Category Archives: Apartheid

American Party of Labor on John Brown

John_Brown_daguerreotype_c1856

Taken from the A.P.L. Facebook page.

On the morning of December 2nd, 1859, abolitionist fighter John Brown was hanged. One of the leaders of the left-wing abolitionist movement and participant in the Underground Railroad, Brown came to realize that the institution of slavery could not be ended by peaceful means, and that such oppression had to be fought with force. He formed a militia of black and white people dedicated to striking against slaveholders in the hopes of sparking a slave uprising and insurrection to overthrow slavery in the United States.

In 1855-56, Brown organized successful armed struggles against slaveowners and pro-slavery militias in Bleeding Kansas. He planned to create a Free Republic in the Allegheny Mountains as a base for the fight against slavery, even composing a draft provisional constitution. Brown and 18 of his men raided a federal armory in Harper’s Ferry on Oct. 16, 1859, meaning to use the weapons to arm slaves, but the raid failed. Brown’s men were almost completely annihilated by U.S. Marines commanded by Robert E. Lee, as well as pro-slavery farmers and militiamen. Two of Brown’s sons were killed and Brown himself was wounded and captured.

In his speech to the court at his trial and sentencing, John Brown spoke these powerful words:

“Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case), — had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends – either father, mother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class – and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment. […] Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.”

After his trial and execution, John Brown went down in history as a martyr and a fighter for liberation. Brown’s rebellion immediately preceded the American Civil War of 1861-65, and was one of the first open challenges to slavery.

John Brown’s legacy lies with millions of people who have given their lives to struggle against human bondage, against crushing systems of stratification, and against the gravest crimes of exploitation.

Advertisements

Platform of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

PFLP-logo

 l. Conventional War Is the War of the Bourgeoisie. Revolutionary War Is People’s War

The Arab bourgeoisie has developed armies which are not prepared to sacrifice their own interests or to risk their privileges. Arab militarism has become an apparatus for oppressing revolutionary socialist movements within the Arab states, while at the same time it claims to be staunchly anti-imperialist. Under the guise of the national question, the bourgeoisie has used its armies to strengthen its bureaucratic power over the masses. and to prevent the workers and peasants from acquiring political power. So far it has demanded the help of the workers and peasants without organising them or without developing a proletarian ideology. The national bourgeoisie usually comes to power through military coups and without any activity on the part of the masses, as soon as it has captured power it reinforces its bureaucratic position. Through widespread application of terror it is able to talk about revolution while at the same time it suppresses all the revolutionary movements and arrests everyone who tries to advocate revolutionary action. The Arab bourgeoisie has used the question of Palestine to divert the Arab masses from realising their own interests and their own domestic problems. The bourgeoisie always concentrated hopes on a victory outside the state”s boundaries, in Palestine, and in this way they were able to preserve their class interests and their bureaucratic positions.

The war of June 1967 disproved the bourgeois theory of conventional war. The best strategy for Israel is to strike rapidly. The enemy is not able to mobilise its armies for a long period of time because this would intensify its economic crisis. It gets complete support from U.S. imperialism and for these reasons it needs quick wars. Therefore for our poor people the best strategy in the long run is a people”s war. Our people must overcome their weaknesses and exploit the weaknesses of the enemy by mobilising the Palestinian and Arab peoples. The weakening of imperialism and Zionism in the Arab world demands revolutionary war as the means to confront them.

2. Guerrilla Struggle as a Form of Pressure for the “Peaceful Solution”

The Palestinian struggle is a part of the whole Arab liberation movement and of the world liberation movement. The Arab bourgeoisie and world imperialism are trying to impose a peaceful solution on this Palestinian problem but this suggestion merely promotes the interests of imperialism and of Zionism, doubt in the efficacy of people”s war as a means of liberation and the preservation of the relations of the Arab bourgeoisie with the imperialist world market. The Arab bourgeoisie is afraid of being isolated from this market and of losing its role as a mediator of world capitalism. That is why the Arab oil producing countries broke off the boycott against the West (instituted during the June war) and for this reason McNamara, as head of the World Bank, was ready to offer credits to them.

When the Arab bourgeoisie strive far a peaceful solution, they are in fact striving for the profit which they can get from their role as mediator between the imperialist market and the internal market. The Arab bourgeoisie are not yet opposed to the activity of the guerrillas, and sometimes they even help them; but this is because the presence of the guerrillas is a means of pressure for a peaceful solution. As long as the guerrillas don”t have a clear class affiliation and a clear political stand they are unable to resist the implication of such a peaceful solution; but the conflict between the guerrillas and those whose strive for a peaceful solution is unavoidable. Therefore the guerrillas must take steps to transform their actions into a people”s war with clear goals.

3. No Revolutionary War Without a Revolutionary Theory

The basic weakness of the guerrilla movement is the absence of a revolutionary ideology, which could illuminate the horizons of the Palestinian fighters and would incarnate the stages of a militant political programme. Without a revolutionary ideology the national struggle will remain imprisoned within its immediate practical and material needs. The Arab bourgeoisie is quite prepared for a limited satisfaction of the needs of the national struggle, as long as it respects the limits that the bourgeoisie sets. A clear illustration of this is the material help that Saudi Arabia offers Fatah while Fatah declares that she will not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab countries. Since most of the guerrilla movements have no ideological weapons, the Arab bourgeoisie can decide their fate. Therefore, the struggle of the Palestinian people must be supported by the workers and peasants, who will fight against any form of domination by imperialism, Zionism or the Arab bourgeoisie.

4. The War of Liberation Is a Class War Guided by a Revolutionary Ideology

We must not be satisfied with ignoring the problems of our struggle. saying that our struggle is a national one and not a class struggle. The national struggle reflects the class struggle. The national struggle is a struggle for land and those who struggle for it are the peasants who were driven away from their land. The bourgeoisie is always ready to lead such a movement, hoping to gain control of the internal market. If the bourgeoisie succeeds in bringing the national movement under its control, which strengthens its position, it can lead the movement under the guise of a peaceful solution into compromises with imperialism and Zionism. Therefore, the fact that the liberation struggle is mainly a class struggle emphasises the necessity for the workers and peasants to play a leading role in the national liberation movement. if the small bourgeoisie take the leading role, the national revolution will fall as a victim of the class interests of this leadership. It is a great mistake to start by saying that the Zionist challenge demands national unity for this shows that one does not understand the real class structure of Zionism. The struggle against Israel is first of all a class struggle. Therefore the oppressed class is the only class which is able to face a confrontation with Zionism.

5. The Main Field of Our Revolution Struggle is Palestine

The decisive battle must he in Palestine. The armed people”s struggle to Palestine can help itself with the simplest weapons in order to ruin the economies and the war machinery of their Zionist enemy. The moving of the peoples struggles into Palestine depends upon agitating and oranising the masses, more than depending upon border actions in the Jordan valley, although these actions are of importance for the struggle in Palestine.

When guerrilla organisations began their actions in the occupied areas, they were faced with a brutal military repression by the armed forces of Zionism. Because these organisations had no revolutionary ideology and so no programme, they gave in to demands of self-preservation and retreated into eastern Jordan. All their activity turned into border actions. This presence of the guerrilla organisations in Jordan enables the Jordanian bourgeoisie and their secret agents to crush these organisations when they are no longer useful as pressure for a peaceful solution.

6. Revolution in Both Regions of Jordan

We must not neglect the struggle in east Jordan for this land is connected with Palestine more than with the other Arab countries. The problem of the revolution in Palestine is dialectically connected with the problem of the revolution in Jordan. A chain of plots between the Jordanian monarchy, imperialism and Zionism have proved this connection.

The struggle in east Jordan must take the correct path, that of class struggle. The Palestinian struggle must not be used as a means of propping up the Jordanian monarchy. Under the mask of national unity, and the main problem in Jordan is the creation of a Marxist-Leninist party with a clear action programme according to which it can organise the masses and enable them to carry out the national and class struggle. The harmony of the struggle in the two region, must be realised through co-ordinating organs whose tasks will be to guarantee reserves inside Palestine and to mobilise the peasants and soldiers in the border-territories.

This is the only way in which Amman can become an Arab Hanoi:-a base for the revolutionaries fighting inside Palestine.

Source

Grover Furr: Israeli Rule over Palestinians is Fascist

Apartheid South Africa - Apartheid Israel (1)

Originally published in The Montclarion, student newspaper at Montclair State College (now University), Thursday, May 5, 1988, p. 13.

