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."
[OPINION] ONE WRITER SAYS THE STRUGGLES FACED BY AFRICAN AMERICANS AND PALESTINIANS ARE MORE SIMILAR THAN WE MAY KNOW
ByKRISTIAN DAVIS BAILEY
Supporters attending a funeral of two Palestinian youths in Ramallah, West Bank
Two years ago, a viral video emerged of a Palestinian alumnus named Fadi Quran being pepper sprayed and arrested while nonviolently protesting in the West Bank. As a journalist for The Stanford Daily, I had the opportunityto cover his arrest and detainment. And in the process, my eyes were opened to a whole conflict I was shocked I hadn’t heard about before. I learned that he had been protesting the closure of Shuhada Street—the main road in the West Bank’s largest city—because the Israeli military forbids Palestinians using it, only allowing Israeli settlers and foreigners to pass. I had learned that the pepper spray soldiers shot in Fadi’s face was made in the U.S. and that our government sends the Israeli military $3 billion a year in aid that helps fund this violent occupation. When I interviewed Fadi upon his release from jail, he remarked that the Israeli military court would have likely detained him indefinitely on the madeup charge that he had attacked ten soldiers were it not for the video and international solidarity.
Last summer I found myself standing on the exact street where Fadi was protesting. Thousands of miles away from the US, I was visiting a place that has come to symbolize the worst aspects of military occupation and colonization in Palestine. My group’s tour guide, Issa attempted to walk us down Shuhada Street—but a pair of Israeli soldiers not more than 21-years-old stopped him and told him he could not pass. Issa, who was born and raised in the house right next to the checkpoint, would be subject to arrest for continuing down the street. Between the video I took of this encounterand the many examples of separate and unequal treatment between Israelis and Palestinians I saw, I felt like I was watching some dystopic mashup of the pass laws Blacks faced in apartheid South Africa and the cruel humiliation of the Jim Crow South.
I learned how the police brutality African Americans and other minorities face in the US is directly tied to violence in Palestine. Since 2001, thousands of top police officials from cities across the US have gone to Israel for training alongside its military or have participated in joint exercises here. Just weeks before Oakland police violently broke up an Occupy rally, they had trained with repressive forces from Israel and Bahrain. In Georgia in 2006, a 92-year-old black woman was shot and killed by Atlanta police who had participated in an exchange program with Israeli soldiers on counterterrorism and drug enforcement. Our governments literally share resources and tactics with each other that directly harm our respective communities.
The experiences of African Americans and Palestinians with systemic mass incarceration are also strikingly similar. Forty percent of Palestinian men have been arrested and detained by Israel at some point in their lives. (To put this in perspective, the 2008 figure for Blacks was 1 in 11.) Israel maintains policies of detaining and interrogating Palestinian children that bear resemblance to the stop and frisk policy and disproportionate raids and arrests many of our youth face.
My five-week visit to Palestine last summer occurred less than a month after George Zimmerman’s verdict was released. Outside of Bethlehem, I was shocked to find a memorial to Trayvon Martin painted on the 24-foot separation wall Israel builds on Palestinian land. I was even more shocked at how viscerally I noticed similarities between Stand Your Ground laws at home and Israel’s justification for its treatment of Palestinians. I had heard story after story about how the Israeli military had used the “security threat” argument to justify the closing of Shuhada Street, shooting tear gas into a house full of women and children, barring my Palestinian-American friend from re-entering the country to continue her study abroad. Palestinians, Blacks and other groups in colonialist countries are “security threats” by our very existence of surviving under systems that seek to destroy us.
What is “safety” when the thing people are safe from is us? Who is looking out to protect the lives of Fadi or Trayvon? Why do our societies dismiss our narratives? And when our tax dollars fund the police and military systems that kill our communities here and abroad, what can we do to claim safety and protection for ourselves?
To me, our hope for this century may come from joint solidarity with marginalized people all over the world. Palestinians appeal not to the government that occupies and oppresses them, but to international bodies and universal principles of human rights for freedom. Similar to the Palestinians’ call for people of conscience to boycott and divest from companies that support their oppression, we might call on people abroad to pressure an end to "the New Jim Crow"---mass incarceration. Black movements have a rich history of alliances with those fighting racism and imperialism across the world, from Algeria to South Africa, El Salvador to Cuba.
After decades of strong resistance to discrimination and oppression at home and abroad, it seems more than coincidental that the progress of our past has been weakened by imprisonment drugs and isolation from the rest of the world. Most of us know very little about the Palestinian struggle and mainstream Palestinian society seemed to think everything is okay in terms of race in the United States today. In our separation, both of our relative struggles as Blacks and Palestinians remain ignored by the larger society. The time is ripe to rebuild those connections. Strong Black solidarity with the Palestinian struggle seems necessary and urgent. We must work together to address the effects of money, policing and militarism here and in Israel/Palestine.
Kristian Davis Bailey is a graduating senior at Stanford in the Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity program. He is co-president of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine and a college journalist. Read his writings from his travels in Palestine at ‘Postcards from Palestine’ and follow ‘Black on Palestine’ for the thoughts of others who have visited the region. (He thinksthese visuals are a good introduction for anyone new to the Israel-Palestine conflict.) Follow him on Twitter: @kristianbailey
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“The Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“When people like me, they like me "in spite of my color." When they dislike me; they point out that it isn't because of my color. Either way, I am locked in to the infernal circle.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“I, the man of color, want only this: That the tool never possess the man. That the enslavement of man by man cease forever. That is, of one by another. That it be possible for me to discover and to love man, wherever he may be.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“Negrophobes exist. It is not hatred of the Negro, however, that motivates them; they lack the courage for that, or they have lost it. Hate is not inborn; it has to be constantly cultivated, to be brought into being, in conflict with more or less recognized guilt complexes. Hate demands existence and he who hates has to show his hate in appropriate actions and behavior; in a sense, he has to become hate. That is why Americans have substituted discrimination for lynching. Each to his own side of the street.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“When someone strives & strains to prove to me that black men are as intelligent as white men, I say that intelligence has never saved anyone; and that is true, for, if philosophy and intelligence are invoked to proclaim the equality of men, they have also been employed to justify the extermination of men.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“To speak pidgin to a Negro makes him angry, because he himself is a pidgin-nigger-talker. But, I will be told, there is no wish, no intention to anger him. I grant this; but it is just this absence of wish, this lack of interest, this indifference, this automatic manner of classifying him, imprisoning him, primitivizing him, decivilizing him, that makes him angry.
