we commissioned cartoonist Khalil Bendib to interpret Condoleezza
Rice's rise as the "most trusted National Security Adviser
in the history of the position," we knew the result would
offend some readers. Mattie Weiss is one of them.
writing to express my distaste for your recent cartoon about
Condoleezza Rice. I usually find your commentary and cartoons
interesting and insightful, but this latest one was off
plenty of shit-talking to do about the woman, but to make
the same tired stab that is always made against women in
power (i.e. that she sleeps around to get where she is)
is old, anti-woman, fucked up, and hedges the real reasons
she ought to be critiqued.
you for your time and your newsletter.
anticipated the criticism. We do not respect the person
of Condoleezza Rice, and are willing to express that through
sexual innuendo. We will not give her a pass, simply because
women are treated in this manner as a group. We also do
not give the worst elements among Black preachers a pass
in expressing our disdain for bribery-prone clergy - we
have featured caricatures that are stereotypical.
also call attention to the April 15 San Francisco Chronicle
report that, in fact, sparked the idea for the cartoon. However,
it would be dishonest to pretend that we did not intend every
nasty connotation of Khalil Bendib's illustration, or that
we aren't glad that poet Amiri Baraka goes around the country
calling Rice a "skeeza." Nor do we disavow our January
30 display of a collage depicting Bush and Rice walking hand
in hand against a hellish backdrop ("The Devil's Handmaiden")
or anything else we have said or done to impugn the character
of the National Security Advisor.
is nothing polite or civilized about the Bush crew, including
their Black operatives.
holds them beneath contempt, and believes that it is Black
people's duty to shun and reject them in every forum
and manner possible. We will not allow considerations of correctness
to dissuade us from taking every opportunity to express absolute
disgust with Condoleezza Rice as a person. She has
agony of Haiti
Robinson, a prime mover of the Eighties movement to divest
white-ruled South Africa, now spends much of his time at the
equally important task of providing leadership through his
writings. Last week,
was proud to publish the former TransAfrica Forum executive
director's article, "When
Major Powers State a Coup," detailing the U.S. role
in undermining the democratically elected government of Haiti.
The U.S. wields its awesome power to block international aid
to the island nation.
this special period in world relations, it is morally untenable
and politically unwise for the wealthiest nations on earth
to maintain a financial stranglehold on eight million men,
women, and children in Haiti. Haiti has no nuclear weapons.
It has attacked neither American property nor American citizens.
Indeed it is trying its very best, even with its limited
material resources, to be a responsible nation and to support
US priorities in the region. As an active participant in
the US led regional war on drugs, for example, even with
its inexperienced police and coast guard, Haiti was able
to double the size of its cocaine seizures last year over
the year before.
bases its aid blockade on alleged irregularities in Haiti's
2000 legislative elections. RLO Brian writes:
of ironies, isn't it, that the Bush people should "punish"
a regime for election fraud? And all because his Daddy pushed
Aristide out of power and Clinton brought him back.
MUST do something to rid the system of Bush.
contributor Kevin Pina reported in the April 3 issue ("Is
the U.S. Funding Haitian Contras?"), it appears that
the U.S. is also sponsoring armed incursions against Haiti,
aimed at toppling President Jean-Paul Aristide.
global, defensive conspiracy
considers most conspiracy theories to be
diversionary shortcuts that "cloud objectivity, rendering
the activist incapable of assessing her antagonist and fashioning
effective strategies and contingencies." To put things
simply, conspiracy theories most often have the effect of
making the enemy appear much more powerful and resourceful
than he really is - a good way to demoralize a movement.
our April 17 and 24 cover stories, we used "conspiracy"
to describe the international "redlining" of the
U.S., a global reaction to the Bush Pirates' offensive against
world order. "Conspiracy
Theories 2: The Great Unraveling of Global U.S. Power,"
reported Indonesia's and other Asian nations' plans to disentangle
themselves from the dollar by bolstering the euro as an alternative,
world currency - just one aspect of a growing, defensive international
conspiracy. When they crossed the Kuwaiti border, the Pirates
accelerated an already existing trend.
revulsion is near universal, beyond emotion, and fast translating
into concerted action in collective defense against the
madman. Indonesia and Malaysia are simply speaking more
frankly than other nations. The Bush men cannot comprehend
that their systematic, transparent assault on international
stability is unpardonable. And they don't know what it feels
like to be hurt. This, too, will come as a surprise - their
Shock and Awe ....
