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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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    The only way to end mass incarceration is with the general amnesty, brought about by mass protests that demand the release of the millions of prisoners who suffer drug addition as well as mental illness, plus most of them had no or poor legal representation at their trials. Alas, there are very few rich men in prison! The bankers guilty of money laundering billions of dollars in drug money merely paid a fine, equal to a week's money laundering  of Mexican drug money. 

    Image the little brother doing ten years for a few rocks of cocaine! There is no justice in the justice system. Long live the California prison strikers who refuse to eat. Love live Comrade George Jackson.

    We love you, Michelle Alexander and Angela Davis, Women out the box of Americana!
    --Marvin X, Editor, Black Bird Press News & Review

    POSTED BY MICHELLE ALEXANDER ON FACEBOOK, AUGUST 28, 2013


    For the past several years, I have spent virtually all my working hours writing about or speaking about the immorality, cruelty, racism, and insanity of our nation’s latest caste system: mass incarceration. On this Facebook page I have written and posted about little else. But as I pause today to reflect on the meaning and significance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington , I realize that my focus has been too narrow.


    Five years after the March, Dr. King was speaking out against the Vietnam War, condemning America ’s militarism and imperialism – famously stating that our nation was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” He saw the connections between the wars we wage abroad, and the utter indifference we have for poor people, and people of color at home. He saw the necessity of openly critiquing an economic system that will fund war and will reward greed, hand over fist, but will not pay workers a living wage. Five years after the March on Washington , Dr. King was ignoring all those who told him to just stay in his lane, just stick to talking about civil rights.


    Yet here I am decades later, staying in my lane. I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home. I have not been talking about the connections between the corrupt capitalism that bails out Wall Street bankers, moves jobs overseas, and forecloses on homes with zeal, all while private prisons yield high returns and expand operations into a new market: caging immigrants. I have not been connecting the dots between the NSA spying on millions of Americans, the labeling of mosques as “terrorist organizations,” and the spy programs of the 1960s and 70s – specifically the FBI and COINTELPRO programs that placed civil rights advocates under constant surveillance, infiltrated civil rights organizations, and assassinated racial justice leaders.


    I have been staying in my lane. But no more. In my view, the most important lesson we can learn from Dr. King is not what he said at the March on Washington , but what he said and did after. In the years that followed, he did not play politics to see what crumbs a fundamentally corrupt system might toss to the beggars of justice. Instead he connected the dots and committed himself to building a movement that would shake the foundations of our economic and social order, so that the dream he preached in 1963 might one day be a reality for all. He said that nothing less than “a radical restructuring of society” could possibly ensure justice and dignity for all. He was right.


    I am still committed to building a movement to end mass incarceration, but I will not do it with blinders on. If all we do is end mass incarceration, this movement will not have gone nearly far enough. A new system of racial and social control will be born again, all because we did not do what King demanded we do: connect the dots between poverty, racism, militarism and materialism. I’m getting out of my lane. I hope you’re already out of yours.


    reprinted from blackantiwar.com

    Parable of the Woman in the Box




    There was a woman who lived inside a box. Her whole life had been spent inside the little box, squeezed in from all sides. She never went outside the box. People brought her food to eat but she ate it inside the four walls of the box.

    She was cramped to the point of being crippled because she could never stand up inside the box. Not only her body but her brain and spirit were crippled from living inside the box.
    Her thinking was confined to what she could imagine inside the box, and that was very little, no big grand thoughts, only micro imaginings.

    Even her God was a little god, one that fit into the box. She could not envision her God outside and that her God ruled the whole world, not just her little world inside the box.

    Now and then she would beat on the walls of her box in a vain attempt to break them down and escape. But whenever she did, someone would come by and whisper to her to be quiet, she was making noise and disturbing other people.

    She would comply with their request, trying to be nice, since she really was a nice person, she just didn't know how to escape the box. And she had to be nice to the person who brought her food because they might not return if she got angry and loud, started screaming, hollering and foaming at the mouth.

    Inside the box, she lived the life of a stunted woman, her mental growth stunted as well. She could not imagine the finer things of life, or how she might expand her spiritual development. She did not know how she might be able to fend for herself, make her own money for food and other things she needed, even if she stayed inside the box, but she really wanted to get out.
    Somehow she gathered the energy to have a thought that went beyond the box, energy that would stop her from being a stunted woman, unable to stand tall and rise from her conditon inside the box.

    She began to figure a way out, a way to free herself, mind, body and soul. She had to do some hard thinking but she was determinded to liberate herself. She saw nails in the walls and began to tinker with them, push them a little with her fingernails, then wiggled around and backed into one wall, then the other.

    After a time, she could see a little break between the walls. She came up with a name for the nails that kept her down. One nail she called ignorance. She knocked and knocked until it loosened. Then she beat and pressured another nail in the box she called passivity. When she put counter pressure on that nail the box started shaking.

    She tinkered with another nail she called lack of desire and will. Then she started talking to the walls, telling them to open up she was coming out. She even told her little God to give her a hand. Her little God gave her a hand.

    Some people came by and seeing the walls shaking, tried to pound on the nails, but the woman commanded the nails to stop in their tracks and they did as she commanded. She continued her resistance until the walls of the box gave in and was able to gradually stand and eventually began to do a little dance.
    --Marvin X
    3/10/10

    From Marvin X's The Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, 2012, Black Bird Press, Berkeley.
    Marvin X is known variously as El Muhajir, Plato Negro, Rumi, Jeremiah. His outdoor classroom is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!"

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    Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community


      In Syria, Obama's Calculations Reveal Stupidity of US Imperialism
    by Jon Queally
    "As US and NATO plan aerial attack on Assad government, analyses expose cynical and dangerous mindset of those choosing war over peace."
         
      Moral Obscenities in Syria
    by Phyllis Bennis and David Wildman
    "The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever."
         
      As Kerry Makes Obama's Flimsy Case for War, Where Is Congress?
    by Jon Queally
    "Statements from Secretary of State John Kerry reveal White House determined to convince public that war serves national interest, but will public demands for debate take place before the missiles fly?"
         
      Why America Cannot Live without Wars
    by Chidanand Rajghatta
    "We are not good at anything else anymore... can't build a decent car or a television, can't give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country..."
         
      Hypocrisy and Legacy of Death Linger as US Claims Moral Authority in Syria
    by Andrea Germanos
    "US slams "chemical weapons" in Syria while being a serial user of weapons widely condemned by the global community."
         
      Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria
    by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer
    "Humanitarian concerns should spur the international community to seek peace and end the suffering, not increase military attacks, which could endanger peace in the entire region."
         
      'Black Budget' Revealed: A Detailed Look at US 'Espionage Empire'
    by Jon Queally
    "Latest revelations made possible by Edward Snowden give unprecedented view of how taxpayer funds are use to "collect it all""
         
      What the Assault on Whistleblowers Has to Do With War on Syria
    by Norman Solomon
    "There has been a pernicious method to the madness of the Obama administration’s double-barreled assault on whistleblowers and journalism."
         
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    by Sarah Lazare
    "Ignored by English-language media, rural uprisings spread across industries as hundreds of thousands protest US-backed government."
         
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    by Ellen Brown
    "Giant bank holding companies are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy."
         


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    We suspect Master Fard was from India since his theology as per messengership aligns with the Ahmedia Muslims of India who claimed a messenger after prophet Muhammad. The Ahmedia are persecuted because they are not considered true Muslims, just as the NOI is not considered true Muslims. But what is a true Muslim? Show me a true Muslim and I will save the whole town! Elijah said his best followers were not in the mosque but in the street. A true Muslim might be a dope fiend or prostitute or killer, no matter that you do not consider them such, but who are you to judge? Yo shit might be a  quart low, check your dip stick!--Marvin X

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  • 09/01/13--07:38: Sam Cooke "Chain Gang"

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    Saturday, April 10, 2010









































    Parable of the Family
    Family is all there is, nothing else exists, no love, no hate, more than family. No matter the pain, shame, envy, lust, murder, let there be family. Revolution is for family, a unity, reconstruction of trust, faith, all for family. No matter the abandonment, mental illness, incest, yet it is family for the new day, for the tradition of ancestors, for the living and yet unborn. Family. Hate them, love them, but they are there live in breathing color, in blood, sweat and tears. Family.

    Jesus said to hell with them. Godfather Part II taught us beware of them, they will plot against you, murder you, lie to you. Family. But to see them gathered together, even with their negrocities is a wonder, the generations, the elders, adults, youth, children, grandchildren. This is the best it gets on this earth.

    Hide from them, run from them, deny them will not suffice for they shall rise again into the sun, they are there in the moon, family, gushing forth like some volcano to spill forth the lava of love in the midst of pain, sorrow, remorse, grief, the love is there in the wind, see it, smell it, family. My family is the united nations, the African, European, Latin, flowing in the blood of us, tweeking us for some future time of understanding, not now in the chaos of the cross and lynching tree. Family. Beaten by storm and money, depression and memory, yet must come together to form the forbidden tree of unity, like the garden we must no longer eat forbidden fruit, but eat of the tree of truth and righteousness. Family.

