Number 13 - October 3, 2002
Ed Brooke mislaid
Hop and heroin
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has become evident that the Bush Administration's version of globalism
amounts to transforming the entire planet into his own private shooting
gallery. The rich love nothing better than going on safari.
Casual killing has
long been a pastime of U.S. corporate executives in Guatemala. Since
1954, when the U.S. ordered the native military to begin flushing subversives
out of the mountains, villages and shantytowns, more than 100,000 people
have been slaughtered. The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola corporation operates
a particularly bloody franchise in the Land of the Maya, reportedly
employing death squads to cull unionists from its local work force.
The gruesome reality behind the super slick TV commercials interrupted
a quiet day in the life of John Furnish.
I was drinking
a can of Coca-Cola while I was reading your editorial about Uncle
Sam's misadventures with the drug trade on Sept. 19. Once I read the
portion about the Coca-Cola corporation having people killed in order
to maintain its control over working conditions, I felt like a labor
traitor. I've drunk my last Coke.
Bosses are all
the same, and they'll never change. I wish things like this would
somehow get exploded in the media despite the U.S. Government's practice
of manipulating the press. Fewer people would chew me out over my
often-stated belief that we need to get rid of capitalism.
I love Black Commentator,
by the way.
better with Coke in Colombia, where the beverage maker's management
style blends in perfectly with the political surroundings. To avoid
death squads, union organizer Adolfo de Jesus Munera found it necessary
to absent himself from work at a Coca-Cola plant. Armed men caught up
with him at his mother's house, and delivered his final termination
notice. Four thousand union men and women have been similarly murdered
in Colombia in the past 15 years.
The Council on Hemispheric
Affairs considers Coca-Cola among the "most notorious" corporations
in Colombia, which is saying a great deal. The country accounts for
three out of every five unionists murdered on the planet.
Diana Davies wants
American consumers to think about that.
Thanks for getting
this subject/case back in the news.
The right-wing death
squads, hirelings of foreign corporations and domestic ranchers and
cocaine barons, are closely allied with the Colombian Government. The
regime receives $2 billion in annual U.S. aid, surpassed only by Egypt
and Israel - a fitting subsidy for a frontline state in Bush's War on
The U.S. is on good
terms with all of the players in the Colombian cocaine trade, having
enlisted the traffickers in Reagan's mid-Eighties war against the government
of Nicaragua. Crack cocaine gained a foothold on U.S. streets through
a network stitched together by the CIA, which needed the money to create
an army that would spread terror in the Nicaraguan countryside.
San Jose Mercury
reporter Gary Webb exposed the CIA-Crack Cocaine Connection in 1996,
complimenting the series with a state-of-the-art website. The cowardly
corporate media eventually put out the firestorm, inventing excuses
for the CIA's dealings that even the agency was not clever enough to
concoct, but Webb and his site are back, as we reported in our last
Thanks much for
mentioning the resurrected Dark Alliance website in your news release,
but I really wanted to write and thank you for bringing your excellent
website to my attention. It's quite impressive; the articles are a
pleasure to read.
Mail continues to
roll in on our treatment of Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney's defeat,
including Bruce Dixon's report on her failure to mount an effective
get-out-the-vote mechanism. ("How Sister
McKinney Lost," September 19.) Chris Lowe writes from Portland,
Your piece in
the Black Commentator on Cynthia McKinney's defeat is a
model of incisive, constructively critical clarity. I hope it gets
circulated in places where it could make a difference. Thanks for
In his article,
Dixon points to the elections of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington
and Illinois Senator Carole Moseley-Braun as examples of grassroots
progressive victories in the face of numerical and financial odds. However,
Chris Lowe mildly chastises Dixon for describing Moseley-Braun as the
only Black U.S. Senator of the twentieth century, reminding Dixon -
- of Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke's tenure, from 1966 to 1979.
Our only excuse
is that the intervening years of Reagan, Bush, and more Bush have caused
some of us to forget the days when now all-but extinct creatures roamed
the land: moderate Republicans like Senator Brooke, who is still very
The price of
Audra Robinson was
glad to see Alabama Rep. Earl Hilliard go down to defeat at the hands
of Arthur Davis, whom we have labeled a tool of the Hard Right. Robinson
raises questions of keen interest to this publication.
I read your website
with interest as often as I can. While I do not always agree with
what you say, sometimes you hit the nail on the head.... We [black
folks] cannot continue to allow any one group, whether it is the Democratic
Leadership Council, Republicans, or even the Congressional Black Caucus,
to continue to take our people for granted. We should strive
to make our candidates more politically independent, and the
only way to do this by financing our own candidates. Surely, we see
that money is the key to every election by now. Why is it that millions
of us will gladly go out and purchase $100-200 gym shoes for our children,
but we will not give a single dollar to support the campaigns
of our own black political candidates....
Having gotten that out of the way, I do take issue with your characterization
of the race in Alabama's 7th Congressional District. In a previous
letter, I shared with you the numerous reasons why the majority of
people in Mr. Hilliard's district voted against him. I think that
you are being too kind to the sorry legacy of a man who served in
Congress for 5 terms, from a district with massive economic and health
problems. (Incidentally, the problems were identified to Mr. Hilliard
before assuming the Congressional Office ten years ago).
Audra Robinson is
a doctor in Birmingham. He has touched directly on a huge problem, one
that will plague progressives so long as Trojan Horse candidates are
thrust upon the Black electorate. It is inevitable that, in calling
attention to the Hard Right's New Black Strategy, we will seem to be
singing the praises of the individual politicians who are targeted.
We will be charged with mounting a knee-jerk defense of incumbents and,
when the Right decides to field relatively young surrogates, as it did
in Alabama and Newark, New Jersey, we will be indicted for attempting
to strangle the aspirations of youth.
We did not choose
the congressional districts and cities in which the enemy has mounted
his attacks; but we must resist them. Is it Dr. Robinson's position
that the only way that Arthur Davis could defeat Congressman Hilliard
was to collude with Black people's enemies? Davis makes no excuses for
taking the devil's dollars, and the good doctor should not provide him
If electoral necessity
justifies treason, then every potential challenger of every incumbent
Black politician can make the same argument, as they line up at the
Hard Right's door, hands outstretched.
is, of course, in principled agreement with the creation of independent
Black campaign finance mechanisms. However, the Right's pockets are
virtually bottomless; we can never match them dollar for dollar. In
the end, only an organized and aware people can stand up to the power
Caesar Howell writes
about "slow-footed Black Congressional Representatives."
I have always
enjoyed the work that your site has done since the beginning and I
always anticipate every edition that comes out. My question concerning
the problems of our Black leadership is how some of them have been
co-opted into not speaking out and acquiescing to the Emperor Bush
and all of the Neo-conservatives on all issues concerning all peoples
Most of our leaders
have been caught up with "blending in." Rep. Hilliard and
Rep. McKinney bucked the trend and got am-"Bushed" for asking
questions that we should have asked from the start. It is bad enough
that the token Blacks we have (Powell and Rice) conned us into believing
that we are included. What are we thinking when we sit back and slowly
watch our rights, culture, and manhood disappear? Why do we not have
a real coalition with the rest of our brothers and sisters of color?
Many McKinney supporters
regard the congresswoman as a national resource. Cheryl Seal is one
I just want to
suggest that a write in campaign for McKinney be organized. If I were
a Georgia voter, I'd sure as hell resent having to choose between
the GOP candidate and the "Trojan Horse" I think [Denise]
Of course, to
avoid the "fun and games" the rightwing will inevitably
try to instigate, it will be necessary to make sure of the legality
of a write in candidate and specifically how to enter them on the
ballot (I can just imagine thousands of write ins being tossed out
for some trumped up technicality, such as "Sorry, your y's dipped
too far below the line!"
afford to lose this woman!!!!!
I say the second
best thing is to enter her as a Green candidate. But for God's sake,
let's not give up.
A write-in might
serve the purpose of encouraging bitter McKinney supporters to go to
the polls, rather than stay home, thus avoiding punishment of other
However, other considerations loom, in light of McKinney's clear failure
to put together an effective district campaign organization, as documented
by Bruce Dixon. A weak McKinney write in - this time, without union
and party support - would be very, very bad theater. Blacks and progressives
don't need another battering in Dekalb County, Georgia.
Hip Hop begets
At first glance,
George Staples seemed to have a beef with our cartoonist, Khalil Bendib,
but it turns out that the writer harbors a longer list of grievances.
Up to now I've
enjoyed your publication, which has been informative and thought provoking,
even if I haven't agreed with you one hundred percent of the time.
However, the cartoon in the [September 19] issue - The
Good Heroin Man - is way over the top. In fact it's sickening,
and reveals on the part of the artist (and your editor?) a deep-seated
hatred of our government. Drug use, as we know, is a serious problem
throughout America not only in our major cities but even in isolated
rural areas. But the cartoon's message that it's the government's
fault (a conspiracy) just perpetuates the defeatist notion that it's
all the fault of someone else, rather than fixing responsibility where
it belongs - the lack of leadership by family and community leaders
who have the primary responsibility for the behavior of our children
and young adults.
P.S. The music
in the cartoon that's coming out of the delivery truck - could it
possibly be rap music? Think that might have something to do with
luring young people to buy drugs????!!
In many areas of
the country, heroin has reclaimed its market position alongside crack
cocaine, a clear consequence of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Rap music
has nothing to do with it. Family values didn't suddenly deteriorate,
this year. Bush's war unleashed the poppies, once again, in full view
of U.S. forces and to the profit of America's allies in that country
and the region.
Mr. Staples' hatred of Hip Hop seems to have spun his moral and political
position on the roots of the drug epidemics of the past three and one-half
decades is laid out in our April 5 issue, "Make
the Amendment: How To Get the U.S. Government Out of the International
Michigan State University
professors Bill Derman and John Metzler co-authored a September 19 Guest
Commentary on Zimbabwe, in which they concluded that Robert Mugabe's
government "has destroyed in the past two and a half years virtually
all of its achievements since 1980."
Derman and Metzler,
both on the faculty of MSU's African Studies Center and frequent travelers
to southern Africa, wrote, "To portray Zimbabwe as a continuous
victim of colonialism has the political purpose of deflecting attention
away from ZANU-PF policies and to pretend that there is no connection
between the economic, social, health and political crises of contemporary
Zimbabwe and the policies and practices of its ruling party. To assert...
that contemporary commercial farmers are no different from those who
conquered Zimbabwe and that they are robbers and murderers is wrong."
Two readers promptly
responded. First, Roger Chapman:
The authors, Derman
and Metzler, need to explain which African countries are not affected
by European colonialism and American imperialism over the last 100+
years. Mugabe's use of land reallocation as a political issue is what
democracy is all about...majority rules. We Americans should know
how our politicians use issues to divide and win elections and sometimes
appeal to the lowest denominator in this country to win elections.
The key point is at the end when the authors admit that the "vast
majority now sinking into deeper poverty." If the white farmers
are so beneficial, why are the vast majority of their workers poor?
I predict that if and when Mugabe is successful in the land reallocation,
Zimbabwe blacks will be in a better financial situation that their
brethren in South Africa. It should also be noted that Namibia is
also attempting to address the land issue.
Clifford E. Bell
had a different take on the matter:
and Derman are knowingly or unknowingly supporting the psychological
warfare, which is anti any/all African programs for SELF Sufficiency.
The two "scholars" are of a western, institutionalized orientation.
They are promoting the idea that Anglo Saxons have the right to be
on the land [as well as own land] in Africa. The two "scholars",
knowingly or unknowingly, are pro-western, criminal propagandists.
We end this column
with greetings from a new reader of The Black Commentator, one with
whom we are in total agreement.
I'm not sure who
signed me up, but a hearty thanks! Can't tell you how happy I am to
receive a publication so provocative and intelligent. Keep up the
great work, and keep these emails coming.
We promise, Jake.
Every other Thursday.