Police State in the Economic Crisis

What have we learned from the economic crisis? That we live in the the tightening web of a police state. That contingencies for this period have been put in place since the Clinton era. We kno that between Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington and Paul Krugman, the liberals continue to get it wrong. We kno that liberal politicians lack the resolve to put away the GOP, because that means liquidating their relationship to finance bankers who manipulated us into this crisis.

The liberal reactionary police state leaves us to ponder such philosophical questions as Eliot Spitzer. He was run out of office on ethics violations last year. So did the former governor and attorney general of New York spill the beans on the Federal Reserve because he got deposed or was he discredited in office to preempt his expose of the Fed? Spitzer recently said that the Federal Reserve is a “Ponzi scheme” that created “bubble after bubble” in the US economy and needs to be held accountable for its actions. Nobody can really say Spitzer is lying, but for millions of fence sitters, the ethics violations put him in a trick bag.

Another casualty of the financial crisis, hundreds of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) set up thru Fiserv lost over $1 billion from just three Ponzi schemes. One law professor said that tapping into IRAs “would be almost like running your Ponzi scheme through the police department.” Simple enuf, since the police remain busy arresting black Harvard professors for breaking into their own homes.

Police state, bitches. As in the arrest of  Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. As in the conviction and imprisonment of NPDUM organizer Ajamu Bandele. Or the execution of Oscar Grant on a BART platform. Police state, operating in a tightening web of economic foils and snags, designed to take down African people.

Some people shouldn’t even be able to own homes, let alone nice ones in blended communities. Because as the skyrocketing mortgage fraud pushes a new trend towards abandoned cities and homeless families the need for police increases. With only three percent of the world population and twenty-five percent of its prison population, the United States has anticipated the period of social turmoil headed our way.

Indeed, the Oreo prez blinks, wavers, swerves in a racist game of chicken, one gut check away from at least letting us think he thinks for himself. Skippy Gates, whose mission to “de-ghettoize black studies”, left himself as the only black scholar working on his project. But black folks kno why we came to his side when the pigs jumped him, and we will do it again. African people must no longer support neo-colonialism, yet we will always fight against racist, bloodsucking Imperialism.

Police state in the for-profit System. People get the opportunity to sue when it messes up your lives. That is supposed to provide a modicum of satisfaction. In a perfectly flawed System that eradicates our existence as social beings, suing cannot even be considered a form of reparative justice. You need to rise up. The ruling class knows that. You just aint copping to it. Wake up, people.

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Pt. II: Africa, Obama and AFRICOM

US President Barack Obama recently made a visit to Ghana. In his first official trip to Africa, he left a strong impression on the world. An analysis of his remarks and policies regarding Africa itself is in order.

We have Obama’s most hard hitting remarks: Africa should stop blaming colonialism for its problems; Africa should stop relying on foreign aid and do for self. We also have Obama’s policy, a continuation of Bush era militarism in the form of AFRICOM, the US Africa Military Command. This policy presents the most severe plan related to structural readjustment.

Of course a direct link to structural readjustment and AFRICOM cannot be suggested without understanding the economic challenges faced by African states. The relationship of these states to capital has alienated them from the masses. Nigeria and Kenya, for instance, have felt snubbed because Obama by-passed them. At the same time, these countries have governments whih have failed to move their societies forward in a way that reflects the best use of their own natural and social resources.

This is not to say that Africa has to develop along Western industrial methods. However, it does mean that certain infrastructure deficiencies from health care to water purification and agriculture have gone neglected. This contradiction prevails in nearly all African states.

Nkrumah is very instructive on this period. When he described neo-colonialism as the last stage of Imperialism, his critique was mainly confined to conditions in our Motherland. Yet we now have to apply that analysis to the United States and its relationship to the world. The current president was elected because of his mantra of “change”. Increasingly, we see Obama as rescuing all the most odious forms of US political culture: militarism, international finance, and expansionism. Which means he represents just a mere changing of the guard.

