Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress." -- Carol Anderson


Carol Anderson is an associate professor of African American studies and history at Emory University and a public voices fellow with the Op-Ed Project. She is the author of “Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960.”
When we look back on what happened in Ferguson, Mo., during the summer of 2014, it will be easy to think of it as yet one more episode of black rage ignited by yet another police killing of an unarmed African American male. But that has it precisely backward. What we’ve actually seen is the latest outbreak of white rage. Sure, it is cloaked in the niceties of law and order, but it is rage nonetheless.
Protests and looting naturally capture attention. But the real rage smolders in meetings where officials redraw precincts to dilute African American voting strength or seek to slash the government payrolls that have long served as sources of black employment. It goes virtually unnoticed, however, because white rage doesn’t have to take to the streets and face rubber bullets to be heard. Instead, white rage carries an aura of respectability and has access to the courts, police, legislatures and governors, who cast its efforts as noble, though they are actually driven by the most ignoble motivations.
White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision and took on its latest incarnation with Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House. For every action of African American advancement, there’s a reaction, a backlash.

The North’s victory in the Civil War did not bring peace. Instead, emancipation brought white resentment that the good ol’ days of black subjugation were over. Legislatures throughout the South scrambled to reinscribe white supremacy and restore the aura of legitimacy that the anti-slavery campaign had tarnished. Lawmakers in several states created the Black Codes, which effectively criminalized blackness, sanctioned forced labor and undermined every tenet of democracy. Even the federal authorities’ promise of 40 acres — land seized from traitors who had tried to destroy the United States of America — crumbled like dust.
Influential white legislators such as Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (R-Pa.) and Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.)tried to make this nation live its creed, but they were no match for the swelling resentment that neutralized the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, and welcomed the Supreme Court’s 1876 United States vs. Cruikshank decision, which undercut a law aimed at stopping the terror of the Ku Klux Klan.
Nearly 80years later, Brown v. Board of Education seemed like another moment of triumph — with the ruling on the unconstitutionality of separate public schools for black and white students affirming African Americans’ rights as citizens. But black children, hungry for quality education, ran headlong into more white rage. Bricks and mobs at school doors were only the most obvious signs. In March 1956, 101members of Congress issued the Southern Manifesto, declaring war on the Brown decision. Governors in Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and elsewhere then launched “massive resistance.” They created a legal doctrine, interposition, that supposedly nullified any federal law or court decision with which a state disagreed. They passed legislation to withhold public funding from any school that abided by Brown. They shut down public school systems and used tax dollars to ensure that whites could continue their education at racially exclusive private academies. Black children were left to rot with no viable option.
A little more than half a century after Brown, the election of Obama gave hope to the country and the world that a new racial climate had emerged in America, or that it would. But such audacious hopes would be short-lived. A rash of voter-suppression legislation, a series of unfathomable Supreme Court decisions, the rise of stand-your-ground laws and continuing police brutality make clear that Obama’s election and reelection have unleashed yet another wave of fear and anger.

It’s more subtle — less overtly racist — than in 1865 or even 1954. It’s a remake of the Southern Strategy, crafted in the wake of the civil rights movement to exploit white resentment against African Americans, and deployed with precision by Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. As Reagan’s key political strategist, Lee Atwater, explained in a 1981 interview: “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N-----, n-----, n-----.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n-----’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like ‘forced busing,’ ‘states’ rights’ and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that.” (The interview was originally published anonymously, and only years later did it emerge that Atwater was the subject.)
Now, under the guise of protecting the sanctity of the ballot box, conservatives have devised measures — such as photo ID requirements — to block African Americans’ access to the polls. A joint report by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the NAACP emphasized that the ID requirements would adversely affect more than 6 million African American voters. (Twenty-five percent of black Americans lack a government-issued photo ID, the report noted, compared with only 8 percent of white Americans.) The Supreme Court sanctioned this discrimination in Shelby County v. Holder , which gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the door to 21st-century versions of 19th-century literacy tests and poll taxes.
The economic devastation of the Great Recession also shows African Americans under siege. The foreclosure crisis hit black Americans harder than any other group in the United States. A 2013report by researchers at Brandeis University calculated that “half the collective wealth of African-American families was stripped away during the Great Recession,” in large part because of the impact on home equity. In the process, the wealth gap between blacks and whites grew: Right before the recession, white Americans had four times more wealth than black Americans, on average; by 2010, the gap had increased to six times. This was a targeted hit. Communities of color were far more likely to have riskier, higher-interest-rate loans than white communities, with good credit scores often making no difference.
Add to this the tea party movement’s assault on so-called Big Government, which despite the sanitized language of fiscal responsibility constitutes an attack on African American jobs. Public-sector employment, where there is less discrimination in hiring and pay, has traditionally been an important venue for creating a black middle class.

