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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    VIDEO SHOOT & PARTY TODAY (Fantastic Negrito)
    Jul 3 at 12:55 AM
    Hi Loved Ones,

    Come out to party and enjoy some live music today.  5-10/11pm, will the party & video shoot for Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito's for his new song, "Push Back." Alcohol and smoking is permitted...Let's have fun...hope to see ya there.

    Location: Revolution Cafe Yard-1610 7th St Oakland, CA 94607 (at Peralta Street 2 blocks from WEST OAKLAND BART STATION). 
    Olevette D. Payne
    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi

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  • 07/03/17--05:50: Miles Davis - So What

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    Nigguh Please!
    by Marvin X

    The black culture police are at it again, lead running dog is Rev. Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most hypocritical culture policeman on the scene--especially after leading president Clinton in prayer over Monica while himself engaged in extramarital shenanigans. I can't take Jesse Jackson with his twisted mouth ( from lying) pontificating on moral issues while he is the most immoral of men, even pimping the blood of MLK, Jr.

    The culture police continue to focus on the N word as in Nigguh or Nigger, depending on whether one is into Ebonics or Euronics. Now Nigguh/Nigger has become a billion dollar word, thanks to rappers. It is used around the world on the rap scene and used by the multicultural hip hop generation. Yes, a white boy, Asian, Latino or others can be called nigguh. Language is fluid and dynamic, not static, thus, definitions of words, connotations and denotations change with time. The conservative cultural police are stuck in a time warp, suffer cultural lag and other psycho pathologies. They want to deal with surface structure rather than deep structure issues. They abhor the term motherfucker while they fuck their mothers and daughters, even sons. They abhor the term nigguh because they are the real nigguhs, faking like they black. As James Brown says in one of his songs, "Talkin Black but living negro."

    As a writer, I am opposed to censorship in any way, for any reason. Nigguh is one of the most powerful words in the American language, certainly in the language of North American Africans, and it's silly to think we are going to stop using the N word--I am not, so Nigguh please tell the culture police to kiss my black nigguh ass.

    If there were people in my audience talking or heckling me, I would/will tell them to get their black nigguh asses out my concert, or come up to the mike and take over, since it is obviously their show and they have something important to say to the audience.

    It is time for political correctness to enter the dustbin of history. Call a spade a spade and stop tweaking. How in the hell can we get mad at the white boy when we use nigguh every day of our lives. And when we ain't using nigguh, for sure we are acting like nigguhs, talkin loud, saying nothing--or more precisely doing nothing. Nigguh, please!

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    Capitalism Is the Highest Form of Organized Crime: Founded Upon Stolen Land, Stolen People and Genocide

    Founding Fathers, Founding Villains

    The New Liberal Originalism
    As soon as there was a Constitution, fights about its meaning began. In 1792 Fisher Ames, representing the first district of Massachusetts in the first U.S. House of Representatives, complained about a tendency of Congress:
    We hear, incessantly, from the old foes of the Constitution, ‘this is unconstitutional, and that is;’ and indeed, what is not? . . . If the Constitution is what they affect to think it, their former opposition to such a nonentity was improper. I wish they would administer it a little more in conformity to their first creed.
    Ames was ridiculing the minority in Congress for having abandoned a position he considered idiotic—they’d claimed during the ratification debates that the Constitution made Congress a tyranny—for an equally idiotic contrary: now they claimed the same document limited federal power so strictly that Congress couldn’t do anything. “Antis,” Ames called them, short for “antifederalists.” He saw them as a “party of ‘no,’” to use a current phrase, and their constant appeals to constitutional restraints as spurious. It was rank antifederalism by other means.
    Some students of the period wouldn’t agree with Ames. The Constitution, amended after ratification, wasn’t, in fact, the same document that the antifederalists had feared was tyrannical. Yet while the amendments can seem paramount to us—they’re what many people today seem to mean when they refer to the Constitution—the minority in the first Congress rarely resorted to them. James Madison, chief author of the Bill of Rights, was at the time still committed to federal sovereignty, and where antifederalists had hoped for amendments preserving state rights, Madison was careful to focus the amendments, as much as he could, on individual rights instead.
    So to oppose federal activism, the minority in the first Congress looked to the Constitution’s main body. Nowhere, they said, did it empower the Congress to pursue big projects that the majority, associated with President Washington’s administration, believed were critical to establishing American nationhood. In the debate over forming a central bank—a favorite project of the first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton—Madison himself began questioning the powerful, wide-ranging national authority that he, Hamilton, and others had recently tried to build into the federal government. Soon Madison was leading his former antifederalist opponents in condemning the bank as unconstitutional. Congress’s power to create one, he said, is not enumerated in the document.
    Hamilton, speaking in Congress through Ames and other allies, responded with an argument enshrined today as an elemental principle in an elemental dispute. While there is no explicit provision in the Constitution empowering Congress to charter a bank, the powers explicitly granted—in this case to borrow, tax, and coin money—naturally imply other, un-enumerated powers “necessary and proper” to exercising the enumerated ones. Otherwise government would be not limited but paralyzed, Hamilton believed, and, absurdly so, by government itself.
    Madison had believed the same thing only months earlier. In the amendments debate he’d said, “There must necessarily be admitted powers by implication, unless the constitution descended to recount every minutiae.” But now he feared where Hamilton was taking the doctrine. Madison, Jefferson, and others began full-scale resistance, based on what they claimed was a strict and literal reading of the Constitution.
    To many conservatives, it’s axiomatic that there are no unenumerated powers, but many unenumerated restraints.
    Hence a banal dichotomy that has long marked the relationship between our day-to-day politics and our founding history. Modern liberals, drawing on Hamilton’s more expansive reading, have traditionally appealed to a living Constitution. They see the necessary-and-proper clause, the reference to the nation’s general welfare, the power to regulate interstate commerce, and the post–Civil War amendments as supporting the big, federal social programs of the twentieth century and protecting rights that were at one time not enforceable by invoking the Constitution, such as the right to early-term abortion and the right to nondiscrimination on the basis of race in buying goods and services. Conservatives have traditionally appealed to the narrower reading that Madison put forth when opposing the bank. They prefer the founders’ Constitution to the later amendments, argue for strictly literal readings of all amendments, cite the Tenth Amendment reserving for the states or the people all powers not granted the federal government, and criticize any federal policy relying on a power or protection not explicitly set out in the document.
    The dichotomy rang loudly in conservative Supreme Court judges’ review of the Affordable Care Act. Regarding the act’s provision compelling citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked where the limits to the commerce clause lay. If a law doesn’t possess, within its own mechanisms, a way of limiting its effect to the case it addresses, it might unleash an infinite lawmaking power, the definition of tyranny, destructive of liberties that the Constitution is meant to protect. Less abstractly, Justice Antonin Scalia asked hypothetically whether the federal government might now compel a citizen to buy broccoli.
    Conservatives of various kinds have long believed that the Constitution was intended first and foremost to do two interrelated things: limit Congress’s power to regulate society; and promote individual liberty over social equality. Liberals have long had to argue against—have even, Fisher Ames–like, mocked as a disingenuous idiocy—the philosophy that some on both sides call “originalism.”

    • • •

    Until now. Liberals have become originalists too. Recent books by progressive thinkers as varied as the legal scholar Lawrence Lessig, journalist Roger Hodge, and political commentator Rachel Maddow decry a national failure to live up to the founders’ purposes in creating the Constitution. Maddow means by her title, Drift, an unfortunate movement away from founding-era anti-militarism into the modern military-industrial complex. In Lessig’s Republic, Lost, the loss has come about thanks to a money influence in politics that Lessig says the founders condemned as corrupt. Hodge, in The Mendacity of Hope, frames a criticism of President Obama in terms of the founding political battle over finance between Hamilton and Madison.
    All of the liberal originalists’ books run into political and historical trouble over some unedifying realities of our founding period. Similar difficulties plague a new right-wing constitutional history, Tea Party leader Michael P. Leahy’s Covenant of Liberty, which takes the betrayal of founding values as its theme, too. Leahy’s book represents classic originalism, the right-wing kind. It therefore serves as a mirror of the new liberal originalism: American-history fantasies of the left stand sharply in relation to those of the right.
    One of Leahy’s strengths is that unlike so many others in the Tea Party movement—and unlike some of the liberal originalists—he doesn’t rope all the founders into one group and set them rolling in their graves over today’s America. Leahy admires particular founders and knows they had enemies in other founders. To him, a disastrous betrayal of the Constitution occurred in its first moments of operation. The betrayal was carried out by Hamilton.
    As debated, ratified, and amended, the Constitution was, Leahy says, a “secular covenant.” That term draws on language long pre-dating the document itself. Leahy invokes especially the legacy of John Lilburne, a younger son of minor gentry, an activist against monarchy, and the author in 1647 of Regal Tyranny discovered, as well as of other works. The American political struggle, as Leahy lays it out, has origins in a struggle between English radicals who opposed arbitrary power—Levellers, for example, whom Leahy associates with his own Tea Party movement—and the monarchical forces that tried to crush them.
    As a modern conservative, Leahy plays down the social and economic communitarianism in that English dissenting tradition, the thought and action of, say, the Diggers, spiritual communists closely related to the Levellers. And he describes the Levellers themselves in terms less radically egalitarian than some other writers have. Still, he refreshes an old discussion by trying to shift it away from more familiar seventeenth-century English liberty authors and activists—more upscale and better-connected than Lilburne, men such as James Harrington and Algernon Sidney—and focusing it instead on the rougher hewn and lower born. Leahy makes seventeenth-century English radical libertarianism the driving force behind our own constitutional republicanism, which he associates with a ruggedly free-market movement against arbitrary authority. That movement comes to fruition, for him, in the American Revolution and then, more powerfully, in the debating, ratifying, and amending of the Constitution. Leahy thus joins “constitutional conservatives” who see our founders as creating a government meant to stay small and non-intrusive, taking on no debt, spending little, and taxing minimally. In his reading, the Constitution is a world-changing, right-wing libertarian solution in favor of a rising, entrepreneurial, self-bettering middle class.
    Leahy’s use of “secular covenant” to describe the Constitution can be elusive. On the one hand, he repeatedly states that government may act only on what he calls the Constitution’s “plain words”: to him, as to many other conservatives, it’s axiomatic that there are no un-enumerated powers. On the other hand, he insists that those plain words exist within “an agreement of conventions.” That term, at one time applied to the unwritten English constitution, refers to values prevailing at the time of authorship. “Terms . . . not specified in the written constitution,” Leahy says, were “accepted by all the Founding Fathers when it came to the important matter of fiscal responsibility.”
    No un-enumerated powers, then, but many un-enumerated restraints, especially regarding borrowing, taxing, and spending. Leahy doesn’t define “fiscal responsibility”—he means, not surprisingly, low taxes, low spending, and low debt—and he doesn’t make an explicit argument that the Constitution can be understood only in terms of eighteenth-century ideas, especially those important to fiscal policy; he just says so. He thereby ducks the contradiction that faces all right-wing originalists. For the Constitution’s original words do not, in fact, limit Congress’s power to tax, spend, or borrow, fiscal activities that constitutional conservatives routinely criticize not only as bad policy but also, somehow, as unconstitutional.
    The idea, on the left and right, of a Constitution lacking any essential Hamiltonian contribution is not history but wish.
    With the covenant notion established mainly through reiteration, not argument, Leahy presents a betrayal of the covenant by Hamilton when forming the national bank. Madison and Jefferson, who opposed federal banking (and every other project of Hamilton’s), are the covenant’s heroic defenders. Careful always to frame his ideas in secular terms, Leahy is nevertheless making the founding drama a religious one, in the oldest sense: an explosive conflict following upon our coming into existence, a fall from grace, and an eternal contest between truth and falsehood ritually reenacted and now poised—via the Tea Party movement—for final resolution in favor of the covenant. The Madison-Jefferson critique of Hamilton becomes not a point of view with strengths and weaknesses but constitutionality itself. In this reading Hamilton’s fiscal ideas can’t have contributed to the impulse to frame or ratify the Constitution and certainly can’t have entered it. The Constitution stays sacrosanct. It’s all Madison, yet it’s always vulnerable.
    For many years, Leahy says, the struggle was tense between the good and evil sides of American political life, with victories and setbacks for both. Then, catastrophe. Hamiltonian corruption exploded in “the administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s and Barack Obama in the twenty-first century.”

