Laura Gray’s cartoon from the front page of The Militant August 18, 1945, under banner headline: “There Is No Peace”
During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program: 1. Austerity, 2. Scapegoating Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal Immigrants’ for Unemployment, and 3. The Iron Heel.
Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1% Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just The Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico
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I covered the war in El Salvador for five years. It was a peasant uprising by the dispossessed against the 14 ruling families and the handful of American corporations that ran El Salvador as if it was a plantation. Half of the population was landless. Laborers worked as serfs in the coffee plantations, the sugar cane fields and the cotton fields in appalling poverty. Attempts to organize and protest peacefully to combat the huge social inequality were met with violence, including fire from machine guns mounted on the tops of buildings in downtown San Salvador that rained down bullets indiscriminately on crowds of demonstrators. Peasant, labor, church and university leaders were kidnapped by death squads, brutally tortured and murdered, their mutilated bodies often left on roadsides for public view. When I arrived, the death squads were killing between 700 and 1,000 people a month. An insurgent army arose, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (known by the Spanish-language abbreviation FMLN), named for the leader of a peasant uprising in 1932 that was crushed through the slaughter of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, many of them killed in summary executions. The FMLN seized huge parts of the country from the corrupt and demoralized military. In the fall of 1983, the rebels, supplied with weapons from the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, were on the verge of capturing the country’s second largest city. I did not, at first, travel with the army. It was too dangerous. It was far safer to go into combat with the FMLN. Without outside intervention, the rebels would have seized control of El Salvador within months and ousted the oligarchs. But, far to the north, was a shithole country ruled by a former B-list movie actor who had starred in Bedtime for Bonzo and who was in the early stages of dementia. This shithole country, which saw the world in black and white, communist and capitalist, was determined to thwart the aspirations of the poor and the landless. It would not permit the profits of its companies, such as United Fruit, or the power of the pliant oligarch class that did its bidding in El Salvador, to be impeded. It had disdain for the aspirations of the poor, especially the poor of Latin American or Africa, the wretched of the earth, as writer Frantz Fanon called them, people who in the eyes of those who ruled the shithole country should toil in misery all their lives for the oligarchs and the big American companies allied with them. Let the poor, brown and black people go hungry, watch their children die of sickness or be murdered. Power and wealth, those who ruled this shithole country believed, was theirs by divine right. They, as the lords of shithole-dom, were endowed with special attributes. God blessed shithole countries. — Chris Hedges, You Don’t Need a Telescope to Find a ‘Shithole Country’
Videos of the Day:
UN Mission Helped Plan Haitian Raid that Ended in Civilian Massacre A UN-backed anti-gang operation in the Grand Ravine area of Port-au-Prince ended in the summary execution of civilians on a school campus — but the killings have been largely ignored. We speak to Jake Johnston, who reported on the incident for the Intercept.
Sex-For-Repairs Victim: ‘I Felt Like I Had to Do This to Keep My Home’ A victim of the sex-for-repairs scandal in Baltimore’s public housing comes forward to tell her story
The Distractor-in-Chief President Donald Trump’s lies have broken all records, having in recent days gone beyond the 2,000 mark. Facing strong criticism, most people would probably stop repeating such deviant conduct. Not our president, though, since he seems to have internalized this behavior, and continues lying. One has to admire the broad range covered by his lies and falsehoods. Let’s see what Trump says about taxes. He repeatedly claimed that the United States has the highest corporate taxes in the world (untrue); President Trump should pay a visit to the Scandinavian countries to understand what high taxes really mean. by Cesar Chelala
Why Trump is Right About Newspaper Libel Laws “We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Donald Trump said recently. “And if somebody says something that’s totally false and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libeled, will have meaningful recourse.” . . . My defamation lawsuit against The Los Angeles Times is a case study. (I’ve written about the merits of my case elsewhere. Here, I ask you to simply consider the process of lodging a complaint and taking it to a jury to consider. My question is this: should suing be this difficult?) Bear in mind: the timeline in my case is typical. by Ted Rall
Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:
Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:
From All They Will Call You Will Be ‘Refugees’: Black Commentator’s radio station’s audio commentary on September 2 2005, Will the ‘New’ New Orleans be Black?, expressed the problems and the process quite well:‘One of the premiere Black cities in the nation faces catastrophe. There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans will one day rise again from its below sea level foundations. The question is, will the new New Orleans remain the two-thirds Black city it was before the levees crumbled? Some would say it is unseemly to speak of politics and race in the presence of a massive calamity that has destroyed the lives and prospects of so many people from all backgrounds. But I beg to differ. As we have witnessed, over and over again, the rich and powerful are very quick to reward themselves as soon as disaster presents the opportunity. Remember that within days of 9/11, the Bush regime executed a multi-billion dollar bailout for the airline industry. By the time you hear this commentary, they may have already used the New Orleans disaster to bail out the insurance industry — one of the richest businesses on the planet. But what of the people of New Orleans, 67 percent of whom are Black? New Orleans is a poor city. Twenty-eight percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Well over half are renters, and the median value of homes occupied by owners is only $87,000. From the early days of the flood, it was clear that much of the city’s housing stock would be irredeemably damaged. The insurance industry may get a windfall of federal relief, but the minority of New Orleans home owners will get very little – even if they are insured. The renting majority may get nothing. If the catastrophe in New Orleans reaches the apocalyptic dimensions towards which it appears to be headed, there will be massive displacement of the Black and poor. Poor people cannot afford to hang around on the fringes of a city until the powers-that-be come up with a plan to accommodate them back to the jurisdiction. And we all know that the prevailing model for urban development is to get rid of poor people. The disaster provides an opportunity to deploy this model in New Orleans on a citywide scale, under the guise of rebuilding the city and its infrastructure. In place of the jobs that have been washed away, there could be alternative employment through a huge, federally funded rebuilding effort. But this is George Bush’s federal government. Does anyone believe that the Bush men would mandate that priority employment go to the pre-flood, mostly Black population of the city. And the Black mayor of New Orleans is a Democrat in name only, a rich businessman, no friend of the poor. What we may see in the coming months is a massive displacement of Black New Orleans, to the four corners of the nation. The question that we must pose, repeatedly and in the strongest terms, is: Through whose vision, and in whose interest, will New Orleans rise again.” For Radio BC, I’m Glen Ford. What is needed is a massive public works project, to rebuild this city—the birthplace of Jazz—to employ the people who have been disposed by Katrina and to rebuild this city from the ashes of the old!
