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Monday, January 05, 2015

News of Reflection (on Monday)

The late Edward W. Brooke was a man of action and he was never ashamed of his political views (regardless if individuals agreed with him or not). He was not an extremist and he loved to work for the residents of Massachusetts as well. The late Senator Edward W. Brooke’s long life was filled with inspiration, service, and moving forward. He was a Liberal Republican. On the Vietnam War, he was at first a dove, then a hawk, and then back to being a dove (The Vietnam War was an unjust war). We have a long way to go, but we ought to continue in the journey for freedom and liberation. I send prayers and condolences to the family of Edward W. Brooke. The passing away of Edward Brooke reminds all of us that we must fight for economic justice. Any Wall Street banker involved in criminal actions, especially which caused the 2008 financial crisis should be arrested and tried as criminals. The core privilege that allowed Wall Street mega-banks to become so rich and powerful in the first place is fractional reserve banking. That type of banking has allowed the private banks to create the entire U.S. money supply as an interest bearing debt to them. There should be a replacement of the privately controlled, debt based money system with a publicly controlled, debt free money system. The repeal of the Glass Steagall Act (especially the provision that prohibited investment bankers from serving as officers of commercial banks) directly contributed to the financial crisis. Also, the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble also contributed to our economic crisis too. The derivatives infected Wall Street mega banks should cancel these derivatives. We know how the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform both serve to entrench the two party duopoly even further. There must be an end to unnecessary wars as well. We should keep poisons out of our food and water. We want clean water and a healthy environment.

Frederick Douglas was a heroic man. He put pressure on President Abraham Lincoln, because Lincoln had a compromising view on slavery. Other abolitionists wanted Lincoln to be more revolutionary on the issue of human freedom. The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation came about. It called for freeing slaves in Confederate territories, but even that did not go far enough. Principled abolitionists came to Lincoln and said to him that his approach was not going to cut it. Later, Abraham Lincoln opposed slavery completely. Progress comes by struggle. The Civil War allowed the Union forces to defeat the Confederacy. The defeat of the Confederacy was a good thing and it caused a revolutionary change in America, which was the end of overt mass slavery in America. Frederick Douglass, free blacks, Radical abolitionists, and others opposed Lincoln’s temporary call for colonization (or causing all black people in America to go into Africa). Lincoln later rejected the idea. In August 1863, he instructed General Nathaniel P. Banks to establish a system in Louisiana during wartime Reconstruction in which “the two races could gradually live themselves out of their old relation to each other, and both come out better prepared for the new.” Indeed, on April 11, 1865, following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Lincoln gave a speech in which he declared that literate blacks and black Union Army veterans should have the right to vote in a reconstructed Union—an early step toward the 14th Amendment and citizenship for the freed slaves. In essence, all black citizens of America have the right to vote regardless if someone is literate or not. Therefore, the Civil War was filled with complexities, but the Confederacy being defeated was a great thing. The Civil War was a revolutionary war where Brothers and Sisters literally fought for their freedom. Frederick Douglas’ life was filled with courage, drama, and insights. He lived through the rise of industrial capitalism. The numerous accounts of his life include the following pieces of prose: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave (1845), My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), and The Life & Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). He and others inspired the abolitionist movement to be more radical and progressive. He berated the Republicans because they ‘fought with the soft white hand, while they kept the black iron hand chained and helpless behind them; that they fought the effect, while they protected the cause.’ But Douglass believed the necessities of the war would turn Republicans into abolitionists, appealing to their pragmatic interests rather than their sense of morality.  He was right to promote freedom for black people and after the Civil War, Frederick Douglas would be a stalwart Republican until his death. When Garrison disbanded the Anti-Slavery Society, Douglas continued to not just help newly freed slaves, but to help black workers too. The workers need economic justice.

