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Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday News Updates

People shed blood and died (like Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo, Jonathan Daniels, Medgar Evers, Herbert Lee, and others) in order for the Voting Rights Act to exist in 1965. The racist Southern aristocracy tried to prevent the proletariat (and the rest of the people) from exercising the human right of voting, but they were defeated in those aims in Selma and in other places nationwide. The battle is not over though. We see the rise of Voter ID Laws. These laws aren’t just found in the South. They are found nationwide. These laws in various states stop Sunday voting, cut the number of early voting days, stop same day registration, cut the numbers of polling centers, and stop the use of student IDs in some states. These voter suppression laws have nothing to do with eliminating voting fraud (which is minuscule in our generation), but these reactionary voter ID laws as studies have documented negatively harm the voting rights of black people, people of color, college students, the elderly, and the poor. The words from Sister Rosanell Eaton should inspire any progressive person (and anyone in general) to stand up and speak up for our human rights. This issue shouldn’t even be political. This issue is an universal issue. I have no problem with strengthening the Voting Rights Act and ending these reactionary voter suppression laws in states (especially in North Carolina). Yet, as history shows us, that is not enough. We also have to organize our power base in our black communities and develop more of our own institutions as a people. The Supreme Court gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is a disgrace. The battle for liberation is not over, but we are committed to the same goal of justice. So, we have to both fight for structural changes internationally (as there must be a redistribution of political and economic power, so the masses of the people can be free. I believe in political independence) and use self-determination at the same time.

I saw one of the Dream Defenders gave an excellent display of how Jeb Bush as Governor has crippled much of the state of Florida in terms of education, workers' rights, and the criminal justice system. So, these protesters have courageously stood up for truth and justice. Jeb Bush is afraid to call for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing (as he refuses to address the evil prison to pipeline system including systematic racial & economic injustice), and he's afraid to advocate for black liberation. His political profile in non-courage certainly makes it clear about his bowing down to the political establishment. I don't support Jeb Bush. The actions of the protesters signify an end to respectability politics. We, as black people, have crawled, and begged for social acceptance. No social movement is successful by token reforms. Social movements for change always involve civil disobedience, protests, grassroots organization, community building programs, and acts of economic plus political development. Disruption (for a legitimate cause) and making people uncomfortable of injustice are great things to do. Making a politician so-called "uncomfortable" is the price that they pay for seeking the office of the Presidency. I rather see a politician being so-called "uncomfortable" than Brothers or Sisters being unjustly murdered by crooked cops (or Protectors of Injustice and Government Suppression). The acts of the BLM movement on Wednesday evening refute the slander that they only target people like Sanders. I have no issue with what the BLM members did. I have read a lot of cruel stories, but this is one of the cruelest stories that I have read in my life (about the mistreatment that Sister Josephine King has experienced). This woman who is named Josephine King constantly supported the church for decades and the church responded to her in a disrespectful way when she is sick. The church can easily send some money as way to help her medical needs (which is the reason why she didn't tithe). I'm glad that she is not in the church anymore, because the world now sees how many evil folks, who exploit the name of God, see profit and self-aggrandizement as more important than compassion, love, and respect for our elders. Respecting our elders is part of African tradition and it's part of a human ethos. She deserves better than this and the pastor should be ashamed of himself. I wish the best for the 92 year old Sister too.

There were tons of warnings about an awaiting disaster that was about to come to the Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans for years and decades. In 2001, the Houston Chronicle published a story which predicted that a severe hurricane striking New Orleans, "would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston." In 2002 the Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU), and the authorities in Jefferson Parish, modeled the effects and aftermath of a Category 5 strike on New Orleans. The model predicted an unprecedented disaster, with extensive loss of life and property. The study identified the problem: the New Orleans area is like a bowl, surrounded by levees which are strongest along the outer Mississippi and primarily intended to contain river flooding. When a hurricane drives water into Lake Pontchartrain, the weaker levees bordering Pontchartrain and canals leading to it are overwhelmed. Water then flows into the below-sea-level city, accompanied by water overflowing the levees along the Mississippi on the south side of the city center. Spike Lee and Greg Palast interviewed Dr. Ivor Van Heerden or the Deputy Director of Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center. Van Herden said that his job was threatened for giving the information (about who knew what and when before, during, and after the storm). The Louisiana State University’s hurricane Center had developed a hurricane evacuation plan that was totally ignored by the local, state, and federal governments. Van Heerden personally tried to make the government aware of the dangers, if a Hurricane hit New Orleans. After Hurricane Betsy, the levees were never rebuilt to withstand a flood brought on by a Hurricane, not even a Type 1 Hurricane, which Katrina became as it hit the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans. He said that someone in the government ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to build the levees one and a half feet lower than their original plans, which were inadequate. People knew that the lower 9th ward was going to be flooded and part of Lake Pontchartrain. Van Heerden points out that 129,000 people without transportation were going to be left to the whims of the flood waters, if the government did not use its resources to evacuate them from harm’s way.  His warnings fell on ears that would not listen and eyes that would not see. He told Palast that “FEMA knew at eleven o’clock on Monday August 29 that the levees had breached, at 2 o’clock they flew over the 17th St. Canal and took videos of the breaches, by midnight on Monday the White House knew, but none of us knew.” The Louisiana State University’s Hurricane Center was never informed of the levee breaks until noon on Tuesday. Refusing to inform the citizens of the 9th ward about the impending danger and the local governments, if they were so inclined, from helping them get to higher ground. The 12 hour silence of the White House was deafening and an example of the conscious decision to begin the process of the Ethnic Cleansing of New Orleans — to remove the working class and Black poor from New Orleans. Spike Lee’s documentary called “When the Levees Broke” Spike Lee’s 2010 documentary entitled, “If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise,” and Greg Palast’s documentary called, “Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans” are excellent resources of information for people to understand about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans including the rest of the Gulf Coast region.

