Saturday, June 27, 2020

Unregistered 119: Aaron Maté (VIDEO)

Left Lens Eps 1 DEBUT: On Joe Biden's Chances, The Uprising Against Racist Policing, and Solidarity

Debrief About the Closed Door Meeting Between CHOP, Andre Taylor, and Ma...

How Racism Is An Essential Tool For Maintaining The Capitalist Order - Richard WolffPopularResistance.Org

How Racism Is An Essential Tool For Maintaining The Capitalist Order - PopularResistance.Org:



EXCERPT:



Why were African Americans “chosen” to be key (but not the only)
cyclical shock-absorbers in the United States? One factor concerned the
racist legacies of U.S. slavery. They included beliefs that slaves were
either not fully human or inferior humans. Even the U.S. Constitution
had counted a slave as merely three-fifths of a full (i.e., white)
person for census purposes. Accommodation to slavery before the U.S.
Civil War had already shaped a racialized consciousness in both masters
and slaves. And because U.S. slavery entailed different skin colours for
masters and slaves (unlike many slaveries in world history), a readily
identifiable minority had already been defined in racial terms in the
slave portions of the United States. Moreover, that definition had
spread to other parts of the United States as well. U.S. capitalism
used, absorbed, and built on slavery’s legacy by inserting large
portions of the African American community into the shock-absorber role
that the system required. The racism developed by U.S. slavery thereby
both facilitated U.S. capitalism and was reinforced by it.




A significant portion of the white working class in all capitalisms
has always also been forced into the shock-absorber role. “White trash”
in U.S. capitalism was never far from the African Americans similarly
situated. There thus arose possibilities of class solidarity between
these Black and white working-class communities. U.S. history displays
moments when those possibilities were realized, as C. Vann Woodward
documented so well. It also displays moments of intense racist violence
used to block the realization of those possibilities. Employers played
on racialized differences to keep employees from unifying against them.
In bitter competitions between Black and white shock-absorbers for
cyclically scarce jobs, whites could and often did use racism to gain
advantages in access to those jobs. In multiple ways, then, capitalism
fostered and benefited from racism; it thus settled deeply into the
system.




Fundamental injustice characterized the relationship between police
and prisons, on the one hand, and the African American and other
communities (Indigenous, people of color) condemned to play capitalism’s
shock-absorber role, on the other. The solution was and is not better
training or more funding; both have been tried repeatedly and both have
likewise failed repeatedly. A real solution would provide a decently
paid job to everyone who wants one as a matter of right. Unemployment
would then be outlawed much like slavery, child abuse, etc. Taxes levied
on capitalist enterprises would provide the funds needed to find jobs,
private or public, for those laid off by an employer (much as such taxes
help fund unemployment insurance now). Those funds would include wages
or salaries paid for each worker’s time between being laid off and
rehired. Minimum wages, applied universally, would cover reasonable
housing, transport, health care and other living costs.




If such a solution were deemed to be incompatible with capitalism as a
system, capitalism would have to give way to a system that made
adequately paid employment a basic right for all. Enterprise profit
would then finally be ejected from its throne as capitalism’s number one
social priority.




Such a solution would finally free African Americans, Indigenous, and
Brown people from long-standing abuses in and by police and prisons. It
would thus reduce the racism that those institutions have exemplified
and reinforced. It would also reduce pressures on police and prison
personnel to behave in ways that self-destructively rob them of their
humanity as well as oppress others. Police and prisons in the United
States today serve an inherently unstable capitalism by means of
systemic racism. The logic of the alliance between anti-racism and
anti-capitalism could not be clearer.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Norman Finkelstein: Israel will pretend that illegal annexation is a compromise

Only A Pawn in Their Game--Bob Dylan (Song at the 1963 March on Washington)

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/onlyapawnintheirgame.html

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers' blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man's brain
But he can't be blamed
He's only a pawn in their game

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
"You got more than blacks, don't complain
You're better than them, you been born with white skin" they explain
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he's taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide 'neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He'll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain
Only a pawn in their game

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Military Must be De-Funded Along with the Police - Dan Kovalik

The Military Must be De-Funded Along with the Police - CounterPunch.org:



EXCERPT:



Democratic President Bill Clinton opened the door wide for this police militarization in the 1990s with the National Defense Authorization Act which created a program, the 1033 program, through which police departments are given surplus military equipment. As recently explained by Michael Shank in an article in The New York Review of Books, entitled “How Police Became Paramilitaries,” pursuant to this program, “local law enforcement began to adopt the type of military equipment more frequently used in a war zone: everything from armored personnel carriers and tanks, with 360-degree rotating machine gun turrets, to grenade launchers, drones, assault weapons, and more. Today, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment—most used, some new—has been transferred to civilian police departments.”