I feel for the black grandmother (who is Sister Terry Turner from Alabama). The vandals are racist terrorists without question. They or the vandals ought to be found and sent to prison for their evil actions. We, as black people, are in a war for our survival literally. White racists are vicious, evil, and without compassion. This story and others document this. Therefore, I am all for self-defense. Brothers and Sisters have every right to protect the grandmother’s house. I send prayers for the grandmother and the rest of her family. We have every right to defend our black people. Selma was a turning point in our history. After Selma and the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many people thought that equality was fulfilled for black people, which was totally wrong. Ironically today, some parts of the Voting Rights Act have been gutted by the Supreme Court. The Dallas County Voters League (DCVL), SNCC, the SCLC, and others were involved in this movement. After Selma, Dr. King became more overtly radicalized and he saw that civil rights reforms without economic justice don't equate into real freedom. True freedom is not just about legal, oppressive apartheid being gone in America. It is also about the poor being empowered and it is about human beings having the income or the economic power to live out their own lives in society. Dr. King said how militarism and the economic oppression in America are interrelated. He was right to support economic justice. Therefore, people sacrificed in the Selma movement courageously. Many people died for freedom. We should remember their efforts and we should continue to fight for the same liberation that our predecessors fought for. Charda Gregory was a victim of police brutality. Najor should not have her job back. This injustice of reinstating Najor represents how evil the criminal justice system is and how evil many police departments are nationwide. Not all laws in the world are just laws, so the powers that be use legal manipulation as a means for them to perpetrate oppression. This action of reinstating an evil cop shows that black women are disrespected all of the time. No woman (regardless if she wears a weave or not) should be abused, mistreated, or assaulted period. Black women should be treated with dignity and with respect. This action of reinstating that cop also shows how injustices against black people in general still occur. Freedom is not free. Our black ancestors fought for freedom via resistance and courage. We have to do the same. The reinstatement is a total shame.

Far too often, people ignore how some images in Western society ignore the beauty of blackness. The petition is gaining some traction. Target has no choice, but to issue a response because one thing that a large corporation hates is being labeled as racist in public. Fundamentally, our image, as black people, ought to be shown as representative of our dynamic humanity. Quvenzhane Wallis is a humble person, she is very intelligent, and we all wish her the best. So, we should use this experience to be reminded that our image being shown is not enough. We need our true selves expressed. We need structural changes in society, so black people have true justice. People have the right to express diverse views on the motivation of Target in its ad campaign. One thing is true though. We have a long way to go. Our black image must be respected and viewed as having great value in the Universe. In order to grow our thinking or our consciousness, we have to have discussions. Discussions not only can be used to find solutions. It can be a way to gain unique, new insights that can enlighten human beings from an intellectual or social standpoint. There is nothing wrong with learning about diverse philosophies like Personalism, etc. There are common experiences in the human family. The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (which some have mentioned) further explains the commonalities that exist from across backgrounds or ethnicities. Comedies can allow people to find common ground and humor scientifically can improve the human health. So, humor and laughter at times are very important among the human experience. While at the same time, we can’t be na├»ve. We know that racism and economic exploitation are tied together. Both of these evils must be opposed. The system of oppression is a structural injustice that we must oppose. Imperialism and militarism still exist. Therefore, we, as black people, should use our diverse gifts and talents as a means for us to improve society, fight evil, and liberate our black people.

We see the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa or the NUMSA is fighting for economic justice. They formed a united front coalition on December 13-16, 2014 and they wanted to form a new party. There are more than 200,000 members of the National Union Metalworkers of South Africa. They organized more strikes and grassroots protests in the last 10 years than anywhere in the world (even more than the large striker for higher pay of one million teachers and public hospital workers in 2010). People want to nationalize industry and to have worker including community control of resources. In August 2014, shop stewards from NUMSA and leftists globally met in Johannesburg. They wanted a worker led united front to fight for services, water, electricity, and housing. They wanted a new left political party to oppose the ANC in the 2016 elections. Their ideas were shot down by people threatened by the NUMSA’s ideas. The ANC is in a Tripartite Alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), South Africa’s largest labor federation. The ANC took power in 1994 with Nelson Mandela was the first president.  Much of the ANC is bourgeois. Many in the ANC embraced neoliberal actions, deregulation, IMF market solutions (that built up multinational corporations at the expense of the interests of the 80 percent Black majority population including the rest of South African peoples). During the 1990s, economic inequality grew and unemployment grew. An independent women-led farm workers’ union, Sikhula Sonke, epitomizes the resiliency of and challenges facing Black women workers.  In 2014 alone, a five-month strike by AMCU platinum miners and a month-long strike by 200,000 NUMSA workers won minimum wage concessions. NUMSA’s bold call for a new workers’ party and its demand that COSATU also break with the ANC comes from this backdrop of pressure from below.  Therefore workers should unite with the poor and the rest of the oppressed in South Africa, so South Africa can be a better nation.

By Timothy

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