If a man who speaks pidgin to a man of color or an Arab does not see anything wrong or evil in such behavior, it is because he has never stopped to think.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“Introducing someone as a "Negro poet with a University degree" or again, quite simply, the expression, "a great black poet." These ready-made phrases, which seem in a common-sense way to fill a need-or have a hidden subtlety, a permanent rub.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“[Educated blacks] Society refuses to consider them genuine Negroes. The Negro is a savage, whereas the student is civilized. "You're us," and if anyone thinks you are a Negro he is mistaken, because you merely look like one.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“At first glance it seems strange that the attitude of the anti-Semite can be equated with that of the negrophobe. It was my philosophy teacher from the Antilles who reminded me one day: “When you hear someone insulting the Jews pay attention; he is talking about you.” And I believed at the time he was universally right, meaning that I was responsible in my body and my soul for the fate reserved for my brother. Since then, I have understood that what he meant quite simply was the anti-Semite is inevitably a negrophobe.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“I feel my soul as vast as the world, truly a soul as deep as the deepest of rivers; my chest has the power to expand to infinity. I was made to give and they prescribe for me the humility of the cripple.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“For the beloved should not allow me to turn my infantile fantasies into reality: On the contrary, he should help me to go beyond them.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
“As I begin to recognise that the Negro is the symbol of sin, I catch myself hating the Negro. But then I recognise that I am a Negro. There are two ways out of this conflict. Either I ask others to pay no attention to my skin, or else I want them to be aware of it. I try then to find value for what is bad--since I have unthinkingly conceded that the black man is the colour of evil. In order to terminate this neurotic situation, in which I am compelled to choose an unhealthy, conflictual solution, fed on fantasies, hostile, inhuman in short, I have only one solution: to rise above this absurd drama that others have staged around me, to reject the two terms that are equally unacceptable, and through one human being, to reach out for the universal. When the Negro dives--in other words, goes under--something remarkable occurs.” ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Dr. Cornel West and Poet Marvin X endorse October as Nationwide Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration. Marvin X says, "The Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party called for a general amnesty. I say we must demand a general amnesty of all prisoners, most of whom are non-violent, drug addicted, mentally ill, poor and suffered lack of adequate legal representation."
Major Bay Area Kickoff Meeting October 2014 Nationwide Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Saturday, July 26
First Unitarian Church
685 14th Street (at Castro, right next to 980 Freeway)
Just in the past few weeks we have witnessed:
**1000's of children being driven across the border by US devastation of their homelands and then finding
themselves caught between Homeland Security rounds-ups and flag-waving racists
**The District Attorney in Santa Rosa California refusing any charges against the cop who murdered 13-year old
**2 videos that went viral showing cops brutally and unjustly beating Black women
All these and more outrages only serve to underscore more than ever that we need powerful outpourings of resistance in October– as envisioned in the Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (www.stopmassinceration.net) that was adopted at the meeting convened in New York in April 2014.
Should YOU be at this meeting?
Yes! If you live directly under these threats, this violence, this repression and want to STOP IT!
Yes!Even If you don’t yourself live directly under it, but you know that it’s wrong it and you want to STOP IT!
In the early 1960’s, a relative handful of courageous people from different backgrounds traveled from the North to stand with the people against viscous Jim Crow racism in Mississippi. They changed themselves and they changed history.
We must do the same. Let’s all come together, individuals and organizations and make real plans for this coming October, so our determination to end all this reverberates across the country and around the world!
October 2014 needs to be a full month of many diverse forms of resistance
Already, prominent and respected voices are signing the Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s Call for the Month of Resistance. JoinAyelet Waldman, novelist, lawyer ; Alice Walker, author; Peter Coyote, actor, author, director; Cornel West, author, educator, voice of conscience; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party; Noam Chomsky, Professor (ret.), MIT*; Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson; Michelle Alexander, Marvin X and 100’s of others who have pledged to be part of the Month of Resistance
Take the Pledge! Endorse the Call forOctober. Spread the Call far and wide!
Palestinian rescue workers search for survivors under the rubble of a house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/ AP)
During its first 14 days, the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip has left atollof over 500 dead, the vast majority of whom civilians, and many more injured. Thousands of houses were targeted and destroyed together with other essential civilian infrastructures. Over one hundred thousand civilians have been displaced. By the time you will read this article the numbers will have grown higher and, despicably, no real truce seems in sight. When I say real, I mean practicable, agreeable to both sides and sustainable for some time.
The Israeli government, followed suit by Western media and governments, was quick to put the blame on Hamas for that. Hamas – they claim – had an opportunity to accept a truce brokered by Egypt – and refused it. Others have already explained at length why this proposal crafted without any consultations with Hamas, washard to acceptby Hamas.
Much less noticed by the Western media was that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had meanwhile proposed a10 year truceon the basis of 10 – very reasonable – conditions. While Israel was too busy preparing for the ground invasion, why didn’t anyone in the diplomatic community spend a word about this proposal? The question is all the more poignant as this proposal was in essence in line with what many international experts as well as the United Nations have asked for years now, and included some aspects that Israel had already considered as feasible requests in the past.
The main demands of this proposal revolve around lifting the Israeli siege in Gaza through the opening of its borders with Israel to commerce and people, the establishment of an international seaport and airport under U.N. supervision, the expansion of the permitted fishing zone in the Gaza sea to 10 kilometers, and the revitalization of Gaza industrial zone. None of these demands is new. The United Nations among others have repeatedlydemanded the lifting of the siege, which is illegal under international law, as a necessary condition to end the dire humanitarian situation in the Strip. The facilitation of movement of goods and people between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip had already been stipulated in the Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA)signed betweenthe Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Even the construction of a port and the possibility of an airport in Gaza had already been stipulated in the AMA, though the actual implementation never followed. The requested increase of the permitted fishing zone is less than what envisaged in the 1994 Oslo Agreements and it was already part of the 2012 ceasefire understanding. Unhindered fishermen’s access to the sea, without fear of being shot or arrested and having boats and nets confiscated by Israeli patrols is essential to the 3000 Gaza fishermen struggling to survive today by fishing in a limited area which is overfished and heavily polluted. The revitalization of the Gaza industrial zone, which has progressively been dismantled since the 2005 disengagement and by continuous military operations, was already considered acrucial Palestinian interestat the time of the 2005 Disengagement.
