Readers discussed Facebook, Antifa, and the CIA’s recruitment of African-Americans. We share your letters for “The Case for Demolishing Facebook,” “‘The Necessity Defense’ - Why I’m Not Sorry for Antifa,” and “The CIA Goes HBCU.”
In radio segment “The Case for Demolishing Facebook” Glen Ford examines Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ plans for breaking up the social media monopoly and argues for an end to its stranglehold over online discussions.
Karen Aram writes:
“Until we have an alternative to FB, I say we stick with it, as a means to counteract mainstream media propaganda and lies. Ignore the idiots, ignore the ads, and the fact that they have all of our information. I ask what else is new? This has been happening for decades. The difference is now they have too many of us to troll and regulate, like looking for a needle in a haystack, in the past they tapped phones and targeted only those opposing the government. Now most of us are lumped in with everyone else.”
William Pettus writes:
“That may be true, but it has also given voice to those previously unheard. FB has provided a platform for ppl to connect with other like-minded ppl that would otherwise be separated by time and space. The for-profit model is firmly established in social media and that is not likely to change for the foreseeable future. For me personally, until I connected with other anti-capitalists on FB, I, perhaps naively, thought I was the only one.”
In “‘The Necessity Defense’ - Why I’m Not Sorry for Antifa” Anthony Rogers-Wright argues that the current Antifa movement shows that the use of force in self-defense is an important tactic in the struggle against white supremacy today.
Karen Aram writes:
“This article focuses on white supremacy, without a word of the roots of racism, that is capitalism. Fighting among ourselves over what people think or attitudes serves no purpose when our institutions are so corrupt, when inequality is destroying so many people, yes African Americans, are the most oppressed people, but racism is a construct of neocolonialism, and is a symptom not the disease, the disease is our for profit system of capitalism, which is what we should be uniting and fighting.”
Chuck Winkle writes:
“There is much to agree with in this article. However, Antifa should not be above scrutiny. While I agree that no one on the left should be apologizing for Antifa, it is entirely appropriate to criticize some of their tactics and strategy if we are truly interested in building a successful anti-racist, anti-fascist, and anti-capitalist left.
Let's first acknowledge that Antifa is not a monolith. How Antifa operates in Boston may be different than how they operate in Chicago or Los Angeles. In my community Antifa has made a name for themselves by confronting a couple of racist farmers (who have no power). However, when the city announced that it was purchasing an armoured personnel carrier for the police department, Antifa was nowhere to be seen. The resistance to this further militarization of the police was organized by Black Lives Matter (also not a monolith) with support from a handful of white activists. Ironically (or perhaps not), some of the nice white liberals who cheer on Antifa when they confront racist farmers were also eager to advocate for the city's purchase of the armored vehicle. Rationalizations such as, "This isn't Ferguson," and "Our police would never use this piece of equipment inappropriately", were offered. Where was Antifa? Wasn't this the perfect opportunity to fight racism and white supremacy as embodied in the police?
One more example can be found in the recent Blue Lives Matter rally in Chicago. My understanding is that Antifa had little to no presence there to counter the bullshit notion that cops lives are somehow undervalued. Keep in mind the Chicago police have been found to have been running a torture operation. Also remember that there was a citywide cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald. Where was Antifa?
Punching down instead of punching up, perhaps?
We need to acknowledge that the narrative of a violent Antifa is bullshit designed to smear all who are engaged in anti-racist and anti-fascist activities. The data is clear, the racist right poses a much greater threat of violence. And while Antifa's actions in Charlottesville are to be commended, and while no respectable anti-racist should apologize for Antifa, that does not mean that Antifa should be above scrutiny when they choose to punch down instead of punching up. It might make one feel better to confront a couple of shitty little racist farmers who have about zero power, but to actually take on white supremacy requires that we confront racism in the institutions where power actually resides. And dismantle those institutions if need be.”
In “The CIA Goes HBCU” Glen Ford exposes the new collaboration between the largest black higher education system in the nation and the world’s biggest organized crime machine.
Jason Kennedy writes:
“Look, for all their blackness, these people are still Americans, and thus must be infiltrated and demoralized, just like the rest of America. No mind left behind. It's Langley's way or the highway.”
Val Eisman writes:
“This has been going on a lot longer than most realized within the African American community in various forms. The Paternalistic Left has closed their eyes to corruption within the black community in the US. Under Obama he strengthened the ties to religious pastors in the Oval Office bringing many closer to his administration through grants and outreach in Faith-based initiatives which brought more money to churches. In the Gulf War in Oakland there were rallies in East Oakland for African American servicemen. Prominent Oakland pastors who did not get State Aid threatened to go to the Republican Party--Amos Brown of a big black church in SF and the head of Oakland's most prominent church Allen Temple. I lived in Oakland and the head of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP was a Repubilcan African American involved with neoconservative organizations. Congresswoman Lee became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus supported by corporate monies and now she votes with mainstream African American congresspersons for obscene military budgets for war. At the local level in Oakland African Americans learned to scream racism to get their share of government money. An extremely corrupt relationship exists between the African American community in Oakland and the Democratic party. I'm so happy I left that nauseatingly corrupt city and its corrupt politics. It's true all over California but especially the Bay Area. Now the black community has been forced out of the Bay Area to Sacramento due to gentrification.”
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Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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