Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Response

This is in response to Renee.

Thank you so much for all of your very thoughtful input and please excuse me for the time it has taken me to respond. I really appreciate your discussion.

As you probably know from looking at our blog I am part of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, a predominately white organization that was formed by the African People’s Socialist Party that leads the Uhuru Movement.

The Uhuru Movement organizes African people all over the world for the liberation and reunification of Africa as the birthright of African people everywhere. The solidarity committee organizes in white communities and among other people who want to become allies of the African Liberation Movement.

The Uhuru Movement understands that African people everywhere are one people, forcibly dispersed by the slave trade and that Africa is the birthright of all African people everywhere. Like the Palestinian people they believe in the right to return to their homeland.

Just recently the Uhuru Movement held a conference in Nairobi organizing the East African division of the African Socialist International. There will be a North American conference in Washington, DC on May 22, 23. More information is available at www.uhurunews.com Please also see www.apscuhuru.org where we have several power point slide show presentations on various issues.

I want to address two of the many good points that you make.

1. Yes, we must always use any political space Obama might provide to organize against imperialism, but I do not believe we are “safer,” because imperialism is in a deep crisis and is desperate. Besides, if a few of us inside the U.S. are less under fire it is because the hell has been intensified for just about everybody else, including the African and indigenous communities here.

As you point out they are closing Guantanamo but opening new dungeons inside the U.S. They just captured a 15 year old “pirate” who will be tried as an adult and will be sent to one of those places for life. The child was brought from Somalia where the U.S. destroyed the government, steals the oil, dumps toxic waste into the seas and plunged the population into near starvation. So who’s the “pirate”?

Obama’s “against torture” but will not prosecute anyone for 266 waterboardings of two people.

Obama surrounds himself with more Zionists than any government outside of Tel Aviv. He does not address the brutal containment policies against oppressed communities inside the U.S. Policies that have nearly 7.5 million people tied to the prison system, three-fourths of them African and Mexican.

As you point out Obama is representing the ruling class. He may have a somewhat different approach than Bush but represents the same parasitic system built on slavery, genocide and colonialism.

2. Regarding the question of the cops getting killed in Oakland:

While I would always support the organized liberation movement in whatever form it takes in Palestine or other colonized territories, I would also support an unorganized Palestinian child who killed an occupying solider with a rock or even a Palestinian drunkard or a thief who blasted a soldier or a settler.

The whole population is under the thumb of a murderous, vicious occupation that destroys the independence, freedom, future, economy and social cohesion of a people. A lot of people have social contradictions in conquered societies because the divisions and societal breakdowns are part of the colonizers’ counterinsurgency plan. The British said about Africa: “divide and rule,” and they did so brutally.

Some soldiers may be good fathers, nice guys etc., but they still have a job and that is to carry out the orders of the occupying state power against the oppressed people.

So, yes, I would always deeply understand the resistance of African people in the U.S. as justified. Resistance by any means necessary, no matter what form it takes, individualized, spontaneous or organized. Oppressed people have a right to resist and they may not always have the luxury to understand even what they are doing.

African working class communities live in unmitigated hell under martial law in the U.S. You probably saw on video the blatant murder of Oscar Grant as he was shot in the back in a subdued position by BART police.

But what about Caspar Banjo, 71, a famous African artist killed last year by police in Oakland, and Gary King and Jody Woodfox, and Anita Gay, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallou and countless others killed by police?

Kathryn Johnston, 92, was shot by drug cops who broke down her door. They left her to bleed to death and planted drugs in her basement in Atlanta.

Very few murderous cops have even lost their jobs for their crimes, much less stood trial.

In New York city last year 400,000 African and Latino men were stopped and frisked by police. There’s no such thing as “being good, avoiding trouble.” For every African woman pregnant with a baby boy there is a prison bed already planned.

And speaking of drugs. The U.S. government imposes the drugs on the community, and the government and the banks make the vast majority of the profits. That is well-documented by people like Gary Webb, even PBS Frontline documentaries and in many other places. You can also watch some of our slide shows or read my book, Overturning the Culture of Violence.

Long standing businesses in black communities all over the U.S. were destroyed after the Black Power Movement of the 60s. There are no jobs in African communities and real unemployment is 50% and higher. Nobody wants to grow up to be a drug dealer, but people are forced to put food on the table through a penny-ante trade, while white collar people make the real money on illegal drugs but never get their fingernails dirty.