Since that time, I have viewed the Spike Lee 2006 DVD, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” Greg Palast’s 2006 DVD Video, “Big Easy to Big Empty—The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans,” and Bill Quigley’s essay “The Cleansing of New Orleans.” I have come to the conclusion that the ethnic cleansing was a plan that was already in place, just waiting for a hurricane for its implementation. Or as Congressman Richard Baker, R-La., was overheard telling lobbyists, right after Katrina, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” From his point of view, Katrina made it possible for the politicians to gentrify New Orleans and carry out the ethnic cleansing of the city. — Roland Sheppard, The Ethnic Cleansing of New Orleans 2008: A Requiem
Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 15, 2018 By Nellie Bailey and Glen Ford
MLK vs. Black Misleadership Class: Reigniting Dr. Martin Luther King’s movement against the “triple evils” of racism, militarism and materialism “requires a very tough ideological struggle against the neoliberal elite, including those in the Black misleadership class and the intelligensia,” said Philadlephia-based scholar and activist Anthony Monteiro. Monteiro is part of a yearlong, citywide project to promote the life and work of W.E.B. Dubois.
Peace Requires Social Transformation: The peace movement “must recognize that war is an instrument of class rule, and that we have to overthrow this enemy and build and new society, on a new basis,” saidAjamu Baraka, one of the keynote speakers at a national conference of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, in Baltimore. Baraka, the 2016 Green Paty vice presidential candidate, is lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace.
Mumia: 36 Years Behind Bars: The nation’s best known political prisoner is locked in a complex legal battle that might overturn his 1982 conviction in the death of a Philadelphia cop. The trial of Mumia Abu Jamal was marked by “perjured testimony, false ballistics, false confessions” and a judge that said he would help prosecutors “fry the nigger,” saidGwen Debrow, of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.
Blacks Mark New Orleans’ 300thBirthday: Dr. Clyde Robertson will oversee three days of events marking three centuries of Black experience in New Orleans, beginning January 18. Robertson is director of African and African American Studies at Southern University, New Orleans. He was among the 100,000 Blacks exiled from the city in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, including “the politicized community” that had taken the lead in community affairs
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
Freedom Rider: Oligarch Jeff Bezos “Republicans and Democrats alike are willing to turn over government coffers to Bezos and his ilk and the rights of the people be damned.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $105 billion and is the richest man in the world. But he is not just the richest man at this moment in history. He is the richest person who has ever lived. As of 2017 he and seven other billionaires had a collective net worth equal to that of the poorest 3.6 billion people on earth. By Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist
Why We Must Protect the World from the United States “For oppressed nations and peoples of the world, the U.S. white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy is and remains the principle contradiction.” Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated the obvious: The United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. He also said the public allowing this violence would lead to a kind of national spiritual death that would continue to make the U.S. state a danger to the world. By Ajamu Baraka, BAR editor and columnist
Will 2018 be the Year of Left Political Resurgence that 2017 Wasn’t? “What the anti-Russia madness has done is provide an extralegal basis from which to attack any ideology or organization that the ruling class dislikes.” A new year has dawned on US imperialism and the nations that remain under its orbit. The annual transition is often seen as a time to reflect on the events of the preceding year. Reflections bear lessons that inform resolutions and goals formulated for the year to come. 2018’s arrival marks nearly a year since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the Commander in Chief of US imperialism. Many progressives and radicals feared Trump’s ascendancy but hoped that the billionaire would bring about a resurgence in left politic thought and action in the United States. These hopes never materialized. By Danny Haiphong, BAR contributor
The Case Against a Basic Income “If the payment isn’t high enough to let people to refuse work, UBI might push wages down and create more “bullshit jobs.” In her campaign memoir What Happened, Hillary Clinton wrote that the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) for all Americans “fascinated” her. Reflecting on her wholly uninspiring campaign, she explained that she wanted to include it in her platform but “couldn’t make the numbers work,” so she dropped the idea. By Daniel Zamora
Full Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Spanning the Globe “There are 50,000 troops still in Germany, still winning World War II three quarters of a century later.” Late last year, a divided Congress approved a military spending bill of 700 billion dollars , more than either the President or the Pentagon had requested. Hundreds of billions will go to U.S. military bases and troops on foreign soil. The US is the largest, most lethal military power in human history with seven geographic commands spanning the globe, but that didn’t stop the new Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases from holding its first conference at the University of Baltimore from Friday to Sunday, January 12 to 14. By Ann Garrison, BAR contributor
Settler Colonialism and the Second Amendment “The violent appropriation of Native land by white settlers was seen as an individual right in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, second only to freedom of speech.” The Anglo-American settlers’ violent break from Britain in the late eighteenth century paralleled their search-and-destroy annihilation of Delaware, Cherokee, Muskogee, Seneca, Mohawk, Shawnee, and Miami, during which they slaughtered families without distinction of age or gender, and expanded the boundaries of the thirteen colonies into unceded Native territories. By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz