Mubarak acquitted

Mubarak returns (R.N.N I FB page) Nov 29 2014

Mubarak has been acquitted in an Egyptian court. Golly is that a surprise. About as surprising as the acquittal of Guatemalan butcher José Efraín Ríos Montt in 2013. About as surprising as the grand jury verdict on the killer cop in Ferguson. After all, Pinochet never faced justice. Nor did Omar Suleiman. And neither has Kissinger. Some of the most loathsome creatures to ever walk the planet.

One media headline says, “Mubarak’s Acquittal Signals Complete Triumph of Military Over Arab Spring.” It is indeed a mighty setback to the Egyptian uprising against tyranny & may demoralize activists for a while because they fought so hard only to return to square one. It doesn’t help that so many political nut cases denounce the entire uprising as CIA-orchestrated street theater–“the Arab sting.”

Many will draw fatalistic conclusions & consider it pointless to stand against tyranny. Those many need to draw heart from Palestinians who for the first time in 66 years of struggle no longer stand alone. The most important lesson to be drawn from the setback in Egypt (the forces of social transformation do not accept the notion of long-term defeat) is the need for international solidarity. The outcome in all of the Arab uprisings would have been completely different if US working people had been up off their knees.

The solidarity now forged between Ferguson & Palestine is a development of the greatest consequence not just for Black power in the US & Palestinian self-determination but for the future of Arab resistance to US-backed tyranny & for all of the oppressed around the world. The bonds of solidarity are the only force able to counter tyranny.

Despite this setback, we stand with activists in Egypt & hope we can stand stronger when their movement again emerges to take down tyranny once & for all.

(Graphic is from FB wall of R.N.N.I)

Resolutions to recognize Palestine as a state are evasions of justice

Shujaiya district Gaza City (Mohammed Asad:ActiveStills) Nov 29 2014

Sweden recently became the 135th UN member to recognize Palestine as an independent state. Soon after, Britain, Ireland, Spain followed with non-binding parliamentary resolutions “urging” their regimes to recognize a Palestinian state. France & the European Union have upcoming votes on the issue & apparently there are rustlings in the Portuguese parliament. This purely symbolic empty gesture is not worthy of a “hosanna”. Is the empty gesture now the standard for Palestinian justice?

Israel occupies the West Bank & East Jerusalem & has Gaza in the economic, political, & military chokehold of an embargo. It continues to move thousands of armed settlers into the West Bank, assault & arrest Palestinians who resist, & denies reconstruction to Gaza, now with no electricity & facing winter & major flooding. What about this spells independent? What about this looks like anything other than a bantustate? What about this doesn’t scream ethnic cleansing & apartheid? And how the hell would foreign countries “recognizing” Palestine alter this situation?

It’s a scam, a stalling tactic, a way for countries to continue doing diddly-squat about Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians & look like heroes in the bargain. They have not lifted a finger to aid Palestinians or denounce Israel; many have military & other economic contracts with Israel. What about ending those contracts? What about demanding Israel stop moving settlers into the West Bank in violation of umpteen International Laws formulated by the UN? What about exposing the fraudulence of the Gaza reconstruction program? What about organizing massive international humanitarian relief to Gaza? Even some port-o-potties or pup tents? What about doing a damn thing other than the empty gesture?

Things are critical in Gaza & those who have the means should contribute to the relief organizations there. But the most effective solidarity is building the economic & cultural boycott of Israel, which could include fundraising for humanitarian aid. It also includes forums, speak-outs, rallies, education.

The struggle of Palestinians isn’t just a minor squabble that history will soon forget. It is one of the most important political struggles on planet Earth today involving all the essential questions of neoliberal plunder & colonialism. A defeat would reverberate around this globe to the disadvantage of the oppressed. A victory, which requires international solidarity, would herald the dawning of a new day for humanity. Because the most important thing Palestinians have taught humanity is to resist oppression & colonialism with relentless fury. As they have done for 66 years.