AFRICOM is a plan to place military bases in Africa. Now Obama has already made comments about US policy, in comparison to Cuba. In those comments he compared Cuba favorably, noting that Latin American leaders have stated that while the primary form of aid they receive from the United States is weapons shipments, they really could not survive without the medical aid and physicians that Cuba has sent them over the years. Obama expressed his intention on changing that imbalance.

Africa, being a destitute region, has its share of problems. Parasitic worms plague people; women daily walk miles to carry drinking and cooking water home to their families; war, rape and AIDS have intensified during the post-colonial era. It does not seem as tho AFRICOM can provide any answers for African people.

Some folks might point this out as a form of selective memory but, clearly, the black prez suffers from Politically Acquired Ideological Deficiency Syndrome (PAIDS) as do many of his African counterparts.

The strategic importance of AFRICOM to the US does not concern the people of Africa, except to the extent that it will be imposed upon them. As an African born in America, my black consciousness is primary. It means more to me to see the rise of our people at home than the continuation of a durable Imperialism. The US continues to produce strong expressions of racism in media, in culture, economics and in politics. Police murders of blacks have become outrageous since the Obama election. Obama was elected because people, white and Latino and black, have become disgusted with the policies in American political life. Yet he has miserably failed to take any strident steps and turns away from this. His rhetoric often says one thing, as in the words he spoke to the Organization of American States, tho the policy continues to maintain the historical status quo.

Indeed, even his rhetoric often belies his genuine stance. Following his Ghana visit, Obama met with AIPAC (American-Israel Political Action Committee). Brother president did not tell them to stop blaming the Holocaust for their problems (?) nor did he suggest that Israel cease relying upon US foreign aid — which amounts to over half the US foreign aid budget — and do for itself. Still, that is what he said while in Ghana. Obama said Africans must stop blaming colonialism and begin to depend upon their own devices, even while pushing AFRICOM. His statements in Ghana are reminiscent of last year’s Fathers Day speech, wherein he castigated absentee fathers in the black community, while ignoring conditions like unemployment which cause social disintegration and black family instability.

While the US GDP is about $13 trillion, the current military budget is $969 billion. The US maintains 737 bases around the world. It seeks to ring bases around Africa (AFRICOM) to guarantee access to oil. By 2015, it is estimated the US will receive 25% of its oil imports from Africa, which has already become the main supplier to the United States. Other strategic resources that AFRICOM will defend include coltan, gold, platinum, diamonds, timber, agriculture, political allies and labor.
African does not need foreign troops on its soil. While Obama says stop blaming colonialism, he forgets how the former colonial powers have behaved in the post-colonial period. This involves the overthrow of Nkrumah, Azikwe, Tolbert and others. During this period, history records the overthrow and physical liquidation of Patrice Lumumba for the long-term destabilization of Congo for Imperialist interests. Agents killed Cabral, Neto and Mondlane in newly independent Portuguese colonies, severely the path of development for Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, respectively. Apartheid South Africa waged war against neighboring countries and its black population right up thru the Nineties, routinely invading Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola.

The US has had its own sordid background in Africa, hunting down Somali President Mohammed El Aidid and flying vicious sorties over Mogadishu neighborhoods. The US has sent gunships to Liberia and Sierra Leone. CIA agents have played a role in many coups in Africa. The US benefits from the destabilization of DRC, backing the occupiers of Eastern DRC, Uganda’s Yoweri Musaveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. The effects of a US military presence are already obvious to anyone with a critical eye.

The solution for Africa’s problems is not AFRICOM. It is not foreign aid. It is in what Kwame Nkrumah stated and so tirelessly worked towards, the unification of Africa under a singular socialist state. That is not on the agenda for the majority of African leaders, who seek to maintain their despotic grips on power to control fiefdoms for Imperialism. Such leaders maintain the status quo, with Africa remaining a begging bowl ravaged by guinea worm, schistosomiasis, AIDS, war, malnutrition, rape, and ignorance. Cheik Anta Diop, John Henrik Clarke and other great historians had great suggestions for redeeming our Motherland from the chokehold of capitalism. We have to accept their advice to free our people.

When Obama attended the OAS conference a few months ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave him a book, Eduardo Galeano’s prosaic, polemic tour de force, The Open Veins of Latin America. Had Obama read it, that would signify the beginning of real change in the United States White House.