And, once the police receive this equipment, they must use it.



As Shank explains, the 1033 program “requires that law enforcement agencies make use of such equipment within a year of acquisition, effectively mandating that police put it into practice in the public space.” In other words, the police are actually required to turn the military’s high-tech guns against their own people.



The militarization of the police, moreover, can be seen as a
by-product of the US’s over-reliance on the use of military force and
war to solve all of its problems, to the near exclusion of all other
alternatives. Indeed, the US has given up on trying to lead the world
through economic and technological prowess, or through moral suasion.
Instead, our leaders have decided that brute military force alone will
allow the US to dominate the planet, and our nation’s coffers are being
looted to the tune of over $1 trillion a year to do so. The result is
the starving of our educational system, our social safety net and our
nation’s vital infrastructure. This, of course, then leads to mass
deprivation and despair which then leads to mass unrest. And, just as it
deals with the rest of the world, our rulers have decided to deal with
the unrest at home, not by solving the social ills plaguing this nation,
or by fixing a few bridges or dams, but by beating us down with
military-style violence.




Military force, indeed, has become the only instrument in our
government’s toolbox, as quite starkly illustrated recently by the White
House’s decision to give our valuable medical workers military flyovers
costing $60,000 an hour instead of providing these workers with the
protective equipment they have been desperately demanding. As with all
things, our government has money and resources for instruments of
violence, but none for human needs. This is literally killing us, just
as surely as it is killing hundreds of thousands of people – nearly all
people of color, not coincidentally – in foreign lands. The fight
against police brutality and racism must therefore be linked to the
fight to de-fund our military and to the broader fight to de-militarize
our very society and culture.




Monday, June 15, 2020

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

Alex Vitale on The End of Policing

Black Lives Matter & The Question of Violence | Gary Younge

Individual Sign On: Support the Call to Defund the Seattle Police Department

Individual Sign On: Support the Call to Defund the Seattle Police Department:



By signing on to this document, you are endorsing the following statement:

Police
reform efforts—from Minneapolis to Seattle—have failed. To stop police
violence, the police must be reduced in size, in budget, and in scope.
The police have never served as an adequate response to social problems.
They are rooted in violence against Black people. In order to protect
Black lives, this moment calls for investing and expanding our safety
and well-being beyond policing. To that end, we demand:

1-
Seattle's Mayor and City Council must immediately defund Seattle Police
Department (SPD). The city faces a $300 million budget shortfall due to
COVID-19. Seattle City Council should propose and vote for a 50% cut
from the $363 million already budgeted for SPD.

2- Seattle's
Mayor and City Council must protect and expand investments to make our
communities safe, prioritizing community-led health and safety
strategies. Full access to affordable housing, community-based
anti-violence programs, trauma services and treatment, universal
childcare, and free public transit are just a few of the non-police
solutions to social problems.

3- The Seattle City Attorney must
not prosecute protesters, including those arrested violating curfew, and
those living in encampments. Protesters took to the streets to call for
the end of the murders of Black people by police, and SPD unnecessarily
escalated tensions and violence.

Our schools, workplaces, and
government offices frequently collaborate with police. The police are an
occupying force in Black communities. Their brutality towards Black
people is condoned and accepted as business as usual. We urge all local
governmental and non-governmental entities to cut ties with the SPD.
When they put on their badges, police officers cease to be members of
the working class. In fact their primary role is to surveil, control,
and silence all forms of dissent to support the continuity of a racist,
harmful, murderous status quo.

#BlackLivesMatter #DefundSPD
#DisarmSPD #DismantleSPD #DecriminalizeSeattle #CareNotCages
#FreeThePeople #FreeThemAllWA #DecriminalizeSeattle #CharleenaLyles
#ShawnFuhr #TommyLe #CheTaylor #JTWilliams #IsaiahObet #JesseSarey
#JusticeForStoney #SayTheirNames

---
*These demands are
prepared by COVID-19 Mutual Aid Seattle, a network of organizations and
individuals who came together in response to COVID-19 to demand an
abolitionist, anti-racist public health response to the COVID-19 crisis.


You can reach us at covid19mutualaidsea@gmail.com.
You can follow us on Instagram at @covid19mutualaid, on Facebook at
@covid19mutualaid, and on Twitter at @covid_mutualaid. Thank you for
supporting this important effort.

Want to sign on behalf of an organization? Sign here: tinyurl.com/defundSPDorg

Police Abolitionists Aren’t ‘Too Radical’ – They’ve Been Making Gains for Decades | Novara Media

Police Abolitionists Aren’t ‘Too Radical’ – They’ve Been Making Gains for Decades | Novara Media:



EXCERPT:



Pundits have been taking it upon themselves to tell the Black Lives Matter movement that the demand to abolish the police is the wrong one. Sarah Jaffe argues abolitionism has been making gains for decades - and now it’s breaking through.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Friday, June 05, 2020

The Magnificent James Baldwin Explains The Riots Of 1968

Violence Towards Protesters Shows Why Many Want To Abolish Police

ZZ's blog: Racism, Police Violence, and Capitalism

ZZ's blog: Racism, Police Violence, and Capitalism:

EXCERPT:

Alarmed by the unfettered power accumulated by the military and its affiliates, President Eisenhower, himself a participant at the highest levels, warned of the attendant dangers:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
Similarly, the “misplaced power” of the police threatens the lives and well-being of African Americans, the poor, and working people. Like the military and the security agencies, the role of the police cannot be separated from its central function of protecting wealth and privilege. It cannot be detached from the capitalist system.

The insurrections that are rising throughout the US are a remarkable sign of both the breadth and depth of anti-racist sentiment. They are inclusive in the best possible way. And they have frightened the Trumps, Cuomos, DeBlasios and the others  charged with maintaining compliance with the system. The capitalist media is doing its best to shatter the hard-won unity against racism and against the police.

Insofar as the police are central to maintaining the legitimacy of capital, the rebellion is a rebellion against capitalism, whether its participants recognize it or not.

We must do everything to safeguard that unity and expose the source of racism and police violence: capitalism.





Biden proposed 'Police Officer's Bill of Rights' two months after Rodney King beating | AllSides

Biden proposed 'Police Officer's Bill of Rights' two months after Rodney King beating | AllSides:

Excerpt:


Nearly 30 years before a bystander with a cellphone caught a Minneapolis Police Department officer restraining George Floyd with his knee on Floyd's neck, police in Los Angeles were covertly taped beating a criminal suspect. And Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, proposed legislation siding with police.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Killing of George Floyd normal in an abnormal society - Vijay Prashad

Killing of George Floyd normal in an abnormal society - Asia Times:

 EXCERPT:

System cannot be reformed

Historically in the United States, police aggression has come before
any unrest. In 1967, unrest in Detroit spurred the US government to study the causes, which they assumed
would be communist instigators and an inflammatory press. The riots,
the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner
Commission) said, “were not caused by, nor were they the consequences of, any organized plan or ‘conspiracy.’”



Instead, the Kerner Commission said the cause of the unrest was structural racism. “What white Americans have never fully understood,” the report noted, “is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”



By “ghetto” the report’s authors meant the atrocious class inequalities in the United States that had – because of the history of enslavement – been marked by race.

Rather than address the deep inequalities in society, the US government chose to arm police officers heavily and send them to discipline populations in distress with their dangerous weapons. The commission proposed instead “a policy which combines ghetto enrichment with programs designed to encourage integration … into the society outside the ghetto.”



Nothing came of that report, as nothing has come of any of the reports that stretch back 150 years. Rather than genuinely invest in the well-being of people, the US government – whether run by Republicans or Democrats – cut back on social programs and cut back on welfare spending; it allowed firms to erode wages and it allowed them to diminish working conditions. What

Monday, June 01, 2020

Krystal Ball: Does Wall Street looting lead to street looting?

The Treason of the Ruling Class - Chris Hedges, scheerpost.com

The Treason of the Ruling Class - scheerpost.com

The ruling elites no longer have legitimacy. They have destroyed our
capitalist democracy and replaced it with a mafia state. What the Roman
philosopher Cicero called a commonwealth, a res publica, a
“public thing” or the “property of a people,” has been transformed into
an instrument of naked pillage and repression on behalf of a global
corporate oligarchy. We are serfs ruled by obscenely rich, omnipotent
masters who loot the U.S. Treasury, pay little or no taxes and have
perverted the judiciary, the media and the legislative branches of
government to strip us of civil liberties and give them the freedom to
commit financial fraud and theft.

