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BlackCommentator.com: Apartheid Is Here and So Is the Revolution - By Suzanne Brooks - Women of Color - By Suzanne Brooks - BlackCommentator.com Columnist

   
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President Obama is accommodating other communities that deserve accommodations and justice. BC Question: What will it take to bring Obama home?It appears there are only two groups denied any accommodation or consideration at all: African Americans, for whom he says the answer is that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” which has never been true for African Americans; and women of color, whom he refuses to recognize as having any issues at all or even existing. Yet, he expects us all to vote for him in the same nearly-unanimous numbers as in 2008. African Americans and women of color who accept this kind of treatment are fooling themselves that Republicans will be worse. There is nothing worse than what we are getting. We are at the bottom under the Obama administration. I suggest writing in Barbara Lee for President and Dennis Kucinich for Vice President in the primaries on both Republican and Democratic tickets. If Obama doesn’t get the message and deliver more than symbols and promises before November, we should write in Lee and Kucinich then, too.

The Obama Jobs Plan robs Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts to recipients began a year ago and are ongoing, quietly, as if the majority of the public will not find out. The Martin Luther King, Jr. statue, which had jobs associated with it, were jobs that went to the Chinese who designed and built it. The 911 Memorial was built by Germany and China which also provided all the materials. US steel mills lack work, while the US bought steel from Germany for this. No wonder there are problems with the Post Office, which buys its vehicles from Europe.

Since corporations are now, according to the Supreme Court, to be considered persons for the purpose of donating to campaign contributions, shouldn’t they also then be persons under the IRS code which requires all Americans to pay income taxes on their worldwide income? The rest of us can’t hide money offshore or in Swiss banks to escape paying taxes. Instead, Obama is working on a permanent low tax rate for the rich and corporations.

Incidentally, despite all the complaining about US corporate tax rates, less than half of US corporations pay any taxes at all, regardless of the rate. Instead, most receive subsidies from a US government that refuses adequate support of medical care, food subsidies, education, schools and other needs of the majority of the people.

Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration just made major changes in Patent law. Among other things, US companies are roaming the world and patenting plants used by indigenous people for medicines in order to take control of medicines worldwide. This often bars the indigenous people from continuing their medical traditions with nothing to replace it. It also guarantees high prices and control to the drug companies indefinitely - the same drug companies that have ceased manufacturing drugs within the US because they want to pay slave wages in countries with no safety requirements for the drugs produced. Neither aspirin nor flu vaccines are manufactured here anymore, but in countries where contamination is frequent.

A few days ago, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City stated that if there is no help for the hungry, homeless, uneducated and unemployed in New York soon, there will be riots in the streets, including race riots. Thousands are now protesting in the streets of Poland because of conditions similar to those in the US - information left out of the news by mainstreet media. The US is like a ticking time bomb, with no substantive leadership working for anything more than increasing their personal enrichment at the price of the loss of freedom, health and lives of 80% of the people who are being reduced to subsistence. Republicans are openly calling for people without insurance to be allowed to die. Michele Bachmann has proposed the elimination of the current minimum wage and reducing pay rates to the levels of other countries, those where the people work as serfs and slaves without medical care, clean water, housing, education and adequate food.

While claiming to follow the constitution, politicians refer to the original version which denied citizenship and humanity to people of African and Indigenous descent, supported slavery and kept immigration almost totally for European whites. What I don’t get is the passivity of the people being led to slaughter. Constant fear mongering, especially on the anniversary of 911 has begun the process of people in this country accepting the presence of armed soldiers on our streets, in schools and government buildings. Whether you look at the German, Indian, Australian, Israeli, South African or early US models which slaughtered millions of Jews, Muslims and Hindus of India, Aborigines, Palestinians, South African Blacks, the US Indigenous people and the enslaved African people. Apartheid is here. So is the revolution.

White House Launches New Native American Website
The White House Office of Public Engagement recently announced the launch of a new website which is intended to provide Indian Country with an additional tool to help navigate federal agencies and their services to tribal communities, and to learn about how President Obama’s agenda will impact Native Americans. The new website is called “Winning the Future: President Obama and the Native American Community.”
EPA Announces Settlement with the Department of the Interior to Resolve Violations at DOI Schools in Indian Country

On August 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a comprehensive settlement with the Department of the Interior (DOI) to address alleged violations of waste, water, air, toxics and community right-to-know laws at schools and public water systems in Indian Country owned, operated, or the legal responsibility of DOI’s Indian Affairs Office. The settlement will protect students’ health and the health of communities in Indian Country by reducing potential exposure to environmental hazards.