So when you think of Ferguson, don’t just think of black resentment at a criminal justice system that allows a white police officer to put six bullets into an unarmed black teen. Consider the economic dislocation of black America. Remember a Florida judge instructing a jury to focus only on the moment when George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin interacted, thus transforming a 17-year-old, unarmed kid into a big, scary black guy, while the grown man who stalked him through the neighborhood with a loaded gun becomes a victim. Remember the assault on the Voting Rights Act. Look at Connick v. Thompson, a partisan 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2011 that ruled it was legal for a city prosecutor’s staff to hide evidence that exonerated a black man who was rotting on death row for 14years. And think of a recent study by Stanford University psychology researchers concluding that, when white people were told that black Americans are incarcerated in numbers far beyond their proportion of the population, “they reported being more afraid of crime and more likely to support the kinds of punitive policies that exacerbate the racial disparities,” such as three-strikes or stop-and-frisk laws.
Only then does Ferguson make sense. It’s about white rage.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#Ferguson Solidarity March in Seattle

Our thoughts were with Mike Brown's family.  His killer will go free.

A U.S. black man is killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes. http://raniakhalek.com/2013/04/15/every-28-hours-an-african-american-is-extrajudicially-executed-in-the-u-s/

Did you know that there are strong ties between our local police, Ferguson's police and the Israeli military?  Each one teach one sort of thing.  Funded by pro-Israel supporters in the U.S.

It's a global threat to the 99%, especially those who are black and brown.  STAND WITH YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OR WE ALL GO DOWN TOGETHER!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

West Bank Protesters Cross Separation Wall in Effort to Get into Jerusalem -- Mondoweiss

“Jerusalem is here, it is not away from us,” said Ahmad Nasser, 27, a medic who was watching the clash from higher ground. Nasser pointed to the settlement beyond the army vehicles, indicating Pisgat Ze’ev, which stands between the West Bank and the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Without it, and an army road and fence that line the bypass, Nasser said the walk from Beitunya to Jerusalem takes ten minutes.
“In Qalandia it’s not that strong. It finished fast so people came to Ofer because it’s special to be in Ofer,” continued Nasser. “The prisoners are for sure watching us,” he said, “If they don’t see us, than they hear us. When they hear the army shooting they know that there are people standing in front of the prison. So it gives them some hope that people are still moving, doing things outside.”

#BDS -- We Protest Israel's "Musical Ambassador" Idan Raichel at University of Washington's Meany Hall

Updated to include new pic.

Israeli musician Idan Raichel is an enthusiastic ambassador for the Israeli government, especially the inaccurately named Israel Defense Force (IDF), for whom he has performed benefit concerts.  Last night, Voices for Palestine, Women in Black, Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights-UW (SUPER) and other allies demonstrated at his Meany Hall concert, which was part of the UW World Series of Music concert series. 

A world music performer, Raichel is the perfect foil.  His music projects a peaceful image,  allowing Israel to chauffeur him around the world, attempting to distract with his hipster gloss, from the atrocities Israel's army is committing against Palestinians. 

For more background on the slick propagandist cum musician, here is an article in Electronic Intifada.  http://electronicintifada.net/content/open-door-tour-israeli-apartheid/10531 

We educated a lot of series subscribers who had no idea about Raichel's chosen role as propagandist.  It was clear that our banners and signs (pictured here) raised the ire of some attendees.  But many more welcomed our flyers and one family (that we know of) told us they weren't going to attend as a result.  Other individuals stated they would contact the series office objecting to Raichel's inclusion in the program.  It felt great to challenge the whitewashing of Israeli war crimes.   It is clear the world cannot afford to be lulled by the siren song of  Raichel's "peaceful music."  

