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In the 20th century, few names, especially of Black people, ring louder than that of Martin Luther King. His life, his dedication to the civil rights movement and his martyrdom in April 1968 made him a global icon of social justice. Born in 1929, if he were not martyred, he would be enjoying his 90th year of life. But he was martyred and, too, he was considered an enemy of the state. Why?
The Washington Post last week wrote one of a series of articles about the federal shutdown that focused on the criminal justice system. The reporters included the obligatory interviews with prison guards talking about how overworked and understaffed they are, which is likely true. But the article was inflammatory – not because of the interviews with the guards, but because the Post reported that while the poor guards were suffering, the prisoners were eating meals fit for a king. The purpose of the articles was to outrage the public. How can these criminals eat like this while the hard-working guards are suffering? But it’s all nonsense.
The important (s)election process is unfolding across the united capitalist prison terrorist states of america (ucptsa) and here in these occupied Indigenous nations. WE are working to change this deadly system that places higher profits for a few elites over the advancement of our broader population and proper stewardship of nature. Still, voters can mos def play a positive role in slowing down capitalism’s never-ending wars and destructive acts.
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the first day of the historic National Prison Strike, Democracy Now interviewed Amani Sawari. The segment began with an excellent interview with Cole Dorsey of IWOC and then suddenly the bright, brilliant, radiant face of 23-year-old Amani filled the screen and a voice of eloquence, inspiration and power filled the room. All it took was host Amy Goodman saying she’s a journalist, and, involuntarily, spontaneously, I pointed at the screen and shouted, “There’s the new Bay View editor!” Amani and I have been talking ever since, and she came to visit Oct. 8-12. What fun we had.
“Three African-American construction workers said this week that they were targeted by racial slurs and death threats, including black dolls hanging from nooses in the bathroom, while working on the site of a San Francisco high-rise,” reported the New York Times after renowned civil rights attorney John Burris, who’s representing the workers, held a June 21 press conference. That the issue is important enough for a major story in the New York Times will, we hope, catch the attention of the powers that be in San Francisco.
Community members and family of Sahleem Tindle, a 28-year-old father of two, killed by a BART Police officer in January, packed a BART meeting March 12 to demand that justice be served. Tindle’s family passionately protested the lack of action by BART following Tindle’s death on Jan. 3 outside the West Oakland BART Station. Tindle’s family and legal team are calling for the city of Oakland to arrest and charge the involved BART officer, Joseph Mateu, with murder.
Late last week, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump will end covert support of militias attempting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I spoke to Rick Sterling, investigative journalist for Consortium News and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, about the report. Rick Sterling, what’s your first reaction to the Washington Post’s claims? The White House has refused to confirm the Washington Post report. If it is true, why do you think Trump won’t confirm?
Today, May 25, congressional Democrats and a coalition of progressive organizations representing millions of Americans kicked off the long-anticipated infrastructure fight, launching a massive campaign to create millions of new jobs – and invest billions in much-needed projects in African-American communities across the country. The Millions of Jobs Coalition announced grassroots events across the nation next week touting the progressive plan.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.
Today, reading the current reporting and editorials of the large, white-dominated, corporate newspapers, I have a sense of déjà vu. But now it is not just the newspapers of the Southern segregationists that are spewing lies. The “alt right” haters have gained a prominent voice in the national discourse, and they are on their way towards gaining even greater influence, with Steve Bannon entrenched in the White House. So now, as much as ever, the voices of the Black newspapers are needed to combat the evil we face.
Fascism has been thrust into the mainstream political vocabulary of the United States since the election of President Donald Trump on a platform grounded in xenophobia, corporate dominance and right wing white nationalism. If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation, it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.
They covered the streets like rain; women – in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions. Millions marched in almost 700 cities in the U.S. and in world capitals. Millions against Trump. Millions against Trumpism. Who knew that it would be this vast? To paraphrase Trump, “It was huuuuuge!” They demonstrated by their incredible numbers that women are a force to be reckoned with.
We call upon ALL people to sign and ACT on the Call from RefuseFascism.org which appeared in the Jan. 4 edition of the New York Times and the following week in the Washington Post. Today the Fascist pig Trump, his pick for attorney general Jeff Sessions and the rest of those who make up the Trump-Pence regime – this whole legion of doom is shouting: “Law and Order!” as they threaten to force people to respect the police – respect their whole way of governing and ruling ... or else.
While Barack Obama speaks without blushing about the virtues of the North American “democracy” and lectures us on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for what the U.S. president alone can, but does not, do. Leonard Peltier, Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement, AIM, writer and poet, has just completed 40 years in prison, and is one of the political prisoners jailed for the longest time in the whole planet.
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow was one of roughly 500 people who convened in Oakland, California, last weekend for the first national conference of the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement. Hailing from more than 30 states, it was a shared fact of life among participants that the change they need – including fundamental civil rights – will not simply be handed to them by people in power. They must fight for it themselves.
A group of civil rights era activists have passed the torch to a younger generation, so to speak. One week after the Movement for Black Lives released a wide-ranging, and long-awaited, policy platform, the activists’ vision for change has also earned an endorsement from delegates of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a famed student organizing group that formed in the 1960s.
As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, “What does Bernie want?” Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want. And the answer is: They want real change in this country, they want it now and they are prepared to take on the political cowardice and powerful special interests which have prevented that change from happening.
Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the country, no longer provides public defenders to all its people accused of crimes; within months, over half its public defender offices are expected to become insolvent. “It’s a nightmare,” according to James Dixon, the chief Louisiana Public Defender. “You have people in jail that don’t have lawyers. It’s that basic.” The meltdown of the Louisiana public defender system makes it criminal to call it a justice system.
Speaking at the funeral for Freddie Gray last April the family’s attorney said, “Many of us are here not because we knew Freddie Gray personally, but because we know hundreds of Freddie Grays.” The Freddie Gray effect and the cry that Black Lives Matter is about more than improved police-community relations. It is the fight and the need in countless Black neighborhoods for income equality, access to quality education, environmental justice and criminal justice reform.