Category Archives: Race

US justice; racist

By Leon J Williams

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

If you are white and you kill someone black the verdict will be… not guilty.

George Zimmerman (white) has just been found not guilty of murdering 17 year old Trayvon Martin (black).

Mr Zimmerman is now a free man after killing the unarmed teenager as he walked to his father’s house.

According the Lawyers for Mr Zimmerman, 29, acted in self-defence and with justifiable use of deadly force in the death of Trayvon Martin which the jury seem to have agreed on!

Naturally this has rights groups up in arms…

Following the verdict, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said it was calling “immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin”.

“This case has re-energised the movement to end racial profiling in the United States,” Roslyn M Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP, said in a statement.

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Daily Headline – 04/05/13

65 year old woman “a danger to the American government”

Joanne ChesimardFBI special agent Aaron Ford has labelled 65 year old Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur) as “a danger to the American government”.

Joanne (a black liberation activist) who now lives in Cuba has served 2 years in prison already in the US for her role in the shooting of a US cop 40 years ago.

That’s right people, we all knew the US government was weak and now it’s confirmed, even a 65 year old woman living in a 3rd world country represents a danger to them.

Joanne’s real claim to fame though is that now she is the first woman ever to be on the FBI’s most wanted list!

Daily Headline – 23/04/13

Conservative councillor resigns after racist remarks

John CherryConservative (Tory) councillor John Cherry has resigned from the party after making ‘unacceptable’ remarks about ethnic minorities in London schools.

The now former Tory councillor basically called foreigners lazy, he said:

“There are certain nationalities where they are uncertain what this hard work is all about”

“It depends what type of Asian. If they’re Chinese, they’ll rise to the top. If they’re Indian, they’ll rise to the top. If they’re Pakistani, they won’t”

He went on to say that if the Children were not allowed to leave the school premises then it would create a “sexual volcano”.

The Guardian says on the report:

‘Many black and Asian people still associate the Tories with tough immigration policies and racist views.’

Can’t think why!!

The Conservatives, as is the case with all right-wing parties and groups are inherently racist. It’s part of a nationalist agenda of ‘our country/people are better than yours’. You don’t look/speak/etc like us so piss off!

Say no to the right-wing! NO TO THE CONSERVATIVES AND NO TO UKIP!

The Zapatistas

By Anton

We don’t want to impose our solutions by force, we want to create a democratic space. We don’t see armed struggle in the classic sense of previous guerrilla wars, that is as the only way and the only all-powerful truth around which everything is organized. In a war, the decisive thing is not the military confrontation but the politics at stake in the confrontation. We didn’t go to war to kill or be killed. We went to war in order to be heard.
Subcomandante Marcos

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This is a quote from the spokesperson of the EZLN- The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional).

I will refer to them as either the Zapatistas or the EZLN in this article.

Let us begin

History

The Zapatistas went public on January 1, 1994, the day when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect. On that day, they issued their First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle and their Revolutionary Laws. The declaration was that of war on the Mexican government, which was so out of touch with those it was meant to govern, that the Zapatistas declared it illegitimate.

Their original goal was to instigate a revolution in all of Mexico, but as this failed, they used their uprising as a platform to call the world’s attention to their movement to protest the signing of NAFTA, which the EZLN believed would increase the gap between rich and poor people in Chiapas (southern Mexico, where the Zapatistas are based) – one that has sadly become true.

On the morning of January 1, 1994, an estimated 3,000 armed Zapatista insurgents seized towns and cities in Chiapas, including Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Huixtán, Oxchuc, Rancho Nuevo, Altamirano, and Chanal. They freed the prisoners in the jail of San Cristóbal de las Casas, and torched several police buildings and military barracks in the area. The guerrillas enjoyed brief success, but the next day Mexican army forces counter-attacked and fierce fighting broke out in and around the market of Ocosingo. The Zapatista forces took heavy casualties, and retreated from the city into the surrounding jungle.

This is where the strategy changed.

Due to the failure of the Mexican Government to capture the Comandantes of the EZLN, they took up a policy of negotiation.
The Zapatistas changed tactics to mobilisation and a media campaign through numerous newspaper comunicados.

On June 28, 2005, the Zapatistas presented the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, declaring their principles and vision for Mexico and the world. This declaration reiterates the support for the indigenous peoples, who comprise roughly one third of the population of the state of Chiapas, and extends the cause to include “all the exploited and dispossessed of Mexico”. It also expresses the movement’s sympathy to the international alter-globalization movement, and offers to provide material aid to those in Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and elsewhere, with whom they make common cause. The declaration ends with an exhortation for all who have more respect for humanity than for money to join with the Zapatistas in the struggle for social justice both in Mexico and abroad. The declaration called for an alternative national campaign (the “Other Campaign”) as an alternative to the presidential campaign. In preparation for this alternative campaign, the Zapatistas invited to their territory over 600 national leftist organizations, indigenous groups and non-governmental organizations in order to listen to their claims for human rights in a series of biweekly meetings that culminated in a plenary meeting on September 16, the day Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain.

The most recent campaign was when the Zapatistas marched through the streets on the 22nd of December, one day after the start of the new Mayan calendar. They marched, all in balaclavas, in complete silence.

Ideology

The Zapatistas have an ideology that can only be described as libertarian socialism. The Zapatista slogan is that of mutual aid, formulated by Peter Kropotkin, the ‘inventor’ of anarchist communism:
“For everyone, everything. For us, nothing” (Para todos todo, para nosotros nada).
The EZLN opposes economic globalization, arguing that it severely and negatively affects the peasant way of life of its indigenous support base and oppressed people worldwide.

The Zapatista controlled areas are ran on a bottom-up democracy system, similar to soviet democracy, limiting public servants’ terms to only two weeks, not using visible organization leaders, and constantly referring to the people they are governing for major decisions, strategies and conceptual visions.

“my real commander is the people”
Subcomandante Marcos

Unlike other ‘revolutionary’ movements like FARC and shining path, the EZLN, before their uprising in 1994 explicitly defined a right of the people to resist any unjust actions of the EZLN. They also defined a right of the people to:

demand that the revolutionary armed forces not intervene in matters of civil order or the disposition of capital relating to agriculture, commerce, finances, and industry, as these are the exclusive domain of the civil authorities, elected freely and democratically.
“The people should acquire and possess arms to defend their persons, families and property, according to the laws of disposition of capital of farms, commerce, finance and industry, against the armed attacks committed by the revolutionary forces or those of the government.”

Subcomandante Marcos

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The following information comes from the documentary ‘a place called Chiapas’
As a young man, Subcommander Marcos was politically radicalized by the Tlatelolco massacre (2 October 1968) of students and civilians by the Mexican federal government; consequently, he became a militant in the Maoist National Liberation Forces. In 1983, he went to the mountains of Chiapas to convince the poor, indigenous Maya population to organize and launch a proletarian revolution against the Mexican bourgeoisie and the federal government. After hearing his proposition, the Chiapanecs “just stared at him”, and replied that they were not urban workers, that, from their perspective, the land was not property, but the heart of the communities.

Imagine a person who comes from an urban culture. One of the world’s biggest cities, with a university education, accustomed to city life. It’s like landing on another planet. The language, the surroundings are new. You’re seen as an alien from outer space. Everything tells you: “Leave. This is a mistake. You don’t belong in this place”; and it’s said in a foreign tongue. But they let you know, the people, the way they act; the weather, the way it rains; the sunshine; the earth, the way it turns to mud; the diseases; the insects; homesickness. You’re being told. “You don’t belong here”. If that’s not a nightmare, what is?

Marcos’ political philosophy is often characterized as Marxist and his populist writing, which concentrates on unjust treatment of people by both business and the State, underlines some of the commonalities the Zapatista ideology shares with Libertarian Socialism and Anarchism.

When asked about whether he is worried about the risk of assassination, he relied with this:

“We don’t fear to die struggling. The good word has already been planted in fertile soil. This fertile soil is in the heart of all of you, and it is there that Zapatista dignity flourishes.”

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You can find many interviews with Marcos on you tube. I recommend checking them out.

Anniversary of the Assassination of Fred Hampton

By M. Thompson

December 4 marked the forty-third anniversary of the assassination of Fred Hampton.

Fred Hampton was born in Chicago, on August 30, 1948, and grew up in Maywood, a suburb west of the city. He was a gifted student and graduated high school with honors in 1966. After high school he enrolled in Triton Junior College, majoring in pre-law. During this time he became involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), eventually assuming leadership of the Youth Council of their West Suburban branch.
In 1968, he moved to Chicago and joined the Black Panther Party, it was around this same time that the FBI opened their first file on him in their infamous and then unknown Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), a project designed to neutralize political dissent within the United States.

While organizing for the party in Chicago, he and other members worked to ease racial tensions and raise class-consciousness among the city’s working class neighborhoods, allying with such popular organizations as Students for a Democratic Society and the Young Patriots, among others, forming what he coined the “Rainbow Coalition” (unrelated to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s later organization of a similar name).
During his time as a political activist and a civil rights attorney, Hampton managed to make enemies within the establishment of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department, and the FBI. While looking for a way to infiltrate the Chicago BPP, the FBI came across William O’Neal. O’Neal had recently been arrested for interstate car theft and impersonating a police officer. They offered to drop all the charges against him if he agreed infiltrate the party as an FBI informant in exchange, and he did. Among other things, O’Neal provided the FBI with a detailed description of Hampton’s apartment, including where furniture was located and where Hampton and his pregnant girlfriend slept.

The night before Hampton’s assassination, he and some fellow Panthers as usual were staying the night at his apartment. O’Neal arrived late with a dinner he prepared. Over the course of the evening, following FBI orders, O’Neal laced Hampton’s drinks with a powerful barbiturate so he would not wake during the subsequent raid. O’Neal left at around 1:30 am.

In preparation for Hampton’s assassination, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office organized a fourteen man team for a pre-dawn raid of Hampton’s apartment armed with automatic weapons and an illegal weapons warrant. At 4:45 am, on December 4, 1969 the team stormed the apartment. Mark Clark, one of Hamptons’ colleagues, was asleep in a front room on security duty with a shotgun in his lap when he was shot and killed. He managed to fire one shot before his death; ballistic evidence would later prove this was the only shot fired by the Panthers. Police gunfire was concentrated at the wall at the head of the bedroom where Hampton slept, wounding him in the shoulder.

Two police officers then dragged his unconscious body out into the hallway and after a brief verbal exchange confirming that it was indeed Fred Hampton before them and that he was alive, shot him twice in the head at point-blank. They left his body by the doorway in a pool of his own blood. He was only 21 years old when he died.
His funeral was attended by over 5,000 people, including such notable figures as Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ralph Abernathy, and Prof. Noam Chomsky. Four weeks later his son, Fred Hampton Jr. was born.

Hampton is now revered in Chicago as local martyr for civil rights. In 1990 the city of Chicago declared December 4th Fred Hampton day in his honor and in 2006 went on to name a city street after him, despite resistance from local police.

The lessons we learned from his death are still relevant today, with the FBI having just released documents revealing their counterintelligence and surveillance operations concerning the Occupy movement at the request of the Partnership for Civil Justice under the Freedom of Information Act, reminding us that challenging institutions of power and exercising our constitutional liberties comes at an all too heavy price.

Race off the political agenda as UK government ignores equality

By Leon J Williams

The UK government led by a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have been accused by Doreen Lawrence (the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence) of backing away from their commitments to race equality.

The Prime Minister (Conservative) and his Deputy (Liberal Democrat) have tried to keep the issue out of the lime light by writing to Doreen Lawrence assuring her that the government is committed to race equality and that they are doing all they can. Clearly an attempt to dismiss the serious issue like it doesn’t exist.

Had Doreen Lawrence not gone public with the issue then there is no doubt that the coalition would have continued to ignore it.

For further reading click here.