Trayvon Martin Killing
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/7/14
The White Settler “Patriots” Pro-Slavery Revolt
Contrary to popular mythology, the white settler rebellion of 1776 was staged, not to establish democracy, but to forestall the abolition of slavery in Britain’s American colonies, according to a new book by Dr. Gerald Horne, a University of Houston professor of history and African American Studies. In The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, Horne said the American rebels’ motivations were much like those of Ian Smith, the white Rhodesian leader who declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965 to “forestall decolonization” and an end to white rule. Smith himself said he was “walking in the footsteps of 1776.”
“Trayvon Martin’s murder wasn’t an anomaly; it’s something that happens all the time, all day, every day,” said South Carolina political activist Kevin Alexander Gray, co-author of the soon to be released book, Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence. The volume features a wide range of authors, including Robin D.G. Kelly, Cornel West, Vijay Prashad, bell hooks and many others. “We wanted to cover, not just the trial, but the epidemic of killings by police and the fact that Black women are also killed,” said Gray. “We even went so far as having some people who may even agree with the jury’s verdict because they thought the prosecution put on such a weak case.”
Race Casts “Long Shadow” on Education and Employment Prospects
A longitudinal study of 790 low-income young people in Baltimore found that only 4 percent of Blacks earned a four-year college degree by age 28, far fewer than whites from similar family backgrounds. According to Johns Hopkins University sociologist Dr. Karl Alexander, co-author of the report on the 23-year study, titled “The Long Shadow,” about 15 percent of Blacks in the study group attended four-year college programs, and another 15 to 20 percent spent time in two-year programs, but “the vast majority were unable to see it through” to a bachelors degree for various reasons. “Where race most clearly comes into play is in employment opportunities in the high-skill, high pay employment sector in the construction crafts and skilled trades,” said Alexander. By age 28, 45 percent of white males in the Baltimore study were working in that sector, compared to only 15 percent of Blacks, with whites earning twice as much pay.
Mumia: Corporate Media “Learned Nothing” from Iraq War
The U.S. corporate media is once again showing “not even the pretense of objectivity” in its war-mongering coverage of Syria and Iraq, said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “They have become heralds of hell” who have “learned nothing” since 2003, when they sold the public on the Iraq invasion.
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by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
It is truly astounding how the U.S. criminal justice system finds infinite opportunities to array straightforward statutes in ways that disproportionately disadvantage Black people. “The purpose of American criminal injustice is to keep certain groups, black people most obviously, vulnerable to any form of attack the system can devise.”
by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III
The latest failure to fully convict the perpetrator of a racial killing is yet further evidence that white American civilization is not yet compatible with the rule of law. “In both the Trayvon Martin murder and the murder of Jordan Davis, both victims were in public space, engaged in legal activity, and at the time they were confronted were not a threat to anyone.”
by Danny Haiphong
The very suggestion that the U.S. has entered a “post-racial” era, represents a racist assault. “The Commander in Chief and Attorney General may not have white skin, but their policies in relation to mass imprisonment and the economy have exceeded expectations for the white imperial ruling class for whom they ultimately work.”
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/23/13
Lynne Stewart Imprisonment Meant to “Chill” Defense Lawyers
New Justice Department guidelines on compassionate release from prison should, by all rights, apply to people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, serving a 10-year sentence for zealously defending her client, said David Gespass, former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Stewart suffers from Stage 4 breast cancer. “The only possible reason not to release her would be just pure vindictiveness,” said Gespass, an attorney practicing in Birmingham, Alabama. “I think her prosecution was a warning to defense lawyers that they should not do their jobs as vigorously as they are required constitutionally to do, particularly in cases involving allegations of so-called terrorism.”
October 22 Day of Protest Against Police Atrocities
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network will hold the 18th annual National Day of Protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation, said Carl Dix, a co-founder of the event. “If anything, it is even more relevant, today.” The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing “takes us back 150 years and more, to the Dred Scott Decision, when Black people were ruled to have no rights that white people are bound to respect,” said Dix.
October 24 is “Workers Demand a Raise Day”
The Baltimore Workers Assembly will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the federal minimum wage with demands that today’s minimum be raised to $15 an hour. “If wages had kept up with the cost of living since the first minimum wage was enacted, it would now be $15.23,” said organizer Karen Black. President Obama and other politicians have not been helpful in increasing workers’ paychecks. “That’s in part why we formed a workers assembly that can get a movement going to force these issues,” said Black.
Obamacare Would Still Leave U.S. Last in Developed World
Forty-eight million Americans are still without health insurance, and 48,000 of them die every year due to inadequate care, said Dr. David Himmelstein, of Physicians for a National Health Plan. “Billions and billions are drained out of the health care system by greedy insurance companies whose interest is in denying people care,” said Himmelstein, whose organization favors a Medicaid-for-All system. “Even if Obamacare works as planned, we’re still going to have 31 million people who won’t have coverage,” which means the U.S. health care system will remain “the worst in the developed world.”
The Incredibly Shrinking Welfare State
The remnants of the federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, “needs to be made more accessible,” said Timothy Casey, senior attorney for Legal Momentum. “Right now, two out of three families and children who are eligible don’t get any benefits.” Moreover, “benefits in every state are far below the official poverty level – typically less than half,” said Casey. Legal Momentum was formerly known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.