    • • •

    It’s true that, as treasury secretary, Hamilton did everything he could to strengthen federal authority and build the nation on the concentrated wealth of the lending class. When opposition to his plans grew intense, he was eager to ignore constitutional protections of individual rights in the interest of a small group of government-connected insiders, the public bondholders. The view of Hamilton as a betrayer of founding values therefore plays not only among conservatives of the Leahy type but also among certain liberals.
    Roger Hodge is one of them. In The Mendacity of Hope, his view of practical aspects of Hamiltonian finance is more nuanced than Leahy’s, but he joins Leahy in denouncing Hamilton for spoiling the best hopes of the founding generation. “Undeniably,” Hodge asserts, “Hamilton had been trying to corrupt the government by cultivating a moneyed class dependent on it.”
    Like Leahy, Hodge defines Hamiltonianism—the first treasury secretary’s cultivation of the money class—as a corruption of our constitutional republic. Hodge’s target, too, is Obama, whom he, like Leahy, presents as an avatar of Hamilton. And, like Leahy, Hodge gives us a hero to fight the villain: James Madison.
    But Hodge’s and Leahy’s Madison is a flimsy construction, and their idea of a U.S. Constitution lacking any essential Hamiltonian contribution is not history but wish. Both authors refuse to look backward from the pivotal moment in the early 1790s when Madison startled Hamilton by suddenly opposing him. They ignore Madison’s dedicated efforts in the 1780s, as Hamilton’s partner, to pursue a federal authority that would not only vitiate the states’ power but also suppress popular, democratic approaches to public finance. When the War of Independence was winding down, the two young lawyers worked together in the Confederation Congress to impose a tax, to be collected by federal officers, earmarked not for support of troops but for making interest payments to the small, interstate class of rich investors who had bought Congress’s bonds. That tax was planned as a wedge for further taxes, collected throughout the country by a top-down, well-armed government in support of government lenders. Madison especially looked deep within the Articles of Confederation for an overarching power—an implied one—to levy the tax without amending the articles.
    His effort failed. Yet in the desire to sustain a large public debt to bondholders, supported by federal taxes, American nationalism flourished. Far from opposing Hamilton’s vision of America as a great economic power knit together by collectors of regressive taxes, in the early 1780s Madison criticized Hamilton only for, as Madison put it, “let out the secret” by expressing that vision so honestly.
    The partnership with Hamilton went on. Madison’s fans routinely cite those parts of the famous essay we call “Federalist Ten” where Madison explains how a republican government may balance the deleterious effects of factions without repressing them. Rarely do we see quoted parts of that essay expressing a fear and loathing of popular, democratic finance as deep as anything ever expressed by Hamilton; or parts that call failure to pay investors in the public debt a major flaw of the confederation, curable only by creating a national government with power to enforce its finance policies. Throughout the framing convention, the ratification debates, and the amendment process, Madison’s persistent desire was for the most vigorous kind of national authority, for reasons he shared with Hamilton.
    In the Constitutional Convention, Madison’s and Hamilton’s hyper-nationalism did in some ways fail. Sovereignty was divided, against Madison’s wishes at the time, between the national government and the states. Yet all-important fiscal provisions gave immense power, explicitly, to the federal government and took power away, explicitly, from the states. Imagining a U.S. Constitution free of inspiration and provisions that we call Hamiltonian is imagining a constitution other than ours. And a Madison free of Hamilton is not the Madison we call the Constitution’s father.
    That dissonance causes trouble for authors who want to read the 1790s Madison, who became Hamilton’s enemy, back into the Madison who authored the Constitution. Leahy, for one, goes to great lengths to exempt Madison from things he condemns in Hamilton. Hamilton relied, for example, on the doctrine of implied powers that Leahy views as a deadly falsehood, so Leahy ignores Madison’s role in developing that doctrine. Hamilton was skeptical, to Leahy heretically, about the Constitution’s perfection; Madison was equally skeptical, and for the same reason—in 1789, he thought the document gave too little power to the federal government—but Leahy doesn’t mention that. Damningly to Leahy, Hamilton believed no amendments were necessary, but Madison believed that too, and he used the amendment process, once he couldn’t get out of it, to further sap state power. Yet Leahy asserts that Madison wanted to help the states by writing the amendments.
    The founders feared broad democracy, and they wrote the Constitution in large part to defeat it.
    Hodge, for his part, treats Madison with not a drop of the skepticism he pours, with compelling results, over almost every other historical and current political figure he discusses. Even while explicitly rejecting abject founder worship, Hodge creates the impression that Madison operated on a plane so far beyond gross calculation that we may read his statements about government, and virtually his alone, as expressing founding truths uncompromised by politics.
    The disconnection from historical reality becomes especially clear in Hodge’s discussion of fiscal matters. Hodge rightly says that conflicts “over credit and banking lie at the heart of our constitutional politics,” and he notes a republican principle that “control of credit amounts to control over the distribution of wealth.” Like Leahy, Hodge is grounding Madisonian republicanism in the Whig liberty tradition (though Hodge cites the usual, more aristocratic authors Harrington, Sidney, etc.). Where Leahy, consistent with Tea Party philosophy, overemphasizes middle-class, free-market entrepreneurial elements in Whig republicanism, Hodge reflects modern liberal philosophy by overemphasizing a preference in early Whig thought for fairly even property distribution. He doesn’t mean perfect equality: Hodge also doesn’t talk about early communitarians such as the Diggers. But he connects the even-distribution idea, with its connotations of democratic fairness, to Madison the constitution-maker.
    To do that Hodge must endorse, with many other writers, the familiar notion that the confederation period was an economic disaster screaming for correction by a national constitution. The problem for Hodge’s liberal reading is that to all the constitution-makers the economic disaster in the confederation had mainly to do with working-class democracy’s effect on public and private finance. “Even distribution” is a relative term, and Hodge knows that the famous opponents of the central bank, for example, were not “dirt farmers,” as he says, but elitist decentralizers. He gets slippery trying to make them seem, in our terms, democratic anyway. “To republicans like Jefferson and Madison,” Hodge says, “Hamilton’s contempt for democratic principles was heretical to the spirit of the new union—even if Madison was far from being an advocate of simple or direct democracy.”
    The nervous “even if . . .” mode, characteristic of efforts to make certain founders seem proto-democrats, glosses over some possibly distressing facts. Disagreements in the founding generation had less to do with direct or representative government—the famous founders overwhelmingly wanted the latter—than with who got to participate. Working-class agitators at the time—those dirt farmers, along with lower artisans, tenants, and landless laborers—were demanding an end to sufficient property-ownership as a qualification for voting and holding office. In Pennsylvania in 1776, the militia privates took over the state and abolished such qualifications. They bore out ancient republican horrors of a too-broad franchise by passing laws devaluing the public and private investments of the lending class in favor of ordinary people’s economic aspirations. That gave elite nationalists and state-sovereigntists alike a scare.
    The kind of democracy the lower class wanted wasn’t just a few degrees more democratic than what Madison and the rest of the Whig elite preferred. That’s how we’d like to imagine it, but working-class politics in the founding era represented a radical break with all of Whig thinking about rights, which had always been linked to security in property. Madison, like others, believed only a new tyranny could result from laws devaluing debt and otherwise equalizing economic life—the kinds of laws demanded and even sometimes passed by popular-finance radicals after the Revolution. It’s not too much to say that democratic-finance agitation, both within and against the state legislatures, inspired Madison and the others to call a constitutional convention, and that the document they wrote, ratified, and amended was designed, explicitly so in the fiscal provisions, to stop that agitation and to repair its democratic effects on American government.
    It’s not surprising that Hodge has little to say about any of that. Like many of us, he wants to endorse modern liberal ideas about broadly democratic participation in government by linking that kind of democracy to our Whig-inspired founders. The problem with that idea is that our Whig-inspired founders feared that kind of democracy as much as they feared monarchy, and, more significantly, they wrote the U.S. Constitution in large part to defeat it.
    Liberal writers overlook the fact that, no less than today, militarism and high finance worked together in the founding era.
    Hodge and Leahy must therefore read the entire Federal period as a Hamiltonian betrayal of principles supposedly inherent in the Constitution—just as Madison and Jefferson hoped we would read it. In a 1792 passage that Hodge quotes admiringly, Madison bemoans a permanent military, corruption, cronyism, inside deals, and other things that his readers would have recognized as Hamiltonian, and which Hodge cannily predicts we too will read with a shudder of recognition. Madison goes on to express a wish that the nation’s happiness instead “be perpetuated by a system of administration corresponding with the purity of the theory.” That’s a tautological, partisan definition of Madison’s own theory as pure. It affects how Hodge looks at Madison’s presidency. Hodge notes, with asperity, that somebody is always bringing up the fact that in 1816 President Madison ended up adopting Hamilton’s banking program. Nevertheless, Hodge argues back, Madison “never compromised his opposition to Hamilton’s paper men or adopted his rival’s view of executive power.”
    Madison adopted, that is, only the program. For modern writers seeking founding heroes, his theory remains pure.

    • • •

    Lawrence Lessig in Republic, Lost and Rachel Maddow in Drift make more usable liberal claims on the American founding. Lessig’s subject is the disastrous effect of money on our representative politics; Maddow’s is the disastrous price of placing responsibility for national security in institutions beyond popular control. Both make inspiring arguments. Beginning with President Johnson’s escalation of war in Vietnam, Maddow traces a process of disengaging American warfare from the experience of American citizens. By laying out how that process occurred—her evisceration of the Reagan administration makes particularly grim reading, yet it’s also somehow fun—she argues effectively not only that the military buildup in recent generations has been counterproductive to the national interest, but also, since it came about not by conspiracy but by political actions and inactions, that it can be repaired by democratic effort.
    Lessig too presents a dire problem and offers exciting ways of solving it. He reviews to nearly overwhelming effect a series of specific challenges—unsuccessful schools, unstable economics, inefficient and un-free markets—and shows how they result directly from the dependence of Congress on money, not merely prejudicing legislators’ positions but driving the entire legislative agenda, with increasingly awful results. Departing from the left and liberal slogan “corporations aren’t people,” Lessig parses the famous Citizens United decision in a uniquely illuminating way. He rules out as ineffectual various superficially appealing ideas about campaign-finance reform. And making a genuinely bipartisan pitch—nonpartisan, really—he sets out in detail a series of practical strategies for correcting the money problem. It’s hard to read his book and not conclude that this is the greatest difficulty we face.
    Both Lessig and Maddow ground not only their arguments but also their proposals for change in what they see as the founders’ vision for our country, embedded in the Constitution, with Madison once again the go-to founder. Maddow wants to revive ideas about war that go back to the English liberty movement that Leahy and Hodge also write about. Madison expresses those ideas in the long epigraph to Maddow’s book (Hodge quotes the same passage): “Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded.”
    Lessig, too, quotes Madison. Our current system, Lessig shows, makes legislators dependent on campaign funding. He reminds us that the representative legislature the founders prized and hoped to create—inspired, again, by that radical Whig republicanism—requires Congress to answer to the electorate and to nothing else. He wants to revive the original plan, making Congress dependent not on money but on what Madison, in “Federalist 52,” called “the people alone.”
    Maddow’s and Lessig’s founding histories, read in concert, encapsulate a denial of history at the heart of all liberal originalism. Both authors overlook what may be the most distressing feature of our founding history: an ineluctable connection in founding-era nationalism between an interstate money interest and a rising federal military establishment. The United States was formed in the effort to support the holders of federal war bonds; to find in the emergency of war, as the young Madison tried to do, implied federal powers to tax the country for the bondholders’ benefit; to meld the interstate officer class with the high-finance class by commuting officer salary into bonds; and to find ways of policing, with federal military might, the Shaysites and many other working-class insurgents and protesters who objected to regressive finance policies, widespread foreclosure, and debt peonage, and who demanded democratic access to the franchise. No less than today, militarism and high finance worked together. In the late eighteenth century they worked together to make our nation.
    Certainly the founders wanted, as Lessig says, a representative legislature dependent only on what they called “the people.” But that legislature would be drawn from the best-propertied class: “the people” by and large meant a well-propertied electorate. The money influence—call it a property influence—was in that sense hardwired into the founders’ ideas of republicanism, which Lessig wrongly equates with what we call democracy today. While the eighteenth-century property dependency differed markedly from the modern dependency on campaign finance, it overwhelmingly influenced the framing of the Constitution and the early legislative agenda.
    Nowhere does the Constitution require that we dress up new ideas to comport with what the founders supposedly would want.
    The founders weren’t just crassly lining their pockets, as some historians have suggested. Some probably were, some certainly weren’t, and that issue only distracts us from the starker fact that in forming a nation, and then in passing Hamilton’s plan of national finance (Madison voted for it too), the founders’ allegiance to the property interest, a natural allegiance for them, was made painfully clear to ordinary people whose economic aspirations were crushed by federal policies. Former foot soldiers of the Revolution, sent home not just without bonds but mostly unpaid, had good reason to see the new system as a corrupt machine for enriching financiers, industrialists, and landlords—including the elite military class—at the direct expense of ordinary families’ mobility and independence.
    Maddow is right to say that many of the founders, Madison perhaps most articulately, expressed fear of war’s effect on liberty and loathing at the idea of a permanent military establishment, what they called “a standing army.” But by glorifying a founding citizen soldiery and some founders’ philosophical revulsion at military adventurism, Maddow ignores the war that the new nation fought as soon as it was formed: the war against a Great Lakes Indian confederation to conquer what was then the Northwest. During that war, our first as a nation, the militia system was replaced as a national force by a professional, regular army, under the direct control of the federal government. The unabashed goal was vigorous national expansion. Maddow’s idea that the anti-militarist philosophy that Jefferson expressed to Congress in 1806 “held sway in this country for a century and a half” is appealing but wrong. During the Indian war, in response to events known as the Whiskey Rebellion, the government also sent 12,000 troops—more than the number of Americans who fought at the Battle of Yorktown—over the Alleghenies to suppress the entire populace of western Pennsylvania with door-kicking mass arrests, detentions without charge, and forced loyalty oaths. That effort was in support of a regressive tax, the first one ever laid on an American product, earmarked for paying the federal bondholders their interest—just what both Hamilton and Madison had worked for during the confederation period.
    So it’s not surprising that our early national involvement with militarism, and with militarism’s tendency to connect political power to concentrated wealth, usually gets laid at the feet solely of Washington, Hamilton (“the betrayer”), Fisher Ames, and other administration supporters in Congress. It’s true that during the 1790s, in the first struggle to establish nationhood, the high Federalists were especially attracted to national military power. But in the case of the war whose bicentennial we aren’t exactly celebrating this year, the War of 1812, it was President Madison, with former President Jefferson’s firm support, who undertook what many historians see as a war of choice, fairly useless to real national interest. In our first declared war—the Northwest conquest, our first actual war, was like our recent ones in being undeclared—the founding stalwarts of republican leanness, protectors of liberty against war’s depredations, harshest critics of their predecessors’ warmongering, became eager for a fight.
    And Madison’s war was expensive. It was the need to pay for it that inspired him to embrace in 1816 the federal banking plan that Hamilton (dead for eleven years by then) had introduced back in 1791 over Madison’s history-making objections. Executives’ desire for war and legislators’ dependence on money—interrelated phenomena essential to founding nationhood—dominated the early American government. Yet new originalists keep trying to locate modern liberal values in the values of the founders.

    • • •

    Just because Lessig and Maddow leave out key elements of founding history that contradict their appeals to founding values, must we reject their analyses and proposals? Is Obama absolved from Hodge’s acerbic critique just because Hodge bases that critique on an unrealistic view of Madison? Can we successfully argue our politics only from impeccable readings of constitutional and founding history?
    Of course we must sometimes argue on the basis of constitutional law. Lessig, a constitutional scholar, naturally wants to inform his argument with profound principle; doing so helps make his book a fresh and important one. The other liberal originalists probably have the same idea.
    Policies need to be arguably not unconstitutional—and that will always generate contentious legal interpretation—but nowhere does the Constitution say they must be hyperconstitutional; nowhere does it tell us to consider Leahy’s “agreement of conventions” regarding particular values supposedly prevailing when it was written; nowhere does it suggest we must dress up new ideas to comport with what the founders supposedly would want us to do.
    Such appeals are always, at least to some extent, wrong. Serious arguments about them can’t be won or lost. Framing ideas that way—relying not on what the Constitution permits us to do, if we want to, but on what its deepest history supposedly requires us to do, whether we want to or not—swings rightward at least as easily as left.
    For liberalism the tactic may be doomed both politically and intellectually. The history required to support it involves gross distortions and bad faith, defeating the very purpose of liberal thought.
    It would help, of course, if the right wing stopped draping its every objection to liberal policy in what often seems a deliberately uninformed regard for a fake constitutionality, stopped wielding like a blunt instrument that latter day–antifederalist reading of the Constitution, which Fisher Ames was deriding as early as the first Congress. But neither side today is really making a historical argument. Each is seeking bedrock in which to anchor an opinion about modern government, and there is no bedrock. As the strange, maybe even incommensurable career of James Madison suggests, the ground keeps shifting. That’s what they left us.
    Black Loyalists Fought for Their Freedom During the American Revolution
    John Singleton Copley's painting "The Death of Major Peirson" shows a black soldier avenging the death of Peirson during the Battle of Jersey in England, a run-up to the American Revolutionary War.
    POSTED Jun 30, 2017
    The story of the Black Loyalists of the American Revolution is the story of a people stolen into slavery who are given the chance to fight for their freedom, exact revenge on cruel masters, and establish one of the first free black settlements on the continent. It's also a story of broken promises, racial discord and the lengths to which people will go to find a better life. And it's a nearly forgotten chapter in North American history.
    When the American Colonies declared independence in 1776, African slaves made up 20 percent of the colonial population. The population of South Carolina was 60 percent slaves, and Virginia was 40 percent, mostly toiling on large plantations. (Slavery was not just a Southern institution then — in some Northern cities like Boston, slaves made up 20 percent of the population.) Even before the War for Independence officially began, the British tried to recruit American slaves to rise up and fight against their "rebel" plantation owners. "Loyalist" was the term given to people in the American Colonies who supported Britain.
    In 1775 the British royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, issued a stunning "emancipation proclamation" promising freedom and land to all slaves who would take up arms against their rebel masters. Dunmore was looking for manpower to put down an armed rebellion in Virginia, and he found it. Between 800 and 2,000 slaves and indentured servants fled their plantations and joined with the British, including a hard-fighting militia that would become known asDunmore's Ethiopian Regiment. The Ethiopian Regiment marched to battle in uniforms inscribed with the insignia "Liberty to Slaves."
    Dunmore's proclamation was the "first mass emancipation in American history," says Isaac Saney, a history professor at Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia. It happened nearly 90 years before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ending slavery in areas not under the control of the United States government.
    When the tides turned against the British in 1779, they issued a second emancipation called the Philipsburg Proclamation, which extended the promise of freedom and land to any slave who would cross the British lines without the requirement to fight. The move, says Saney, was a form of economic warfare against the colonies.
    "Escaping Africans would weaken the rebel economy," says Saney. "You'd have this mass emancipation taking place, and the colonists would now have to expend resources to guard the plantations, instead of using them in battle."
    An estimated 12,000 slaves of African descent fought for the British, but the war was lost. When the British surrendered in 1783, one of the central points of contention, Saney says, was "the return of what George Washington deems 'U.S. property,' which are the enslaved Africans."