The proposed truce also demands the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border and the Internationalization of the Rafah Crossing and its placement under international supervision. The presence of international forces on the borders and the withdrawal of the Israeli army requested by Hamas is unsurprising, considered the heavy toll of casualties by Israeli fire in the Access Restricted Areas near the Israeli border (i.e. an area of 1.5km along the border comprising 35% of Gaza land and 85% of its whole arable land). The international presence should guarantee that Egyptian and Israeli security concerns are equally met.
The proposal also requests Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners whom had been freed as part of the deal to liberate Gilat Shalit and were arrested after the killing of the three Israeli youths in June 2014 in the West Bank; that Israel refrains from interfering in the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah; and that the permits for worshippers to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque be eased.
Not only are these conditions sensible in light of previous agreements but, especially those who pertain to the lift of the siege, are the minimum standards that Hamas and the people of Gaza could accept in the current circumstances. AsRaji Sourani reports, the most common sentence from people in Gaza after the announcement of the Egyptian ‘brokered’ ceasefire was “Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die”. The dire circumstances under which Gazans have lived in the last 7 years have indeed evoked in many the image of the enclave as “the world’s largest open air prison”. A prison which is overcrowded and where in 6 years there will no longer be enough drinkable water or capacity to provide other essential services, as a recentUN report denounces. Facing this gloomy context, for many the continuous launch of rockets from Gaza is a response to the siege and theharsh conditions imposed by the occupation.
One could imagine that an agreement on the basis of the Hamas proposal could not only stop the current round of hostilities but also pave the way towards a lasting solution of the conflict. However Israel has shown no interest in considering this proposal and continues to prefer the military option. As a result one wonders whether Israel really wants a long lasting resolution of the conflict. This resolution would necessarily require compromises on the Israeli side, including relinquishing control over the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu recently made it perfectly clear thatthis option is off the table. An eventual agreement between Israel and Hamas would further strengthen the legitimacy of Hamas in the newly achieved Palestinian unity, which is a prerequisite for any lasting peace. Legitimizing the Palestinian unity is something the Israeli government isavoidinglike the plague as it would push forward their quest for justice in the international arena.
Perhaps more surprisingly, the international community – with the exception of Turkey and Qatar – has spent no words on the Hamas truce proposal although many of the points of the proposal already enjoy international support. This refusal to deal with the proposal is particularly problematic in the current context. Without any pressure by the international community, Israel, the party who has the upper hand in this conflict, will feel legitimized to keep refusing negotiations for a real truce with Hamas. Truces and negotiations are made with enemies not friends. International organizations and Western leaders, echoing Israel and the United States, maintain that Hamas is a terrorist organization and thus any direct negotiations with it are embargoed.
Hamas resorts to violence, which is often indiscriminate and targets civilians – also due to the lack of precision weapons. But so does Israel – no matter how sophisticated its weaponry is. If the point is to help parties negotiate, both parties have to be treated equally, encouraged to consider measures other than military ones and accept compromises based on international law. Especially when sensible proposals are on the table as in this case. The firm refusal to engage with Hamas at this point epitomizes the failure of the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Unless the international community reverts this pattern by taking a honest stand grounded in international law and diplomacy, the plight of Gaza and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue.
The recent video recording of the death of Eric Garner during a suspicious arrest made by several White NYPD uniformed and undercover law enforcement officers, has caused an uproar, as the footage circulates online. The 43-year old father of six, and grandfather of two, was arrested for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes that were not found on his person or in his vehicle. While his death is tragic, a black man dying at the hands of the NYPD, or at the hands of the police over a crime that never occurred or wrong assumptions, is nothing new; this type of murder in America has become passé and a common thing in every City, County and State in America. It is considered a hazard of ‘Breathing While Black (BWB).
Caucasian law enforcement officers have a century-long history of killing a large percentage of black men they come in contact with. This is due, in part, to the mentality of post-slavery fear, and hatred, of the Black community that African-Americans have endured for centuries, and also due in part to inept unprofessionalism, low self-esteem, a tendency towards settling personal vendettas and an incredible lack of adequate training among law enforcement officers despite an unprecedented massive militarization of their weaponry by the Federal government.
In Garner’s case, witnesses verified Garner’s repeated statements to police that he had done nothing wrong, and despite Garner expressing his frustration with being repeatedly harassed, officers still aggressively handcuffed him and placed him under arrest with no proof that he had actually violated any law. An officer can be seen placing Garner in an illegal chokehold in footage of the incident. After telling officers multiple times that he could not breathe, his body goes limp. As several publications point out in their reporting of Garner’s death, there will most likely be rallies, memorials, and a lawsuit regarding the NYPD’s excessive use of force just as there have been in thousands of other cases around the country. One thing that will most likely not happen, as it has rarely happened in other instances, is having the officers responsible be punished for their actions. This week is the 50th anniversary of 15-year-old James Powell being shot and killed by a white NYPD officer. Before and since that time, there have been many more black men killed by officers.
Nicholas Heyward Jr. was shot in the stomach and killed by an NYPD officer in Brooklyn in 1994 when his toy gun was mistaken for a real gun during a game of cops and robbers. He was just 13-years-old. No charges were pressed against Officer Brian George who fired the fatal shot. Another case where officers were not convicted of any wrongdoing is the noted case of Amadou Diallo who had 41 shots fired at him by four officers who allegedly thought his wallet was a gun. A matter of days after the officers who killed Diallo were acquitted and mere blocks from where he was murdered, 23-year-old Malcolm Ferguson was shot and killed in his home by undercover officer Louis Rivera. Ironically, Ferguson had been arrested just a week before his death for protesting the acquittal of the officers who killed Amadou Diallo. Ousmane Zongo is another African American who was shot and killed by NYPD during a raid of the warehouse where he worked. Zongo had nothing to do with the CD/DVD operation that was being raided, but he was still shot four times by Officer Bryan Conroy because he ran. Conroy was disguised as a postal worker, so Zongo had no way of knowing that the person pointing a gun at him was actually a cop. Despite Conroy shooting Zongo after Zongo had come to a dead end and could not run any further, Conroy never received any jail time for shooting an unarmed man who was cornered and had committed no crime.