    How will it end, how did it begin, no matter, we are here and beautiful, full of the God spirit beyond ourselves, our fears and years of hidden truth, the closet tales, wails, horror in the night, ghost stories and myths revealed only at the cemetery, the secret trauma of children keep hidden til uncle joe died and cousin mary. We didn't know dad had all those other kids, we didn't know him at all really. He was a preacher and man of the road, but then we found his truth on that fateful day when God reveals all. Family.

    Watch the children grow tall, then the grandchildren. What wonder is this, what drama, what awesome revelation of God. The DNA leaves no doubt, the blood of ancestors is alive and well, who can deny, don't even try, the cause is lost to glory of the King. --Marvin X

    from The Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 2012, Berkeley.

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    16th Street Baptist Church bombing
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963 
    as an act of racially motivated terrorism. The explosion at the African-American church, 
    which killed four  girls, marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for 
    passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate 
    public places, not everyone agreed with ending racial segregation. Bombings and other acts of violence 
    followed the settlement, and the church had become an obvious target. The three-story 16th Street Baptist 
    Church in Birmingham, Alabama had been a rallying point for civil rights activities through the spring of 
    1963, and was where the students who were arrested during the 1963 Birmingham campaign's Children's Crusade 
    were trained. 

    The church was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth. Tensions were escalated when the Southern 
    Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress on Racial Equality(CORE) became 
    involved in a campaign to register African Americans to vote in Birmingham. Still, the campaign 
    was successful. The demonstrations led to an agreement in May between the city's business leaders 
    and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to integrate public facilities in the city.

    If one wonders how such barbarity could happen in a so called Christian nation, see the remarks of Rev. James H. Cone. Then read my essay on the assassination of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey.--Marvin X, Editor

    Rev. James H. Cone on 
    the Meaning of the Cross and the Lynching Tree


    James H. Cone
    James H. Cone, Photo by Robin Holland
    Watch Video
    Read Transcript
    Comment
    November 23, 2007

    "Black churches are very powerful forces in the African American community and always have been. Because religion has been that one place where you have an imagination that no one can control. And so, as long as you know that you are a human being and nobody can take that away from you, then God is that reality in your life that enables you to know that."
    --James H. ConeProfessor James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Cone is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is the author of eleven books and over 150 articles and has lectured at more than 1,000 universities and community organizations throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
    Watch Dr. Cone's lecture, "Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree," at Harvard Divinity School
    Dr. Cone is best known for his ground breaking works, BLACK THEOLOGY & BLACK POWER (1969) and A BLACK THEOLOGY OF LIBERATION (1970); he is also the author of the highly acclaimed GOD OF THE OPPRESSED (1975), and of MARTIN & MALCOLM & AMERICA: A DREAM OR A NIGHTMARE? (1991); all of which have been translated into nine languages. His most recent publication is RISKS OF FAITH (1999). His research and teaching are in Christian theology, with special attention to black theology and the theologies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as twentieth century European-American theologies. Dr. Cone has also written on faith and music in THE SPIRITUAL AND THE BLUES: AN INTERPRETATION. His current research focuses on THE CROSS AND THE LYNCHING TREE, exploring the relationship between the two theologically.

    James H. Cone and Black Theology

    Books by James H. ConeDivinity schools and universities around the world include James Cone on their reading lists. Cone is known as the founder of black theology — a philosophy Cone first laid out in BLACK POWER AND BLACK THEOLOGY in 1969:
    As we examine what contemporary theologians are saying, we find that they are silent about the enslaved condition of black people. Evidently they see no relationship between black slavery and the Christian gospel. Consequently there has been no sharp confrontation of the gospel with white racism. There is, then, a desperate need for a black theology, a theology whose sole purpose is to apply the freeing power of the gospel to black people under white oppression.
    Cone furthered the idea with A BLACK THEOLOGY OF LIBERATION, which stated: "Any message that is not related to the liberation of the poor in a society is not Christ's message. Any theology that is indifferent to the theme of liberation is not Christian theology. Liberation theology became and remains, a powerful philosophy and movement throughout the world.




    Marvin X on Chauncey Bailey--The Cross and the Lynching Tree

    The Cross and the Lynching Tree
    from Oakland Post

    From the 12th floor office of the Oakland Post newspaper at 14th and Franklin, one can look down the block to a tree at 14th and Alice. Chauncey Bailey was lynched near that tree, although it was not in the tradition of a white lynching, but in the neo-America, his lynchers were black. And although the suspect is a young black man, there are witnesses who say the killer was an older person. Does it really matter, except for the fact that we are now doing the work of the KKK. We wear the hoods these days, and the fad is to wear gear with “stupid” designs, including skull and bones, thus signaling to the world our deathly intentions. We have become death angels, as sinister as the suicide bombers in the Middle East, although we have no purpose, no mission, except to kill another black, for of the nearly 130 killed in Oakland last year, not one white man was killed by a black. And for the most part, this is true throughout America. Our youth exhibit an
    animal consciousness as opposed to their spiritual consciousness. No, they do not use the mind God gave them, as my mother told me to do, but they seem motivated by a demonic spirit of hatred of self and kind, causing them to perpetuate the internal violence Dr. Franz Fanon wrote about in Wretched of the Earth.

    Mao Zedong told us some deaths are higher than Mount Tai, some deaths lighter than a feather. At least Chauncey gave his life for the cause of truth, no matter that we did not always agree with his abrasive attitude, who can deny the man was dedicated to seeking the truth? We all have defects of character, but are we fulfilling our life’s mission as Chauncey was doing? Are we trying to inform the blind, deaf and dumb, to educate the ignorant? Many of us say let the blind stay blind, and that the youth are a lost cause, yet we saw in the film the Great Debaters, youth will do the right things when guided right by sincere and dedicated adults. The only excuse for youth behavior is adult behavior!

    The tree at 14th and Alice stands still, a monument to a fallen soldier. From the window, our eyes zoom down to the tree, eyes full of tears and heart full of sorrow. Bill Moyers asked Rev. James Cone the meaning of the cross and the lynching tree. He said they are one and the same, for on the cross Jesus was crucified and on the tree the black man was done the same. And just as Jesus transcended the cross, the black man must rise above his self crucifixion and ascend to spiritual consciousness. The crucifixion ends when the resurrection and ascension begins. We must rise up from the grave of ignorance, from the lynching tree of hatred, jealousy and envy. We must heal from the wretchedness that allows us to kill another brother at the drop of a hat, yet never approach the real enemy. And perhaps the real enemy doesn’t exist except inside of our selves. White supremacy/lunacy has no power over us except when we allow it. As Rev. Cone explained, the
    lynching tree has no power over us because in our crucifixion comes resurrection and ascension.

    Paul Cobb observed how white women can jog past West Oakland’s Campbell Village housing projects at night without fear. No one dare harm them because they are white and thus sacred. To speak harshly to them is a terrorist threat, to harm them is a hate crime that qualifies for the death penalty. But there is no crime for speaking harshly to another black, and killing another black does not qualify as a hate crime, although most surely it is the absolute essence of hate, self hate.

    And so we dig our own grave these days. We put the noose around our necks, as some rappers have demonstrated. We killed our brother Chauncey because he was just another nigguh, therefore worthless, in the imagination of the killers, whoever they are. And then perhaps they recognized his importance and were instructed to eliminate him, for writers and journalists are killed around the world, simply for their dedication to telling the truth.
    But we see after the thousands and thousands of words written about him, we see death has no sting, it has no victory.

    On a horrible day last August, the tree at 14th and Alice gave forth a strange fruit that shall rise from the earth and give blessings from high heaven. Because Chauncey lived, we shall be a better people, a people who shall one day fulfill our radical tradition and destiny to free ourselves and the world. The attempt was made with the Oakland branch of the Pullman Porters, and it was made with the Black Panthers. Chauncey extended that tradition into the present era, for he gave his life in the cause of truth, freedom, justice and equality. Yes, he transcended the lynching tree. His death was not lighter than a feather but higher than Mount Tai.


    1/16/08

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  • 09/02/13--16:00: Bibliography of Marvin X
  • Marvin X, 1972, Black Educational Theatre, SF


    With respect to Marvin X, I wonder why I am just now hearing about him-I read Malcolm when I was 12, I read Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez and others from the BAM in college and graduate school-why is attention not given to his work in the same places I encountered these other authors? Declaring Muslim American literature as a field of study is valuable because recontextualizing it will add another layer of attention to his incredibly rich body of work. He deserves to be WAY better known than he is among Muslim Americans and generally, in the world of writing and the world at large. By we who are younger Muslim American poets, in particular, Marvin should be honored as our elder, one who is still kickin, still true to the word!--Dr. Mohja Kahf





    Bibliography of Marvin X
    Books

    Sudan Rajuli Samia (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan Publishing, 1967)
    Black Dialectics (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1967)
    Fly To Allah: Poems (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1969)
    Son of Man: Proverbs (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1969)
    Black Man Listen: Poems and Proverbs (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1969)
    Woman-Man's Best Friend (San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan, 1973)
    Selected Poems (San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan, 1979)
    Confession of A Wife Beater and Other Poems (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1981)
    Liberation Poems for North American Africans (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1982)
    Love and War: Poems ( Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 1995)
    Somethin Proper: Autobiography (Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 1998)
    In The Crazy House Called America: Essays (Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 2002)
    Wish I Could Tell You The Truth: Essays (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2005)
    Land of My Daughters: Poems (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2005)
    Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, BBP, 2007
    How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, BBP, 2007
    Eldridge Cleaver, My friend the Devil, a memoir, BBP, 2009.
     Works In Progress

    It Don't Matter: Essays (Cherokee: Black Bird Press)

    Sweet Tea, Dirty Rice, poems, (Berkeley: Black Bird Press)

    In Sha Allah, A History of Black Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1954-2004 (Cherokee: Black Bird Press).