The Bottom Line About the Economy

Now the latest hype about the global economic situation involves the debate about what has caused it rather than what is actually taking place. Working class people must exercise some critical thinking, because this ruse intends to keep them in the dark. Since black folks are linked into the global economy just like anybody else, we need to get our heads out of the soaps and churches and anywhere else that does not help us gain clarity and substance on this issue.

The economists are inventing red herrings like the “global savings glut”. This is nonsense. Who believes that money can be earned thru saving? In terms of working class folks, it makes little sense to save, since inflation eats up savings. The annual 3% inflation rate results in only a 1% yearly savings on your money, if banked. Outside of the industrialized countries, there is no return because inflation is much steeper. If you are a middle class person trying to save, your higher education is not paying off.

Not only that, but the Savings & Loans crisis of the Eighties and Nineties definitely scared the US public away from savings and stampeded them towards more sophisticated types of swindles, such as retirement plans based upon 401k and KEOGHs. Just because an activity is approved by Congress, and filled with volumes of small type that only a lawyer can understand, does not make it honest. No black worker has any business playing the stock market without knowing the dollar value of one point on the DJIA or having $250k to throw away in a money-manager fund. ‘Investment’ means only fools leverage all their assets on a gamble.

So if the economists were discussing stock-based retirement funds as a form of savings, consider that misinformation. The New York Review of Books and PEN World Voices presented a symposium on the world economic crisis at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 30. At that time, the idea was proposed that savings had driven down interests rates when, in fact, the Fed and the European Common Bank (ECB) themselves dictate interest rates. Not only that, North America and Europe in no way represent the globe.

It is important to repudiate any notion which dismisses the theory that the ruling class manipulated the financial system for their own benefit. The theory proposed by the symposium flies in the face of every scandal from Enron to Bernie Madoff. It contradicts the events which demanded welfare (bail outs?) for the banks.

Folks must not be duped by the highly esteemed panelists at that event, former senator Bill Bradley, Niall Ferguson, Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and Robin Wells, and Jeff Madrick as moderator. Not one of them has an analysis which serves the interests of the millions of people who form the basis of the US domestic economy; not one of them even speaks the language of every day people.

When the banks pressed the Fed to raise interest rates, this became the primary trigger for the financial meltdown. While most folks think of the banks as finance institutions, the bank is a tool for making money. It is an instrument for concentrating money. Concentrated money becomes capital. Working class people lack capital. They sell their labor for a wage. Capitalists do not earn wages. They make money not thru labor or savings but by skimming value from what labor produces.

If ten laborers in a gold mine work together to extract one ton of gold daily which has a value of $900 per ounce, not one of them makes $900 per day, or even half of that. Even if their combined labor only extracts ten pounds of gold a day, who gets the money? The workers do not earn enuf to save. The value of the gold gets concentrated at the top of the chain, by people who trade paper with a value printed upon it, in exchange for the real value that has been extracted from the mine. This practice prevails thru out the bloodsucking capitalist system, where a few people live exorbitantly upon the backs of five billion working people worldwide.

This paper money has a value assigned to it. This value can be manipulated easier than anything else. After all, the paper has no real value! Today, one dollar may be as strong as yesterday’s ten dollar bill; tomorrow, that same one dollar note may be devalued so that it is only worth five cents. Entire societies remain at risk as a worker in this type of system.

So the monies the panelists claimed were tied up in savings actually were being poured into a volatile market, the stock market, another place ruled by paper tigers. Over the last thirty years, real wages failed to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living. Working people lacked the ability to save. However, amid the fears that Social Security would dry up before they could retire, they put a few hard earned extra dollars into stock-based retirement funds. Human relations managers and other company officials pulled their workers off assembly lines to sell them pyramid and ponzi schemes called a KEOGH or IRA or 401k Plan. These talks sounded something like the average MLM hustle, where the guy at the top of the chain makes all the money and the suckers who bought into it are left holding the bag. That is precisely what happened in instances such as MCI-Worldcom, Tyco, Enron, and others all the way thru the  Madoff scandal. These were all multi-billion dollar scams.