If you would like information on events like this one in Seattle, please contact info@voicesforpalestine.org

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Was Convicted Palestinian-American Rasmea Yousef Odeh Allowed a Fair Defense? @TheRealNews Report w/Charlotte Silver


WHAT YOU CAN DO (from her Defense Committee):

Participate in the week of action:
Wednesday, November 12-18!

  1. Write to Judge Drain and urge him to send Rasmea home.
    Click here for sample letter
  2. Organize a protest at your local federal building or on your campus.
    • The SJP National Ad-Hoc Steering Committee calls on all SJP chapters to participate by organizing actions on your campuses on November 14, 2014.
    • Please send in the details of your protest plans so we can share - justice4rasmea@uspcn.org
  3.  Write letters of support to Rasmea.
        Rasmieh Odeh #144979
        St. Clair County Jail
        1170 Michigan
        Port Huron, MI. 48060
  4. Organize a fundraiser to help fund Rasmea’s defense.
    • NSJP also calls on all those who are able to donate money to Rasmea’s legal defense fund, so that they can continue to zealously represent her and prepare for an appeal.


Bay Area activists have chained themselves to fed courthouse in Oakland to protest Rasmea's conviction and detention pending sentencing. Amazing.

Folks--this is happening right now...please forward to all your networks. 
Bay Area activists have chained themselves to the oakland federal building. 

For Immediate Release – November 12, 2014


Oakland Rallies Against Conviction of Palestinian Organizer

Press Contact: Lara Kiswani: 530.220.2842 (Oakland), Hatem Abudayyeh 773.301.4108 (Detroit)
Where: Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building
When: 7am - Wednesday, Nov 12

Oakland – Activists with the Bay Area Rasmea Defense Committee have chained themselves to doors of the federal courthouse in Oakland to protest the conviction and imprisonment of 67 year-old Palestinian community organizer, Rasmea Odeh. Supporters are also rallying in front of the federal building, condemning what they call a politically motivated trial targeting Odeh because of her role as an outspoken Palestinian leader and activist. Odeh was convicted on Monday, November 10th in a Detroit federal court of knowingly lying on her immigration application, even though she maintains that she did not understand the questions on the application.

The main basis for Odeh’s conviction was that she had allegedly falsely answered “No” to a question asking whether she had ever been arrested or imprisoned. The government claimed that Odeh failed to disclose that she had been convicted by the Israeli government of participating in “terrorism,” even though this conviction in a military court lacked due process and was the result of a forced confession made after she was repeatedly tortured and raped by Israeli military authorities. 

"The only reason Rasmea was imprisoned in Israel was because she was tortured, sexually assaulted, threatened with death and ultimately forced to confess to charges she didn't commit," says Hatem Abudayyeh, spokesman for the Rasmea Defense Committee. "Now, more than 40 years later, and after 9 years of living here with US citizenship, she's being made to re-live her trauma and is wrongly imprisoned once again." Although the judge in the case allowed the Israeli conviction of Odeh to be used as evidence against her, the torture and rape she suffered – which the judge admitted was credible – was not allowed as evidence, a move that brought widespread condemnation from supporters and human rights activist alike. 

"The targeting of Rasmea is purely to criminalize Palestinians who are outspoken and critical of Israel’s oppression and occupation of Palestine," says Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. The case against Odeh was originally part of a larger federal investigation in Chicago and Minneapolis where the government has to this day unsuccessfully tried to convict 23 anti-war and Palestinian activists on trumped up terrorism charges.

Hundreds were present in court to support Odeh over the course of her trial in Detroit, and many more across the country have held solidarity demonstrations demanding that she be freed. Activists in the Bay Area will continue to protest, and vow to intensify their efforts until Odeh is released.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Seattle, Come Out to Protest IDF Serenader & Supporter, Idan Raichel! Saturday at Meany Hall, UW, 7pm

            Protest Israeli musician on tour to whitewash Israel's War Crimes

Please join Voices for Palestine and Women in Black this Saturday Nov.15 at 7pm to protest an Israeli Government-funded concert at Meany Hall. 
Idan Raichel -- the musician on tour in the U.S. this month -- has strong links with the Israeli military and is a leading endorser of the right-wing US organization [Thank Israeli Soldiers]. "Our army is a basic ingredient of Israeliness," Raichel says, proudly.