    Seven Years in the House of Elijah, A Woman's Search for Love and Spirituality by Nisa Islam as told to Marvin X.



    Play Scripts and/or Productions
    Flowers for the Trashman, San Francisco: San Francisco State University Drama Department, 1965.

    Flowers for the Trashman, San Francisco: Black Arts West/Theatre, 1966.

    Take Care of Business, musical version of Flowers with music by Sun Ra, choreography by Raymond Sawyer and Ellendar Barnes: Your Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972.

    Come Next Summer, San Francisco: Black Arts/West, 1966.

    The Trial, New York, Afro-American Studio for Acting and Speech, 1970.

    Resurrection of the Dead, San Francisco,  choreography by Raymond Sawyer, music by Juju and Sun Ra, Your Black Educational Theatre, 1972.

    Woman-Man's Best Friend, musical, Oakland, Mills College, 1973.

    How I Met Isa, Masters thesis, San Francisco State University, 1975.

    In The Name of Love, Oakland, Laney College Theatre, 1981.

    One Day In The Life, Oakland, Alice Arts Theatre, 1996.
    One Day In The Life, Brooklyn, NY, Sistah's Place, 1997.
    One Day In The Life, Manhattan, Brecht Forum, 1997.
    One Day In The Life, Newark, NJ, Kimako's Blues, 1997.
    One Day In The Life, Oakland, Uhuru House, 1998.
    One Day In The Life, San Francisco, Bannam Place Theatre, North Beach, 1998.
    One Day In The Lifee, San Francisco, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 1999.
    One Day In the Life, Marin City, Marin City Rec Center, 1999
    One Day In the Life, Richmond, Unity Church, 2000.
    One Day In the Life, San Jose, San Jose State University, 2000.
    One Day In the Life, Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2000.
    One Day In the Life, Sacramento, New Colonial Theatre, 2000.
    Sergeant Santa, San Francisco, Recovery Theatre script, 2002.

    Other

    Delicate Child, a short story, Oakland, Merritt College Student Magazine contest winner, 1963.

    Delicate Child, a short story, Oakland, SoulBook Magazine, 1964.

    Flowers for the Trashman: A One Act Drama, San Francisco, Black Dialogue Magazine, 1965.

    Flowers for the Trashman, Black Fire, An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, (New York: Morrow, 1968).
    Take Care of Business: A One Act Drama, aka Flowers, (New York: The Drama Review, NYU,1968)

    The Black Bird (Al Tair Aswad): A One-Act Play, New Plays from the Black Theatre, edited by Ed Bullins with introduction (interview of Ed Bullins) by Marivn X, (New York: Bantam, 1969)

    "Islam and Black Art: An Interview with Amiri Baraka" and foreword by Askia Muhammad Toure, afterword by Marivn X, in Black Arts: An Anthology of Black Creations, edited by Ahmed Alhamisi and Haroun Kofi Wangara (Harold G. Lawrence) (Detroit: Black Arts Publications, 1969).
    "Everything's Cool: An Interview with Amiri Barka, aka, LeRoi Jones"Black Theatre Magazine, New Lafayette Theatre, Harlem, NY, 1968.

    Resurrection of the Dead, a ritual/myth dance dramaBlack Theatre Magazine, New Lafayette Theatre, Harlem,  1969.

    Manifesto of the Black Educational Theatre of San FranciscoBlack Theatre, 1972.

    The Black Bird, A Parable by Marvin X, illustrated by Karen Johnson ( San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan and Julian Richardson and Associates Publishers, 1972).
    "Black Justice Must Be Done," Vietnam and Black America: An Anthology of Protest and Resistance, edited by Clyde Taylor (Garden City: Double-day/Anchor, 1973)

    "Palestine," a poemBlack Scholar magazine, 1978.

    Journal of Black Poetry, guest editor, 1968.

    "The Meaning of African Liberation Day," by Dr. Walter Rodney, a speech in San Francisco, transcribed and edited by Marvin X, Journal of Black Poetry, 1972.

    Muhammad Speaks, foreign editor, 1970. (Note: a few months later, Marvin X was selected to be editor of Muhammad Speaks until it was decided he was too militant. Askia Muhammad (Charles 37X) was selected instead.)

    A Conversation with Prime Minister Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Black Scholar, 1973.
    VIDEOGRAPHY OF EVENTS/PRODUCTIONS

    Proceedings of the Melvin Black Human Rights Conference, Oakland, 1979, produced by Marvin X, featuring Angela Davis, Minister Farakhan, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Cobb, Dezzie Woods-Jones, Jo Nina-Abran, Mansha Nitoto, Khalid Abdullah Tarik Al Mansur, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Oba T-Shaka, and Marvin X.

    Proceedings of the First Black Men's Conference, Oakland, 1980, John Douimbia, founder, Marvin X, chief planner, Dr. Nathan Hare, Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Oba T'Shaka,Norman Brown, Kermit Scott, Minister Ronald Muhammad, Louis Freeman,   Michael Lange, Betty King, Dezzie Woods-Jones, et al.

    Forum on Drugs, Art and Revolution, Sista's Place, Brooklyn, New York, 1997, featuring Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Sam Anderson, Elombe Brath and Marvin X.

    Eldridge Cleaver Memorial Service, produced by Marvin X, Oakland, 1998, participants included Kathleen and Joju Cleaver, Emory Douglas, Dr. Yusef Bey, Minister Keith Muhammad, Imam Al Amin, Dr. Nathan Hare, Tarika Lewis, Richard Aoki, Reginald Major, Majidah Rahman and Marvin X.

    One Day in the Life, a docudrama of addiction and recovery,  filmed by Ptah Allah-El, produced, written, directed and staring Marvin X, edited by Marvin X, San Francisco: Recovery Theatre, 1999.
    Marvin X Interviews Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, former actor in Marvin X's Black Theatre: Berkeley, La Pena Cultural Center, 1999.

    "Abstract for An Elders Council," lecture/discussion, Tupac Amaru Shakur One Nation Conference, Oakland: McClymonds High School, 1999.

    Marvin X at Dead Prez Concert, San Francisco, 2000.

    Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, produced by Marvin X at San Francisco State University, 2001, featuring Dr. Cornel West, Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare,  Rev. Cecil Williams, Destiny, Phavia, Tarika Lewis, Askia Toure, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Rudi Wongozi, Ishmael Reed, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Marvin X, et al.

    Live In Philly At Warm Daddies,  a reading accompanied by Elliot Bey, Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson, Ancestor Goldsky, Rufus Harley, Alexander El, 2002.
    Marvin X Live in Detroit, a documentary by Abu Ibn, 2002.

    In the Crazy House Called America, concert with Marvin X and Destiny, San Francisco: Buriel Clay Theatre, 2003.

    Marvin X  in Concert (accompanied by  harpist Destiny, violinist Tarika Lewis and percussionists Tacuma and Kele Nitoto, dancer Raynetta Rayzetta), Amiri and Amina Baraka, filmed by Kwame and Joe, Berkeley: Black Repertory Group Theatre, 2003.

    Marvin X Speaks at the Third Eye Conference, Dallas, Texas, 2003.

    Marvin X and the Last Poets, San Francisco: Recovery Theatre, 2004.
    Proceedings of the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair, produced by Marvin X, filmed by Mindseed Productions, San Francisco, Recovery Theatre, 2004, participants include: Sonia Sanchez, Davey D, Amiri Baraka, Sam Hamod, Fillmore Slim, Askia Toure, Akhbar Muhammad, Sam Anderson, Al Young, Devorah Major, Opal Palmer Adisa, Tarika Lewis, Amina Baraka, Julia and Nathan Hare, Charlie Walker, Jamie Walker, Reginald Lockett, Everett Hoagland, Sam Greenlee, Ayodelle Nzinga, Suzzette Celeste, Tarika Lewis, Raynetta Rayzetta, Deborah Day, James Robinson, Ptah Allah-El, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Marvin X, et al. (Note: let me please acknowledge some of the historic personages in the audience: Gansta Alonzao Batin (mentor of the Bay Area BAM, made his transition shortly after the conference), Willie Williams of Broadside Press, Detroit, Gansta Brown, Gansta Mikey Moore (now Rev.), Arthur Sheridan, founder of Black Dialoguemagazine, also co-founders Aubrey and Gerald LaBrie, Reginald Major, author of Panther Is A Black Cat. Thank you all for making this event historic, ed. MX)
    Get Yo Mind Right, Marvin X Barbershop Talk, #4, a documentary film by Pam Pam and Marvin X, Oakland: 2005.

