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Online progressive activists with The Digital Left are announcing a campaign to draft and elect Representative Barbara Lee to be the next speaker of the House. Within 48 hours of polls closing in the midterm elections, the group, alongside The Humanist Report, has gathered more than 5,000 signatures on an online petition calling on Democratic members of the 117th Congress to elect Rep. Lee as speaker of the House.
Two underlying dynamics are at work in the East Bay race to represent Assembly District 15 in Sacramento. One is a contest between a traditional big-money campaign and an insurgent, volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign. The other is a subterranean racial dynamic. The campaign between out Black lesbian, eight-year Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, 55, and campaign professional Buffy Wicks, 41, is increasingly testy. The Assembly seat was previously occupied by Tony Thurmond. If Beckles is not elected, the East Bay African American community will have no representative in Sacramento.
On the Muppets show in the 1970s, Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s not easy being green.” It isn’t easy being a Green Party candidate. There are advantages and disadvantages. I was a Democrat until 2001, at age 50, I registered to vote with the Green Party. Greens value people, planet and peace over profit. Leaders in the Democratic Party do not. I am a candidate for Congress because San Francisco voters do not have an advocate for peace in Washington.
Why have the recent marches been so large, with not even a whisper of peace as an issue? As I often say, follow the money. There is bipartisan agreement that war is good for business. The U.S. is by far the largest arms dealer in the world. Until we stop the plague of endless war, guns are the norm, and they will be on our streets as well as the streets of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
The bipartisan budget bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump Friday morning marks a new stage in the American ruling class’ drive for social counterrevolution and world military domination. The deal, which reached Trump’s desk only because of support from congressional Democrats, expresses the oligarchic character of American society. Behind the factional mudslinging and mutual recrimination between Democrats, Republicans and Trump, it is the corporations and the military-intelligence agencies that dictate government policy.
Great news when Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost their Parliamentary majority in the U.K.’s June 8 snap election and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party surged, adding 30 seats to their total. Pollsters, who predicted a Conservative Party victory, were way off, but for what it’s worth, they’ve since reported that Corbyn’s popularity continues to rise.
The late Eldridge Cleaver, minister of information of the Black Panther Party, once said that when fascism comes to America, it won’t need a swastika; it’ll be singing Yankee Doodle Dandy – and waving American flags. Welcome to the New Fascism – unleashed will be the most racist, vicious and nationalist forces in the country. That’s what “America First” really means. (Guess who’s last?) “New Fascism” – also known as Trumpism.
If you care about everything from civil and human rights to economic justice and climate survival, Trump’s impending presidency is terrifying – but the amount of wreckage he can cause depends in part on how people respond. Already, a Dump Trump rebellion is rising up in the streets and online; it’s also worth remembering Trump lost the popular vote, the Senate is close to tied and not filibuster-proof, and things have a way of see-sawing in American politics.
The Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia, from July 25 through July 28. City authorities have issued permits for four marches during the convention, but they have thus far refused to grant a permit to the March for Our Lives organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to campaign organizer, Philadelphia native and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala.
It’s personal because your actions against the oppressed were calculating, premeditated and strategically targeting New Afrikans and other oppressed, poor citizens of this nation. Not only did you wickedly abuse the trust of the people who believed in you, but you demonstrated what hatred looks like in policy. Yes! Your charisma, accompanied with your oiled up tongue, allowed you to work your charms on the people while all the time preying on them like a wild, mad predator.
As an African American, I have struggled to understand why so many of my Black brothers and sisters seem to prefer Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s record on civil rights is indeed extensive, albeit inconsistent and often ignoble. By contrast, Bernie has a long, proud, consistent record on fighting inequality – often far ahead of the Democratic Party in this regard – and always far, far ahead of Hillary Clinton.
The love affair between Black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about Black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.
In the wake of the brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California state Attorney General Kamala Harris? She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.
Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.
Writer, reporter and Pan Africanist Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent to the Zimbabwean national newspaper The Herald, recently finished, alongside co-executive producer M1 of dead prez, the third volume of the “Battle Cry for Cuba and Zimbabwe” compilation, which is a cultural protest against how the two countries have been unfairly sanctioned by the U.S. government. Check out Obi Egbuna in his own words.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance, commonly known as the RPA, is backing Planning Commissioner Marilyn Langlois for the vacant seat on the Richmond City Council. The RPA made national and international headlines last November, when each of their three City Council candidates won their seats even though Chevron Corp, spent $1 million each to defeat them. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Richmond City Councilor Eduardo Martinez.
Like David fighting Goliath, the faculty of City College of San Francisco are in a pitched battle to protect their union, their students and their school from destruction. They are up against big-business forces pushing to downsize or close community colleges so that profit-making schools can take over. Union members are crucial to building the fight. AFT’s battle for a good contract is a front in the whole fight for public education.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Cynthia McKinney, and I asked her about leadership. She replied that at the local level in the Black communities, there is leadership. It no longer gets media coverage, but it is there. Real leaders are those with the courage to dissent and to resist. It is the act of resistance that transforms an elected person into a leader.
Afrika! Black people! Afrikans! Let’s do like China did and put the whole continent on lockdown by closing our doors to the rest of the world until we’re ready to come back out again as a superpower.
The new book by Manning Marable, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” will help us to get a deeper understanding of Malcolm X and the times we’re living in now. This will not be a direct result of what Marable has done, but rather of what needs to happen now because of what he has done.
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