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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Setting the Record Straight

The Sister Ava Duvernay made very great, wise points. She has every right to not make her film a “white savior” movie. Too many people want to ignore the blood, sweat, and tears of what black people have gone through. Lyndon Johnson was a politician. He wanted to have things his way and he couldn’t control people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a submissive manner. Dr. King was his own man. Not to mention that the Selma movement existed before Dr. King spoke to Lyndon Johnson about voting rights. She is right to say that we can’t forget about the women and the people of Selma who took a leadership role in fighting for human rights. A movement is not done by the work solely of one person. It is a culmination of the efforts of many people, who cooperatively stand up against injustice. LBJ did not authorize the wiretaps of Dr. King during that time period, but LBJ was a great friend of J. Edgar Hoover. That’s a fact. LBJ talked with J. Edgar Hoover cordially all of the time. Califano is a known apologist of LBJ. I have heard of him for years. Califano is wrong to say that Selma was LBJ’s idea. That is a disrespectful statement and it is an affront to our black people. *Also, we should never forget how LBJ treated Sister Fannie Lou Hamer when she wanted to speak in the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Malcolm X talked about LBJ too in critical terms. Black people have lead the black liberation movement for centuries and our role ought to be respected. It is important to note that LBJ never stopped or prevented Hoover (and RFK once supported it) from conducting his illegal wiretapping when he knew what Hoover was doing. LBJ and Dr. King disagreed on strategies in dealing with Selma, but they wanted the Voting Rights Act to be passed. LBJ was pushed to allow the Voting Rights Act to be passed in a quicker fashion. LBJ passed many progressive legislation, but he was a racist. He called many people the N word including the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Robert Parker. Johnson’s foreign policy was blatantly imperialist as he not only supported the evil Vietnam War, but he supported coups throughout Asia and Latin America (where progressive leaders were killed as a means to cause fascist governments to emerge. LBJ bragged on tape about how he was involved in the assassination of Diem). When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. publicly opposed the Vietnam War, especially with his great Riverside Church speech in April 4, 1967, LBJ hated him. So, Lyndon Johnson should not be defied. He has a dual legacy as President (in the sense that he passed many great legislation and he was filled with contradictions like his brutal, reactionary foreign policy, his obscene racism, etc.). I wish the best for Ava Duvernay and I love her standing up for her integrity as a black woman.

Newt Gingrich spewed so many lies that I lost count. It is obvious that he is exploiting the tensions in New York City as an excuse to promote his agenda. He has promoted racially divisively rhetoric, which does nothing to solve this problem. The President has made race-neutral and centrist speeches on race and they are hardly divisive or controversial. Racial tensions in America have existed for centuries long before President Barack Obama was elected and before Eric Holder was Attorney General of America. There has been a radical drop in total arrests in New York City. Patrick Lynch has failed in his leadership by lying about some people (who have nothing to do with the deaths of the officers) as having blood on their hands. The GOP has a known history of promoting racial strife from their support of the Southern Strategy to their creation of the War on Drugs. Black organizations have worked all of the time to save black lives in a stronger vigor and courageousness than Giuliani and Bloomberg put together in NYC. There is no conclusive evidence that a slight increase in shooting for one year (not multiple years) is a result of the ending of stop and frisk. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The murder rate including overall crime in general continues to decline in New York (including nationwide). Nationwide, overall black crime rates are decreasing. Gingrich has said nothing on the prison industrial complex, on economic inequality, on Eric Garner, on Sean Bell, etc. because he is not concerned with promoting the dignity of black life. He is concerned with promoting a narrative that blames the victims of oppression instead of the oligarchy in the first place. Black people need justice not scapegoating.

At the end of the day, there must be a comprehensive approach. There should always be a fight against racism and discrimination. Also, there should be more grassroots programs to promote STEM skills training among black youth, etc. in a higher level. There are tons of black people who love code and love STEM subjects throughout generations, especially among the younger generation. For thousands of years and today, there are tons of black people who not only know about STEM subjects, but they have great resiliency. We have to work within all levels of government and in our communities too (i.e. religious organizations, activist groups, our economic groups, etc. should all be part of the solution) as a way for us to make things happen. Communities have every right to enact self-determination. We have to work strategically and courageously to stand up for the dignity of black people. The interview among Eddie Conway and Chris Hedges is a necessary one for people to listen too (especially those who don’t know the brutal system of the prison industrial complex). As others have mentioned, the 13th Amendment legalizes slavery for prisoners, which is wrong plainly speaking. This story reminds me of Attica too. The prisoners were brutally mistreated and assaulted during the 1970’s Attica incident where men (in prison) wanted to be treated as men. Men and Women in the prison system have the right to maintain their dignity, but the system readily economically exploits both genders. That horrendous situation should make anyone become filled with indignant anger at this offensive human exploitation. Many people in Congress don’t care. They don’t care about human dignity, because many of them actively support this inhumane system or they are funded by the same private corporations who are permitting the prison industrial complex to exist in the first place. George Jackson, Angela Davis, and others have told excellent truths about the prison system. Things must change.

Any social movement for social change has distinctions. This new movement of the Brunch protesters, the rest of the BlackLives Matters movement, etc. readily uses social media and these unique forms of demonstrations. Of course, we need to organize political and economic power. We need grassroots, democratic leadership not authoritarian leadership. Leadership is not about one person ruling everybody in a despotic fashion. True leadership is about the fair sharing of power, so the masses of the people can be empowered. The right people must be elected to make sure that our interests are promoted in society. This movement is going through growing pains. That is what I feel. This is the period where this movement is evolving. I say let this movement evolve and find its flavor. Yes, there will be hills and valleys, but the goal is the same. We all have the same goal. Revolution is not just about political changes or economic changes (as we need economic justice, true racial justice, and accountability in the world). It is about the change in consciousness (as the soul and the mind must be enriched). Our thinking and our consciousness in general must be more cooperative, more compassionate, and more about giving. We need to allow revolutionary change, but what these protesters are doing is about bringing awareness on the dignity of black human life. This new movement needs guidance (especially from folks from the older generation who have put in the work in real life for decades), inspiration, and motivation to keep on going. I don’t feel that their actions are the end all be all, but there are other young activists not only protesting, but they are organizing programs helping people too. We should not ignore that. I say more power to them and I wish them the best.

First, Sister L. Taylor wrote an excellent, thought provoking article. We have to look inward in our minds and souls as a means for us to not only evaluate our lives, but to enact the necessary solutions which can liberate us collectively as black people. The issue is definitely that we face institutionalized racism and economic inequality. The modern police in America was created during the 19th century and their leadership has been the arm of the Establishment (or the power structure). The power structure thrives on race and class privilege, while the human rights of the underprivileged and minorities (like black people) are readily violated. We know that numerous cops are involved in corruption from murder, involvement in the brutality of people, etc. The concept of self-determination is important too. That means that we as a people have every right to determine the destinies of our black community. That also means that we have the right to follow independent thinking and oppose imperialism including police repression. Revolutionary changes are needed in our communities and that is why new programs like cooperatives, other independent programs, and efforts to deal with housing including health care are developing. We have a long way to go, but we will keep on moving forward. We must demand and fight for justice without compromise, without exception, and without delay. #Black Lives Matter.

By Timothy

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