The only state worth fighting for is a democratic secular state where Palestinians & Jews can live in peace–which will require the dismantling of the Zionist state. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that a monstrosity bit the dust.

Our fullest solidarity with Palestinians.

(Photo of Shujaiya neighborhood in Gaza City targeted by Israeli bombers by Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

Black Friday videos and parodies of working people

People can’t get too excited about the mobs & scuffles in videos of Black Friday shoppers. It’s the same genre as “People of Walmart” videos. You just can’t read all sorts of existential things into them since it’s mostly working people not driven by the “consumerism” we’re always accused of but by a desire for a cheap deal. Just one example: toasters usually start at about $25 bucks. Today stores are selling them for $5. That’s quite a savings when you’re strapped for cash & some think it worth a tussle or two & a lot of elbowing.

It should also be added that on the day after Thanksgiving a good number of people come half in the wrapper. Booze never does bring out the best in people. A lot of the young just show up for the chaos like a ritual of passage. Let them have their fun.

You in Europe & elsewhere may think we’re nuts but there’s a rebuttal to that: think post-football riots.  From over here you don’t look so sane either.

North Korea’s got a point

Last week some UN committee voted to prod the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for indictment on crimes against humanity. Today North Korea gave a mighty riposte in response to the murder of Michael Brown & the grand jury verdict letting the killer walk by calling the US “a tundra of human rights.” Anybody want to argue with that?

The smoking gun in the Ferguson grand jury verdict

Who would imagine the US media would be a source of truth on the grand jury verdict allowing the killer cop to walk? Perhaps a section of the ruling elite has the perspicacity & survival instincts to recognize what a colossally stupid political mistake that was–generating outrage & resistance around this country & elsewhere. But reporter Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC reported the Assistant Prosecutor intentionally misled the grand jury by using a 1979 Missouri law declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court about the use of deadly force against a fleeing suspect.

It seems there must be some way to legally challenge the grand jury decision on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct. There should be some way to throw their sorry asses in jail. And there must be some way for us to exert pressure on the powers-that-be to force a reversal of this decision.

Does anyone have any ideas? Please listen to this brief description of the mockery of justice & think about what we might do:

The New York Times: “Should Immigrants Have Human Rights?”

So a couple days ago the New York Times had the headline “Should Immigrants Have Human Rights?” The article is behind a paywall so without a subscription you can’t access it but the question alone stands as a monument to neoliberal stupidity, insularity, & barbarism. What human rights do they think should be denied immigrants? Food? Healthcare? Housing? Education? Do they even consider those human rights? If you talk to most working people, our set of human rights does include them but if you talk to the powers-that-be, those rights are behind a paywall.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights formulated by the UN isn’t much use in clarifying those rights but it does talk about freedom from torture, enslavement, arbitrary incarceration, asylum, due process, religious freedom, & no arbitrary deprivation of property. When you read it, you realize almost every country on earth should be indicted on multiple counts. The US has a rap sheet so long it’ll take decades of special tribunals to address them all. The murder of Michael Brown & the denial of the Bill of Rights in Ferguson are only the latest instance of charges that also include Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Palestine, Mexico, Guatemala, & too many other places to mention–all in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Because if there is one thing at odds with human rights, it is neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism. The force of that system respects nothing & mows everything & everyone down before it that stand in the way of massive profiteering.

The NY Times cannot be accused of stupidity. Duplicity yes, but not stupidity. They know damn well immigrants are denied all human rights in this country–including safety protections, due process, asylum, arbitrary arrest & incarceration. Is the NY Times trying to get a popular mandate from it’s elite readership on continuing that policy?

The answer can only be “Of course immigrants should have human rights–every damn one of them–for no other reason than they are human.”

Honor Walmart Black Friday

There’s a few compelling reasons to participate tomorrow in Black Friday Walmart to support Walmart workers: full-time workers earn chump change, are forced to seek government assistance for health care, & are “food insecure” (the polite euphemism for starving hungry). They are also treated in such a demeaning way that my younger brother with a learning disability refused to even apply when he couldn’t find work elsewhere.

A second reason is their central involvement in the sweatshop economy & the flagrancy of their response to catastrophes like the fire at Tazreen Fashions & collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They have not altered safety standards nor provided compensation to those who lost beloved family members.

Putting the big squeeze on Walmart puts a chokehold on their super-exploitation of human beings in their retail stores & among their suppliers. It signals the beginning–& just the beginning–of the end of sweatshop labor.

If you can’t join the picket lines around the stores, for heaven’s sake consider yourself felonious if you enter the store to shop. There are some things that are just unpardonable.

Beware agents provocateurs! They’re in disguise as normal people.

Let me speculate a bit since I haven’t finished investigating what’s going on in Ferguson. When 90 people (including myself) were arrested at an animal rights protest in Minneapolis in 2001, US police were again using riot cops, tear gas, pepper spray against unarmed peaceful protesters. They had relaunched aggressive police methods at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle–methods which the Civil Rights Movement had defeated along with the antiwar movement.

Of the 90 people arrested, nearly half were released as undercover cops. Most activists opted out of trial but I’ll be damned if I would. One of the smug-faced, nasty-assed undercover cops came to testify against me & the two other defendants. Videos disproved her testimony & proved ours.

Before people get carried away about looting & burning in Ferguson, it might be wiser to think police agents instigating trouble to discredit the Black community. Nice try but that won’t stop the rebirth of Black power. It will however justify repression in Ferguson so solidarity actions which are going on in 37 US states are of paramount importance.

Hong Kong riot cops attack democracy encampments

Hong Kong (Kin Cheung:AP) Nov 26 2014

Riot cops armed with pepper spray hoses & beating on students with truncheons began clearing out the democracy encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong. They did so under a court order granted a minibus company in the district claiming the encampment was hurting its business. It would have been unseemly to grant the court order to one of the strip bars or brothels in the area whose business was most affected. While police attacked protesters there was the ironic spectacle of brothel owners & strip club bouncers standing on the sidelines cheering. As he gave a thumbs-up to the police one said, “The Communist Party will never surrender.” Eyeyey!

The 7,000 cops deployed didn’t have an easy go of the removal as hundreds more joined the protests in defense. As the work day ended, hundreds more just off work also entered the fray. As riot cops moved in with pepper spray hoses, protesters took to social media Twittering for reinforcements: “Bring helmets, goggles, shields, umbrellas, towels & be careful!”

It appears the now two-month protests will not force a retreat on the undemocratic election procedures which ignited the uprising. But that doesn’t make them a defeat. Social transformation is a more difficult & protracted struggle than that. Beijing & the Hong Kong tycoons would love to unleash the kind of terror they used in Tiananmen Square in 1989 against democracy protesters but they are restrained in a way they weren’t then. Fear that a military assault on the Hong Kong protesters will trigger protest & solidarity on the mainland is the chief restraint. Hong Kong activists organize an annual protest commemorating Tiananmen Square & demanding justice. No matter how much Beijing blocks media reports on the mainland about the protests, news is certainly getting through–if only from the mainland shoppers at the upscale shopping mall in Mong Kok overlooking the protest site.

Our fullest respect & solidarity with the protesters. Nice job brothers & sisters!

(Photo by Kin Cheung/AP)

Media starts the image remake of killer cop

Media has started the image remake of Darren Wilson from killer cop to nice guy just doing his job. The ever-smarmy George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America was just the right guy for the first volley. They may want to reconsider this strategy since Wilson doesn’t comport himself that well playing the real victim of his crime. He’s a cold-fish & his answers are coached as he tries to portray himself as an “ordinary guy” just working toward a decent pension. Ordinary guys don’t kill young people in cold blood.

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