    Marvin X Live in the Fillmore at Rass'elas Jazz Club, A Nisa Islam production, filmed by Ken Johnson, San Francisco, 2005.

    Marvin X in the Malcolm X Room, McClymonds High School, accompanied by Tacuma (dijembe and percussion, dancer/choreographer  Raynetta Rayzetta, actor Salat Townsend, filmed by Eddie Abrams, Oakland, 2005.
    AUDIOGRAPHY
    In Sha Allah, interview with Nisa Islam, Cherokee, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Nadar Ali, Fresno, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Manuel Rashid, Fresno, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with John Douimbia, Grand Ayatollah of the Bay, San Francisco, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Minister Rabb Muhammad, Oakland, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Antar Bey, CEO, Your Black Muslim Bakery, Oakland, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Norman Brown, Oakland, Oakland, 2004.
    In Sha Allah, interview with Kareem Muhammad (Brother Edward), Oakland, 2004.
    Love and War, poems, Oakland, 1995.
    One Day In The Life, docudrama, Oakland, 1999.
    Jesus and Liquor Stores, Marvin X and Askari X, Oakland, 2002
    Wake Up, Detroit, Marvin X interviewed by Lawrence X, Detroit, 2002..
    Wish I, interview with Pam Pam, San Francisco, KPOO Radio, 2005.
    Wish I, interview with Terry Collins, San Francisco, KPOO Radio, 2005.
    Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement, interview with Professor James Smethurst of UMASS, Oakland, 2003.
    *   *   *   *   *
    This work is scheduled for publication sometime next year. For more information write to Marvin X @ University of Poetry/Black Bird Press, 11132 Nelson Bar Road, Cherokee CA 95965.  mrvnx@yahoo.com / 510-472-9589.

    Writers are welcome to submit a critical essay on the writings of Marvin X for consideration.

    Why don't you who are able, send a generous donation to make this work possible. If you believe in what I am doing and have been doing for the past forty years, put your money where you mouth is and send a generous donation to Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA  94606. May Allah bless you.
    As-Salaam-Alaikum,
    Marvin X.
    5/19/05
    Happy birthday Malcolm!  

    posted May 22, 2005, chicken bones.com/www.nathanielturner.com
    *   *   *   *   *
    For more on Marvin X at Fresno State University, check out the archives of Gov. Ronald Reagan and FSU President Frederick Ness. Google has ample entries for Marvin X. Visit his blog:www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com . Email him at: jmarvinx@yahoo. com. His books are available from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94702, $19.95 each. For speaking engagements, call 510-200-4164.
    *   *   *   *   *

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    We mourn, grieve and celebrate with Nisa Ra the transition of her beloved husband Muneer to the ancestors--Surely we are from Allah and to Him we return. Nisa Ra is the mother of our daughter Muhammida El Muhajir and Nisa and I are the best of friends with the welfare and success of our daughter utmost in our minds and our relationship. Love you and pray for you at this hour, Nisa Ra!--Marvin X



    Life is but a moment in the sun
    enjoy the good times
    bad times
    roll with the punches
    hang
    like Snoopy
    Snoopy hang on
    don't go to the arms of another
    the same person you just left
    except with a different name
    Lord have mercy.
    Life is but a moment in the sun
    Laugh with your beloved
    dance
    mad love transcending all borders
    bounds treaties constitutions
    Life is but a moment in the sun
    sing together whirl kiss late into the night
    til morning comes
    we are entwined embracing the wonder of it all
    the WOW!
    ride my magic carpet queen lady
    this is how i travel
    way pass the light
    beyond light and darkness
    I am
    travel with me the space ways
    Sun Ra taught us
    fears will not save  you here
    only the Goddess of Love
    submit
    ride the magic carpet into the sun
    the rays call you home
    sunshine lady and man.
    nothing lasts forever
    love da one ya wit
    a moment in the sun
    may be gone tomorrow
    may last a long time
    flow wit da flow
    in the no stress zone
    but hang like Snoopy
    keep faith til ya win da race.
    Black love lives!

    --Marvin X
    9/2/13


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    An Exclusive Invitation for NBAF Supporters

    CONVERSATIONS WITH MASTERS

    PEARL CLEAGE
    Pearl Cleage
    Ever wish you could have a conversation with a master in their field?  Now you can.  In celebration of the National Black Arts Festival¹s 25th year as the nation¹s premier convener of art, culture, and artists of African descent, NBAF is presenting the Conversations with Masters series as an exclusive opportunity for NBAF supporters to have special access to major artists from various genres without having to leave your home, school or office.

    Join the National Black Arts Festival and acclaimed author and professor PEARL CLEAGE for NBAF's Conversations with Masters series conference call on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH, at 4:00 PM.  This special event is FREE.  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED BY 5 PM ON SEPTEMBER 9TH.

    For more details about the call-in information and to submit questions for Ms. Cleage prior to the call, please click the REGISTER NOW button below or RSVP to Tracy Murrell at tmurrell@nbaf.org by 5 PM, September 9th. 

    CONVERSATIONS WITH MASTERS
    CONFERENCE CALL WITH PEARL CLEAGE

    TUESDAY 
    SEPTEMBER 10, 4:00 PM 

    REGISTRATION REQUIRED BY 
    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TH AT 5 PM
    ABOUT PEARL CLEAGE
    Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta based writer currently Playwright in Residence at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta where her new play, "What I Learned in Paris," opened the 2012-2013 Season in September. Her works include award-winning plays, bestselling novels and numerous columns, articles and essays for a wide variety of publications including Essence, Ebony, Rap Pages, Vibe, The Atlanta Tribune, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Her first novel, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on the New York Timesbestseller list. She is the author of thirteen plays, including Flyin' West, the most produced new American play in the country in 1994. Her Blues for An Alabama Sky was included in the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta. Her other plays include Chain; Late Bus to Mecca; Bourbon at the Border; A Song for Coretta and The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Year. She is the author of eight novels, including Baby Brother's Blues, which was awarded an NAACP Image Award for Literature. She is also the co-author with her husband, writer Zaron W. Burnett, Jr., of We Speak Your Names, a praise poem commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for her 2005 Legends Weekend. Cleage and Burnett are frequent collaborators, including their award-winning ten year performance series, "Live at Club Zebra!" featuring their work as writers and performance artists. Her new book of non-fiction entitled Things I Never Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs, will be published by ATRIA Books in 2014.

    Cleage was chosen Cosby Chair in the Fine Arts by her alma mater, Spelman College, in 2005 and spent two years as a member of the Spelman faculty. Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by the college in 2010, Cleage remains active with the Women's Resource and Research Center and the Department of Theatre and Dance. She was the founding editor of CATALYST Magazine, an Atlanta-based literary magazine for ten years and served as Artistic Director of Just Us Theatre Company for five years. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company.



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    More about Marvin XMarvin X Unplugged
    An Interview by Lee Hubbard
    While drugs and their impact have been talked about, no one has really dealt with the addiction to drugs and how it impacts a community and one's soul. No one has, until Marvin X, a poet, long time writer and activist, decided to touch this subject in his play, "A Day in the Life".  The play details Marvin's life ordeal with drugs, as well as the impact drugs had on former Black Panthers Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton and the Black community.
    While the play helped many people exorcise their demons, it also helped to revive the work and career of Marvin X, who, along with Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, was one of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement. BAM helped to lay an intellectual and artistic base for the Black Power movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    As word spread about Marvin's Recovery Theatre, many younger people began to discover Marvin's controversial work, which during the 60s prompted Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, to ban Marvin X from teaching at state universities.
    I was able to sit down and talk to Marvin X about his involvement in the 1960s Black Arts Movement and on his latest book of essays, In the Crazy House Called America.

    Lee:
     Tell our readers about your Recovery Theatre.

    Marvin: It is a continuation of my work in the Black Arts Theatre. Recovery Theater is a present day Black Arts Theatre. Black Arts was about healing from oppression. Recovery Theater is about healing from drugs and/or oppression. Drug usage is caused by oppression. It is a symptom of a greater problem. I don't care if you are poor or rich, you can still be oppressed.

    Lee: Tell me about your book In the Crazy House Called America.

    Marvin: I thought I would offer a prescription to get out of the crazy house or, if not to get out of it, to transform the crazy house and turn it into a mansion. The prescription is like Frantz Fanon said, ’You have to fight your way out of the crazy house to sanity.’ That is the only way that the oppressed man and woman can regain their mental health, through revolutionary struggle and challenging the diagnosis that he isn't sick. Oppression is a sickness. That you allow yourself to be a slave is a sickness. It is a form of mental illness. We become passive.

    Lee: So your book has the cure?