To the editor:

Professor Edward Aronow’s letter of April 21 on Israeli treatment of Palestinians is so filled with error and distortion that one short response can only begin to correct it.

Israeli rule over Palestinians is essentially fascist. The Israeli army assault on the West Bank town of Beita in the wake of the death of an Israeli teenager can only be described as a pogrom — brutal, murderous assault such as the Tsarist police and the Nazis committed against Jews.

Killing persons armed only with stones or “trying to flee” – – including numerous Palestinian teenagers — collective punishment, beatings, imprisonment without trail for indefinite periods, deportations — this is fascist repression, akin to Nazi terrorism.

The lesson of World War II — especially of the Nazi holocaust — is that fascism cannot be fought with “moderation.” Mass Palestinian protests, including violent protests, must be welcomed, and supported by all those who oppose injustice. Pacifist and “non-violent” protest would be morally irresponsible, since they can never succeed against fascist oppression, but only lead to the unnecessary deaths of many protesters.

Terrorist assassinations, whether by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), or the far more numerous acts of terrorist murder by the Israeli army and settlers, must be condemned. However, Israel is far more guilty in this regard, quantitatively, than the PLO.

About 10 times the number of Palestinians have been murdered by Israel than the number of Israelis murdered by PLO terrorists. Yet Israeli terrorist repression against Palestinians is termed `retaliation” or “assassination” in the US media!

Israeli fascist brutalities follow a long history of working with some of the worst fascists on earth, including South Africa, Iran, Turkey, and Argentina. Israel is a major supplier of arms and military advisors to South Africa. Israeli advisors helped train the Iranian Secret Police under the fascist Shah in torture techniques. Today Israel is the major arms supplier to Khomeini’s Iran!

One need not look far to find the roots of Israeli terrorism and fascism. Take Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir. Before World War II he belonged to a Zionist grouplet that, in 1940, offered to enter the war on the side of Nazi Germany if the Nazis would permit a Zionist state, run along fascist lines, in Palestine. Shamir personally planned the 1948 terrorist murder of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Special Mediator for Palestine.

During the war, the major Zionist leaders collaborated with Adolf Eichmann to send half a million Hungarian Jews to their deaths in Nazi extermination camps, in return for the Nazis letter 1500 or so Zionists emigrate to Palestine — a fact long since documented by Zionist writers. Such is the “love” of the Zionist leaders for “their own people”!

The root problem is racism and its twin, nationalism. Israeli law claims that any Jew, anywhere in the world, has a right to full Israeli citizenship, while Arabic-speaking Palestinians have no such right even if they were born and have lived all their lives on the territory now comprising Israel. This is an inherently racist policy. Fascist racism is built into the very existence of the Israeli state.

It is in the interest of Israeli rulers to foment as much hatred between Jews and Palestinians as they can. Israel’s economy depends heavily upon the exploitation of very cheap Palestinian labor, just as South Africa’s does on Black labor.

Israeli Jewish workers are very militant; relative to population;there are more work-days lost to strikes in Israel than in any country in the world. Racism and nationalism are the main things keeping Jewish and non- Jewish workers from allying with one another.

At all costs, Israeli bosses must prevent this, while keeping the super-exploited Palestinian workers nearby and without rights. The parallel with South Africa — or with American treatment of “illegal aliens” and minorities — is unmistakable.

Incidentally, there are not “dozens of Arab states,” as Professor Aranow, following the Israeli government propaganda line, says. There is one major Arab state, Saudi Arabia, and several minor ones on that peninsula. There are many Arabic-speaking states, just as there are many countries besides England where English is spoken. There is no “Palestinian state” in Jordan. Here Professor Aranow simply parrots Israeli disinformation.

Like Israel, the Moslem, Arabic-speaking states are also undemocratic, elite-run dungeons. In light of Israeli terror, however, Professor Aranow’s prattle about the need to “await greater Arab political maturity” is racist nonsense.

Source

Alex Callinicos on the Function of the Apartheid System

saf-fx2

“The function of the apartheid system, consolidated by the Nationalist Party, which has been in power since 1948, is simple. The factories, mines, farms, offices and homes of white South Africans require a huge pool of cheap black labour in order to provide the settlers with their privileges and the multinationals operating in the country with their profits. Yet a permanent urban black working class would be an explosive threat to the system. So the apartheid system serves to prevent such a working class from forming. In theory, all blacks are temporary residents in the cities, which are reserved for the whites. They are required under the pass laws always to carry documents certifying their right to be in the city. Should a black lose his job he can be deported back to the rural area to which he ‘belongs’ even if he has lived all his life in the city.

Hand in hand with the immigrant labour system goes the denial to all blacks of trade union rights. Strikes by black workers are illegal, and their unions go Unrecognised by the employer or the state. The system of job reservation guarantees that skilled jobs will go to whites alone. The white trade unions, enjoying huge wage differentials out of all proportion to the work they do (mainly supervising the blacks who actually do the work), are less a section of the working class than a parasitic excrescence dependent on the white capitalists for their privileges.

The result can be seen in Soweto. 86 per cent of homes in Soweto have no electricity; 93 per cent no shower or bath; 97 per cent no hot water. 54 per cent of the township’s one million residents are unemployed. The average black family income in South Africa is 73 rand; yet the poverty datum level – the minimum income compatible with bare subsistence – is 120 rand a month.”

 – Alex Callinicos, “The Soweto Uprising: South Africa’s Black Townships Have Finally Exploded”

Enver Hoxha on Africa

HoxhameetsAfricans

Africa is a mosaic of peoples with an ancient culture. Each African people has its own culture, customs, way of life, which, with some variations, are at a very backward stage, for well-known reasons. The awakening of the bulk of these peoples has only recently begun. De jure, the African peoples, in general, have won their freedom and independence. But there can be no talk of genuine freedom and independence, since most of them are still in a colonial or neo-colonial state.

Many of these countries are governed by the chieftains of the old tribes who have seized power and rely on the old colonialists, or the US imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. The methods of government in these states at this stage are not and cannot be other than a marked survival of colonialism. The imperialists are ruling most of the African countries again through their concerns, their capital invested in industry, banks, etc. The overwhelming bulk of the wealth of these countries continues to flow to the metropolises.

Some of the African countries have fought for that freedom and independence they enjoy today, while the others have had it granted without fighting. During their colonial rule in Africa, the British, French and other colonizers oppressed the peoples but they also created a local bourgeoisie, more or less educated in the Occidental manner. The leading figures today, have also emerged from this bourgeoisie. Among them there are many anti-imperialist elements, fighters for the independence of their own countries, but the majority either remain loyal to the old colonizers, in order to preserve the close relations with them even after the f ormal abolition of colonialism, or have entered into economic and political dependence on the US imperialists or the Soviet social-imperialists.

The colonizers did not make large investments in the past. This was the case, for instance, with Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. However, the colonizers drained the wealth of all these countries, seized large tracts of land, and developed a proletariat, by no means small in number, in some special branches of the industry, such as in the extraction and processing of raw materials. They also drew large numbers of workers to the metropolises, such as to France, for instance, but also to Britain, as a cheap labour force which worked in the colonizers mines and the factories.

In the other parts of Africa, especially in Black Africa, industrial development remained more backward. All the countries of this region were divided up, especially between France, Britain, Belgium and Portugal. Great underground riches, like diamonds, iron, copper, gold, tin, etc., were discovered there long ago, and industry to mine and process minerals has been set up there.

In many African countries, large, typically colonial cities, were built, where the colonizers lived a fabulous life. Now, on the one hand, the local great bourgeoisie and its wealth is growing and developing there, while on the other hand, the impoverishment of the broad masses of working people is increasing still more. In these countries a certain degree of cultural development has been achieved, but it has more of a European character. The local culture has not developed. It has generally remained at the stage reached by the tribes and is not represented outside them, in the centres with towering sky-scrapers. This has come about because, outside the large centres, were the colonizers lived, stark misery and extreme poverty existed, hunger, disease, ignorance and ruthless exploitation of the people, in the full meaning of the term, reigned supreme.

The African population remained culturally and economically undeveloped and continuously diminished in numbers, declining because of colonial wars, the savage racial persecution, and the traffic in African negroes, who were sent to the metropolises, the United States of America, and other countries to work like animals in the plantations of cotton and other crops, as well as in the heaviest jobs in industry and construction.

