In 1970 the Republican Administration deemed the Black Panther Party the greatest threat to US national security. They jailed Angela Davis for eighteen months while they assassinated or otherwise disposed of many black power advocates.
Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver to the Rescue
Very few media, business and Congressional leaders allow the public any say in what goes on. This herding of the citizens has taken a huge hunk out of their national character. Three generations have been dumbed down to the point the malleable brain tissue doesn't function. George Romero had no casting problems for the "Night of the Living Dead" and his successor would have an easier time of it today. To see if Americans have any gumption left, I posted a diary on Angela Davis and I hope OEN will accept an Article on Kathleen Cleaver. They aren't well written, but at least they are upbeat for human rights fans.
The Author Sees Through the Rubbish to the Human Heart
before I read this I submitted a quicklink to a fine NY Times time-line on Judge
Sotomayor. It too offers good insights into the controversy surrounding her
Some of us remember the negative reaction of the US working class to the Civil Rights Act of 1965. This racism was the major tool for corporate America to destroy the labor movement. The Republicans are using racism to derail much needed reforms. Rather than displaying empathy and understanding to minority groups, too many white folks prefer joblessness, homelessness and economic ruin. They surrender their chances for a healthy old age.
Bush and Cheney Have Molded America's Future
Bush and Cheney may have left office, but the forces that made them powerful are alive and well. So far, the leftists are free to rant and rave. If they ever gain media attention or succeed in indicting someone, they can anticipate a home visit by Blackwater.
At OEN we seem to have a new cause every few days. We don't wait long for a new outrage to absorb our attentions. Dropping the old cause like an overused toy, we rush to the latest fad. We find ego satisfaction in this, but never resolution.
Why does the historical Black Panther Party have relevance to today?
Too often our
articles are so issue specific we fail to present the all-important context of
an event. The birthers relate to racism, talk show hosts, Blue Dog obstruction
of single payer, corporate media lies, public misinformation and so forth. God
forbid we should bore everyone, but the citizen must learn to relate a current
ill to past ones.
To me, the current situation resembles actions taken in 1970 to destroy the Black Panther Party [substitute the US middle class]. I depend on the wisdom of Angela Davis who saw many of the current ills forty years ago. We can learn from the Black Panther failure to reform racists for example.
As we are dealing with a ruling criminal class, the first task is to put as many people in the hoosegow as we can. Until then, we have accomplished nothing.
Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work
The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that position be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one's contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time.
We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.
Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo - obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.
That's true but I think the contemporary problem that we are facing increasing numbers of black people and other people of color being thrown into a status that involves work in alternative economies and increasing numbers of people who are incarcerated.
I decided to teach because I think that any person who studies philosophy has to be involved actively.
I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement.
I'm involved in the work around prison rights in general.
Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.
But at the same time you can't assume that making a difference 20 years ago is going to allow you to sort of live on the laurels of those victories for the rest of your life.
Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America. Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.
What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.
When Bush says democracy, I often wonder what he's referring to.
Now, if we look at the way in which the labor movement itself has evolved over the last couple of decades, we see increasing numbers of black people who are in the leadership of the labor movement and this is true today.
And I guess what I would say is that we can't think narrowly about movements for black liberation and we can't necessarily see this class division as simply a product or a certain strategy that black movements have developed for liberation.
What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the black middle class and the increasing numbers of black people who are more impoverished than ever before.
The campaign against the death penalty has been - while a powerful campaign, its participants have been those who attend all of the vigils, a relatively small number of people.