Pan Africa Newswire
Former South African President Nelson Mandela and former President Fidel Castro in Cuba during 1991. Mandela praised the role of Cuba in the liberation of southern Africa., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nelson Mandela’s Speech Upon His Release from Prison
February 11, 1990
Cape Town, South Africa
My friends, comrades, and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy, and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release. I extend special greetings to the people of Cape Town, the city to which — which has been my home for three decades. Your mass marches and other forms of struggle have served as a constant source of strength to all political prisoners.
I salute the African National Congress. It has fulfilled our every expectation in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.
I salute our President, Comrade Oliver Tambo, for leading the ANC even under the most difficult circumstances.
I salute the rank-and-file members of the ANC: You have sacrificed life and limb in the pursuit of the noble cause of our struggle.
I salute combatants of Umkhonto We Sizwe, like Solomon Mahlangu and Ashley Kriel, who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of all South Africans.
I salute the South African Communist Party for its sterling contribution to the struggle for democracy. You have survived 40 years of unrelenting persecution. The memory of great communists like Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer, and Moses Mabhida will be cherished for generations to come.
I salute General Secretary Joe Slovo, one of our finest patriots. We are heartened by the fact that the alliance between ourselves and the Party remains as strong as it — it always was.
I salute the United Democratic Front, the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress, the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses, and COSATU, and the many other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement.
I also salute the Black Sash and the National Union of South African Students. We note with pride that you have looked — that you have acted as the conscience of white South Africa. Even during the darkest days in the history of our struggle you held the flag of liberty high. The large-scale mass mobilization of the past few years is one of the key factors which led to the opening of the final chapter of our struggle.
I extend my greetings to the working class of our country. Your — Your organized strength is the pride of our movement. You remain the most dependable force in the struggle to end exploitation and oppression.
I pay tribute — I pay tribute to the many religious communities who carried the campaign for justice forward when the organizations of our people were silenced.
I greet the traditional leaders of our country — many among you continue to walk in the footsteps of great heroes like Hintsa and Sekhukhune.
I pay tribute to the endless heroism of the youth, you, the young lions. You, the young lions, have energized our entire struggle.
I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than on anyone else.
On this occasion, we thank the world — we thank the world community for their great contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. Without your support our struggle would not have reached this advanced stage. The sacrifice of the frontline states will be remembered by South Africans forever.
My salutations will be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family. I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own.
Before I go any further I wish to make the point that I intend making only a few preliminary comments at this stage. I will make a more complete statement only after I have had the opportunity to consult with my comrades.
Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaigns of defiance and other actions of our organizations and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The apartheid destruction on our sub-continent is in calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy — Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.
I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies, and tactics.
The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organization and to allow the democratic structures to decide on the way forward. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty-bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.
Today, I wish to report to you that my talks with the government have been aimed at normalizing the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle. I wish to stress that I myself have at no time entered into negotiations about the future of our country except to insist on a meeting between the ANC and the government.
Mr. De Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist President in taking real steps to normalize the situation. However, there are further steps, as outlined in the Harare Declaration, that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin. I reiterate our call for, inter alia², the immediate ending of the State of Emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners. Only such a normalized situation, which allows for free political activity, can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate.
The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations. Negotiations cannot take place — Negotiations cannot take up a place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the overwhelming demands of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.
It must be added that Mr. De Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honoring his undertakings. But as an organization, we base our policy and strategy on the harsh reality we are faced with. And this reality is that we are still suffering under the policies of the Nationalist government.
Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment, so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive.
The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts. It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime. To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid.
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters’ role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.
In conclusion, I wish to go to my own words during my trial in 1964. They are as true today as they were then. I wrote:
I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and — and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Madiba Nelson Mandela turned 91 on July 18, 2009. The former President of the Republic of South Africa and ANC leader, was honored in Africa and throughout the world. Mandela was a political prisoner for over 27 years., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nelson Mandela dies
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of the nation, has died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95.
05 Dec 2013 23:27 Staff Reporter
South African Mail & Guardian
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of the nation, died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95.
President Jacob Zuma made the announcement from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday night. He said Mandela passed away at 20:50 in his Houghton home surrounded by his wife, Graça Machel and members of his family.
Zuma said Mandela would have a state funeral and that the flags would fly half-mast from December 6 until after the funeral.
Mandela was hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung infection. Initial reports from the Presidency suggested Mandela was stable, although his condition was serious. But on June 23, the Presidency announced that Mandela's condition had deteriorated and he was critical.
Court affidavits soon confirmed that the former statesman was on an assisted-breathing, life support machine. More reports emerged about Nelson Mandela in the days that followed, that he was in a "permanent vegetative state", although the presidency denied these, maintaining that he was "critical yet stable".
On his 95th birthday, July 18, President Jacob Zuma announced an improvement in Mandela's health. Mandela was discharged from hospital in September and transported to his home in Houghton. In November, his family said he remained "quite ill", but his pneumonia had cleared up. President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela on November 18 and said Mandela was still in a critical condition, but that he continued to respond to treatment.
On December 3 his daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said the former president was "strong" and "courageous", although he was "on his death bed". Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela, said his grandfather was "not doing well", although, "he is still with us".
His declining health has been the subject of much speculation over the past few years. He was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in 2001 but made a full recovery. In 2011, he was admitted to hospital following a severe respiratory infection and a year later underwent a scheduled surgery for a longstanding abdominal complaint.
Mandela was plagued by recurring lung ailments in recent years. He spent 18 days in hospital at the end of 2012 and, despite receiving home-based high care thereafter, was back in hospital in March and April 2013.
There were renewed fears for his health when he returned to hospital in June. Despite assurances from the presidency that he was in a "serious but stable" condition, South Africans began preparing themselves for the worst as Mandela's family members flocked to Johannesburg, struggle stalwarts paid visits to the icon, and the world's media gathered in Qunu, Houghton and at the Pretoria hospital where he was treated.
The much-loved Mandela, known affectionately as Tata Madiba, became increasingly frail and retired from public life in 2004 at the age of 85.
Mandela's last public appearance was a brief one, at the end of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Since then, he has split his time between his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, and his ancestral home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
Mandela became the symbol of the struggle against apartheid after he was convicted in the Rivonia Trial of charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
At the end of his trial, Mandela gave a now iconic speech in which he said: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Mandela, a key figure in the African National Congress, who helped found the party's youth league and armed wing,Umkhonto We Sizwe, was imprisoned for 27 years before he was finally released in 1990 at the age of 71.
Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, together with former president FW De Klerk, for the 'peaceful termination of the apartheid regime and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa". A year later, he was elected president in the country's first democratic election.
He stepped down from the presidency in 1999 after one term in office but continued with a busy public schedule. He brokered negotiations for peace in Rwanda, established the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation for educational scholarship, and launched the 46664 Aids fundraising foundation.
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila portrayed in a campaign billboard. The national elections were held in late 2011 resulting in the re-election of Kabila., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
UN troops target armed groups in DRC
December 4, 2013
GOMA/KAMPALA. – The United Nations yesterday announced its peacekeeping troops will go after other armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after helping to defeat the M23 rebel force.Tackling such groups is now “a prospect” for the UN’s 20 000-strong MONUSCO force and “that’s just what we are going to do,” the head of UN peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, said in the northeastern city of Goma, capital of strife-torn North Kivu province.
Ladsous was speaking after the UN peacekeeping mission launched an Italian-made surveillance drone from the airport in Goma – the first time the UN has used such a pilot-less aircraft in any country. The MONUSCO mission in the DRC currently has two such unarmed drones. Both are fitted exclusively for reconnaissance missions, to back up its ground forces.
The mission is to be equipped with three more by March next year.
The deployment of drones comes at a “symbolic” moment, Ladsous said, after the “fundamental change” on the ground in North Kivu when Congolese troops backed by a UN special intervention brigade forced the powerful M23 rebels to surrender on November 5.
The drones will be “an incomparable tool”, Ladsous said. They will fly over North and South Kivu provinces and “are going to give us precise usable information in real time in tactical terms”, he added.
The drones will survey mineral-rich territory fought over by dozens of armed movements, which the 3 000-strong special brigade, with soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, has been ordered to neutralise.
The aircraft will also be used to survey the porous borders between North Kivu and Rwanda and Uganda, in a bid to prevent these countries providing support to groups inside DR Congo.
Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila have agreed that the peace process must resume to allow thousands of refugees to return to the DRC.
The conclusion of the Ugandan-mediated talks would also facilitate the peaceful return of former combatants from the M23 rebel group and completion of the demobilisation process, the two leaders said in a communique after meeting here Monday.
“The two presidents agreed that the Kampala Dialogue between the government of the DRC and the M23 should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible,” it said.
“This would further create appropriate conditions for the return of Congolese refugees living in neighbouring countries and the internally displaced persons,” the communiqué said.