For these reasons, the African peoples still have a great struggle ahead of them. This is and will be a very complicated struggle, differing from one country to another, because of the state of their economic, cultural and educational development, the degree of their political awakening, the great influence which the different religions, such as the Christian and Moslem religions, the old pagan beliefs, etc., exert on the masses of these peoples. This struggle becomes still more difficult since many of these countries are actually under the domination of neo-colonialism combined with that of local bourgeois-capitalist cliques. The law there is made by those powerful capitalist and imperialist states which subsidize or control the ruling cliques, which they set up and remove whenever the interests of the neo-colonialists require or when the balance of these interests is upset.

The policy pursued by the big landowners, the reactionary bourgeoisie, the imperialists and the neo-colonialists is intended to keep the African peoples in permanent bondage, in ignorance, to hinder their social, political and ideological development, and to obstruct their struggle to gain these rights. At present we see that those same imperialists who used to lord it over these peoples in the past, as well as other new imperialists, are trying to penetrate into the African continent, by meddling in every way in the internal affairs of the peoples. As a result of this, the contradictions among imperialists, between the peoples and the bourgeois-capitalist leaderships of most of these countries, and between the peoples and the new colonizers, are becoming more and rnore severe every day.

These contradictions must be utilized by the peoples, both to deepen them and to benefit from them. But this can be achieved only through resolute struggle by the proletariat, the poor peasantry, by all the oppressed and the slaves, against imperialism and neo-colonialism, against the local big bourgeoisie, the big landowners and their whole establishment. A special role in this struggle devolves upon progressives and democrats, the revolutionary youth and patriotic intellectuals, who aspire to see their own countries advancing free and independent, on the path of development and progress. Only through continuous and organized struggle by them will life be made difficult for the local and foreign oppressors and exploiters and government impossible. This situation will be prepared in the specific circumstances of each African state.

British and US imperialism have not given to the peoples of Africa any freedom. Everybody can see what is happening in South Africa, for instance. The white racists, the British capitalists, the exploiters, are ruling there, savagely oppressing the coloured peoples of that state, where the law of jungle prevails. Many other countries of Africa are dominated by the concerns and capital of the United States of America, Britain, France, Belgium, and other old colonialists and imperialists, who have become somewhat weaker, but who still hold the keys to the economies of these countries.

In irreconcilable struggle against the revisionists and other opportunists, against all the lackeys of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Castroite, Khrushchevite, Trotskyite, <<three worlds>>, and other such views and practices, they have worked out a correct political line and accumulated sufficient experience in the struggle to put this line into practice, becoming the bearers of all the revolutionary tradition of the past, in order to use it and develop it further to the advantage of the workers’ and liberation movement, the preparation and raising of the masses in revolution.

The revolutionary situations existing today make it essential for these parties to maintain the closest possible contacts and consult with one another as frequently as possible, to be able to gain the maximum benefits from one another’s experience and co-ordinate their stands and actions on the common problems of the struggle against the reactionary bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Soviet, Chinese and other brands of modern revisionism, and on all the problems of the revolution.

Now that the peoples have awakened and refuse to live any longer under the imperialist and colonial yoke, now that they are demanding freedom, independence, development and progress, and are seething with anger against foreign and internal oppressors, now that Africa, Latin America and Asia have become a boiling cauldron the old and new colonialists are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to dominate and exploit the peoples of these countries by means of the previous methods and forms. They are quite unable to do without their plunder and exploitation of the wealth, the toil and the blood of these peoples. That is why all these efforts are being made to find new methods and forms of deception, plunder and exploitation, to dispense some alms, which, again, do not benefit the masses, but the bourgeois-land owner ruling classes.

Meanwhile the question has been made even more complicated, because Soviet social-imperialism long ago began to penetrate and entrench itself more and more deeply in the former colonies and semi-colonies, and because social-imperialist China has begun to make feverish efforts to get in there, too.

The revisionist Soviet Union carries out its expansionist interference under the guise of its allegedly Leninist policy of aid for the peoples’ liberation struggle, posing as the natural ally of these countries and peoples. As a means to penetrate into Africa and elsewhere, the Soviet revisionists employ and spread slogans of a socialist colour in order to deceive the peoples who aspire to liberate themselves, to liquidate oppression and exploitation, and who know that the only road to complete national and social liberation is socialism.

The Soviet Union also involves its allies, or better, its satellites in its interference. We are seeing this concretely in Africa, where the Soviet social-imperialist and their Cuban mercenaries are intervening on the pretext that they are assisting the revolution. This is a lie. Their intervention is nothing but a colonialist action aimed at capturing markets and subjugating peoples.

The intervention of the Soviet Union and its Cuban mercenaries in Angola is of this nature. They have never had the slightest intention of assisting the Angolan revolution, but their aim was and is to get their claws into that African country which had won a certain independence after the expulsion of the Portuguese colonialists. The Cuban mercenaries are the colonial army dispatched by the Soviet Union to capture markets and strategic positions in the countries of Black Africa, and to go on from Angola to other states, to enable the Soviet social-imperialists, too, to create a modern colonial empire.

Under the cloak of aid for peoples’ liberation the Soviet Union and its mercenary, Cuba, are intervening in other countries with armies equipped with artillery and machine-guns, allegedly to build socialism, which does not exist in either the Soviet Union or Cuba. These two bourgeois-revisionist states intervened in Angola in order to help a capitalist clique seize power, contrary to the aims of the Angolan people who had fought to win their freedom from the Portuguese colonialists. Agostinho Neto is playing the game of the Soviets. In the struggle against the other faction, in order to seize power for himself, he called in the Soviets to help him. The struggle between the two opposing Angolan clans did not have anything of a people’s revolutionary character.

The fight between them was a struggle of cliques for power. Each of them was supported by different imperialist states. Agostinho Neto emerged the winner from this contest, while socialism did not triumph in Angola. On the contrary, following the intervention from abroad, Soviet neo-colonialism has been established there.

Social-imperialist China, too, is making great efforts to penetrate into the former colonial and semi-colonial countries.

An example of how China intervenes is provided by Zaire, a country ruled by the clique around Mobutu, the wealthiest and most bloodthirsty clique on the African continent. In the fighting which flared up in Zaire recently, the Moroccans of the Sherifian Kingdom of Morocco, the French air force, and China, too, all rushed to the aid of Mobutu, the murderer of Patrice Lumumba. The assistance given by the French is understandable, because with their intervention they were defending their concessions and concerns in Katanga, and at the same time, protecting their men, as well as Mobutu and his clique. But what do the Chinese revisionists want in Katanga? Whom are they assisting there? Are they helping the people of Zaire who are being suppressed by Mobutu and his clique and by the French, Belgian, US and other concession holders? Or are not they, too, assisting the blood-thirsty Mobutu clique? The fact is that the Chinese revisionist leadership is assisting this clique not indirectly, but quite openly. To make this assistance more concrete and more demonstrative, it sent its foreign minister, Huang Hua there, as well as military experts and military and economic aid. Thus, it acted in an anti-Marxist, anti-revolutionary way. China’s interference has exactly the same features as that of King Hassan of Morocco and that of France.

The Chinese social-imperialists are interfering not only in the affairs of that country, but also in other affairs of the peoples and countries of Africa and other continents, especially in those countries into which they are striving to penetrate in every way, in order to establish economic, political and strategic bases there.

Enver Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, Excerpts from “The Peoples’ Liberation Struggle – a Component Part of the World Revolution”

John Reed on the Black Question In the United States

John_Reed_journalist

Reed: In America there live ten million Negroes who are concentrated mainly in the South. In recent years however many thousands of them have moved to the North. The Negroes in the North are employed in industry while in the South the majority are farm labourers or small farmers. The position of the Negroes is terrible, particularly in the Southern states. Paragraph 16 of the Constitution of the United States grants the Negroes full civil rights. Nevertheless most Southern states deny the Negroes these rights. In other states, where by law the Negroes possess the right to vote, they are killed if they dare to exercise this right.

Negroes are not allowed to travel in the same railway carriages as whites, visit the same saloons and restaurants, or live in the same districts. There exist special, and worse, schools for Negroes and similarly special churches. This separation of the Negroes is called the ‘Jim Crow system’, and the clergy in the Southern churches preach about paradise on the ‘Jim Crow system’. Negroes are used as unskilled workers in industry. Until recently they were excluded from most of the unions that belong to the American Federation of Labour. The IWW of course organised the Negroes, the old Socialist Party however undertook no serious attempt to organise them. In some states the Negroes were not accepted into the party at all, in others they were separated off into special sections, and in general the party statutes banned the use of Party resources for propaganda among Negroes.

In the South the Negro has no rights at all and does not even enjoy the protection of the law. Usually one can kill Negroes without being punished. One terrible white institution is the lynching of Negroes. This happens in the following manner., The Negro is covered with oil and strung up on a telegraph pole. The whole of the town, men, women and children, run up to watch the show and take home a piece of the clothing or the skin of the Negro they have tortured to death ‘as a souvenir’.

I have too little time to explain the historical background to the Negro question in the United States. The descendants of the slave population, who were liberated during the Civil War, when politically and economically they were still completely underdeveloped, were later given full political rights in order to unleash a bitter class struggle in the South which was intended to hold up Southern capitalism until the capitalists in the North were able to bring together all the country’s resources into their own. possession.

Until recently the Negroes did not show any aggressive class consciousness at all. The first awakening of the Negroes took place after the Spanish-American War, in which the black troops had fought with extraordinary courage and from which they returned with the feeling that as men they were equal to the white troops. Until then the only movement that existed among the Negroes was a semi-philanthropic educational association led by Booker T. Washington and supported by the white capitalists. This movement found its expression in the organisation of schools in which the Negroes were brought up to be good servants of industry. As intellectual nourishment they were presented with the good advice to resign themselves to the fate of an oppressed people. During the Spanish War an aggressive reform movement arose among the Negroes which demanded social and political equality with the whites. With the beginning of the European war half a million Negroes who had joined the US Army were sent to France, where they were billeted with French troop detachments and suddenly made the discovery that they were treated as equals socially and in every other respect. The American General Staff approached the French High Command and asked them to forbid Negroes to visit places used by whites and to treat them as second-class people. After the war the Negroes, many of whom had received medals for bravery from the English and French governments, returned to their Southern villages where they were subjected to lynch law because they dared to wear their uniforms and their decorations on the street.

At the same time a strong movement arose among the Negroes who had stayed behind. Thousands of them moved to the North, began to work in the war industries and came into contact with the surging current of the labour movement. High as they were, their wage rates trailed behind the incredible increases in the prices of the most important necessities. Moreover the Negroes were outraged by the way all their strength was sucked out and the terrible exertions demanded by the work much more than were the white workers who had grown used to the terrible exploitation in the course of many years.

The Negroes went on strike alongside the white workers and quickly joined the industrial proletariat. They proved very ready to accept revolutionary propaganda. At that time the newspaper Messenger was founded, published by a young Negro, the socialist Randolf, and pursuing revolutionary propagandist aims. This paper united socialist propaganda with an appeal to the racial consciousness of the Negroes and with the call to organise self-defence against the brutal attacks of the whites. At the same time the paper insisted on the closest links with the white workers, regardless of the fact that the latter often took part in Negro-baiting, and emphasised that the enmity between the white and black races was supported by the capitalists in their own interests.

The return of the army from the front threw many millions of white workers on to the labour market all at once. The result was unemployment, and the demobilised soldiers’ impatience took such threatening proportions that the employers were forced to tell the soldiers that their jobs had been taken by Negroes in order thus to incite the whites to massacre the Negroes. The first of these outbreaks took place in Washington, where civil servants from the administration returning from the war found their jobs occupied by Negroes. The civil servants were in the main Southerners. They organised a night attack on the Negro district in order to terrorise the Negroes into giving up their jobs. To everybody’s amazement the Negroes came on to the streets fully armed. A fight developed and the Negroes fought so well that for every dead Negro there were three dead whites. Another revolt which lasted several days and left many dead on both sides broke out a few months later in Chicago. Later still a massacre took place in Omaha. In all these fights the Negroes showed for the first time in history that they are armed and splendidly organised and are not at all afraid of the whites. The results of the Negroes’ resistance were first of all a belated intervention by the government and secondly the acceptance of Negroes into the unions of the American Federation of Labour.

Racial consciousness grew among the Negroes themselves. At present there is among the Negroes a section which preaches the armed uprising of the Negroes against the whites. The Negroes who returned home from the war have set up associations everywhere for self-defence and to fight against the white supporters of lynch law. The circulation of the Messenger is growing constantly. At present it sells 180,000 copies monthly. At the same time, socialist ideas have taken root and are spreading rapidly among the Negroes employed in industry.

If we consider the Negroes as an enslaved and oppressed people, then they pose us with two tasks: on the one hand a strong racial movement and on the other a strong proletarian workers’ movement, whose class consciousness is quickly growing. The Negroes do not pose the demand of national independence. A movement that aims for a separate national existence, like for instance the ‘back to Africa’ movement that could be observed a few years ago, is never successful among the Negroes. They hold themselves above all to be Americans, they feel at home in the United States. That simplifies the tasks of the communists considerably.

The only correct policy for the American Communists towards the Negroes is to regard them above all as workers. The agricultural workers and the small farmers of the South pose, despite the backwardness of the Negroes, the same tasks as those we have in respect to the white rural proletariat. Communist propaganda can be carried out among the Negroes who are employed as industrial workers in the North. In both parts of the country we must strive to organise Negroes in the same unions as the whites. This is the best and quickest way to root out racial prejudice and awaken class solidarity.

The Communists must not stand aloof from the Negro movement which demands their social and political equality and at the moment, at a time of the rapid growth of racial consciousness, is spreading rapidly among Negroes. The Communists must use this movement to expose the lie of bourgeois equality and emphasise the necessity of the social revolution which will not only liberate all workers from servitude but is also the only way to free the enslaved Negro people.

 – John Reed, quoted in “Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International, Fourth Session July 25”

Thoughts on the George Zimmerman Verdict

trayvon-martins-father-tweets-after-george-zimmerman-verdict

“Only in America can a dead black boy go on trial for his own murder.”

 ― Syreeta McFadden

I am deeply saddened and enraged beyond words at the news that Zimmerman has been acquitted of all charges and has therefore gotten away with murder, or rather a lynching. I am far too upset to give any kind of detailed analysis or statement. All I can say is this: mark my words, there will be hell to pay for this soon enough.

This song means so much to me. It brings tears to my eyes. I’ve listened to it so many times during times like these over the years.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Remember Medger Evers

1003288_154469128071084_521288941_n

From Mississippi, Medgar Evers, born July 2, 1925 was assassinated on June 12, 1963. After returning from military service in World War II he became very active in the African American civil rights movement.

In 1948 Evers enrolled at Alcorn College (a historically black college, now Alcorn State University) majoring in business administration. He also competed on the debate, football, and track teams, sang in the choir, and was junior class president. He earned his BA in 1952. Evers applied to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in 1954 but his application was rejected.

Evers’ civil rights leadership and investigative work made him a target of white supremacists. In the weeks leading up to his death, the hostility directed towards him grew. His public investigations into the murder of Emmett Till and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard had made him a prominent black leader.

Mourned nationally, Evers was buried on June 19th in Arlington National Cemetary with full military honors before a crowd of thousands.

On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and member of the White Citizens’ Council (and later of the Ku Klux Klan), was arrested for Evers’ murder. Juries composed solely of white men twice that year deadlocked on De La Beckwith’s guilt.

In 1994, 30 years after the two previous trials had failed to reach a verdict, De La Beckwith was brought to trial based on new evidence. During the trial, the body of Evers was exhumed from his grave for autopsy. De La Beckwith was convicted of murder on February 5, 1994, after having lived as a free man for much of the three decades following the killing (he was imprisoned from 1977 to 1980 for conspiring to murder A. I. Botnick). De La Beckwith appealed unsuccessfully, and died at age 80 in prison in January 2001.

R.I.P. Medgar Evers on the 50th anniversary of his murder.

6298_10151706955531639_1327534596_n

1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America Is Perpetually at War with Its Own People

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Eugene Ivanov

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Eugene Ivanov

By Adam Hudson

From the war on drugs to the war on terror, law enforcement’s battle against minorities serves as pacification.

Police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extrajudicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012 according to a recent study. This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it’s possible that the real number could be much higher.

The report, entitled “Operation Ghetto Storm”, was performed by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an antiracist grassroots activist organization. The organization has chapters in Atlanta, Detroit, Fort Worth-Dallas, Jackson, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. It has a history of organizing campaigns against police brutality and state repression in black and brown communities. Their study’s sources included police and media reports along with other publicly available information. Last year, the organization published a similar study showing that a black person is killed by security forces every 36 hours. However, this study did not tell the whole story, as it only looked at shootings from January to June 2012. Their latest study is an update of this.

These killings come on top of other forms of oppression black people face. Mass incarceration of nonwhites is one of them. While African-Americans constitute 13.1% of the nation’s population, they make up nearly 40% of the prison population. Even though African-Americans use or sell drugs about the same rate as whites, they are 2.8 to 5.5 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than whites. Black offenders also receive longer sentences compared to whites. Most offenders are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.

