in American history, possibly in world history), the capitalist powers that be refused to follow the Economic Bill of Rights of the Poor People's Campaign (when these proposals from Dr. King and others were reasonable and legitimate). Dr. King once said that if the government can spend billions of dollars to send a man on the moon then it can spend billions of dollars to help the poor right here on Earth. He's right. Today, we have a new Poor People's Campaign desiring economic justice as well. Rev. Barber is one leader of this 2018 movement using rallies, civil disobedience, and other programs to fight for the poor. It has been a sick past-time for not only some of the rich, but some of the bourgeoisie middle class (many of whom are one or two paychecks away from poverty) to mock and degrade the poor viciously, which is evil. Those days are over. The poor deserves respect and honor just like anyone else.

The United States and North Vietnam start to agree on peace talks in Paris by May 3, 1968. On May 14, 1968, the Beatles announced the creation of Apple Records in a New York press conference. Many thunderstorms created tornadoes that made huge damage plus casualties in Charles City, Iowa, Oelwein, Iowa, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. Robert Kennedy won the Nebraska primary on May 14, 1968 too. It was Kennedy’s first majority victory. He beat both McCarthy and LBJ. Nixon won the Republican primary in Nebraska over Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller. Back then, Rockefeller was a liberal Republican, Reagan was in the conservative wing, and Nixon was in the middle. On May 17, 1968, the Catonsville Nine enter the Selective Service offices in Catonsville, Maryland, take dozens of selective service draft records, and burn them with napalm as a protest against the Vietnam War. The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion sinks with 99 men aboard, 400 miles southwest of the Azores. This happened on May 22, 1968. McCarthy won the Oregon primary on May 28, 1968 because Oregon was much more conservative back then (and RFK’s pro-gun control stance turned many Oregon voters off). Nixon easily won the Oregon primary. Robert Kennedy campaigned in California during this time. McCarthy stumped California’s many colleges and universities, where he was treated as a hero for being the first presidential candidate to oppose the war. Robert Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of California’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. Kennedy and McCarthy engaged in a television debate a few days before the primary; it was generally considered a draw. On June 4, 1968, Robert Kennedy narrowly defeated McCarthy in California, 46%–42%. However, McCarthy refused to withdraw from the race and made it clear that he would contest Kennedy in the upcoming New York primary, where McCarthy had much support from anti-war activists in New York City. Robert Kennedy ultimately gathered support among African Americans, white progressives, Latino Americans, Native Americans, women, and others to win the California primary. On June 5, 1968, U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy died from his injuries the next day on June 6, 1968. With the assassination of Robert Francis Kennedy, another tragedy existed where human beings (especially the youth) were sadden plus confused on where to go next in the movement for social justice. Yet, RFK’s unfortunate, unjust death never ended the Dream. The Dream continues.

By Timothy

Friday, June 22, 2018

Octavia E. Butler, Who Brought Diversity to the World of Science Fiction, Honored With Google Doodle

Dr. King.....The Parts of his Life AND DEATH they'll never teach.

Friday Updates in Late June 2018

Trump is a notorious liar. He signed an executive order in trying to reunite children with their parents, but he also continues to blame Democrats alone for the crisis on the border. The reality is that undocumented immigration has declined massively since 1990. Immigration issues are not bounded by one party. Both major parties share responsibility in the issue of immigration. Trump has implemented the zero tolerance policy that has exacerbated the crisis in the first place. He once refused to do anything, but pressure has caused him to create an executive order. Trump has retreated on the family separation issue. His other lie is that he believes that Democrats want anyone to come into America for any reason whatsoever. What this situation is about deals with people escaping tyranny and massive violence from Central America. Many of those countries in that region were impoverished plus filled with violence by the existence of U.S.-backed military dictatorships. They or the undocumented immigrants are not an infestation (as Trump has called them). This situation ultimately deals with migrants seeking a better way of life for themselves and for their families. Not to mention that Congress does have the responsibility to make comprehensive solutions to this crisis legislatively as well. People are discussing about the Flores decision. Ultimately, the executive order promotes family detention instead of family separation. The act of children being placed into camps by themselves has been condemned by many quarters. The American Academy of Pediatrics calls this “child abuse”, Amnesty International says it is “nothing short of torture”, and the United Nations denounces it as “despicable” and an “unconscionable” violation of human rights. In a recent speech, Trump has effectively called for the abolition of due process for immigrants. “We don’t want judges, we want security on the border,” he said. “We don’t want people coming in.” Immigrants have the right to have due process and human equality.

