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Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.
Fifty years ago, on June 16, 1966, in Greenwood, Mississippi, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chair Kwame Ture, then known as Stokely Carmichael, addressed a crowd of youthful demonstrators and the media covering the militant March Against Fear and forcefully re-echoed our millennial and generational demand for “Black Power.”
Gerald Perreira was yesterday told he must get off an aircraft in Antigua before the plane could take off. Perreira was on his way to Jamaica, where he had been invited by the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan to participate in the 19th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Oct. 19, at the National Arena in Kingston. He was told by the authorities in Antigua that he was removed from the flight because he had been refused permission to land in Jamaica.
Thespian, comedian, humanitarian, radio broadcaster and father would all be words to describe this Bay Area renaissance man who has been putting his stamp on Oakland and the Bay Area’s culture for decades. Donald Lacy will be performing his world renowned play, “Color Struck,” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., at 8 p.m. Check out this Oakland legend as he speaks to us about his history and thoughts.
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.
Amiri Baraka was a giant to those who know him. And now that he is physically gone, his legend will only grow. The FBI once identified him as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Even those who critiqued him considered him to be brilliant, even referring to him as the Malcolm X of literature and spoken word. He often said bluntly and yet humbly that “Malcolm X was my leader.” Amiri Baraka put into practice what Malcolm taught him about cultural revolution.
Grahamstown Unemployed People’s Union spokesperson Ayanda Kota had much more to say about this tragedy and its post-apartheid South African context than we were able to report on the KPFA Evening News on Sunday, March 3, 2013. He said that the Black Consciousness Movement founded by Steve Biko, with his call for the restoration of humanity shattered by apartheid, offers the best hope of healing.
Ayanda Kota, chairperson of the Grahamstown, South Africa, Unemployed Peoples’ Movement, was brutally beaten and arrested by the police today. Will he suffer the same fate as South Africa’s Steve Biko, the anti-apartheid leader and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, who died in 1977 at age 31 in police custody, or Andries Tatane, a math teacher and community newspaper publisher whose police murder, caught on video during a protest on April 13, 2011, shocked the nation?
Former Lt. Jon Burge was equipped with a special unit that included individuals such as Joe “Machine Gun” Gorman, who participated in the assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. That is how he got his moniker “Machine Gun.”
Twenty years ago, on Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of his prison cell and, four years later, a huge majority elected him president. Now, after 16 years of ANC rule, the majority of South Africans are worse off than they were under the white minority regime.
The horrific disaster that befell Haiti Jan. 12 may have killed hundreds of thousands. According to the media, Haiti’s weak infrastructure and poor quality of construction account for the large number of deaths. Left to their own efforts, however, Haitians would have been more than able to build a reliable democracy with adequate infrastructure. But they have never been allowed to do so.
Happy New Year, Blessed Eid Al Adha and Happy Kwanzaa. I’ll be back in February 2009. Check the radio show and my blog for updates. I’ll be traveling. Tune in to Wanda’s Picks Radio at www.wandaspicks.com over the next month, when I will be broadcasting from Senegal, Mali and The Gambia.