The loss of control over our system of rulership, the misuse of all
democratic institutions, the electoral process and laws to funnel money
upwards into to a handful of oligarchs while stripping us of power,
ominously means that the ruling elites can no longer claim the right to
have a monopoly on violence. Violence employed by police and security
agencies such as the FBI, which have devolved into occupying forces, to
protect the exclusive interests of a tiny, ruling criminal class exposes
the fiction of the rule of law and the treason of the ruling elites.

“In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a
conscience,” Stokely Carmichael warned. And if your opponent is bereft
of a conscience, then state violence is inevitably met with
counter-violence. Tyranny takes the place of reform. The danger of
widespread sectarian violence in America is now very real.

There are three options: reform, which, given the decay in the
American body politic, is impossible; revolution; or tyranny. The more
things deteriorate, the more the elites feel threatened, the more brutal
the police, the National Guard and the organs of state security will
become. The longer the serfs defy their masters the more the populations
in the jails and prisons, which are already the largest in the world,
will swell.


Blind Rage, by Mr. Fish
If the mafia state is not overthrown, then America will become a
naked police state where any opposition, however tepid, will be met with
draconian censorship or force. Police in cities around the country have
already thwarted the reporting by dozens of journalists covering the
protests through physical force, arrests, tear gas, rubber bullets and
pepper spray.  The huge social divides, largely built around race, will
be used by the neo-fascists in power to divert a legitimate rage by a
betrayed working class to set neighbor against neighbor. Neo-fascist
“patriots” will be unleashed like attack dogs against people of color,
Muslims, feminists, intellectuals, artists, the media and liberals.
Dissent, even nonviolent dissent, will become treason.

The uprisings in the streets of American cities are not only about
the wanton murder by police of yet another person of color, but a
frantic fight to wrest back power over our own lives. They go far behind
police brutality, a daily reality for those trapped in our internal
colonies where 1,100 citizens are murdered by police every year, almost
all unarmed. The uprisings are fueled as well by the seizure of the
institutional and structural mechanisms that once made some form of
equality, always imperfect and always colored by an animus towards the
poor and people of color, possible.

Half the country lives in poverty or a category called near poverty.
The working class and the working poor are priced out of the health care
system. The schools do not educate their children, wholive without
adequate food and often clean water, are repeatedly evicted from their
homes, have their utilities shut off, cannot find jobs, are crippled by
punishing debt peonage and with the pandemic are dying at
disproportionally higher rates. They get the message the oligarchs are
sending. They, and their children, are expendable. They don’t count.
Their lives are of no consequence, unless they are locked in a cage
where their bodies can generate as much as $60,000 a year for the
multitude of corporations, including the for-profit medical services,
food services, money transfer services, commissary services, phone
services, private prisons and prison contractors, not to mention the
large corporations and state governments that exploit the cheap and
bonded labor of 1 million of our 2.3 million prisoners.

The prison system is a multi-billion dollar a year industry with
lobbyists in state capitals and Washington making sure these bodies
remain in cages or are put back into cages soon after they are released.
The neo-slavery in our prisons is the corporate model envisioned for
all of America.

The two ruling parties are equally complicit in this assault. The
Democratic Party, in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the
Great Depression, is trying to sell us a presidential nominee, Joe
Biden, who was one of the principal architects of de-industrialization
and responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of good, union
jobs. Biden and Bill Clinton also destroyed our welfare program, where
70 percent of the recipients were children, and orchestrated the
doubling of our prison population and the tripling and quadrupling of
sentences.

Biden, as Naomi Murakawa points out
in “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” () was a
driving force behind the notoriously harsh penalties in the Anti-Drug
Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, and the three-strikes legislation in the
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which also
provided funding for 100,000 new police officers and the aggressive
prosecution of 60 new capital crimes. He sponsored legislation to
dramatically curtail the ability of those in prison to appeal and led
the passage of the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 and The
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. He oversaw the
militarization of the police and the massive expansion of death-eligible
crimes, which he has repeatedly bragged about.

Biden was also at the forefront of the re-segregation of our public
school system and has repeatedly called for cuts to Social Security. He
was instrumental in the disastrous trade deals such as the North
American free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)and austerity programs as well as
establishing the most pervasive system of mass government surveillance
in human history. Watching Stacey Abrams, who certainly knows better,
twist herself into contortions to lavish praise on Biden, even tossing
the #MeToo movement overboard, is another sad example of the corrosive
disease of careerism. Biden, one of the most important architects behind
the wars in the Middle East, where we have squandered upwards of $7
trillion and destroyed or extinguished the lives of millions of people,
is personally responsible for far more suffering and death at home and
abroad than Donald Trump.

