White supremacist David Duke endorses Trump

It should be duly noted that white supremacist David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has endorsed racist xenophobe Donald Trump for president. That should deter Palestinian supporters from posting his videos about Israel & claiming he’s a changed man who regrets the vile social hatred of his youth. He remains a white supremacist & an anti-Semite & shouldn’t be touched with a ten-foot pole.

Israel’s racist policies toward African refugees

African refugee released from Helot (Mehahem Kahana:AFP:Getty Images) August 25 2015

When you live under a colonial & apartheid regime like Israel, sarcasm becomes state policy & you wish Jonathan Swift was here to politically eviscerate it. In 1954, just a few years after Israel set itself up as a Jewish-only state, it enacted the Prevention of Infiltration Act to legitimize deporting & denying entry to Palestinian refugees (now called “infiltrators”) trying to return to their homes. In 2013, the Knesset amended the law to include African refugees seeking asylum from war & plunder–much of which Israel was directly involved in (like in Sudan). The mandate of a Jewish-only state necessarily preempts international law & the highest achievements of human civilization requiring sanctuary for refugees from war. But why should the immigration policies of an apartheid state be any different from the neoliberal barbarism of the European Union & US?

There are an estimated 50,000 African refugees now in Israel–primarily living in Tel Aviv & Eilat where they find work in the hospitality industry. Ironically, Tel Aviv is the venue for many, if not most, concert performances targeted by the cultural boycott of Israel (BDS). That partially explains why Israel values Black performers like Pharrell Williams ignoring the boycott & pays them big bucks to do so–because they hope it provides cover for their racist treatment of African refugees.

For the past few years, Israel has employed several deterrent tacks against the refugees: politicians (including the new UN Israeli ambassador Danny Danon) have incited violence against them; they’ve increased enforcement against those employing them; their ability to send money back to their home countries is restricted; many, including children, were given a chump change stipend & a one-way ticket either to their home or to a third country; & several thousand were incarcerated either at the Holot or Saharonim prisons.

This month the Israeli High Court rejected a petition by Israeli human rights groups against the provisions in the Infiltration Act allowing incarceration of refugees. The court ruled them constitutional but tipping its hat to some measure of human rights–one which Israel denies to Palestinian political prisoners who are indefinitely detained–the court ruled that the length of imprisonment must be limited to 12 months.

That means 1,200 African refugees in Holot & Saharonim prisons must be released this week. The High Court didn’t want to get carried away with human rights for refugees so it banned them from working & living in Tel Aviv & Eilat. There were no details offered by Israel on what punishment would be meted out for violating that restriction. Likely it would be summary deportation without due process or another 12 months in jail.

Meanwhile, Israel has recruiters out across the globe looking for Jews to move to Israel & take over Palestinian lands. And of course, the EU & US support this because Israel is an anchor state for maintaining neoliberal control of the Middle East.

Photo is an African refugee just released from Holot waiting with his belongings trying to figure out where the hell to go when he is unable to return to Tel Aviv or Eilat.

Support African refugees in the Israeli gulag by building the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel. Immigration is a human right. Open the borders.

(Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

45th anniversary of historic women’s liberation march

Women's strike for equality 1970

The Women’s Strike for Equality on August 26, 1970 in NYC was the first protest of the women’s liberation movement, now called the second wave of feminism. It was called on the day which marked the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Bill of Rights giving women the right to vote. The demands of the march were: Equal pay for equal work; Free 24-hour childcare; & Free abortion on demand, No forced sterilization. There had been many abortion actions for a few years but this was the first protest that proclaimed all of our demands.

There have been for a long while serious attacks on the women’s movement. Some belittle the movement because they have not sufficiently studied the history & have relied on media misrepresentations. From the very first emergence of feminism, media lied, distorted, vilified feminists. Some of the media lies & distortions include that the movement was white, middle-class, racist, “sex-negative,” homophobic, exclusionary, & pro-war. When the movement first began, media portrayed it as lesbians, man-haters, & spinsters too ugly to get a man.

Others deride the movement to support their opposition to identity politics–that is, because they resent when the oppressed stand up with independent power against their oppressor. Political power that is not controlled or shamed terrifies many people. A political analog is the vilification of Black Lives Matter.

Many just want to destroy feminism, however they can do that, because their hatred of women & women’s political & social power intimidates them. Now the feminist pioneers are belittled as TERFs & SWERFs & blue-nosed lily-white haters. That’s misogyny & ignorance talking–not the historic record. And what’s most offensive about it is that it completely eliminates Black, Latina, & lesbian women from the history of feminism–of which they were a central part.