    Marvin: Well this is what people who have read my book say. It is prescription for action to get up and do something. It is part of the African American literature tradition of how I got over and how I survived, how I made it from Hell and back. It is a lesson that everyone can learn from. If I did it, why can't you? I had gone from the poorest street in America to the richest street in the world, Wall Street. My national tour was a manifestation that there are many mansions in my father’s house, because everywhere I have stayed, I was in a mansion.

    Lee: In your book, you talk about your life on drugs. Explain to our readers how a very literate and educated revolutionary man could get hooked on crack.

    Marvin: That is very simple. I am going to say it in the words that my father used. He said, ’You are so smart that you outsmarted yourself.’ I outsmarted myself, and I played with fire. And I got burned. There was no excuse. I can give you some, but the critical Negroes in New York said that no excuse is acceptable for what happened to me, Eldridge and Huey and other so-called revolutionaries. They say we betrayed the revolution for drugs, when we knew the source of drugs, and we knew the danger of drugs and the destructive power of drugs. I am just lucky to come out alive in contrast to Huey and Eldridge, my buddies, who I smoked dope with who did not make it out. I wrote about this in my play, One Day in the Life.

           Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X


    Lee: Why did you write your book, and what can younger readers get out of it?

    Marvin: I wrote it to help save humanity from insanity, because White people are just as crazy if not crazier than Black people. For example, the brothers and sisters in Houston asked me to set up a Recovery Theatre South in Houston. Immediately what came to my mind, more important than recovery from drugs, the South has to recover from racism. I wrote it about everyone, for Muslims as well as Christians. Muslims are sick with religiosity just as Christians are sick with religiosity, and ritualism and mythology. These are some of the causes of our current situation. If we recognize it, we can get a healing.

    Lee: Looking back at your career, what do you think of the Black Arts Movement and your contribution to it?

    Marvin: The Black Arts Movement was part of the liberation movement of Black people in America. The Black Arts Movement was the artistic arm. The time period we are talking about was from 1964 until the early 1970s. The Black Arts Movement was like a halfway house for brothers and sisters to get Black Consciousness and go from there into the political revolution.

    For example, brothers came into the Black Arts Theatre that Ed Bullins and I had in San Francisco, and they got a revolutionary consciousness through Black art, drama, poetry, music, paintings, artwork and magazines. The same thing took place on the East Coast in Harlem at Amiri Baraka’s Black Arts Theatre. In Detroit, they had the Black Arts Movement with Rod Milner and producer Woody King. In Chicago, you had a crew with Haki Madhubuti, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hoyt Fuller. You had the same thing in the South with the Free Southern Theatre in New Orleans that traveled throughout the South and was connected with SNCC. There was a marriage between Black arts and the revolution.

    Lee: What happened to this movement?

    Marvin: Well, what happens to a dream deferred? It had to be destroyed. Black people were on the road to freedom. We had upped the ante with the Black Power/Black Arts movement, so we had to be stopped.

    Lee: What happened with you and the Black Arts Movement?


                    Marvin X and Sun Ra

    Marvin: As far as I am concerned it is ongoing. I am still working in it. I just had a great performance in Philadelphia with Sonia Sanchez and Sun Ra’s musicians. I am a manifestation that it is still going, that the Black Arts Movement is still here. Baraka is still here. He has gotten more media play than any poet in America, because of a poem that is coming directly out of a Black Arts tradition of telling it like it is.

    Lee: Tell me about your relationship with Amiri Baraka?





    Marvin: Well, it is an artistic relationship, and it is a personal relationship. On the artistic level, he set a standard for artists and poets. He set the standard high for revolutionary Black artists. But even Baraka was in the tradition of other writers and activists, such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Paul Robeson and others. On a personal level, he is like a friend and an uncle, since he is 10 years older than me.

    Lee: What did you think of his poem controversy with the governor of New Jersey?

    Marvin: I thought it was in the tradition of the Black Arts Movement. I think it was one of his greatest poems. He asked the question, Who. If you ask the question, you might get some answers.

    Lee: So where is the revolution?

    Marvin: The revolution is inside of the revolutionary. We thought it was outside in the 1960s. We thought we could free the people, but we did not free our families or ourselves. We abused our families. We neglected our families, yet still we were fighting revolution.

    But there is no revolution without the family. There is no revolution if we beat our women half to death and neglect our children for an abstraction called freedom. That is why the rappers have gone crazy. They saw our contradiction in the Black Arts Movement. And so they rejected the aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement, and they have gone on to openly express perversions.
     



    Related Links

    Movie Reviews by Marvin X on AALBC.com include:
    Ali 
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/ali.htm
    Baby Boy
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/baby_boy.htm
    Ray
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/ray.htm
    Traffic
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/traffic.htm

    ------
    Save the Date: March, 2014, the University of California, Merced, presents The Black Arts Movement, invited participants include Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Ishmael Reed, Dr. Nathan Hare and Marvin X. Marvin X will speak on the Black Arts Movement in the Bay Area. The conference is a Kim McMillan production; Marvin X is senior consultant.

    Sonia Sanchez will discuss the new Black Arts Movement Reader: SOS--Calling All Black People, UMASS Press, 2014, edited by James Smethurst, John Bracey and Sonia Sanchez. 

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    Syria: It's Still a Revolution, My Friends

    No matter what your position on the potential US strikes on Syria (I’m against), all I ask is, DON’T be a hater who denies the existence of the grassroots youth who began the Syrian revolution out of hope for real freedom and out of their rising expectation for real change, hope that had nearly died in the fifty-year police state that has ruled Syria. Tr
    y to remember to have some compassion for a Syrian who might be in the vicinity, before you mouth off in the abstract on the issue; we face news every day of our friends and our relatives being killed and imprisoned. Take time to get to know about a few of them, the Syrian rev youth activists who started it all, in hundreds of towns across Syria, before you speak about Syria based on what happened in Iraq or Lebanon or Country X.

    In SYRIA, this is a REVOLUTION (and yes I understand it meets the technical definition of a civil war, yes it does, AND, yet, still: This is a Revolution). In SYRIA, a Revolution has been happening, and the will to freedom that began it will not simply be erased; it is a bell that cannot be unrung in the hearts of young Syrians. It is a consciousness change. That is why Syria is not now and will not become, despite all the fuckedupness that has ensued inside the revolution, “like Iraq” (and by the way, I marched in the US against the Iraq War, and over the years have written and published pages of poems based on the unimaginable sufferings narrated to me by Iraqis).

    In SYRIA, a broad spectrum of twentysomethings across every province were inspired by Bouazizi’s self-immolation, by 26-year-old Asma Mahfouz’ call to Tahrir, by the movement for Khaled Said, a young activist murdered by Egyptian police in 2010, NOT by some US president’s call for regime change as in Iraq. By the will to “live like human beings,” as one after another has told me when I have met them and asked for their stories. ASK for their stories, please. They will TELL you what motivated them to risk their lives as they did. Syria’s revolution youth hit the streets out of grievances they have EXPERIENCED, in their own bodies, in their own lives; this revolution was not begun by some Syrian version of Iraq’s Chelebi, nor by established oppositionists, but by geographically widespread rural and smalltown women and men of ALL sects, young people whom the CIA never even heard of, coming together in a new spirit. They are nobody’s proxies, no matter how much outside agendas want to make them somebody’s proxies.

    And please, do not create a callous denial narrative that erases the masses of mainstream Syrians in this revolution, as if they don’t count, in favor of the Salafist extremists who are trying to take it over from its fringes as, thousands of miles away, you run screaming “Taliban! AlQaeda!” wringing your hands but not knowing in the slightest the measure of their (nasty) influence. Do not abandon those revolution youth—whether they are still in the civil resistance or have joined the secular, mainline armed resistance--who are now themselves beset by the Salafists even while still fending off the brutal regime. For example, I just fb chatted with a friend inside, one of the original protesters, who refuses to flee Syria, and incidentally he is Alawite, who has received death threats by name from the regime, and from the Nusra front on the other hand.

    Above all, do not become so ethically ugly as to deny the massacres the regime has committed against civilians, or become a dictator-defender. Bashar is a Butcher; let’s establish that as a common fact between us, no matter your other views. I have spoken out against atrocities committed by the rebel sides; they ARE heinous, AND they in no way come close to the horrors committed by the regime, which vastly outguns all the rebel sides. So the “symmetry” thing, where you say “oh, they’re all about as bad as each other” is ethically reprehensible. If you don’t have time to educate yourself, at least refrain from that moral repulsiveness, please. Do not commit the inhumanity at this time of getting on a devastated Syrian’s last nerve, by denying our bloodied dead, or our desperate need for justice.

