fired up! Won't make no war!
the heat on!" said Barbara Lee, the fighting Black Congresswoman
from Oakland, speaking to a crowd of at least 50,000, in San Francisco.
one-bullet diplomacy, we cannot resort to that," Rev. Jesse Jackson
told a rally of 100,000 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Washington.
"This is going to be an ugly, unnecessary fight. Most of the world
is saying 'no' to it."
Proof, No War," "Bush Sucks," and "Pre-emptive Impeachment,"
read the placards of the people drawn to rallies on both coasts by A.N.S.W.E.R.,
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism.
until 1967 did a previous generation mount such large demonstrations
against the Vietnam War - a full three years after passage of the Gulf
of Tonkin Resolution, the congressional mandate built on lies no more
nor less fantastic than those told by George Bush every time he opens
his mouth. President Lyndon Johnson used the resolution to land Marines
in Danang in 1965, the first large-scale U.S. troop movement into Vietnam,
and to begin massive bombing of the North.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed with only two dissenting votes in the
Senate and one in the House. 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese
time around, with U.S. troop supplies and armaments in place throughout
the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean, two-thirds of Democrats
in the House said "No" to Bush, and an antiwar movement is
up and running.
is another historical comparison to be made, here. Black youth were
among the earliest opponents of the Vietnam War, most notably the troops
of SNCC, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. Older voices
counseled against raising the war issue, claiming it would expose the
movement to charges of foreign influence and lack of patriotism. Black
people could not struggle on two fronts, much of the old guard cautioned.
They embraced Johnson and his war, hoping to be embraced back. In the
process, the elders of the National Urban League, the NAACP and the
backward elements of the clergy lost the respect of a generation of
Black youth, who would be transformed by the war abroad and militant
struggle at home.
communications director Julian Bond turned the civil rights-only argument
on its head: If you cannot speak Truth to Power, why struggle for the
trappings of power? Elected to the Georgia legislature in 1965, at age
25, Bond was ejected for his and SNCC's stand against the draft:
recoil with horror at the inconsistency of a supposedly 'free' society
where responsibility to freedom is equated with the responsibility
to lend oneself to military aggression. We take note of the fact that
16 per cent of the draftees of this country are Negroes called on
to stifle the liberation of Viet Nam, to preserve a 'democracy' which
does not exist for them at home.
Black voters of Atlanta re-elected Bond, and the U.S. Supreme Court
forced state lawmakers to seat him.
Reconstruction, Blacks had been denied representation in the Georgia
legislature. Bond was among the first African Americans to return to
those chambers. He owed his constituents and ancestors his full
vote, not just the mere presence of a compromised seat-warmer. His victory
was one of the finest hours in Black American electoral politics.
October 10, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus soiled the
proud Black legacy of struggle for peace and justice. Representatives
Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN), Albert Wynn (D-MD), William Jefferson (D-LA)
and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) joined hands with the forces of permanent
war. They gave George Bush his Gulf of Tonkin resolution; it dirties
the mind to speculate on the terms of whatever bargain was struck. Possibly,
these men had a dialogue between only themselves and their own cowardice,
or avarice, or stupidity. But they will surely be repudiated by history
- and soon; events are moving far faster than four decades ago.
opposes Bush on Iraq
NAACP's board of directors has placed the organization in firm opposition
to George Bush's war plans. In a dramatic departure from its historic,
self-imposed isolation from non-African foreign policy issues, the NAACP's
board of directors unanimously endorsed a resolution of its Youth and
College Division board, calling on the nation's oldest civil rights
group to "express its opposition to armed conflict against the
country of Iraq without our exercising all options, including but not
limited to United Nations arms inspections."
Youth board, representing members under age 25, noted the U.S. Congress's
failure to pass Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee's "reasonable" resolution
to Advance Peace and Security in Iraq through cooperation with the UN.
Most of the Congressional Black Caucus and the non-Black members of
the Progressive Congressional Caucus backed Lee's bill. Thus, the NAACP's
October 19 action brings the group in line with the growing national
peace movement - in stark contrast to its shameful behavior towards
peace activists during the Vietnam War.
President of the United States has not made a conclusive case for the
use of deadly force in the case of Iraq," said the leaders of the
youth wing. They pointed out that "African-American and other minority
youth and young adults" enrolled in the military "serve at
disproportionate rates to defend this country and her honor" and,
"African-American and other minority youth disproportionately serve
as lower ranking officers and thereby function as field soldiers, continually
placed in harms way in the front lines of war efforts."
youth plan to "host town hall meetings on campuses across the country
to gauge and express student sentiment regarding armed conflict with
the country of Iraq."
one highly-place, older NAACP figure remarked to BC, "We are slow,
DC snipers' pathological, race-neutral murders should carry only one
political message: the insanity of gun availability in the U.S. Yet
the Bush men can probably count on many delusional Americans to link
one African American Muslim's derangement to both his race and religion.
In this perverse sense, the popular American psyche is as contorted
as that of the sniper's. Simmering, collective insecurities distill
into oozing hatred. White America is, in general, hallucinatory, inhabiting
a world of perceived insults, assaults, tormentors - and targets. People
who are afflicted by such demons want desperately to feel that they
are in control. They lash out at the innocent in "self-defense."
murderers in camouflage patrol the border areas of Arizona, death squads
under benign names like "Ranch Rescue." Two uniformed men
attacked a dozen illegal aliens in the desert near Ed Rock, in mid-October,
killing two migrants with automatic weapons fire and wounding a third.