In the case of 19-year-old Tim Stansbury, Officer Richard Neri was only stripped of his gun and given a 30-day suspension for allegedly ‘unintentionally pulling his trigger’ (how does a trained police officer unintentionally pull a trigger?) and killing Stansbury while he stood on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Ramarley Graham is another teenager who was shot and killed by NYPD Officer Richard Haste. Haste claims he was responding to reports that Graham had a gun. After shooting and killing Haste in his grandmother’s bathroom, police only found a small bag of marijuana. A grand jury did not return an indictment against Haste for murdering Graham. In all these cases, the murdered men were all African-American and the officers were White. If there were a similar prolonged, sustained decades-long spate of killings of innocent White teenagers by Black police officers, America would lose its goddamn mind.
According to statistics released by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, NYPD officers killed 21 people in 2012 with nearly 90 percent of those killed being black or Hispanic. In 2012, for example, Chicago police shot 57 people, out of whom 30 were black and 2 were white. The recent death of Eric Garner while being placed under arrest underscores the fact that men of color dying at the hands of the NYPD is not abating, and as the years pass, dozens of deaths are turning into thousands. The reality is that this is not restricted to New York alone. In every state in America there are similar cases, some of which have received national headline attention while others are quietly swept under the rug.
In March of 1997, L.A.P.D. Detective Frank Lyga, while driving an unmarked police vehicle, got into a road rage argument with another man on Ventura Boulevard. Lyga says that after the other man threatened to “cap his ass”, he drew his service weapon and shot him. The man died. He later said that “this guy had ‘I’m a gang member’ written all over him.” The only problem was the “gang member” was actually Kevin Gaines and he was an off-duty L.A.P.D. police officer. He was black while Lyga is white and more telling, recently, Electronic Urban Report broke a story on a November 18, 2013 memo written by an unnamed officer to L.A.P.D. Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger. In the memo, the unnamed officer reports that Detective Frank Lyga had threatened to go to the media about the shooting being ‘a sanctioned hit’ on Gaines by the LAPD, meaning certain White officers had approved the murder of Kevin Gaines. Lyga reportedly told 37 people, including LAPD members, California Highway Patrol officers, Glendale Police Department staff, L.A. Port Police, and L.A. Unified School Police that Chief Bernard Parks had angered him by wanting to send him to another unit in attempt to “hide him for awhile.” Lyga reportedly boasted and laughed about blackmailing Parks, according to the memo. When an attorney asked him if he had any regrets, Lyga says “I said, ‘Yeah, I regret that he was alone in his truck at the time. Hear that? Alone in the truck at the time … I could have killed a whole truckload of them … and would have been happily doing it. ”As a result of the story going public, Lyga is now the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation and has been ‘relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation.’ - the usual.
We have repeatedly seen the anguish, suffering and tears of thousands of mothers of African-Americans such as Kenneth Harding, Derrick Jones, Derrick Gaines, Rahiem Brown Jr., James Rivera and Oscar Grant, all gunned down by police. White BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, the killer cop who shot an unarmed handcuffed Oscar Grant in the back at point-blank range in front of hundreds of BART subway riders in Oakland, Ca on New Years morning 2009 was given what amounted to a slap on the wrist. Since the Grant verdict day, instead of a decline in police violence we have seen a marked increase. We’ve seen an outrageous 680,000 people stopped and frisked in New York with over 95% of those stops being Black and Brown men with less than 5% resulting in any weapons recovered.
Stop and Frisk led to the shooting death of unarmed Ramarley Graham. We’ve seen police shoot a motorist Hernandez L. Dowdy in Memphis, TN after someone falsely accused him of car jacking. We’ve seen police in Pasadena shoot 19-year old Kendrick falsely accused of stealing a computer. We’ve seen an officer in Chicago shoot an innocent bystander named Rekia Boyd after he mistakenly thought the man standing next to her had a gun. We’ve seen police in White Plains New York shoot unarmed army vet, a senior citizen named Kenneth Chamberlain Snr. who accidently set off his medical alert pendant. The officer at the center of the killing, as in most of these cases, has a sordid history of brutality and racism. We seen Oakland police shoot high school senior Alan Bluford in the back and then lie about the self-inflicted wound the officer suffered. He shot himself and blamed Bluford. OPD has still refused to officially identify the officer.
I could go on for days citing story after story along with the fact that in many cities all over the United States police brutality incidents and police killing civilians are on the rise. For example, in Los Angeles which was supposed to have drastically reformed their police department, we seen a huge increase in police shootings. The department tried to blame it on citizens attacking them more; that assertion has since been proven to be false. What’s crazy about L.A. is that police pushed to get the city council to support a law that will keep officers records sealed from the public. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a ‘Report on Extrajudicial Killings’, which found that Blacks are being murdered by the police at a rate of one every forty hours. Rosa Clemente of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement stated that, “Nowhere is a Black man or woman safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance and overriding suspicion. All Black people- regardless of education, behavior or dress- are subject to the whims of the police in this epidemic of state-initiated or condoned violence.
In America, on average, every 40 hours a Black man or woman is executed by the police in America, be it justified or not. It takes nine months for a baby to be born and at least over ten years before it approaches pre-adolescence before the teenage years. Is this not the definition of systemized genocide? You do the math. I’ll say it again- if there were a similar prolonged, sustained decades-long spate of killings of innocent White teenagers by Black police officers, America would lose its goddamn mind. Reflect upon this for a minute- the Black hip-hop artistes that America were most scared of, or who espoused lyrics that were reaching a large portion of the Black populace, were quickly emasculated. The Jewish-controlled Hollywood machine made them offers they could not refuse in order to depict them in a decidedly pro- law enforcement light. Dig deep down into your psyche and see if you even realized that these men present themselves in your minds more in the roles society eventually feels comfortable placing them in - as policemen, sworn to uphold the law- their laws.
1. Detective Odafin Tutuola in ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ (Ice T).
2. Internal Affairs Investigator Kyle Timkins in ‘Rampart’, as well as an angry police captain in ‘21 Jump Street’ (Ice Cube).
