Ben Jealous

Cancel Detroit’s Debt

Predatory bank lending policies destroyed the tax base of Detroit, and now these same Wall Street institutions want to confiscate the city’s public assets through forced bankruptcy. The debt should be cancelled, said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer of the First International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity, held in Detroit last week. “It’s illegitimate. It’s based on the systematic destruction of the city,” said Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “We believe that people in other cities have to adopt a similar strategy.”

Leave Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Alone

Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP chief Ben Jealous and broadcaster Tom Joyner should halt their attacks on scholar/activist Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, said Rev. Anthony Evans, director of the National Black Church Initiative. “Take your hands off these brothers. They are defending the integrity and worthiness of the Black community,” said Evans. Prominent Obama supporters, he said, have told the White House: “You don’t have to worry about Black folks getting out of line; we will keep them in line for you.”

A Socialist Win in Minneapolis?

Even the corporate media admit that Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore has a chance of winning a seat on the city council, this November. “If we win this race, it’s not because a majority of working class residents of Ward 9, South Minneapolis, are socialists, but because they are angry at the system and they see that the people who are running this city are clearly sided with the rich and big business,” said Moore. “Our organization has built roots in this community, by fighting back.” Another Socialist Alternative city council candidate is running well in Seattle.

UN Sued Over Haiti Cholera

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed suit in federal court, demanding the United Nations take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands more. The world body claims it is immune from legal action, although it is widely accepted that UN ‘peacekeepers’ were the nexus of the disease. “The UN’s refusal to accept the rule of law in this case obviously undermines its ability to promote the rule of law, elsewhere,” said Institute director Brian Concannon. He notes that the UN, which claims lack of funds to eradicate cholera in Haiti, spent $500 million last year for ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers “in a country that has not had a recognized war in our lifetime.”

US Finances Congo Carnage

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni told a UN Security Council delegation that bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo is not their responsibility. Maurice Carney, of Washington-based Friends of Congo, agrees. “Kagame and Museveni can never be responsible for peace,” said Carney. “What they can be responsible for is stopping the war of aggression that they have been waging against the Congolese people, with U.S. financial and military support and training, and U.S. diplomatic and political cover.” Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo 17 years ago, resulting in the deaths of six million people – and counting.

Demonizing Assad

American peace activists recently returned from a visit to Syria, where they met with President Bashir Al-Assad. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said it was important to counter U.S. government and media attempts to “demonize” the Syrian leader, as an excuse for arming thousands of jihadist “rebels.” “It was Syria that proposed making the whole region into a nuclear-free and chemical-free weapons zone,” said Flounders. “It was the U.S. who refused.”

China as U.S. Banker

Washington is “pivoting” to confront China militarily in Asia, while at the same time Beijing holds the largest share of Washington’s huge foreign debt. “It is quite ironic that the United States is seeking to escalate tensions with its bankers,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “I’m not sure that’s a sound strategy. With an impending debt default,” said Horne, the dollar “as the principal world reserve currency comes into question.”

Philadelphia Declaration: War = Poverty

Grassroots activists held a Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “Our declaration of the rights of our people must demand an end to war, threats of war, and preparations for war,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. “You cannot answer the pressing social problems of this country, uppermost being poverty, without dismantling the warfare state,” he told the gathering at Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate.

Herman Wallace: A Free Man

Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and the country’s best known political prisoner, saluted Herman Wallace, who was released from prison after 41 years of solitary confinement, earlier this month, only to die two days later of liver cancer. Wallace and two other inmates established a Black Panther Party chapter at Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison. “He remained a soldier for the people and an opponent to the system,” said Abu Jamal. “Herman Wall truly died free.”

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Obama’s Drone Wars are “Evil,” Says Black Church Group

President Obama’s drone assassination policy is “evil” and should be condemned by all Christian clergy, said Rev. Anthony Evans, executive director of the Washington-based National Black Church Initiative. Black political figures such as Reverends Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton and NAACP chief Ben Jealous “have replaced their loyalty to God and serving the African American people with serving President Obama, who can do no wrong.” Al Sharpton, said Rev. Evans, has become the White House “gatekeeper,” and “you can buy the NAACP, these days.”

Suit Against UN was Doomed from Start, says Haiti Lawyer

We were not surprised” that the United Nations claimed immunity from liability for the cholera deaths of thousands of Haitians, said Ezili Danto, head of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network. “Asking the UN to find itself guilty is like asking the rapist, Tell us if you actually raped this woman,” said Atty. Danto. She favored naming the United States as liable for the epidemic, “because they call the shots, and we name the UN because their soldiers brought it in.” The unsuccessful action was brought by the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Baby Doc” Duvalier Avoids Haiti Court Appearance

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier failed to personally appear in a Port-au-Prince court in connection with allegations of human rights violations. Duvalier is also facing corruption charges for taking millions in public funds with him into exile in 1986. If Duvalier finally does show up to answer human rights charges, “it would be the first time that he is actually in court with some of his victims,” said Dan Beeton, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Modern-Day “Robber Barons” Looting Postal Service Properties

U.S. Postal Service real estate and art is being sold off to private developers through a firm controlled by the husband of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “It really is a bank heist,” said Gray Brechlin, of the Living New Deal Project. The sell-off “is something like the great land frauds in the 19th century, when the railroads and the various other robber barons got hold of the public domain.”

Give Me That Old Time Hoodoo Religion

Although nowadays associated with items like “hotfoot powder” and “money-drawing oil,” Hoodoo was once a “full-fledged religion” among African Americans, said Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, director of the Africana Studies and Research Program at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. Hazzard-Donald is author of the new book Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo System. “What we are looking at today,” she said, “are the remnants of what was once a fully functioning religion, just as you find in Voodoo and Santaria and the other African manifestations of traditional religion on this side of the Atlantic.”

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Sharpton, Jealous and Morial Make Small Talk at the Big House

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 06:30

 Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The three civil rights leaders attempted a tricky maneuver with last week's visit to the White House.  How could they appear to pressure President Obama to finally act on Depression-level Black unemployment, while making no such demand? It was a fool's errand, for which they were well suited.

 

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