“Operation Ghetto Storm” explains why such killings occur so often. Current practices of institutional racism have roots in the enslavement of black Africans, whose labor was exploited to build the American capitalist economy, and the genocide of Native Americans. The report points out that in order to maintain the systems of racism, colonialism, and capitalist exploitation, the United States maintains a network of “repressive enforcement structures”. These structures include the police, FBI, Homeland Security, CIA, Secret Service, prisons, and private security companies, along with mass surveillance and mass incarceration.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is not the only group challenging police violence against African-Americans. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has been challenging the policy of stop-and-frisk in New York City, in which police officers randomly stop and search individuals for weapons or contraband. African-American and Latino men are disproportionately stopped and harassed by police officers. Most of those stopped (close to 90%) are innocent, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. Stop Mass Incarceration also organizes against the War on Drugs and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Along with the rate of extrajudicial killings, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report contains other important findings. Of the 313 killed, 124 (40%) were between 22 and 31 years old, 57 (18%) were between 18 and 21 years old, 54 (17%) were between 32 and 41 years old, 32 (10%) were 42 to 51 years old, 25 (8%) were children younger than 18 years old, 18 (6%) were older than 52, and 3 (1%) were of unknown ages.

A significant portion of those killed, 68 people or 22%, suffered from mental health issues and/or were self-medicated. The study says that “[m]any of them might be alive today if community members trained and committed to humane crisis intervention and mental health treatment had been called, rather than the police.”

43% of the shootings occurred after an incident of racial profiling. This means police saw a person who looked or behaved “suspiciously” largely because of their skin color and attempted to detain the suspect before killing them. Other times, the shootings occurred during a criminal investigation (24%), after 9-1-1 calls from “emotionally disturbed loved ones” (19%) or because of domestic violence (7%), or innocent people were killed for no reason (7%).

Most of the people killed were not armed. According to the report, 136 people or 44%, had no weapon at all the time they were killed by police officers. Another 27% were deaths in which police claimed the suspect had a gun but there was no corroboration to prove this. In addition, 6 people (2%) were alleged to have possessed knives or similar tools. Those who did, in fact, possess guns or knives were 20% (62 people) and 7% (23 people) of the study, respectively.

The report digs into how police justify their shootings. Most police officers, security guards, or vigilantes who extrajudicially killed black people, about 47% (146 of 313), claimed they “felt threatened”, “feared for their life”, or “were forced to shoot to protect themselves or others”. George Zimmerman, the armed self-appointed neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin last year, claimed exactly this to justify shooting Martin. Other justifications include suspects fleeing (14%), allegedly driving cars toward officers, allegedly reaching for waistbands or lunging, or allegedly pointing a gun at an officer. Only 13% or 42 people fired a weapon “before or during the officer’s arrival”.

Police recruitment, training, policies, and overall racism within society conditions police (and many other people) to assume black people are violent to begin with. This leads to police overacting in situations involving African-American suspects. It also explains why so many police claimed the black suspect “looked suspicious” or “thought they had a gun”. Johannes Mehserle, the white BART police officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant in January 2009, claimed Grant had a gun, even though Grant was subdued to the ground by other officers.

Of the 313 killings, the report found that 275 of them or 88% were cases of excessive force. Only 8% were not considered excessive as they involved cases were suspects shot at, wounded, or killed a police and/or others. Additionally, 4% were situations were the facts surrounding the killing were “unclear or sparsely reported”. The vast majority of the time, police officers, security guards, or armed vigilantes who extrajudicially kill black people escape accountability.

***

Over the past 70 years, the “repressive enforcement structures” described in the report have been used to “wage a grand strategy of ‘domestic’ pacification” to maintain the system through endless “containment campaigns” amounting to “perpetual war”. According to the report, this perpetual war has been called multiple names — the “Cold War”, COINTELPRO, the “War on Drugs, the “War on Gangs”, the “War on Crime”, and now the “War on Terrorism”. This pacification strategy is designed to subjugate oppressed populations and stifle political resistance. In other words, they are wars against domestic marginalized groups. “Extrajudicial killings”, says the report, “are clearly an indispensable tool in the United States government’s pacification pursuits.” It attributes the preponderance of these killings to institutionalized racism and policies within police departments.

Paramilitary police units, known as SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams, developed in order to quell black riots in major cities, such as Los Angeles and Detroit, during the 1960s and ’70s. SWAT teams had major shootouts with militant black and left-wing groups, such as the Black Panther Party and Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1969 and 1974, respectively. SWAT teams were only used for high-risk situations, until the War on Drugs began in the 1980s. Now they’re used in raids — a common military tactic — of suspected drug or non-drug offenders’ homes.

The War on Drugs, first declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, was largely a product of U.S. covert operations. Anti-communist counter-revolutionaries, known as the “Contras”, were trained, funded, and largely created by the CIA to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua during the 1980s. However, the CIA’s funding was not enough. Desperate for money, the Contras needed other funding sources to fight their war against the Sandinistas. The additional dollars came from the drug trade. The late investigative journalist Gary Webb, in 1996, wrote a lengthy series of articles for the San Jose Mercury News, entitled “Dark Alliance”, detailing how the Contras smuggled cocaine from South America to California’s inner cities and used the profits to fund their fight against the Sandinista government. The CIA knew about this but turned a blind eye. The report received a lot of controversy, criticism, and tarnishing of Webb’s journalistic career, which would lead him to commit suicide in 2004. However, subsequent reports from Congressional hearings and other journalists corroborated Webb’s findings.

Moreover, major banks, such as Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo) and HSBC have laundered money for drug dealers. Therefore, the very threat that the Drug War claims to eliminate is perpetuated more by the National Security State and Wall Street than by low-level street dealers. But rather than go after the bigger fish, the United States has used the pretext of the “war on drugs” to implement draconian police tactics on marginalized groups, particularly poor black communities.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan passed the Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act, which provided civilian police agencies equipment, training, and advising from the military, along with access to military research and facilities. This weakened the line between the military and civilian law enforcement established by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, a Reconstruction-era law forbidding military personnel from enforcing domestic laws. Five years later, in 1986, Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 221, which declared drug trafficking a national security threat to the United States. This militarized the U.S. approach to drugs and overall policing. Additionally, the global war on terror and growth of the National Security State expanded this militarization of domestic police under the guise of “fighting terrorism”.

The adoption of military tactics, equipment, training, and weapons leads to law enforcement adopting a war-like mentality. They come to view themselves as soldiers fighting against a foreign enemy rather police protecting a community. Nick Pastore, a former Police Chief of New Haven, Connecticut from 1990 to 1997, turned down military equipment that was offered to him. “I turned it all down, because it feeds a mind-set that you’re not a police officer serving a community, you’re a soldier at war,” he told the New York Times. He said “tough-guy cops” in his department pushed for “bigger and more hardware” and “used to say, ‘It’s a war out there.'” Pastore added, “If you think everyone who uses drugs is the enemy, then you’re more likely to declare war on the people.” Mix this war-like mentality with already existing societal anti-black racism and the result is deadly. Black people, who, by default, are assumed to be criminals because of their skin color, become the victims of routine police violence.

The fact that a black person is killed by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante every 28 hours (or less) is no random act of nature. It is the inevitable result of institutional racism and militaristic tactics and thinking within America’s domestic security apparatus.

Source

Obama to increase aid to Israel: $4 billion per year beginning 2017

U.S. President Barack Obama chats with military personnel while viewing an Iron Dome missile battery on March 20 at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

U.S. President Barack Obama chats with military personnel while viewing an Iron Dome missile battery on March 20 at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

Written by Justin Raimondo

The President, on his trip to Israel, presented Netanyahu with a new ten-year aid “package” totaling some $40 billion – a $10 billion increase over the last such agreement.

AntiWar.com – Given the kind of society we have become – a country of whining spoiled brats who have been living above our means for years – every special interest group is up in arms over the alleged tragedy known as Sequestration. While these automatic across-the-board spending cuts are portrayed as nothing less than draconian by various lobbyists and their congressional sock puppets, in reality these are not even real cuts as you and I understand them, but merely cuts in projected spending increases. Like the temperature in Hell, the imperative in Washington is that spending must always increase: “austerity” means the tempo has momentarily slackened.