3. Police Detective Jake Rodriguez in ‘Gang-Related’ (2 Pac).
4. Police Detective Moses Jones in ‘American Gangster’ (RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan).
5. Officer Maldonado in ‘Freelancers’ (50 Cent- Curtis Jackson).
6. Police Detective Emilio in ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’ (Tone Loc).
7. Lieutenant Jim Bravura in ‘Max Payne’ and Officer Brandon in ‘New Year’s Eve’ (Ludacris).
8. Police Officer on ‘Hawaii Five-0’ (Sean. P. Diddy Combs)
9. Detective Paul in ‘Training Day’ (Dr. Dre)
10. Detective Turner in ‘Venom’ and Undercover Cop in ‘Feel it in the air’ (Method Man)
11. Detective Collins in ‘Date Night’ (Common)
12. Lieutenant Miller in ’Carmen’ (Mos Def)
13. F.B.I. Special Agent Mosley Drummy in ‘X-Files: I want to believe’ (Xzibit)
The fact is a majority of Black actors and men of influence regardless of vocation in America at some point are required to play the role of cops- or dress up as women. If they refuse, it generally means the end of their careers. L.L. Cool J, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Reginald Vel Johnson, Michael Warren, Taurean Blacque, Steve Harris, Jennifer Beales, even Tracy Morgan, Sonja Sohn, Martin Lawrence, Laurence Fishburn, Michelle Hurd, Regina King, Tracie Thoms, Erik King, Jamie Foxx, Don Cheadle, Corey Reynolds, Malik Yoba, Sidney Poitier, Danny Glover, Gregory Hines, Holly Robinson-Peete, Phillip Michael-Thomas, Chris Tucker, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans, Morgan Freeman, Forest Whitaker, Will Smith and dozens of other Black actors eventually learned and accepted this, albeit unwillingly.
A credible national database on use of force by police is a longtime goal of criminologists and reformers. A 1996 Bureau of Justice report notes that for decades, criminal justice experts have been calling for increased collection of data on police use of force. “We don't have a mandate to do that”, William Carr, a FBI spokesperson told the Los Vegas Review Journal. “It would take a request from Congress to collect that data.” Carr's claim is false because the ‘1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act’ instructs the Attorney General to “acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers and to publish an annual summary of the data acquired” yet 20 years later this hasn’t happened. Many, if not all, police accountability activists believe the police are wounding and killing more people than they were five or ten or twenty years ago, and that a higher percentage of the incidents are unjustified. The trend, they say, is all the more alarming because it has accompanied an overall decline in violent crime.
Information on police violence exists. Every time a cop fires a gun or otherwise uses force, details about the incident go into a case file. What's missing is an effort to consolidate the information, much less analyze it. “All the federal government would have to do is say (to police departments), provide this data or you won't receive funding,” says criminologist David Klinger, a former police officer. But the administration, like previous ones, isn't inclined to do so, and while a bipartisan group in Congress seeks information about people killed by the U.S. military, there's no comparable effort to uncover information about people killed by the U.S. police. Invasive policing is only one aspect of the U.S. states comprehensive containment strategies to exploit Black people and to smother resistance.
To contain the upsurge of the Black liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and protect the system of white supremacy, the institutional forces of racism have worked through governments at every level to destabilize the Black community via community divestment, massive employment discrimination, outsourcing, gentrification and other forms of economic dislocation. In addition, schools, housing, healthcare, other social services and transportation in Black communities have been denied equitable provision and distribution of public goods and resources to demographics other than Caucasian.
The U.S. state maintains and reinforces these economic injustices with the militarized occupation of Black communities by the police and a web of racist legislation like the ‘war on drugs’, discriminatory polices like ‘three strikes’ and ‘mandatory minimum’ sentencing. The result is a social system that mandates the prison warehousing of millions of Black people and extra-judicial killings where law enforcement killers act with impunity and, more often than not, are rewarded and promoted for murder. The oppression and police occupation of Black communities parallels the brutalization, denial of human rights and killings being committed by the Israeli occupying forces in Palestine. Nothing short of the structural integrity and survival of the Black community is at stake when we consider the historic record. America’s track record speaks for itself. Something must be done to stop these killings and have the officers, who continuously murder innocents based on the color of their skin, held accountable.
VICTORY CONFIRMED.... U.S. GOVERNMENT HELD POLITICAL PRISONER IMAM JALIL AL-AMIN aka H. "RAP" BROWN HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO A MEDICAL FACILITY. THANKS TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED IN WINNING THIS VICTORY! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE
MUSLIM ALLIANCE IN NORTH AMERICA
18 July 2014 - 20/21 Ramadan 1435
18 JULY UPDATE
IMAM JAMIL AL-AMIN CONFIRMED
AT BUTNER, NC MEDICAL FACILITY
We have received the happy confirmation from the family of Imam Jamil that he has indeed been transferred from the BOP ADMAX facility in Florence, Co to Butner FMC, a BOP Medical facility in Butner, NC. An additional update and message from Imam Jamil is expected soon.
Imam Jamil's family send their warm greetings and sincere thanks to any and all who have and are advocating on his behalf and this statement:
"It is through your efforts that the Imam (Imam Jamil) has been moved to Butner and we want to thank each and everyone of you. This move is a result of YOUR calls and emails. This could not have happened without your efforts. We thank you, and the Imam thanks you."
YOUR EFFORTS ARE STILL NEEDED
His movement to a medical facility is the first step in a effort to ensure that Imam Jamil receives the urgent medical care that he needs and that is his right. The BOP needs to know that we will continue to monitor their care and treatment of Imam Jamil.
OUR ADVOCACY FOR IMAM JAMIL
Our advocacy for Imam Jamil is that: (1) Jamil Al-Amin #99974-555 immediately receive the bone marrow biopsy he needs to confirm the stage of his cancer, (2) that there be no delay in Imam Jamil and his family receiving the results of that biopsy; and (3) that Imam Jamil immediately begin receiving the qualified medical care necessary to treat his disease, as is his right.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton orders all 35,000 cops to be retrained in using force after chokehold was used on Eric Garner
An autopsy on Eric Garner proved 'inconclusive,' but further tests will be performed. As protests and cries for justice resounded on the steps of City Hall, Bratton ordered an investigation on the use of force.
New York's top cop on Tuesday ordered his 35,000 officers retrained in the use of force as an incensed lawmaker called the death of a dad placed in a banned chokehold “murder.”
As cries for justice resounded on the steps of City Hall over Eric Garner’s demise in police custody, an autopsy on the asthmatic father of six proved inconclusive, and a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said further tests would be needed.
“This was a murder,” state Sen. Bill Perkins declared at a City Hall rally. “Without even being arrested, he was choked to death. It’s outrageous. It’s unacceptable.”
Garner, 43, died after being taken down by cops, allegedly for selling bootleg cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk. A cell phone video shot by a witness shows him repeatedly pleading “I can’t breathe” after being placed in a chokehold by a cop.
The incident has prompted a criminal investigation by the Staten Island district attorney and reviews by other agencies. The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1994 after a Bronx man, Anthony Baez, was killed by an officer who placed him in one.