U.S. Protects Purveyors of Genocide in Congo
Washington refuses to bring real pressures on Rwanda to halt its 17-year war and occupation of the eastern Congo, the “deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two, in which millions of Congolese have lost their lives,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “When you compare it to the way the U.S. has acted against Zimbabwe, or the way it’s been beating the war drums against Syria, the U.S. hasn’t brought substantial weight, whatsoever,” against its ally, Rwanda, said Carney.
Kenyans Say No to International Criminal Court
Both houses of Kenya’s parliament voted to sever ties with the International Criminal Court, which had previously indicted Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, the current president and deputy president of the country. “They had and election, and one of the major aspects of the campaign was, We can handle our problems ourselves and we don’t need the ICC,” said John Philpot, a Canadian attorney and expert on international criminal law who has defended clients before the ICC. Parliament’s action “was a good step,” said Philpot, “because the ICC is the right hand of military/political intervention” and only prosecutes Africans.
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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The battle against Stand Your Ground laws must be “one front in the war against the legitimacy of a criminal justice system that is fundamentally hostile to the Black presence in the United States.” The task requires a mass Movement – one that avoids the clutches of the Black Misleadership Class, which seeks to “divert Black rage down avenues that do not threaten their own relationships with Power.”
by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
George Zimmerman has been undercharged and is a flight risk who should be denied bail, says a former human rights and criminal defense lawyer. Bail would also fly in the face of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. “It would be unthinkable for a Black person in Florida to seek bail after being charged with murder in the second degree for causing the death of a white person.”
by Obi Egbuna Jr.
President Obama made a cheap connection to aggrieved Black American with his statement that, had he had a son, the child would have “looked like Trayvon.” Yet this president, like his predecessors, kills young people that look like Trayvon all the time.
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey - Week of April 2, 2012
Green Party Black Caucus Endorses Roseanne Barr
Based largely on name recognition and a nod from former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s Black Caucus has thrown its support to celebrity Roseanne Barr for president. “The reality is, to break through the mainstream media, a person has to have that type of recognition,” said Black Caucus spokesman Thomas Muhammad. “The more attention she gets, the more attention the party gets, and that’s the reality of politics.” The heads-up from McKinney, the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, was key, said Muhammad. “It was very critical because, without that, some of our party members were going to look elsewhere.”
UNAC Says “No” to Intervention or Sanctions Against Syria and Iran
“We need an anti-war movement that is really against all U.S. wars – that simple,” said Sara Flaunders, of the International Action Center, at the Stamford, Connecticut, conference of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “How does any U.S. official lecture any other country on prisoners, on human rights, or on democracy? This country has the largest prison population in the world.”
Margaret Kimberley at UNAC: Choose Peace or Obama
“You cannot be anti-war and pro-Obama,” said Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report. “The United States, France and the UK conspired to bring down a sovereign nation’s government, kill its leader, spread a race war and lynch law, and divide Libya into weak fiefdoms incapable of stopping their collaborators from turning over their resources to NATO and the G-8 countries,” said Kimberley. “These people will not be happy until the people of the world accept their rule without protest.”
Glen Ford at UNAC: U.S. Society is Organized Around Racial Oppression
“One out of every eight prison inmates on the planet is an African American,” said Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda report. “That statistic alone serves to illuminate” that the U.S. is “a society that is largely organized around race and racial oppression. That’s what the Black American Gulag means.”
Nellie Bailey at UNAC: Obama A “Servant of the 1%”
In 2007, “when the U.S. imperialists introduced Barack Obama to us,” many “comrades and activists” succumbed to “our blind spot” and decided, “this is our man – when, in fact, Obama is a servant of the 1%,” said Nellie Bailey, Black Agenda Report editor and director of the Harlem Tenants Council. But resistance to Obama continues among African Americans, “and will not roll over to his disdain and disrespect.”
Bruce Dixon at UNAC: The “Bipartisan” Prison State
“The prison state is very much a bi-partisan thing,” said Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report managing editor. Corporations and their philanthropic arms, like the United Way, “present a lot of opportunities for hijacking and containing the anti-prison movement within the universe bound by the two political parties.” The movement “against mass incarceration has to be led, in large part, by the formerly incarcerated, themselves.”
April 19: Day of National Resistance Against Mass Incarceration
The Trayvon Martin killing is reminiscent of the 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision, that Black have no rights that whites are bound to respect, said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Dix urged folks to “go from your anger around the injustice at the murder of Trayvon Martin, to anger around all of the abuse that the criminal injustice system is bringing down on Black and brown people.” For information, call 866.841.9139 x 2670.
Minneapolis Demo for Trayvon
“As long as we can come together to show that we’re not going to stand for it, were going in the right direction,” said Sam Ndely, a student organizer of a protest that drew 5500 demonstrators to the University of Minnesota.
A “Second Phase” for Occupy?
The newly launched National Occupy Washington campaign of public education and direct action hopes to launch a “second phase” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, said organizer Kevin Zeese. “This is our view of the American Spring.” Preventive detention legislation is “a sign of the elite becoming afraid, and starting to put in place the powers they need to control the people. The only response we have is to get more active.”
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