Kabila reaffirmed his determination to rid the DRC of all other negative forces, including the FDLR, a Rwandan rebel group, and the Allied Democratic Force, a Ugandan rebel group.
The DRC government declined to sign a peace agreement it had negotiated with the M23 last month, saying it needed a review of the final text.
The Congolese government and the M23 rebels have been negotiating for almost a year to end fighting in the eastern part of the country.
The Republic of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officers held a parade in Khartoum on December 3, 2013. They pledged to deal with any subversive threat., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER 2013
Thousands of Sudan’s NISS members stage show of force in Khartoum
December 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) asserted its ability to swiftly deal with rebel plots and squash them to protect the nation and its territorial integrity.
National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officers at a parade in Khartoum December 3, 2013 (ST)
The country’s security apparatus on Tuesday concluded a military parade that included 7,000 of its members which marched through different districts of the Sudanese capital over the last few days causing traffic jams and infuriating drivers.
Al-Khalifa Square in Sudan’s twin capital city of Omdurman witnessed the conclusion of this unusual display of force.
The NISS Deputy Director Major General Salah al-Tayeb who addressed the parade stressed that the government is keen on peace and that they are not war mongers but that they will only accept a "peace with dignity with our heads high".
Al-Tayeb said that this procession was meant as a clear message to those who live in luxury hotels in the capitals of Europe as well as Kampala and other international cities in reference to rebel groups who joined ranks under the umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).
The NISS official accused the rebels of begging foreigners for food and arms to kill their fellow countrymen in Sudan.
He resolved that the youths of Sudan are ready to crush the insurgency this summer adding that the parade comes in the context of the training and physical preparation to enforce the directives of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to establish security and stability in the country.
Battles are reportedly ongoing in Sudan’s West Kordofan state which borders South Kordofan between SRF and the Sudanese army with both sides claiming to be making major strides.
The border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile have been witnessing armed conflict between the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) which is a member of SRF and the Sudanese army since 2011.
This month several senior Sudanese officials announced that troops are heading to Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, saying that the government troops would carry out a major military campaign to eliminate the armed rebellion.
President Farole of Puntland was welcomed in Somalia during a visit in late November 2012. Puntland is a breakaway region in northern Somalia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
SOMALIA: Puntland President announces Conflict Resolution Committee, candidates reject to endorse
Posted on December 3, 2013
Puntland President Abdurahman Mohamed Farole, who is also a presidential candidate has today appointed the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Committee which will be responsible in selecting and vetting the region’s new upcoming parliament members ahead of the presidential election, RBC Radio.
The region is preparing for presidential election in January 2014 facing high number of candidates running for the presidency in the next four years.
“The appointed committee members are from all the regions of Puntland as I hope they will have the confidence of the candidates and the people.” Farole said during a press conference in Garowe Presudency today.
Following are the eight members of the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Committee appointed by President Farole;
1, Eng, Yuusuf Abshir Cadami (Chairperson)
2, Cismaan guureeye Kaarshe Member
3,Eng, Maxamuud Axmed Xasan Member
4,Maxamed Cabdulaahi Faarax Member
5,Caaqil Cabdiraxmaan Axmed Xaaji Diiriye Member
6, Caaqil Abshir Cabdiraxman Caraale (Dhegcas) Member
7,Caaqil Siciid Xasan Xaaji yuusuf (Warabecade) Member
8,Maxamed Cabduqaadir Cismaan ( Secretariat)
But soon after President Farole released the list, the other candidates of the current presidential election opposed to endorse the committee and called as “illegal committee”.
The rival candidates who are in Garowe, Qardho and Galkacyo vowed that they will appoint another Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Committee in their turn.
Somalia's Al Shabab Islamic resistance movement marched through the streets of a town inside the Horn of Africa country. Despite claims by the US-backed transitional regime, the resistance to imperialism continues., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Garowe Online (Garowe)
Somalia: Militia Attack Mogadishu Intelligence Base, Explosions Reported in Gedo
4 DECEMBER 2013
Mogadishu — Armed militia believed to be Al Shabaab members attacked Intelligence base in Mogadishu's Huriwaa district as witnesses reported two landmine explosions in El-Waq town of Gedo region, Garowe Online reports.
The gunmen Tuesday night targeted Intelligence and National Security Agency (NISA) base with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades according to officials and residents said Somali Government forces engaged in firefight that lasted for nearly 30 Minutes with the attackers.
Huriwaa Commissioner Omar Abdulle Jacfan told the media that armed militia estimated to be 10 attacked the forces.
"Nearly 10 men attacked Abdi-Wayel Cinema which is a base for intelligence officers. The government forces were later reinforced and they killed two assailants and captured two others," Jacfan said.
Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab militants target Somali government officials and important structures, making Mogadishu security situation extremely volatile.
Meanwhile, two landmine explosions left 3 people including Somali government soldiers and civilians dead and seven others wounded on Tuesday evening in El-Waq town of southern Somalia.
Residents tell Garowe Online that communication lines were severed shortly after government troops launched investigations.
El-Waq district of Gedo region is located near Somalia-Kenya border and it has since been chronically unstable.
Eric Schmidt (R), who was Google's CEO for 10 years before assuming the role of executive chairman last year, is pictured in a court sketch being questioned by Google lawyer Robert Van Nest as U.S. District Judge William Alsup (L) watches during a trial., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Mass hack affects almost 2 million Internet accounts
Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY 11:06 p.m. EST December 4, 2013
Hackers stole almost 1.6 million login credentials and 320,000 e-mail credentials.
The breaches began Oct. 21 and might still be taking place, according to one report
Four sites reportedly said they have notified users and reset passwords
Server involved in the breaches is located in the Netherlands, cybersecurity firm says
Almost 2 million accounts on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and other social media and Internet sites have been breached, according to a Chicago-based cybersecurity firm.
The hackers stole 1.58 million website login credentials and 320,000 e-mail account credentials, among other items, the firm Trustwave reported. Included in the breaches were thefts of 318,121 passwords from Facebook, 59,549 from Yahoo, 54,437 from Google, 21,708 from Twitter and 8,490 from LinkedIn. The list also includes 7,978 from ADP, the payroll service provider. According to a Trustwave blog, "Payroll services accounts could actually have direct financial repercussions."
The hacking began Oct. 21 and might still be taking place, according to CNN.
John Miller, a security research manager at Trustwave, told CNN, "We don't have evidence they logged into these accounts, but they probably did."
There are several other servers Trustwave has not yet tracked down, Miller told CNN.
ADP, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter told CNN they have notified users and reset passwords for compromised accounts. Google declined to comment and Yahoo did not respond immediately, CNN reported.
The majority of passwords were from the Netherlands, followed by Thailand, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia and the United States, which accounted for 859 reports from machines and 1,943 passwords, according to Trustwave. In all, just over 100 countries were affected, and Trustwave said this shows the attack is "fairly global."
In compiling the data, Trustwave also discovered that many users are doing just what computer specialists advise against – using simplistic passwords that can easily be guessed. For instance, the top five passwords Trustwave found in researching the breaches were: 123456, 123456789, 1234, password and 12345.
According to its website, Trustwave helps businesses fight computer crime, protect data and reduce security risks.
The breaches operated through software maliciously installed on computers around the world, CNN reports Trustwave said. The virus borne from the software has been sending the stolen information over to a server in the Netherlands controlled by the hackers, according to CNN.
Trustwave researchers on Nov. 24 detected the server and found compromised credentials for about 100,000 websites.
Obama's plan to cut Social Security benefits for senior citizens is more than draconian. It will further impoverish millions more elderly people who rely on these already too small checks for over 50 percent of their household budgets., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Obama Decries U.S. Income Gap That Has Widened Under His Watch
By David J. Lynch - Dec 5, 2013
The gap between rich and poor that President Barack Obama yesterday called a “fundamental threat to the American dream” has grown during his administration.
The richest 10 percent of Americans earned a larger share of income last year than at any time since 1917, according to Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. Those in the top one-tenth of income distribution earned at least $146,000 in 2012, almost 12 times what those in the bottom tenth made, Census Bureau data show.
Much of the gap is out of the president’s control, economists say, citing forces such as globalization and the spread of technology that are overwhelming government remedies. Yet while Obama complains that Republicans are blocking his efforts to boost the minimum wage and provide universal pre-school, other policies that he has enacted such as trade agreements also may have contributed to inequality, they say.
“There are things he could do that he hasn’t done,” says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Democratic-leaning research group in Washington. “He’s done nothing to rein in the financial sector.”
The president also stumbled in implementing the biggest new government program that would benefit the have-nots, the health-care law known as Obamacare. The Oct. 1 debut of the program’s website was botched so badly that it has sapped public support for the administration and emboldened its political opponents.
While acknowledging yesterday “admittedly poor execution” in introducing the health-care exchanges, Obama said the insurance expansion would reduce a “major source of inequality and help ensure more Americans get the start that they need to succeed.”
The speech -- filled with bedrock themes of equality dear to Obama’s base -- comes as some Americans are expressing disappointment in his handling of the Affordable Care Act, National Security Agency snooping and other issues. Obama and the Democrats need to energize the party’s voters heading into the 2014 congressional elections, and the speech offered much to remind them why they supported Obama in the first place.
At the same time, there were few new concrete proposals to combat inequality and little in the way of specific policy prescriptions to close the gap in Obama’s remaining three years in office. The speech also contained many of the same themes of an address he delivered almost two years ago to the day in Osawatomie, Kansas.
The top tier of Americans are doing fine. After-tax corporate profits have more than doubled as a share of the economy and are now at their highest level since records were kept in 1947.
Meanwhile, workers are compensated with a smaller share of national output than at any time since 1952.
“We’re talking about a society where the well-off and the educated are doing better and the rest are doing worse,” Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, told Bloomberg Television last week.
Rather than embracing new government programs, Republicans say economic growth will help resolve what Obama calls “the defining challenge of our time.” With House Republicans opposed to any expansion of federal spending, the president challenged them to advance alternative ideas for promoting greater economic opportunity.
“If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them,” he said yesterday.
It’s a political issue that resonates with voters. In a May survey by the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Americans said inequality has increased and 47 percent agreed it was “a very big problem.”
And there are signs that public attention to the issue may be intensifying. In Washington, where chronic concern over federal budget deficits has diminished since the 16-day government shutdown in October, the president has thrown his support behind proposals to increase the $7.25 federal minimum wage.
After proposing an increase to $9 in February, Obama last month endorsed a Senate bill that would raise the rate to $10.10 over two years.
“The president is talking about what I think the country ought to be talking about,” says economist Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based research group that focuses on the needs of lower-income workers. “It does reflect a shift in the center of gravity.”
Elsewhere, fast-food workers in 100 cities plan to strike today, seeking a higher minimum wage, which was last raised in 2009. Pope Francis last week added his voice to those worried about the deepening chasm between society’s most and least affluent.
“Just as the commandment ‘thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality,” the pope said. “Such an economy kills.”
Workers haven’t done as well as investors under Obama. Since the end of the recession in mid-2009, the economy has grown at an average 2.1 percent pace. The 7.3 percent jobless rate, though down from its 10 percent peak in 2009, remains more than a full percentage point above the 30-year average.
New trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama continued a decades-long expansion of cross-border commerce that some economists say has cost American workers millions of jobs. A trade deficit of about 3 percent of gross domestic product is probably directly costing the economy about 4 million to 6 million jobs, says Baker.
Since Obama’s first inauguration amid the depths of the recession, the stock market has powered to new heights. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed yesterday at 1792.81, up more than 120 percent since Jan. 20, 2009.
Though those gains have cheered investors, most Americans have watched from the sidelines. The richest third of U.S. households account for 89 percent of all equities ownership, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
To contact the reporter on this story: David J. Lynch in Washington at email@example.com
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Security personnel for Chase Bank outside their headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bail Out the People Movement held a demonstration there demanding a moratorium on foreclosures. (Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
JPMorgan warns 465,000 card users on data loss after cyber attack
By David Henry and Jim Finkle
NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co is warning some 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards issued by the bank that their personal information may have been accessed by hackers who attacked its network in July.
The cards were issued for corporations to pay employees and for government agencies to issue tax refunds, unemployment compensation and other benefits.
JPMorgan said on Wednesday it detected that its web servers used by its site www.ucard.chase.com had been breached in the middle of September. It then fixed the issue and reported it to law enforcement.
Bank spokesman Michael Fusco said that in the months since the breach was discovered the bank has been investigating to find out exactly which accounts were involved and what pieces of information could have been taken. He declined to discuss how the attackers breached the bank's network.
Fusco said the bank is notifying the cardholders, who account for about 2 percent of its roughly 25 million UCard users, about the breach because it cannot rule out the possibility that their personal information was among the data removed from its servers.
The bank typically keeps the personal information of its customers encrypted, or scrambled, as a security precaution.
However, during the course of the breach, personal data belonging to those customers had temporarily appeared in plain text in files the computers use to log activity.
The bank believes "a small amount" of data was taken, but not critical personal information such as social security numbers, birth dates and email addresses.
Cyber criminals covet such data because it can be used to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards and engage in identity theft.
Many states require banks to notify customers if they believe there is any chance that such information may have been taken in a breach.
The bank is also offering the cardholders a year of free credit-monitoring services.
The warning only affects the bank's UCard users, not holders of debit cards, credit cards or prepaid Liquid cards.
Fusco said the bank has not found that any funds were stolen as a result of the breach and that it has no evidence that other crimes have been committed. As a result, it is not issuing replacement cards.
The spokesman declined to identify the government agencies and businesses whose customers it had warned about the breach.
Fox 8 News in New Orleans reported on its website that three Louisiana agencies were notified by the bank on Wednesday that the personally identifiable information of some state citizens may have been exposed.
State officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
The bank said it does not know who was behind the attack, though the Secret Service and FBI are investigating the matter.
Businesses and government agencies are increasingly using prepaid cards because they are easier to cash than paper checks.
Yet the vast stores of data behind payment cards of all kinds have created new risks. In 2007 some 41 million credit and debit card numbers from major retailers, including the owner of T.J. Maxx stores, were stolen.
In May of this year U.S. prosecutors said a global cybercrime ring had stolen $45 million from banks by hacking into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money from automated teller machines in 27 countries.
(Reporting by David Henry in NEW YORK and Jim Finkle in BOSTON; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
Civil liberties activists demonstrated across the United States on July 4, 2013 in opposition to broad National Security Agency spying. Edward Snowden is being scapegoated for the revelations., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Microsoft to encrypt data in its services to prevent snooping
By Craig Timberg
December 4, 2013, 09:32 PM
Microsoft plans to encrypt data flowing through all of its communication, productivity and other services as it seeks to reassure users in the United States and beyond that it will guard their personal information from snooping governments, the company announced Wednesday night.
The encryption initiative, approved by company executives last week, comes as many of the nation’s top technology firms scramble to protect their reputations after months of revelations about how the National Security Agency and its foreign counterparts have siphoned off massive amounts of user information, including emails, video chats, address books and more.
“The goal is clear: We want to be sure that governments use legal processes rather than brute force to access user data,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel.
Smith said that concern at the company surged in October, when The Washington Post reported, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the NSA and its British counterpart were tapping into the private communications links of Google and Yahoo as information flowed among those companies’ data centers.
Smith said that report was “like an earthquake sending shock waves through the tech sector” because it made clear that government surveillance was not limited to known legal processes, such as those approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but was happening by other means, as well.
Both Google and Yahoo, which have announced their own major encryption initiatives in recent months, have global networks that resemble Microsoft’s. In addition, documents provided by Snowden to the Post suggested – while not proving – that Microsoft also was a target of the NSA program that collected data moving between centers.
Privacy advocates long have considered Microsoft a laggard in adopting encryption technology and resisting surveillance efforts. Microsoft’s announcement signals a major new commitment to such issues, and was accompanied by promises to make the computer coding for Microsoft’s services more transparent and to more vigorously resist data requests from police and intelligence agencies.
Smith said the company also was taking the position that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees some NSA intelligence-gathering efforts, does not have jurisdiction to approve the collection of data outside U.S. borders.
The company did not immediately release an estimated cost or a timeline for completing the new encryption efforts. It did, however, promise to implement “best-in-class cryptography” for data flowing between customers and Microsoft and moving between data centers around the world. It also plans to encrypt data that’s in storage. Among the products getting new encryption are Outlook.com, Office 365, SkyDrive and Azure.
The company said the encryption effort will include implementing “perfect forward secrecy,” a way of safeguarding encryption keys, and 2,048-bit key lengths. Both are considered relatively advanced technologies.
Data flowing between customers and Microsoft will be encrypted by default, which privacy advocates consider superior to systems that users must personally activate.
Protesters march through downtown Washington, D.C. during the Stop Watching Us demonstration on October 26, 2013., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
NSA gathers data on cellphone locations globally: report
WASHINGTON Thu Dec 5, 2013 12:18am EST
Antennas of the former National Security Agency (NSA) listening station are seen at the Teufelsberg hill, or Devil's Mountain in Berlin, November 5, 2013
(Reuters) - The National Security Agency gathers nearly 5 billion records a day on the location of mobile telephones worldwide, including those of some Americans, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing sources including documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The records feed a database that stores information about the locations of "at least hundreds of millions of devices," the newspaper said, according to the top-secret documents and interviews with intelligence officials.
The report said the NSA does not target Americans' location data intentionally, but acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellular telephones "incidentally."
One manager told the newspaper the NSA obtained "vast volumes" of location data by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones.
U.S. intelligence officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment on the Post report.