From military contractors to the academic establishment, all the lobbyists are crying bloody murder: we are told air traffic controllers will be taken off duty, and hospitals are warning of cuts to vital services. Some of these cuts will hit hardest those who can afford it least: the very poorest of the poor. In this atmosphere, one would think a foreign lobby would be more discreet about calling for an exemption in the foreign aid category. However, in the case of AIPAC, the biggest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, subtlety is not at the top of their agenda.

At the beginning of this month, AIPAC’s annual conference featured a Capitol Hill blitz, in which thousands of pro-Israel activists descended on Washington to pressure Congress to exempt Israel from the cuts. This was coupled with a demand that Congress vote to designate the Jewish state a “major strategic ally,” a characterization meant to divorce aid to Israel from the general foreign aid budget and put it in a special category of its own. After all, that’s what the “special relationship” is all about – right?

As Tim Carney points out, the corporate bunch affectionately known as the Military-Industrial Complex have a big stake in all this: two-thirds of the $3.1 billion in annual aid to Israel must be spent in the United States. US arms manufacturers reap the profits, and the Israelis get free stuff. Yet Carney is wrong about whose lobbying efforts make the difference in this case: I don’t think Lockheed-Martin could mobilize thousands of people to descend on Capitol Hill the way AIPAC, or Christians United for Israel, can.

According to Israel Hayom, the most widely read Israeli newspaper, Tel Aviv has already been granted special treatment: instead of the expected 8 percent across the board cut all other federal programs will suffer under sequestration, the Israelis were recently assured by the White House that their share will amount to only 5 percent.

Yet these “cuts” have already been circumvented by the President himself, who, on his trip to Israel, presented Netanyahu with a new ten-year aid “package” totaling some $40 billion– a $10 billion increase over the last such agreement. And since our special alliance with Israel is “eternal,” as the President rhapsodized, this amount will presumably increase unto eternity. Or until the American people put a stop to it – whichever comes first.

It isn’t as if Israel is a poor, struggling, Third World country: its GDP puts it in the top forty richest countries on the world. Israeli propagandists are always boasting about how they’ve made the desert bloom: the endless parading of Israel’s technical achievements, particularly in the booming high tech sector, is a major hasbara theme. Yet somehow a minuscule “cut” in aid – in reality, a cut in the rate of increase – is going to bring about the downfall of the Jewish state? The days when the Israeli settler colony depended on outside assistance for its very survival are well over.

At a time when domestic programs are on the chopping block, why should the Israelis expect – nay, demand – an exemption? Why can’t they suffer the sequestration in silence, and be happy it wasn’t worse for them?

Apparently some in the pro-Israel community have been thinking the same heretical thought, because AIPAC’s aggressive “Israel first” strategy reportedly caused a bit of a stir, prompting fears of a backlash from some. As the Forward reports:

“J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group, immediately understood the implications of AIPAC’s rhetorical shift after getting word of the pitch made by AIPAC members on Capitol Hill. Dylan Williams, J Street’s director of government affairs, told the Forward that ‘it seems a little tone deaf. We have a unique public perception issue.’ He added that congressional aides had told him they were ‘surprised that some groups – that people from AIPAC – were asking for this.'”

Seen in the larger context of the administration’s ongoing feud with Tel Aviv – from Netanyahu’s informal endorsement of Mitt Romney to the fight over Chuck Hagel – AIPAC’s chutzpah shouldn’t be at all surprising. In the world of Washington lobbyists, it’s all about power – having it, keeping it, and using it. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

It is vitally necessary for the Israel Lobby to tamp down dangerous talk that they’re losing it, because fear is their greatest weapon. The fear they strike in the hearts of politicians who don’t want to wind up like many of the other legislators who thought they could escape the Lobby’s wrath – and soon learned otherwise. It’s much easier to give in to the Lobby’s demands than go the way of Senators Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, and Roger Jepsen, all three felled by Lobby-coordinated campaigns. Congressmen Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, and Pete McCloskey are among the scalps the Lobby can rightfully claim. And while their smear campaign against Hagel didn’t succeed in stopping his confirmation as Secretary of Defense, it was a useful exercise in that it serves as a warning to others who might be thinking of straying off the reservation: Don’t go there!

J Street issued a statement soon after AIPAC’s assault on Capitol Hill, denouncing any effort to separate out aid to Israel from the requirements of sequestration as appearing to put Israel’s demands “above those of the millions of ordinary Americans who are being hurt, or the vital domestic programs that are taking a hit.” While this may be true, J Street is rather missing the point. To wrest an exemption granted to no others is precisely the demonstrative way in which AIPAC needs to flex its lobbying muscles. Isn’t this what the “special relationship” is all about? As Ayn Rand put it, “Love is exception-making,” and the romantic relationship between the US and Israel, whatever its ups and downs, continues unabated in Washington.

Out in the sticks, however – i.e. outside the Beltway – this exception-making for Israel is not all that popular, as J Street rightly worries. The problem, however, is that the American people have very little to say about it – and don’t know about it, in any case. As long as the political class lives in fear of the Lobby, our annual tribute to Israel will be paid in full – yes, even before we feed our own people. Because that’s what love is all about.

America’s “Most Wanted” Terrorist: An Open Letter From Assata

signs_change_news

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

‘The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

Assata Shakur Havana, Cuba

Source

FBI adds 65-year-old Black Panther to Most Wanted Terrorists list

Joanne Chesimard

Joanne Chesimard

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced that Joanne Chesimard has been added to its Most Wanted Terrorists list. Thursday’s bulletin gave Chesimard, a black nationalist, the dubious distinction of being the first woman to be placed on the list.

Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army when, on May 2, 1973, she was driving through New Jersey with two others. The car was pulled over for a broken taillight and a gunfight ensued with police. One officer and one man from Shakur’s group were killed. 

Despite being injured, she managed to flee from the scene but was eventually arrested and, in 1977, convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But in 1979, The New York Times reported, she “escaped from Clinton Correctional Institute for Women after three male visitors drew handguns, kidnapped two guards and seized a prison minibus in order to drive out of the grounds to two getaway cars. They left the guards handcuffed but unharmed.” 

It’s been widely speculated that Shakur was aided in her escape by the Black Liberation Army. William Kunstler, her trial lawyer, told reporters at the time that Shakur’s health had declined in prison.

I was very happy that she escaped because I thought she was unfairly tried,” he said, as quoted by the Gothamist. 

Her surviving accomplice, Sundiata Acoli, born Clark Edward Squire, is still held in a federal prison after being denied parole several times. 

In 1984 Shakur was granted asylum by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who called the charges against her “an infamous lie.” Originally from the Queens section of New York City, Shakur explained her situation on her website.

1 (4)

My name is Assata (“she who struggles”) Olugbala (“for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful one”), and I am a 20th Century escaped slave,” she wrote. “Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the US government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one.” 

She went on to admit involvement with the Black Panther Party and described the FBI’s intention to “destroy it and its leaders and activists.” 

Federal and New Jersey law enforcement announced during Thursday’s news conference that they had doubled the reward for information leading to Shakur’s capture from $1 million to $2 million. Along with being the first female named to the list, she is only the second domestic ‘terrorist’ on the list, which was assembled to identify those responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

We would be naïve to think there’s not some communication between her and some of those people she used to run around with today,” said Aaron Ford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, New Jersey. 

He did not elaborate on the reasoning behind the seemingly sudden decision to add Shakur, now 65 years old, to the list. New Jersey law enforcement has previously campaigned for her extradition, appealing to Pope John Paul II when he traveled to Cuba in 1998.  

State Police superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes may have shed light on authorities’ reinvigorated motivation to apprehend Shakur, however. 

To this day, from her safe haven in Cuba, Shakur has been given a pulpit to preach and profess, stirring supporters and groups to mobilize against the United States by any means necessary,” Fuentes said. “We also have reason to believe that she has established association with other international terrorist organizations.” 

Fuentes did not mention what evidence the New Jersey state police had connecting Fuentes to international terror syndicates, but Ford was careful to note that the US – still struggling to reform its relationship with Cuba – has little hope the country will comply with American requests. 

Currently it’s not good,” Ford said during the press event. “We don’t enjoy a great extradition status with that country.”

Source

Revealed: Evidence Israel offered to sell apartheid South Africa nuclear weapons

The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa. Photograph: Guardian

The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa. Photograph: Guardian

israel-offered-sell-south-africa-nuclear-weapons-1324296978

Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of “ambiguity” in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were “never any negotiations” between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.

South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials “formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal”.

Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.

The memo, marked “top secret” and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: “In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere.”

But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available.” The document then records: “Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.” The “three sizes” are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

The use of a euphemism, the “correct payload”, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong’s memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.

Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel’s prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with “special warheads”. Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer.

Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: “It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement… shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party”.

The agreement also said that neither party could unilaterally renounce it.

The existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. “The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date,” he said. “The South Africans didn’t seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime’s old allies.”

Source

Che on Imperialist “Freedom”

Che-Guevara-9322774-1-402

“Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?”

— Che Guevara

The dirty dozen: Israel’s racist ringleaders

Israelis chant “Sudanese Back To Sudan” during a right-wing demonstration against African refugees in south Tel Aviv, 30 May 2012.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

David Sheen

Does Israel refuse to grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of the state because it is based on an ideology of racism towards people who are not Jewish? Or does Israel refuse to grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens because, since some of them are opposed to the Jewish sectarian nature of the state, it prioritizes state security over racial equality?

While this debate has raged for decades, new evidence has come to light which would seem to suggest that the former is more true. Because if Jewish Israelis are only antagonistic to Palestinian citizens because they supposedly represent security risks, then why do they also despise sub-Saharan Africans, with whom they have never had any conflict?

Approximately 60,000 people from sub-Saharan African countries have migrated to Israel in recent years, fleeing persecution and requesting asylum. Instead of providing them with aid or permitting them to support themselves, the Israeli government refuses to grant them any rights, forces them into abject poverty, and seeks to deport the lot of them.

Although Israel is a regional superpower, it has the second-highest poverty rate among developed countries. After last year’s Arab uprisings, hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets, demanding a higher standard of living. In response, public officials scapegoated the Africans for Israel’s economic problems and launched a racist campaign to expel them.

If there is to be justice, these leaders must be brought to trial to answer for their crimes. Maybe Israelis will come to their senses, cancel all the laws that discriminate against African asylum-seekers and call for a truth and reconciliation commission. Sadly, that is unlikely to happen in the near future, because the hatred of African asylum-seekers has become so widespread in Israel.

Perhaps the people of Eritrea and Sudan will eventually overthrow their repressive regimes, install democratic governments and charge these Israeli officials in an international court of law.

Until that day comes — if it ever does — it is important to document evidence of the wrongdoing. In fact, this is an easy task. Since these officials are not ashamed of their racism, it is all a matter of public record. Of those most responsible, these are the top twelve, Israel’s dirty dozen, its axis of racism:

12. Chaim Avitan

In July 2007, there was only a smattering of African asylum-seekers in the country. At that time, a group of approximately 20 genocide survivors from Darfur in western Sudan were legally living and working in an orchard belonging to a moshav, a small agricultural settlement, near the city limits of Hadera.

A proposal to Hadera city council to open the city’s absorption center to these migrants was defeated by the mayor Chaim Avitan. Avitan then forged an eviction order and sent a security team in the middle of the night to rough up the Darfuris, destroy their documents, shove them onto buses and kick them out of town (“Complaint filed against Hadera mayor for expelling refugees,” Ynet, 7 August 2007).

Avitan announced that the city was not “the country’s garbage can,” called upon the government not to grant refugee status to anyone who is not Jewish and stressed that “Hadera will not permit a single Sudanese to enter.”

Hadera is twinned with Big Spring, Texas (5 percent African American), Saint Paul, Minnesota (14 percent African American) and Charlotte, North Carolina (35 percent African American).

11. Benjamin Babayof

In July 2010, dozens of rabbis in Tel Aviv issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to African asylum-seekers. The language of the letter included warnings against inter-racial marriages and references to Biblical passages calling for ethnic cleansing of all non-Jewish people from the “land of Israel.”

This initiative was such a hit that before the year was out, hundreds of leading rabbis from throughout Israel (who also draw their salaries from the public coffers) issued a similar edict applying to the entire country.

The brainchild behind the edict, the man who went from rabbi to rabbi collecting signatures, calling the African presence in Israel an “abomination,” was the Tel Aviv city councilor representing the Shas party, Benjamin Babayof (“South Tel Aviv realtors: we won’t rent to ‘infiltrators,” The Jerusalem Post, 4 August 2010).

That same year, travel guide publishers Lonely Planet called Tel Aviv the third best city in the world.

Babayof continued his anti-African crusade in February 2012, calling upon the transportation ministry to run segregated bus lines for Africans, or at the very least to prevent them from riding the regular bus lines during rush hour, because “they smell bad.”

South Tel Aviv residents carrying signs reading “Return them now” during a protest calling on the government to deport African asylum-seekers back to their home countries.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

10. Yaakov Asher

Weeks after the original rabbis’ edict was issued, the holy war against African asylum-seekers expanded from Tel Aviv to its environs.

In August 2010, Rabbi Yaakov Asher, the mayor of Tel Aviv satellite city Bnei Brak, met with the minister of public security and the police regional commander to discuss the expulsion of the African population.

When they explained to Asher that there was no legal basis for physically preventing African asylum-seekers from moving to Bnei Brak, Asher’s spokesperson announced that the municipality would use building code infractions by their landlords as an excuse to run the Africans out of town.

When winter came, the municipality followed through on its promise, informing asylum-seekers that they would have to vacate their apartments immediately. When an African man took his legal rental contract down to the city hall and asked to know on what basis he was being evicted, he was told that it was because he was not Jewish.

Many African asylum-seekers did not even receive the courtesy of an eviction notice before their water and electricity were summarily cut off. Without any way to stay warm, the asylum-seekers were frozen out of their flats and sent into the streets in the middle of the winter (“Eritreans say Bnei Brak waging campaign to run them out,” The Jerusalem Post, 1 December 2010).

While he still serves as Bnei Brak mayor, Asher also holds the number seven spot on the United Torah Judaism party list for upcoming elections to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The party has five seats in the current Knesset.

9. Meir Yitzhak Halevy

In 2007, African asylum-seekers began to move to Eilat at the invitation of the local hospitality industry. They found work washing dishes and performing other menial tasks for low wages.

Since hoteliers expressed satisfaction with this new arrangement, and since tourism is the only significant industry in Eilat, many more African asylum-seekers have since moved to town. They now number about 10,000 residents, approximately 12 percent of the population of Eilat.

In January 2011, Meir Yitzhak Halevi, the mayor of Eilat, said that African asylum-seekers were coming to conquer Eilat and announced that the city was at war with them. The municipality paid for anti-African posters to be plastered across the city and for red flags to be hung throughout the town (“Eilat demands gov’t action against migrant workers,” The Jerusalem Post,” 13 January 2011). In April 2012, Halevi said that all the Africans will be gone within two years’ time.

For years, Halevi refused to allow the children of African asylum-seekers to attend local schools, so they languished in a makeshift activity center run by sympathetic volunteers. It was only after the Israeli high court intervened and declared Eilat’s segregation policy illegal that children of asylum-seekers were permitted to enroll in September 2012.

Eilat is twinned with Los Angeles, California (10 percent African American).

8. Amnon Yitzhak

An immensely popular preacher, Amnon Yitzhak travels all across Israel turning secular and traditional Jews on to fundamentalist Judaism. Eilat is considered to be a secular stronghold, but Yitzhak crossed its cultural divide by infusing his religious message with rabid anti-African racism.

In February 2012 he told an Eilat audience that the dark skin of Sudanese people is a punishment from Yahweh, the god of Judaism. He further compared them to monkeys, saying that if a Jewish woman goes out with a Sudanese man, she will end up in Africa, “climbing trees and eating bananas” (Cancer in our body’: On racial incitement, discrimination and hate crimes against African asylum-seekers in Israel,” Hotline for Migrant Workers, January-June 2012 [PDF]).

Over the past few weeks, Yitzhak founded a new political party, Power To Influence, that is now running for the Knesset. It is too early to estimate how many seats he might garner, but whether from within the Knesset or without, he wields tremendous clout.

7. Ben-Dror Yemini

Instead of using a neutral lexicon to describe African asylum-seekers, most of the Israeli media have uncritically adopted the pejorative language that government officials who are hostile to their presence use to describe them.

But the mainstream journalist who has spread the most lies about African asylum-seekers in order to stoke fears and incite hatred of them is the opinion page editor of the popular daily paper Maariv, Ben-Dror Yemini.

Some Western countries grant refugee status to between 80 percent and 90 percent of East African asylum-seekers. But in December 2011, just before the right-wing-dominated Knesset voted to criminalize asylum-seekers, Yemini provided them with the ideological ammunition to do so by printing the vicious lie that none of them are refugees, only work migrants.

An official Knesset report from May 2012 stated that the proportion of asylum-seekers out of the entire population of Israel is low compared to Western countries. But only days later Yemini published a column saying that Israel would soon have the largest proportion of asylum-seekers of any country in the world.