If we had a functioning judicial and legislative system, Biden, along
with the other architects of our disastrous imperial wars, plundering
of the country and betrayal of the American working class, would be put
on trial, not offered up as a solution to our political and economic
debacle. The myopia of the ruling elites is that they think they can
foist Biden on us because he is not Trump. But the game is up. The
façade of democracy no longer works.

It is only the dwindling and largely white middle and professional
classes who still believe the fiction that this election offers a choice
or that we live in a democracy. The working class and the working poor
know better. Their lives were, as Barbara Ehrenreich wrote, one long
emergency before the pandemic. Now they face the prospect of bankruptcy
this summer when unemployment and stimulus checks run out, the
moratorium is lifted on evictions to double or triple the unhoused
population of 11 million people and unemployment skyrockets to 25
percent. Forty-eight percent of front line workers remain ineligible for
sick pay, and some 43 million Americans have just lost their
employee-sponsored health insurance. Food banks are already overrun with
tens of thousands of desperate families.

And in the midst of this crisis, what did our kleptocratic rulers do?
They looted $4 trillion on a scale unseen since the 2008 bailout
overseen by Barack Obama and Biden. They gorged and enriched themselves
at our expense, while tossing crumbs out of the windows of their private
jets, yachts and palatial homes to the suffering and despised masses.

The CARES Act handed trillions in funds or tax breaks to oil companies, the airline industry, which alone got $50 billion in stimulus money, the cruise ship industry, a $170 billion windfall for the real estate industry, private equity firms, lobbying groups, whose political action committees have given $191 million in campaign contributions to politicians in the last two decades, the meat industry and corporations that have moved offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. The act allowed the largest corporations to gobble up money that was supposed to go to keep small businesses solvent to pay workers. It gave 80 percent of tax breaks under the stimulus package to millionaires and allowed the wealthiest to get stimulus checks that average $1.7 million. The CARES Act also authorized $454 billion
for the Treasury Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, a massive
slush fund doled out by Trump cronies to corporations that, when
leveraged 10 to 1, can be used to create a staggering $4.5 trillion in
assets. The act authorized the Fed to give $1.5 trillion in loans to Wall Street, which no one expects will ever be paid back. American billionaires have gotten $434 billion richer
since the pandemic. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, whose
corporation Amazon paid no federal taxes last year, alone added $34.6
billion to his personal wealth since the pandemic started.

How long can you expect people to watch their children go hungry? How
long can you expect people to watch their loved ones suffer and die
because they can’t get medical care? How long can you expect people to
be abused by lawless police and a court system designed to railroad the
poor into jails and prisons? How long can you watch the rich profit from
your misery?

I would prefer that our revolution eschew the poison of violence,
which I know too intimately from my two decades as a war correspondent.
But I also know that when everything around you conspires to crush you,
the only way left to affirm yourself is to destroy, not only the
structures and institutions that have oppressed you, but often yourself.
I saw this when I lived in the impoverished neighborhood of Roxbury in
Boston and when I worked as a reporter in Gaza. This understanding was
something Malcom X, who came out of poverty, always understood and
Martin Luther King, a product of the black bourgeoisie, learned later.

It is ultimately the ruling elites who will determine the mechanics
of resistance. When they close every escape route, when they speak
exclusively in the language of force, then the language of force becomes
the only form of communication. Trump’s demand that states use the
National Guard to crush the protests and threat to deploy the U.S.
military in the streets of American cities only heightens the anger and
frustration that led to the uprisings.

The ruling elites are, at the same time, desperately seeking
scapegoats. The idea that Antifa, which on the spectrum of terrorist
groups would rank alongside the Boy Scouts, is behind these clashes is
as ridiculous as the idea that Russia is responsible for the election of
Trump. This desperate search for explanations that absolve the ruling
elites saw Susan Rice, who was Obama’s national-security adviser, blame
the violence on “foreign actors,” adding that “this is right out of the
Russian playbook.” This trope is always trotted by despotic rulers to
discredit dissidents who are branded as the enemy of the people.

The longer the ruling elites refuse to address the root causes behind
these protests, the more they loot the treasury to enrich themselves
and their fellow oligarchs, the more they engage in futile and absurd
efforts to deflect blame, the more unrest will spread. The last
desperate resort by the oligarchs to save themselves will be to stoke
the fires of racialized violence between disenfranchised whites and
disenfranchised people of color. This, I fear, is the next chapter in
this saga. I saw this tactic used to deadly effect in the former
Yugoslavia. These are dark times. They are about to get darker.