The article cited officials as saying the programs that collect and analyze location data are lawful and meant solely to develop intelligence on foreign targets.
U.S. intelligence agencies' extensive collection of telephone and Internet data has been subject to scrutiny since Snowden began leaking information in June showing that surveillance was far more extensive than most Americans had realized.
Facing a public outcry and concern that programs are targeting average Americans as well as international terrorism suspects, Republican and Democratic members of Congress are writing legislation to clamp down on the data collection and increase public access to information about it.
Advocates responded to the Post report by calling on Congress to take up legislation to reform NSA data-gathering programs.
"How many revelations of NSA surveillance will it take for Congress to act? Today's news is the latest startling blow to the right to privacy," Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Mark Hosenball)
Plea for help: Carmen Fernandez (right) and others rallied last month in Sacramento, Calif., for a moratorium on foreclosures., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
In the U.S. 49.7 Million Are Now Poor, and 80% of the Total Population Is Near Poverty
If you live in the United States, there is a good chance that you are now living in poverty or near poverty. Nearly 50 million Americans, (49.7 Million), are living below the poverty line, with 80% of the entire U.S. population living near poverty or below it.
That near poverty statistic is perhaps more startling than the 50 million Americans below the poverty line, because it translates to a full 80% of the population struggling with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on government assistance to help make ends meet.
In September, the Associated Press pointed to survey data that told of an increasingly widening gap between rich and poor, as well as the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs that used to provide opportunities for the “Working Class” to explain an increasing trend towards poverty in the U.S.
But the numbers of those below the poverty line does not merely reflect the number of jobless Americans. Instead, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday, the number – 3 million higher than what the official government numbers imagine – are also due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses.
The new measure is generally “considered more reliable by social scientists because it factors in living expenses as well as the effects of government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits,” according to Hope Yen reporting for the Associated Press.
Some other findings revealed that food stamps helped 5 million people barely reach above the poverty line. That means that the actual poverty rate is even higher, as without such aid, poverty rate would rise from 16 percent to 17.6 percent.
Latino and Asian Americans saw an increase in poverty, rising to 27.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively, from 25.8 percent and 11.8 percent under official government numbers. African-Americans, however, saw a very small decrease, from 27.3 percent to 25.8 percent which the study documents is due to government assistance programs. Non-Hispanic whites too rose from 9.8 percent to 10.7 percent in poverty.
“The primary reason that poverty remains so high,” Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan economist said, “is that the benefits of a growing economy are no longer being shared by all workers as they were in the quarter-century following the end of World War II.”
“Given current economic conditions,” he continued, “poverty will not be substantially reduced unless government does more to help the working poor.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. government seems to think that the answer is cutting more of those services which are helping to keep 80% of the population just barely above the poverty line, cutting Food Stamps since the beginning of the month. Democrats and Republicans are negotiating about just how much more of these programs should be cut, but neither party is arguing that they should not be touched.
(Article by Simeon Ari; photo via AP Photo)
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking at a rally outside federal bankruptcy court in downtown Detroit. (Photo: Valerie Jean), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Detroit Decision: Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Banks and Political Dictatorship
Despite failure to negotiate in “good faith” Rhodes says state was justified in filing for bankruptcy
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Judge Steven Rhodes has ruled that a state-imposed emergency manager was acting legally when bankruptcy was filed over and above the objections of the people of Detroit. The judge also said that pensions guaranteed under the state constitution of Michigan could be diminished.
Rhodes said that even though Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager and a former partner to the corporate law firm Jones Day, did not negotiate in good faith with unions, pensioners and creditors, such a process was impractical. There was no recognition or acknowledgement of the role of the banks and corporations in the financial destruction of the city and its people in the today’s eligibility decision.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr in March against the wishes of city residents and elected officials. Facing widespread opposition to his restructuring policies in the courts and in the streets, Orr filed for bankruptcy in July.
This ruling took place at the same time as union members, retirees and community activists demonstrated outside the courtroom in downtown Detroit. The protesters carried signs calling for the bailing out the people not the banks and in favor of cancelling the bank debt which they believe is completely illegitimate.
One community leader, Marian Kramer, co-chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization told the crowd that “They’re attacking the pensions of the public employees. Everybody else better start standing up, ‘cause you’re next on the chopping block, because it sets a model for the rest of the country and what you have.”
The decision has national ramifications for municipalities across the United States facing similar problems in the aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. According to leading financial publications, dozens of states in the U.S. have pension systems that are considered underfunded and the decline of revenue sharing from the states and federal government can only mean more austerity for urban residents.
Since 2008, the banks have been bailed out to the tune of at least $14 trillion while poverty, unemployment and political repression has escalated for the overwhelming majority of working and oppressed people.
David Sole, a retired city employee in the Department of Water and Sewage, and an organizer for the Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee (STOPC) said outside the courtroom after the judge’s decision that the ruling “exposed Rhodes as an agent of Wall Street. Retirees will be driven out of their homes into the streets, we will be living in cardboard boxes if our pensions are cut and healthcare eliminated.”
“This is the same federal court system that justified slavery for over a hundred years. We cannot expect justice from them,” Sole continued.
Most people in the city of Detroit viewed the bankruptcy proceeding as a foregone conclusion. The right to vote and collective bargaining has been largely stolen under the guise of a ruling class response to the economic crisis.
Detroit is the largest per capita African American populated city in the U.S. The emergency manager law which voters turned down in November, 2012, has disenfranchised over half of the African American people in the state of Michigan.
Even though the people voted against emergency management, the right-wing dominated state legislature passed another law reinstituting political dictatorship on behalf of the banks. Along with the emergency manager law passed last December, the state lawmakers along with the governor made Michigan a right-to-work state.
No Mention of the Criminal Role of Banks and Corporations
The economic crisis in Detroit is the product of the restructuring of capitalism over the last six decades. Census reports going back to the 1950s reveal that large-scale capital flight, the loss of jobs and household income has driven down living standards inside the city.
In 1950 Detroit had a population of approximately 1.8 million people. Today there are only 700,000. These figures speak volumes in regard to the ravages of capitalist exploitation and national oppression.
Even after the theft of hundreds of thousands of industrial, service, professional and skilled jobs, Detroit was also targeted in the late 1990s and early 2000s for racist predatory lending. Sub-prime lending to Detroit residents led to tens of thousands of foreclosures.
Banks and other financial institutions profited immensely from the eradication of neighborhoods through fraudulent loans. City and state officials along with the federal government refused to place a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs resulting in the removal of 25 percent of the city’s population between 2000 and 2010.
City workers and retirees have been blamed consistently by the corporate media for the crisis. This is being done despite the fact that municipal employees have faced massive lay-offs and pay cuts over the last decade.
Nonetheless, these well documented facts were not taken into consideration by Judge Rhodes. In line with the right-wing agents of the banks and corporations, the bankruptcy court placed the onus of the crisis on the backs of the workers and oppressed.
During the course of the bankruptcy hearings and trial, over 100 people filed objections to the proceedings. Pensioners, residents, homeowners and workers outlined before the court why the bankruptcy filing was unjustified and illegal.
The proceeding violated the political will and the right to self-determination of the people of Detroit. After Orr was appointed as the emergency manager in March, his former law firm, Jones Day, was given a multi-million dollar contract to represent the city in the restructuring and bankruptcy.
This was done despite the fact that Jones Day has financial institutions such as Bank of America as its clients. It has been reported in the corporate media that up to $62 million in contracts have been handed out to outside firms to carry on the wholesale robbery of the city and its population.
Lawyers for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSME) have already filed an appeal of the eligibility ruling. These attorneys will also seek to appeal in the 6th Circuit in an effort to place a stay on the bankruptcy proceedings.
Ruling Reveals the Hypocrisy of Bourgeois Democracy
Many of the protesters outside the courtroom were angered because their voices in opposition to emergency management and bankruptcy were completely ignored by Judge Rhodes. Atty. Jerome Goldberg who represented a pensioner in the trial said that an upcoming hearing on whether a deal drafted by the emergency manager to borrow $350 million from Barclays in order to pay off Bank of America and UBS for a questionable interest rate swap deal from 2005 will reveal the true character of the bankruptcy court.
“This decision by the federal court points to the necessity of the retirees mobilizing in the thousands. What’s more important than appealing Rhodes’ decision is to bring people into the streets to oppose this ruling.”
The trial on the Barclays swap deal will begin on December 17. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is calling for people to demonstrate again outside the federal court in opposition to the payoff of Bank of America and UBS, two financial institutions which played a significant role in the mortgage crisis that has plagued Detroit for years.
In a leaflet circulated outside the federal courthouse on December 3, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition stated that “Beginning on December 17 there will be a trial to determine if 20 percent of city income tax dollars will be pledged for six years after bankruptcy to make good on this gift to the banks. This trial will determine if Detroit is to remain permanently enslaved by the criminal banks.”
Despite the overwhelming vote in November, 2012 against the emergency manager law, the slew of legal challenges to this usurpation of democratic rights, the filing of legal objections and the consistent petitioning and protests, the courts, acting on behalf of the banks, are committed to the blatant violation of the needs of the workers, retirees and residents.
These developments illustrate clearly the failure of capitalism in the present period. Capitalism has proven to be incapable of addressing the economic crisis that has impacted not only Detroit but the U.S. as a whole and indeed the world.
As one organizer said during the rally outside federal court, “This ruling demonstrates the need for a fundamental restructuring of the political, legal and economic system inside the U.S. There is no justice for workers and oppressed people in the courts. Our only victory will come from the court of public opinion crafted in the streets in struggle against the bankers and the bosses.”
Former SWAPO leader and President of the Republic of Namibia Sam Nujoma with Zimbabwe Ambassador Chipo Zindoga at Etunda Village. Nujoma led an armed struggle against White settler-colonialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
UK invasion plot: Nujoma speaks out
December 4, 2013
Mabasa Sasa in ETUNDA VILLAGE, Namibia
Any attack on Zimbabwe is an attack on the entire SADC region and will warrant a military response from the bloc, Namibia’s founding president, Dr Sam Nujoma, has said.The Father of the Namibian Nation spoke in the wake of revelations that Britain, under former premier Tony Blair, approached South Africa seeking co-operation in a military invasion of Zimbabwe during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency.
South Africa rejected the overtures.
Diplomatic sources also told this paper that Britain had approached at least two other southern African countries to provide land and airspace for a possible invasion of Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium.
This was when Zimbabwe had embarked on its revolutionary Fast-track Land Reform Programme.
It is understood that one of the countries (named) actually agreed but backtracked when Zimbabwe sent an envoy to ask the leadership of that nation why it wanted to assist in an invasion of a fellow Sadc member state.
The source said, “At least three countries were approached. One of them rejected the idea flatly, one listened to the proposal and then rejected it, and another went along and only stopped when Harare made it clear it was aware of the plot. That is where it crumbled, but this tells Zimbabwe to remain vigilant as such threats can never be consigned to history.”
In an interview in his home village of Etunda in Northern Namibia earlier this week, Dr Nujoma — who was president from Namibia’s independence in 1990 until 2005 — said while he had not been approached to assist in an invasion of Zimbabwe, it should be made clear to the whole world that such an action would never be tolerated by the region.
He said, “Namibia will never betray an African country to allow an imperialist country to use our territory as a base for aggression against any member of the African Union.
“If anyone attacks any Sadc member we will be there. These imperialists understand nothing, but the language of force. We are ready for them.
“Why all of a sudden is Renamo causing problems in Mozambique? Sadc should raise an army and wipe out the rebels who try and destabilise the region, like we did in the DRC.”
This was in reference to renewed rebel activity by Mozambique’s Renamo after having first instigated a civil war that ran from 1975 to 1992 and cost more than one million lives and affected its neighbour to the west, Zimbabwe.
Dr Nujoma said Africa must be prepared to confront the European Union and NATO in battle if need be.
“Member-states of the African Union must contribute to the Standing Force to defend the continent of Africa. What happened in Libya and now in Egypt should not be allowed anywhere else. No African country should be used to harbor foreign troops on its territory, including the American AFRICOM.
“We know they are stationed in Stuttgart, Germany and they have been there since the Second World War. Now they want to come to Africa. Africa should be prepared to fight them…
“It should be clearly stated that any attack on Zimbabwe is an attack on Sadc. I can be commander myself, we are already fighters and we don’t need guns or training from anyone.”
Dr Nujoma added: “We congratulate Zanu-PF and President Mugabe for fighting the machinations of the British and neo-colonialists in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a shining example on the African continent…
“We say no to the return of imperialists in our lifetime and we follow in the footsteps of Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” he said.
Dr Nujoma urged the youth of Africa to follow in the example of the liberation movement generation that sacrificed much to achieve political independence.
Among sitting heads of state and government in the region, only Presidents Mugabe, Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola), Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia), and Jacob Zuma (South Africa) had a direct experience of the liberation struggle.
“The youth of Africa must follow in the footsteps of their forefathers. We must start fighting to liberate our economies.”
He said Africa had won many battles against the West before and it would draw from these experiences to continue resisting oppression as it strives towards economic independence.
Dr Nujoma said empowering African people was the next logical stage in the struggle for true independence, and this battle would be premised on improving education and building capacity in the citizenry to run economies and nations in the best interests of indigenes.
There was no reason why, he noted, Africa could not industrialise within the next 10 years and become self-sufficient.
“All resources of Africa must be used in the interests of the African people. Let us produce for ourselves… We are not poor, they (Europe) are the ones who are poor.”
Dr Nujoma said Europe was vulnerable at the moment and Africa must take advantage of this to surge forward economically and in asserting sovereignty over its resources.
He said he could not understand why Europe and America were busying themselves with developments in Africa and yet they were facing immense problems of their own back home.
“In Greece, in Italy, in Portugal and all over Europe, their people are dying of hunger. They are poor, they are suffering. Why should they bother us?
“Europe and America must concentrate on supporting their own people who are dying from hunger over there.”
A fortnight ago, Cde Mbeki said Blair’s regime put pressure on Tshwane to abet an invasion of Zimbabwe.
The British wanted to depose President Mugabe unconstitutionally and impose MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in his stead.
Interestingly, around the time of these invasion plots, Tsvangirai told a rally in Harare that he was prepared to remove President Mugabe from office “violently”.
Before Cde Mbeki’s revelation, a senior officer in Blair’s uniformed service had also said the military option had been strongly considered.
Lord (General) Charles Guthrie, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army from 1997 to 2001, said Blair had asked him to look at an invasion of Zimbabwe.
Lord Guthrie said his response was, “Hold hard, you’ll make it worse.”
Labelled Blair’s favourite general, Lord Guthrie is credited with conniving with the then Prime Minister to send troops to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In his memoirs (“A Journey: My Political Life”), Blair said, “People often used to say to me: If you got rid of the gangsters in Sierra Leone, Milosevic, the Taliban and Saddam, why can’t you get rid of Mugabe? The answer is: I would have loved to; but it wasn’t practical (since in his case, and for reasons I never quite understood, the surrounding African nations maintained a lingering support for him and would have opposed any action strenuously).”
A number of factors are said to have weighed against an invasion of Zimbabwe.
Firstly, the Zimbabwean military is battle-hardened, having been involved in frontline action almost every year from the start of the liberation struggle in 1996 up until the deployment in the DRC war that ended in 2003. The British Military Advisory and Training Team was
in Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2000 and knew of the Zimbabwe Defence Force’s capacity.
Secondly, there were some 100 000 British white citizens in Zimbabwe at the time and London knew they would be affected by any invasion.
Thirdly, Britain was at the time over-stretched in Afghanistan and then afterwards in Iraq.
Another factor was that at the time the United States – Britain’s largest ally – appeared unconvinced about the efficacy of an invasion, especially after the experience of Somalia in the early 1990s when Zimbabwean troops essentially rescued American troops from a quagmire they had sunk themselves in.
Mrs. Lucie E. Campbell-Williams (1885-1963) was a prolific composer and educator who lived in Memphis, Tennessee. She was a pioneer in the fields of spiritual culture and education., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Lyricist Lucie Campbell Williams… Someone to know and remember
March 15, 2013
By PRIDE Newsdesk
During the early 1900s, Mrs. Lucie Campbell Williams was associated with the National Baptist Convention. Mrs. H. Henryne D. White remembers her as a strong resourceful person.
“Mrs. Williams was someone to know during those years,” White said. “She did not only work with the Convention, she was a wonderful musician and lyricist, writing a number of popular gospel songs, like, ‘Something Within.’
“She was also the president of the Negro Education Association. In that position, she became a very strong advocate for African American teachers. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to remember her.”
Lucie Eddie Campbell (Lucie Eddie Campbell-Williams) was born April 3, 1885 in Duck Hill, Mississippi. She was an African American composer of hymns. Born to Burrell and Isabella (Wilkerson) Campbell, she was the youngest of nine children. Following the death of her father, her mother moved to Memphis, Tenn. with her children.
Isabella Campbell wanted her children to receive an education as well as being exposed to the performing arts. Her older sister, Lora, was given piano lessons. Lucie listened attentively and practiced the lessons on her own.
Lucie Campbell was educated in the public schools of Memphis. In 1899, she was graduated from Kortrecht High School (later Booker T. Washington) as valedictorian of her class and was awarded the highest prize for her Latin proficiency. After completing high school, Lucie passed the teachers’ exam and began her teaching career at Carnes Avenue Grammar School.
Later, she earned the baccalaureate degree from Rust College in Holy Springs, Mississippi, and the master’s degree from Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College.
At age 19, Campbell organized a group of Beale Street musicians into the Music Club. Other members later were added to form a 1,000-voice choir that performed at the National Baptist Convention. At the organizational meeting of the National Sunday and Baptist Training Union Congress held in Memphis in 1915, ‘Miss Lucie’ was elected as music director. She penned songs for the Congress and wrote musical pageants exhorting the young to give their lives to Christian service. In addition to writing religious music for the Congress, she also wrote the Congress’ study lessons, as well as other instructional materials.
In 1919, Lucie E. Campbell published her first song, ‘Something Within,’ which was followed by more than 100 others, including: ‘The Lord is My Shepherd,’ ‘Heavenly Sunshine,’ ‘The King’s Highway,’ ‘Touch Me Lord Jesus,’ and ‘He Understands, He’ll Say Well Done.’ Campbell also introduced promising young musicians such as Marian Anderson and J. Robert Bradley to the world.
Miss Lucie’ introduced Marian Anderson to the National Baptist Convention and served as her accompanist. In 1955, Miss Lucie’s loyalty and dedication to the Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress was recognized when she was named as one of the principal lecturers during the 50th anniversary session held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In 1946, she was named to the National Policy Planning Commission of the National Education Association. She was elected vice president of the American Teachers Association and from 1941 to 1946 she served as president of the Tennessee Teachers Association.
Lucie E. Campbell was an activist for civil justice. She defied the ‘Jim Crow’ streetcar laws when she refused to relinquish her seat in the section reserved for Whites, and as president of the Negro Education Association she struggled with governmental officials to redress the inequities in the pay scale and other benefits for Negro teachers.
On January 14, 1960, Campbell married her lifelong companion, Rev. C. R. Williams. She dedicated her song, ‘They That Wait Upon the Lord,’ to her husband.
The National Sunday School and the Baptist Training Union Congress of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., showed its appreciation to its ‘first lady of music’ when it declared June 20, 1962 ‘Lucie E. Campbell Appreciation Day.’ While preparing to attend the celebration and banquet held in her honor, Campbell-Williams suddenly became gravely ill and was rushed to the hospital.
After a six-month bout with illness, Campbell-Williams died on January 3, 1963, in Nashville. Her body was conveyed to Memphis and funeral services were held on January 7 at the Mount Nebo Baptist Church by pastor Dr. Roy Love.
Negro spirituals give root to American musical identity
Kevin C. Peterson | 11/29/2013, 6 a.m.
Bay State Banner
Negro spirituals evolved within American culture at a time when all seemed lost for the people who invented them.
Treated like work animals, American slaves possessed neither full human status nor citizenship in the country where they toiled. Yet over centuries of oppression, slaves forged a distinct identity from which emerged new aesthetic insights and a musical perspective unique only to blacks in the United States.
The grandeur of the Negro spirituals were in full auditory effect recently at the African Meeting House in Boston, which sits on the northern slope of Beacon Hill — a now tony neighborhood once home to Boston’s black community and a major stop on the Underground Railroad where escaping slaves from the South would arrive with the spirituals and freedom on their minds.
Some mournful and melodic, evoking sad suffering sounds, others upbeat and auspiciously hopeful, the spirituals communicate a wide-range of sacred musical innovation.
Giving witness to the vast hymnody of the spirituals at the African Meeting House were the New England Conservatory’s African American Roots Ensemble and Earth Tones, both highly-polished groups led by the charismatic, Nedelka Prescod.
Each group performed splendidly, giving harmonic interpretive accounts of the plaintive, ultimately optimistic songs that slaves created even in the midst of their human misery.
“Elijah Rock,” was performed to an upbeat, aggressive, mellifluous cadence. The song references the Old Testament prophet of the Talmud whom God favored for his fastidious religious practice. According to scriptures, Elijah raised the dead and foretold the coming of the Messiah — characteristics the American slave admired immensely and so casted his legacy into tonal form.
The 10-minute rendition of “Elijah Rock,” arranged by Jester Hairston, featured dramatic vocal scoring that tested the soprano and tenor ranges of the performers and included repeated, elongated, mesmerizing chants that were intended as part of the original worship song.
“The Negro spiritual literally had to do with the African-American singing a line over and over and over again until folks were in a trance. It was about bringing down a spirit,” said Prescod, a former New York City public school music teacher, who founded both ensembles which comprise students only.
The ensemble’s repertoire also includes precedents to the spirituals such as “works songs” invented on the cotton, rice and tobacco plantations of the deep south and bracing “field hollas,” music that was part complaint but also purposeful affirmation of the slave’s relentless efforts to search out the road to emancipation.
Hall Johnson’s “I’ve Been ‘Buked,” is one of the earliest Negro spirituals written in the post-slavery era. The grandson of a slave, Johnson wrote numerous spirituals that were inspired by songs handed down through oral transmission, usually at the local church. The ensemble’s version of “‘Buked” is contemplative and measured with an intensity that speaks to the slave having faith in the face of incalculable odds.
Tapping into the roots of the spirituals, the groups also recited religious and secular folk songs from such countries as Kenya, Nigeria and regions of South Africa, giving insight to the rhythmic foundations that would later support the music styles of such greats as jazz vocalist Billie Holliday, bluesman Robert Johnson, saxophonist Lester Young and gospel artist Mahalia Jackson.
The event, attended by nearly 100 listeners at the renovated church, was a fitting occasion for the African Meeting House, which, under the direction of Beverly Morgan Welch and Lynn Duval Luse, has been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the freeing of American slaves.
Arica Coleman book on Native Americans, Africans and Europeans in Virginia from the 17th century to the present. The book challenges previous notions of race and power., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Challenging our past
Book focuses on race relations between Native Americans, African Americans
3:58 p.m., Nov. 14, 2013
University of Deleware Daily
It’s a rosy picture, to think of Native Americans and African Americans embracing one another over the course of our country’s history.
But that rosy picture has a dark side, one tainted by tense race relations little discussed in the academic literature, pop culture and history textbooks, according to the University of Delaware’s Arica Coleman.
It’s this dark side that the assistant professor of Black American Studies explores in her recent book, That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia, published in October by Indiana University Press.
“I’m bringing to light a story that hasn’t been told before,” said Coleman, who is of both African American and Native American descent.
The story that has been told, looking primarily at only a subset of Native American tribes, has been too focused on black and white, Coleman argues, and as a result, we have missed the shades in between.
“The paradigm of the black-white binary, as far as race is concerned, is obsolete,” she said. “It’s more complicated.”
In the book, she tackles the issues that illuminate the reality that race isn’t just black and white. She takes a hard look at the state of Virginia and its history of fighting to maintain racial purity, and she looks at how race plays into the identities of Native American and African American families.
As in many black families, Coleman said that while growing up she had heard many times -- too many times -- “we got Indian in our family.” She was skeptical, but curious why her great-aunt would discuss it but her grandmother would not.
So Coleman traced her roots back to the slave trade in King George County, Va., and began to uncover a subsequent gold mine — one that shines in That the Blood Stay Pure.
Native Americans initially viewed African Americans, like whites, as intruders. But it wasn’t long before they mixed, married and started families. That is, for a while.
In 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Purity Act, in which people were categorized at birth as either “White” or “Colored.” After the Colonial period, African Americans and Native Americans has been labeled as Negro, mulatto or free colored. The Negro and mulatto labels persisted for both communities after slavery, but by the early 20th century, Native American communities insisted that they be identified as Indians.
By 1930, once-distinct Negro, Indian and mulatto labels were dropped in favor of simply White or Colored.
The land grabs began in the era of slavery, where Whites legally snatched up property owned by Native Americans, justified by the fact that they were “Colored,” no longer Indian. Whole reservations were lost.
Native Americans identified as Colored were later subjected to Jim Crow laws and other prejudices originally ascribed to African Americans.
Then there was the proliferation of the myth of the “one drop rule.”
“It’s so called because one drop of African American ‘blood’ makes you black,” said Coleman. To figure it out, all one had to do was take the comb test. If a fine-tooth comb got caught up in the hair of a Native American, there must be “Black in their blood.”
Native Americans began to deny their blackness.
Over and over again, Coleman heard of Native American families completely denying relatives over claims -- real or perceived – that they were African American. They began to send their children to special Indian schools out West, unable to send them to White schools but unwilling to send them to local Colored schools out of fear of being racially reclassified. Churches divided, separating African Americans from Indians, some of whom were related.
Coleman talked about one of the experiences she had in Virginia in 2003 that ultimately led her to write That the Blood Stay Pure.
“I talked to a woman whose Indian cousin had just a few weeks before refused to speak to her in the grocery store,” she said. “And I said, ‘What is this that would make family members deny one another?’”
One of Coleman’s informants summed it up poignantly when she stated, “We are who they are, but we are not Indians.”
Racial purity, in the context of Virginia’s racial politics, meant the absence of blackness, and it seemed more important than keeping families together, Coleman said. It pitted brother against brother, sister against sister. Tribal members of visible African ancestry and those who affiliated with or married Blacks were disavowed. The same was not true of those affiliated with Whites.