This morning I heard an interview by Sonali Kalhatkar (Uprising Radio) with Nikki Giovanni on radio station KPFA, Berkeley, a Pacifica station. Nikki and I have been friends and comrades since 1968 when the Black Arts Movement shakers and movers were in Harlem NY and throughout the United States. But Nikki was there along with the Last Poets, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, Woody King, Askia Toure, Larry Neal, Barbara Ann Teer, Haki Madhubuti, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, myself and a host of others.
Nikki took full advantage of the moment and went on to great success. After our BAM moment, sometimes I agreed with her and sometimes I didn't, but this morning I agreed with almost everything she said, especially when asked about the BAM poets and their relationship and contribution to the Rap poets. She appreciated Tupac, especially for holding up the revolutionary banner; she gave Jay Z, 50 cents, Sean Jean, even Kanye West, kudos for being artists and businessmen. She did say Kanye lives on another planet!
We appreciated her remarks about her elders, especially her grandfather, whom she described as a man of class, who dressed with class as did my father and uncles.
I especially liked her comments about people tripping over fidelity. She said we need to get beyond such matters. Of course her remarks are in sync with my pamphlet Mythology of Pussy and Dick. By the way, the young people are distributing this pamphlet to each other and they report to me that it is changing young people's lives.
But when the interviewer asked her about President Obama, her answer sent chills over my body. She said President Obama has placated his enemies but not his friends. He is not her idea of a great man. "My idea of a great man is H. Rap Brown," she said. Nikki, I love you! --Marvin X 7/24/14
H. Rap Brown, aka Imam Jamil Al-Amin
Open letter to the Community from Karima Al-Amin
Jul 24, 2014 —
As-salaamu'alaikum, Ramadan Mubarak!
I am so pleased to share this update with the many individuals who supported our effort to campaign for Imam Jamil to receive medical attention and to be transferred to a federal medical center. I have heard from Imam Jamil who has reported that he indeed was transferred on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, from the Florence, Colorado ADX to Butner FMC, in North Carolina. He would like to express his deep appreciation for the support he has received from individuals who made calls, signed petitions, attended meetings, wrote letters, offered public comments, and galvanized others to take action. Within this past week, the Imam has had extensive examinations, from "head to toe." Additionally, this morning--July 23, 2014--he had the bone marrow biopsy. Although we will not receive the results for another two weeks, we are encouraging people at this point to continue sending letters and cards to the
Imam, while he waits to receive the medical results.
I do intend to send personal letters of appreciation to individuals in the hope that I will not miss thanking those who made a difference in this campaign. Together we demonstrated that there are those who will see an injustice and act to expose and correct the wrong.
I also wanted to share that Imam Jamil has been able to keep his fast during Ramadan, which is yet another example of his strength and faith. May Allah continue to guide him and strengthen him. Send letters and cards to: Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, 99974-555 FMC Butner Federal Medical Center P.O. Box 1600 Butner, NC 27509
Jazak Allah Khaira Karima Al-Amin
Uprising Radio was founded in July 2003 by Sonali Kolhatkar, host and lead producer of Uprising. Uprising emphasizes connecting global issues with local ones. Simply informing listeners of the problems in the world and our communities is not enough – we hope to motivate our listeners to take an active role in their communities. It is a daily digest of independent news analysis, investigation, education, artistic expression, activism in the public interest. Uprising airs daily on KPFA, KFCF and KPFK, Pacifica Radio stations in California from 8-9 am on weekdays.
Sonali has just completed a successful crowd funding campaign to expand the reach of her program to Free Speech TV. Sonali is also a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com and the Co-Director of the Afghan Women's Mission, a US-based non-profit that works in solidarity with Afghan women activists. She has a Masters Degree in Astronomy, and lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons.
Uprising Radio is also produced by Bipasha Shom. She was recently nominated for an LA Press Club Award for her piece on the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike.
Live on KPFA at 08:00 AM Pacific Time: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays See the KPFA Program Grid for more details.
On Tuesday evening, 10PM, 89.5, KPOO FM will interview Master teacher/poet Marvin X on the GAZA concentration camp and why North American African must support Palestinians and all peoples liberating themselves from global terrorism by imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism and apartheid known as Zionism and all forms of reaction, especially by the Arab and African ruling classes. Brother Terry Collins will conduct the interview with Marvin X. Catch Marvin X this weekend at Oakland's Art and Soul Festival. FYI, Marvin X says, "When you separate the art from the soul, it is a prescription for psychosis or a break with reality! Art reflects the soul or the lack thereof!" In his play A Black Mass, Amiri Baraka said of the devil, "Where the soul's print should be, there is only a pouch of disgusting habits." Marvin X's booth will be outside the entrance at 14th and Broadway, near Walgreens.
Oh, how fondly we remember Dewey Redman and all the Black Arts West Theatre musicians, San Francisco, 1966. especially Rafael Donald Garrett, bassist, drummer Oliver Jackson,
BJ, Monte Waters and his Big Band, trumpet master Earl Davis who is still with me. Recently Earl performed with me at the Black Arts West Conference, University of California, Merced, Feb-March, 2014. Earl also performed at the Malcolm X Jazz/Arts Festival, Oakland. He was/is part of the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra who closed out the festival produced by Eastside Arts. Below is sax man David Murray and Earl accompanying my reading of Amiri Baraka's classic poem DOPE.
But Dewey, Rafael, Earl, Monte and the other musicians taught us (playwright Ed Bullins, actor Danny Glover, actors Hillery Broadous, Karl Bossiere, Duncan Barber, and Ethna Wyatt (Hurriyah Asar) and Vonetta McGee, et al., who to break free of the Western theatrical form, the main challenge of the Black Arts Movement. How do we transform the Western esthetic and return to the African and Eastern tradition of myth-ritual artistic expression. The musicians taught us how to transcend the script into an improvisational mechanism. They taught us ( and later Sun Ra would expand on the lesson) how to have discipline and freedom simultaneously. They demanded and we gave them free range of the theatre, including stage and audience (which become one in the BAM ritual theatre, ala Baraka, Marvin X, Ed Bullins and Robert McBeth and company at Harlem's New Lafayette Theatre, and of course Barbara Ann Teers National Black Theatre). During our plays, the musicians would appear on stage or enter from the rear, to accent or expand on the script. To help us promote our productions and their concerts, they would play on the street in front of Black Arts West Theatre on Fillmore Street, across the street from Trees Poolhall. Fillmore was bumper to bumper cars mostly with North American African riders. The musicians would play along with the car horns and other street sounds, thus art and reality became one. We are so thankful the musicians showed us the way. Of course, we would meet Sun Ra in Harlem and our world of Black Arts was smashed by the Ra machine or Myth-Science Arkestra. Ra transcended the other musicians with his deep knowledge of African science and esthetics. He took us deeper with his demand for discipline as opposed to freedom. We were born free, he said. "Stop teaching your actors freedom, teach them discipline, there were born free." What is so wonderful about Dewey Redman is that he gave us his son, Joshua, and the world knows the rest.
