Stop-and-frisk

White Supremacy and the Central Park 5

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:17

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has OK’d a $40 million settlement with the Central Park 5, who were wrongfully imprisoned for brutal rape, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists the police acted in “good faith.” “In a sane, non-racist society, the fact that five innocent children had been made to confess to a horrible crime that they did not commit would be viewed as a prima facie case of police misconduct.”

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Seattle Activists Vow to Put $15 Wage on Ballot

“We can’t wait seven years for workers to get relief,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for the campaign by 15 Now and the Socialist Alternative Party to immediately raise most wages in Seattle to $15 an hour. A counter-proposal by Mayor Ed Murray’s hand-picked committee, unveiled last week, would phase-in $15 over a 4 to 7 year period, with no cost-of-living increases until the first phase-ins are complete. Spear said the fact that the mayor had to present even a watered-down version of $15 an hour proves that “movements really get things done and change the conversation.” The Socialist Alternative Party’s Kshama Sawant won a Seattle city council seat, last year, on a $15 platform, igniting a groundswell of support for the wage hike. Spears said 15 Now will go ahead with a drive to collect 50,000 signatures to put its own, much stronger proposal on the ballot.

Benton Harbor Activist Under House Arrest

Back in 2008, Rev. Edward Pinkney, a longtime community leader in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, became the first person in living memory to be imprisoned for quoting the Bible – in this case, on contempt charges in an elections law trial. Last week, 35 to 40 armed sheriff’s deputies came to arrest Rev. Pinkney on charges related to a recall petition against the city’s mayor, an ally of the giant Whirlpool Corporation. “They were losing 5 to 1, and they knew they had to do something to stop this [recall] election,” said Pinkney, who is confined to his home, forced to wear a GPS finder, and barred from working on his computer. The recall election has been called off until after adjudication of Pinkney’s case. Activists plan to protest at the Whirlpool-sponsored senior PGA tournament, in Benton Harbor, later this month. “We’re gonna have more people there, now, than ever before,” said Pinkney.

Supreme Court Justices “Burning the House Down”

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even consider an appeal of Hedges v. Obama, the suit against preventive detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. “It’s not simply that the court is turning a blind eye to constitutional rights,” said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. “It’s also the case that the court is hamstringing itself and diminishing judicial independence and inhibiting the extent to which future courts will be able to rein in similar abuses.” By failing to curb executive and legislative branch assaults on constitutional rights, “these judges are, basically, burning the house down,” said Buttar.

Mumia, Street: Institutional Racism is the Deeper Cut

Billionaire Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was near-universally denounced for private, racist remarks, yet institutional racism remains as deep as ever, sanctioned by majorities of Americans. “It’s interesting that you have this incident, and the shaming of Sterling, just a week after the Supreme Court hands down another absolutely terrible decision on affirmative action,” said historian and activist Paul Street. “These dramas become kinds of rituals of white self-congratulation that feed the narrative that we’re in a post-racial society, and tend to render the deeper institutional societal racism more invisible than it already was,” said Street.

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, made the same point in a commentary for Prison Radio: “Which story will affect the greatest number of Black lives – the anguished insecurities of a rich old man trying to exert control over his beautiful young lover, or the tortured reasoning of a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, essentially closing the doors of college to millions? Which are more relevant? Which are more racist?

Stop-and-Frisk Still in Effect in NYC

New York City cops continue to racially profile and confront young Black and brown men despite the fact that Bill de Blasio has replaced Michael Bloomberg at City Hall. De Blasio brought back former police commissioner Bill Bratton, an architect of stop-and-frisk. “The political incentives changed from Bloomberg to de Blasio, but the actual effect on people’s lives did not,” said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton. Now that stop-and-frisk is officially frowned upon, “police simply won’t write down every interaction and stop anymore.” People are getting “a false sense of reform.”

Cornel West to Support Dr. Anthony Monteiro at Temple University

Dr. Cornel West and others will join a student-community coalition demonstration on Thursday, May 8, to demand that Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the adjunct African American Studies professor whose contract was terminated earlier this year with the assent of department chairman Dr. Molefi Asante. Students last week staged a sit-in at the Philadelphia campus's administrative offices, and later met with the university provost and the dean of liberal arts. “They basically told us it was Dr. Asante’s decision not to bring back Dr. Monteiro,” said student activist Paul Conge, a political science major who has studied under Monteiro. Asante “wanted to move to an African cultural nationalist type of department.” Asante recently told a radio audience that Dr. Monteiro’s student supporters were all “white communists” – a charge that is both untrue and smacks of “McCarthyism,” said Conge. Asante’s version of “Afro-centricity allows him to be a proponent of capitalism – Black capitalism, Black-on-Black exploitation. He really does not care about economic exploitation.”

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The Case Against Bill Bratton

Submitted by Josmar Trujillo on Mon, 03/10/2014 - 21:33

by Josmar Trujillo

If Bill de Blasio is really a progressive, why did he bring back the architect of Stop-and-Frisk as his police commissioner? When it comes to aggressive policing gospel Bratton is the “pastor of the flock.” Bratton seems the least qualified to make the changes that are “desperately needed to relieve communities of color living in what many see as a racialized police state.”

Obama Warps Black American Politics

“Something has gone terribly wrong with African Americans under Barack Obama’s presidency, said former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. In Switzerland, recently, said McKinney, “diaspora Congolese asked me point-blank: ‘What’s wrong with Black people in the United States, that they are allowing this genocide in Congo to take place without saying a word?’” The 2008 Green Party presidential candidate described current Black American indifference to issues of peace and war an historical “aberration.”

U.S. Empire of Global Destruction

Since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has been dedicated to the “destruction of states,” said Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, at Champaign, and author of Destroying Libya and World Order. In Syria, “the agenda is more than regime change; it is to destroy Syria as a state, along the lines of what the U.S. has already done to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia,” said Dr. Boyle.

Socialism Can Feed the World

The planet is capable of feeding all of its people, but not under capitalist relations of production, said Arun Gupta, a contributor to Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. Gupta, a co-founder of The Indypendent and the Occupied Wall Street Journal, advocates the spread of urban and smaller scale agriculture. “We have to get back to making local food systems primary, and then supplement it with larger scale production” where necessary.

Bratton-de Blasio: Odd Couple?

Robert Gangi, director of the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project, is “encouraged” by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to appeal a federal court ruling on stop-and-frisk, and his appointment of a Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing. Nevertheless, said Gangi, “we need to be vigilant that these steps are not window dressing.” However, the mayor’s recycling of Police Commissioner William Bratton is indefensible, said New Yorkers Against Bratton spokesman Josmar Trujillo. Bratton is “widely credited with being the Godfather of stop-and-frisk” and “already has blood on his hands” from his tour as commissioner in the Nineties, said Trujillo. With his Bratton appointment, de Blasio is attempting to “put a progressive sheen on a very right-wing vision.”

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Imagine: If Mayor DeBlasio Really Were a Socialist

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:57

by Cliff Conner and Michael Steven Smith

Lots of people who call themselves socialists have high hopes for Bill de Blasio, the new mayor of New York City. If de Blasio is really as “left” as some imagine, he could use his bully pulpit “to rally public support to fight for socially progressive measures.” The authors have some suggestions.

Stop-and-Frisk Judge Thrown Off Case

A federal appeals court stayed Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that stop-and-frisk, as practiced by the New York City police, is unconstitutional, and removed Scheindlin from the case for bias against cops. However, that doesn’t phase Robert Gangi, of the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project. “Our judgment is that, while litigation and legislation can be helpful, they are not the critical components to the ultimate success of the police reform movement,” said Gangi. “The politics of the issue have changed, dramatically.” Gangi is convinced that Democrat Bill de Blasio, the city’s next likely mayor, will eliminate the worst abuses of stop-and-frisk.

A Slap in the Face

“My immediate reaction is that the federal appeals court stopped-and-frisked Judge Scheindlin,” said Carl Dix, a co-founder of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, which launched a campaign of direct action protests at police precincts across New York, two years ago. The panel’s action is a “slap in the face of all of the people who hate stop-and-frisk,” he said. “Them finding impropriety in Judge Scheindlin’s handling of the case, but seeing no impropriety in the way stop-and-frisk demonizes and criminalizes Black and Latino youth – that’s the real story, here.”

Don Obama and the Health Insurance Mob

The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor universal, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-director of It’s Our Economy and one of the authors of the recent article, “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History.” “They’re marketing the insurance products for the insurance companies, paying people to knock on doors,” said Flowers. “We’re spending billions of taxpayers dollars to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. What better deal could there possibly be for a private insurance company?”

Caribbean Slavery Suit: Reparations or Pay-Off?

The 12 nations of the Caribbean economic community, plus Haiti and Surinam, plan to sue Britain, France and the Netherlands for the crime of slavery. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are already talking about a settlement. “Reparations is an issue whose time has come,” said Omali Yeshitela, head of the African People’s Socialist Party and chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. But, it seems that the Caribbean leaders are “asking for a kind of pay-off, and nothing that actually challenges the relationships of power and the economic relationships that exist between Europe and the oppressed nations of the world.”

Sociologists Boycott Israel

Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, said the Association of Humanist Sociology has joined the global boycott Israel campaign. Dr. Williams, a vice president of the association, said his colleagues demand Israel end its colonization and occupation of Palestinian lands, recognize the full citizenship rights of Palestinian Israelis, and allow Palestinian exiles to return to their homeland. The association felt compelled to join the boycott because “sociology is about transforming the human societies that we find ourselves in. It is nor merely about interpreting data.”

Soul Summit” Recounts Legacy

Black cultural and media practitioners gathered recently at pubic television’s WNET, in New York, to discuss the legacy of “Soul,” the 1968-73 public affairs program produced by the late Ellis Haizlip. Such programs were a response to the Black rebellions of the Sixties, said Dr. Todd Burroughs, an independent journalist and authority on African American media. Haizlip was able to convince Black artists “to talk about their art as Black people engaged in a struggle for Black liberation,” said Burroughs. Funding for the genre dried up in favor of “shows that would allow a more comfortable viewing experience.”

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Bankers and State Owe Detroit

Instead of figuring out ways to strip Detroit of its assets to pay banks, the courts should force bankers and the state to repay the city hundreds of millions owed. “Some of the main creditors have been bogus, complicated interest rate swaps by banks who overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars of interest,” said community activist Debra Taylor. “If anything, that needs to be renegotiated.” Taylor said the city was also denied $224 million in revenue sharing funds when the state arbitrarily changed the payment formula.

Obama Schemes to Cut Social Security

President Obama has “enabled” the assault on Social Security and other entitlement programs since his first days in office, said independent journalist Arun Gupta, a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. The president has long sought an austerity “Grand Bargain” with Republicans, but has been stymied by GOP reluctance to cut a deal. “The U.S. has become so dysfunctional, in terms of its political system,” said Gupta, “it seems the most you can hope for is gridlock.”

Who Stopped Stop-and-Frisk?

Opposition to stop-and-frisk is now all but mandatory among New York City Democrats. But, that wasn’t the case two years ago, when Carl Dix and others began a civil disobedience campaign under the Stop Stop-and-Frisk banner. “Things like stop-and-frisk were not front-burner issues” back then, said Dix. “The question of torture in prison was something hardly anyone knew anything about. We thought that waging a mass resistance movement was a key way to bring these issue front and center.”

Hi-Tech Corporations Behind National Surveillance State

A new study shows the high-tech industrial sector uses its campaign contributions to bolster congressional and White House support for the national surveillance state. “It’s really a giant interest-group issue,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston, and an author of the report. “These are industries that we’d already identified as uniquely friendly to Obama,” based on campaign contributions.

U.S. Facilitates Congo Genocide

Six million Congolese have died since neighboring Rwanda and Uganda invaded the country in 1996, said Maurice Carney, director of Friends of Congo. Speaking at the 7th anniversary celebration of Black Agenda Report, at New York City’s historic Riverside Church, Carney said “these crimes could not be committed without the backing of the United States and the protection of its allies, Uganda and Rwanda.” How could Washington call for military action in Syria and Libya, where thousands were at risk, Carney asked, “when you’re not even willing to take diplomatic action in Congo, where we’re talking about millions?” It all depends on whether “one values Black life, or not.”

Organize!” says Danny Glover

Actor and political activist Danny Glover called for a “reinvigoration of the idea of democracy.” Speaking at a fundraiser for Benton Harbor, Michigan’s Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), the TransAfrica Forum chairman said: “It is important that people are active in the process. We need to organize!”

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Blacks & Drones

Submitted by Jemima Pierre on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 23:54

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

Two organizations that give qualified support to U.S. adventures abroad, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued reports critical of civilian deaths by American drone strikes. However, U.S. foreign policy is rooted in domestic practice. “U.S. Blacks have long been placed within a disposition matrix better known as ‘stop-n-frisk’ and they have long been the victims of normalized state assassination.”

Freedom Rider: Bill Thompson Loses and Black People Win

Submitted by Margaret Kimberley on Wed, 09/18/2013 - 07:39

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Bill Thompson thought he could get the Black vote simply by being the only Black candidate in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York. Thompson didn’t work hard or address the Black community, except to “caution against ‘over reacting’ to stop and frisk” – an issue that backfired on him big-time. Thompson was beaten by a somewhat progressive white guy with a Black family. Serves him right.