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, recently offered Yemini a prominent spot on her Movement Party list for the Knesset elections. Whether he accepts her offer or not, the mere fact that he was invited is a testament to his widespread influence.

Michael Ben-Ari rallies the crowd during a protest against African refugees and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, 23 May 2012.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

6. Michael Ben-Ari

Although he lives in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Michael Ben-Ari opened up a parliamentary office in south Tel Aviv, where more than half the Africans in Israel live, in order to mobilize residents opposed to their presence.

While other politicians draw complaints for only visiting the area and surrounding themselves with bodyguards when they finally arrive, the charismatic Ben-Ari confidently leads the community in anti-African street marches. He has also established an anti-African neighborhood watch posse there, earning the admiration of locals.

Ben-Ari has also called for Israeli soldiers to kill in cold blood any African person approaching the border to request political asylum. Ironically, when I interviewed him in the summer of 2010, he admitted that Israel was responsible for mass slaughter in Africa because it exported killing machines to Africa for profit.

Ben-Ari was refused admission to the United States in February 2012 because he was a member of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s now-defunct Kach organization, considered to be a Jewish terrorist group by the State Department.

In the current Knesset, he belongs to National Union, the only party that was too right-wing for the governing coalition. For the upcoming elections, he started a new party called Strength For Israel that is expected to pass the minimum threshold for Knesset representation. Ben-Ari may be an outlier, but he is pulling the entire political spectrum to the right.

5. Miri Regev

On 23 May 2012, a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant throughout Tel Aviv for hours, attacking any dark-skinned person — or property of dark-skinned people — they could find. They set off on their campaign of terror after being whipped into a frenzy by members of Knesset.

One of those parliamentarians whose comments were most incendiary was Miri Regev, a lawmaker with the main government party, Likud. She told the assembled crowd that African asylum-seekers were “a cancer in the body” of the nation.

After news of her racist comments and the pogrom that followed it was published the following day, she took to YouTube to make a public apology — but not to Africans for comparing them to cancer, but rather to Israeli cancer victims, for minimizing their suffering by comparing it to Africans (“Israeli MK: I didn’t mean to shame Holocaust by calling African migrants a ‘cancer,” Haaretz, 27 May 2012).

A professional survey conducted just days after the pogrom confirmed that 52 percent of Jewish Israelis identified with Regev’s contention that Africans are akin to cancer, and 33 percent of Jewish Israelis identified with the vigilante violence perpetrated against them.

Although Likud’s list for the forthcoming election must still be combined with that of its coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu, Regev has already surged into its upper ranks, moving from number 26 to number 13 on the strength of these and other racist statements.

A section of the new detention camp for asylum seekers under construction in the Naqab/Negev Desert near the Egyptian border, 7 November 2012.

(Oren Ziv ActiveStills)

4. Ron Huldai

The day after the pogrom, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai initiated an anti-African “mayors’ letter,” gathering their pledges of support — just as Babayof, the city councilor, had initiated the anti-African “rabbis’ letter” and collected rabbis’ signatures.

The letter, supported by the mayors of Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Ashkelon, Petach Tikvah and Eilat, called for African asylum-seekers to be either imprisoned or deported (“Day after violent anti-African protest, Likud MK calls to ‘distance infiltrators’ immediately,” Haaretz, 24 May 2012).

If there are approximately 25,000 to 30,000 African asylum-seekers in Tel Aviv, then Huldai’s call to round up and remove African asylum-seekers amounts to ethnic cleansing between 6 percent and 8 percent of the city’s population.

Huldai is surely not the only mayor in the world that has called for the ethnic cleansing of a portion of its residents. But he is probably the only mayor to do so the same year that a corporate-sponsored gay organization crowned his town the “best gay city” in the world.

Tel Aviv is twinned with New York City (25 percent African American).

3. Yossi Edelstein

Edelstein’s official title is director of the interior ministry’s Population Administration’s Foreign Workers’ Enforcement Unit, established in 2009. Simply put, he is directly in charge of the Oz unit, the security agents who are tasked with physically harassing and arresting African asylum-seekers.

One would hope that agents of the state given a monopoly on the use of violence would exercise that power very carefully and with as little prejudice as possible. Sadly, it would seem that Oz agents are not instructed to treat African people with the respect that they deserve, but rather, exactly the opposite.

Even when the African people in question are Jewish, they can be subjected to shocking levels of physical and emotional abuse. In October 2010, the Oz unit brutally beat an entire family of African Americans who had converted to Judaism and were living in the country legally, including a seven-months-pregnant woman, her mother and her one-year-old daughter.

While beating them, the Oz officers yelled, “niggers, we don’t need you here!” (“Interior ministry’s Oz police unit accused of beating US immigrants,” Haaretz, 21 October 2010).

Edelstein made clear his true feelings for African asylum-seekers at a briefing for security officers in July 2012. When asked what to do in the event that an African woman begins to disrobe in protest — a not uncommon form of political protest in Africa — Edelstein suggested that the woman should be engaged sexually. The officers charged with carrying out his orders laughed heartily at his response (hear Edelstein and his audience’s laughter in the video embedded in Israel Channel 10’s report on the briefing).

2. Eli Yishai

The highest-ranking government official to spew the most amount of anti-African invective is without doubt Edelstein’s boss, Eli Yishai. Yishai holds the portfolio of interior minister, an immensely powerful position in Israel. Yishai uses this power to implement the Jewish supremacist ideology of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party that he leads.

This attitude was summarized best by the party’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef in October 2010, when he said that the sole reason non-Jewish people exist is to serve Jewish people. Yishai does his level best to ensure that the non-Jewish people who come to Israel — to do the dirty work that Israelis aren’t willing to do — leave the country before they find love and start having kids.

If he wanted to, Yishai could grant work permits to African asylum-seekers, allowing them to be self-sustaining. This would quickly dissolve the homeless African population that is a burden to south Tel Aviv and greatly reduce tensions in those run-down neighborhoods that were economically impoverished to begin with.

But instead of giving work to the non-Jewish Africans already in the country, Yishai prefers to import tens of thousands of Southeast Asians every year, which he expels and exchanges for new ones every few years. This revolving door policy ensures that the non-Jewish population is always vulnerable to abuse. It is also very lucrative for Israeli human resource agencies — a laundered term for glorified slave traders.

Yishai does not mince his words. In June 2012, he lamented that African asylum-seekers didn’t understand that “this country belongs to us, to the white man,” and in August 2012, he said, “until I can deport them I’ll lock them up to make their lives miserable.” That month, he also branded African asylum-seekers a threat as severe as nuclear missiles and fabricated a baseless blood libel against them, accusing them of turning synagogues into toilets (“Israel enacts law allowing authorities to detain illegal migrants for up to 3 years,”Haaretz, 3 June 2012).

Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, 6 May 2012.

(Yin Dongxun /Xinhua/Zumapress)

1. Benjamin Netanyahu

Ultimately, the person primarily responsible for Israel’s racist war against non-Jewish African asylum-seekers is none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although he has issued tame condemnations of the most egregious examples of anti-African racism, he has also rubber-stamped every draconian measure taken against them.

When hundreds of Israeli rabbis issued a religious edict forbidding Jewish Israelis from renting flats to Africans, Netanyahu criticized the clerics at an insignificant photo-op — a teenage trivia contest — but took no measures against them. Just the opposite: within months, Netanyahu’s government doubled and tripled their salaries.

In December 2011, Netanyahu announced that he would seal Israel’s open border with Egypt — by which Africans cross into Israel — as soon as possible. I contacted his office then to ask if he would balance his efforts to prevent any more African asylum-seekers from reaching Israel with other measures that would improve the lives of those already in the country — like granting them work permits and health benefits, for example.

Netanyahu’s office responded in the negative. He soon followed these words with actions, demonstrating that he does not only want to reduce the amount of Africans entering Israel, but to completely reverse their migration and expel them from the country. Until such time as that is feasible, he has heartily backed all of Yishai’s plans to construct prison camps to hold the African asylum-seekers indefinitely (“Shas’ Deri eyes Arab vote,” Ynet, 6 November 2012).

Netanyahu is likely to win the upcoming national elections and remain prime minister of the country for at least a few more years. There is no hope on the horizon that any political leader capable of forming a majority in the Knesset could see African asylum-seekers as human beings and potential partners — not as existential threats.

David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Jaffa. His website is www.davidsheen.com and he can be followed on Twitter:@davidsheen.

Source