Friday, December 09, 2016

Remembering Events

We live in a new era of time, but old challenges are with us. Racism isn’t just individual actions. Racism also deals with structural oppression too. Some had the misconception that the election of President Barack Obama ushered in a post racial society. Yet, we see that racism hasn’t gone away. Just because white populations are declining in America percentage wise doesn’t mean that the battle for justice is over. The vast majority of the Congress and the White House is controlled by white males. Also, the country is heavily influenced by multinational corporations who make no radical effort to eliminate economic inequality. Therefore, eliminating slavery and Jim Crow segregation was great. Also, we need to eliminate structural racism and economic oppression too. The system of white supremacy used African slavery and the genocide of Native Americans centuries ago to build up much of American society at the expense of the humanity of black innocent human beings (and other peoples). Today, we see racial discrimination found in the subprime mortgage meltdown, housing, and in education. When the housing crisis hit in 2008, driving down the value of homes and pushing up foreclosure rates, black households therefore lost a greater share of their wealth than did white households.  Many banks were caught targeting black people and other people of color for subprime loans. The New Jim Crow (or the mass incarceration states) prevents many released prisoners (even nonviolent drug offenders) from even voting and have adequate employment opportunities.

A lot of these problems existed by the policy of neoliberalism (or the privatization of public resources, the stripping away of public power, and using policies that benefit the super-rich especially. We see the growth of the black elite after the development of neoliberalism too. They exist as billionaires, millionaires, and they include top bankers too. In other words, we have class stratification in the black American community). Neoliberalism has been executed by Republicans and Democrats (as Bill Clinton cut the national public housing budget by $17 billion and increased the budget for prisons by $19 billion). Black people and the poor experience police brutality and other evils. American capitalism has exploited society for so long. As history teaches us, the ruling class never willingly gives the oppressed freedom. The oppressed only gets freedom by taking it and by executing struggle against injustice. That is why I believe in investments, universal health care, a progressive welfare system, real affordable housing, a rejection of imperialism, an advocacy for environmental justice, an end to home foreclosures, and other solutions. The unity of the working class, the unemployed, and the poor is necessary to end economic inequities in the world. We believe in an antiracist, pro-economic justice movement to address our needs and aspirations as one black community. African Americans also have been leaders in the labor union movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the college campus occupations of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, and in other heroic movements. Therefore, African Americans are owed more than just dignity and respect. We are owed justice.

Sister Crystal Dunn is a great soccer player in our generation. Her story and her life shows that we have the right to follow our dreams and to have diverse interests. We are diverse in our personalities, in our gifts, and in our birthplaces. Yet, we are unified in our common humanity and our common goal of human liberation. So, I wish the best for the young woman Crystal Dunn. She was born in New Hyde Park, New York. She is 24 years old now. On many occasions, legends are unsung. Sister Ann Gregory was a black woman who made history in enumerable ways. To many, she was the greatest African American woman golfer of the 20th century. She was born in July 25, 1912 in Aberdeen, Mississippi. She played golf very early. She learned to play during WWII. She was the first African American woman to play in a national championship conducted by the United States Golf Association in 1956. She experienced discrimination. She was banned to play at locations, but she fought to make those ban to be eliminated or relinquished. She defeated her competitors at age 76 in 1989 to win the gold medal at the U.S. National Senior Olympics. She was also the first black American appointed to Gary, Indiana’s Public Library Board in 1954. She passed away at 1990 at the age of 77. We love her spirit since she was a master of athletics. Golf requires skill, finesse, concentration, and patience. Her will, her skills, and her determination inspire us in this generation. Ann Gregory loved completion. She worked in charities and she promoted education in her community.
Rest in Power Sister Ann Gregory.

