Friday, July 10, 2015

Today is a Historic Day (in South Carolina)


Today is a very historic day on July 10, 2015. Today is the day where the evil Confederate flag was finally taken down from the South Carolina Capitol grounds in Columbia. 2015 is a year where many historic events have been going on. We witnessed a welcomed change. When the flag came down, people of many colors and backgrounds in South Carolina cheered for joy. Other people cried in jubilation. It is fitting for a black trooper to carry the flag away. Now, the flag is sent to a museum. In personal opinion, that flag should be placed in the trash. That's just me. The Confederate flag is a symbol of hate, bigotry, racism, slavery, oppression, and of the evil system of white supremacy without question. The flag was there in South Carolina for 54 years. People have bleed and some people have died in order for that Confederate flag to be gone. The State Senate passed by the bill to get rid of that flag by 37-3. The State House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 94-20. Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill into law on Thursday afternoon. Bree Newsome, Septima Clark, and other Brothers and Sisters deserve massive credit for their work in the cause of justice. Elected officials like Governor Nikki Haley deserve credit for rejecting the words of the haters and doing what is right for South Carolina and for the rest of America. For years, the plan to get rid of the flag has failed until now. In 1961, Democratic Governor Ernest Hollings pushed for the display of the Confederate flag as a symbol of resistance to the civil rights movement and the determination of the South Carolina Democratic Party to defend Jim Crow. It was only in 2000 when that evil flag was removed from the top of the State Capitol (after the NAACP caused an economic boycott of South Carolina) into a nearby flagpole. Some House members in the U.S. Congress wanted to place Confederate flags  in national parks. That was struck down by people from the Congressional Black Caucus and other people opposed such a measure. People shouted in Congress over this issue. The flag being gone is a victory for all people. Now, we have a long way to go. We see how the brutal class oppression has harmed working people and the poor of South Carolina (who are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, immigrant, etc.). There is massive wealth in Charleston and Columbia, but the state is one of the poorest states in America. There is low wages, widespread poverty, poor hosing, and abysmal public services. The deaths of the 9 people in the Charleston AME Church and the death of Walter Scott (who was a 50 year old Brother who was killed in North Charleston) should motivate all of us to keep on fighting. We want justice and freedom.

The growth of fascism came about by many factors. Fascism is against human freedom and human justice. Fascism is about a system that allows policies to benefit select businesses and  the rich elites. In essence, fascism is a form of totalitarian government with extreme nationalist tendencies whereby the government is controlled and operated for the benefit of a few elite. Fascism includes extreme exploitation, unbridled corporatism, the use of violence to maintain power, a cult like leader, extreme anti-socialism, extreme anti-communism, racism, and other anti-progressive views. Japan grew because of massive industrialization and the Emperor of Japan wanted the Empire of Japan to expand into Asia (thereby promoting the myth of Japanese racial superiority). Mussolini made no bones about his hatred of socialism and communism by his own words. Throughout the early 20th century, Mussolini fought socialist and communist groups all over Italy. So, Mussolini was a dedicated member of the reactionary fascist movement. The fascist Adolf Hitler exploited the economic turmoil in Europe as a means for him and his Nazi group to advance militarism, racism, anti-Semitism, and imperialism (in violation of international law). In August 8, 1934, people from the Wehrmacht swore a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler instead of to the German constitution. There is the Abyssinia Crisis. This starts in December of 1934 when the imperialist Italians and the Ethiopian troops fight each other on the border of Ethiopia. America signed the Neutrality Act of 1935 that has a general embargo on trading in arms and war. It declared that American citizens traveling on ships of warring nations traveled at their own risk. In September 1935, the Reichstag passed the Nuremberg Laws. These laws introduce anti-Semitism in German legislation. On October 2, 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, which started the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Ethiopia was soon occupied fully by May 5, 1936.  Ethiopia would not gain independence until February 10, 1947. In 1936, Hitler promoted lies. He said to Arnold J. Toynbee that he just wanted limited expansionism of a greater German nation. In actuality, Hitler wanted to rule Europe, exterminate the Jewish people of Europe, and conquer the Earth. Germany hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics too. Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles in March 7, 1936 by remilitarizing the Rhineland. Hitler grown the military of German by allowing Herman Goring to head the German Four Year Plan, which desired German self-sufficiency and increase armaments. Stalin on October of 1937 made the big mistake by executing the Great Purge, which was about the widespread suppression of suspected opponents of his regime. That purge also caused the death and the imprisonment of military of forces too, which weakened the Soviet Armed Forced aheas of WWII. Germany hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin on August 1. The Brother Jesse Owens won the 100 m race, which refuted the myth of white racial superiority. The Suiyan Campaign in November 14, 1936 was about Japanese-backed Mongolian troops attack the Chinese garrison at Hongort. Germany and the Japanese sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. This agreement from November 25, 1936 desired to attack the Soviets if the Soviets attack Germany of Japan. Hitler forces all males from 10 to 18 to join the Hitler Youth. In December 1, 1936, the Chinese Civil War ends temporarily, so the Chinese can fight the Japanese. During the late 1930’s, the Spanish Civil War continues. This war was about progressive forces (of Spain. Many liberals came to Spain to fight with the progressives) fighting the more fascist, nationalist forces of Spain.

Los Angeles has a very important history during the WWII era from 1941 to 1945. Just before this time, the beginning of Los Angeles International Airport came about in 1929 when the Hangar No 1 was built. The airport was called Mines Field back then in 1930. Later, it expanded into the Los Angeles International Airport or LAX. In 1940, there was the Arroyo Seco Parkway. It opens on the right of way between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena.  This becomes the first controlled limited access highway or freeway. Today, the LA area has 27 interconnecting freeways and the East LA interchange is the busiest in the world. During World War II, Los Angeles grew as a center for production of aircraft, war supplies, and ammunitions. Thousands of people, which included black people and white people from the South and the Midwest, traveled into LA in order for them to fill up factory jobs. Shipbuilding was a huge industry and the Port of Los Angeles employed about 90,000 workers. In fact, one third of all U.S. warplanes were manufactured in Los Angeles. By 1941, the United States Court house is built the Pueblo Del Riot housing complex is built in 1941 too.   In 1942, Los Angeles established its first parking meter. There were also racial tensions not only between whites and blacks in LA back then. There were racial tensions between whites and Hispanics or Latino during the WWII era too. Many black people and Hispanic people back then opposed segregation and racial oppression in Los Angeles. Zaragosa Vargas’ book entitled, “Labor Rights Are Civil Rights: Mexican-American Workers in 20th Century America” from 2007 has amazing, great research on this issue. The strikes during the New Deal era inspired a younger generation of Mexican Americans to fight for their human rights. This was one foundation of the Chicano civil rights movement which we know about. Now back then, many Mexican Americans were experiencing massive labor exploitation and institutionalized racism throughout the Southwest and the West Coast. Some were forced to live in impoverished barrios and had an inadequate educational system. So, people fought back. There was an explosion of population growth in Los Angeles during the 1940’s. Thousands of Mexican refugees came into LA since some were refugees fleeing the Mexican Revolution. Many white men were in WWII as soldiers (black soldiers in WWII were in segregated military forces) while women and people of color filed the jobs in the defense industry. Jazz was popular back then like hip hop and pop music are popular today. Jazz was used as a way for people to express defiance against racism and the evil system of white supremacy. So, African Americans and Mexican Americans wore zoot suits as a means for them to defy the evils of segregation and racism. Later, Los Angeles authorities stereotyped Mexican zoot suit wearers as criminals collectively, which was wrong. Most zoot suit wearers were young Mexican Americans while many older Mexican Americans opposed it. Drunken servicemen assaulted Mexican Americans. Racists exploited the Sleepy Lagoon Murder case (of 1942, which was about Jose Diaz being murdered. Nine people were convicted and sentenced to prison terms. Innocent people were convicted and their convictions were overturned in 1944). These tensions escalated into a street fight between sailors and Mexican American youth which caused the Zoot Riots. It lasted for a week during June of 1943. It started with Sailor Joe Dacy Coleman. He grabbed a Mexican person and the Mexican used self-defense against Coleman. Other sailors were harassing women and the Mexican youth attacked the servicemen for harassing women. Coleman and other sailors escaped to safety. Later, 50 sailors wanted revenge. They went to Alpine Street and attack 12 and 13 year old boys wearing zoot suits. These Mexican boys were innocent. The boys were clubbed mercilessly. Their suits were burned. Later, riots happened. Mexican musicians were attacked when they exited the Aztec Recording company after a recording section. Hundreds of servicemen were in downtown Los Angeles to stalk Mexicans and they assaulted them. This was said by Military Commander Clarence Flogg. Mexican American kids had no choice, but to organize and fight back. Rudy Leyvas was one person who was Mexican American and he fought back. Some black people in Watts were attacked by white racist brutes. Filipinos were victims too by being assaulted by soliders. This was one of the worst times in American history. After the riots, Mexican Americans were made the scapegoats by the political establishment when the riots occurred as a product of racism. Many post-war activists such as Luis Valdez, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright have claimed that they were inspired by the Zoot Suit Riots. Cesar Chávez was a zoot suiter when he first became interested in politics and zoot suiter Malcolm X took part in the Harlem zoot suit riots. WWII ended in 1945.

