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The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”
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.”
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.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our “Black shining prince,” as Ossie Davis described Malcolm X in his eulogy, we highlight the 2013 book, “The Diary of Malcolm X,” by award-winning journalist Herb Boyd and Malcolm’s daughter, human rights activist and author Ilyasah Shabazz. The diary entries were compiled over two trips Malcolm made to Africa and the Middle East in 1964. He did not miss a single day. “It’s really beautiful that we get to see Malcolm in his own voice – without scholars, historians or observers saying what he was thinking or what he was doing or what he meant,” observed Ilyasah. “We get to read his personal diary.”
Dr. Siri Brown is a professor at Merritt College in Oakland and head of its African American Studies Department. She is an academic who understands her role in the classroom, giving young people a knowledge of self and opening fertile minds to the social realities that are oppressing their people as well. She has been an example for present day and future academics for over a decade on how to teach history in a living way.
Chokwe Lumumba, a veteran of the Black Liberation and New African Independence movements, was elected mayor of Jackson on June 2, 2013. Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and is a city that is over 85 percent Black. If the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States constituted the alleged end of the Black Liberation Movement, the election of Chokwe Lumumba must then represent its resurrection.
Marcus Book Store, at 1712 Fillmore St., San Francisco, is packed with knowledge it has purveyed since 1960, for 53 years. Now the oldest Black book store in the country has been ordered out. But the community is REFUSING to let Marcus Books close. The Sweises, who bought the property, want the judge to evict Marcus Books. Everyone is urged to BOYCOTT their businesses, Big Dog City Cab and Royal Cab companies. On Tuesday, July 2, 3 p.m., the community will caravan to the Sweis home in South City for a PROTEST RALLY at 4 p.m.
Contradictions in White America’s treatment of Blacks, which were exposed by the Black Power Movement, fashioned another side of King, according to his last speech and his writings. A side that began to embrace Black nationalist tactics and strategies as a means to achieve freedom, justice and equality for Black people. A side that accelerated Dr. Kings’ assassination.
Malcolm X is one of the best known figures of the human rights struggle and one of the most attacked by institutions that serve the elite. A new book – “A Lie of Reinvention” – defends his legacy against an attempted ivory tower assassination. Editor Jared Ball says Manning Marable's book on Malcolm "is a corporate product, a simple commodity to be traded, but for more than money; it is a carefully constructed ideological assault on history, on radical politics, on historical and cultural memory, on the very idea of revolution."
The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco has ruled in a 3-0 decision that alleged members and associates of the New Afrikan revolutionary leftist organization titled the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) and all New Afrikan prisoners have a First Amendment right to expression of their United States constitutional rights to speak to the New Afrikan nationalist revolutionary man ideology. These are clearly our political beliefs.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), born 86 years ago on May 19, 1925, was loved by the oppressed and hated by the oppressors. Our “Black Shining Prince,” in the words of Ossie Davis, aimed to “use whatever means necessary to bring about a society in which the 22 million Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.” His influence is immeasurable - from music to foreign policy to religion. Today Islam, followed then by very few, is the second largest religion in the United States and Canada.
What was amazing about the hearing Monday was the prosecution’s admission that it didn’t have enough evidence to convict these men. As attorney Daro Inouye said of Jalil Muntaqim, who pled no contest to the prosecution’s charge of conspiracy, his client picked up a loaded grenade to save his brothers, his friends, his fellow defendants, and he didn’t plead guilty. That language did not pass his lips.