For anyone who was part of that movement from the late 1960s to its decline in the mid-1970s, it was a glorious experience of women learning from each other about our oppression, of overcoming the competitive we were indoctrinated with toward each other, of standing together in a political anthem of defiance.

In 1970 I moved from Minneapolis to NYC to become part of the women’s movement & was publicity coordinator on the August 26th march. We were arrested twice, once while wallpapering the Playboy club with posters advertising the march.

These are two brief recordings of an interview done with me during an organizing meeting. It was a proud moment in my political life & I’m reposting on the 45th anniversary of that march which set off the women’s liberation movement.


Photo is front line of march.

Venezuela uses martial law against Colombian immigrants & refugees

Colombians fleeing Venezuela (Eliecer Mantilla:AP) August 26 2015

There’s the official version of the Maduro regime in Venezuela for why it’s forcibly deporting & driving out thousands of Colombian immigrants on its western border with Colombia. Then there’s the real reasons.

We don’t have to take the word of the Colombians–here wading through a border river carrying mattresses, furniture, livestock, & children–who claim they were forced out of makeshift dwellings by soldiers & were afraid of what might happen if they stayed. It’s sufficient to condemn the Maduro government for this crackdown by looking at the methods it’s employing: martial law & the suspension of all civil liberties; the deployment of 17,000 soldiers; door-to-door house searches; mass arrest of thousands; & the suspension of due process for those who claim they fled Colombia for Venezuela to escape paramilitary violence.

According to the Maduro regime, the purpose of martial law & mass deportations is to stop Colombian residents along the border from trafficking goods subsidized by Venezuela–like baby formula, rice, & gasoline–to Colombia where they are sold at jacked-up prices for a profit. Are we expected to believe this is all about profiteering from baby formula!?

Sounding like no one quite so much as Donald Trump, president Maduro said on TV: “Who comes over from Colombia? It’s people practically without education. I’m not offending Colombia, I’m just telling a truth…from Colombia, all of the poverty & misery is coming over with a people who are escaping for economic needs & fleeing war.” If international law was worth a damn thing in enforcement, our man just hung himself & does not distinguish himself from Frontex & European Union barbarism.

According to Maduro, who appealed for international aid, over 120,000 Colombians have poured into Venezuela this year. So in the meanwhile he’s employing martial law!? The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) isn’t usually much help in these situations but their representative in Colombia did say (last March) that the Maduro regime has the right to “take measures against persons in irregular migratory situations” but “due process has to be offered, with the opportunity to appeal.” He added, that if you say ‘I left Colombia running for my life, because they threatened me’, the Venezuelan government has to stop [the deportation] immediately.” Collective deportations are outlawed by international treaties.

Maduro was elected as a socialist candidate. Kind of in the same way as French president François Hollande who forcibly evicts & deports Roma & assaults refugees on the French-Italian border & at Calais. What’s wrong with that picture!? If you can’t distinguish immigration policy of socialist regimes from neoliberal barbarism, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. And rationalizations don’t cut it.

Immigration is a human right. Open the border.

(Photo by Eliecer Mantilla/AP)

Jeb Bush puts foot up his own ass

Jeb Bush was campaigning here on the US-Mexico yesterday–probably to undo the damage of his “anchor baby” comment. The offensive term, used by the right-wing, refers to children of undocumented immigrants & suggests they have kids only to get them citizenship.

Showing that he’s as big a dope as his father & brother, he tried to save his ass by saying he used the term specifically for fraud, for “birth tourism” where pregnant women travel to the US to get citizenship for their unborn children. “Frankly,” he said, “it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized effort taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright citizenship.” So now it’s the Asian’s fault?

As an “anchor baby” myself, let me just say, heaven help America!

Media lies of commission in reporting on Palestinians

Susya, West Bank (Hazem Bader:AFP:Getty Images) August 24 2015

In media it could be said that brevity is the mother of deception. The Guardian-UK caption to this photo read, “Susya, West Bank: Palestinian girls head to school on the first day of the new year.” It’s a truly charming photo & of course media can’t give an entire history every time they post a photo. But since Susya is in the process of being dismantled by the Israeli military & all of the families imminently evicted, it seems like another sentence might be warranted.

Even a brief sentence should have mentioned that the Palestinian village of Susiya has been there a long time–long enough to have built a school for their kids. But the school these girls are returning to is run by UNRWA, the UN refugee agency for Palestinians. UNRWA announced just last week they were out of money & school for 703,000 Palestinian in refugee camps in five countries might not open. A last minute contribution saved the day. Something is so wrong with that picture.