    Here are some links for further some reading:


    The Syrian Revolution, Then and Now: http://www.fnvw.org/vertical/Sites/%7B8182BD6D-7C3B-4C35-B7F8-F4FD486C7CBD%7D/uploads/Syria_Special_Report-web.pdf

    International Crisis Group's analysis of the potential US strikes: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2013/mena/syria-statement.aspx?utm_source=syria-email&utm_medium=statement&utm_campaign=mremail

    And please follow the Arabic or English pages of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement: https://www.facebook.com/SyrainNonviolence

    And of Kamishlo House: https://www.facebook.com/QamishloHausee
    (secular, nonsectarian, democracy activism)

    Please write for the release of nonviolent Syrian prisoners of conscience HELD OVER A YEAR, many over two years, by cutting and pasting the text under each picture in this album, on a Revolution page that ALSO reports prisoners held by extremist groups on the rebel side:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.380614048692905.94198.109718805782432&type=3

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    Without a doubt, those of us who consider ourselves politically correct in our ideological dogmatism, with our focus on the various factions can totally neglect the masses of true believers who only seek simple freedom, justice and equality, who are not steeped in religiosity or any other ideological framework. Yet in our diatribes we fail to mention the simple masses striving for a better day, not to be part of this faction or that, this sect or that, but simply a better day under the sun.

    How is it possible that we focus on the geo-political game players of the East and West, who have long range plans beyond simple justice and a better day in the sun.


    This is some kind of intellectual myopia that blinds us from seeing beyond the ideologues of the right and/or left. It is not to glorify the secularists or any other liberal faction confronting the Islamists or dogmatic sectarians, but we do indeed need to think about the simple masses that we never hear about in the news, who are somehow forgotten in the mad geo-political gamesmanship between East and West.

    Let us them give at least a moments thought to the children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts who have lost so much in this struggle that has transcended simple democracy but is caught up in the mythology of the political elite with their agendas far beyond justice, freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Let us give thought to the struggling masses, the six million internal and external refugees, the 100,000 dead, those grieving their dead and struggling to stay alive, those not of any ideological persuasion other than common justice and freedom that transcends narrow minded ideological and mythological notions grounded in political and religious dogmatism and sectarianism.
    --Marvin X
    9/4/13

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    Some of Us Still Oppose U.S. Militarism: Statement from The Black Left Unity Network on Syria

    It is both an irony of history and a reflection of the right-wing trajectory of U.S. politics and culture that on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington where African Americans and progressives took a stand for social justice, that U.S. warships are positioning themselves for yet another attack on a nation in the global South. This latest imperialist adventure being ordered by the country’s  first “black” President.

    The pending attack on Syria by the U.S. along with the second rate colonial powers of Britain and France are demonstrating once again that international law, morality and even commonsense are meaningless in the blind and desperate desire to maintain Euro-American global dominance.

    We in the Black Left Unity Network, vigorously opposed the decision to wage war on the people of Syria. We remind the supporters of this action of the consequences of U.S. and NATO attacks on the sovereign state of Libya supposedly to save lives, with the result being the death of over 50,000 people!

    It is only in the imagination of individuals whose consciousness has been infected with the disease of white supremacy and U.S. exceptionalism, that the idea that the United States, still the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet, as Dr. King so accurately stated, would have the moral authority to inflict a punitive strike on Syria for supposedly killing its own people.

    We are clear that the war on Syria has nothing to do with any supposed concern for the lives of the people of Syria. If there were real “humanitarian” concerns for people facing oppression in the so-called middle-east then the U.S. would intervene in Palestine to “save” the Palestinians from Israel, liberate the people from the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, stand with the people fighting for democracy in Bahrain, cut off aid to the generals in Egypt and cease funding Al-Qaeda linked Jihadist groups in Syria.

    The ten year U.S. imperialist led war in Iraq made clear, that the U.S. is not above lying in charging governments that it wants to invade with using or having weapons of mass destruction. Not only were there no weapons of mass destruction, According to the Cost of War Project, “the U.S. war against Iraq killed at least 190,000 people, including men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians and will cost the United States $2.2 trillion.”

    And in the U.S., August 29th marks the eight anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States forever altering the lives of thousands of black working class and poor people forever, because the federal and state governments failed to allocate funds to repair substandard levees.  Yet under Bush and Obama they found hundreds of billions to bail out the corporations. In New Orleans more than a hundred thousand majority black people who were transported and forced to flee out of the city in a blatant program of ethic cleansing never made it back to the city eight years after. In California thousands of largely black and Latino prisoners are refusing food to protest the inhumane conditions that many have suffered for decades and across the country a black person is gunned down by an agent of the U.S. police force every 28 hours as part of the continuous domestic War on black America.  These are just a few of the “humanitarian concerns” that could be addressed right in the borders of the U.S. if there was a real concern for ending human rights abuses and protecting people.

    But we are not naive, we know that the war being waged against black and brown people’s globally by the white West has one objective – to maintain the global structure of Western imperialism by controlling and dominating  the populations of the world by force. That is why it is not ironic  that across the U.S. funds are being cut for critical public services and social programs, claiming a lack of resources, while millions of dollars can be found to support whatever military mission is identified that advances the interests of the Euro-American oligarchy.

    That is why opposing the corporate/State war machine of U.S. imperialism is not only a moral necessity but a strategic imperative that unites all who can still see though the ideological fog of a false humanitarian that conceals the true enemies of humanity – The U.S., its white supremacist Western allies and the oppressive governments they support.

    Historically the U.S. black left has always taken a stand against U.S. imperialism from Haiti and Cuba through to the Philippines, Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela and all of the countries in between. Today we continue that principled stand with clarity and an unshakable commitment to our belief in the possibility of a new global order liberated from the savageries of U.S. and Western imperialism.

    As we fight against the U.S. War on Black America and build the Black liberation movement to strengthen this fight, we must mobilize opposition to all U.S. imperialist wars!

    www.Blackleftunity.org     
    www.blackleftunity.blogspot.com
    www.blackactivistzine.org
    www.jblun.org                   
    Contact: Saladin Muhammad -252-314-2363-


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    Russian warships cross Bosphorus, en route to Syria

    A Russian warship is moored in the Cypriot port of Limassol, on May 17, 2013
    .
    View gallery
    A Russian warship is moored in the Cypriot port of Limassol, on May 17, 2013. Three Russian warships have crossed Turkey's Bosphorus Strait en route to the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, amid concern in the region over potential US-led strikes in response to the Damascus regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. (AFP Photo/Yiannis Kourtoglou)
    AFP 
    Three Russian warships crossed Turkey's Bosphorus Strait Thursday en route to the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, amid concern in the region over potential US-led strikes in response to the Damascus regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.
    The SSV-201 intelligence ship Priazovye, accompanied by the two landing ships Minsk and Novocherkassk passed through the Bosphorus known as the Istanbul strait that separates Asia from Europe, an AFP photographer reported.
    The Priazovye on Sunday started its voyage from its home port of Sevastopol in Ukraine "to the appointed region of military service in the eastern Mediterranean", a military official told the Interfax news agency.
    Russia, a key ally of Damascus, has kept a constant presence of around four warships in the eastern Mediterranean in the Syrian crisis, rotating them every few months.
    It also has a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus whose origins date back to Moscow's close relationship with Damascus under the Soviet Union.
    Moscow vehemently opposes the US-led plans for military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to the chemical attack outside Damascus last month.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that any US Congress approval for a military strike against Syria without UN consensus would represent an "aggression".

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    Marvin X's National Book Tour Report 2002

    Human Earthquake Rocks New York City

    New York City was rocked yesterday by the Human Earthquake, Marvin X, who spent two hours ranting on Pacifica radio's WBAI, hosted by Louis Reyes Rivera, whose guests included John Watusi Branch of the Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Queens. Marvin X discussed everything under the sun, including the suffering people endure when loved ones make the transition. "We are forced to suffer alone, in silence because no one wants to hear about it, " the poet said. On the movement of the 60s, "We had many contradictions. We talked black power but went home to beat our wives and neglect our children in the name of revolution."

    That evening the poet rocked Queens at the Afrikan Poetry Theatre, telling his audience many of us have a poverty consciousness, we don't want nothing, we have our fists balled up at God so that He cannot bless us even if He wanted to and He wants to bless us. Some of us are living in shelters because we rejected the mansions in our Father's House. Yet the whole world is trying to get to America to get some of the pie we created. The Chinese and Koreans come to our community and get rich selling rice, but we want to charge ten dollars for a bowl of rice and beans and wonder why no one supports our businesses. We are Block Man--we block our own good--yes, many times we are our worst enemy, not the white man.
    If we stood up and took authority the white man would be gone in an instant. The million man marchers should have stayed in DC until freedom was secured. Our women were smart enough to set up the Million Man Mansion in Newark--the men don't have a million man mansion--but when the sisters execise their intelligence we want to knock them upside the head.
    *   *   *   *   *
    Ok, New York City, catch Marvin X at Sista's Place on Sunday, 4 PM, 456 Nostrand Ave. @ Jefferson, Brooklyn. He's be in Manhattan on Tuesday, October 29, 7PM at the Brecht Forum, 122 W. 27th St., between 6th and 7th Aves, 10th floor.

    Amiri Baraka will host the Earthquake on Wednesday, October 30, 7PM in Newark at his home, 808 S. 10th Street, Newark, NJ. Marvin X will also appear with Amiri Baraka and Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets at the Bowery Poetry Club, Sunday, November 3, 9PM.

