He was our local Frederick Douglass. Even looked a bit like him: dashingly handsome, tall, strong, fierce, dedicated, educated, elegant and eloquent. And deeply rooted in the community. The former civil rights activist, mayor of Oakland and congressman, who put programs for the people ahead of war and weapons of mass destruction, the honorable and distinguished elder Ron Dellums joined the ancestors July 30, after making his presence felt on this planet for 82 years.
She was born in 1936 and named Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela, but the world would come to know this South African beauty as Winnie Mandela, the wife of African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela. And when, after Nelson’s freedom, the marriage ended, she remained a powerful presence in South African life, loved by the nation’s poor and dispossessed. For they knew, in their heart of hearts, that their struggle was her struggle.
I did a Google search for “Jeremy Corbyn” and “Rwanda” on the unlikely chance that Britain’s Labor Party leader had ever said anything about that tiny, tortured East African nation. The one and only result was unsurprising because, in the West, Rwanda is largely forgotten except as an excuse to go to war – to “stop the next Rwanda” – meaning the country’s 1994 bloodbath.
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.
I talked to the founder of Cultural Links to Academic and Social Success (CLASS), Andrea Lee, about her experience falling in love with traveling, then yearning to take others abroad to learn what life is like in different parts of the world. Andrea is the head of the Dance Department at Laney College and has been taking people all over the world for many years.
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 ...
“Concerning Violence” is a documentary film that reflects on the text of Fanon’s most definitive work, “Wretched of the Earth,” against the backdrop of raw footage from a number of African countries during their revolutionary struggles for independence in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s and interviews with revolutionaries and colonialists alike about their thoughts on the use of violence to protect their interests.
Margaret Stroud Block, long time civil rights activist, passed away June 20 in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she was born and raised. She lectured at universities and organizations throughout the U.S., particularly in the eastern part of the country, on civil rights and current education policies. Margaret was a dear friend. We met each other in the mid-‘80s when Proposition J was proposed.
Thousands of families, elders and babies across the state are under attack by the concerted forces of gentrification and removal by the white-supremacist nation that would like to remove us all. From police terror to the acts of elder and child abuse caused by eviction to the endless building of prisons and militarizing of these colonizer created borders leaves us all asking who is this shiny state being built for?
Twenty years of local democracy in South Africa has been very cruel for Abahlali baseMjondolo and for millions of other poor people. It has been 20 years of hell in shacks. It has been 20 years of living like pigs in the mud. It has been 20 years of living with rats, floods, fire and rotting rubbish. For those of us who have stood up for our humanity, our reward has been lies, assault, torture, wrongful arrest, the destruction of our homes and even assassination.
“Israel” is an up-to-date apartheid state. “Israel” is a wicked occupying force. “Israel” is a raw, primitive, viciously colonialist state, other “neo-colonialisms” notwithstanding. Whether in Gaza or the West Bank, Palestine is not supposed to defend itself against apartheid, occupation or colonialism in this basic logic of the white Western capitalist world, but it does – valiantly. Long live Palestine!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Life continues for some, while many did not make it into 2014. Loved ones lost: MADIBA! MADIBA! BELOVED former South Africa President NELSON MANDELA; GRADY WILKINS, music director of the legendary WHISPERS; SUCCESSFUL Bayview business man MR. DAVE GARRISON; TWO San Francisco ICONS – the FAMOUS HAT LADY, RUTH GARLAND DEWSON and Legendary FILLMORE Master TAILOR and golfer CLYDE HOLLIE.
We recall the words of the great Black abolition leader Frederick Douglas: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” After years of studies, pleading, begging for jobs and contracts in our city, we are prepared to call a boycott of conventions coming to San Francisco. For Jan. 1, 2014, two national organizations of Black meeting planners, controlling 75 percent of the $40 billion Black convention and meeting industry, have been notified to stand by until our meeting with the SF Travel Association and the City. SFAACC, along with a coalition of other Black and concerned organizations, will present the following DEMANDS in an upcoming meeting with SF Travel, the Hotel Board and the City of SF.
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.
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?
In the 23 years since Nelson Mandela walked from his notorious Robben Island prison cell, leaving behind the rotting corpse of South Africa’s system of racial and economic oppression known as apartheid, a new generation has grown into adulthood there, literally unaware of the cruel exploitation and indignities the tiny White minority population inflicted on the masses of that country’s people.
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.
Revolutionary journalist, scholar and activist Jean Damu, in his last public event Sunday, July 14, urged about 60 of his family and friends “to keep striving. I don’t have to pontificate; you know what to do,” he said in his usual firm style. The event, previously set for August, was held at the Veterans Administration hospital at Martinez, California.
We ask you, Gov. Brown, to set an example. In their time, the U.S. Army consigned the inhumane prison conditions at Dachau to the trash heap of history. The same thing should happen now to the unbearable prison conditions in the prisons of the United States – and especially the prisons in the State of California, which you govern.