Pirates believe they hold the trump card: half the world's
military under one, super-tech command. It is a blunt instrument,
with a narrow range of uses. The real bomb ticks under America's
porch, and will devastate the dollar in a spasm of millions
of individual and institutional decisions to run in the
the "conspiracy" is a secret only to the American
people, who live in an informational void filled, instead,
with self-serving delusions. David Elliott has managed to
escape from the bubble to witness reality in the raw.
usual, your trenchant analysis is right on-point in the
brilliant 'The Great Unraveling of U.S. Global Power' article.
In my view, the current pathological state of world affairs
has its roots in the ill-fated rise of so-called 'western
civilization' over 1,000 years ago. Since its inception,
murderous wars have become the norm and true world peace
has been nothing but an ethereal dream.
No candid assessment of 'western civilization'
can conclude that it has been anything but an unmitigated
disaster for this planet and for humanity as a whole. It
can claim only two true legacies - periodic genocidal campaigns
directed against people of color for the theft of their
land or resources and the wonton destruction of the environment,
from the fast-disappearing rain forests to the irrevocable
damage done to the Ozone layer.
Bush men scribble epithets on walls of the hall of nations
while the world struggles to find ways to go about its business
without them. The mad dogs froths, but doesn't know he's sick.
A reader named Russell writes:
usual excellent form is exemplified. The currency devaluation
is underway and the swashbuckling attitude of the Bush Idiots
will be hard for the people to swallow as their jobs continue
to disappear and their money continues to lose it's value.
The Euro is gaining strength daily as the Bush Bunch call
our allies names and hurl insults and threats at respectable
diplomats from other countries. The avalanche is growing
and the fools keep making loud noises. No amount of weapons
or troops can defend the U.S. against the foolish policies
the Bush thugs have put in place.
for this country no longer exists, we are trading on the
peoples fear of a rabid dog. When the people come to reason
the rabid dog will be eliminated. The dollar is no longer
the currency of choice for other nations to conduct their
business. The oil producing countries that we are shouting
insults to are quietly switching to the Euro for their transactions.
This is the avalanche that ignorance will not overcome.
Parker doesn't realize that all we do at
is study the available materials. Please, don't tell her.
are Awesome! I have never read anything from your
site that isn't so close to what is really going on in the
country. With all the insanity on a daily basis, I feel
less alone hearing what your writers have to say. Looking
around at the rest of America, I feel basic intelligence
is evaporating, if it ever was really there at all - more
like a power-mongering rat race that is always at
someone else's expense.
the dollar is the only currency we've got, so the bell
tolls for more than just the Pirates. But that's another story.
Alvin Foster, of Boston, appreciates what he's read, so far.
article on 'Conspiracy Theories' was perhaps the best I
have read on the Iraq war, etc. Keep up the excellent work.
I have re-read it several times. I love your Black perspective;
can't find that in most 'leftist' literature articles.
White, of Sydney, Australia says "Conspiracy Theories"
makes perfect sense from her geopolitical perspective.
is a fantastic article, the best background briefing to
these corporate criminals in the White House that I've read
to date. I'm going to pass the link on to my friends.
Thanks for such a well-researched and clear
for helping her lose that out-of-synch feeling. She's part
of the global conspiracy of awareness.
- that is the most comprehensive, clear explanation of the
motivations and plans of the Neo-cons that I have read anywhere,
bar none. You capture the pure cynicism of these men, their
true material and power-hungry reasons, and the bloodless
distain they hold for everyone not in their circle. I've
been trying for nearly a year to convince people that "WMD"
and "liberating the Iraqi people" have nothing
to do with this invasion. You would think that the fact
that we protected the oil fields and ignored the hospitals
(to say nothing of the museums) would make it clear to everyone.
And yet, today in the local newspaper I read a story by
an "embed" about how soldiers ignored orders to
give candy and water to children. I'm sure they did, I'm
sure that many individual soldiers are performing many acts
of kindness, but not one of them justifies our presence
So, before I rant too long, thank you for
the article - a breath of sanity gives me hope.
arrived just in time to get in on the conspiracy (although
its clear she'd already heard about it.)
acquaintance passed along your article titled Conspiracy
Theories and I've been busy reading from your site since.