As the 21st century comes into 2020, we have to learn more about the Black African Diaspora. We are an international people. The Afro-Germans have long history. There are about 500,000 Afro-Germans worldwide. They are heavily found in locations like Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, and Cologne. They speak a diversity of languages like German, Niger-Congo languages, Nilo Saharan languages, English, etc. Many Afro-Germans have increased their populations since the end of World War II. Their populations have flourished in Germany as a product of trade and migration. About 70,000 Afro-Germans live in Berlin. The first black Africans in the modern era came into Germany during the 17th century. We know about the Ghana born Anton Wilhelm Amo. He was sponsored by a German duke to become the first African to attend a European university. He completed his studies and he taught plus wrote in philosophy. Germany was heavily involved in slavery and Afro-Germans were oppressed by white racists. Many Germans were involved in the extermination of the Nama people in 1907. The racist German director for colonial affairs, Bernhard Dernburg, stated that "some native tribes, just like some animals, must be destroyed.” Germans were involved in the colonial period and some Afro-German fought back for freedom and justice. Africans founded the bilingual periodical that was published in German and Duala: Elolombe ya Cameroon (Sun of Cameroon). A political group of Africans established the German branch of a Paris-based rights organization: "the German section of the League to the Defense of the Negro Race.” Afro-Germans endured the Great Depression in Germany. The Nazis killed not only Afro-Germans, but  Americans soldiers (which included Black Americans) who fought the Nazis too. Naturalized Afro-Germans lost their passports.  In continued discrimination directed at Afro-Germans including biracial people in Germany. Nazi officials subjected some 500 Afro-German children in the Rhineland to forced sterilization. Blacks were placed at the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans along with Jews and Gypsies. For an autobiography of an Afro-German in Germany under Nazi rule see Hans Massaquoi's book Destined to Witness. After WWII, more Afro-Germans, Afro-Caribbeans, Africans, African Americans, and biracial people lived in Germany. Also, a massive amount of U.S. soldiers were stationed in German soil, especially after WWII. My father was stationed in Germany for a time decades ago. Audre Lorde sought to break stigmas and taboos. She is a Black American writer and activist. She taught in the Free University of Berlin from 1984 to 1992. She helped to push the coining of the term “Afro-German” into a powerful movement that addressed the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexual orientation. She encouraged black German women like May Ayim to write and publish poems including autobiographies (so people can get writings into a higher sense of visibility). Audre Lorde was a strong black feminist. Since 1981, Germany has had immigration from African states, mostly from Nigeria and Ghana, who were seeking work. Some of the Ghanaians also came to study in German universities. John Ehret was Germany’s first Afro-German mayor. Afro-German musicians include Ayo, Denyo, Lou Bega, Mamadee, Mark Medlock, Nneka, Rob Pilatus, Samy Delux, Jessica Wahls, etc. Steffi Jones is the Afro-German President of the Organizing Committee of the FIFA women’s soccer World Cup 2011 and the German Football Association Director. The SFD - Schwarze Filmschaffende in Deutschland (Black Artists in German Film, literally Black Filmmakers in Germany) is a professional association based in Berlin for directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors who are Afro-Germans or of Black African origin and living in Germany. They have organized the "New Perspectives" series at the Berlinale film festival.

The Presidency of Richard Nixon modernized the evil War on Drugs. Nixon used Operation Intercept to prevent the import of marijuana from Mexico into America. It dealt with displaying strict, punitive searches of traffic along the U.S.-Mexican border, so a crackdown of marijuana can happen. Civil liberties were violated and it was a foreign policy failure. Nixon passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. This allowed the federal government to act in a more aggressive manner to deal with drug enforcement and drug abuse prevention. In a 1971 speech, Nixon called drug abuse “public enemy number one.” He called for treatment first and pushed for the treatment of drug addicts, especially heroin addicts. Nixon also targeted the trendy, psychedelic image of illegal drugs, asking celebrities such as Elvis Presley to help him send the message that drug abuse is unacceptable. Seven years later, Presley himself fell to drug abuse; toxicologists found as many as fourteen legally prescribed drugs, including narcotics, in his system at the time of his death. Elvis’s passing was an unfortunate tragedy. Before the 1970’s, drug abuse was seen as mostly a social disease by policymakers who wanted to promoted treatment. After the 1970’s, many people wanted to view drug abuse as a law enforcement matter that could be stopped by aggressive criminal policies. The DEA was created in 1973. The DEA stands for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA are involved in criminal drug enforcement policies. From 1970 to the present, we see the modern era of the war on drugs. During 1982, Nancy Reagan told kids to just say No if someone offered them drugs. During this time, illegal drug usage among children was a more national issue. She told these words to one fourth grader at Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, California. Nancy Reagan’s words are representative of Ronald Reagan’s anti-drug message. This caused the administration to promote more aggressive federal anti-drugs legislation. Reagan signed the Antidrug Act of 1986, which established a 100:1 ratio for mandatory minimums associated with cocaine. It would take 5,000 grams of powdered cocaine to land you in prison for a minimum 10 years--but only 50 grams of crack. The deal is that powdered cocaine was used mostly by richer people. Crack cocaine was used heavily by the poor since crack cocaine was more affordable than powered cocaine. Therefore, this law caused unfair sentencing policies against the poor, African Americans, and Latinos. The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill allows the federal execution of drug kingpins. By the 1990’s, the War on Drugs allowed many drug related offenses to be regarded by the federal government as equivalent to or worse than murder and treason.

By Timothy

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