Now, this symposium happened in April. Do not forget, several weeks earlier, pretty much the same crew had called for the goverrnment to nationalize the banks. Their analysis continues shifting, while the causes for this period of voodoo economics involve financial manipulation, pure and simple. Prior to the curveball idea about interest rates being dictated by savings, the pundits said that the financial crunch happened because people were living on debt, another shattered theory.

People were indeed living on debt, yet that is not the reason for the crisis. People were forced to live on debt because wages did not keep pace with rising costs. Remember the old adage: “When creditors enforce collections, that results in market corrections.” So for folks living in debt, their very existence has become manipulated by those who control wages and prices. Stay tuned to the media, because within the next few weeks they will cook up a new rationale for the problems they continue heaping on the backs of poor and working people.

RIP: TAJUDEEN ABDUL RAHEEM

A GIANT IS LOST ON AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY

Firoze Manji

Pambazuka News
http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/56535

25 May is Africa Liberation Day. What a day to learn the terrible news
that one of the leading proponents of Africa’s liberation – Tajudeen
Abdul Raheem – should be so tragically lost in a senseless car
accident in Nairobi. Messages have been pouring in from across the
world as we all fail to hold back our tears at this loss.

Tajudeen led Justice Africa’s work with the African Union since its
early days. He combined this with his role as General Secretary of the
Pan-African Movement, chairperson of the Centre for Democracy and
Development, the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy
Programme, and was a fighter in the struggle to get the UN’s
Millennium Development Campaign to support meaningful programmes.
There was hardly a pan African initiative that took place without
Tajudeen’s inimitable presence, support, humour and perceptive
political perspectives. Quite how he managed to combine all of this
with writing his weekly ‘Pan African Postcard’ that were published
regularly in Pambazuka News and in several newspapers including The
Monitor (Uganda), Weekly Trust (Nigeria), The African (Tanzania),
Nairobi Star (Kenya) and the Weekly Herald (Zimbabwe), has always been
a mystery to us. You could always rely on Tajudeen to draw our
attention to the most significant aspects of the latest political
event in Africa – just as you could rely on him to provide guidance
and encouragement during hard times, restoring in us the courage for
the longer struggles ahead for emancipation of the continent.

Tajudeen’s departure leaves a massive hole in all our lives. We all
need to grieve the loss of this giant of a man. But if his life is to
mean anything, we must follow his call in the signature line of his
every email – ‘Don’t agonise, Organise!’

As part of our tribute to Tajudeen, comrade, brother and fighter of
Pan-Africanism, Pambazuka News invites you to send messages of
condolence and tributes, please send these to edi@pambazuka.org or
comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/56535

******
Also see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8067260.stm

African Liberation Day 09: UP AND RUNNING

A few folks, discussing an African Liberation Day in Pittsburgh for the 23rd, raised the point that the time for elevating Reparations seems to be ripe, particularly with the government giving away billions, if not trillions to the finance sector. One brother said the giveaway plan for the banks will eventually total $13 trillion. In a country of 300 million, that comes out to more than  $400k per individual. If there are like 40 million Africans, then that equals over $3 million each. 

 

Fat chance that will happen. It goes to sho, tho, that the money is there for black people to get what our ancestors have earned. What Reparations means in terms of the black community relates to social justice, starting a new chapter in US social relations, building clout for our people nationally and internationally, plus transforming the conditions inside our community which have been defined by our oppressed ties to white political power.

 

Talk about getting back up and running, for us, Reparations is the ticket.

 

The problems surrounding this have their basis in the money system. We have to be sure of that. For instance, while inflation will not eat away at the monies concentrated in the banking system, the banks control how inflation will effect liquidity as it is diluted within the broad masses of people. They cannot permit folks to reap maximum benefits from the capitalist system. That defeats the concept and role of capitalism, which is to concentrate wealth and not to dilute it.

 

Furthermore, the resentment which such a plan will inspire amongst the reactionary white working class seems problematic. However, this is the same class which seems to think it is a capitalist class. It is wed to the degenerate illogic of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other spin doctors who hope to undermine an already weak economic system with one that approximates a fascist dictatorship.

 

In such a scenario, white workers will only find themselves boxed in as they became in Portugal, Spain and South Africa. That is a losing proposition for a class which has no fighting spirit and a reactionary grip on reality.

 

Frantz Fanon discussed how the colonized working class expresses its rage thru horizontal violence before the struggle against the oppressor begins in earnest. That is where we are today in the African community. Not only in the US but around the world. The African working class has to understand its own interests.

 

Now while convincing people to take up arms against Imperialism is not something to be discussed on a blog, the idea of channeling black rage into constructive and creative expressions demands a place in our dialog. Because black rage is anti-colonial, black rage is anti-imperialist. It opposes neo-colonialism even if it assumes a distinct form of apparent collaboration with the Imperialist system itself. It is subconscious rage, without applied intellect, yet a response to the repressed conditions of in our community.

 

African Liberation Day this year will present the African liberation movements in a way which Little Haiti has never before seen. Last year the historical trend set in motion by giants like Nkrumah, Dedan Kimathi, Amilcar Cabral and others, was repudiated and scandalized. This year, it will be redeemed, and all its components elevated to their proper status. PAMBERI NE CHIMURENGA: Forward the Black Revolution!

Neo-Colonialism in the Racist US Police State

In this period of Obama-ite neo-colonialism, our colonial experience as Africans reminds us that we have previously traveled this road. To qualify this as a colonial experience clarifies the fact that African history does not begin with slavery or any relationship with Europeans. Therefore, any statements or feelings that the presidency of Barack Obama is in any way history-making or even “the end of racism” grossly misrepresents reality. It smears our role as a people in the vast interwoven social fabric that produces history thru COLLECTIVE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERACTION.

So some racist ideologues continue to say that “your own people sold you into slavery”, and if it weren’t for slavery we could not enjoy freedom, etc. These views, all too often backed up by negro preachers and politicians at some level or another, derive directly from colonialist self-justification rather than any message that will liberate our people from the bondage of colonialism and Imperialism.

True, the seeds of ne(gr)o-colonialism took root when the first slatees received handfuls of beads in exchange for capturing their fellow Africans and selling them to white slavers. Hence, the guilt of neo-colonialism – beyond being an emotional game but embedded in a criminal activity – requires that the crooks engaged in this enterprise maintain their grip on the minds of a people sold out and eviscerated. In hand with slavery, neo-colonialism justifies Imperialism and obstructs our community from elevating critical issues like reparations, prisons, the war-of-drugs, health-care, and so forth.

It must be said that Obama is a neo-colonialist who speaks very differently from any prior US president. Obama seems to support the unions; he points out how Cuba’s relates to Latin America by sending physicians, while the US has historically sent weapons. If Obama wants to place a human face upon Imperialism, that will fail in the long run. He cannot dismiss any of the deep-seated hostility of a racist system, which presses down upon our community.

Thru out our colonial experience, those wielding power whose faces remain indistinguishable from ours have typically remained unable or unwilling to diminish the State monopoly on violence. Obama has yet to discuss critical issues relating to the State’s conduct in its operations, policies, and undue weight of forces on the black community. The apparent diluting effect of Obama-ite neo-colonialism, on the concentrated class question better known as racism, so far has failed to dilute anti-black police State repression.

For this reason, Africans must recognize the realities of Imperialism. The State continues to display naked aggression against the black community. Arizona’s Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio recently expressed his admiration of the Ku Klux Klan in a broadcast interview. This same official imposes the worst work camp conditions on detainees, and recently fired NBA law and order slatee Shaquille O’Neal.

Former US congressman turned Oakland mayor, Ron Dellums attempted to intervene in a demonstration protesting the recent police murder of Oscar Grant. Officers involved in the execution of Grant, a New Year’s Day reveler, in full view of scores of people on a BART platform, had remained at large. The State dragged its feet, despite more than ample footage captured by camera phone users, plus eyewitness accounts. For some reason, Dellums obviously believed that protests were uncalled for and people should never take to the street. Well, the demo turned int a rebellion when the mayor disappeared and the pigs moved in to arrest San Francisco Bay View activist/reporter JR Valrey.

Following that day’s uprising, the State finally arrested the trigger man, tho his two accomplices – who accessorized the crime by confiscating camera phones – have not been charged. Meanwhile, Valrey continues to fight charges for participating in a demonstration.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, another journalist, has spent 26 years on Pennsylvania’s death row for a wrongful murder conviction. He steadfastly continues to write about the plight of poor and disorganized working people. The State refuses to not only recognize his innocence, it refuses to review exculpatory testimony from witnesses, and ignores established legal precedents where Mumia’s rights have been violated.

One of two orgiastic statues on the Pennsylvania State Assembly

One of two orgiastic statues on the Pennsylvania State Assembly

Indeed, across Pennsylvania more political prisoners waste away in prison than in any other state. Maroon Shoatz has been on 23-hour lockdown since 1991. The MOVE Eight cannot receive a fair and lenient parole hearing for a crime that they did not commit.

A group of human rights activists traveled to Harrisburg on April 22 to discuss with state lawmakers the conditions that prisoners face inside the state prison system. These people complained of sons, friends and contacts who were on 23 hour lockdown, had urine and other contaminants in their food, denied medical attention, and subjected to other horrendous problems. Some of the lawmakers or their aides seemed concerned, while a few appeared nonplussed. In any event, the struggle for prisoner rights will not stop there, let alone the struggle for those wrongly convicted to serve as fodder for the Imperialist system.

These are the conditions which real freedom fighters face, and our community must not wait for anybody else to speak for these oppressed sisters and brothers. Four percent of the world population, the US accounts for 25% of all prisoners worldwide. Of that number, fully two-thirds are colonized workers, being Latino and African. Together, these two groups make up one-fourth of the US population. FBI crime states have consistently stated that crimes are committed fairly evenly across populations, meaning that white commit the same crimes at the same rate as anybody else, which means that white prisoners should out-number blacks or Latinos by eight-to-one. But they do not because law enforcement and the prison system are based upon colonialism and racism.

While any number of somebodies still need to justify the State by pleading for balance when conditions demand mass uprisings, that blind lady with the sword and scales comes from mythology. Our mistress for justice is Mama Assata Shakur, living in exile in revolutionary Cuba with a $1 million bounty on her head by this same injustice system.

Cuba, the embargoed country which sends doctors to Latin America while America sends guns. Cuba, a land where people took up arms and joined the fight against apartheid South Africa ten thousand miles away, while America deepens African oppression. Negroes want to become doctors and politicians not to help their own people but to help capitalism. Yet African people need revolutionary physicians, revolutionary politicians and journalists, and revolutionary thinkers and doers who will help liberate our people. We must not believe in neo-colonialism no matter how well it works; we must pick up on revolution.

Happy Birthday Greetings to MAJ from Subcommandante Marcos

via:  Greg Ruggiero

==============

Hi All–

I thought you would like this birthday letter written to Mumia ten years ago by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos spokesperson for the clandestine Mexican insurgent group, the Zapatistas. The original letter was written in Spanish. Both the English and Spanish versions were first published here in the books “Our Word is Our Weapon, Selected Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos” and “Nuestra Arma es Nuestra Palabra.”

La lucha sigue!

va un abrazo desde Brooklyn,

Greg


Greg Ruggiero | Editor | City Lights Books | www.citylights.com

===========

Letter To Mumia Abu-Jamal

April 24, 1999

For: Mumia Abu-Jamal, American Union

From: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Mexico


Mr. Mumia:

I am writing to you in the name of the men, women, children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in order to congratulate you on April 24, your birthday.

Perhaps you have heard of us. We are Mexican, mostly indigenous, and we took up arms on January 1, 1994 demanding a voice, a face and a name for the forgotten of the earth.

Since then, the Mexican government has made war on us, pursues and harasses us seeking our death, our disappearance and our absolute silence. The reason? These lands are rich with oil, uranium and precious lumber. The government wants them for the great transnational companies. We want them for all Mexicans. The government sees our lands as a business. We see our history written in these lands. In order to defend our right (and that of all Mexicans) to live with liberty, democracy, justice and dignity we became an army and took on a name, a voice and face.

Perhaps you wonder how we know of you, about your birthday, and why it is that we extend this long bridge which goes from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast to the prison of Pennsylvania where you are incarcerated unjustly. Many good people from many parts of the world have spoken of you, through them we have learned how you were ambushed by the North American police in December of 1981, of the lies which they constructed in the procedures against you, and of your death sentence in 1982. We learned about your birthday through the international mobilizations which, under the name of “Millions for Mumia,” are being prepared this April 24.

It is harder to explain this bridge which this letter extends, it is more complicated. I could tell you that, for the powerful of Mexico and the government, to be indigenous, or to look indigenous, is reason for disdain, abhorrence, distrust and hatred. The racism which now floods the palaces of power in Mexico goes to the extreme of carrying out a war of extermination and genocide against millions of indigenous. I am sure that you will find similarities with what power in the United States does with the so-called “people of color” (African-American, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Asians, North American Indians and any other peoples who do not have the insipid color of money).

We are also “people of color” (the same color as our brothers who have Mexican blood and live and struggle in the American Union). Our color is “brown,” the color of the earth, the color from which we take our history, our strength, our wisdom and our hope. But in order to struggle we add the color black to our brown. We use black ski-masks to show our faces, only then can we be seen and heard. Following the advice of an indigenous Mayan elder, who explained to us the meaning of the color black, we chose this color.

Old Don Antonio, this wise elder, died in these rebel Zapatista lands in March of 1994, a victim of tuberculosis which gnawed away at his lungs and his breath. Old Don Antonio used to tell us that from black came light and from there came the stars which light up the sky around the world. He recounted a story of a long time ago (in the times when time was not measured), when the first gods were given the task of giving birth to the world. In one of their meetings they understood that the world needed to have life and movement, and to have life and movement, light was necessary. Then they thought of making the sun in order that the days move and so that there would be day and night and time for struggling and time for making love, and the world would go walking with the days and nights. The gods had their meeting and made this agreement in front of a large fire, and they knew it was necessary that one of them be sacrificed by throwing himself into the fire and himself become fire and fly into the sky. The gods thought that the sun’s work was the most important, so they chose the most beautiful god so that he would fly into the fire and become the sun. But he was afraid. Then the smallest god, the one who was black, said he was not afraid and he threw himself into the fire and became the sun. Then the world had light and movement, and there was time for struggle and time for love, and while it was day the bodies worked to make the world and while it was night the bodies made love and sparkles filled the darkness.

This is what Old Don Antonio told us and that is why we use black ski masks. So we are of the color brown and of the color black. But we are also the color yellow, because the first people who walked these lands were made of corn so they would be true. And we are also red because this is the call of blood which has dignity, and we are also blue because we are the sky in which we fly, and green for the mountain which is our house and our strength. And we are white because we are paper so that tomorrow can write its story.

So we are 7 colors because there were 7 first gods who birthed the world.

This is what Old Don Antonio said long ago and now I tell you this story so that you may understand the reason for this bridge of paper and ink which I send to you all the way from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

And also so that you may understand that with this bridge go greetings and embraces for Leonard Peltier (who is in the prison at Leavenworth, Kansas), and for the more than 100 political prisoners in the USA who are the victims of injustice, stupidity and authoritarianism.

And with this letter-bridge walks as well a greeting for the Dine (the Navajo), who fight in Big Mountain, Arizona against the violations of their traditional Dine religious practices.” They struggle against those who favor large businesses instead of respect for the religious freedom of Indian peoples, against those who want to destroy sacred grounds and ceremonial sites (as is the case of Peabody Western Coal Company which, without reason, wants to take the lands and the land rights, and the history which belong to the Dine and their future generations.)

But this letter-bridge has more than just stories of resistance against North American injustice. In the extreme south of our continent, in Chile, the indigenous Mapuche women in the Pewenche Center of Alto Bio-Bio confront stupidity. Bertha and Nicolasa Quintreman are accused of “mistreating” members of the armed forces of the Chilean government. There you have it.  An armed military unit with rifles, sticks, and tear-gas, protected by bulletproof vests, helmets and shields, accuse two indigenous women of “mistreatment.” But Bertha is 74 years old and Nicolasa is 60. How is it possible that two elderly people confronted a “heroic” group of heavily-armed military? Because they are Mapuche. The story is the same as that of the Dine brothers and sisters of Arizona—it repeats itself throughout the Americas. A company—ENDESA—wants the Mapuches’ land, and in spite of the law which protects the indigenous, the government is on the side of the companies. The Mapuche students have pointed out that the government and the company with the military intelligence made a “study” of the Mapuche communities and concluded that the Mapuche could not think, defend themselves, resist, or build a better future for themselves. Apparently, the study was wrong.

Now it occurs to me that, perhaps the powerful in North America carried out a similar “military intelligence” study (frankly, this is a contradiction, because those of us who are military are not intelligent, if we were we would not be military) about the case of the Dine in Arizona, about Leonard Peltier, about other political prisoners, about yourself, Mr. Mumia.

Perhaps they made this study and came to the conclusion that they might be able to violate justice and reason, to assault history and lose the truth, and that no one would say anything. The Dine Indians would stand by and watch the destruction of the most sacred of their history, Leonard Peltier would be alone, and you, Mister Mumia, would be silenced. ( I remember your own words: “They not only want my death, they want my silence.”)

But the studies were wrong. Happy mistake? The Dine resist against those who would kill their memory, Leonard Peltier is accompanied by all those who demand his liberty, and you sir, today you speak and shout with all the voices which celebrate your birthday as all birthdays should be celebrated, by struggling.

Mr. Mumia:

We have nothing big to give you as a gift for your birthday. It is poor and little, but all of us send you an abrazo—an embrace.

We hope that when you gain your freedom you will come to visit us. Then we will give you a birthday party, even if it isn’t April 24, it will be an unbirthday party. There will be music, dance and talk, which are the means by which men and women of all colors understand and know one another, and build bridges over which they walk together, towards history, towards tomorrow.

Happy Birthday!

Vale. We greet you and may justice and truth find their place.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, April of 1999

P.S. I read somewhere that you are a father and a grandfather. So I am sending you a gift for your children and grandchildren. It is a little wooden car with Zapatistas dressed in black ski-masks.

Tell your children and grandchildren that it is a gift the Zapatistas have sent you. You can explain to them that there are people of all colors everywhere, just like you, who want justice, liberty and democracy for people of all colors.

Letter To the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, USA

April of 1999

For: Mr. Tom Ridge

Governor of Pennsylvania

United States, North America

From : Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico


To the Magistrate and Governor

Dear sirs:

I write to you in the name of the men, women, children and elderly of the EZLN. Most of us are indigenous Mexicans and we struggle for liberty, democracy and justice.

The purpose of the following letter is to demand justice in the case of Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal, condemned unjustly to the death penalty in 1982. As you know, the judicial process against Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal was plagued with lies and irregularities: the police who accuse him lied about a supposed confession of his, one of the witnesses has changed testimony and declared that he was forced to lie or face prison, the ballistic evidence has proved it was impossible that Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal fired the weapon which killed the policeman. This should be enough evidence for a new trial, but even this recourse has been denied to Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal. If the Judicial system of Pennsylvania and the governor are certain of the guilt of Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal, they should not fear a new trial which adheres to the truth.

I do not ask clemency, pardon, nor mercy from you for Mister Mumia Abu-Jamal. I demand justice, something which I believe is within your powers. No one within the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or governor Tom Ridge has anything to lose. A new trial can bring the truth forward, and justice, supposedly, is all that should matter.

That is all. From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos




Check Langalibalele’s Political Journals I & II:
Mbantunyankompong
Kilombo Republic

Kilombo Republic II

Find Langalibalele’s Work also at these Sites:
Whispering Art
Urbanite Dweller
Umshini Wam
Afro Spear
My Train of Thoughts
Assata Shakur Forums


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WELL PAST TIME TO RAISE UP:
Stop the Police State Execution of
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!!!