The articles and cartoons are wonderful! I avoid the "mainstream"
media whenever possible and rely on Internet sources to
keep informed - Black Commentator is now one of those favorite
the e-Mailbox section you write, "This sick majority
is cowardly at root, but swells with criminally insane pride
at the carnage wrought by U.S. machines of war and the relatively
safe personnel who man them." That is the perhaps the
most concise sentence I've read on the subjects of U.S.
nationalism and imperialism.
the downside of the pro-war supermajority's essential cowardice
is that they become hysterical when afraid - and scare easily.
It is as likely as not that Permanent National Emergency will
arrive with the initial blessing of the white masses. In any
event, LadyHawke, a Shaman, will have none of it.
a good thing that paying taxes is "voluntary"
and that many of us exercise those rights. Tough to sleep
at night knowing that we might be supporting that garbage,
not to mention the murder of millions.
those be their rules ... we have our own set. Follow our
Hearts and all is well.
you for sharing the Light. With Peace and Love and Light
from Magic Mt. in Colorado.
Haven writes a letter that, like the email on Condoleezza's
cartoon, we knew was coming.
just read the "Great Unraveling" commentary and
I want to thank you for a cogent and, in a way, hopeful
analysis. There may be a way to fight back. I would suggest
that a better term than "Bush men" be found. 1)
They are more monsters than men, 2) the term is too close
to Bushmen whose integrity is as certain as their suffering
at the hands of white imperialism. I suggest Bush cabal,
Bush league, Bush bunch.
Bushmen, the !Kung
people of southern Africa do not call themselves that, the
whites do. We understand your point, of course. But Bush
men, Pirates, Bushmedia, etc. work for our purposes.
I, Issue 38
any sane TV watcher must know (or forfeit any claim to sanity),
the Bush men and Bushmedia are totally lost in fantasy, holding
irrelevant conversations among themselves as if the world
moves at the rhythm of their lips. Like second hand smoke,
delusions can sicken proximate parties. Thus it is noted that
many faint hearted onlookers are, indeed, fainting, overcome
by Pirate bravado - believing there must be something behind
the bluster that the rest of us don't know about. As we wrote
in our April 17 "Conspiracy
Theories" commentary, even the gravest blunders by
the Bush men are interpreted by some as evidence of a grand,
note that American Blacks and progressives have begun reading
subtexts and plots into every horror of the Bush men's Iraq
adventure. For example, that the Americans wanted Baghdad
to burn. This is preposterous. The U.S military allowed
Baghdad to descend into chaos because it doesn't give a
damn about Iraqi lives, period. The Bush men would rather
have had different pictures on the world's TV screens. They
are inept in nearly every respect except the arts of their
particular style of war, and in their mastery at manipulation
of their fellow white Americans' delusional minds. They
have not a clue as to how to occupy Iraq, for the simple
reason that they are racists who cannot assess the motivations
of Iraqis. This cognitive black hole - the mental disability
associated with racism - swallows up and disappears facts
that do not conform with the prefabricated version of reality
on which the Pirate's plans are based.
Bogan, from Portland, Oregon noted the passage, above, and
found it "valuable to me, and should be required reading
for activist, progressives of all stripes."
thing that I've learned in my readings of history, is that
any kind of change for the better has occurred not by "great
men or women" who get all of the press, but by the
power and wisdom of ordinary folk. Mahatma Gandhi's movement
in India and Dr. King's movement proves this. Not only do
conspiracy theorists engage in all-too-familiar patterns
of scapegoating, but they remove human agency from actions,
consigning them to elaborate schemes that stretch the bounds
must not only resist this tendency to assign all the bad
things of Bush and his crew of pirates to conspiracies,
but we must always reserve the right to ridicule and mock
them, and other delusional folks that associate themselves
with the fantasies of reaction. Conspiracies only serve
to give them credit where none was earned in the first place.
Indifference to the Species
world shuddered and a thousand cultures looked to their own
treasures at news that humanity's patrimony was allowed to
burn while the Marines fiddled around at the Oil Ministry,
in Baghdad. In our April
17 issue, we gave the crime a name.
a depraved indifference to homo sapiens as a species,
the United States last week oversaw the erasure of the evidence
of 5,000 years of human civilization - a crime from which
humanity cannot recover. Although certainly not their
final act of barbarism, the burning of the Baghdad Museum
and the Iraqi National Library under the armed auspices
of the U.S. military is an offense to human consciousness
that no temporal tribunal can ever be empowered to forgive,
and that history will never forget.
picked that passage because Ella Baccouche did.
piece on "conspiracy theories" expressed my sentiments
succinctly and with such eloquence.
is so gifted. I just love your writing and have committed
to memory that first paragraph. I just wanted to say something
about the sickening footage I saw on BBC the day Baghdad
heroes? Hmmmm. The performance of those young criminals
looting office buildings, tearing down Saddam's statue,
proclaiming the Anglo-Americans as heroes, showing pictures
of President Bush, revering the American flag, holding up
replicas of the very airplane bombers that supposedly "freed"
them by dropping thousands of depleted uranium bombs on
them and their country, should be enshrined in drama for
that was what it was, pure Hollywood. What a production!
What fiction! The setting of this well manipulated direction
actually had unseen charred bodies of men, women, and children
civilians lying about throughout the city. The intended
audience for this make-believe virtual documentary, obviously
diseased with racial arrogance and evil intent, found these
sanitized scenes to be a welcome sight.
a diabolical way of cheapening the suffering of the Iraqi
people. The "Pirates" want us to believe that
twelve years of sanctions imposed on the people of Iraq
by the Anglo-Americans, twelve years of no-fly zone bombing,
twelve years of mothers watching their babies die from birth
defects and lack of medicines, twelve years of dealing with
the effects of depleted uranium, and twelve years of authentic
terror all culminating in the Pentagon's demonstration of
"Shock and Awe", with the dropping of over 4000
bombs, was actually "celebrated" when the Anglo-Americans
took over Baghdad. Only the very deranged and deluded would
mistake those depicted "jubilation episodes" for
the real anarchy that was probably occurring at the time.
heroes? Malarkey! For most of the world, they are "Pirates."
And, they cannot justify their horrendous deeds by their
phony cinematography. Their malicious, murderous intent
is all too apparent. We can no longer be bamboozled by them
and their media cohorts. We all realize that their so-called
"documentary" was just another rendition of the
Columbus saga. Columbus is celebrated as a national hero
in America. They remembered the song they sang in kindergarten,
"Columbus, Columbus, he's our man, if he can't do it
nobody can", didn't they? We are all reminded about
Columbus' heroism every October 12th. And like Columbus,
they want to be celebrated by the Iraqis as hero-liberators.
Oh yes, they have a lot in common with Columbus. In the
universal set of all things, they overlap Columbus on the
properties exhibited by the "Pirate Class", the
set of those willing to unscrupulously slaughter thousands
in their eagerness to find gold. Only this time, it's "Black
little over a year ago, we launched a publication to address
"influencers" among Blacks and those non-Blacks
we consider "progressive." We began with very direct
knowledge of whom we wanted to reach.
has multiplied its audience many times since April 5, 2002,
while maintaining the essential character of readership. That's
mainly due to the dynamic within and among constantly expanding
circles of activism - the way in which "influencers"
how we connected with William Bowles, of the UK.
must commend you on your site. Intelligent and witty with
good articles on that which ails and affects us. I'll spread
the word. Keep it up.
Smartt arrived via the same route as about 1,000 newcomers,
I just got your piece via Information
Clearing House. I will spend some time on you site henceforth.
Thank you so much for the clear, and to my mind, accurate
Clearing House posted our December 5 commentary, "Rule
of the Pirate: The $200 billion payday" - at the
urging of the previously mentioned William Bowles, of Great
Britain, who convinced the site's managers that the piece
still had lots of shelf life left in it.
Shabaka had family connections.
look you Black People, I am so happy to have found you,
you all are fantastic, your writers are great thinkers.
At first my son turn me on to whatreallyhappened.com, and
I ran upon you, I used to visit what really happened at
least twice a day, now I only read ,
right now I am trying to catch up on previous issues.
up the good work.
makes a fine contribution to Internet intelligence.
