Mumia “May Have Been Poisoned”
Six months after Mumia Abu Jamal nearly died from diabetic shock, the nation’s best known political prisoner’s underlying illness has yet to be diagnosed, said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at New York City’s Baruch College and member of Educators for Mumia. Abu Jamal’s maddeningly itching skin has turned a leathery black, and his output of commentaries and analysis for Prison Radio “has diminished significantly,” said Fernandez, who fears Mumia is suffering a “deeper, systemic problem” or “may have been poisoned.” Nevertheless, “Mumia is delighted and inspired by the movement against police violence that has emerged in the country,” and will continue to speak out “from the belly of the beast.” That’s why, she said, “over and over, the state has tried to silence and kill him.”
Austerity Rendering Detroit Unfit for Habitation
A serious fire raged out control due to chronic low water pressure in Detroit, despite the majority Black city’s location in one of the world’s major fresh water regions. “The whole process of so-called rebuilding of Detroit has not been clearly thought out,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, veteran activist and editor of the Pan African News Wire. “How can you rebuild a city when you don’t have fundamental infrastructure, such as fire services, public safety, education, emergency services, simple things like being able to go to a supermarket?” The economic elite are “doing everything possible to drive out the African American population,” he said, but poor infrastructure discourages white resettlement. “What you have is the anarchy of capitalism.”
Big Business Tries to Roll Back Socialist Alternative in Seattle
Corporate contributions are pouring into Seattle Urban League chief Pamela Banks’ campaign to unseat Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative councilwoman who championed the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law. “It’s not so much about my opponent’s qualities,” said Sawant, “It’s because corporations, billionaires, the people who have an incentive to uphold the status quo, recognize that if we win re-election this year, then it really confirms to working people in Seattle and everywhere that we can prevail against the full might of big business and the political establishment.”
Mumia: “Flags and Rags”
The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is “one of terror and violence in support of a system of organized theft of Black labor, in the name of white supremacy and Black subjugation,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “Dylan ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Roof knew, instinctively, what the flag stood for.”
Justices OK Painful Death Drug
The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term by allowing states to continue lethal injections with a cocktail that can cause horrific pain for condemned persons. “Prisoners remain less than human” in the High Court’s eyes, said Kenneth A. Hartman, a writer and prison activist serving life in California. “How else can a decision that allows for deliberate torture be explained?”
Fear of Blacks Triggered 1776 War of Independence
White settlers turned against the their mother country partly in fear that the British Crown would put guns in the hands of Blacks, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of more than 30 books, including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. In 1775, the British colonial governor of Virginia established an “Ethiopian Regiment” to counter rebellious white settlers. “One of the factors that caused formerly patriotic British subjects to revolt against British rule was this ‘Black scare’ that, I argue, led to the formation of the United States of America,” said Dr. Horne, in a lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Shut Down the Prisons from the Inside Prison inmates with the Free Alabama Movement have been placed in solitary confinement for advocating a national prison work strike. “Their argument is that all the attempts at prison reform and appealing to legislative bodies and courts to thwart the explosion of mass incarceration have failed, and that the only mechanism left is to shut down these prisons,” said formerNew York Times correspondent and veteran prisons activistChris Hedges, whose recent article is titled “America’s Slave Empire.” The prison gulag “can’t function without unpaid or poorly paid labor,” said Hedges. The imprisoned strike leaders urge outside supporters to boycott corporations that profit from prison labor, including the fast-food giant, McDonald’s. Newark is the Destination, July 25 “We have a pandemic of police brutality all around the United States,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, drumming up support for a Millions March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality, July 25, in Newark, New Jersey. “We demand an end to the murder of unarmed people by the police, and to the use of excessive force by the police,” said Hamm, speaking in Plainfield, New Jersey. “First and foremost, we want community control
Don’t Just Count Black Bodies – We Need a Program of Liberation Veteran Malcolm X Grassroots Movement activist Kali Akuno is a co-author of the 2012 report Operation Ghetto Storm, which documented the extrajudicial killing of Blacks by police, security guards and vigilantes – one every 28 hours. “We wanted to highlight, first and foremost to our own people, that we are being hunted,” said Akuno, now living in Jackson, Mississippi. “It’s basically population control and disposal of a population that is becoming unwanted and unnecessary for economic production.” Keeping count is not the point. “What’s the solution, what is the program of liberation? That is what folks should start focusing on now, while there is this upsurge, while there are young people beginning to become engaged in fighting back.” Farrakhan: Take Down the Stars and Stripes! “I don’t know what the fight is about the Confederate flag,” said Min. Louis Farrakhan, at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, in Washington, DC. “We need to put theAmerican flag down, because we’ve caught as much hell under that as under the Confederate flag,” he told a cheering crowd. “What flag do the police have? What flag flies over the non-Justice Department?” Pelosi Engaged
Charleston Massacre: Vintage Americana
Activist and writer Kevin Alexander Gray lives in Columbia, South Carolina, not far from the Charleston church shooter’s home town, where “a Confederate flag on the bumper of a car is just as common as a stop sign.” It’s also where Dylann Roof learned that Blacks are constantly raping white women and trying to take over the nation, said Gray. “That kind of racist talk is as old as the relationship between Black folk and white folk in America.”
Black Church Needs to Beef Up Security
“This is an assault against the Black church and its members,” said Rev. Anthony Evans, executive director of the Washington-based National Black Church Initiative, a multidenominational coalition of Black churches across the country. Rev. Evans has gone South to advise coalition congregations “how to harden their church in terms of the safety of men, women and children. They don’t have to worry about this in a white church,” he said. “We only have to worry about this in the Black church.”
Broken Windows Policing Criminalizes Communities
The Police Reform Organization Project, or PROP, has released a report on damage done to ordinary people by New York City’s “Broken Windows” policing policy. Titled “That’s How They Get You,” the document provides 117 examples of how lives are ruined and communities embittered under a torrent of fines and jail terms for minor offenses. Broken Windows “actually criminalizes people, and gets them caught up the criminal justice system,” said PROP director Robert Gangi.
Another “Black” U.S. President?
Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said Democratic presidential politics has become repetitive and predictable. “What we have is simply a continuation of the [Bill] Clinton regime, through Obama, and now I guess Hillary is about to become the third Black president,” said Yeshitela. The Black Is Back Coalition, founded in 2009 in part to show that not all Blacks supported Obama’s corporatist, imperial policies, is gearing up for its national conference, in August.
Newark is the Destination on July 25
The People’s Organization for Progress is expecting huge crowds to gather in Newark, New Jersey, for POP’s Millions March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality, July 25. The march has been endorsed by scores of organizations and individuals, including Dr. Cornel West and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is establishing a civilian police review board complete with subpoena powers. Community organizations, including POP, will hold a majority of seats on the board. However, POP chairman Larry Hamm is “under no illusion” that the review board will solve the problem. “I say categorically, that the greatest antidote to police brutality is the mass movement of the people,” said Hamm. “That’s more powerful than any governmental structure that can be put into place.”
Obama’s TPP Sinking
President Obama’s secret Trans Pacific Partnership treaty suffered a big setback on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks largely to activists like Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. “If you don’t like crony capitalism or rigged trade for big business, you’ve got to be against TPP,” said Zeese. The treaty would make it almost impossible to reverse privatizations of government services, or for the public sector to take any action that might adversely affect corporate expectations of profits.
Black Lives Matter Movement is Dominant Theme at Left Forum
“The powerful movements that have raised the slogan ‘No Justice-No Peace’ in Ferguson, Baltimore and across the country have shaken American politics out of its lethargy,” said Paul Jay, senior editor at The Real News Network, at the annual Left Forum conference at John Jay College, in New York City. However, the wealthy classes are unable to respond to a changing nation and world. “War is the only answer they have. Our ruling elites are dysfunctional: they’re not fit to rule,” said Jay, moderator of the discussion on “Indicting and Transforming the Systems of State and Capitalism: From Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond.”
A Global System of Oppression
Black Americans’ problems with the police are part of a global conflict, said Phillip Agnew, of the Dream Defenders, the youthful activist organization that emerged after Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012. “They’re all connected to one system: a system of injustice, a system of exploitation, a system of oppression that governs and controls us, nationally and internationally,” he said. “The same thing that is happening in Jacksonville, Florida, is happening in Palestine. The system isn’t broken; it’s working exactly how it was designed to work in order to oppress people around the world.”
This week's entire show is selections from last weekend's conference in St. Louis MO on Community Control of Police.