“It became more about who you were not rather than who you were,” said Coleman.
In That the Blood Stay Pure, Coleman narrates these experiences. But she also devotes a chapter to Virginia’s Nottoway Tribe, which fought against the prejudices of the time, refused to deny their African American ancestors, held on to their lands and gained federal recognition in 2010.
Coleman calls the Nottoway a “saving grace.”
“What this books does is go beyond the accepted narrative,” said Coleman. “As the saying goes, history is written by the victors. … We have to tell our stories, to push back against the accepted narrative which always seeks to invalidate those on the margins.”
Coleman has embraced her Native American heritage. She regularly participates in local powwows and has set the record straight in her own family.
“I am as comfortable at a Kwanzaa celebration as I am at a powwow,” Coleman said.
That the Blood Stay Pure has already garnered the UD professor a lot of attention. She was the subject of an article in Indian Country Today, one of the country’s leading Native American news sources. She was interviewed for a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, and she is participating this month in American Indian Heritage Month at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington as an invited speaker.
And she’s already working on her next book.
Article by Kelly April Tyrrell
Shannon Gibney, an English teacher at Minneapolis Community College, had a complaint filed against her by three white students for a discussion of structural racism in the classroom., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Black College Instructor Claims She Was Punished For Discussing Racism
The Huffington Post
By Tyler Kingkade
Posted: 12/03/2013 3:47 pm EST
A black community college instructor in Minneapolis claims she was formally reprimanded over a discussion on racism in one of her classes.
Shannon Gibney, an English faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, told MCTC student newspaper City College News in a video interview that three white students filed a complaint against her with the school after a discussion on structural racism in one of her communications classes.
In the interview, which was posted by the college newspaper to YouTube, Gibney says a white student interrupted her lesson to ask "Why do we have to talk about this in every class?" Another white male in the class then chimed in, Gibney told the student paper, saying he didn't understand either. "It's like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?" the student asked, according to Gibney.
Gibney said that when she told the students that they could file a complaint with the college's legal affairs department if they were so unhappy with the discussion, they took her up on her offer. That led to an official reprimand from the school in early November, she claims.
Gibney told The Huffington Post she could not comment further because the case is in appeal.
MCTC would not confirm that Gibney had been reprimanded after a student complaint, citing privacy laws. The school did, however, deny reprimanding her for leading a discussion on structural racism.
"The college has taken no steps to prohibit faculty members from teaching about racism, including structural racism," college spokeswoman Dawn Skelly told HuffPost. "MCTC has never disciplined a faculty member for teaching or discussing structural racism. Conversations about race, class and power are important and regular parts of many classes at MCTC and have been for years."
City College News reported that after Gibney spoke with the student newspaper, she was told she risks further punishment for violating the unnamed white male students' privacy.
MCTC noted in a statement that nearly one in four of the school's employees are minorities, and that "of the eight new full-time faculty hires the college made for fall 2012, six are people of color."
More than half of the 13,874 students enrolled at MCTC in fall 2013 are persons of color, according to the college.
The story was first reported last month by City College News, but was picked up by outlets like the Raw Story and Salon on Monday.
Gibney is not filing a lawsuit against the school, but is submitting a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging workplace discrimination at MCTC, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III filed a complaint against UCLA police. He was unjustly stopped, handcuffed and put into the back of a vehicle., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
African-American Superior Court Judge Files Complaint Against UCLA Police
11/26/2013 11:13 pm EST
After a series of instances of racial discrimination including retailers profiling African-American customers and police misconduct, the latest incident involves a complaint against the University of California, Los Angeles police.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a prominent African-American judge has filed a complaint against the university police, alleging that they used excessive force when they stopped him for not wearing a seat belt.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III, said officers handcuffed him, shoved him against his car and locked him in the back of their squad car, telling him he was resisting arrest.
The 60-year-old, who is a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, said he was leaving L.A. Fitness at about 10 a.m. Saturday when the officers pulled him over in his Mercedes. According to the complaint he filed, Cunningham said he was in the process of fastening his seat belt when he was stopped, and when he asked why he had been pulled over, the officer informed him it was because Cunningham began buckling his seat belt when he saw the authorities.
Cunningham said he showed the officer his drivers license, and when he reached into his glove compartment for his registration and insurance documents, the officer "yelled at me not to move." When he was unable to find the documents, he told officers he thought they may be in the trunk.
"When I go [sic] out of the car to search my trunk, Officer Dodd shoved me against my car, told me I was under arrest for resisting and locked me in the back seat," Cunningham wrote in the complaint, which was first reported by NBC News.
Cunningham's lawyer, Carl Douglas, said the judge began to fear for his safety and called for help.
"He lost his cool," Douglas said. "He began yelling about police brutality and about being a 60-year-old man slapped in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car for not wearing a seat belt. A crowd was gathering and he demanded they call a watch commander."
After 10 minutes, a UCLA police sergeant arrived at the scene and Cunningham was released. UCLA police provided limited information about the incident, reporting Cunningham was stopped at 10:05 a.m., "temporarily handcuffed during the course of a traffic stop," was cited with failing to wear a seat belt and released.
The UCLA police issued the below statement on Monday:
During the course of the traffic stop, police officers instructed the driver to stay inside the vehicle and returned to their patrol car to run a routine license and registration check.
Despite these instructions, the driver left the vehicle — an escalating behavior that can place officers at risk.
The driver stood in the roadway and refused instructions to get back in his car. As a result, the driver was temporarily handcuffed. He was released at the scene shortly thereafter with a citation for failing to wear a seatbelt.
The statement goes on to say that authorities are conducting an internal investigation and reviewing video from the police video.
Although Cunningham's complaint does not attribute his experience to his race, his attorney said it clearly played a factor in the officers' behavior.
"Do you think this would have happened if he was a white judge?"
Rutgers University students including Jackasha Wiley, left, and Courtney Benson, right, hold signs during a rally on the Douglass College campus in New Brunswick, N.J., to protest comments Don Imus made about the women's basketball team., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Fact Sheet: The State of African American Women in the United States
By Maria Guerra | November 7, 2013
African American women, who make up 13 percent of the female population in the United States, are making significant strides in education, participation, health, and other areas, but there is a long way to go to fully close the racial and ethnic disparities they face.
New policies such as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and other proposed policies such as paid sick leave can greatly improve the lives of African American women and their families.
For example, under the ACA, around 5.1 million African American women with private health insurance are currently receiving expanded preventive service coverage and an estimated 3 million African American women will gain access to affordable or subsidized health insurance.
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of statistics about health, education, entrepreneurship, economic security, and political leadership that should guide our choices to enact sensible policies to unleash the potential of this growing demographic and benefit our economy.
One in four African American women are uninsured. This lack of health insurance, along with other socioeconomic factors, continues to contribute to the dire health issues African American women face.
Hypertension is more prevalent among
African American women than any other group of women: 46 percent of African American women 20 years of age and older have hypertension, whereas only 31 percent of white women and 29 percent of Hispanic women in the same age bracket do.
While white women are more likely to have breast cancer, African American women have higher overall mortality rates from breast cancer. Every year, 1,722 African American women die from breast cancer—an average of five African American women per day.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates for African American women are 19 times higher than those of white women.
African American women have higher rates of human papillomavirus, or HPV, and cervical cancer, with mortality rates double those of white women.
African American women represent 65 percent of new AIDS diagnoses among women.
African American women experience unintended pregnancies at three times the rate of white women.
Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, such as embolism and pregnancy-related hypertension, than any other racial group.
Birth rates for teenage African American women from ages 15 to 19 decreased by 7 percent from 2011 to 2012.
African American women have the highest rates of premature births and are more likely to have infants with low or very low birth weights. African American infants are more than 2.4 times more likely as white infants to die in their first year of life.
Only 35 percent of African American lesbian and bisexual women have had a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 60 percent of white lesbian and bisexual women.
The level of educational attainment for African American women has risen very slowly and still sits at a significantly lower level than that of white women.
The college graduation rate of African American women for the 2004 cohort was 24.1 percent and has not increased at the same rate as the graduation rates of white women, Latinas, or Asian American women.
Only 21.4 percent of African American women had a college degree or higher in 2010, compared to 30 percent of white women.
African American women held 8.58 percent of bachelor’s degrees held by women in 2012 though they constituted 12.7 percent of the female population.
Only 2 percent of African American women are represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, fields, while women in total make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce.
African American women earned more than half of all science and engineering degrees completed by African Americans—surpassing their male counterparts.
According to Census data about work-life earnings, white women make more than African American women among full-time, year-round workers, regardless of what degrees they have obtained.
African American women-owned businesses continue to grow despite significant financial and social obstacles.
African American-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market and are starting up at a rate six times higher than the national average.
The number of companies started by African American women grew nearly 258 percent from 1997 to 2013.