Living Under the Cloud of Stop-and-Frisk in Washington DC

Submitted by Seema Sadanandan on Tue, 08/27/2013 - 12:47

by Seema Sadanandan

Black children in poorer sections of the Nation’s Capitol grow up under constant hyper-surveillance of police. The armed occupation of their communities is anything but benign. “A community’s desire to be free from crime is not an invitation to treat all men in that community as suspects.”

NSA Could Ensnare Anyone in National Security Trap

“Every single person in this country owes Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning a debt of gratitude,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, renowned whistleblower and a founder of the No FEAR Coalition. The NSA program that tracks human networks endangers all Americans, said Coleman-Adebayo, “because everyone is only a person or two or three or four away from being implicated in some scheme that the National Security State comes up with.” She called Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for exposing government secrets an example of growing “tyranny.”

Ray Kelly’s Rise Halted By Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

It is highly unlikely that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will be appointed head of Homeland Security, said Robert Gangi, of the Police Reform Organizing Project of the Urban Justice Center. A federal court found that the city’s stop-and-frisk practices routinely violate the constitutional rights of Blacks and Latinos. “There is now a big black eye on the face of New York City policing,” said Gangi. “Ray Kelly is no longer the iconic law enforcement figure he was a short two years ago.”

Black Is Back Coalition Magnifies Grassroots Forces

The betrayals and predations of the Black Misleadership Class can be overcome by out-organizing them. “Our objective is to replace that misleadership, not just to complain about it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Black is Back seeks to “provide the ability for all of these” grassroots organizations “to come together and to magnify their presence many times over,” said Yeshitela. The coalition recently held its national conference in Harlem.

Cornel West on Obama and the New Jim Crow

The Obama administration seems to believe it is immune from effective Black criticism. “It’s sad to see us pimped like that,” said Dr. Cornel West, the activist and academic currently based at Union Theological Seminary, in New York. “All of our suffering is rendered invisible because they know we will be highly protective of them.” The administration has “that kind of power, that kind of bully pulpit, but they can’t say a mumbling word about the New Jim Crow – and they’ve been in office for five years. That’s disgusting!” Dr. West spoke on the latest edition of Black Agenda TV.

Nursing Students Charge Fraud in Philadelphia

Six Black women, who call themselves the Liberation of Students Rights Group of Philadelphia, charge the now defunct St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing cheated them out of $22,000 each and a year of their lives. Sabrina Whitaker said she and her fellow students, all college graduates at the time, had heard that the school had a Black dean, and “wanted to work in an area that was African American.” But the school turned out to be unaccredited. “We had to share gloves, we had to share needles when learning how to do IVs,” said Whitaker. The women hope to prevail in court, to prove that “if you keep fighting, keep striving for what you believe in, your dream too can come true.”

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Expect “Massive Resistance” to Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 15:10

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

A federal court ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices says, essentially: “There are to be no ‘Constitution-free zones’” where Blacks can be treated as lesser citizens. However, the entire American political establishment is committed to racial surveillance and mass Black incarceration. That’s why “the ruling will be met with massive resistance reminiscent of the official southern white reaction to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision.”

Why the Post-Trayvon Martin “Talk" Turns Black Kids Into a Pathology

Submitted by Pascal Robert on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 14:58

by Pascal Robert

Brainwashed Black folks subject their children to the sick ritual of “The Talk,” to instill in them the “the necessity to attenuate their behavior to the expectations of a racist society.” They were wrong before Trayvon Martin’s murder, and they are wrong, today. “We should give our children the intellectual armor to call out this injustice instead of kowtowing to it.”

Obama Supports the Racial Surveillance That Killed Trayvon

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 07/24/2013 - 15:09

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

In his effort to “put the angry Black genie back in the bottle” following George Zimmerman’s acquittal, President Obama once again claimed to oppose racial profiling. He’s lying. Obama has endorsed the most prolific racial profiler in the country as a potential head of Homeland Security. The president is a bulwark of the system that targets millions of Trayvon Martins.

Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media’s Mass Hypnosis

Submitted by Margaret Kimberley on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 23:52

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Delivery systems and platforms for information may proliferate at blinding speed, but most Americans have no access to anything resembling the truth. They may know the names of the dead – like Trayvon Martin – but have no clue why they died. “Lies and nonsense are the standard fare for the most read and watched news sources in this country.”

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