By Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
The central problem with the American criminal justice system is that white supremacist assumptions are deeply embedded in its operations and deliberations. The presumption of innocence is no match for pervasive assumptions of collective Black guilt, which are manifest at every stage of the system, beginning with police hyper-surveillance of Black communities – the intake valve that leads inexorably to mass Black incarceration and the extrajudicial murder of Blacks on the streets, mainly by cops but occasionally by George Zimmermans.
The Age of Mass Black Incarceration, now entering its third generation, has spawned successive layers of repressive laws, police practices, and prosecutorial and judicial behavior that have effectively eviscerated Black people’s Constitutional rights. Our communities are Constitution-free zones, and the stigma of guilt attaches to each of our persons.White electorates reward those who put Black people – as a group – on perpetual lockdown.
By Monica Moorehead
The tragic shooting of Martin and the trial of Zimmerman are not isolated developments. The trial should be viewed politically within the context of a general indictment of the genocidal policy of targeting youth of color. In so many ways, however, this is being countered by the trial proceedings.
A New York Times article, “Zimmerman case has race as a backdrop, but you won’t hear it in court,” states: “The judge made it clear that statements about race would be sharply limited and the term ‘racial profiling’ not allowed.” (July 7) The fact is, however, that Zimmerman has a sordid history of profiling Black youth as young as 10 years old. Racial profiling is the main issue.
Part of Zimmerman’s defense team strategy is to turn everything upside down and make it appear that Martin, the victim, racially profiled Zimmerman, and not the other way around. They want to convince the jurors that Martin was the aggressor and had no right to defend himself against an armed vigilante. Toxicology tests on Martin at the time of his death are being introduced by the defense as alleged evidence that marijuana was found in his blood — again in an effort to accuse the teenager of being the aggressor.
Like so many other trials, what’s happening in Florida is demonizing the victim. This is a standard tactic when the person killed or injured is from an oppressed nationality, is poor and working class, while the perpetrator is a police officer or a racist vigilante. This kind of unequal relationship reflects class divisions based on deep-seated racism.
The African Union has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of targeting Africans on the basis of race as it called for an end to prosecution of Kenya’s president and his deputy over crimes against humanity.
Hailemariam Desalegn, AU chairman and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said at the close of a two-day summit of the 54-member bloc on Monday that African leaders had come to a consensus that the ICC process conducted in Africa was flawed.
"The intention was to avoid any kind of impunity… but now the process has degenerated to some kind of race hunting," he said, as the continental bloc ended its summit, held during its golden jubilee year.
"Out of those people who [have] been indicted by ICC, 99 per cent are Africans so this shows that something is flawed within the system of ICC."
Oppressed peoples and communities can and will only be secure in this country when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation. “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”, is the latest contribution of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 36 Hours Campaign that seeks to strengthen organizing initiatives within Black or New Afrikan communities for self-defense, by presenting these initiatives with a comprehensive analytical framework and practical organizing tools to ground and unite them.
As the extrajudicial killing of Kimani Gray and the more than twenty other Black women and men by the police in the first two months of 2013 clearly illustrate, it is imperative that New Afrikan communities get organized and defend ourselves. As the real economy continues to contract, corporations become more vicious and exploitative, our communities are gentrified and displaced, public goods and services continue to be eliminated or privatized, and the national security state continues to grow and become ever more invasive, the attacks on New Afrikan and other oppressed and exploited people are only going to escalate. We must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.
“Let Your Motto Be Resistance” draws on the long history of New Afrikan peoples struggle to realize self-determination and defend our persons, our rights and our dignity from the assaults of the oppressive settler-colonial government and the forces of white supremacy. Building on this history “Let Your Motto Be Resistance” provides in summary form a vision of how we can (re)organize our communities from the ground up to defend ourselves and reassert our fundamental human rights to life, dignity, and self-determination.
We encourage the broad dissemination, discussion, and utilization of this work as a modest contribution towards the effort to rebuild the Black Liberation Movement, Stop the War on Afrikan people, and eradicate white supremacy and US imperialism.
For more information on this work, or to set up trainings or public events regarding its contents or those of the Every 36 Hours report on extrajudicial killings contact Kali Akuno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Deirdre Griswold
Since 1994, Russia has been conducting a devastating war against Chechnya, whose oil and strategic location for a pipeline from the energy-rich Caspian Sea have drawn the attention of the imperialists. The Russian government’s aim is to keep Chechnya from seceding, which it fears could set off other secessionist movements in the area.
When President Boris Yeltsin dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, it was to the cheers of the entire Western capitalist political establishment and media. Their universal prognosis was that the introduction of a capitalist market and private ownership of the means of production in the territories of the former USSR would vastly benefit all the peoples. The release of individual initiative combined with Western democratic forms of rule would bring prosperity and freedom to those “behind the Iron Curtain.”
The well-being of the people—that was supposed to have been the main U.S. aim in the incredibly costly 45-year “Cold War” against the Soviet Union.
Those rosy predictions have all turned to ashes. From time to time over the past decade, subdued news reports have appeared in the West with alarming statistics showing that in the vast area of the former Soviet Union, where a planned economy had once provided jobs, free health care and education for nearly 300 million people, life expectancy was dropping and the population declining. This reflected the fact that infant mortality, curable diseases, unemployment, prostitution, drug abuse, organized crime, ethnic antagonisms and civil wars had all surged upward.