Then they bring in prisons with the largest prison population in the entire world by far. Where are prisons? They are in rural white communities for the most part and have long served as economic stimulus for country towns. In fact, prisons are the third largest industry in rural America today.

Towns all over the U.S. are vying for prisons for jobs, development, etc.—all at the expense of African and Mexican people incarcerated with discriminatory sentencing, Three Strikes and Jim Crow drug laws. Seventy-five percent of drug use and sales are by white people, but most of those who get sent to prison are African and Mexican. White people get rehab; Africans get 30 years to life.

I never knew Lovelle Mixon but I can bet that he wanted what most people want: a good job, a family, a nice place to stay. But he had nothing but grinding poverty and a dead end everywhere he turned. I read that he said that he said he did not want to go back to prison.

We must recognize that Occupied Palestine is right here, Iraq is right here, Afghanistan is right here, that there is a colony in every urban inner city that is at its boiling point and the resistance of the people will take place.

9 comments:

Dr. Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just a Person said...

Uhuru Penny

Wow I did not expect a response on the blog. I thought you or someone would eventually post a comment in comments. Anyway..

Thank you.

I did watch the video's on the website and I particularly found the discussion of the economic crisis very very helpful. I am still digesting all of it...but the broad outline seems right to me. Watching it connected me with something I have lost over the years as a scholar. Academia can be a very odd place for someone with my perspective on politics and religion .

An initial comment on your response. I will postothers them separately.

1. You write:

"The solidarity committee organizes in white communities and among other people who want to become allies of the African Liberation Movement"

That's interesting. One of the things that cannot NOT strike anyone reading these websites is the focus on black and white, African and North American. It is not too hard to see were certain people's i.e.,Mexican and Puerto Rican might fit.

And the "North American"/African relationship is, I would agree, central to capitalism as it has developed.

It is not always clear where an Arab American would fit in this picture.

Most of us have parents from Syria or Lebanon. Most of us who do not live in Deerfield MI and our parents forcefully advocated our "whiteness" until the events of 9/11 forced a different sort of introspection and activism among us.

At the same time I believe that Arab and Arab American people's because of our deep ties to people of the Middle east have a structural relationship to the US which is NOT the same as white people. I would suggest that at times we function as white, at times as black and at other times we keep one foot on and one foot off the pedestal of white power (to use your terminology)

An incident which I never though I would see happened when I was at the airport and saw a teenager who turned out to be a Palestinian American college student of mine.

The student had dressed himself up like the African American kids in the local bloods gang, tried to make his hair look "black" because he felt he would be safer in the airport! I would never have thought I would see such a thing.

Where do Arab Americans and Asian Americans fit in the context of the Uhuru Movement?

Do you lump us in white "North American" people's , or ?

PS(Would it be possible for me to send you an email. would the info email actually go to you? I am trying here to be somewhat anonymous and there are things I would not say on a public blog))

Just a Person said...

Gulp. This really gets me:

"While I would always support the organized liberation movement in whatever form it takes in Palestine or other colonized territories, I would also support an unorganized Palestinian child who killed an occupying solider with a rock or even a Palestinian drunkard or a thief who blasted a soldier or a settler."

Palestinian Resistance & Contradictions

This really got me. I know of real instances like what you describe in the occupied territories. While I have a bit of a uncomfortable feeling about these deaths I no doubt support the Palestinian Drunkard or Thief who shot a soldier or settler and I would oppose their being jailed for such acts. (I would also support the Palestinian authority dealing internally with people who harm the Palestinian community in an appropriate way)

At the same time would my support for this individual take priority over all the Palestinians attempting to overturn US/Israeli imperialism in ways that actually move the struggle for Palestinian Liberation forward? I can't imagine why I would do that. There are so many in that situation in Palestine and in the US black community.

As much as some of us attempt to stay up all night we are still limited humans we can't support every Palestinian in prison or killed for his or her resistance.
And I do not believe this sort of incident would be chosen by the forces of national liberation in Palestine as a major campaign issue. I have been active a long time and this is not my experience of the sort of choices the Palestinian Movement would make

Black/African Resistance in US

As far as the United States goes...
I have to think about why I can take the same position as I do with Palestine in deep East Oakland but I would have a hard time supporting it on Piedmont Avenue. Logically what I just said would imply that I support African resistance as long as they stay in their own occupied neighborhoods.

Not something I want to catch myself thinking :)

Yet even if I was to get over that and really believe that any spontaneous violence against a white person or cop in ANY US neighborhood is resistance...I can't see that it would follow that THIS contradiction filled action was the best choice for a campaign

Unless of course your purpose is to get folks like me to squirm a lot and think about the issue-- that it has achieved *grin*

But at the same time my squirming doesn't advance the struggle concretely. It may result in my thinking or writing differently than I would otherwise. But wouldn't writing about a more strategic act of resistance, or a spontaneous act less full of contradictions do more to advance the movement?

I know that you get nasty attacks on blogs. Please know my response is in the context of great respect for what you stand for.

Renee

redbeard said...

UHuru Penny and fellow bloggers,

I am responding to a paragraph from you response to Renee:

" ...The whole population is under the thumb of a murderous, vicious occupation that destroys the independence, freedom, future, economy and social cohesion of a people. A lot of people have social contradictions in conquered societies because the divisions and societal breakdowns are part of the colonizers’ counterinsurgency plan. The British said about Africa: “divide and rule,” and they did so brutally."

From your paragraph I deduce that the State and the Bourgiouse media have accused Mr. Mixon of particular behavior involving other African people ( a social contradiction within the conquered society); Mexican people ( a social contradiction between two conquered societies); and white people, an act of resistance regardless of the consciousness or organizational affiliation of Mr. Mixon at that moment.

Logically then, as white citizens of a conquering State, it is unacceptable and inappripriate for us to judge the behavior of Africans and Mexicans. This would be the responsibility of the African and Mexican community. Likewise, any judgement of the behavior of Mr. Mixon regarding Mexican people would be the responsibility of the African and Mexican community to determine.

I understand that in terms of the situation between the OPD and Mr. Mixon, it is a common example of the colonial relationship ie: there is no such thing as a "routine traffic stop" by the Police in an African community. "Crime, law, law breaking and law abiding" all have to be understood in the context of a brutal and dominant foreign power, white/Euro-american power, subjugating the African nation.

Redbeard

Just a Person said...

Uhuru Redbeard!

You write:
"Logically then, as white citizens of a conquering State, it is unacceptable and inappropriate for us to judge the behavior of Africans and Mexicans. This would be the responsibility of the African and Mexican community."

I am afraid this is not so logical :) Here is why:

1.As white people, members of APSC and Uhuru feel perfectly free to speak of the negative affect of Neo-colonial actions by African leaders and other reactionary forces.

To accept such conversation as legitimate but not accept as legitimate conversation about THIS social contradiction with the African community is contradictory

2. As an Arab I am not a "white" nor "European", nor am I African or Mexican. I am intensely aware of contradictions within my own community and I am intensely aware of how such contradictions affect my own, African and other oppressed people and the revolutionary struggle here and abroad. Discussing these things and struggling through any differences IS , in fact a part of my revolutionary responsibility.

And again White people in Uhuru Solidarity seems fine discussing what you see as contradictions between our Arab community and the African community! Should that stop? NO. I do not think so! You have a certain analysis and understanding and it is the responsibility of white people to advance these questions (And especially when it is about other colonized or oppressed people to really listen to those in these communities which may have a response that may advance your understandings of the matter)


And if >>you agree>> with me on this-- and you feel free to discuss contradictions between Arab and African people in the US, Africa and throughout the world then you do not really hold that logic either :)

I do agree with you that this and all incidents "have to be understood in the context of a brutal and dominant foreign power, white/Euro-american power, subjugating the African nation."

I also think it is important to remember that there are oppressed peoples in the US and that we will and have the right, even a responsibility to discuss such issues in a respectful manner

Very Best

Just A Person

Just a Person said...

Just a quick clarification of my post above.

There is big difference between

1.Evaluating and discussing a situation involving contradictions within oppressed communities.

It is everyone's responsibility to analyze the world in which they live. And it is the responsibility of those who want a better world to reflect on what that will require in all its dimensions.

and,

2.Involvement in resolving and/or prosecuting contradictions within and between oppressed peoples.

The resolution of contradictions between African and Mexican people; between Arab and African Peoples; is the responsibility of the respective peoples.

I hope that clarifies my reaction to your comment.

Just a Person

redbeard said...

Good evening bloggers,

Thanks to Just A Person for the thoughtful response and thanks to Penny for providing the blog.

I agree with Just A Person that at this time there is an inconsistency with the logic presented in my last post.

I do intend to think about this and deepen my understanding of the subject that we are communicating about.

Redbeard