    Sonia Sanchez will appear with the poet in Philadelphia on Friday, November 1, 7PM at the Women's Y, 5820 Germantown Ave.@ Chelten. Marvin will premier the Crazy House Band under the direction of Elliot Bey. Guest musicians include Jamal Khan, Kesh, Rufus Harley (bagpipes) and Sun Ra's legendary Marshall Allen. Set designer Pat Lewis has created a monster set to suggest the Crazy House Called America. Sonia Sanchez will video the event for a documentary she is doing on the Black Arts Movement.
    *   *   *   *   *
    Marvin X Live in Philadelphia at Warm Daddies

    With the next governor of Penn, the Eagle's $100 million quarterback and the 76ers GM in the house, Marvin X and the Crazy House band rocked Warm Daddy's, a hip hop night club in Philadelphia Monday night. The event was a recording session for a CD and DVD to go along with X's book IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA.
    The poet pulled together members of Sun Ra's band, Marshall Allen--the world's greatest alto sax, Danny Thompson and Noel, also bagpipe master Rufas Harley, drummer Alexander El, jembe master Ancestor Goldsky (former drummer with Patti Labell) and keyboard master Elliott Bey, music director and cofounder of Recovery Theatre East. The poet opened with a monologue to Philadelphia Negroes, accompanied by the healing sounds of Elliott Bey on synthesizer. With the full band, the poet read FOR THE WOMEN; the band went crazy on NIGGUHS ARE CRAZY. In the best tradition of Sun Ra, his men went throughout the house, wailing and screaming--the audience appeared to have lockjaw. Rufas Harley introduced PALESTINE with bagpipes. Marshall Allen gave a screaming intro to BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY, then the band joined for a musical tour of the world as the poet read his classic.
    *   *   *   *   *
    The set ended with THE PARABLE OF BLACK MAN AND BLOCK MAN. I failed to mention the Danny Thompson (flute) Rufus Harley duet--historic. If you can't make the next appearance of Marvin X and the Crazy House Band tentatively scheduled for San Francisco's Loraine Hansberry Theatre in January, send for the CD/ VHS and/or DVD to BLACK BIRD PRESS, 3116 38th Ave., Suite 304, Oakland, CA 94619. Send $19.95, plus $5.00 for priority mail. Credit card holders go to www.paypal.com, credit xblackxmanx@aol.com. The poet is now in the dirty south at the Penn Center Heritage festival on St. Helena island, South Carolina. His book tour ends next week at the University of Houston and at citywide rally for reparations. There will also be a Houston screening of his videodrama ONE DAY IN THE LIFE at the National Black United Front headquarters, 2428 Southmore St., Houston.
    *   *   *   *   *
    Human Earthquake Hits Houston, TX

    Dr. Conyers, chair of African American Studies at the University of Houston, said when he drove Marvin X to campus to speak, the poet was quiet, almost silent, but once he stepped to the lectern, "All hell broke loose. The guy went mad." After reading and speaking with students in a seminar, the poet was asked by the chair if he wanted to return to teaching, since he clearly loves the classroom. Marvin X said he would consider a visiting professorship, but quit teaching twenty years ago. "I've been escorted off campus more than once--been escorted out of countries for that matter."

    The poet was also asked to establish Recovery Theatre South by his Houston host, brother Omawali of the National Black United Front. On Friday, NBUF screened Marvin X's video THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, which features Amiri and Amina Baraka, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Cornel West, Phavia Kujichagulia, Destiny, Tarika Lewis, Elliott Bey, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Ishmael Reed,
    Askia Toure, Rudi Wongozi, Rev. Cecil Williams, Marvin X and others. The poet read and answered questions for nearly two hours on every topic under the sun: the black arts movement, role and mission of youth in today's struggle, lack of unity, lack of reconciliation among 60s progressives and its effect on youth of today; will there be revolution without family unity; conflict between Panthers and other groups and within the Panthers, e.g. the conflict between Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver; between US and the Panthers. The poet said the rappers of today are our children, their behavior a direct reflection of our behavior during the 60s, 70s and 80s. They have our toxic waste.

    He said the hip hop poetry readings are therapeutic for youth--peer counseling and a good thing but they must move to a revolutionary consciousness, get beyond the personal, although it is good to hear youth try to heal some of their wounds since many are without fathers and mothers--although they must come to terms with the fathers and mothers who abandoned them before any healing will take place. His daughter Nefertiti agreed with her dad that revolution must include caring for the family, the first unit of the community, although this reality was often forgotten during the 60s. We thought the family could be neglected for the abstraction called freedom.
    We were dead wrong. We had it twisted.
     
    *   *   *   *   *
    The poet will speak again on Saturday, November 16, 4pm at the Citywide Reparations Forum, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, 5801 W. Montgomery St., Houston. Before leaving Houston, the poet will go into the recording studio of his son-in-law, Attorney Eric Rhodes, mixing his CD: MARVIN X LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA WITH ELLIOTT BEY AND THE CRAZY HOUSE BAND, FEATURING MARSHALL ALLEN, DANNY THOMPSON AND NOEL OF SUN RA's ARKESTRA, RUFAS HARLEY and others. 
    *   *   *   *   *
    MARVIN X CALLS FOR A GENERAL STRIKE

    On Saturday at Houston's Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, the National Black United Front hosted a forum on reparations. Keynote speaker was Att. Deadra Pellman who filed a lawsuit against corporations who benefited from slavery, including insurance companies. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented a paper entitled "Making the Case for Slavery Reparations." Also on the panel was a sister who is a direct descendent of slaves and she told an eloquent story of her genealogy. In attendance were Mrs. and Mr. Omari Obadele, legends of the reparations movement and founders of N'Cobra, the organization that has spearheaded the call for reparations. The Nation of Islam was present, along with the New Black Panther Party of Houston.

    Marvin X called for a general strike to go along with litigation and legislation--mass action to keep the pressure on the American people until we achieve self-determination and sovereignty. He said we should demand reparations for our ancestors if no one else. The poet described his train ride from South Carolina to Houston: as he looked out at the trees, the woods, the swamps, the marsh, the rivers, he thought about the many thousands gone, bones buried deep in the clay, in the creeks. He thought about the slaves who tried to escape but failed and the ones who did make it to freedom. For all these people, we must fight for reparations, and as Brother Kofi of NBUF noted, we must fight for compensation for the vestiges of slavery: our deplorable mental and physical health, our poor housing and now gentrification, lack of economic parity and educational opportunities. On another level, Marvin X noted that we are the 16th richest nation in the world (GNP), so even without reparations we have enough money to come up, if we use it wisely. We must take authority over our economic resources. The forum ended with Marvin X reading his poem "When I'll Wave The Flag."

    Later that evening, the poet's daughter, Nefertiti, hosted a book party for her father, but because of the ENRON disaster many of the lawyers and MBAs present were unemployed and unable to purchase his book of essays, but they listened attentively as he read.
    *   *   *   *   *
    Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation

    Last evening, poet Marvin X arrived late for Brother Jabari's radio show in Gullah country, Beaufort, South Carolina. When he finally arrived at the station, he told Gullahland listeners he was late as a result of being caught up in "negrocities," borrowing a term from Amiri Baraka who is writing a book about NEGROCITIES. During the course of the interview Marvin defined the term as an ailment caused by an inflamation of the Negroid gland at the base of the brain.
    Brother Jabari, publisher of the Gullah Sentinel, questioned Marvin X page by page about his book IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, starting with the suicide of his son on March 18 of this year. The poet said his pain was cushioned by the fact that so many of his friends have lost sons and daughters to homicide. Dr. Nathan Hare has written that homicide and suicide are two sides of the same coin. Marvin's son suffered mani-depression which the late revolutionary Dr. Franz Fanon called a "situational disorder" caused by oppression." Of course, Dr. Fanon, author of the classic WRETCHED OF THE EARTH, said finally that revolution was the solution to the mental health problems of the oppressed.

    When Jabari turned to Marvin's essay THE INSANITY OF SEX, the poet read the first paragraph of the essay but refused to go further on the Christian owned radio station, although he noted that while sitting in the shade of a tree during the Gullah Nation's Heritage Festival on St. Helena island, he was soon joined by a group of church women who--after X showed them his book, immediately turned to THE INSANITY OF SEX and agreed with his opening paragraph one hundred per cent. Jabari, one of the sole lights in the Gullahland house of darkness, asked X about the culture of the crack house.
    The poet said "The crack house is like a third world country: there is no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, no toilet paper, no food, no love. It is the worse thing since slavery." He then had the engineer play track ten of his CD version of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, the drama of his addiction and recovery. In this "Preacher Scene" the minister describes the horrors of crack culture, ending with the lines, "Crack is worse than slavery. Didn't the slave love his Moma? His God? His Woman? His Children? Not the crack slave, the crack slave is a dirty, nasty, funky slave...."