Raichel performed for the army before, during, and after its August 2014 attack on Gaza, which killed over 2100 Palestinians, including 500 children.
According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sending Israeli artists and musicians abroad "show[s]  Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war." This intentionally misleading use of art and music serves to obscure Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Israel's overall history of grave human rights abuses. 

What:     Protest Israeli musician on tour to whitewash Israel's War Crimes
Where:  Meany Hall-UW Campus
*we will be standing at the entrance of the underground parking garage on 41st & 15th Ave NE and also inside the garage near the elevators.
When:   Saturday Nov. 15th, 7-8pm 

Thanks for all your support!

  Amin Odeh

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Greetings, Life!

We went to the beach yesterday (November 7th) and I saw a gorgeous moon last night.  ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Seattle National Lawyers Guild Sends Solidarity Greetings to Rasmea Odeh. Free Rasmea!

Angela Davis, on Rasmea, in the Detroit News:

Rasmea Odeh is fighting for her citizenship and for her freedom. She is scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit today on charges of "unlawful procurement of naturalization."
As her supporters emphasize, her arrest and prosecution are politically motivated and are clearly designed to disrupt the Chicago Palestine human rights community.
In the early morning hours of Oct. 22, 2013, Homeland Security agents arrested the 67-year-old Odeh, an American of Palestinian origin, at her home in the suburbs of Chicago.
On the same morning she was indicted in federal court, based on responses to questions posed on a 10-year-old naturalization application. Odeh has been an American citizen for the last decade.
Only now, when the Chicago activist community has effectively raised awareness of Israel's apartheid system and its violation of international laws, have immigration authorities decided to challenge her status as a citizen. In light of success of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign, this case reeks of political payback.
Federal authorities allege that Odeh did not disclose her arrest in Palestine 45 years ago by an Israeli military court, an institution that has a long record of human rights violations.
At that time of her arrest, Odeh was forced into a confession while being subjected to physical and sexual torture, some of it perpetrated in front of her now deceased father.
Odeh never committed a crime, and her arrest and conviction by an Israeli military court was unlawful.
Odeh is not the only Chicago activist who has been targeted in the recent period. In 2010 anti-war activists — several from the Chicago area — were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about their support of Palestinians and Colombians.
It is revealing that Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas, who is leading the investigation of the 23 activists, was in the courtroom on the morning Odeh was arrested, actively consulting with the assistant U.S. attorney who presented her case.
Jonas has an even longer history of targeting Palestinians. He was the prosecutor in the case of the Holy Land Five, who were the heads of the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. before 9/11. He succeeded in getting inordinately long prison sentences for the five men, who provided charity to children in Gaza.
The conviction of the Holy Land Five was based on "secret evidence," withheld from the defense and on the testimony of Israeli witnesses in disguise.
Targeting 67-year-old Odeh at this point, 10 years after she received her citizenship, appears to be retaliation for the growing successes of the Palestine solidarity movement. Her case is being tried in federal court instead of immigration court, where such cases are normally heard.
She faces 10 years in prison as well as the revocation of her citizenship and deportation.
For decades, Odeh has been an upright and contributing member of her community.
She has worked with the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network, an advocacy and social service agency, supervising programs and coordinating its Arab Women's Committee, a 600-member group that actively defends civil liberties and immigrant rights.
Targeting a person who has been such an active proponent for positive change is a serious setback for civil rights and militates against democracy and justice.
The time has come for progressive people to demand that Barry Jonas and the U.S. Attorney's Offices in Chicago and Detroit cease their witch hunts of the Palestine solidarity communities and end political prosecutions, which undermine the constitutionally protected right to dissent.
As a person with first-hand knowledge of the devastation wrought by politically motivated prosecutions — during the era of COINTELPRO, I was falsely charged with three capital offenses — I see Rasmea Odeh's case as a continuation of the embarrassing history of decades of suppression of social justice activists in the U.S.
The courts are being used to retaliate against Palestinian activism. As many people in Chicago and Detroit once joined the call to "Free Angela Davis," I hope they will now join the campaign to "Free Rasmea Odeh."
Angela Davis is a renowned activist and distinguished professor emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Write us: Letters@detroitnews.com.