Under the settlement, the DOI’s Indian Affairs Office, comprised of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), will correct all of the alleged violations at 72 schools and 27 water systems. DOI will implement an environmental compliance auditing program and an environmental management system (EMS), designed to improve environmental practices at all of its BIE schools and BIA public water systems serving these schools.
DOI has also agreed to install a solar energy system which will serve a school located in the Grand Canyon. The solar energy project will help ensure a more reliable source of electricity for the school and local community. DOI will also pay a civil penalty of $234,844 which it must spend to correct violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) at its schools.
EPA conducted compliance inspections and data reviews at more than 100 BIE/BIA schools and public water systems. The settlement addresses all alleged violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act’s PCB provisions, and AHERA.

The settlement affects 60 tribes throughout the U.S. which have DOI Office of Indian Affairs schools or public water systems on or near their tribal lands. Consistent with EPA’s consultation process with tribes, EPA consulted with the 60 tribes affected prior to finalization of the settlement agreement.

More information on the settlement

It is worth saying it twice: “Apartheid is here. So is the revolution.” For months, maybe a year or more, I have been writing letters and essays and now a book, calling attention to the weariness and despair of the masses of people suffering and dying at the bottom of US society while armies are sent to “bring democracy and build infrastructure” - schools, hospitals, businesses, food, medical care and more, allegedly, to others for a variety of stated reasons which daily grow less credible to those who used to believe them. Though many have listened, few in positions of power have been among the listeners even when, as a few days ago, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg made some of the same predictions. Now, more voices are joining in with similar observations, the same outlook and details of the same projections.

Today I received the following article: “Breaking: Wall St.Occupation: live streaming & Mission Statement.” It is worth reading in detail. This information is consistent with rumors I heard some time ago and which I have believed will take place. It reminds me of a time when I worked at an area university, directing the Multi-Cultural Center and realized that the campus was headed toward explosion because of its racism. When I tried advising all parts of the university executives of needed action, they blew me off. Later, when students against all the -isms took over a student government meeting to make demands for change, the same execs came to me and asked that I go to the meeting and intervene because the students would listen to me. I refused to intervene at that point because I was unwilling to align myself with those who could have resolved these problems peacefully but had refused to do so. I also refused to discard the respect the students had for me based on common goals and aspirations. I am sure this was just one more of the reasons people in power tried to destroy me.

Lately, I have been speaking to young (18-35) people everywhere, informally, whenever opportunity arises, about the histories of social revolutions which always arise from their cohort. I have also been sharing my view that they have, throughout history to the present, overthrown dictators and repression and that their intuitive and creative understanding of contemporary technology makes them even more formidable today.

However, I also point out that they are generally lacking in the education, skills and experience needed to build social institutions and government, the infrastructures without which revolutions are not sustained nor do they make meaningful changes. I suggest that they look for those of us, from 35 to 100+, for that help. This means new kinds of partnerships between generations and a new maturity that ends cross-generational competition for power and wealth. They need to bring us, those over 35, into the current millennium of technology and creativity. We need to teach them how to build what is needed with the understanding that we are also teaching them to replace us in leadership roles, freeing us to more developmental and creative activities. This will free us (the over 35) to put greater efforts into developing full, informative libraries, archives and other repositories of what we have learned. They are the ones who can tackle gang problems, for example, and drug problems.

There is so much that can be done in collaboration. This is the path to examining new forms of government and much, much more. It will be a struggle but I believe the changes are inevitable and unstoppable. As the following information suggests, the time is here to decide what role each of us plans to play.

Live! Wall St .Occupation: Livestreaming & Mission Statement and Kevin Zeese analysis

Live Streaming of Occupation of Wall Street which begins Sept.17,2011

Published 2011-09-18 01:46:38 UTC by agnosticnixie
This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves, we bring this call for revolution.

We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system - a system based on the existence of have and have-nots, where inequality, inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar.

We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. The political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding.

We need to address the core facts: corporations, even if they are unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still retain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to become part of the corporate elites.

We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether. If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brow, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.

If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to retain the current power structure, then you might be one of us.

And so we call on people to act.

We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.

We call for workers not only to strike, but to seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically.

We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers - to seize the classrooms and free minds together.

    We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.
    We call for the organization of people’s assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.

We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.

We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.

Who will occupy Wall Street on September 17? by Nathan Schneider,
Waging NonViolence

When the culture-jamming activist group, Adbusters, put out a call on July 13 for “20,000 people” to “flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” it never said who those people would be. Now, the question on the minds of everyone from the Department of Homeland Security to the Lower East Side anarchist set is just who and how many will actually show up?

