Fight on, Sister McKinney
Afghan dope on U.S. streets
Don't bet Black futures on the market
Clyburn bears witness to racist crime
electoral defeat of Rep. Cynthia McKinney signals the end of any "special
relationship" between African Americans and mainstream organized
American Jewry. Plenty of Blacks will make themselves available to tell
these mainstream Jewish organizations differently, but the end has come,
my language, carefully: I did not say that we have reached the end of
any relationship with "the Jews." I did not make blanket reference
to "Jews" in general. "Mainstream" refers to the
powerful, established, politically directed institutions that claim
to speak for Jewish American concerns. They are well known, and require
no listing in this brief letter.)
African Americans will say the final break has been a long time in the
making, that the relentless attacks on affirmative action mounted by
mainstream Jewish groups beginning in the Seventies sundered Black-Jewish
connections, decisively. I don't think relationships among peoples are
as simple as that. When old ties unravel, they make a mess of the place,
leaving frays here and clumps over there. It's hard to be sure what
when the relationship is truly over, both parties know it. Sometimes
it's nobody's fault, or a shared responsibility. In the case of the
massive unraveling that has occurred over the past year - climaxing
in the assaults on Rep. Cynthia McKinney - mainstream Jewish groups
must take all of the blame.
American mainstream organizations have fallen under the sway of racist
right-wingers in both Israel and the United States. They have acted
in concert with the Christian and corporate Hard Right to undermine
Black political cohesion and independence. They promote the careers
of Black surrogates to thwart the genuine aspirations of the people.
This is the conduct of an enemy.
organizations have acted with cruel, gratuitous arrogance. They
have already achieved over-kill levels of congressional influence in
Middle East affairs, but insist on grinding the last, mainly Black pockets
of opposition into the dirt. They brag and strut, reveling in their
power to intervene in the politics of the Black community. Such displays
of relative strength - rooted in money and media - are designed
to create deep animosities. We will all reap the whirlwind.
there has been significant internal protest within mainstream Jewry
against this charge to the right, but we have not heard it. Instead,
those media organs most closely associated with the Jewish mainstream
have spoken with one voice, as if reading from a common script, with
words of open contempt for the dignity and aspirations of Black people.
They have lied and smeared and, yes, conspired to foist their own candidates
upon Black people.
once-special ties are becoming especially hostile.
Commentator engages in vigorous critiques of the internal workings of
the African American body-politic. We do not shy away from "airing
dirty linen in public," because we realize that it is impossible
to reach the Black public without everyone else listening in. We also
believe it is important to address our white allies - and they do exist
- plainly and honestly.
hear the sounds of any equivalent debate from within the centers of
mainstream Jewish organizations. Even on the Jewish Left, the near-silence
is appalling. To us, that signifies either cowardice or capitulation
to the racists of the congregation.
continue to be at the core of white progressivism in America - as individuals.
And we acknowledge the many, small groups that proclaim themselves to
be committed to peace and justice as Jews. I know that many Jewish
progressives recoil in revulsion at the havoc that is being wreaked
in the name of the Jews. Their burden has become heavier in the
wake of 9 - 11 and the madness that has swept Tel Aviv and Washington.
rightward lunge within the American Jewish mainstream affects more than
just relations with African Americans. It is intimately connected to
the criminal policies of the Ariel Sharon regime in Israel. For a look
at the American supporters of Sharon who are behind some of the most
horrific distortions in U.S. foreign policy, we recommend "The
Men From JINSA and CSP," by Jason Vest, in this week's issue of
The Nation - a magazine largely written by Jews who remain on the right
side of history.
McKinney earned the overwhelming support of Blacks, nationally and within
her district. Her stature as a leader has been enhanced for having fought
so courageously. The American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
and its money, the media that it speaks through, and the Republicans
and other rightists who combined against McKinney cannot separate her
from her constituency, or weaken Black determination to exercise our
own political will.
has done Jews a great disservice.
tale of two lawsuits
of families of 9/11 victims filed suit in federal court, this summer,
seeking to prove that culpability for the attacks goes beyond Osama
bin Laden's al Qaida. One group went after bin Laden's family business,
members of the Saudi Arabian royal family, and the nation of Sudan,
demanding $116 trillion. This faction made lots of news.
group filed suit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, National
Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Norman
Mineta, Secretary of Transportation. These families are only suing for
$7 billion dollars, but the much lower price tag is not the reason you
probably never heard about their litigation.
sets of plaintiffs present compelling scenarios to back up their claims.
Each group should be seen as having equal moral authority, as relatives
of people killed under the same circumstances. But only one of the suits
is deemed fully newsworthy.
suing the Saudis and Sudan wants to bankrupt both nations, charging
they are financiers of terrorism. On the face of things, the anti-Arab
litigants would seem like the more wild-eyed parties - $116 trillion
is almost 12 times the yearly gross domestic product of the United States,
the world's biggest economy. Put another way, the award sought is equal
to three years of the entire planet's economic output ($37.7
modest, $7 billion families charge that Bush and his cronies knew in
the months and weeks before September 11 that something horrible was
about to happen, and let the crime unfold, anyway. As the online publication
Truth Out explains, this is called the LIHOP theory: Let It Happen On
Purpose. The 400 anti-Bush family members cite repeated warnings from
Israeli, German, Russian and Egyptian intelligence agencies, of plans
to hijack airplanes to use as weapons against U.S. targets of symbolic
anti-Arab relatives refer to evidence uncovered by French intelligence,
that the Saudi princes were being shaken down by bin Laden, after having
initially funded his activities. The princes were afraid, the story
goes, that bin Laden would attack their business enterprises if they
didn't pay him hush money.
two versions of reality are not mutually exclusive. They do not contradict
one another, and can be argued on their own terms. Both contain facts
that are now obvious: The foreign intelligence warnings were real. Dick
Cheney and Presidential-brother Jeb Bush took precautions that make
no sense unless they were fearful of something big. Saudi princes did
fund bin Laden projects. Sudan did have a financial arrangement with
Al Qaida operatives.
media coverage favors the anti-Arab faction of litigants. It's a lot
safer, politically, although the LIHOP theory is at least as rich in
it comes to searching for dangerous truths, the corporate media don't
want to know.
of poppies, but no news
yet to read any breakdown of the percentage of heroin reaching U.S.
streets from Afghanistan since the crushing of the Taliban, who by most
accounts had seriously attempted to eradicate the poppy crop. Reports
from cities around the U.S. indicate that cheap smack is in big supply.
As we wrote in our April 5 issue, the CIA's covert arrangements with
anti-Soviet Afghans in the late-Seventies and early Eighties succeeded
in boosting the Afghan share of the U.S. heroin market to 60 %.
dispatches show clearly that pro-U.S. Afghan warlords are cashing in
on the country's poppy crop with impunity, their reward for standing
by the American-installed government in Kabul. However, the consequent
reign of terror on American streets appears to be a taboo subject for
most American reporters, in sharp contrast to the British press. "[A]
bumper harvest suggests an increased amount of the drug on its way to
the UK, where 90% of heroin originates in Afghanistan," reports
the BBC. "The new government in Kabul has to rely on a patchwork
of militias and factions, some of whom are heavily involved in the drugs
warlord in Afghanistan is a paid ally of the U.S. To remain outside
the fold means death or a cave-bound existence. The Taliban and al Qaida
are in no shape to cultivate or refine poppies. The Afghan heroin on
U.S. streets is a result of the way George Bush is running the war.
Now, don't you feel safer?
bet Black futures on the market
issue, we noted that Burger King, the number two icon of American cuisine
and the focus of many Black self-help through franchise-ownership dreams
of days gone by, had been unceremoniously gobbled up by a faceless conglomerate.
We thought it a sign of the times that BK's selling price, $2.26 billion,
represented just 60% of the value of a single, $3.8 billion (felonious)
"mistake" on the Expense ledgers of Worldcom, a now-bankrupt
this item to your attention to dramatize the cosmic scale of money-manipulation
- legal and illegal - under contemporary corporate rule, and to take
a dig at those who once (and still) preached Black liberation through
private capital accumulation.
had we published the issue, than Worldcom announced that it had found
another "mistake" worth an additional $3.3 billion, bringing
the total discrepancy to $7.1 billion - more than three times
the value of Burger King!
world of ghetto dreams shrinks to the vanishing point, in such a mad
universe. It was with sadness, then, that we witnessed a speaker at
the Reparations rally in Washington make the case for the centrality
of Black business in the struggle to transform African American lives.
All of us are forced to maneuver under the terms of global corporatism;
the super-rich invented the rules and run the game. In this framework,
we build our little companies to accomplish what we want to do in life.
There is no other choice at this point in history, because the rules
do not spin dreams of liberation based on "the market." We
cannot sit down at that table, where Burger King is served up as a snack
for the real players.
free enterprise mythology
like to share with you a portion of one of Black South Carolina Congressman
James Clyburn's reports to his constituents. Clyburn does a great service
by testifying to the true nature of "free enterprise" in the
1971, Governor John Carl West appointed me the first African American
to hold an administrative position on a South Carolina chief executive's
staff - at least as far as we know. I feel certain, however, that
a memorandum I saw while serving in that capacity was not intended
for my eyes. The memorandum had been written by an economic development
consultant and listed counties to be avoided when recruiting industry
to the state. These counties were all rural and all predominantly
black. The theory was that South Carolina, a right to work state,
could see the proliferation of labor unions if industries located
in these counties because African Americans were deemed to be "joiners."
At the time I didn't understand the significance of what I had seen.
Today I do.
of those counties now fall within Clyburn's district, and are among
the least developed in the state. What the congressman describes is
organized theft and corruption, glimpsed briefly 31 years ago, resulting
in ruination of Black lives in South Carolina to this very day. In the
tally of Reparations, what is this single, accidentally witnessed crime
worth? How many billions of dollars would be required to address this
injustice to Clyburn's hundreds of thousands of Black constituents,
more Black businesses in the deliberately blighted area will not begin
to make up for such systemic depredation. Far more useful would be efforts
to unionize the entire district, state and region, and thus bring about
the racists' original, worst nightmare.
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