    After the Revolutionary War

    The British commander-in-chief Guy Carleton kept his word and negotiated "certificates of freedom" for all so-called Black Loyalists who had joined the British ranks before the surrender, under one condition: They had to leave the country. Carleton's men carefully recorded the names of 3,000 newly freed men and women in what's known as the Book of Negroes, and then put them on ships heading to Nova Scotia, then a British-ruled Canadian province.
    A Depiction of The Sister Recorder for the "Book of Negroes". (From the Excellent Canadian 6-hour Docudrama- The Book of Negroes)
    Nova Scotia in the late 18th century was known as "Nova Scarcity." When 40,000 white and black loyalists fled to Nova Scotia in 1783 — including 1,232 slaves of white loyalists — they tripled the native population and completely overwhelmed the province's meager resources. The newly freed Black Loyalists, far from receiving their just rewards in a new home, found themselves last in line for land, and exploited as cheap labor.
    Widespread poverty and underemployment across Nova Scotia brewed distrust among whites, who blamed the cheap African labor for stealing their jobs. Racial tensions erupted into violence, says Saney, when a black preacher named David George baptized a white woman, sparking what many believe is one of the first race riots in North America. The 1784 violence raged for months, claiming many black homes and lives until troops were finally sent in from the capital Halifax.
    The Black Loyalists repeatedly petitioned the Crown to keep its promises from the war, eventually sending the emissaryThomas Peters all the way to London to make the case in person. Peters got nowhere with royal officials, but did meet with a group of British abolitionists who were launching a social experiment in Sierra Leone, West Africa, a sanctuary for victims of the slave trade. They convinced Peters that the best place for the freed slaves was back in Africa.
    In 1792, 15 ships sailed from Halifax harbor in Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone carrying 1,196 Black Loyalists who had "voted with their feet against broken promises of land and freedom," says Saney, who calls it the maiden voyage of the "Back to Africa" movement. Those who stayed behind in Nova Scotia largely settled in the village of Birchtown, named for Samuel Birch, one of the British generals who signed the original certificates of freedom.

    Black Loyalists Today

    Jason Farmer is a ninth-generation descendent of the Black Loyalists who first settled Birchtown. Farmer can trace his roots back to Jupiter Farmer — one of five Jupiters in the Book of Negroes, and an escaped slave from Brunswick, New Jersey. Jupiter married a woman named (yes) Venus and established a continuous line of the Farmer family that has remained in the Birchtown area for more than 230 years.
    Farmer is an interpreter at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre & Historical Site in Nova Scotia, where he's proud to share the remarkable story of his ancestors, who dared to escape the plantations and join with an occupying army to win their freedom, only to continue to fight for true freedom and equality in a new land.
    "It's an unknown history right here in Nova Scotia," says Farmer, who particularly enjoys telling the story of Black Loyalists to fellow Nova Scotians of African descent. "They're amazed. It's powerful. Some of them can't even sit there and listen to it all. They have to take breaks. Some of them cry." Some 20,000 black people live in Nova Scotia today, most of whom are descended from the Black Loyalists.
    Saney the historian says that the legacy of the Black Loyalists is of a persecuted people exercising black agency.
    "These are people who took their fate and their destiny into their own hands," Saney says. "Just to get to the British side took a lot of courage, skill and ingenuity. The fact that so many of them chose to fight — and saw themselves as not only defending their freedom, but participating in the liberation of others — speaks the breadth and depth of their conception of agency, but also as part of a collective struggle for freedom."

    Reports of the Death of Jim Crow Prove Greatly Exaggerated

    One of America’s most cherished myths is that the civil rights movement killed Jim Crow. It didn’t. For more than a century, that dirty bird has proven itself almost immortal.

    Who was—who is—Jim Crow? For the record, he is both much less and much more than a man. In 1828, an elderly black stableman, the property of a Kentuckian named Crow, performed an act that caught the eye of the white minstrel Thomas “Daddy” Rice. After blackening his face with burnt cork and dressing in tattered rags, a grinning Rice mimicked the stableman’s act, dancing and singing in black dialect:
            Weel about, and turn about
            And do jis so;
            Eb’ry time I weel about,
            I jump Jim Crow.
    White audiences loved the act, minstrelsy became America’s most popular form of mass entertainment, and “Jim Crow” entered the national vernacular. Things got even uglier in the 1890s, for reasons that remain muddy, when Jim Crow became much more than a degrading caricature. He became synonymous with the viciously enforced laws that separated and subjugated black people across the South.
    Even today, myths endure about that old brute Jim Crow. One of the most cherished is that he died when the civil rights movement culminated in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a pair of exclamation points to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision a decade earlier that had outlawed school segregation. But, as recent events and a selection of books both old and new reveal, Jim Crow is far from dead. He’s alive and well and living in every corner of the USA. Jim Crow, it turns out, is many-hued, resilient, and quite possibly unkillable.
    White Jim Crow
    Martin Luther King Jr. called C. Vann Woodward’s The Strange Career of Jim Crow “the historical bible of the civil rights movement.” Originally published in 1955—the year of the Montgomery bus boycott and Emmett Till’s lynching—the book begins by disposing of the widely held misconception that Jim Crow was born in the ashes of Reconstruction, when federal troops withdrew from the South a dozen years after the end of the Civil War and, in effect, left the unanswered questions about race relations and reunion in the hands of white Southerners.
    The rigid legal separation of the races across the South, Woodward points out, was not codified until the turn of the 20th century, a quarter-century after the collapse of Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were built on white Southerners’ iron conviction that the white race is superior to the black race, intellectually, morally, and physically. Therefore, the reasoning went, whites and blacks must be kept separate from cradle to grave—in hospitals, schools, public transit, parks, restaurants, theaters, hotels, churches, prisons, and graveyards. An Alabama law even made it illegal for whites and blacks to play checkers together. There was never any pretense, despite the wording of the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Fergusonruling, that there would be anything equal about these separate worlds.
    The key to Jim Crow’s survival was disenfranchisement of the black voter, which was accomplished through literacy tests and poll taxes and, when they proved inadequate, intimidation and terror.
    “In the early years of the 20th century,” Woodward writes, “it was becoming clear that the Negro would be effectively disenfranchised throughout the South, that he would be firmly relegated to the lower rungs of the economic ladder, and that neither equality nor aspirations for equality in any department of life were for him.” Jim Crow laws, Woodward adds, “constituted the most elaborate and formal expression of sovereign white opinion on the subject.”
    Black Jim Crow
    But what about black opinion—and experience—of Jim Crow? Leon F. Litwack’s Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow, published in 1998, contains a blurb from C. Vann Woodward himself: “This is the most complete and moving account we have had of what the victims of the Jim Crow South suffered and somehow endured.”
    Litwack, who is white, manages to get inside the minds of the victims of Jim Crow, their terrors and aspirations, their coping mechanisms, their occasional but too-rare victories. He does this by telling the stories of the “daily struggles” of obscure, powerless, and usually poor blacks, dissecting their sense of helplessness in the face of the large and small indignities they suffered. It was a world in which a black man, or woman, could get mercilessly punished—or killed—for looking a white person in the eye, for becoming too educated or prosperous, for daring to own land or attempting to vote.
    In Litwack’s telling, Jim Crow was a response to the changes in black aspirations and behavior brought on by Reconstruction, when former slaves got their first brief taste of voting, holding political office, serving on juries, getting an education, working for themselves. Litwack quotes a black South Carolinian, Sam Gadsden, born in 1882: “The white people began to begrudge these [n-words] their running around and doing just as they chose. That’s all there is to segregation, that caused the whole thing. The white people couldn’t master these [n-words] anymore so they took up the task of intimidating them.” W.E.B. Du Bois put it a bit less earthily: “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”
    As Litwack and historian David Oshinsky point out, life under Jim Crow was worse than slavery for many blacks. A fleeting taste of freedom only sharpened the bitter realities of sharecropping, convict leasing, the Ku Klux Klan, the lynching bee, and other staples of Jim Crow.
    Music, as Litwack repeatedly demonstrates, had always been vital to survival for African slaves and their descendants. As W.C. Handy wrote in his autobiography, Father of the Blues, “Southern Negroes sang about everything. Trains, steamboats, steam whistles, sledgehammers, fast women, mean bosses, stubborn mules—all become subjects for their songs. They accompany themselves on anything from which they can extract a musical sound or rhythmical effect, anything from a harmonica to a washboard.” The blues was fed by these rich musical sources, as Litwack notes, including “chants, work songs, field hollers, ring shouts, and country breakdowns.”
    Tyehimba Jess, this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, adds that when slavery and Jim Crow denied them conventional literacy, blacks had to adapt: “They were forced to forge another kind of literacy through the music.” But for many, the music could not provide sufficient balm or escape, and so they joined the millions who headed north and west in the last century’s Great Migration. As the bluesman Cow Cow Davenport sang it:
    I’m tired of being Jim Crowed, gonna leave this Jim Crow town,
    Doggone my black soul, I’m sweet Chicago bound…
    Albino Jim Crow
    Jim Crow wasn’t content with dominating the lives of black and white Southerners; he even found it necessary to dominate the lives of albinos. In her fascinating and heartbreaking new book, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South, veteran reporter Beth Macy tells the story of the African-American albino brothers George and Willie Muse, who, sometime near the turn of the 20th century, were kidnapped under mysterious circumstances by a circus traveling through their hometown, a remote tobacco patch in southwest Virginia called Truevine. As the subtitle suggests, this is a book about a mother’s quest to find and reclaim her sons. But as with so many stories spawned by Jim Crow, this one got complicated.
    Macy, a tireless reporter who worked this story for a quarter-century, concludes that George and Willie were definitely “exploited, made to work without pay, then traded between various showmen like chattel.” Their African features, nearly white skin, woolly white dreadlocks and jittery, light-sensitive eyes made them a popular sideshow attraction. They also became accomplished musicians, and were billed variously as “The Ethiopian Monkey Men,” “Darwin’s Missing Links,” “The Ambassadors from Mars,” and “Eko and Iko, the Ecuadorian Savages.”
    “As albinos,” Macy writes, “they were among the rarer finds, somewhere between a giant and a limbless man in the freak-show pecking order.” But Macy digs up unsettling evidence that their mother, Harriet, may have contracted for them to join the circus and went looking for them only when payments for their services stopped making their way to her in Truevine. This was one of the unspoken horrors of Jim Crow: poor parents forced to turn their children into wage earners. For light-sensitive George and Willie Muse, it could be argued that working as sideshow freaks was preferable to pulling tobacco under a scalding Southern sun. Macy poses the essential question: “Who is anyone to judge the pressures facing an illiterate washerwoman raising five children alone in rural Virginia during the harshest years of Jim Crow?”
    Whatever the precise circumstances of George and Willie’s departure from Truevine, Macy’s book paints a vivid portrait of life under Jim Crow for small-town and rural blacks and their “doubly different” albino offspring. In nearby Roanoke, Virginia, blacks were denied factory jobs and forbidden from living on the same block with whites. The divide was so rigid that even the parrots were racists. Macy interviews an elderly black woman who recalls walking to her segregated school through a white neighborhood where a woman kept trained parrots on her screened-in porch. Whenever a group of black school kids approached, the parrots would squawk: “See them little [n-words] coming.”
    The story of George and Willie Muse, remarkably, had an ending that was close to happy. They had long, successful careers with the circus, and after a protracted legal battle mounted by their mother, they got a portion of the money they had earned. They returned home to southwest Virginia and lived in comfort for many years amid loving family and friends. As one of their living descendants puts it, “They came out on top.” What were the odds of that?
    The New Jim Crow
    After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the term “post-racial” entered the American lexicon. It has proven to be a fantasy conjured by overly optimistic pundits who believed that by electing their first black president, Americans had finally slipped the bonds of four centuries of racism.
    In 2011, Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at Ohio State University and a former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, published an important and necessary book called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which demolished the comforting fantasy that Americans had bridged the racial divide. Alexander did this by focusing on the appalling facts that the United States has imprisoned some 7 million people, and a disproportionate number of prisoners (and probationers and parolees) have colored skin. Selective law enforcement, mandatory sentencing rules, and the resulting mass incarceration have created what Alexander calls “a racial caste system.”
    The point is valid and valuable, but unfortunately Alexander’s explanation of its causes is too narrow. She blames the New Jim Crow entirely on President Ronald Reagan’s unleashing of a War on Drugs in 1982—three years before crack cocaine began ravaging the nation’s inner cities—a war waged vigorously by Reagan’s successors (most notably Bill Clinton), with the result that the prison population has soared even as the crime rate has declined to historic lows.
    Alexander’s focus on the War on Drugs, while valid, ignores the more nuanced forces that helped birth the New Jim Crow. In his new book Locked In, John F. Pfaff, a law professor at Fordham University, acknowledges that mass incarceration is “one of the biggest social problems the United States faces today,” but he then proceeds to debunk the “standard story” put forth my Alexander and others—that today’s appalling rates of incarceration are driven exclusively by the racist persecution of minorities for nonviolent drug crimes. In fact, Pfaff points out, since the rising wave of incarcerations peaked around 2010, nonviolent drug offenders have accounted for only about one-fifth of new prisoners. The War on Drugs, he concludes, “simply hasn’t sent enough people to state prisons for it to be a major engine of state prison growth.”
    So what is the engine? Pfaff posits that it’s a pair of linked inequities: woefully overworked public defenders going up against elected prosecutors who wield virtually unfettered power to threaten arrestees with stiff sentences—and lots of them—a ploy that results in plea bargains in 95 percent of all convictions. Only a small fraction of the people in prison today were sent there by a jury of their peers, a circumvention of one of the pillars of American democracy. Regardless of the actual crime rate, no district attorney facing re-election can afford to be labeled “soft on crime.” The tools are there for prosecutors to send legions to prison, and most prosecutors are happy to use them.
    Events since the publication of The New Jim Crow have further eroded Alexander’s one-note argument. In her epilogue toTruevine, written in 2015, Beth Macy states, “In the past year, 32 states have enforced new voter identification requirements that disproportionately disenfranchise poor and minority voters, and 26 unarmed black men have been fatally shot by police across the United States of America.”
    This political chicanery and physical violence are surely facets of the New Jim Crow, and they’ve spawned an admirable wave of activism that points out, inadvertently but invaluably, that any nation that needs to be reminded that Black Lives Matter is not a nation that has progressed very far.
    Meanwhile, the Republican-dominated North Carolina legislature redrew the state’s General Assembly districts in a fashion so redolent of Jim Crow that federal judges struck 28 of them down, saying they were “racially gerrymandered in violation of the equal protection clause.”
    A May 14 front-page story in The New York Times reported that, even as numerous state legislatures are shrinking their prison populations and downgrading nonviolent drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that federal prosecutors should put more people in prison for longer periods, raising fears among reformers, including many conservatives, “that the Trump administration was embracing failed, even racist, policies.”
    No surprise there. Sessions, after all, serves a president who borrowed a page from Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign and promised to get tough on crime and, for good measure, erect a wall along one of our two international borders and bar citizens from countries dominated by a particular religion. All of these familiar tactics—disenfranchisement, police brutality, xenophobia, along with the twinned national disgraces of racially tainted law enforcement and mass incarceration—make up the New Jim Crow. Who, it turns out, bears more than a passing resemblance to the Old Jim Crow.
    Yes, Jim Crow is alive and well and living in every corner of the USA. He’s still many-hued and resilient. And he’s as unkillable as ever.
    Stamped from the Beginning: Ibram X. Kendi on the History of Racist Ideas in U.S.
    June 28, 2017-

    DemocracyNow! Guests
    • Ibram X. Kendi
      professor of history and international relations and founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University.

    With police killings dominating the headlines, our first guest, historian Ibram X. Kendi, discusses his recent book, "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," which traces the origins of racist ideas in the U.S. The author examines the impact of historically racist policies on existing racial disparities. His book is the recipient of the 2016 National Book Award.