#DCFerguson and Kenny Nero, Jr: On the Front Lines of Fighting Police Terror in Washington

Connections are being made.
Why did you decide to organize and participate in a protest demonstration at the September 24, 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Weekend?
The purpose of this rally was to draw national and international attention to the Congressional Black Caucus, a bourgeois entity that continues to betray the interest of the people they claim to represent. 
Here is what they support:
  1. continued U.S. funding to Israel and its slaughter of the people of Gaza/Palestine
  2. Its vote against net neutrality, and
  3. continued funding to militarize the police in African-American communities. 
The CBC does not represent the interests of African/black people. See link to video of the CBC demonstration:
#DC Ferguson demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZNI8Ch9V1Y
Credits: Cheikh Ra of http://www.cheikhrafilms.com |
Kenny Nero, Jr. can be reached via twitter at @kenerojr.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Why the Movement Against Washington Football’s Racial Slur Is ‘Idle No More’ -- Dave Zirin



On Sunday, as many as 5,000 people marched on the Minnesota-Washington football game in the Twin Cities, with a simple message for DC’s seething carbuncle of an owner, Dan Snyder: change the damn name of your franchise. Change your mascot from the dictionary-defined slur of Native Americans and enter the twenty-first century.
Washington Post columnist Mike Wise, who live-tweeted the protest, quoted activist Samuel Wounded Knee, who told to the crowd, “My kids don’t want to be your mascots. Our culture is not for your fun and games.” Other speakers, from American Indian Movement veteran Bill Means to Native American environmental leader Winona LaDuke to civil-rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory, spoke out openly against what protester Julie Tilsen described to me as the “three c’s: colonization, commodification, and capitalism.” Even US Congresswoman Betty McCollum, the co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, was compelled to “speak truth to power” and called out the “genocide” that makes a name like “Redskins” a reality.
Tilsen also pointed out the chills produced by seeing retired Minnesota North Stars veteran Henry Boucha, speak out as “an indigenous person, and as a Minnesotan,” and Spike Moss, a local African-American community leader calling upon black NFL players to learn the long history of intertwined resistance between between indigenous and black communities.
It was a collection of confident voices, as people “across genders, ages and other social locations” were “calling shit out left and right,” signifying a movement in its ascendancy. But to understand how this anti-“Redskins,” anti-racist resistance has exploded onto the landscape, far too many people are finding its source in individual sports media members who refuse to use the name, or they identify it in a mass revulsion to Snyder’s political halitosis. But the answer actually lies north of the border, where a new generation of First Nations people are on the march, inspiring pueblos and reservations in the United States and beyond. The movement is known as Idle No More, and if you don’t understand Idle No More, then you cannot understand why the thousands gathered to demonstrate outside of a football game.
I spoke with Erica Lee, a Cree Idle No More organizer in Canada. Lee first cut her political teeth by organizing to end the racist mascot at her high school. She told me:
The strength of today’s protest demonstrates the growing shift in consciousness around issues of Indigenous representation. As we come up on the second anniversary of the first Idle No More teach in, there are now more and more Indigenous voices entering and changing discourses on mascots, land claims, and historical events. Thanks to social and alternative media, we now have the opportunity to tell our own stories, rather than someone speaking for native people and claiming they know what “honors” us. Snyder and the Washington team are fighting a losing battle. At this point, it’s clear that the issue won’t simply go away. Our voices and resistance are only growing stronger.

Norwegian Activists Protest Chemring Nobel, Hellfire Missile-Maker for Israel

From Max Blumenthal's tweet:  "Norwegian activists protested today at Chemring Nobel, producer of Hellfire missiles used against civilians in Gaza":

Peace Through Revolution! Black Is Back Coalition Brings Message to Obama Whitehouse.

For more on the message and the march, go to:  http://www.popularresistance.org/black-is-back-coalition-marches-in-washington-dc/