So why are these little girls in a UN school? Are the residents of Susiya too poor to build one?

Israel has been trying since 1986 to evict the entire population of Susiya. They demolished the local mosque to excavate a Jewish synagogue dating back to the sixth century & turned the area into an archaeological & tourist site. They built an Israeli settlement & renamed the place Susya as part of their fraudulent claim to the village.

Since 1986, the people of Susiya have been evicted three times under orders of the Israeli Supreme Court. Their solid-frame homes were taken out by bulldozers & they are forced to live on their farmlands in makeshift dwellings like those in this photo. Israel is trying to drive them out of the area so it can link the archaeological & tourist site to the settlement.

You can’t tell that whole story in one caption but you can do better than make this look like a simple back-to-school story in the West Bank.

Build the economic, cultural, & economic boycott of Israel. Demand an end to military aid to Israel. And like & share this page as part of the campaign to support the people of Susiya against dispossession by Israeli settlers:https://www.facebook.com/StandWithSusiya?fref=ts

(Photo by Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)

What exactly is Frontex doing against African refugees?

African refugee  (AP Photo:Carmelo Imbesi) August 24 2015

In April, the European Union & its immigration thug squad named Frontex, launched a military operation named Operation Triton against African refugees crossing from Libya to Italy. It was announced that 26 nations sent warships into the Mediterranean to patrol (ostensibly) against “human traffickers.” Triton is a military operation; it does not have a search & rescue mandate. Frigates & destroyers are not suited for rescuing people from dinghies in the open sea & reportedly only Britain deployed an amphibious ship that could serve for rescue.

The classified plan approved by EU member states was released by WikiLeaks in May. Triton was to be deployed against refugee transport networks & infrastructure, including the destruction of docked boats, interdiction & confiscation of en route boats, & operations within Libyan territory.

The UN mandate for Triton requested by the EU was tabled because association with such an open-ended military operation was getting hairy for the UN. Any military operation against a small number of boat owners & traffickers would really be directed against the refugees–to stop their movement, including just getting on the boats, which would likely entail death & injury to many.

The scope of the maritime mandate was also undefined–signifying not uncertainty about what Frontex intended to do in the open seas but that it wasn’t sure what it could get away with without condemnation. After all, you can’t just torpedo dinghies with children, elderly, infirm, & pregnant women on board in the middle of a sea.

After five months of Triton, there is almost no word on what 26 European navies are doing in the Mediterranean with their warships. What we are seeing reported is images like this one–of rescue workers, usually from the same Irish navy vessel, holding infants & small children rescued from mid-sea. We were told yesterday the Italian coast guard claims it coordinated the rescue of 4,400 refugees in a single day.

Has Triton changed its mission from military to search & rescue? Or are we being played here? Are we being fed a bill of goods about what is really going on? Because as we know from the Greek-Macedonia border, Frontex has no intention of allowing sanctuary to tens of thousands of refugees & immigrants.

Immigration is a human right. Open the borders.

(Photo by Carmelo Imbesi/AP)

The emotional trauma of refugees & immigrants

Syrian refugee & granddaughter in Jordan  (AP Photo:Muhammed Muheisen) August 24 2015

Perhaps in the massive movements of refugees & immigrants around the world we can overlook the overwhelming emotions caused by dislocation & uncertainty, by the immense losses involved. Humans just aren’t suited well for war. We’re not suited well for suffering.

Four-year-old Syrian refugee Amal held by her grandmother Halima Ali allows us for a moment to glimpse the unbearable they endure. They’re in a tented refugee camp near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan where there are already long-established Palestinian refugee camps from the 1948 & 1967 expulsions from Palestine.

Our fullest solidarity with refugees & immigrants all over the world.

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Flooding & neoliberal plunder

Boy & sheep in flood in India (EPA:STR) August 24 2015

If you know something about sheep & shepherding are you less impressed with this boy transporting sheep on a banana raft? Because to a landlubber, it looks positively Olympian.

They’re in Assam state, India where heavy rains triggered flash floods submerging 1,000 villages in water & affecting nearly 300,000 people.

Massive flooding is going on all over the world on every continent & is a neon red alert for climate change. But when neoliberal capitalists have to choose between massive profits from plunder & human survival, they just can’t help themselves: greed is what gets their adrenalin pumping. We need to save them from themselves, save ourselves from their greed, & make this world suitable for people to live & love in.

(Photo from EPA/STR)