Nine other illegals are unaccounted for. The surviving witness swears
the group was assaulted by soldiers.
law enforcement pretends that people-smugglers, called "coyotes,"
may be to blame for
the Ed Rock killings and the execution-style murders of at least six
Mexicans in the desert west of Phoenix, over the course of the summer.
Yet coyotes dress to match the migrants in their charge; the camouflage
wearers belong to armed civilian groups like the "American Border
Patrol," which seizes every Mexican unable to give a satisfactory
reason for being on this side of the border. American Border Patrol
founder Glenn Spencer operates with impunity. "I'm not interested
in enforcing the law," he brags.
vigilante Roger Barnett - owner of a 22,000-acre ranch - claims that
he and his brother Donald have detained 8,000 illegal immigrants over
the past four and a half years. His "Ranch Rescue" gang portrays
itself as the patriotic first line of defense against "these invasions
distributes brochures inviting citizens from across the U.S. to "come
and stay at the ranches and help keep trespassers from destroying private
hunting is in season all year long.
kidnapping and assault - in self-defense, of course. Rich men in full
battle gear, claiming to be terrified of those they terrorize. All this
is somehow rational, reasonable behavior to many American minds, firm
in the belief that the darker races of mankind are criminal, and that
they are the victims.
their logic and you will find the true citadel of the "terror"
that haunts their imaginations: Mexico. One day, men like Barnett and
Spencer will cause the fulfillment of their own prophecies. The America
that condones savage murder of poor people in the desert will feel victimized,
terrorist network called the Aryan Brotherhood specializes in murder,
drug dealing, prostitution, extortion - every crime under the sun. It
has close ties with armed White Christians who rob banks for a living,
periodically go on maim-and-murder sprees targeting non-whites, and
occasionally bomb buildings. Timothy McVeigh ran with this crowd, which
numbers in the tens of thousands; has operated for decades in broad,
bold daylight from rural outposts known to even the passing tourist;
openly vows to destroy the U.S. government by force; and preaches genocide
against fellow American citizens.
October 18, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles patted themselves on
the back for indicting 40 Aryans for at least 16 murders and numerous
attempted murders and assaults, directed from behind bars. The Brotherhood
virtually rules the white populations of many prisons, but the wealth
of this criminal enterprise is generated outside the walls. In short,
the Aryan Brotherhood and its associates constitute a criminal and
political network with tentacles that spread mayhem and death across
the nation. Its victims are the American public, their laws, property
and institutions: our "way of life."
the Aryan Brotherhood, which strikes terror in many hearts, is not "terrorist"
- by the reckoning of people like Attorney General John Ashcroft and
George Bush. Rather, the threat from the Aryan Brotherhood and various
white, Christian outlaws is confronted by "normal" means,
through the slow and cumbersome processes sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution.
years of investigation to arrive at the October indictments of 40 brazen,
tattooed, white American warlords, any of whom would find good company
and a round of beers among the vigilantes of Arizona's American Border
Patrol and Ranch Rescue. Eight of the Aryans are fugitives; they might
be hanging at the ranch, right now.
U.S. history - not conspiracy theory - tells us that lists are being
compiled and updated, designating individuals, organizations and vague
"associations" for surveillance, detention and more, in the
event of a terror-related "national emergency." Constitutional
norms will not apply; history has taught us that, as well.
also know with reasonable certainty that the fugitive Aryans will not
be on any of these lists. Nor will their ideological and racial brethren
among the militias, klans and assorted racist networks.
plea for mercy is intended in pointing out the obvious fact that John
Allen Williams Muhammad is mentally ill, a psychopath with a juvenile
sidekick, who represents only his own, sick self. Yet, to many American
minds, this central reality is immaterial. Williams became Muhammad
and protected Farrakhan. That is enough to launch a million white nightmares,
and justify future atrocities in the looming, domestic War on Terror.
Americans and Muslims had every right to shudder when the sniper suspects'
pictures flashed across TV screens. Surname and color count for everything
in the United Delusional States.
compassion for Iraqi prisoners
corporate media showed rare compassion for prisoners half a world away,
as Saddam Hussein emptied his jails in a general amnesty. Television
outlets that have not explored an American prison since the Attica rebellion
of 1971 were aghast at conditions inside Saddam's "gulag."
Reporters inflected the numbers "150,000" - unnamed "human
rights" group estimates of the Iraqi prison population - as if
that were a horrifically outsized mass of captive humanity
for a nation of 22 million. The ethnic composition of the Iraqi inmate
population was cause for grave concern among the corporate press. Kurds
and Shi'ite Muslims suffered disproportionately at the hands of Hussein's
Sunnis, the media lamented, without providing figures.
Hussein's prisoners did, indeed, number 150,000, Iraq's incarceration
rate was one out of every 147 Iraqi men, women and children. At any
given time, 1.3 million Americans are behind bars - by far the highest
rate in the industrial world. However, 6.6 million Americans are either
imprisoned or otherwise under supervision by the correctional
system, most of them on probation or parole. And of those on parole,
40% will go back to prison for violations. More than half of those on
probation have been convicted of felonies.
American "gulag" dwarfs Hussein's: one out of every 44 Americans
of all ages and races is under some kind of correctional supervision,
more than three times the Iraqi incarceration rate. (Iraq does
not have a probation or parole system.)
are five times more likely to be in jail than whites, and twice as likely
as Hispanics. We can only hope that, relatively speaking, Kurds and
Shi'ites were not as badly treated by the Iraqi criminal justice system.
of these facts matter to the U.S. corporate media, who have as little
interest in Americans in prison as they do Iraqis of whatever ethnicity.
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