Ancestor Dewey Redman
Joshua Redman, son of Dewey
Marvin X and Sun Ra, Black Educational Theatre, 1972. During this time, Marvin X and Sun Ra both lectured in Black Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Fly to Allah, poems, 1968,established Marvin X as the father of Muslim American literature, according to Dr. Mohja Khaf, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. All the BAM poets and artists were deeply influenced by Islam, especially taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad through his spokesman Malcolm X. We think of Askia Toure, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Last Poets, Haki Madhubuti, et al.
photo Doug Harris
Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, Malcolm X Jazz/Art Fest, May 17, 2014
photo collage by Adam Turner
Dance Amiri and Maya, dance. Do the funky git down! Look at Amina enjoying herself (center).
Marvin X wants to revive Amiri Baraka play The Toilet for a manhood training ritual or rites of passage.
Marvin X and violinist Tarika Lewis, a member of the BAM Poets Choir and Arkestra
Elliott Bey, keyboard genius, works with Marvin X coast to coast. See their DVD Marvin X Live in Philly at Warm Daddies
Ancestor Goldsky works
Francisco Mora Catlett, Afro Horn Ensemble, son of ancestor Elizabeth Cattlett Mora, a BAM master herself. His mother gave Marvin X refuge in Mexico City during his second exile from resisting the draft, for which he was deported from Belize and returned to US custody. He served five months in Terminal Island Federal Prison for his beliefs, including the notion promoted by his associate in the Nation of Islam, Muhammad Ali, "No Viet Cong never called me a Nigguh."
Ed Bullins and Marvin X founded Black Arts West Theatre (BAW) in San Francisco's Fillmore District, 1966. Ed joined Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X at the Black House, political and cultural center, 1967.
Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale was an actor in Marvin's theatre before he founded the Black Panther Party along with Huey Newton. Bobby, Huey and Marvin studied together at Oakland's Merritt College, 1962.
Godfather of the Black Arts Movement, Amiri Baraka and Marvin X
Ethna X. Wyatt, aka Hurriyah Asar, Queen of the West Coast Black Arts Movement. She was a part of Black Arts West Theatre and The Black House.
Master playwright, Ed Bullins
The Holy couple, Amina and Amiri Baraka. We think that's Ras in her arms, now the Mayor of Newark New Jersey.
Marvin X and his man in Philly, piano master Alfie Pollitt
Earl Davis, trumpet master of BAM
Earl Davis at Black Arts Conference, University of California, Merced, 2014
The Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, Black Arts Movement Conference, University of California, Merced, 2014
Marvin X reading Amiri Baraka's DOPE, accompanied by David Murray and Earl Davis, backed by the BAM Poets Choir and Arkestra, Malcolm X Jazz Fest, May 17, 2014, Oakland
Ah holy ghost music ah through the Mississippi Delta you came holy ghost saved us in the night from strange fruit holy ghost music forced us to not cut their throats for strange fruit we listened and learned if not for music they would all be dead heads cut off thrown in the Mississippi with good cheer Al Hamdulilah! Play Hamza Al Din work the Holy Ghost in our hearts we are children of the sun and the moon play for us our music from the Hapi River Blue Hapi White Hapi but Hapi no De Nile Hapi sing Hamza pluck your Oud into our hearts again hearts ravaged by fear and loneliness but fear is true great monster by far we can be alone but not lonely I write alone I ask my lover not to hang on my shoulder I am paranoid let me compose in peace find something for you to do that you enjoy do not look over my shoulder But I want to see what you are doing I've never seen anything like this before let me watch you, please.
Sing Hamza Play Hamza --Marvin X 7,27/14
Around the same time the musicians were turning Black Arts West out to the African myth-rituals, we were turned on to Hamza El Din, the Nubian, by Ishmalah, the hat maker, who was denied entrance to the Mosque #26 because he made hypocrite hats! Many of the creative and artistic brothers were deemed hypocrites by the devil officials at the mosque, coast to coast. But Hamza took us home, back to Hapi, not Nile River, the Hapi River. We call the Nile De Nile, a state of mind that is the prime factor in our addiction to white supremacy. Nothing can happen until we come out of DE NILE and get to HAPI!
Augusta Lee Collins is a true trooper, who will not through in the towel but has tenacity, staying power. He uses the art God blessed him with. They say if you don't use it you will lose it, so this is not Augusta. His music background is impeccable, Google him! He has performed with me on many occasions and I expect him to be part of my Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra 27 City Tour in Honor of the 50th year of the Black Arts Movement and the major player, Ancestor poet Amiri Baraka. Marvin X, The Post Newspaper Group and Eastside Arts is in the initial stages of planning the Bay Area Celebration of the 50th Year of the Black Arts Movement. Marvin X says, "I plan to bring the major players of the Black Arts Movement to Oakland, tentatively February, 2015. We want to honor the revolutionary artists who were part of BAM and are still with us: Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure, Woody King, Nikki Giovanni, Ed Bullins, Haki Madhubuti, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Last Poets, and Marvin X, among other artistic workers in the Liberation Movement, including Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party. FYI, Augusta Lee Collins will be part of the BAM Poets Choir and Arkestra. Let's support Augusta, a true trooper! Can't wait to hear Augusta sing the Marvin X Blues book. Now you know Marvin X will read along with Augusta, if asked.