Brown heard (one of) us on the radio.
I look forward to the Black Commentator. I had never heard
of you before I heard Mr. Ford on the Tavis Smiley show
this week. I didn't agree with your viewpoint, but it was
well put. We're not a monolithic people, so just as we come
in all complexions we have opinions all over the board as
well. I'm interested in reading yours. Peace.
glad about that. The archived, April 23 commentary can be
accessed on the NPR
Virginia, Debbie Roberts attests to our emotional equilibrium.
cannot tell you how much I look forward to reading your
articles and letters every week. Blackcommentator.com is
a well written, well designed, blessedly non-hysterical
oasis of incisive thought out on the Web. Thank you and
keep up the good work.
Ushanda is concise and very kind.
so much for your clear sight & passionate pen.
the Black Presidential Candidate Must Do"
saved until last the following exchange of letters with Dr.
Ron Gerughty, of Cottondale, Florida, so that we might end
this column on a heavy note, presenting critical questions
for ongoing consideration. Dr. Gerughty began:
all the Internet sites I read, yours is the most informative,
provocative, and, yes, entertaining and for that I thank
you profoundly. With that said, I would like to know why
must we continue to serve the White Man's Party (WMP)? Although,
in principle, the Democrats are far ahead of the Republicans,
in reality, there's not much difference between the two.
Given the DLC and the good old boys network, Al Sharpton
has no chance of gaining the Democratic nomination, although
he is, by far, the best of the lot. Have you given any thought
to a third party, one that would attract a diverse constituency
- one that would be an alternative to the WMP?
If we are successful in 2004 to rid this
country of the scourge of the narcissistic, delusional madman
and his minions, who would we get in exchange - more of
the same except a few octaves lower?
I have yet to disagree with any of your
insights into the history of this nation and its subsequent
activities. I find your candor refreshing, yet disturbing,
as I have been unable to change one iota, but I shall continue
for your marvelous publication.
reply to Dr. Gerughty:
are very generous to us. The best way to look at multi-racial
organizations is usually to start off with a given: the
mass of white folks is going to be hostile to Black people
acting in concert. Since whites are both in charge and
tend to share a common worldview, they do not need to organize
as whites in order to move in the same direction
- they are already there, so to speak. African Americans
share a common general worldview but are not in charge.
Therefore, we have to meet and plan as a group in order
to move towards empowerment.
In assessing the Democratic Party, we must
take general white hostility as a given, and then ask, how
well have Blacks in the party organized themselves in those
areas in which they are minorities, and how have they leveraged
those local party machineries in which Blacks are
the party, numerically and as officers. Essentially, we
must run the test on ourselves, not on whites, whose general
hostility to Black action-as-Blacks is a given.
Since Blacks have not done a good job of
organizing within the party, and have not treated local
bastions of Black numerical dominance as engines of party-wide
Black power, the verdict on the utility of the Democratic
Party is still out. That's our fault, since we have failed
to press our potential impact on the party to the limits.
Simply pointing out white hostility begs the question of
intra-Black political cohesion.
Ideally, every Black caucus within the
party should act as a Black-Party unit. 's
publishers have long maintained that we already have the
makings of a Black political party within the Democratic
Party, if we just acted like it. We have failed to organize
where we already exist in great and strategically placed
numbers. There is no reason to believe that we will do a
better job outside of the party than we have done inside
However, it is also necessary to create
separate structures outside of the Democratic machinery,
to which Black Democrats would also belong. This organization
would be committed to a broad set of progressive goals that
are well understood as the Black Agenda. (The Black Agenda
is a progressive political agenda that takes into consideration
the particular history and legitimate group aspirations
of African Americans.) One could call this a political party,
but the word has too narrow a meaning in the United States,
so let's just call it a Black National Caucus.
We have been trained like everyone else
in the U.S. to think that parties exist only for the purpose
of fielding candidates for elections. This is a huge, uniquely
American weakness, and a large part of the reason businessmen
so easily control society - they meet and discuss common
interests and put forward programs and devise strategies
all of the time, as an essential part of shaping the environment
in which they do business. They then manipulate parties
to carry out their agenda. Both parties.
Blacks must learn how to see parties as
structures that have a certain utility, and use them to
advance our agenda. Although the agenda exists, we have
not organized to push it forward by treating the Democratic
Party as one, very useful vehicle. Thus, Blacks inside the
Democratic structure do not act in concert. Therefore, white
corporate agents (or Black ones!) win battles that they
should, based on raw Black numbers, lose.
Thus, we find ourselves in a situation
in which there is a question of whether Al Sharpton
will be invited to the January debates, or not!
It was in this spirit that we wrote, What
a Black Presidential Candidate Must Do.
Dr. Gerughty responds:
I certainly agree with your basic premise that the mass
of whites is hostile, some more overtly than others, to
anyone nonwhite, I do believe there are considerable numbers
of whites who share your aspirations (I, for instance, share
your aspirations). I have a deep and long-standing devotion
to justice for all, regardless of their size, shape, or
color. I look to deeds, not to rhetoric to evaluate.
Perhaps a little background may enlighten
our conversation. I am 70 years old, have two doctoral degrees,
and am now retired from academics where I served as dean
in three different universities. I have been in the health
area for most of my life and am a pathologist (forensic/anatomic/surgical).
I have a fervent desire to see that all persons receive
(not promised) a quality education that prepares them for
life as it is, not as we would like it to be. I was one
of the first educators in higher education to embrace affirmative
action, not just in words, but in deed, by seeing that those
students, usually Blacks and poor Whites, received the appropriate
help to guarantee they would benefit and graduate and not
just have an opportunity to do so and then be left hanging.
Whites gain and keep power and authority
through slavery, a thought that I am certain you recognize
as it is quite apparent in your writings. That is slavery
on two fronts. The first is educational - teach them only
what they need to know (if even that) so they can work the
fields (careers), while the second is economic - keep them
in debt so that they will have to do the work just to try
to make ends meet. Both are despicable, but highly effective
in creating a made-to-order work force.
Now, back to our discussion. I agree that
Blacks have not done a good job of organizing within the
Democratic Party (I have also served as a political consultant
and confidant to both Democratic and Republican senators,
governors, and presidential candidates, although it took
me many years to learn just what was going on and be repulsed
by it). One of the problems I see is that nonwhites try
to emulate Whites, a huge mistake. There is absolutely no
reason for any person to shed his or her culture and beliefs
just to gain a piece of the pie that rightfully belongs
to them in the first place. As dean of the College of Health
at Idaho State University, my work with the Native Americans
brought this home loud and clear.
With the political climate being what it
is, especially now that fascism has arrived and ethnic/religious/gender/race
targets are developed further, now is the time to stand
up for what we believe. I really like your idea of a Black
National Caucus and your emphasis on history and legitimate
group aspirations of African Americans. How would you envision
this group playing into the politics of the Democratic Party?
How can we overturn the strangle hold on the Party by the
"elite"? As an example of their arrogance, if
Al Sharpton is not invited to the January debates, how can
you overcome this dominance? The Clintons, Liebermans, Gephardts,
Edwards, etc of this Party are not much better than the
crazed lunatic we seek to depose. As you so aptly stated,
business manipulates both parties to its advantage. I have
great difficulty in envisioning a day when you can speak
with a unified voice that will be heard and acknowledged,
if we must continue in this one-party system. Short a coup,
the parties will continue ad infinitum and we will be left
to wallow in their dirt. That is why I proposed the question
of an independent (3rd) party.
I believe your observation that Blacks
must act in concert for what they believe is accurate and
would be effective, as far as that could go. It's the same
old story of divide and conquer and I, for one, am getting
damn sick and tired of the "privileged few" having
their way at the expense of others. Yet, to gain an overwhelming
consensus is difficult. I keep coming back to the need for
education (my bias) so that Blacks (as well as other nonwhites
and whites) can gain an understanding of how they are manipulated
and then strike accord among the large majority to unseat
greatly appreciate Dr. Gerughty's patient and thoughtful contribution
to a discussion that should be ongoing in every venue frequented
by Black "influencers" and those who consider themselves
allies of African Americans. To the extent that we do not
address these basic issues, we will continue to lose ground
to an unworthy foe.
gratefully acknowledges the following organizations
for sending visitors our way during the past week: