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The public, with its hunger for revenge, does not want to hear about personal acts of atonement by people who have been sentenced for a crime. Acts of atonement by the condemned are usually viewed as a ploy to save his or her own life – not as a genuine act of redemption. People on death row are deemed the lowest of the low. Many people believe death-row prisoners cannot be “reformed” because they are “unformed” as human beings.
In the mid-‘80s, before computers, Black and disabled teenager Leroy F. Moore Jr. was very interested in the welfare of people with disabilities in South Africa. Leroy tried to write a paper on that subject at the time but, due to lack of accessible public information, the paper ended up being only two pages. That is when he knew that he had to visit South Africa. His research was later enhanced by the advent of computers and the internet.
It was the first time I’d ever attended a Police Review Commission meeting in Berkeley. Together with nine other community members, we went to express our opposition to three terrible policies of the city government and its police department: 1. Repeated police raids on homeless encampments, 2. City participation in the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center and its domestic spying operation, and 3. City participation in the Urban Areas Security Initiative.
This article was prompted by the unrelenting campaign by friends and associates of the late Dr. Walter Rodney, to maintain the false accusation that Forbes Burnham ordered Walter Rodney’s assassination. Many of these academics and commentators are not Guyanese and do not fully understand the circumstances in 1980 that led to Walter Rodney’s demise. The adage, chanted by Bob Marley, that “half the story has never been told” is 100 percent correct.
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
President Zuma just announced live on national television that there shall be no university fee increases for 2016. This is a major victory for the thousands of youth who have been struggling for more than a week against the attacks on their education. Zuma was meeting with vice-chancellors from all universities at the Union Buildings, the seat of government. The sight of thousands of students besieging this symbol of power will reverberate throughout South African society.
I talked to a future repatriate, my comrade Dr. Chris Zamani, about his recent trip to South Africa in search of a homeland and a place for him to stick his flag. I talked to him about some of the factors that he has to consider in order to prepare to make that move. He has a very interesting outlook on history and life that is driving his decision to want to leave the U.S., and I wanted to share this ongoing conversation that we have been having with each other for the last few years. Check out Dr. Zamani in his own words ...
Elections should be the season of hope. Steve Biko declared that our fight was for an open society, a society where the color of a person’s skin will not be a point of reference or departure, a society in which each person has one vote. We have the vote – but the political parties do not represent the aspirations of the people. Millions of Black people remain poor and oppressed. When we organize outside of the ANC, we are violently repressed.
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.?
In a statement at the White House, President Obama paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who died Dec. 5 at age 95. As the world focuses on the historic handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, we look back at the pivotal role Cuba played in ending apartheid and why Castro was one of only five world leaders invited to speak at Nelson Mandela’s Dec. 10 memorial in Johannesburg.
As the executive secretary for the Gore-Mbeki Commission Environment Committee, I sat at the negotiating table while the newly elected government of Nelson Mandela formulated its environmental policies. This position provided a unique vantage point for an African-American woman who had marched in front of the South African embassy against apartheid.
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.
It is imperative to also lift up Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Madiba's former wife, who helped hold the anti-apartheid movement together during his unjust imprisonment for 27 years. When her husband’s image and voice were banned, she represented him to the world – and she suffered for her bold action.
In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, hosannas continue to be sung to the former ANC leader and South African president from both the left and from the right. But the right’s embrace of Mandela as an anti-racist hero doesn’t ring true. Is there another reason establishment media and mainstream politicians are as Mandela-crazy as the left?
Perhaps it’s a false contradiction. But today there are many who stress the pacifist message with which South Africa’s Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) emerged from prison in 1990, while few put an emphasis on his rebellion against apartheid, including armed rebellion, which landed him in prison. Mandela was a political activist and a revolutionary at least since 1942.
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.
Baba Mandela passed today after a lengthy illness. Though he was not without faults, he was a great man and a decent human being who loved his people so much he literally gave his liberty for their freedom. He sacrificed his life and his life with his family for the liberation of South Africans through the African National Congress, an organization he, as a young attorney, helped found.
Leo Robinson was a Black leader of the longshore union in San Francisco. He died in mid-January. For many of us, he was a lifelong companion, an example of what being an internationalist and a working class activist was all about. When Leo Robinson spoke, he had the full attention of every union member in Local 10’s cavernous waterfront union hall.
Two hundred Congolese immigrants, especially activists opposed to the Kabila regime, were, they said, “hounded out of their shops and homes by scores of South African police, then summarily arrested on ludicrous, trumped up charges of ‘public violence.’”
Congolese youth are not going to give up. They’re fighting day and night, educating their peers, their communities and mobilizing throughout the country to bring about change, whether it comes today or tomorrow. They’re clear that they have to be organized to protect their interests, and no one, no one, can protect their interests like they can.
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