Blues Lover on my shoulder ....I write alone I ask my lover not to hang on my shoulder I am paranoid let me compose in peace find something for you to do that you enjoy do not look over my shoulder But I want to see what you are doing I've never seen anything like this before let me watch you, please.... Sing Hamza Play Hamza --Marvin X 7,27/14
I am so honored to have met Fred Ho shortly before his transition to the ancestors. Even though in failing health, he gave a benefit for Micheal Maroon Shoats, a 40 year political prisoner in the American Gulag, most of his time spent in solitary confinement. But Fred was determined to stay activist to the end, and we all must follow his example. As Paul Robeson taught us, we must decide to be the artistic freedom fighter. I experienced Fred Ho as such. Revolutionary Love, Fred Ho --Marvin X P.S. Long live the revolutionary spirit of another Asian freedom fighter, Yuri Kochiyama! We love you, Yuri because you loved us!--Marvin X
Unfortunately, This jazz masterpiece by Fred Ho was basically pulled from public distribution due to the reactionary & unprincipled law suit threats by the Huey P. Newton Foundation over Fred's use of the so-called copyrighted use of Black Panther Party imagery & logos and is currently listed On Amazon For $29.99 used and for as much as $359.63 new.......
Fortunately, as veteran members of the Black Panther Party who do not acknowledge the HPN Foundation's "U.S. government approved copyright claims"; Both the Peoples Survival Program and the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee will have a Very Limited Number Of Rare "New & Unused Copies" Of Fred Ho's "All Power to the People: The Black Panther Suite Jazz DVD" Available For Only $30.00... During His Sunday, August 10, 2014 Birthday Tribute @ShapeShifter Lab - 18 Whitwell Place -Brooklyn, NY 11215
All of the proceeds from these "1st Come/RSVP" DVD sales will be equally divided amongst the U.S. Political Prisoner freedom campaigns for Black Panther PP/POW's Russell "Maroon" Shoatz, Sekou Odinga and the community based projects of the IFCO/Safiya Bukhari-Albert Nuh Washington Foundation's NYC based "Peoples Survival Program (PSP)"
"Founded in the wake of the assassination of Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party came to symbolize the apotheosis of the explosive late-1960s in American society. Everything about the Panthers was provocative: their Mao-ist inspired political slogans, their ubiquitous black berets and leather jackets, their clenched fist Black Power salute, their big Afro-hairstyles, their practice of openly bearing firearms, and their disciplined militancy and revolutionary political vision. The Black Panthers not only fired the imagination of their generation but also shifted the strategy of the African American struggle and all movements for justice and social change in the United States by seeking solutions rooted in a basic redistribution of power.
A composer/musician and Asian American, I came of age as a teenager in the late-1960s and early-1970s. The energy of this movement and the music of that time set the direction for both my life and my music. I even joined an Asian American counterpart to the Black Panthers (c.f., Legacy to Liberation: Politics and Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America, AK Press).
I believe that the same issues of 30 years ago continue today with even more urgency and intensity. That is why I envision ALL POWERTO THE PEOPLE! THE BLACK PANTHER MUSIC/VIDEO AND MARTIAL ARTS BALLET SUITE not as a docu-drama looking back to the late-1960s/early-1970s, but as an occasion to continue the energy, spirit and vision of that period and link it to today. This, I feel, would be the real and sincere way to commemorate and celebrate the Panthers.
Combining live music performed by the Afro Asian Music Ensemble with electric guitar and African percussion (eight musicians), live interactive digital video mixing and martial arts ballet choreography, the interactivity and dynamism of this one hour performance work creates a revolutionary VISION QUEST. The video component collages newspaper images, posters, flyers, video clips and text in a gigantic scenescape to serve as the only scenic design and narrative element for the music and martial arts ballet.
The martial arts ballet is based upon Chinese kung fu and wushu, to evoke and pay homage to the inspiration of the Chinese revolution and Mao Zedong upon the Black Panthers".
The work is an ardent piece of agitprop celebrating to the point of hagiography the militant Black power group. Whether one buys into the message will be determined by how one feels about the Black Panthers to start with.
Those who view them as a force of the empowerment of oppressed people and militants who linked the struggles of African-Americans with the worldwide socialist struggle will be inspired. Those who view them as ineffective political poseurs more interested in sloganeering than actual action will not be converted. The graphics by Paul Chan evoke old pamphlets and cheaply produced political news sheets. Elsewhere, faces of politicians and other foes swell and shrink in a digital equivalent of drawing a moustache on a picture. And the exclamation mark-pocked titles match that tone.
The main attraction of the DVD, though, is Ho's suite. The music strikes a suitably militant tone. Anchored by his own baritone saxophone, the ensemble, sounding much larger than eight pieces, barks out the lines. Still, Ho has clearly learned from Ellington by way of Mingus about voicing saxophones. He draws a lush, vibrant sound from the band that is especially evident on "Loving the People Is a Love Supreme!
The Personal Is Political!" Sam Furnace summons the spirit of the free jazz pioneers of the 1960s as he screams over the ensemble on "All Power to the People!" On "Funeral for the Fallen Martyrs" he juxtaposes these saxophones with stinging electric guitar from Michele Navazio to create an eerie cop show soundtrack. Here and elsewhere the music achieves subtlety without sacrificing power in contrast to the smug doctrinaire tone of the graphics.
Marvin X on KPOO Radio, 89.5FM, interviewed by Terry Collins. Terry questioned him about the situation in GAZA or Occupied Palestine. During this two hour interview, Marvin talked about the liberation of Palestine and the liberation of North American Africans, whose situation is similar since we suffer colonialism as well.
Our situation is known as Domestic Colonialism since we suffer oppression in the belly of the beast. If we cut off the head of the beast, the whole world would be free. But unlike the people of GAZA who are conscious of their condition as the Zionists rain bombs, rockets and tank shells upon them, killing these mostly defenseless men, women and children, North American Africans are under attack but don't realize it; it is a low intensity war that is cunning and vile because the Monkey Mind Media has lulled them to sleep with fairy tales and nursery rhymes that perpetuate the world of make believe, so well described in the book Black Bourgeoisie by E. Franklin Frazier.
"At four years old, I became aware of the Palestinians. I used to see the news reel at the drive-in theatre with my parents and I vividly remember seeing the Palestinians fleeing across a bridge into Jordan. It was 1948. Since then the people of Palestine have struggled to liberate themselves from Zionist occupation. I am amazed to see the people who suffered the Nazi concentration camps, put the Arabs in similar camps. They may not put them in the gas chamber, but the Zionist weapons (Made in USA) are just as deadly. Baldwin told us, the murder of my child will not make your child safe."
Terry asked Marvin to read Claude McKay's classic poem If We Must Die:
If we can't live as men, at least we can die as men!--Brothers at Attica Prison, USA
They died as Men!
If We Must Die, Gaza style
The murder of my child will not make your child safe!--James Baldwin