There has been documented evidence of the abuse of immigrant children for years. Court documents made public in Virginia and Texas give a glimpse of the systematic brutality being meted out to immigrant children in both public and private jails. Children are strapped down, hooded and beaten, or drugged by force, as part of the everyday procedure in what can only be called the American Gulag. An Associated Press report published Thursday gave details of the abuses committed against young Latino migrants at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia, last year. Lawyers for the teenage victims sued the prison—a state facility run by a consortium of seven towns and cities in the Shenandoah Valley—and a court hearing is set for July. According to a half-dozen sworn statements, given by the victims in Spanish and then translated for filing with the federal court for the Western District of Virginia, children as young as 14 were beaten while handcuffed, tied down to chairs while stripped naked and hooded, and held for long periods in solitary confinement, sometimes naked and cold. All these are forms of torture practiced at Guantanamo Bay and at CIA torture prisons around the world. These techniques have been transferred back into the United States and unleashed on immigrant children, who have been demonized by the Trump administration.

We are not silent. Trump has been notorious in using overtly racist rhetoric. Any supporter of Trump is a racist or supports racism period. This is beyond ignorance. This deals with Trump supporters being complicit in his bigotry. The neo-fascist, anti-immigrant movement isn't just limited to America. It's a worldwide problem. In Italy, people are calling for the registration of the Roma. The far right wants the deportation of 500,000 immigrants. Neo-fascists are growing in Germany in demonizing immigrants. Hate crime attacks against Muslims and against Jewish people have existed in England. The French government has restricted the right of asylum in their nation recently. Defense of the rights of immigrants to live on this Earth is a key revolutionary tenet. There are many protesters who are defending the rights of immigrants and refugees. Right now, there is confusion over how to unite children with their parents. Trump's new executive order makes the detention among families and their children de facto permanent. That must change. More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church issued a formal complaint against Sessions as a fellow church member, charging that his “zero tolerance” policy on immigration violates church rules and may constitute child abuse. It is evil to possibly punish migrants with 20 years in prison for migration in escaping persecution. Human beings have the right to move freely and safely worldwide.

Days ago was the Birthday of Sister Kierra Sheard. She is 31 years old and a worldwide well known gospel singer and fashion designer. She is also a radio host. She was born in Detroit and Detroit has a long history of gospel musicians. Throughout her life, she has sang in the choir, worked and finished albums, and worked in fashion. She was in the movie the Preacher's Kid and loves her family a great deal. She believes in God with an earnest passion and that's glorious. Her family has been involved in gospel music for decades as lovers and experts of gospel music know about. Sheard is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she received her bachelor's degree in English with a minor in psychology. She is young and excellently has worked hard in achieving her goals. She will continue to promote greatness in her life. I wish Sister Kierra Sheard more blessings.

Yesterday was the time of the murder of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. These human beings were advocates for freedom. They worked for the 1964 cause of Freedom Summer. Freedom Summer was a multiracial movement whose goal was to give black Mississippians voting rights, educational opportunities, job opportunities, and human equality in general. All three men were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Many people, who worked in Freedom Summer, came from all over America to work with people in Mississippi. This was during the 1964 Presidential campaign between LBJ and Goldwater (who explicitly opposed the Civil Rights Act). All 3 young men were shot, murdered, and their bodies dumped into a location by members of the Klan. Many people found their bodies. Their stories are found in many movies and documentaries like Mississippi Burning (which told the truth about the vicious racism of the Klan but it sugarcoated the FBI response as many FBI agents used a lax response in fighting oppression. We know that Hoover hated the civil rights movement and its leaders. Also, the movie ignored a lot of the self defense movements in the Deep South against Klan terrorism). Black folks in the South were not taking it without a response. The Deacons of Defense and other groups used self defense against racists throughout the South. This tragedy was a turning point in the civil rights movement in that afterwards American support for civil rights increased. So, we remember these martyrs and we are renewed in the fight for human justice.

By Timothy