The simplest cop-out of an answer is to say that nobody exactly knows. To an extent, it’s true. The large, established, membership groups - unions, lobbies, etc. - have kept quiet about it, so their rank-and-file can’t be counted on en masse. There’s no central planning committee, no permit with the city, and not even an official website, so there’s no obvious person to ask for a prediction or a figure. (Adbusters continues to say 20,000, although its role in organizing is, according to Senior Editor, Micah White, solely “philosophical.”) The event will be, among other things, a test of the scattered American grassroots - their ability to mobilize against the outsized power of corporate elites, and their inclination to do so.

Some on the right-wing’s most lunatic of fringes have taken advantage of the information vacuum with headlines declaring “Wall Street Targeted for Britain-Style Riots” (along with thoroughly fictitious links to ACORN, SEIU, and even President Obama), a claim which has already turned into a fundraising scheme for Republican political candidates.

Imaginative, but false.

A better place to look for some sense of what’s in the works would be a visit to the “NYC General Assembly” that has been meeting for the past month or more on Saturday evenings in New York’s Tompkins Square

Park. For as long as five hours at a time, a crowd of 100, give or take, discusses matters of process and principles, as well as peanut butter sandwiches, bathrooms, and pepper spray.

They can’t pretend to be able to tell all the people who come what they can and can’t do, but they can at least provide a loose framework and some information about what is and isn’t legal - for example, no tents. They’re not bringing any port-a-potties or appointing any marshals or police negotiators. They talk about nonviolence, with various conceptions of it in mind, and hope for the best.

The group is mainly young, with a tendency toward black T-shirts, bicycles, and hand-rolled cigarettes. A few have accents from Spain and Greece, through which they share stories from this year’s uprisings in those countries. They vary in their levels of experience with the modified-consensus process that the Assembly employs - together with its concomitant courtesies, no-nos, and hand signals. There are those who have never done anything like this before, and then those who are coming freshly-inspired and well-rehearsed from taking part in the three-week Bloombergville encampment earlier in the summer. There’s a contingent from the LaRouchePAC, and there’s a big, bearded man in the back who, against the wishes of some, keeps snapping photos. A police car cruises by, from time to time, but it doesn’t stop.

Their stories are ordinary, but in a charmed sort of way. One regular at the Assembly moved to New York from North Dakota on a whim, and without a job, a few months ago after finishing a master’s degree and breaking up with his girlfriend; almost immediately he found out about September 17 and has been working on the Arts & Culture Committee full-time. Another is a filmmaker who has just been in Egypt interviewing the leaders of the Tahrir Square protests. Yet another is a Vietnam vet from Staten Island with a sagely smile. Still others drift by through the park, stop to listen, and then keep walking, or stay.

Decision-making hasn’t always been easy. But this past weekend, at least, the Assembly decided when it would meet next, as the occupation begins: on Saturday 3 p.m. at Chase Manhattan Plaza, two blocks north of Wall Street. The Arts & Culture Committee will get things going beforehand with a “New York Fun Exchange” (as well as a possible pooch parade) at noon at Bowling Green, home of the Charging Bull statue. The student groups, who have their own allied General Assembly, are rehearsing for a flash mob.

And more: the Fiasco Street Team, Protest Chaplains, the National Lawyers Guild, Guerrilla-Drive-In, and a promise on Twitter about an old band coming back together the day before. Every day this week at noon, there is an occupation-themed public yoga session where Wall St. meets Broad St.

Few groups taking part are more organized, though, than US Day of Rage. Its founder, a sharp-featured, sharp-tongued IT strategist, Alexa O’Brien, insists that she’s “a normal sort of nobody.” She and her colleagues are prolific on Twitter, and their website features a range of resources, including nonviolent direct action manuals, a tactical plan for September 17, and an embedded YouTube video of the group’s official song, the theme from the 1970s show Free to Be… You and Me.

US Day of Rage also has a head start on answering the question that Adbusters posed in its initial call: “What is our one demand?” O’Brien launched her site back in March, while she was blogging about the Middle Eastern revolutions and the revelations coming out of WikiLeaks. On Twitter, she asked people what they thought was wrong with this country, and it all seemed to come down to one thing: the influence of big money in politics. This led naturally to the group’s slogan, a plan for radical campaign finance reform: “One citizen. One dollar. One vote.” Besides that, O’Brien refuses to label herself or the organization with any ideological stamp. “I think it’s really typical of the internet generation,” she says, “to look at process much more than ideology as what’s going to save us.”