    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
    AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re joined today by historian Ibram X. Kendi, professor of history and international relations, founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University. He just left the University of Florida at Gainesville. He is the author of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
    If you could take us through your thesis, Professor Kendi, as you raise the profile of five figures through history, right through today, Angela Davis, and talk about their role in our history?
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. And so, the thesis for the book actually came about through researching for the book, which I think is a good thing. And that was, I ended up entering into this history of racist ideas believing this common idea that, really, the sort of origins, the cradle, of racist ideas is ignorance—are ignorance and hate, and that ignorance and hate leads to racist ideas, and it’s these people who have these racist ideas who are the people who institute racist policies, like slavery, segregation and even massive incarceration.
    And so, the more I sort of studied this history, the more I contextualized the development of these ideas in their historical moment, and, more importantly, the more I distinguished between the producers of racist ideas and the consumers, and decided to study the producers, the more I found that people were producing racist ideas to justify existing racist policies. In other words, racist policies were becoming before racist ideas. And those racist policies were emerging out of self-interest. And so, you had economic, political and even cultural self-interest driving the creation of racially discriminatory policies, and then the need to justify those policies led to the development of racist ideas, and then those racist ideas and their circulation—or, more so, consumption—led to our ignorance and hate.
    And so I chronicle this history through five major characters. And the first character is Cotton Mather, who was a Boston theologian, who, at the time—he lived from the 1660s to the 1720s—race or racial ideas were largely theological ideas, because theological ideas were largely scientific ideas. And so, he was involved in popularizing many of the early theological ideas justifying or making the case for black inferiority. By the emergence of the United States, the racial discourse became more secular, and particularly through the role of Thomas Jefferson. And Thomas Jefferson died on the eve of the abolitionist movement—Thomas Jefferson being the second major character in the text—and that abolitionist movement was largely spearheaded by William Lloyd Garrison, who of course was the third major character. And W.E.B. Du Bois was the fourth major character. He, of course, was one of the sort of fathers of civil rights and black power. And the last major character, that covers the last 50 years, where mass incarceration, in particular, became front and center, was Angela Davis.
    AMY GOODMAN: And so, talk about, from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis, how they embodied your idea of how racist policies and ideas develop.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: So, in the case of Cotton Mather, Cotton Mather was involved in probably the first great American debate over race, which was whether black people could become Christians. And slaveholders who were also Christian made the case that black people were too barbaric. Cotton Mather, being a major Boston theologian, being a major minister wanting to have a new group of people to proselytize to, made the case that they can be Christianized, because their souls have the capacity to be white, even though their bodies are black and inferior and worthy of enslavement. And so, this debate, he made this case for this debate because he wanted to open up the sort of reins on the church to be able—particularly the Puritan church, to be able to proselytize to black people. So he had this sort of hidden self-interest, this hidden cultural self-interest, that led to his idea.
    And, you know, Thomas Jefferson, as many of you would understand, I mean, he was a slaveholder who, of course, wanted to create ideas that allowed him to continue slaveholding.
    And, you know, all the way up to sort of Angela Davis. Angela Davis, I chronicle as, you know, this major anti-racist theorist, because I really sort of show the debate, really, between racist and anti-racist ideas. And I show, particularly within the realm of criminal justice, that, you know, all of these ideas justifying law and order, justifying the war on drugs, justifying tough on crime, and now justifying police being exonerated for killing black lives, that Angela Davis was long at the forefront of challenging those ideas by challenging the racist ideas that were underlying them.
    AMY GOODMAN: You write very poignantly in the prologue to Stamped from the Beginning, "I somehow managed to write this book between the heartbreaks of Trayvon Martin and Rekia Boyd and Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and the Charleston 9 and Sandra Bland, heartbreaks that are a product of America’s history of racist ideas as much as this history book of racist ideas is a product of these heartbreaks. Young Black males were twenty-one times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts between 2010 and 2012, according to federal statistics." And you go on to say, "The under-recorded, under-analyzed racial disparities between female victims of lethal police force may be even greater. Federal data show [that] the median wealth of White households is a staggering thirteen times the median wealth of Black households—and Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites." Talk more about this.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. Well, Amy, this is—I mean, since the beginning of the United States, since the beginning of colonial America, there has been what’s called racial disparities, as you just outlined, racial disparities where black people were more likely to be poor, black people were more likely to be killed by the police, black people were more likely to be imprisoned. And so the question becomes: Why? Why is it that black people are on the lower end of these racial disparities? Why does racial inequality exist in this country? And really, the racial debate has largely been trying to answer that question. And really, Stamped from the Beginning chronicles that long racial debate trying to answer that question. And really, there’s been three positions, and those positions still persist to this day.
    The first position states that it’s because black people are inferior. The reason why so many more black people are being killed by the police is because black people keep acting recklessly before the police. If black people would act better, then this would not be a problem. So they principally state that there’s something wrong and inferior about black people. This is what I call the segregationist position.
    On the other side of the debate has been the anti-racist position. The anti-racist position states that the racial groups are equal. There’s nothing wrong or right about black people or any other racial group of people. So, because the racial groups are equal, it must—these disparities, these inequities must be the result of racial discrimination. So they spend their time challenging racial discrimination.
    And then the third position, which is called the assimilationist position, actually argues both. Typically and historically, they’ve stated that, yes, there is racial discrimination, but there’s also something wrong and inferior about black people. And so, they’ve sought to civilize and develop black people at the same time they were challenging racial discrimination.
    AMY GOODMAN: So talk about where Black Lives Matter fits into this picture, the organizing from the grassroots up, and where you see it going.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Yeah, I think it fits precisely into this picture, because I think Black Lives Matter activists have made the case that the problem is the criminal justice system, that the problem is racist policing, that the problem is the laws that are being created that make the case that there’s something wrong with the people as opposed to the environment that these people—the lack of jobs and resources these people are being faced with.
    And so, I’m hoping, and I’m sure many people are hoping, that Black Lives Matter and many other activists, anti-racist activists, who have been inspired by Black Lives Matter, and other types of activists will recognize the anti-racist position, which is that either the racial groups are equal or they’re not. And if you believe that the racial groups are not equal, that there’s something wrong or inferior about black people, that that’s a racist idea. And so you cannot continue to imagine that this nation is post-racial at the same time that you don’t believe that the racial groups are equal, that you’re championing policies that actually discriminate against black people.
    AMY GOODMAN: Talking to historian Ibram X. Kendi. His book won the National Book Award, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. And you talk about overall racial inequities, from everything from wealth to health. Certainly, when we look at what’s happening right now in the Senate, though the healthcare bill has been put off for the moment, now opposed by nine Republicans, who run the political spectrum, feeling that regulations—like, what, Senator Paul of Kentucky—have to be stricter, that Medicaid and other healthcare policies and safety nets have to be dismantled, to those who feel that this is way too stringent. But always at the bottom of this you have the most vulnerable in society. So talk about from wealth to health, Professor Kendi.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: So, I mean, from wealth, I mean, the Great Recession, some have made the case, was one of the largest losses of black wealth in American history, one of the largest losses of Latino wealth in American history, that when we have these major economic catastrophes, you know, those people who are the most sort of underprivileged are most likely to lose out.
    But I think the healthcare debate and, really, argument, I think, is even more indicative, you know, of what we’re talking about. I mean, the Affordable Care Act led to 11 percent more black and Latino people becoming insured, which is a dramatic sort of development within black America, within Latino America. And so, more—it eliminated these massive disparities—or, I mean, eliminated—reduced these disparities between racial groups that are uninsured. And so, you know, to think about a new healthcare bill that’s going to reduce the number of people who—I’m sorry, increase the number of people who are uninsured, I mean, many of those people are probably going to be black or Latino, and then, therefore, we’re going to have an increase in these disparities. And then what racist ideas will say is, "Well, it’s those black people’s fault. It’s those Latinos’ fault. You know, they should be working harder. There’s something wrong with them." And so, they’ll create racist ideas to justify those disparities.
    And I should also say that, you know, I think one of the most consequential manifestations in this country that black life does not matter is the disparity between how long black people live. I mean, white people are more like three-and-a-half—have a lifespan of three-and-a-half years in this country. And I think, you know, many of these things sort of result in that, including people having access to healthcare.
    AMY GOODMAN: You’re writing a new book on how to be an anti-racist, which will be released next year. Can you give us a little preview?
    IBRAM X. KENDI: So, you asked about the—Amy, ask the question again? I’m sorry.
    AMY GOODMAN: I was just saying, you’re writing a new book, How to Be an Anti-Racist.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Oh, yes.
    AMY GOODMAN: Give us a preview.
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, I mention in the prologue of Stamped from the Beginning that, you know, before I could chronicle anyone else’s racist ideas, I first had to come to grips with my own. And so, really, in How to Be an Anti-Racist, I want to sort of chronicle my journey, my personal journey, of really, you know, being raised and consuming many racist ideas to seeking to become somebody who is an anti-racist. And so I begin the book with a speech that I gave in high school, in which I uttered all of these racist ideas, all of these things stating that there’s something wrong with black people. And I take readers through my own personal journey, while simultaneously revealing many of the concepts of what it means to be an anti-racist.
    AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Ibram X. Kendi, can you tell us the origins of your name?
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, Ibram is—was given to me by my parents. It means "exalted father." It’s a derivative of Abraham. Came up in a Christian church—I mean, a Christian family. My parents were part of the black theology movement in the early ’70s. And my last name, Kendi, my wife and I, when we wed in 2003, we decided to choose a name together. And so, Kendi is a Meru, in Kenya, name that means "loved one."
    AMY GOODMAN: And you unveiled this at your wedding to your family and friends?
    IBRAM X. KENDI: Yes. Yes.
    AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ibram X. Kendi, I want to thank for you being with us, professor of history and international relations and founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University. He’s just leaving the University of Florida at [Gainesville]. He’s the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which is winner of the 2016 National Book Award.
    This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we look at a lawsuit in Washington against the Washington, D.C., police for their treatment of protesters at the inauguration of President Trump. Stay with us.
    AMY GOODMAN: "I Will Spite Survive," a new song by the band Deerhoof featuring Jenn Wasner. Visit, where we’re premiering the full song. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report.


    s. e. anderson
    author of The Black Holocaust for Beginners
    If WORK was good for you, the rich would leave none for the poor. (Haiti)

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    The News Ain't News, Ain't Nothin but the Blues

    The news ain't news
    ain't nothin but the blues
    bang bang
    inflation up
    inflation down
    Now a word from your president
    American people
    prosperity is just around the corner
    soon a chicken in every pot
    bang bang
    the president has been shot
    the president has been shot
    hurry rush him to the hospital
    stay turned
    we'll be right back
    after a word from our sponsor
    stock report
    wall street week in review
    stocks down
    due to budget crisis
    falkland islands
    el salvador
    fillmore harlem liberty city detroit south side
    occupied palestine
    jews shoot five year old boy
    throwing stones at tank
    jim jones takes one thousand negroes to heaven with Kool Aid
    disco gone
    donna summers got the holy ghost
    jeffersons happy negroes
    smiling all the way to the gas chamber
    ha ha ha
    news ain't news
    ain't nothin but the blues
    when I want news
    Bob Marley
    Billie Holiday
    Sonny Stitt
    When I want the news
    News ain't nothing but the4 blues
    10 million unemployed
    they talk about the budget
    the budget the budget
    Will B.A. nigguh revolt
    M.A. nigguh revolt
    PhD nigguh revolt
    preacher revolt
    watch out grass roots
    don't be used by democrats
    don't be their cannon fodder 
    don't be their way back to the white house
    don't be used by communists
    moscow is not your mecca
    take leaders from among yourselves
    protect them
    with guns
    dare anyone to touch them
    you will be successful
    news ain't news
    ain't nothin but the blues
    punk rockers shit on white house lawn
    nixon was drunk after five
    reagan drunk after six
    haig drunk all day long
    barbara walters interviews sada in his tomb
    hey stay tuned
    we'll be right back
    with a special message
    don't change the dial
    get your popcorn and beer
    --Marvin X

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    Negus hate movement
    even bowel movement
    constipated in the mind
    frozen in time
    no amnesia here
    no memory of there
    Malcolm said you left your mind in Africa
    go back seed of seed of seed of seed of seed
    to first seed
    untie knot in mind
    fuck history get to mystery
    yr story deeper than history
    recall memory of things past
    cause past ain't past
    granny's dna in children
    what did granny eat grandpa
    conscious parents  reverse the trend
    no mo negro children
    conscious diets can reverse granny's soulfood
    no fear in my children
    dentist said nefertiti had no fear in his chair
    first time in 30 years child no fear
    nefertiti conceived in parental flight
    jesus child
    parents running from pharaoh in the night
    refused to be pharaonic slaves
    no fear parents no fear children

    even in the now you're numb
    fixated in fear and  nothingness
    don't ask me bout black agenda
    ask yo black ass what's the agenda
    what you bringin to dinner table
    at least bring some wine

    let there be movement
    how you get free
    200,000 black troops moved on whitey
    fucked up when we gave up guns
    hamas no give up guns
    hezbollah no give up guns
    200,000 negus with guns
    movement since ain't two cents
    sisyphusian myth-ritual
    up the mountain down up down up down up
    movement michael jackson moonwalk at best
    civil rights Sun Ra said civil rites
    last rites at cemetery
    move on down six feet ground move
    no black move
    scared shaking in boots
    mental paralysis
    no movement got you dialysis
    move from static to dynamic
    be fluid flow
    wit da flow
    --Marvin X

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    We much appreciate the artistic personality known as Fantastic Negrito who offered his services to perform at the Laney College 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Black Arts Movement 2015. A scheduling conflict didn't allow him to perform, but since then we had the pleasure of meeting him. We found him a humble person, and he agreed to support our long planned 27 City Tour of Black Arts Movement icons. Finally, I heard his music and was blown away by his neo-blues, spiritual, black classical music style. We will soon write a review o his music. 

    Marvin X Notes on Fantastic Negrito

    On Monday, July 3, we were blessed to finally hear Fantastic Negro live. The occasion was a video shoot in West Oakland at the Revolution Cafe, near 7th And Parelta, maybe a few yards from where the old Lincoln Theatre used to be back in the day, actually, across the street from where I grew up on 7th and Campbell in the back of my parent's florist shop. The Lincoln was a black theatre that showed black films along with the white supremacy hollywood variety. 

    The video shoot was in a yard adjacent to Revolution, a multi-cultural venue in gentrified West Oakland, formerly Hedarlem of the West. Fantastic wanted to do the shoot at this venue because he liked the ambiance, the artwork behind the stage. We arrived early white the film crew was setting up and the band practicing and the sound check. Eventually, as the band practiced, Fantastic Negrito appeared and took command.He went through several song with the band. 

    He is a blues singer and guitar player. Looks a little like Chuck Berry and we say his stage moves are from Chuck Berry along with his guitar playing. Yet Fantastic Negrito comes from deep down in the Blues' well. Deep in the Black Christian Church tradition as well. We heard some Holy Ghost sounds, yes, we think deeper than Baptist!

    But the lyrics are special into the now. Even though the psycho-linguistics of the Bllues has been studied for its rawness, and the Black Arts Movement as well, he was clearly in the new now with a blues lyric saying Stop the Bullshit, Come with some Good Shit! 

    The lyrics from that song were enough for me, you know senior citizens go to bed early. After The Movement Newspaper photographer arrived, he photographed the event and we departed.

    Again, Fantastic Negrito has a new sound and lyrics that cross lines, racial, musical; any human being will move to his music and lyrics. Even Marvin X. 

    Fantastic Negrito is off to Norway in the morning, so we are thankful, especially so, that we caught him in our home turf of West Oakland.

    --Marvin X, Publisher, The Movement, Voice of the Black Arts Movement International

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  • 07/04/17--21:11: colin kaepernick in ghana

  • LOOK: Colin Kaepernick, in Ghana, tweets about finding his independence on July 4

    Colin Kaepernick took to social media July 4 to explain why he took a recent trip to Ghana to find his own independence. His Twitter post features a video of his journey, while an Instagram post featuring the same video included a this message from Kaepernick, starting with a quote from Frederick Douglass.
    "What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?" - Frederick Douglass. In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return. I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah's Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return. 
    Here is Kaepernick's tweet and the Instagram post, which will most certainly spark more conversation between the controversial quarterback's supporters and his crtics. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the brink of winning Super Bowl XLII remains a free agent after being released by the 49ers this off season.

    Kaepernick has passed his time as a free agent by taking up multiple humanitarian causes over the past few months. In January he donated his gigantic sneaker collection to homeless people in San Francisco, and in March, he helped raise funds to fly a plane full of food and water to help the struggling population of Somalia.
    Kaepernick has also made a $50,000 donation to Meals on Wheels, donated hundreds of custom suits to a charity that helps people get a job after they're released from jail and has donated $700,000 to charity over the past nine months as part of a pledge last season where he promised to donate a total of $1 million to help communities in need. Also, he's been running his "Know your rights" camp.
    During his trip to Africa he also visited Egypt, and we know that because he showed up on in a few pictures with 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin on Saturday.

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    Miss. Organization, Cooperation Jackson Leads a Movement for Self-Determination

    A repurposed day care center stands amid a handful of empty lots on Capitol Street in Jackson, Miss. No development of any kind has taken hold in this mid-point to the city’s downtown area. What stands out as cars come by are the red letters spelling out the “Lumumba Center” painted on the windows in honor of the short reign as mayor of legendary community activist and movement lawyer Chokwe Lumumba.

    Lumumba, who passed away three years ago after serving only nine months of his term, served as a center point for radical change in Jackson. That center point is housed in the Lumumba Center and represents the tradition of Black self-determination and cooperative economics he advocated for during his organizing and political life. That center point is Cooperation Jackson.

    Jackson, Miss., is perhaps one of the Blackest cities in the United States, with a population of over 180,000 people, 80 percent of them being Black. Everything about Jackson — from the story of African enslavement to the great era of the civil rights movement — proudly shapes the town’s history and its people. Mississippi winds whisper the names of freedom fighters like the great Fannie Lou Hammer and Medgar Evers. It is this tradition of Black resistance, unmistakably flowing in the blood of Black Jacksonians, that continues today out of necessity.

    The legacies of slavery and Jim Crow have produced a racial wealth-gap that is further amplified in Mississippi by rapid de-industrialization. Rampant white flight out of the urban areas in favor of the suburbs during the ’60s and ’70s removed economic resources and caused further deterioration. In Mississippi, 34.4 percent of Black people live in poverty in a state where they make up only 37 percent of the population, according to a 2010 U.S. Census. In Jackson, those numbers are even worse. Where Black people make up roughly 80.1 percent of Jackson’s population, they are 87.8 percent of the people in poverty.

    Enter Cooperation Jackson, seeking the self-determination and economic empowerment of the Black community through cooperative economics. To bring Mississippi “from worst to first” was the catch phrase Lumumba used to describe the project that would eventually become Cooperation Jackson. Lumumba was a revolutionary, a public defender and a politician who courted the Jackson council seat in 2009 with the help of the organizing base he created through several political organizations he founded with others. In 2013, he ran for mayor of Jackson and won a decisive victory.

    The mayoral position allowed Lumumba the resources to seed cooperative projects in Jackson but his sudden passing from heart failure left many Black Jacksonians wondering if the material conditions of oppression in their lives would ever change. The conservative white establishment reconsolidated power and quickly moved away from cooperative development. However, outside of city politics, the organizing infrastructure and framework, which could push the goals of cooperative economics forward, were well established and left in the hands of some of Lumumba’s ablest lieutenants. Saki Hall and Kali Akuno, themselves longtime organizers who worked with Chokwe Lumumba, along with others pushed forward the cooperative ideas that became Cooperation Jackson.

    “The broad mission of Cooperation Jackson is to advance the development of economic democracy in Jackson, Miss., by building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other types of worker-owned and democratically self-managed enterprises” Akumo said.

    The organization’s four-part approach for building in Jackson involves developing a co-op incubator, an education center, and financial institutions. It has recently launched its Sustainable Communities Initiative, which involves the development of an “eco-village” housing cooperative, a community land trust and a community development corporation. The initiative provides the stable foundation for the development of child care, urban farming, construction and recycling cooperatives.

    Some of the project’s other goals involve the creation of a fabrication laboratory (fab lab), called the Center for Community Production, that functions as a training center and digital fabrication factory. This is a part of Cooperation Jackson’s Community Production Initiative, which hopes to establish a flourishing production economy based on new and innovative technology like 3D printing.
    Cooperation Jackson is always busy working on a number of projects in the Jackson area that all feed into each other.
    “A big part of Cooperation Jackson is based on Black reality. Ain’t nobody creating no jobs for us,” said Akuno, co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson. “Those days are long since past. In Jackson, Miss., I think the real unemployment rate is easily over 50 percent.

    “Rather than see the limitations, we are seeing there’s more space from the decay of late capitalism to actually do some things to push back and start seizing the means of production. That is a big part of our project in Jackson. We call it organizing for ‘community production.’”

    The story of Corporation Jackson and the Jackson plan is one of loss and perseverance. That perseverance has led to the son of Chokwe Lumumba, Chokwe Antar, also a member of Cooperation Jackson, running for the mayoral seat briefly held by his father. With ideas firmly grounded in cooperative economics as a way to build a shattered Jackson economy, Chowe Antar recently won the mayoral race. and hopes to continue his father’s legacy. With the advantage of a model of cooperative development already in place with Cooperation Jackson, the city of Jackson might just be ready to move from “worst to first.”

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    Saudi Arabia chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in UK: Report

    | Updated: Jul 5, 2017

    A man attaches a St George's Cross flag to a City of London boundary marker on the south-side of London Bridge (AFP Photo) 
    A man attaches a St George's Cross flag to a City of London boundary marker on the south-side of London Bridge (AFP Photo)
    LONDON: Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, a new report has claimed, asserting that a "clear and growing link" can be drawn between overseas money and the recent wave of attacks in Britain and Europe.

    The Henry Jackson Society, a foreign affairs think-tank, called for a public inquiry into the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, BBC reported.

    The think-tank said there was a "clear and growing link" between Islamist organisations in receipt of overseas funds, hate preachers and Jihadist groups promoting violence.

    However, the UK's Saudi Arabian embassy says the claims are "categorically false".

    Ministers are under pressure to publish a report on UK- based Islamist groups.

    The Home Office report into the existence and influence of Jihadist organisations, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, has reportedly yet to be completed amid questions as to whether it will ever be published.

    Critics have suggested it could make uncomfortable reading for the government, which has close and long-standing diplomatic, security and economic links with the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia.

    Today's report says a number of Gulf nations, as well as Iran, are providing financial support to mosques and Islamic educational institutions which have played host to extremist preachers and been linked to the spread of extremist material.

    At the top of the list, the report claims, is Saudi Arabia. It alleges individuals and foundations have been heavily involved in exporting what it calls "an illiberal, bigoted Wahhabi ideology", quoting a number of examples.

    In a minority of cases, the report alleges institutions in the UK that receive Saudi funding are run directly from Saudi Arabia, although in most instances the money appears to "simply buy foreign donors' influence".

    In a statement, the Saudi embassy here said any accusations that the Kingdom had radicalised "a small number of individuals are baseless and lack credible evidence".

    And it pointed out that the country has itself been subject to numerous attacks by al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State.

    It added: "We do not and will not condone the actions or ideology of violent extremism and we will not rest until these deviants and their organisations are destroyed."

    The report's release comes at a time when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are all accusing Qatar of supporting extremism - a charge the report says is hypocritical.

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  • 07/05/17--11:39: war with north korea
  • ‘Self-Restraint’ Is Only Thing Stopping War With North Korea, U.S. General Says

    A photograph supplied by North Korea’s state news agency purports to show the Hwasong-14, what the country called its first intercontinental ballistic missile, at an undisclosed location before its test launch.Credit Korean Central News Agency, via European Pressphoto Agency
    SEOUL, South Korea — “Self-restraint” is all that is keeping the United States and South Korea from going to war with the North, the top American general in South Korea said on Wednesday. His comment came as the South’s defense minister indicated that the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile had the potential to reach Hawaii.

    The unusually blunt warning, from Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of American troops based in Seoul, came a day after North Korea said it successfully tested the Hwasong-14, its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

    Washington and its allies confirmed that the weapon was an ICBM and condemned the test as a violation of United Nations resolutions and a dangerous escalation of tensions.

    Although doubt remained whether North Korea had cleared all the technical hurdles to make the Hwasong-14 a fully functional ICBM, the launch prompted the United States and South Korea to conduct a rare joint missile exercise off the east coast of the South on Wednesday. The drill involved firing an undisclosed number of ballistic missiles into the sea.
    “Self-restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war,” said General Brooks, referring to the 1953 cease-fire that halted but never officially ended the Korean War. “As this alliance missile live-fire shows, we are able to change our choice when so ordered by our alliance national leaders.

    “It would be a grave mistake for anyone to believe anything to the contrary.”
    President Moon Jae-in of South Korea asked President Trump on Tuesday night to endorse the joint exercise, insisting that the allies needed to respond to the North’s provocation with “more than statements,” Mr. Moon’s office said.

    The South Korean military said the missiles, which had a range of about 185 miles, were fired to test their ability to launch “a precision strike at the enemy leadership” in case of war. The military did not say how far the missiles traveled.
    Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Wednesday that Japan and the United States had agreed to take “specific actions to improve our defense systems and our ability to deter North Korea.”
    Mr. Suga did not say what those actions were, but a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said the government was considering buying ballistic missile defense systems from the United States.
    Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, right, the top American commander in South Korea, with Vice President Mike Pence. “Self-restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war,” the general said on Wednesday.Credit Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press
    Japan is considering the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, a system that the United States recently deployed in South Korea, the spokesman said, as well as another known as Aegis Ashore, which is similar to what Japan already deploys aboard naval destroyers.

    The Japanese news media has reported that the government was also discussing buying Tomahawk or other cruise missiles, which would give Japan the ability to strike North Korea.
    Yasushi Kojima, the Defense Ministry spokesman, denied those reports, which would face strong opposition in Japan. But an American official familiar with the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the purchase of cruise missiles was being discussed.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Trump criticized China on Wednesday for failing to do more to pressure North Korea on its nuclear program, suggesting that he is re-evaluating the United States trade relationship with Beijing.
    The propaganda battle between the Koreas escalated on Wednesday, even as Asian stock markets appeared to shrug off the latest tensions. The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said that the missile test was intended to “slap the American bastards in their face” and was a Fourth of July “gift package” for the “Yankees.”

    South Korea released a computer-animated video showing missile strikes at the heart of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The video featured an American B1-B bomber and German-made Taurus air-to-land cruise missiles.

    The Taurus, which is meant to destroy targets underground, is often cited as a critical weapon South Korea would use in an operation to “decapitate” the North’s government.

    The video showed flags and government buildings in Pyongyang in flames.
    The North Korean missile launched on Tuesday was fired at a steep angle, flying a horizontal distance of only 578 miles but reaching an altitude of more than 1,700 miles, according to North Korean, South Korean and Japanese officials.

    Speaking to the South Korean National Assembly on Wednesday, the defense minister, Han Min-koo, said that the Hwasong-14, if launched on a standard trajectory, could have a range of 4,350 to 4,970 miles, enough to hit Alaska and possibly Hawaii.

    Analysts had said on Tuesday that the missile appeared to be capable of striking Alaska. Hawaii is farther, about 4,780 miles from Kusong, the North Korean town where the missile was fired.
    The United States and South Korea conducted joint missile exercises off the east coast of the South on Wednesday in response to the North’s launch. The drill involved firing ballistic missiles with ranges of about 185 miles.Credit United States Forces Korea, via Getty Images
    A ballistic missile is considered an ICBM when its range is greater than 5,500 kilometers, or about 3,420 miles, according to military analysts.

    But Mr. Han said although the Hwasong-14 was developed as an intercontinental missile, it was still too early to conclude whether North Korea had mastered long-range missile technology, especially the re-entry ability that allows an ICBM’s warhead section to survive the intense heat and destruction of its outer shell as it plunges from space through the earth’s atmosphere.

    Mr. Han said an ICBM warhead section must endure a heat of 7,000 degrees Celsius, or 12,630 degrees Fahrenheit, while hurtling toward Earth at a speed of at least Mach 21, or 4.5 miles per second. But the North Korean missile’s maximum velocity was “far below” that, Mr. Han said, casting doubt that the missile was put through a proper atmospheric en-entry test.
    On Wednesday, North Korea said the test showed that it had mastered the technology of operating and separating the missile’s two propulsive stages, and guiding the warhead to its target in the waters west of Japan. The warhead section of the missile proved structurally safe during “the harshest atmospheric re-entry environment,” the government said, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

    But Mr. Han said that the real test was whether the warhead section “performed its military function” after it re-entered the atmosphere.

    “Even if we have more time to analyze, it’s hard to say that North Korea has succeeded in the re-entry technology,” he said. “We believe that North Korea is still in the process of developing an ICBM.”

    North Korea carried the missile to its test site on a 16-wheel truck, believed to have been imported from China and reconfigured for military purposes. But the missile was launched from a platform, indicating that the country had not developed the ability to launch the missile directly from the vehicle, South Korean officials said. A missile fired from a vehicle is harder to counter because it requires less time to prepare to launch, they said.

    North Korea also said its missile was capable of carrying a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead.” Some analysts say that North Korea is probably still years away from developing a nuclear warhead small and light enough to fit into a long-range rocket that could reach the continental United States.
    If North Korea successfully develops an ICBM, it would drastically change strategic calculations by the United States and its allies, analysts said. Such a missile would give decision makers in Washington reason to pause before deciding to strike the country, they said.

    “This new tier complements North Korea’s well-developed escalatory posture toward its neighbors,” Gabriel Dominguez and Neil Gibson, analysts affiliated with IHS Markit, said in a commentary. “The Communist country is already able to field conventional, chemical and, possibly, nuclear weapons against Seoul and Tokyo. As a result, a danger of increased North Korean military confidence is that it raises the risk of increased belligerence.”

    The United States secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, issued a warning that any country hosting North Korean guest workers or providing any economic or military benefits to the North was “aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.”

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    Justin Trudeau is Not a Friend of all God’s Children

    by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

    The youthful leader of Canada claims to be many things, including a feminist and friend of all the country’s various ethnicities. However, Canada has a poor history of friendly relations with African peoples. “Canada has played a role in the violence the Congo, Rwanda and Somali,” and was a chief conspirator in the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government, in 2004.

    Justin Trudeau is Not a Friend of all God’s Children

    by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

    “Canada opposed anti-colonial struggles in Africa and supported apartheid South Africa.”
    Canada is attempting to project itself as a friend of Africa, Haiti, women and the world. If he is to be believed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a friend of all God’s children.
    Trudeau’s first cabinet was African-less. Africans in Canada from the continent and here questioned this move. Many felt that the younger Trudeau took us for granted because his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau (18 October 1919 - 28 September 2000) “opened” the doors for immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa.
    He eventually did appoint Somali Toronto MP Ahmed Hussen to the federal cabinet as immigration minister.
    Trudeau did appoint an Indian born Sikh, Harjit Sajjan, MP for Vancouver South, as Minister of Defense. Sikhs have a significantly different history in Canada than Africans. The Sikh community is represented in all professional fields; medical, legal, technological, academic. Africans were brought kicking and screaming into the western hemisphere. Sajjan was also recently questioned about “fibbing” about being the leader of a battle in Afghanistan. Sajjan has also said yearly spending on war will swell by more than 70 per cent, from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27. He has promised $62.3 billion in new spending over 20 years.
    Bardish Chagger is another India-born Canadian politician who is the current Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and Minister of Small Business and Tourism. Chagger was elected as a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada in 2015. She is the first female Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, appointed by Trudeau.
    Amarjeet Sohi is an Indian-Canadian politician, currently the Member of Parliament for Edmonton and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in the federal cabinet. He narrowly beat out strong community advocate Nigerian-born Chinwe Okelu.
    Maryam Monsef is an Afghan Canadian politician, a Liberal member the House of Commons. She was previously the Minister of Democratic Institutions and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, until January 10, 2017.
    Monsef has not had an easy ride. According to Wikipedia: “Monsef has been criticized for stating that she was born in Afghanistan, when in fact she was born in Iran. When this was revealed in September 2016, some commentators pointed out that this could lead to revocation of her Canadian citizenship and potential deportation, while others have criticized the absurdity of the present law or decried the importation of birtherism into Canadian politics. In an interview at that time, former MP Dean Del Mastro said that political workers in the 2014 municipal and 2015 federal campaigns knew she was not born in Afghanistan, but chose not to make an issue of it.”
    Navdeep Singh Bains, the new minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is a Canadian-born Indian.
    Canada’s role in Haiti should never be forgotten. Back in the day I discussed Haiti in the October 27 issue of The Black Commentator: “Canada's Crimes Against Haiti.” After reading Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton’s volume Canada in Haiti, I pointed out: The chapter “Responsibility to Protect or A Made in Ottawa Coup?“ shows that the coup against Aristide was actually planned on Canadian soil.
    From January 31 to February 1, 2003, Canada’s Secretary of State for Latin America and La Francophonie, Denis Paradis, played host to a high-level roundtable meeting dubbed “The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti.” Surprise, surprise! No representative of Haiti’s elected government was invited. However, Otto Reich, then President George W. Bush’s appointee as Assistant Secretary State for the Western Hemisphere, was in attendance. Paradis leaked the fact that this meeting took place to journalist Michael Vastel, who reported the meeting in the March 15, 2003 edition of L’Actualite magazine. Another chapter, “Using NGOs to Destroy Democracy and the Canadian Military Connection,” exposes the shameful role played by many Canadian NGOs.
    “Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau opened the doors to draft resisters, including myself.”
    Trudeau is also a self-proclaimed “feminist." The court is still out on this matter. A recent article in the England-based Guardian newspaper questioned the Canadian Prime Minister. “A slight note of exasperation crept into Justin Trudeau’s voice, suggesting that this was a topic he had broached many times before. ‘I’m going to keep saying loud and clearly that I am a feminist until it is met with a shrug,’ he declared to an audience at the United Nations in New York.”
    His words sparked delight around the world. But one year on, Trudeau’s heady promises have run into the realities of government, prompting the question: “Has electing a self-described feminist to helm the country translated into real change for Canadian women?”
    Trudeau is also moving the Great White North further to the right on foreign affairs.
    Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau opened the doors to draft resisters, including myself, who refused to fight against the Vietnamese people. I saw Africans in America and the Vietnamese as colonial subjects. Africans in the United States were colonized by Uncle Sam, and the Vietnamese by the French. Wikipedia points out: “While Canada had previously participated in military action against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1991, it refused to declare war against Iraq without United Nations approval."
    "The Iraq War began with the United-States-led 2003 invasion. The Government of Canada did not at any time formally declare war against Iraq, and the level and nature of this participation, which changed over time, was controversial.
    Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said on 10 October 2002 that Canada would, in fact, be part of a military coalition to invade Iraq if it were sanctioned by the United Nations. However, when the United States and the United Kingdom subsequently withdrew their diplomatic efforts to gain that UN sanction, Jean Chrétien announced in Parliament on 17 March 2003 that Canada would not participate in the pending invasion."
    However, this is not the full story. The “Big White Folks,” as Paul Robeson called them, "speak with forked tongues.” Chrétien offered the US and its soldiers his moral support. However, according to classified U.S. documents released by WikiLeaks, a high-ranking Canadian official may have secretly promised to clandestinely support the invasion. Two days earlier, a quarter million people in Montreal had marched against the pending war. Major anti-war demonstrations had taken place in several other Canadian cities. Chrétien’s moves had more to do with the growing opposition to the invasion than his political morality.
    “Canada played a significant role in the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Mpolo, and Joseph Okito on 21 January 1961.”
    The not-so-great white north has a checkered history on the African continent. Canada joined the imperialists and played on the side of the table with the white checkers. They played a significant role in the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Mpolo, and Joseph Okito on 21 January 1961. Ottawa came up on the wrong side of history on the question of the Congo. Yves Engler, author of the illuminating volume, Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation points out: “Siding with Washington, Ottawa promoted ONUC and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s controversial anti-Lumumba position. ONUC (July 1960 – June 1964) was established in July 1960 to ensure the withdrawal of Belgian forces. 1,900 Canadian troops participated in the UN mission between 1960 and 1964, making this country’s military one of its more active members. There were almost always more Canadian officers at ONUC headquarters then those of any other nationality, and the Canadians were concentrated in militarily important logistical positions including chief operations officer and chief signals officer.”
    Canada opposed anti-colonial struggles in Africa, supported apartheid South Africa and Idi Amin’s coup against Milton Obote (28 December 1925- 10 October 2005), who led Uganda to independence in 1962 from British colonialism. He was overthrown by Amin in 1971. Canada played a role in the ousting of Lumumba in the Congo by the CIA, Belgium and Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga aka Joseph Mobutu, and also in the removal of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.
    The Great White North pressed African states to follow neoliberal policies, which have benefitted Canadian corporations. The Canadian International Development points out: “Canada is a global mining giant and a leading player in Africa’s mining sector. 70% of the equity capital raised globally by the mining industry was raised on the Toronto (TSX) and Venture (TSXV) exchanges. Of the $10.3 billion in equity raised for mining on the TSX and TSXV in 2012 $1.9 billion or 18.5% was for projects in Latin America while another $1.7 billion or 16.5% was for projects in Africa.” Canada has played a role in the violence the Congo, Rwanda and Somali.
    Canada does have a Black Radical Tradition. However, we cannot expect Corporate Canada or the Black Misleadership Class to tell the story. That onus is on us, the Black Left.
    Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the United States were colonial subjects. After leaving Los Angeles in the 1960s Richmond moved to Toronto, where he co-founded the Afro American Progressive Association, one of the first Black Power organizations in that part of the world. Before moving to Tronto permanently, Richmond worked with the Detroit-based League of Revolutionary Black Workers. He was the youngest member of the central staff. When the League split he joined the African People’s Party. In 1992, Richmond received the Toronto Arts Award. In front of an audience that included the mayor of Toronto, Richmond dedicated his award to Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, the African National Congress of South Africa, and Fidel Castro and the people of Cuba. In 1984 he co-founded the Toronto Chapter of the Black Music Association with Milton Blake.Richmond began his career in journalism at the African Canadian weekly Contrast. He went on to be published in the Toronto Star, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the National Post, the Jackson Advocate, Share, the Islander, the Black American, Pan African News Wire, and Black Agenda Report. Internationally he has written for the United Nations, the Jamaican Gleaner, the Nation (Barbados), and Pambazuka News.Currently, he produces Diasporic Music a radio show for Uhuru Radio and writes a column, Diasporic Music for the Burning Spear Newspaper.
    For more informantion

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    NBAF Welcomes New President & CEO Vikki Millender-Morrow and Announces 2017 Season Celebrating World Music

    The board of directors of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Vikki Millender-Morrow as the new President and CEO.

    Vikki Millender-Morrow is a seasoned leader with over a decade of effective operational and strategic leadership at nonprofit organizations in Atlanta, including GCAPP, Jane Fonda's organization, following a successful career with a Fortune 100 company. She is the Board Chair of the Atlanta Jazz Festival and previously served on the board of the National Black Arts Festival. A member of the 2009 Class of Leadership Atlanta, Vikki has an engineering degree and a Masters' in Public and Private Management.  
    "We are excited to have Vikki at the helm," said Lolita B. Jackson, NBAF Board chair.  "She is a strong leader who understands how to partner with the board, motivate staff, ensure financial stability and work effectively with supporters and friends for our success. Vikki's professional experience in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors, her community relationships and her leadership skills make her the perfect choice to lead the organization into our 30th anniversary year and beyond."
    NBAF has flourished under great leadership over its 29-year history and expresses gratitude to outgoing Managing Director Grace C. Stanislaus for leading the organization for three years. Ms. Stanislaus, who has decided to return to San Francisco, noted, "I am honored to have led the National Black Arts Festival and to have been part of the storied history of an organization that has long been a cornerstone of the vibrant arts and cultural community in Atlanta, and the nation. As I pass the baton to Vikki, I'm confident that she and NBAF's dedicated board and staff will continue to build on its extraordinary cultural legacy, with support from the community. NBAF will have my ongoing support."    

    This year, NBAF is celebrating a legacy of arts programming and experiences and remains committed to our mission to EDUCATE, ENRICH and ENTERTAIN generations of artists, emerging artists and art lovers in Atlanta and beyond. NBAF started as a summer festival that drew thousands of artists, Atlantans and visitors to the city to celebrate African American artists and artists of African descent.

    "I have been fortunate to call Atlanta home for over 27 years, and now have the distinct pleasure of leading NBAF, this amazing arts organization that I am passionate about because of what it has meant to so many over the years," said Vikki Millender-Morrow. "I'm equally excited about our Move/Dance! and NextGen Artist programs for youth in the Atlanta Public Schools. These new initiatives are designed to help train and encourage the next generation of artists in our own community. I am indebted to all the inspiring leaders and champions of NBAF and look forward to leading us into the future and building on their legacy."

    NBAF is also pleased to announce its 2017 Program Season, presenting a series "Celebrating World Music, The Best of Atlanta". The 2017, season which runs from September to November, will featureprograms that include the following:

    20th Anniversary Gala -- NBAF's largest fundraising event takes place at Flourish on Saturday July 8.

    Honorary Chairs -- Mayor and Mrs. Kasim Reed
    Marquee Sponsor -- American Family Insurance
    Presenting Sponsors -- Bank of America, Georgia-Pacific and Turner

    Family Day/Culture Fest- Celebrating World Music: The Best of Atlanta -Auburn Avenue Historic District on Saturday, September 23.


    Musical performances include African drummingAfrobeat, Caribbean steel pan, reggae, soca and calypso, Afro-Cuban jazz, and a master class by a member of the performing group. 

    Film Series/Screening - Emory University Campus
    • Tuesday, September 26. The Pan African Festival of Algiers (1969) by William Klein - Screening and post-screening conversation with scholars about the first Pan-African Cultural Festival, the most notable cultural event in Africa. Each African country represented their culture through song and dance throughout the streets.
    • October 24 & 25th - One Voice featuring Douglas Turner Ward 

    Gallery Series: Intersecting Disciplines: Visual Arts/Music -- at the ZuCot Gallery in historic Castleberry Hill on Saturday, September 30. Exhibit tour, artist talk, "pop up" musical performances.
    Panel Discussion: Social and Political Resistance and Healing - The Power of Music", at the First Congregational Church (in conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of the church). Panel discussion with ethnomusicologists, scholars and artists to focus a historical lens on how music in its various forms is used as an instrument in fueling resistance movements.

    Please check the NBAF website, 
    for more information and updates.

    NBAF on Atlanta 
    Plugged In

    Learn more about our upcoming Gala and what you can expect in the 2017 Season. Click here to watch video.
    Tell Us Your NBAF Story

    As we march towards our 30th Anniversary, we want to hear from you. Over the past 2 decades, we know that NBAF has meant a lot to many people for a variety of reasons. Many of you have enjoyed our festivals, concerts, plays, exhibitions and panel discussions over the years.

    Now, we want to hear from you. Share with us your photos and favorite stories about your experience with NBAF by emailing 
    Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, by  City of Atlanta, Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs and by local and national government funders, corporations, foundations, businesses and individuals.

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    Cuba--If You Embrace Assata, You Must Fight the Black Misleadership Class

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Donald Trump’s lynch party seeking the extradition of Assata Shakur from Cuba includes every U.S. president -- most especially Barack Obama, who doubled the bounty on her head and demanded “that a home-grown Black revolutionary and escaped political prisoner be returned to captivity.” As for the Congressional Black Caucus, there is “no chance that the CBC as a body will protest either Trump’s persecution of Shakur or his general policy on Cuba.”

    Berlin, Germany--WTF, Rosa Park's house moved to  Berlin, Germany

    Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in an artist’s yard in 


    If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you have 
    a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her 
    home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.
    It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 
    1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back 
    of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.
    Why is her home in Berlin? The short answer is that Detroit planned to destroy it.
    When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she paid $500 for the home, which 
    Parks moved to in 1957, and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to 
    artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time and had previously moved a house from the city to Europe for an art project.
    Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said the mayor had no interest. So Mendoza and volunteers disassembled the home, 
    packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.
    Mendoza said, “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a
    national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.
    “The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house 
    worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the 
    house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put 
    on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”
    Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house now stands in a country that tore down 
    a wall and was removed from a nation that plans to build a wall.

    Rosa Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley (right) stands outside her aunt’s home, now in Berlin.

    McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure 

    North Korea--‘Self-Restraint’ Is Only Thing Stopping War With North Korea, U.S. General Says

    A photograph supplied by North Korea’s state news agency purports to show the Hwasong-14, what the country called its first intercontinental ballistic missile, at an undisclosed location before its test launch.Credit Korean Central News Agency, via European Pressphoto Agency

    SEOUL, South Korea — “Self-restraint” is all that is keeping the United States and South Korea from going to war with the North, the top American general in South Korea said on Wednesday. His comment came as the South’s defense minister indicated that the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile had the potential to reach Hawaii.
    The unusually blunt warning, from Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of American troops based in Seoul, came a day after North Korea said it successfully tested the Hwasong-14, its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
    Washington and its allies confirmed that the weapon was an ICBM and condemned the test as a violation of United Nations resolutions and a dangerous escalation of tensions....

    Beyonce' in Burundi, Central Africa

    BeyGOOD: Beyoncé Partners With UNICEF to Bring Safe Water to Children in Remote Areas in Burundi, East Africa

    Global entertainer and humanitarian, Beyoncé has teamed up with UNICEF through her BeyGOOD philanthropic arm to announce the launch of BEYGOOD4BURUNDI, a multi-year partnership to provide safe water to the most vulnerable children in Burundi, known as the "Heart of Africa." The partnership will support programs to improve water, sanitation and basic hygiene practices in the hardest-to-reach areas of the landlocked East African nation, where nearly half the population has no access to safe water.
    Ghana, West Africa

    LOOK: Colin Kaepernick, in Ghana, tweets about finding his independence on July 4

    A Tribute on September 9 at The Schomburg Center in memory the Great Revolutionary Black Arts Movement Activist, poet, philosopher/Cultural Worker on his 80th Birthday

    hapi b day, iyaluua ferguson, 85

    George Edward Tait
    (On the Octogenarian Occasion of the 85th Birthday of Iyaluua Ferguson – June 29, 2017)
    She shuns the limelight, avoids the spotlight
    A soldier in the shadows
    The moonlight methodologies of a militaristic matriarch
    Maternal maneuvers against the missing-in-action malevolence of mainstream media
    With endearing and enduring editorship of the Nation Time newspaper:
    A political prisoner protection platform and project and program –
    Fueling a frontline family of fail-safe freedom fighters. Iyaluua:
    A nonpareil nurturer, a natural nationalist, a Nubian New Afrikan.
    Queen Mother and Warrior Queen
    A blessed bond with Yemoja and Yaa Asantewaa
    Parental passion for a Pan-Afrikan populace
    Watchful wife and wisdom worker
    A blessed blend of marital ubiquity and martial uniformity
    A revered representation of revolutionary royalty
    A paradigm of persistence and perseverance –
    © 2017

    Jackson, Mississippi

    Miss. Organization, Cooperation Jackson Leads a Movement for Self-Determination

    A repurposed day care center stands amid a handful of empty lots on Capitol Street in Jackson, Miss. No development of any kind has taken hold in this mid-point to the city’s downtown area. What stands out as cars come by are the red letters spelling out the “Lumumba Center” painted on the windows in honor of the short reign as mayor of legendary community activist and movement lawyer Chokwe Lumumba.

    Lumumba, who passed away three years ago after serving only nine months of his term, served as a center point for radical change in Jackson. That center point is housed in the Lumumba Center and represents the tradition of Black self-determination and cooperative economics he advocated for during his organizing and political life. That center point is Cooperation Jackson.

    Jackson, Miss., is perhaps one of the Blackest cities in the United States, with a population of over 180,000 people, 80 percent of them being Black. Everything about Jackson — from the story of African enslavement to the great era of the civil rights movement — proudly shapes the town’s history and its people. Mississippi winds whisper the names of freedom fighters like the great Fannie Lou Hammer and Medgar Evers. It is this tradition of Black resistance, unmistakably flowing in the blood of Black Jacksonians, that continues today out of necessity....

    chicago--federal help to stop chicago violence

    Trump Says He’s Sending ‘Federal Help’ to Chicago Amid Gun Violence

    After countless shootings and hundreds of murders during the first half of 2017, Chicago is getting more federal aid.

    Twenty additional federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have been sent to the city after President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that: “Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help.”

    Philadelphia--PhilAesthetic explores local Black Arts Movement

    • Ayana Jones Tribune Staff Writer
    The African American Museum of Philadelphia is marking its 40th anniversary by curating PhilAesthetic: A Celebration of Philadelphia’s Black Arts Movement, a multimedia, pop-up exhibition that opens this week.
    The celebration is an unprecedented collaboration between four cultural institutions: The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, Philadelphia Dance Compay, the New Freedom Theatre and AAMP.

    “PhilAesthetic is a shared celebration amongst Philadelphia’s African-American legacy cultural organizations,” Patricia Wilson Aden, AAMP president and CEO, told The Philadelphia Tribune.
    “All of these organizations, for the first time, are offering programs with a shared theme. PhilAesthetic is all about the Black Arts Movement,” she said. “The Black arts movement is that time between the late ‘60s and early ‘70s where we had a lot of creative energy percolating up not only from neighborhoods in Philadelphia, but also nationally and internationally.”
    “What we wanted to do is highlight the fact that these legacy organizations very often had their genesis during that time period and those legacy organizations have associated with them artists that have had impact not only here in Philadelphia but across the globe For so long we believed that these legacy organizations haven’t been celebrated collectively as they could and should be, “ Aden said.
    “We really want people to appreciate the fact that they have had this fantastic, immeasurable and invaluable imprint. The culture community is changing, the neighborhoods in which they exist are changing and very often their impact is under appreciated,” she added.
    PhilAesthetic is anchored by a two-gallery exhibition showcasing four decades of works by some of the top Black visual artists. It also features community workshop performances and pop-up exhibits at the three partner institutions where visitors can explore the stories, history and work of each of community cultural organizations.
    “One of the objectives of our project is to tie generations together,“ said Helen Haynes, PhilAesthetic producing director. “We talk about the Black Arts Movement and we talk about what the boomers’ experience with it, but a lot of the millennials and the Xers haven’t had that same experience with these institutions.
    “We want to attract younger people to these institutions. This programming is really designed to attract younger people to the institutions to really get them more involved with them and also different cultures to these institutions,“ she said.
    PhilAesthetic launches Thursday with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the AAMP, 701 Arch St. The reception features live performances by the Clef Club Ensemble, Ursula Rucker and Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble.
    Through August, each partner institution will host a series of performances showcasing the diversity of artwork created by the Black Arts Movement artists and their influence on contemporary performers.
    A performance titled “Fierce! Three Generations of Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop” will be held June 24 at 8 p.m. at the Philadelphia Clef Club, 738 S. Broad St. The event features Jamaaladeen Tacuma and his band, soul-singer Lady Alma as well as rapper, singer and songwriter Hezekiah.
    An event titled “The Ultimate Supa Sisters!” featuring Ursula Rucker, Sonia Sanchez and Jessica Care Moore will be held July 14 at 8 p.m. at AAMP.
    Jun 28 at 11:16 PM

    We are transforming the Bay Area art scene and the world, so we need your support! With your help, we look forward to bringing you beautiful gifts of art and community.

    Our names are Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green. We are artists, activists, and change-makers. We love Black art and work to create spaces for Black women artists who are often marginalized in the art world. 

    Last year we had 2,000 people come out to the opening reception of The Black Woman Is God at SOMArts in San Francisco. So many performers, artists, healers, and stewards helped make this mammoth exhibition possible — providing a platform for 60 Black visual artists to contribute over 100 pieces of artwork and over 75 dancers, drummers, and performers to activate the exhibition at the opening reception. 

    Since then, SOMArts has created space for us to bring The Black Woman is God back in 2017 and the exhibition has gotten bigger. We are reaching out to you for financial support to show appreciation for those who continue to give without requesting to be paid. Let's show the artists, the communities and the world that The Black Woman is God is not only an exhibition but a movement that has the power to bring about healing and transformation.

    This is what we have done so far and what we are asking you to support:
    Thank you,
    Karen Seneferu
    Founder and Co-Curator
    The Black Woman Is God

    Oakland Council Meeting Disrupted, Vote on Budget Prevented

    By Darwin BondGraha

    The City of Oakland was supposed to end up with a new two-year budget after its Tuesday night council meeting. Instead, a large assembly of activists shut the meeting down and prevented a vote.

    Chanting "defund OPD," in reference to Oakland's police department, and urging more spending on housing, homeless services, and similar programs, the group took over the chambers and prevented the meeting from continuing before the actual discussion about the budget began.

    Members of the council appeared caught off-guard by the disruption, but then declared a recess and slowly exited the room.

    Councilmembers Desley Brooks, Rebecca Kaplan, and Noel Gallo left City Hall shortly after the disruption. The remaining councilmembers then quickly reassembled inside the locked council chambers, but only to vote to adjourn. Although a typical budget resolution only requires five councilmembers' votes to pass, certain parts of the proposed budgets this year require six votes. As a result, there was no quorum last night after the disruption.




    Oakland's department of corruption

    City of Oakland Poised to Give Public Land to Nonprofit that Improperly Received $710,000 in County Funds

    Elaine Brown is the CEO of Oakland and the World Enterprises, and also a staff member in Supervisor Keith Carson's office. - OAKLAND AND THE WORLD ENTERPRISES, INC.
    • Oakland and the World Enterprises, Inc.
    • Elaine Brown is the CEO of Oakland and the World Enterprises, and also a staff member in Supervisor Keith Carson's office.

    The Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a deal to sell city-owned land near West Oakland's BART station to a nonprofit that improperly obtained hundreds of thousands in county tax dollars, according to the Alameda County Grand Jury. The city would sell the land for a nominal price, even though it's worth $1.4 million, in order to subsidize an affordable housing project on site.

    Further complicating the deal is the fact that the nonprofit's leader sued the City of Oakland last year, alleging that councilmember Desley Brooks attacked her at a barbecue restaurant. The lawsuit is ongoing, and Brown is seeking millions in damages from the city.

    The nonprofit, Oakland and the World Enterprises, was set up by former Black Panther Elaine Brown to build affordable housing and operate an urban farm in West Oakland. It also plans to build a grocery store, restaurant, fitness center, and technology center at the location.

    But according to the Grand Jury, Brown's group was given $710,000 by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson at the same time Brown was a paid staff member in Carson's office. "[T]he dual role of the county employee in these transactions constituted both a failure of good governance practices by the county of Alameda and a conflict of interest," concluded the Grand Jury in their investigation, which was published yesterday.

    Brown is currently listed as a staff member in charge of job creation and West Oakland constituent services on Carson's supervisor web site.

    Oakland-- the anti-police terror project on oakland city council member lynette mcelhaney

    The Anti-Police Terror Project & The Oakland Justice Coalition just started a petition to Oakland City Council Member Lynette Gibson McElhaney demanding that she:
    Withdraw the nomination of Sarah Chavez-Yoell to the Oakland Police Commission's selection panel.
    Sign Now! → 
    Oakland Police Commission

    The Anti-Police Terror Project & The Oakland Justice Coalition just started a petition titled: "We demand REAL community oversight of the Oakland police department."
    Here's why this is important:
    Oaklanders need to be safe and secure, we need housing and job security, we need a city that spends it's budget on jobs for the youth, housing protections, and the arts. And we need a city that spends less money on the police. We need to be living in an Oakland where the OPD is held to the same level of responsibility as civilians and where residents have security in knowing that if they are victimized by the police, such as Jasmine Absulin was, that the OPD will be held accountable. Currently we do not live in this type of Oakland but we're ready to fight in order to create it! 
    In fighting for a better Oakland we're highlighting the egregious conflict of interest that currently exists within the Oakland Police Commission, an oversight panel that is supposed to keep the police in check. We deserve a police commission that can objectively analyze the misconduct of officers and a selection panel, currently chaired by Sarah Chavez-Yoell, the wife of a violent officer is a conflict of interest that residents can not afford. 
    Marvin, join us in demanding Sarah Chavez-Yoell, wife of a known violent officer, Lieutenant Mike Yoell, be removed from the Oakland Police Commission immediately!
    In Oakland, we know far too well the outcomes of an unchecked police force. From the COINTELPRO attacks of the 1960s, the current Negotiated Settlement Agreement stemming from the Rider's case, and the more recent child rape case of Jasmine Absulin (also known as Celeste Guap), accounts of corruption, scandal, and violence are all too familiar and can have deadly outcomes.
    When elected officials at the highest levels of city government know what's going on but turn a blind eye to police abuse bad outcomes will occur. Oakland officials ignore the intrinsic criminality of police behavior while calling for more cops to address crime on the street. It is the height of hypocrisy.
    The Oakland Police Commission is supposed to address the lack of oversight of the Oakland Police Department. It is supposed to put civilians in roles to hold the department accountable for misconduct. But how does this occur when the selection panel appointed to choose commissioners has a bias toward violent officers?
    District 3 City Council Member Lynette Gibson McElhaney’s recent appointment of Sarah Chavez-Yoell to the police commission raises considerable red flags. Chavez-Yoell is the wife of former OPD Lieutenant Mike Yoell, an officer with numerous incidents of violence. His "checkered past" includes excessive force, hitting a teen with a car, sexual harassment and "many other high-profile incidents”.
    The commission used to hold Oakland police accountable cannot consist of people that sympathize with and are married to violent officers. We demand a fair and just police oversight commission and for this to happen Sarah Chavez-Yoell must go!
    The Anti Police-Terror Project and the Oakland Justice Coalition request your support in demanding that Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney:
    1. Immediately withdraw her appointment of Sarah Chavez-Yoell from the Oakland Police Commission's selection panel due to a conflict of interest.
    2. Select an individual from community who can objectively make decisions based on the needs of community.
    3. Create a community-centered vetting process for ​the replacement appointee prior to actual selection
    "Conflicts of interest are the number one thing that can and will tank the credibility of the Oakland Police Commission. That process has begun with the appointments to the Selection Committee." - Cat Brooks
    Sarah Chazed-Yoell must go!
    Thank You,
    Anti Police-Terror Project & The Oakland Justice Coalition
    Sign Now! →

    marvin x speaks at we love africa expo

    Dear Marvin X,

    On behalf of the organization, I want to thank you for your presence and rousing speech at the "Black And African Business Expo". The speech left us educated and inspired.
    Judging from the comments of those who attended, the expo was very successful. Most of the credit goes to you and other vendors who made their presence felt. I hope your speech imparted into everyone, especially the youngsters, the importance of "Black Dollars".
    Again, we were pleased to have your participation in this outstanding expo, and we thank you for your valuable contribution.
    I will be sending you pictures and looking forward to your write up on the expo. GCEA will plan to do an interview with you about the Black Arts Movement Business District.
    One last thing, is there any suggestion, critique or observation you can point out that can make us a better host in the future.
    Best Regards

    San francisco-Troy Williams, New Bay View editor

    June 30, 2017
    Editorial by Troy Williams

    Dear Bay View,

    Troy Williams – Photo: Uncommon Law

    My name is Troy Williams. On Monday, Juneteenth, Black Liberation Day, I agreed to be the editor for the Bay View newspaper. It is with great honor, respect and much consideration that I step into this position.

    I recognize that over the past 40-plus years the Bay View has been a voice for the people. Simply put, we speak truth to power, logic to the illogical, from the perspective of those who seldom have a platform to speak from. And, what greater truth is there than examples of people whose lives have been touched, transformed and empowered by what they read in the Bay View newspaper.
    I first heard of the Bay View while serving time in prison. Two and a half years ago, I was serving a life sentence and paroled from San Quentin State Prison with $200 to my name, a skill set and a plan for my life. As we move forward, I will share more about me. But for the purposes of this introduction, I will state that I am most noted for founding a media organization inside the walls of San Quentin....

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    The Reviews Are Bullshit: All Eyez on Me Is an Incredible Achievement

    Demetrius Shipp Jr. as TupacEXPAND
    Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac
    Courtesy Summit Entertainment
    Everything you know about Tupac is likely wrong. Casual fans think of him as a loyal left coast soldier in hip-hop’s East Coast/West Coast war, but he actually had tremendous love and admiration for New York, where he was born and largely raised. Others cite his 1994 Manhattan shooting as the opening salvo in the coastal conflict, but forensic evidence suggests he accidentally shot himself. The internet is flooded with inaccurate, implausible scenarios for his 1996 murder in Las Vegas, which remains unsolved. In fact, ask most people about Tupac’s death and they will only half-jokingly suggest he’s still alive, Elvis-style, perhaps enjoying a Hennessy on a remote island paradise somewhere.
    Tupac’s life story can’t be broken down into sound bites. He’s not strictly a gangsta rapper or a revolutionary, because he was both. He wrote some of the most powerful songs ever about black women, but he was also found guilty of sexually abusing one, named Ayanna Jackson.
    For these reasons, making a watchable, substantial Hollywood movie about him should have been impossible. Music biopics tend to distill characters down to caricatures, portraying them as strictly good or evil.
    You can’t do that with Tupac, which is why the new biopic All Eyez on Me had such a difficult time getting made. Some eight years in the works, it went through multiple directors and writers and, according to reports, didn’t ultimately win the respect of Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, who helmed his estate until she died last year. She declined to take a producer credit, with whispers that her camp didn’t find the film “particularly accurate.”
    Maybe something changed since the drafts she saw, but what’s stunning is just how accurate the final film is, much more so than could have been expected. It sometimes defers to Tupac’s versions of events — such as that he was innocent in the Jackson case, for example — but most details of his life are meticulously researched and painstakingly presented, down to the outfits he wore and the petty fights he picked. Yes, the film portrays him as a monumental talent who transcended music to become a cultural icon (which, anyway, is accurate), but it also shows every messy step along the way. Unlike most biopics, including 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, about his predecessor N.W.A, All Eyez on Me doesn’t whitewash Tupac's story. The film shows him warts and all, often opting for intense, discomforting close-ups of the warts.
    Yet the reviews have been savage. It has only 24 percent "fresh" from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Many complain about the rushed first act, which indeed hits each biographical beat of his first 20 years without so much as pausing to take a breath. (Look, the FBI’s harassing his family! Now he’s hugging Jada Pinkett! Now he's singing “The Humpty Dance...”) But the rest of the film more than makes up for that in its measured, dramatic turns and a nuanced portrayal of Tupac's tragic final five years.
    The New York Times’ review is clueless, starting off by calling it a “fictionalized film biography,” when in fact it’s more accurate than most articles that have been written about him. The Globe and Maillaments that it “trades on the worst clichés of the hip-hop world … drugs, bling and a preoccupation with women’s butts,” which is absurd and untrue. (Tupac twice criticizes the use of crack and cocaine, for starters.) Indiewire is unhappy with the lack of “period-appropriate tracks” not penned by Tupac, of which there are at least three, from Public Enemy, Too Short and E-40, all of them incredibly relevant to the periods and locations portrayed. It’s the critics, not the filmmakers, who haven’t done their homework.
    It’s hard to fault them too much, however, since said homework is tough to complete. Tupac had the energy and ideas of 10 people, constantly discussing new causes, creating different forms of art and partying with new friends. In the same day he might meet with big-time record executives, obscure musical talents and gang members, all of them equally important in his world.
    But since he’s not here to tell his story, we’re forced to rely on others’ accounts to understand the pivotal moments of his life. And many them are deceased as well, such as his friend-turned-rival Notorious B.I.G. The most controversial figure in his life, Suge Knight, the mercurial owner of Tupac’s label, isn’t talking, at least partly because he’s in jail on murder charges
    Demetrius Shipp Jr. as TupacEXPAND
    Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac
    Courtesy Summit Entertainment
    As with anyone who’s rich, famous and dead, those close to Tupac have had varying motivations in how he’s portrayed, including his mother, who was dismayed when her son got his Thug Life tattoo and may not have wanted the brutal events of his life played up in the film.
    Then there was his oft-cheated-on girlfriend Kidada Jones and his backing group the Outlawz, who also doubled as one of his security teams. Like many others in his camp — including Knight and the Las Vegas police themselves — they have been criticized for not doing everything they could to bring his killer to justice. Finally, Jada Pinkett Smith took to Twitter to criticize her portrayal in the film; it’s easy to sympathize with her if she offered her account of her time with Tupac to the filmmakers, but it’s unclear if that’s the case. (Incidentally, she never responded to my interview request for my book on Tupac.)
    On the whole, All Eyez on Me should be celebrated for its forthright and accurate-as-possible portrayal of its protagonist. Especially since it comes on the heels of a quarter-century of dishonest reporting about the man.

    That said, in recent years the pendulum has swung perhaps too far in the other direction, with his deification on countless internet fan sites.
    Incidents including his shooting of a pair of off-duty Atlanta cops in 1993 led to countless media portrayals of him as a trigger-happy thug. (Why was this unfair? The charges against him were dropped, and a black motorist credited Tupac’s actions with saving his life.) Vice President Dan Quayle’s criticism of his lyrics glorifying cop killing led to a piling-on that took many years to abate.
    Tupac wasn’t a saint. He was complicated, as we all are. And All Eyez on Me gets this. When a journalist interviewing him in prison tries calling him out for political prophesizing in one song and glorifying partying in another, Tupac easily dismisses him. It’s all part of who I am, he says. After his mother decries the white power structure for giving him the tools he needs for self-destruction, Tupac blames himself. “I fell for it,” he says.
    The film’s director, Benny Boom, is best known for music videos, but he’s done something remarkable here: He’s taken a legend and made him into a man. Most movies do the opposite. Instead, Boom’s work is a crowd pleaser that doubles as a historical document.
    Ben Westhoff is a former L.A. Weekly music editor and the author of Original Gangstas: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and the Birth of West Coast Rap, now out in paperback.

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  • 07/08/17--23:06: sun ra arkestra at sf jazz
    JULY 13-AUG 20

    "Watching Sun Ra Arkestra is akin to seeing a group of people have a religious experience ... pouring their soul into their music" 
    — The Guardian

    Sun Ra Arkestra

    THU-SUN, AUG 3-6

    The enduring legacy of jazz visionary and legendary eccentric Sun Ra is celebrated by this ensemble made up of Arkestra veterans and a younger generation of exploratory musicians led by saxophonist Marshall Allen – a fixture of Sun Ra’s bands since 1958. Sun Ra created an entire universe of expression, integrating Ellington-influenced big band swing with free jazz, the blues, electronics, and African musical traditions while establishing a singular visual style that combined futuristic concepts with ancient Egyptian iconography. The Arkestra's music is described by The Guardian as "essentially an extended jam session – swings between jazz, honky tonk, soul, ragtime and blues, among a dozen other genres, frequently underlined by sci-fi noise effects". Few bands have influenced the evolution of music across so many genres than Sun Ra's Arkestra. 



    WATCH: Sun Ra Arkestra's live performance
    at the 2016 Pitchfork Music Festival

    Sun Ra Arkestra perform an untitled improvised song at last year's Pitchfork Music Festival. Pitchfork described Sun Ra Arkestra's live performances "like watching a light show produced by the supernova (the late Sun Ra)". The Chicago-based publication further states, "After all, in the year following the passing of star-children Maurice White and David Bowie, the Arkestra’s sonic happenings might represent a ticket-buyer’s last chance to be a part of the utopian musical “equation” that influenced both the pop world and the counterculture in the 1970s". Watch the cosmic-jazz pioneers perform an excerpt from their highly-praised 2016 performance.

    three sun ra disciples, marvin x, david murray, earle davis

    marvin x and sun ra

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  • 07/10/17--06:59: harlem book fair
  • Join the National Writers Union at the Harlem Book Fair

    NWU Members can sell their books at our booth.

    Reserve your place by Friday by emailing

    Saturday, July 15   10AM -  6PM

    West 135th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcolm X Boulevards

    The Harlem Book Fair is the United State’s largest African-American book fair and the nation’s flagship Black literary event. Held annually in Harlem, NY, the Harlem Book Fair features exhibition booths, panel discussions, book sales, and workshops.
    Notable participating authors have included Maya Angelou, Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Walter Mosley, Terry McMillan, Touré, Farai Chideya, Stanley Crouch, Nelson George, and Mark Anthony Neal.
    The 19th annual Harlem book fair will take place on Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:00 am  to 6:00 pm on West 135th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd. and Malcolm X Blvd (take the 2/3/B/C train to 135th Street).
    A free event for the entire family.

    Why Join the NWU?

    Having free space to sell your books at the Harlem Book Fair, the New York Poetry Festival, and the Brooklyn Book Festival is just one of many reasons.
    In keeping with its mission to defend writers’ rights and improve writers’ economic conditions, the NWU, through the collective efforts of its members, is able to provide a host of resources, benefits, and services to those who join us. For more information about the membership benefits, see below.

    • Press passes
    • Tools to Earn More from your Writing
    • Contract and grievance help
    • Advice along the way
    • Traveling to promote your work
    • Advocacy
    • Find a Union Writer
    • Share your writing story
    • Help with health insurance
    • Union Plus benefits

    Visit to learn more.

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    July 10, 2017
    The wealth of scholarly inquiry into the history of the Black Panther Party (BPP), including the most recent studies timed to accompany the fiftieth anniversary of the organization’s founding, still leaves many questions about the Party’s structure, accomplishments, and demise. One could read numerous books about the Panthers and learn precious little about the BPP’s daily activities, its finances, and why it fell apart.
    Thankfully, Robyn C. Spencer’s excellent The Revolution Has Come sheds light on these issues. The author’s crisp, clean, incisive prose proved an eye-opening reading experience that at times left me dumbfounded as to how many myths and assumptions have come to dominate latter-day perceptions of the Panthers. The Revolution Has Come is no hagiography, but it will leave some people profoundly disappointed with certain key Panther figures, most notablyHuey P. Newton, who in Spencer’s telling was more useful to the organization while incarcerated than while running things.
    Other broadsides against Newton, like Hugh Pearson’s The Shadow of the Panther, might be cast aside as weakly sourced, biased, or part of a larger ideological takedown of the Black Panther Party. Spencer’s strongly researched and evenhanded approach will be harder for Newton—and BPP—apologists to contend with. Spencer’s account also states quite clearly that although Newton faced surveillance and harassment, it was neither police nor government repression that most profoundly compromised Newton, but rather his own failings.
    The same point holds true for the BPP as a whole, Spencer argues, and not without faint traces of disappointment registering in a text wiped mostly clean of sentimental longing about the party or its members. The truly heroic of the Panther rank-and-file—mostly women—were betrayed catastrophically by party leadership—mostly men, especially Newton, and in a lesser sense David Hilliard. Although this is a less-than-flattering portrayal of Hilliard, The Revolution Has Come never ignores his contributions, particularly as the party chief of staff who played a crucial role in structuring the organization. Bobby Seale, on the other hand, comes off throughout as a reasonable leader, but Spencer nevertheless makes clear that women galvanized the BPP and that Panther men, especially at the top, were as likely as not to be detrimental to the group’s survival, including its ability to institute successful community programs.
    What makes Spencer’s more critical portraits so convincing is that they are presented within an analytical structure that clearly articulates the BPP’s positive virtues as standard bearers of America’s civil and human rights vanguard. Readers ofThe Revolution Has Come will be greatly impressed by the reach of the BPP’s community programs and the dedication of its members. Overall it is a positive portrayal of the Black Panther Party that simply refuses to deny the organization’s many weaknesses.
    The book’s economical length, just over 200 pages, testifies to Spencer’s ability to pick the right combination of words to relay complex ideas, often as signposts that keep the reader on course for her main points, as demonstrated in her description of Newton’s release from prison: “His release put the flesh-and-blood man on a collision course with the symbolic leader that Panthers had so carefully constructed” (96). The final narrative paragraph, just prior to the conclusion, perhaps best exemplifies Spencer’s ability to boil down ideas, as in merely a few sentences she succinctly summarizes one of her most important arguments:
    The centralization of authority and the inability of rank-and-file members to hold leadership accountable severely circumscribed democracy in the Black Panther Party. The organization that had managed to empower black men and women to challenge so many institutions and fight for structural change in the world had disempowered them from believing that they could take the reins from one of their own party’s founders. Because criticism was unwelcome or resulted in only small reforms rather than a change of course, departure became the only recourse for disaffected members. In the end Newton would be the only Panther left standing in the wreckage.” (201)
    Despite being one of the shortest books published about the Panthers, The Revolution Has Come is also one of the best.
    Black Panther Women.
    Spencer’s skill as an oral historian rests at the heart of the narrative. While I am not an expert on the BPP literature, many of the names in this book were new to me and will be new to readers, too. Not only did Spencer track down forgotten Panthers, but readers will also note her ability to get subjects to recount difficult situations, uplifting stories, and revealing details about their, or other people’s, personal lives. Readers will feel the pain and the triumph of the Panther experience as its survivors tell their stories.
    Another strength that typifies the book, and which is also evident in the endnotes (which are as orderly as such can be), is the author’s ability to locate a key data point or piece of evidence in an archive or interview and write a succinct, no-frills, useful paragraph about it. Want to know what happened to Panthers whose chapters closed but still wanted to be part of the movement? See page 116. Want to know where there was interest in forming new Panther chapters in 1971–1972? See page 114. Want a list of BPP survival programs provided through the United Black Fund as of October 3, 1972? See page 131. Time and again, the author carefully chooses detail, telling us what we really need to know, not more nor less.
    Such detail, clearly rendered, serves an important function. Merely listing the range of BPP programs in Oakland gives the reader a sense of the organization’s impact as a community force: the Free Breakfast Program, the People’s Free Food Program, the Inter-Communal Youth Institute, the Legal Aid Educational Program, the Free Busing to Prisons Program, the People’s Free Shoe Program, the People’s Free Clothing Program, the People’s Free Medical Research Health Clinic, the People’s Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation, the People’s Free Ambulance Service, the People’s Free Dental Program, the People’s Free Optometry Program, the People’s Free Plumbing and Maintenance Program, and the Community Cooperative Housing Program.
    Black Community Survival Conference, March 30th, 1972, Free grocery distribution. Photo:
    My positive impression of The Revolution Has Come makes it difficult to render much criticism, but it would be interesting to hear Spencer further explain her relationship to the interview subjects and the process of interpreting their responses. Occasionally, a phrase in the book made me think she should have asked more questions. For example, she writes, “Darron Perkins’s story is instructive. Perkins, who had once endured five lashes with a bullwhip without flinching when he was brought up in front of the Board of Corrections, believed that physical punishment was a viable method of maintaining ‘iron discipline’ to deal with the ‘hardheaded’” (162). How did she verify whether the man flinched or under what circumstances he was whipped? What does it mean to be brought up in front of the Board of Corrections, and how did whipping become part of the procedure? Some information is missing here.
    While this was the rare passage that lacked clarity, perhaps the harder critique of the book might be that the interviewees were generally portrayed positively. Accusations of bias, unconscious or otherwise, cut deep, but at times I wondered whether two of the book’s most critiqued figures, Newton and Hilliard, might have fared better had they been able (in Newton’s case) or willing (in Hilliard’s case) to tell their stories to the author. Was Spencer’s positive portrayal of Seale related to her interviewing him?
    Certainly there were openings in the book for more critical language toward Seale. Spencer writes of the Attica prison uprising in 1971, “At the request of the prisoners Seale went to Attica to negotiate for them” (115). Heather Ann Thompson’s 2016 book Blood in the Water portrays Seale’s appearance at Attica as ineffective, if not detrimental; he refused to speak for or to the prisoners, many of whom would have liked him to do both. While the prisoners’ request reflects the great esteem and influence that Seale and the BPP had in the hearts and minds of many underrepresented people, his failure to come through at this big moment does not register in Spencer’s language, even though it was the perhaps the most crucial lesson to be learned from Seale’s Attica fiasco.
    Despite these minor criticisms, The Revolution Has Come is a very strong book that I would recommend for high school, undergraduate, and graduate school students as well as general readers. Even seasoned experts on the BPP will likely learn much from this wonderful new account.


    Michael Ezra is Professor of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University and editor of the Journal of Civil and Human Rights. He is the author of several books, including Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon and Civil Rights Movement: People and (with Carlo Rotella) The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside. Follow him on Twitter @civilhumanright.

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  • 07/10/17--19:17: RBA Creative Events

  • Jul 10 at 5:02 PM

    RBA Creative Events
    Vision Board Networking Party Thursday, July 13th
    Pop-Up Gallery Closing Reception Saturday, July 15th

    RBA Creative is a design, communications and consulting firm, which provides a comprehensive offering of creative services for corporate and nonprofit clients. RBA Creative has acquired a new co-working space for artists and creative professionals in the Laurel District of Oakland created to provide fine artists, photographers and creatives a place to exhibit work, meet clients, build businesses in a supportive environment. Amenities include a photography and production studio, meeting space, shared marketing and access to business equipment. RBA will also provide high-resolution photography, printing, and fine art reproduction services. A range of affordable membership options are available.
    This week we have two fun events we are hosting:
    Vision Board Co-working Party
    Thursday, July 13th
     ADHD and Life Coach Ariel Davis is having a vision board co-working party at our space. Learn why she uses vision boards with clients and create and explore this no-tech, old school life hack to identify what you want in your life and how to get there!

    ***Please RSVP to by Wednesday, July 12th so we can save you a seat. Space is limited! Doors at 6:30pm. Event at 7pm. 

    The event will be led by Adult ADHD & Life Coach, Ariel Davis. Ariel's strengths-based approach is based on over 14 years of supporting people with addiction, ADHD and other mental health issues, as well as 25+ years in the creative arts.

    Connect with her:
    Instagram, FB & Twitter: @adhdcoachsf
    RBA Creative Pop-Up Gallery Closing Reception
    Saturday, July 15th RBA Creative is hosting a closing reception and sale for our first pop-up gallery. Please tell a friend and stop by to start collecting some of the fabulous artists on exhibit.
    Featured Artists
    Lucy Beck
    Milton Bowens
    Suzanne Cerny
    Ariel Davis
    Jim Dennis
    Irene Dogmatic
    Gene Dominique
    Michael Eastman
    Em Hertzstein
    Gary Kuroki
    Alyx Morgan
    Malcolm Nicoll
    Mary K. Shisler
    Monique Schaifer
    Laura Schatzkin
    Craig Smith
    Karin Turner
    Tell and Friend and looking forward to seeing you all!
    Vision Board Co-Working Party  - Thursday, July 13th, 2017
    Doors Open 6:30pm Event Starts 7:00pm
    - - - - - -

     Pop-Up Gallery Closing Reception - Saturday, July 15th, 2017
    12 noon - 5 pm
    3718 MacArthur Blvd
    Oakland, CA 94619
    Find Out More

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