Haiti: Ten Years Under Foreign Occupation
This month marks the tenth year of the United Nations’ armed occupation of Haiti. The UN force, known as MINUSTAH, “was brought in to cover up an illegal coup d’etat against the democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand-Aristide, in 2004,” said Dr. Jemima Pierre, a professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. Even though there is no war in Haiti, “the strength of the force is greater now than when they first came,” increasing from 6,500 uniformed personnel to 8,000 soldiers and police. “There is no such thing as sovereignty in Haiti,” which has been reduced to a protectorate, said Pierre, an editor and columnist with Black Agenda Report.
Left Forum 2014: “Reform and/or Revolution”?
Renowned Black public intellectual Dr. Cornel West “embraces” reformers, but counts himself among the revolutionaries. “If you want to tinker, to be incremental, fine, but don’t just stop there,” West told activists at Manhattan’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “We’re calling for fundamental transformation of American capitalist society, with its empire and vicious legacy of white supremacy,” he said.
Running Strong as a Socialist
Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative party activist who won a seat on the Seattle city council on a $15 minimum wage platform, said that even a watered-down version of the measure will result in “roughly $3 billion being transferred from the hands of business to the bottom-most workers of the city.” The victory in Seattle put a $15 minimum on the national political map. “What we have done is forced business to swallow the idea of increasing wages substantially,” said Sawant. “And I say ‘swallow,’ because they hate it.”
Hip Hop and Social Transformation
Activists need to consider more deeply the meaning of revolution, said hip hop artist Immortal Technique. “If we decide that we’ll all of a sudden become revolutionary-minded, but we don’t leave behind all the privileges that we were born with or that we’ve assumed in life because of wealth or racist status in America, then what do we have as camaraderie with the people that are suffering the most in this system?” he asked.
South Africa Betrayed
“I sit, deeply wounded and deeply concerned that [President Jacob] Zuma and the ANC in South Africa has abandoned its calling,” said famed entertainer Harry Belafonte, a political activist for most of his 87 years. Citing the police massacre of 34 miners at Marikana, in August, 2012, Belafonte said the African National Congress government has “become the new tyranny, and this is a hard pill to swallow. How could all this have gone so awry?”
Elombe Brath Joins Ancestors
Legendary activist Elombe Brath, who died after a long illness, was laid to rest at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, on Saturday. Brath was a founder of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition. “He didn’t just love Black music and culture, he loved Black people,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, reporting for Prison Radio.