Massive affirmative action endorsements
War to defend the almighty dollar
Who owns the streets?





Up to 30 million people in 600 cities worldwide marched in opposition to U.S. war against Iraq last weekend, six million in Europe, most of them in nations ruled by governments that support Washington. Two million Spaniards - five percent of the citizenry - took to the streets, the equivalent of 15 million Americans in loud and public defiance of their government's policies.

The United States stands isolated and alone on the globe, a truth that American corporate media exert Herculean efforts to obscure. Everywhere, and according to every poll, the overwhelming preponderance of the people of the world say No to George Bush's War. The next word on six billion lips is, Why? Why is Washington intent on shredding an international order that has served the United States so well for more than half a century? What compels Bush to risk the wrath of a billion Muslims, shred strategic alliances with Europe, and so terrify the human species in general that cohabitation on the same planet with the United States becomes dreadful to contemplate. Could easy American access to oil be worth such a horrific price?

The answer is: No. But keeping oil priced exclusively in dollars is more than enough cause for war against the planet. As Dr. Sonja Ebron writes in this issue's lead commentary, "An OPEC switch from the dollar to the euro would bring a quick and devastating dollar and Wall Street crash that would make 1929 look like a $50 casino bet."

America's coercive power in the world is based as much on the dollar's status as the global reserve currency as on U.S. military muscle. Everyone needs oil, and to pay for it, they must have dollars. To secure dollars, they must sell their goods to the U.S., under terms acceptable to the people who rule America. The dollar is way overpriced, but it's the only world currency. Under the current dollars-only arrangement, U.S. money is in effect backed by the oil reserves of every other nation.

The real "weapon of mass destruction" threatening American domination of the globe is the euro, the shared currency of 12 European nations centered on Germany and France. The economies and populations of the euro countries are as large as that of the United States, and more tightly bound to the Middle East.

Last summer, an OPEC executive confirmed what the elites of the world already suspect. "It is quite possible that as the bilateral trade increases between the Middle East and the European Union, it could be feasible to price oil in euros considering Europe is the main economic partner of that region," said petroleum market analyst Javad Yarjani, addressing a gathering of the European Union, in Spain.

However, crisis is the great accelerator of history. A leap to the euro is just as likely as a gradual transition to multiple reserve currencies. The Bush men refuse to accept either scenario.

The euro-threat is the clear and looming danger propelling the Bush pirates to war at this time - the answer to the global question, Why Now? Switching oil price denomination from dollars to euros is a political decision that can be taken by oil producers at any time, in answer to any dispute with the United States, or simply in their own national interest. The men who handle Bush are determined to eliminate the possibility of OPEC action, by physically seizing a substantial portion of the oil fields. Saddam Hussein presents the pretext. This moment will not be allowed to pass.

Iraq switched to euro payments for its oil several years ago, declaring the dollar "enemy currency," Dr. Ebron reports. "Iraq's move to the euro - and Iran's expected move - are placing tremendous pressure on OPEC countries and other oil producers to drop our dollar as the main transaction currency for oil."

North Korea, the third point in the "axis of evil," has also been attempting to trade in euros.

Many aspects of the current crisis become clearer through an understanding of the oil-currency question. The lion is roaring. He is also terribly afraid.

Who Owns The Streets? THEY DO!

"Democracy is a beautiful thing," said George Bush, wearing one of his dwindling number of faces as he fielded questions about the massive protests in New York and San Francisco. "People are allowed to express their opinion, and I welcome people's right to say what they believe."

Bush apparently didn't relay these sentiments to Attorney General Ashcroft, whose Justice Department filed a federal court brief backing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's order, barring nearly half a million protestors from marching to the United Nations building. The attempt to contain the crowd in one location resulted in many tens of thousands of demonstrators being locked out of the rally, spawning a number of unintended marches on the periphery.

Among the multitude of wanderers was writer/activist Adam Engel, who witnessed police physically abuse a couple attempting to enter the rally area pushing their baby in a carriage. Hundreds of onlookers booed, but failed to intervene. Engel wrote about the incident in Monday's Counterpunch:

Never again will I nod my head in assent when someone brings up that old, "how can only three guards with machine guns hold back three thousand prisoners in Auschwitz?" Same way five or six cops with Glock 9mms on each street kept away thousands of protesters in NYC, Saturday, February 15, 2003.

"I don't blame people for wanting to walk their own streets," a man said.

"It's just one long line," a cop answered.

"To where?" I asked.

The cop, smirking, shrugged.

Every street from 42nd to 72nd connecting Third to First was closed by 5 or 6 cops with guns. "We own the streets," all the nice people cried. No you don't, THEY do, I said, to myself. If you owned the streets, you'd be on them.

Yes to affirmative action

We seem to be living in an age of superlatives. For every moral deficit inflicted by Bush, an opposite and positive social outpouring appears. A record-setting number of friend-of-the-court briefs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, on Tuesday, in defense of the University of Michigan's affirmative action plan. The Los Angeles Times reported: "At least 63 corporations, more than 100 universities, retired military leaders, labor unions, civil rights and religious groups and nearly 14,000 law students signed briefs that endorsed the continued use of race-based affirmative action."

The extraordinarily broad and deep institutional response demonstrates that, while the raw racist appeal of the White Man's Party continues to mobilize huge numbers of white voters, American elites recognize that social stability depends upon maintaining at least a modicum of Black upward mobility.

The U.S. military, having acclimated to integration at least a decade before most of corporate America, finds itself at odds with Commander-in-Chief Bush. "We have an enormously compelling interest in admitting a reasonably diverse class," said retired West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman. "I've been in an Army that was de facto segregated. In Vietnam, we had a very high percentage of minority troops and a very small number of minority officers. And huge problems ensued. The academy is far, far better today for having a reasonably diverse student body."

The High Court hears arguments on the case in April, and will rule in late June.

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Issue Number 30
February 20, 2003

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Other commentaries in this issue:

Why African Americans Should Oppose The War By Dr. Sonja Ebron

Moseley-Braun and the Game to Contain Sharpton

Inside Crazy George’s head... Powell as war criminal: 1968, 2003... The Cave Man calleth

from the Marble Jungle
Testing Head Start to Death by Mark S. Johnson-Lewis

Commentaries in Issue 29 February 13, 2003:

Osama is Calling…

Toward a Black Democratic primary... More faith-based foolery... A benediction for

The Issues
Blacks favor peace, whites opt for war... Affirmative action's heavy-hitter allies... Shoving vouchers down DC's throat

Behind from the Start: Black kids begin school disadvantaged

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.