    X then said, "I want to say this to the Christian community: see, I lived in Reno, Nevada while teaching at the University of Nevada and the preacher in Reno never said anything against gambling and prostitution--which are legal. Now, members of the audience who have watched my play wanted to know why the pastors in the community never preach a sermon like the preacher in my play. On more than one occasion, a member of the audience stood to testify that many preachers cannot give a similar sermon because the church is compromised due to the fact that mothers in the church have sons and daughters who are contributing money from the drug trade to the church and if the preacher said anything he wouldn't have a congregation in many urban centers. And maybe in rural centers as well."
    Marvin X was asked about education. He said Johnny and Johnnymae can sell dope, weigh dope, package dope, count dope money, but the teachers tell us Johnny and Johnnymae can't do math, can't read, can't do chemistry. This is a lie and the fact that youth remember hours of rap songs word for word is a testament to their intelligence. Marvin X spent his final day in Gullah land swimming in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of St. Helena Island. He listened to the pain of a mentally disabled Gullah woman who was camping near the ocean and was a friend of his host, Sister Hurriyah Amanuel, a landowner in Gullah country who is one of the Queens of the Black Arts Movement, having been a key player at Black Arts West Theatre in San Francisco and at the Black House/Political/Cultural Center, visited by the likes of Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Bunchy Carter, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Lil Bobby Hutton, Eldridge Cleaver, Askia Muhammad Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Chicago Art Ensemble, and others.

    When black clouds appeared, Marvin X knew the hour had arrived for him to depart Gullah country. After all, he had enjoyed the people, the land, the sea, the creeks, the chickens, geese, goats, calves, and dogs. Being a country boy from central calif, he talked to the animals and they to him. But he leaves Gullahland with a heavy heart, for if the ancestors have given the descendents of slavery any part of America, it is this beautiful land, these islands in the sun.

    And he has vowed to return to this heaven on earth. Sister Hurriyah was the glue of the West coast black arts movement. And in the new epoch, she is showing the way to heaven on earth. If ever a man shall follow a woman, it is now, for she has created heaven on earth. --Marvin X, November 12, 2002, Beaufort, South Carolina.

     Monday night. The event was a recording session for a CD and DVD to go along with X's book IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA.
    The poet pulled together members of Sun Ra's band, Marshall Allen--the world's greatest alto sax, Danny Thompson and Noel, also bagpipe master Rufas Harley, drummer Alexander El, jembe master Ancestor Goldsky (former drummer with Patti Labell) and keyboard master Elliott Bey, music director and cofounder of Recovery Theatre East. The poet opened with a monologue to Philadelphia Negroes, accompanied by the healing sounds of Elliott Bey on synthesizer. With the full band, the poet read FOR THE WOMEN; the band went crazy on NIGGUHS ARE CRAZY. In the best tradition of Sun Ra, his men went throughout the house, wailing and screaming--the audience appeared to have lockjaw. Rufas Harley introduced PALESTINE with bagpipes. Marshall Allen gave a screaming intro to BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY, then the band joined for a musical tour of the world as the poet read his classic.
    *   *   *   *   *


    0 0
  • 09/06/13--11:22: Marvin X still Alive
  • As of 11:19AM, West Coast Time, Marvin X is still alive. He is presently in the central valley visiting friends and working on his writing retreat.
     
    Dr. Nathan Hare
    JUST GOT WORD FROM BROTHER MUHAMMAD AHMAD THAT OUR BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT POET, MARVIN X, HAS PASSED. "It is with great sorrow that we received news of the passing of brother freedom fighter, Marvin X and we of the Philadelphia Community Institute of Africana Studies offer condolences to his family.
     

    brother muhammad ahmad and family"
    R.I.P.

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    The Black Left Unity Network (BLUN) Calls on Black Activists to Lead Rallies Starting September 7th at Martin L. King Sites 
    to Oppose U.S. War Against Syria

     As the Obama administration beats the U.S. war drums to build congressional support for launching a U.S. military attack on Syria, claiming that it would be an act of humanitarian intervention, the Black left must stand with Dr. King who said NO to imperialist wars, by mobilizing Black people and people of conscience to the streets, parks and monuments named after Dr. King as sites of Black led struggle.

    The non-violent struggle led by Dr. Martin L. King Jr. was not for the election of a Black president that would continue the role of the U.S. that he called the World's Greater Purveyor of Violence.

    While recognizing that many felt pride in electing Obama as the U.S. president, seeing it as a challenge against the capitalist system's white supremacy and racism that has denied Black people basic civil and democratic rights; Black people must not allow this to stop us from challenging the policies and pleas of Obama when they are not really different from those of George Bush, only with a different appeal and skin color. Dr. King said – not to judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character (their actions). This must also apply for Obama.

    Bush used Colin Power and Condoleeza Rice as figureheads to state that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, hoping that as Black officials whose people continue to be victimized by, and fighting against racism and injustice, could convince Black people and the world that the U.S. claims were truthful. Defending the corporate dictated and imperialist polices and decisions of Obama, is not challenging white supremacy and racism; it is allowing the structural attacks that causes the racist inequalities and domination to be deepened without a serious challenge from the most oppressed. As many are trying to rewrite the history of Dr. King and the civil rights and Black power movement, the BLUN calls on Black Activists across the country to mobilize and lead protest at the venues named after Dr. King, to speak out against the U.S. launching a military attack on Syria, and as a call to action to reclaim the real history and moral authority of the Black Freedom and human rights struggle.

    The Black officials in congress and at all levels of government who are in those positions because of the leadership and sacrifices made by Dr. King and many others, must be called on to speak out and vote against the pleas by the Obama administration to launch an attack on Syria. The Congressional Black Caucus must express the will of the Black masses who want an end to the U.S. War on Black America and all imperialist wars throughout the world. People should be asked to call 202-225-3121 to reach your congressperson.

    These rallies should highlight issues like the Zimmerman not guilty verdict for the racist profiling and murder of young Trayvon Martin, the high Black unemployment, cuts in funding for public education, mass incarceration, stop and frisk and police killings of Black people as examples of the War on Black America. Send in reports with photos of Black led rallies at the King and other venues to the BLUN listserv.

    These rallies should raise the demand No war on Syria and Stop the War on Black America and other issues.
    Black Left Unity Network Continuations Committee and affiliate organizations
    Peoples Organization for Progress (POP),   Black Workers For Justice,   Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality
     

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    Toronto: ’12 Years a Slave’ Leaves Another Festival Audience Shaken

    Toronto: ’12 Years a Slave’ Leaves Another Festival Audience Shaken

    Toronto: ’12 Years a Slave’ Leaves Another Festival Audience Shaken
     
    Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” came to Toronto on Friday night, and it left audiences in the same state they were in after it screened in Telluride last week: drained, shaken and on their feet cheering.
    Playing to a standing ovation at the Princess of Wales theater, the Fox Searchlight release had no trouble continuing the momentum it had gained in Colorado. The movie, based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from New York who in 1841 was abducted and sold into slavery, is as formidable as Telluride reports indicated — a brutal, scorching and unflinching work that is hard to watch and will no doubt be harder to forget.

    In the Q&A that followed the screening, McQueen responded succinctly to the question of why he chose to tackle a subject that hasn’t been covered in many serious films.

    “It was a no-brainer,” said the British director, whose previous films were “Hunger” and “Shame.” “I just wanted to see … that history, that story on film. It was important and obvious. It’s that simple.”
    Added Brad Pitt, who appears in the film and also served as one of the producers through his Plan B production company, “Steve is the first to ask the big question — why have there not been more films about the American history of slavery? It was the big question, and it took a Brit to ask it.”

    Also read: ‘12 Years a Slave’ Stuns Telluride: Do We Have an Oscar Front-Runner?
    As for the graphic scenes of beatings, floggings and hangings, breakout star Lupita Nyong’o said, “It was hard to go there, but it was necessary.”

    A huge crowd jammed the sidewalk across the street from the theater, though a few seemed to be laboring under the misapprehension that because a huge banner for “Gravity” hung over the marquee, they might see George Clooney or Sandra Bullock climbing out of a town car or festival SUV. They were happy to make do with Pitt, Michael Fassbender, certain Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and others, and the scene reinforced that it’s not opening night that really matters in Toronto, it’s Friday.

    While the opening night film, Bill Condon’s “The Fifth Estate,” was a solid drama with an outside chance of figuring into the awards race, TIFF’s first-night slot is not typically occupied by a major Oscar movie, (Past occupants of the spot include last year’s “Looper,” the U2 documentary “From the Sky Down” and “Score! A Hockey Musical.”)
    Also read: Toronto: Julian Assange, Roger Ebert Share Spotlight at Festival Opening
    But Friday is a different story. The Night 2 slot is where “Argo” premiered last year, “The King’s Speech” before that.
    “12 Years” wasn’t actually the night’s biggest gala – a block away from the Princess of Wales, in the larger Roy Thomson Hall, Jonathan Teplitzky’s “The Railway Man,” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, made its debut and left festival-goers in the post-screening crush comparing notes about the films. (Both got sidewalk raves; TheWrap will have a report on “The Railway Man” later in the festival.)


    The post Toronto: ’12 Years a Slave’ Leaves Another Festival Audience Shaken appeared first on TheWrap.
    Related stories from TheWrap:
    The Scene at the Toronto Film Festival: Parties, Panels and People (Photos)
    '12 Years a Slave' Stuns Telluride: Do We Have an Oscar Front-Runner?

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