In 2017, it will be 100 years since the Russian Revolution. Before the Russian Revolution, Russia experienced brutal, tyrannical czars, peasants were experiencing oppression, and anti-Semitic pogroms against innocent Jewish people existed. Workers struggled to get jobs or decent wages in urban centers. Revolutionaries existed to end the tyranny of the Czars. Also, Duma existed to promote reform, but the status quo remained in many ways. The provisional government was controlled by Kerensky and other moderates. Many moderates were the Mensheviks who didn’t want the soviets to have the undisputed power in Russia. By October 24, 1917, more revolutionary people ended the power of the Provisional Government to create the modern Soviet Union. That revolution was led by the Petrograd Soviet’s Military Revolutionary Committee. The Bolsheviks successed in their goal of ending the reign of the Czars. By the time of October, the majority of the Russian people supported the Bolsheviks. Lenin and Trotsky wanted to enact a socialist order. Workers’ control of factories grew. Redistribution of wealth to peasants existed. Russian banks were nationalized. Lenin ended Russian involvement in World War I via the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Yet, problems existed. The Russian Civil War caused tons of people to die (the White Army was supported by 14 imperialist nations. There were other factions in this bloody, complex war too) and that civil war harmed the Russian economy for years. The rise of Stalin existed. Instead of forming a progressive, socialist system, Stalin re-imposed the state bureaucracy and violated the many civil liberties of the people during his reign of terror and authoritarianism. That is why many people erroneously believed that Stalin is representative of all forms of socialism, which is a pernicious lie.  From Stalin’s great Purge of Bolsheviks to his violations of the right of other people, Stalin is not representative of socialism at all. Under Stalin, the state bureaucracy grew Russian industry and its military. Stalin was cold blooded and calculating in his actions. The heroic Red Army did defeat the Nazis, which was a good thing. I will acknowledge that. During the Cold War, The Soviet Union competed against the West for resources in the world. Stalin's insistence that the USSR must "catch up and outstrip" the West economically or be conquered reflected how Russia had become subject to the laws of capitalism through the necessity of military competition. The new form of class rule imposed after the defeat of the Russian Revolution was state capitalism ironically. That is why many people rose up against Stalinism in satellites of the USSR in Eastern Europe by 1989. This caused the USSR to be collapsed by the early 1990’s. Today, many reactionaries even criticized the right of the people to oppose the Czars during the Russian Revolution. Therefore, we must let the truth be known. The legacy of the Russian Revolution (with its strengths and imperfections) is that human beings will continue to oppose tyranny by any means necessary and we should promote not only democracy, but economic justice.

On May 8, 1963, at 4 am, white business leaders agreed to most of the protesters’ demands during the Birmingham movement. Political leaders held fast, however. The rift between the businessmen and the politicians became clear when business leaders admitted they could not guarantee the protesters' release from jail. On May 10, Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King Jr. told reporters that they had an agreement from the City of Birmingham to desegregate lunch counters, restrooms, drinking fountains and fitting rooms within 90 days, and to hire blacks in stores as salesmen and clerks. Those in jail would be released on bond or their own recognizance. Urged by President John F. Kennedy, the United Auto Workers, National Maritime Union, United Steelworkers Union, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) raised $237,000 in bail money ($1,830,000 in 2016) to free the demonstrators. Commissioner Connor and the outgoing mayor condemned the resolution. On the night of May 11, a bomb heavily damaged the Gaston Motel where Dr. King was staying at. He had left only hours before. Another bomb damaged the house of Rev. A.D. King or Dr. Martin Luther King’s brother. When the police came to inspect the motel, they were met with rocks and bottles from neighborhood African Americans. The arrival of state troopers only angered the crowd. In the early hours of the mornings, thousands of black people initiated a historic rebellion in Birmingham, Alabama (which was long before the Watts rebellion in 1965). Many buildings and vehicles were burned. Many people were stabbed. By May 13, three thousand federal troops were deployed to Birmingham to restore order, even though Alabama Governor George Wallace told President Kennedy that state and local forces were sufficient. Martin Luther King Jr. returned to Birmingham to stress nonviolence. Outgoing mayor Art Hanes left office after the Alabama State Supreme Court ruled that Albert Boutwell could take office on May 21, 1963. Upon picking up his last paycheck, Bull Connor remarked tearfully, "This is the worst day of my life." Connor was an evil racist who didn't win. In June 1963, the Jim Crow signs regulating segregated public places in Birmingham were taken down.

By Timothy

No comments: