He Is, by Rachel Danielle Hubbard

This poem by Rachel Danielle Hubbard is written about a guy in her class. I found it powerful because it talks about the awkward ways human beings try to bargain for respect & acceptance–which we all want. This poem is about the way that doesn’t work.

He Is

He is the only Black boy in the classes
He is lonely
He is desperate
That’s why he hangs out with them
That’s why he laughs with them
Maybe it’s because he finds the racism funny
Maybe it’s because he’s pressured by his inner demons
To laugh with them but to not notice that there laughing
at him is somehow a crime that he has committed
They mock him but he thinks they’re laughing with him. I
try to make people laugh but never in a way that makes
me look stupid to make them laugh Black or White.
It’s not like the black people here in our grade offers a lot
gives a lot they don’t.
They are mean, rude, obnoxious, raunchy.
But they don’t say you look like an Elephant , Mouse, or
even a Rat.
They don’t quite rap songs and you dance to it to be
This poem goes to everyone not just him but girls too.
Who twerk in class only to laugh and de-humanize you.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it because they think
it any way.
But you shouldn’t do it because they laugh and de-
humanize you when you do it.
It doesn’t matter but still it kinda does .
Because you are Black …and he is Black.

Euphemisms are the language of ethnic cleansing

Boy in Gaza ( Mohammad Abed:AFP:Getty Images) May 9th 2015

We cannot ignore the idiotic dishonesty of the Guardian-UK caption that describes the rubble in the background as this boy’s house in Gaza City destroyed “during the 50-day war between Israel & Hamas-led militants in the summer of 2014.” Euphemisms & lies are the language of ethnic cleansing.

But we can still savor the moment of a blue sky & a lovely day with this small boy. Life is still to be lived. And the economic & cultural boycott of Israel is still to be built.

(Photo by Mohammad Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Which class is behind xenophobic violence in South Africa?

South African immigrant (Kevin Sutherland:EPA) May 9 2015

Media reports about xenophobic violence in Durban & Johannesburg, South Africa suggest the violence comes from unemployed South African youth against immigrants: the South African version of the racist & lazy-assed notion of “Black on Black violence” that passes for analysis in the US.

Several South African analysts have investigated what is going on with mob assaults on immigrants & it’s nothing so simple-minded or apparently obvious as conflict among the poorest of the poor–that is, competition for scarce housing & social services. Xenophobic violence has gone on for years & many poor working people give sanctuary to immigrants during the assaults.

Nor is it–as the South African government conveniently claims–the criminal element going on a rampage. According to South African political analysts, the class forces behind the violence are business owners, in competition with immigrant businesses, who are egging on especially disgruntled youth to scapegoat “foreigners”–in particular shop owners. Media reports much of the violence is against small shops & convenience stores run by immigrants.

Even though the economic pressures on small South African businesses are attributed to competition from immigrant businesses, in fact it is because of the broader economic crisis of the South African regime, not just integrated into but a key player in the neoliberal system in Africa. The neoliberal relationship with other African countries, dispossessing millions of people, is the reason for the massive immigration in the first place. The regime cannot fulfill the promises of the post-apartheid era because it will not repudiate the neoliberal economics of the white supremacist regime–creating massive suffering in other African countries & within South Africa.

The social movements in South Africa responded immediately to the violence, including school children & long-time activists, carrying placards saying “Africa Unite” & “Say No To Xenophobia.” In Durban, protests were organized by Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack-dwellers’ movement (that is, the poorest of the poor & the political leadership against neoliberal domestic policies). Police used tear gas & a water cannon to stop the Durban march claiming it did not have the required permit. Mazwi Nzimande, an organizer from Abahlali, said they had obtained the permits but then were told they couldn’t proceed because marshals were not wearing vests. When the vests arrived they were still prevented from marching & police eventually intervened with rubber bullets. So police are firing rubber bullets to stop the mob violence & against peaceful protesters trying to stop it peacefully.

In fact, South Africa’s immigration policies are as barbaric as those of the US & European Union. Thousands are incarcerated, thousands are deported, including unaccompanied children & those seeking asylum from war. The xenophobic violence is laid directly on the regime’s economic & political policies–not disgruntled youth nor criminal thugs.

In this photo from May 8th, South African police in a joint operation with the South African military raided buildings in Johannesburg & rounded up 400 undocumented immigrants for deportation. The man police are assaulting is an immigrant.

Our fullest solidarity with the African immigrants in South Africa & with those protesting xenophobic violence.

(Photo by Kevin Sutherland/EPA)

Mubarak free: another dictator eludes justice

Mubarak (Reuters) May 9 2015

Media often can’t get the story straight even when they’re not lying. Last week they reported an appeals court was adjudicating charges against Hosni Mubarak for murdering protesters in the 2011 Egyptian uprising that overthrew him. Today we read the appeals court was deciding on corruption charges against Mubarak & his two equally corrupt sons. A guy like that is so corrupt he’s got charges coming at him from all directions.

The court of appointees from the Mubarak era probably stands as the epitome of a kangaroo court. So Mubarak & his two sons were sentenced to three years for embezzlement. The wonder is they got anything but it remains unclear if that will include time already served. The charges concerned millions of dollars of state funds Mubarak & his sons stole over years for renovating the family estates.

In the sarcasms of justice under military dictatorship, the hearing was held in the same courtroom that last month sentenced Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison for “inciting deadly violence” but in fact for not being as effective in imposing tyranny as outright military rule.

Mubarak & his sons were in the caged dock spiffed out in suits & sunglasses. Isn’t that the uniform de rigueur of dictators everywhere? Media reports their supporters waved & blew kisses at them. More likely the Mubarak family took some of the millions they stole to hire professional grovelers.

(Photo of Mr. Cool in the docket by Reuters)