There was massive immigration in Chicago during the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Chicago attracted especially unskilled workers from Eastern and Southern Europe including Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, and Italians including Jewish people from throughout Eastern Europe (most of them came from mostly the then Russian Empire). This is why new immigration legislation back in 1924 to be restricted populations from eastern and southern Europe, apart from refugees after World War II. During and after both wars, rural Americans arrived from the South, whites from Appalachia and blacks from the cotton areas of the Deep South. The near South Side of the city became the first Black residential area, as it had the oldest, less expensive housing. There was segregation back then in Chicago and competing ethnic groups like the Irish. Yet, black people continued to migrate into the South Side and in black neighborhoods near the West Side. These neighborhoods were de facto segregated areas (as few black people lived in ethnic white neighborhoods). The Irish and ethnic groups who had been longer in the city began to move into the outer areas and the suburbs. After World War II, the city built public housing for working class families to upgrade residential quality. The problem was that such public housing came about when industrial jobs left the city and poor families became concentrated in the facilities without true economic justice. After 1950, public housing high rises anchored poor black neighborhoods south and west of the Loop. More people left to the suburbs. Their commutes were eased by train lines. This made Oak Park and Evanston enclaves of the upper middle class to grow. In the 1910s, high-rise luxury apartments were constructed along the lakefront north of the Loop, continuing into the 21st century. They attracted wealthy residents but few families with children, as wealthier families moved to suburbs for the schools. There were problems in the public school system; mostly Catholic students attended schools in the large parochial system, which was of middling quality; and there were few private schools in the city. Many private school back then existed that served people who could afford it like: The Latin School, Francis Parker, and the Bateman School.

Je ne suis pas Charlie is not only a phrase, but it’s a movement. France is filled with some people who are imperialists, xenophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, racists, and other evil people and their views should be always repudiated (and opposed). There was the terrorist attack of the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in France, which was evil and unjustified. There is no excuse for killing innocent human life no matter what they show or say. Over 10 people died from the attack on early January 7, 2015. It started when 2 masked men, who had assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (including bulletproof vests), shot at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Tignous, and Wolinski were killed. The people who were the suspects were Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, two brothers, both French and in their early 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad. Both brothers were later killed by French authorities. Mourad subsequently walked into a police station about 145 kilometres from Paris and is now in custody. Another attack carried out by Amedy Coulibaly came in a kosher shop. He was later murdered, but his wife is probably in Syria as she escaped. It is already documented that Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were known to the intelligence services and to police. The Kouachi brothers were under intelligence surveillance from November 2011 to June 2014; they were also placed on British and US surveillance lists. From 2011 to 2013, one of the brothers repeatedly traveled to Islamist training camps in Yemen. As for Coulibaly, he was convicted for having plotted the jailbreak of an Islamist activist. He met Cherif Kouachi in prison. It’s a fact that in an interview with Le Monde, President Fran├žois Hollande even insisted that France had been arming Syrian Islamist forces as far back as the spring of 2013. Such forces, when deployed in Syria, can rely on training and operational assistance from French soldiers and CIA agents. So when the famous march in Paris came to promote Charlie, man of the leaders in various nations (like Holande, Benjamin Netanyahu., Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, David Cameron, etc.) were in favor of the same imperialism and anti-democratic policies that they (or the leaders of western imperialism not all the protesters there) were hypocritically “protesting” against. The January march has 1.5 million people marching in Paris, about 300,000 in Lyon, 115,000 in Rennes, 100,000 in Bordeaux and 70,000 in Grenoble and St Etienne. Only 60,000 marched in the Mediterranean port of Marseille, France’s second-largest city, which also has the largest Muslim population of any French city. I don’t agree with the sexist, Islamophobic, racist, and perverted images from Charlie Hebdo, yet even they or the people who work there shouldn’t be murdered. Also, I don’t support the agenda of Charlie Hebdo at all. The racist depictions (from Charlie Hebdo) of cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant welfare recipients make a mockery of the world satirical. Regardless of how many French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech. Also, it is important to condemn the xenophobic National Front party which is a reactionary organization. France is complicit in the Maafa, European colonialism of Africa (with the evil 1885 Berlin Conference when European countries divided up Africa unjustly and against the will of the African people), the harm done to Haiti, and their neo-imperialism in our generation. People need to know that France tried to prevent Algeria and Vietnam from having independence during the 20th century. Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen with grudges and it is still wrong when it comes from a drone strike. There are many great people of France who want liberty and justice, but we condemn French imperialism. So, Je ne suis pas Charlie.

By Timothy

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