July 27, 2014
I’ve been watching for days now as media reports display the growing hatred at the arrival of Central American children across the Mexican-U.S. border. American voices crackle with bile as they begin the drumbeat for their immediate deportation. They are refugees from want and war, almost all the result of U.S. interventions in Central America in support of murderous military governments and the mindless drug war.
July 1, 2014
Her name was Yuri, a Japanese woman born in the United States. I hesitate to call her a Japanese-American, for to do so suggests she was a citizen. In light of how she, her family and her community were treated during World War II, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, to call any of them citizens would be an exaggeration. Yuri Kochiyama, freedom fighter, after 93 summers, has become an ancestor.
May 29, 2014
Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.
May 28, 2014
Members of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, including (among others) the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, BART workers and AC Transit bus drivers, were appalled to hear that the Oakland Unified School District succumbed to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and the right-wing Fox News by shutting down the educational Urban Dreams website, which includes material on Mumia Abu-Jamal and Martin Luther King Jr.
May 28, 2014
Under pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and Fox News, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) just shut down the entire Urban Dreams website including material on Martin Luther King and Mumia Abu-Jamal authored by Oakland teacher Craig Gordon. OUSD is censoring and attacking the academic freedom of students in the Oakland schools and of teachers. This shameful action must be reversed immediately!
May 3, 2014
Seeing news reports on America being the fattest country in the world, and the First Lady’s program to fight childhood obesity, leads me to wonder why there is no governmental urgency to address the other obesity-like epidemic affecting America, the one stemming from mass incarceration. America represents only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet our penal system has locked up 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. That’s a HEAVY burden on taxpayers!
April 30, 2014
For a man who spent nearly four decades of his 76 years under the restrictive eye of the U.S. correctional system, few have ever touched as many lives as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The world-class boxer turned wrongfully accused prisoner, turned advocate for the rights of the unjustly incarcerated, has succumbed to cancer, but his memory and work will endure as long as there are people outside and inside the prisons of the world fighting for justice.
April 26, 2014
Two decades after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the ANC-led Tripartite government represents big business’ interests. This has led the government to brutally attack workers who fight back against austerity. Black poverty has worsened. Inequality has worsened. Trade union officials collaborate with employers against workers, youth and the unemployed. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t the situation similar in the U.S.?
April 18, 2014
The play “Every Five Minutes” by Scottish writer Linda McLean is an unique look into the effects of solitary confinement on a man named Mo – recently released after 13 years behind bars. Captured by insurgents, he was tortured, denied contact with family or others outside of his captors. The effects of this deprivation are one disorientated man whom we meet at his coming out dinner.
April 7, 2014
On March 8, hundreds of people, especially from the South and particularly Jackson, Miss., came to mourn and reflect on the life of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who died suddenly on Feb. 25 at the age of 66. Starting with a March 5 tribute at the historically Black college, Jackson State University, Mayor Lumumba’s life was memorialized for several days, ending with the masses lining the streets for his burial motorcade. A collection of tributes to the late great mayor of Jackson, Miss.
March 8, 2014
On Wednesday, March 5, the full U.S. Senate failed on a procedural vote to support the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next assistant attorney general for civil rights. According to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Adegbile’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he headed the NAACP LDF is reason enough to derail his nomination.
February 5, 2014
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
February 4, 2014
The name Amiri Baraka has been known to me since my teens, when I was a member of the Black Panther Party. Baraka posed an intriguing figure, for he radiated both love and rage, funneled through his poems, which pulsated with revolutionary fire. He was born in 1934 in Newark, N.J., as Everett LeRoy Jones and become a rising star of the Beat era in the East Village of New York.
January 14, 2014
In classic Fox form, the interview with me would not be about the case or about the appointment of Adegbile. In the end, the point of the segment was for Fox to call Mumia “a thrice-convicted cop killer” as many times as possible, and to associate that with Debo Adegbile so as to strategically energize a right-wing agenda against the gains of the civil rights movement – following the same pattern as in their successful campaign to decommission Van Jones.
January 1, 2014
Most of us know of the famed Angola 3, Black Panthers who organized a real branch of the Black Panther Party in the infamous Angola Prison in Louisiana. Robert King Wilkinson, the late Herman Hook Wallace and Albert Woodfox taught other men there about Black History, politics and Black Panther history. One such man is Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore. Zulu has spent a total of 35 years in solitary confinement, principally for his political beliefs.
December 21, 2013
He was born Rolihlahla in July of 1918, in a nation of which he was not truly a citizen, into a country called the Union of South Africa, a part of the British Empire. The world would come to know him as Nelson, a name given him by a grade school teacher: Nelson Mandela. At long last, after 95 years of life, Mandela has returned to his ancestors. Between birth and death he has blazed an amazing life of love and revolution, of struggle and resistance, of prison and isolation, of freedom – and now death.
December 1, 2013
It happened a long time ago. Aug. 8, 1978, to be exact. Over 35 years ago. After months of trial, nine MOVE men and women (five men and four women), were convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 100 years imprisonment. They were attacked for political reasons, prosecuted for political reasons, and sentenced the way they were for political reasons.
October 31, 2013
Several days ago, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Philadelphia, delivered a shocking decision in the continuing case of Lorenzo Johnson, the New Yorker recently released from 17 years in prison after the very same court found the evidence was insufficient to uphold a conviction. Lorenzo, known by family and friends as Cat, spent just over four months in freedom.
September 13, 2013
Several years ago, the global human rights group Amnesty International issued an extraordinary appeal to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to grant compassionate release to 72-year-old former Black Panther and political prisoner Herman Wallace, who has recently been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, after losing some 50 pounds in less than six months.
August 27, 2013
TV screens, newspaper pages and radio stations have been replaying, reprinting and rebroadcasting dark, grainy black and while film, photos and audiotape of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech – his “I Have a Dream” speech – in a hypocritical celebration of the 50 years since that fateful day in 1963, in Washington, D.C.