There’s a certain ring to this proposal; it has the makings of what Buckminster Fuller called a “trimtab” - a simple change that could change the course of the whole system. But it’s far from a universal priority among those organizing for September 17. Others have called for restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, or imposing higher taxes on the rich, or ending the endless wars abroad.

What one mainly hears at the General Assembly, though, is not a demand so much as an experiment in method. They’re trying to figure out how to make their voices heard again in politics, above the noise of money. What’s drawing people to Wall Street on Saturday sometimes seems to be an aesthetic more than anything, a longing to see Wall Street full of the people whose concerns for which its operations have been blind, and who are ready to get their due. But it’s an aesthetic with teeth. After what has been happening in Egypt and Tunisia, in Spain, Greece, Bahrain, and so many other places around the world this year, people are going to Wall Street to make a real difference.

But September 17 isn’t just happening on Wall Street. For its part, US Day of Rage is organizing actions that day in Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle as well. (Washington, DC will have to wait for the occupation of Freedom Plaza planned for October 6.) Meanwhile, Take the Square, a network that grew out of the Spanish May 15 movement, lists solidarity demonstrations across Spain , as well as in Italy, England, Canada, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, and France.
And then there’s the internet. Ever since the news began circulating that Anonymous hacktivists would take part, there has been a lot of speculation online about what they might actually do. One hint comes in the form of Operation Lighthouse, “a fully legal operation in support of the wall street occupation on the 17th” which, in its promotional video, is branded as an Anonymous project. It has also been billed as a revival of New York’s embattled Critical Mass bike ride. According to the website, though, “The @oplighthouse [Twitter] account was suspended shortly after the operation was publicly announced.” Fully legal or not, someone is on to it.
This is a reminder that, while Anonymous’ entry gave the September 17 effort tremendous momentum, it’s a mixed blessing. The FBI has been stepping up its scrutiny of the group lately, and what the Guy Fawkes masks add in mystique and internet-savvy may be lost if the authorities use Saturday as a chance to make an example of Anonymous, especially if protesters aren’t ready to turn a crackdown to their advantage.
Something, in any case, is definitely going to be happening. A lot of people are definitely going to be there, though 20,000 does seem pretty optimistic. Some will know what they’re doing more than others, and all will learn. Not only will this weekend be a test of Americans’ readiness to resist, but of whether an idea lobbed into the internet by Adbusters, then grabbed by artists, students, Twitter hashtags, and a shadowy network of hackers (and hacker wannabes), can really turn into a “flood,” a show of meaningful political force, a new way forward.
“These are new organizational forms that haven’t been tried yet, at least in the U.S.,” said Isham Christie, a graduate student at the City University of New York, speaking at a meet-up in the back of a bar in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. “This is the definition of a truly radical movement.”
Most of the planners with whom I’ve spoken believe it best not to decide very much about what the action will look like before they’re on the street. This will make it a lot harder to control, but also, potentially, harder to defeat - like the uprisings in Egypt, Spain, and elsewhere. September 17, if it is anything, is an ambitious, risky, magnificent unknown. So much depends on who actually ends up being there. Will you?

It seems that the US is now in circumstances that must be similar to those in all the other countries where revolutions and resistance have erupted in the last 12 to 18 months. Since the masses have taken to the streets in European as well as in Middle Eastern and African nations, they have been explained away as the result of Moslem extremists or, as in the UK, of unruly thugs - which left out the issue of racism there. What excuses will be used here as the numbers of people demonstrate, objecting to starvation, homelessness, poverty, joblessness, discrimination for all the types that are here, the lack of a national health plan, and essentially the issuance of so many death sentences to old and young alike in denial of resources to sustain life and in sending so many to commit atrocities leading to injuries, suicides, lives of unending emotional/physical pain, many homeless and jobless, in unexplained, falsely explained and unjustifiable wars? Will the US government order attacks on its own people as all of the others have done? Will US troops obey orders to exterminate friends, family and communities? Is another civil war looming? Will large numbers of people flee the US and, if so, where will they go?

One thing is certain, it will become clear as to which politicians, businesses, organizations, churches, leaders, educators, educational institutions, law enforcement, courts, media, legislators and agencies will support the people and which will obey frightening, destructive orders of those in power. The power elite will be out in the open and so will all the rest of us. It will be a terrible outcome if it takes the country to another civil war, once unthinkable, now on many minds.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist Suzanne Brooks is the founder and CEO of International Association for Women of Color Day and CEO of Justice 4 All Includes Women of Color. Click here to contact Ms. Brooks.

 
 
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Sept 22, 2011 - Issue 442
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