The number of African American women-owned businesses in 2013 was estimated at 1.1 million, comprising 42 percent of businesses owned by women of color and 49 percent of all African American-owned businesses.
African American women-owned businesses employed 272,000 workers and generated $44.9 billion in revenue in 2013.
Of the top 10 fastest-growing private companies owned by black entrepreneurs from 2009 to 2012, only 27 percent were owned by black women.
African American women continue to have higher rates of unemployment than white women and continue to have lower amounts of weekly usual earnings and median wealth compared to their male counterparts and white women. These disparities leave a growing portion of our population more vulnerable to poverty and its implications.
The most current available data show that African American women only made 64 cents to the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men in 2010. White women made 78.1 cents to the same dollar.
A study by the American Association of University Women found that African American women made 90 percent of their African American male counterparts’ wages in 2012.
African American women only earned $610 per week, whereas African American men made $666 and white women’s median usual weekly earnings were $718 in the second quarter of 2013.
The unemployment rate of African American women more than 20 years of age increased above 2012 averages and was 181 percent more than that of white women in the second quarter of 2013. African American women had an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent compared to 5.8 percent for white women.
Annual averages for 2012 show that 28 percent of African American women were employed in the service industry as opposed to only 20 percent of white women.
Household data from 2012 found that only 11.9 percent of African American women were in management, business, and financial operations positions. In comparison, women as a whole are employed in these fields at a rate of 41.6 percent.
Married or cohabiting African American households have a median wealth of $31,500 while single African American women have a median wealth of only $100. African American women with children, however, have zero median wealth.
African American women more than doubled their share of workers earning the minimum wage or below from 2007 to 2012.
Among African American households, more than half—53.3 percent—of working wives were breadwinners.
The poverty rate for African American women is 28.6 percent.13 In comparison, the poverty rate of white, non-Hispanic women is 10.8 percent.
The poverty rate of African American lesbian couples is 21.1 percent versus 4.3 percent for white lesbian couples.
African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated. The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, asserted in 2011 that incarceration particularly affects Latinas and black women as they are often the primary caregivers for their children and are also disproportionately victimized.
While African American women have a rich history of leadership in their communities, they are underrepresented in all levels of government.
Of the 98 women in Congress, only 14 are African American women.
Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL), an African American who served from 1993 to 1999, was the first of only two women of color to ever serve in the Senate.
Of the 29 women of color currently serving in the House of Representatives, 16 are African American women.
In the nation’s 100 largest cities, only one African American woman is currently serving as mayor—Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore.
Currently, 242 African American women serve in state legislatures nationwide, comprising only 13.5 percent of the total population of women state legislators nationwide.
Only 2 out of 73 women serving in statewide elective executive offices are African American women.
State Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) became the first African American woman to serve as speaker of a state house in 2008.
Maria Guerra is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles and an intern with the Progress 2050 team at the Center for American Progress.
Artistic depiction of the racist slave system. The profits accrued from the exploitation of Africans fueled the development of the world captialist system., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Darron T. Smith, Ph.D.Professor
A New Case for African American Reparations: A Simple Three-Part Plan
Posted: 12/03/2013 9:49 am
The idea of reparations is not new. Yet, in today's presumed colorblind and post-racial society, many white Americans are convinced that the enduring legacy of racial inequities facing the black community are best remedied by individual responsibility and personal accountability; that is, if African Americans would simply work harder by "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" and stop pulling the so-called "race card," they might actually get ahead and finally lay claim to the ever-elusive "American Dream."
In other words, from a white person's point of view, reparations for the 346 years of chattel slavery and near-slavery like conditions of Jim Crow racism involves a call for black Americans "to do for themselves." Black folk need to get their moral house in order.
Most whites profess individual responsibility as a means to success or failure. By ignoring the paradox that the failure of black Americans is attributed to individual responsibility, white Americans (and bright Americans) neglect to acknowledge the crippling effects of centuries-old white racism and contemporary forms of institutional prejudice and discrimination.
Additionally, this shared, group-based understanding -- implying that whites work hard while blacks apparently do not -- is seriously misguided and has significant consequences for African Americans.
Given the historical context of racial oppression and current white-controlled industries, white notions of merit-based success ensures that black Americans linger in a perpetual state of marginalization keenly visible across a broad spectrum of institutions like healthcare, education, housing, employment, politics, and other major domains of society.
Like white Americans, black Americans want the necessary resources to allow their children good health and achievement in life.
Superior education, access to decent employment and quality health care are key among other requisites identified by a variety of sociological, epidemiological, public health, educational and social science research as important factors that influence the overall health and well-being of a society, its communities and its individuals. It is time for the nation to take responsibility for the current state of affairs for scores of black Americans living on the fringes of obsolescence.
A simple three-part plan calling for group recompense will address the central racial disparities that remain trenchant within the black community and American life. With this, the US will finally offer a tangible solution to challenge the systemic conditions of deprivation known all too well by the black community.
First, we must concede that formal education is key to some semblance of full participation in US society. The problem with education, in part, stems from how schooling is unequally funded, often punishing poor white, black and brown children for their inherited circumstances in life.
The most nefarious of abuses to blacks occurs in public education as they are divested of the opportunity to be educated on their terms in ways that foster success, which begins with healthy racial identity development and positive affirmation that blackness matters.
When American schools began the slow and violent process of desegregation after 1954, African American students were expected to close black schools and attend historically white schools. It was hoped that by placing black students next to white students, school achievement would effortlessly improve.
Instead, jobs for thousands of black teachers and administrators throughout the south were eliminated, and black students were placed into an unequal structure where they encountered a predominately white, middle-class, female teaching profession racially-primed to view blacks through a deficit lens for generations to come.
This white racial frame of black inferiority lends itself to present-day microaggressions toward black students (especially black males), who are severely mistreated, misunderstood and overly pathologized in public education. This not only hinders the possibility of equal education, but it exposes the fallacy of integration.
These historically white institutions were never formally prepared or adequately resourced to meet the needs of black students, and the intermingling of blacks and whites occupying the same space in no way assured equality.
Currently, blacks attend under-funded urban schools in considerable numbers (ironically re-segregated from whites). Most of these urban schools are nothing more than holding pens more akin for prison preparation rather than substantive schooling for collegiate preparation.
Education for African Americans and their progeny should be equally funded and staffed to those of the best public schools in the nation, and students should have the benefit of free public education through their collegiate years.
Secondly, African Americans should receive free necessary health care in all areas of life. As evidence-based research documents, protracted exposure to chronic psychological stress is shown to be physiologically and mentally corrosive for health and well-being.
More importantly, exposure to race-based discrimination at the institutional and interpersonal level of society, coupled with grinding inequalities in housing, jobs, education and income parity, keeps the body's stress response in a constant state of arousal.
Disease does not exist in a vacuum. The historical domination and complete disenfranchisement of black Americans in a so-called integrated and free society gives rise to a perfect storm for disease formation deep within the cells and biological pathways of the body.
Because black Americans report higher levels of racial discrimination in a number of supposedly fair and impartial institutions, they are more vulnerable to pre-mature disease in the form of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and other serious health-related consequences.
Like black children exposed to the whiteness of public education, black Americans have, likewise, been exposed to a two-tiered racist healthcare system. Not too long ago, "Black disease" was considered inherent to being black rather than the cause of dehumanizing forces of systemic white racism.
As health care providers pledge an oath to treat all patients equitably and with integrity, how is it possible that health disparities remain a major concern for communities of color?
To lesson the burden of disease for African Americans, they should be given federally-sponsored health care and unencumbered access to high quality health care delivery services. This would allow black Americans to gain substantial ground toward group uplift with the elimination of race-based health disparities.
And finally, African Americans need to be economically empowered with the resources necessary to provide a meaningful existence and future. Black Americans, as a group, have long been denied access to wealth and wealth-generating opportunities.
Between 1619 and 1865 alone, black people were robbed of millions of dollars in wages for over 222 million hours of forced labor.
After 246 years of chattel slavery along with another 100 years of Jim Crow, white racism has taken a toll on black folk of all stripes -- young, old, rich, poor and everything in between.
To this day, blacks have considerably less personal wealth than even poor white Americans and other Americans of color. The debt owed to African Americans is severely underestimated and long overdue.
Therefore, all blacks should be exempt from federal taxes for a minimum of 346 years or until the poorest black American has equal parity with the poorest white American in terms of employment, income, wealth accumulation, and improved educational and health-related outcomes.
It is well known that white people have a strong aversion to the idea of a "free ride."
Yet, white America has an extensive and bloody history of taking what it wants with no thought or concern for the lives of Native Americans, black folk and other Americans of color.
White supremacy is alive and robustly active still in North America. If the practice of segregation was bad, the illusion of integration has been misery.
African Americans are literally dying from the stresses of an unrelenting and uncaring white power structure. This three-part plan will allow black Americans the time to heal their communities and regain some sense of control and destiny in their lives.
Follow Darron T. Smith, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrDarronSmith