“The diplomatic ‘rebellion’ of last summer sought to pressure the Obama administration to join with Hillary Clinton and her ‘Big Tent’ full of war hawks to confront Russia in the skies over Syria.”
Archive for the ‘Black Agenda Report’ Category
On the Death of Nelson Mandela
- The vicious system of apartheid—blatant, racist, brutal oppression and discrimination against black (and other non-white) peoples in South Africa, which Nelson Mandela struggled against—was part of a legacy of centuries of the most horrific plunder of Africa as a whole by the capitalist world. In South Africa after World War 2, apartheid further institutionalized and intensified that vicious oppression. Black (and other non-white) South Africans were locked down in prison-like “Bantustans,” without the most basic necessities of life (like clean water or decent shelter). They were treated as non-humans, subject to fascist “pass laws” that governed their every movement. On the backs of their labor, white settlers lived the lifestyles of northern Europe and global capitalism-imperialism accumulated massive profits.
- Nelson Mandela emerged as an opponent of the apartheid system in the 1950s. He joined the rising tide of courageous, widespread struggle among many different sections of people in South Africa that went up against the whips, clubs, guns and torture chambers of the regime. For this he was sentenced to a life of hard labor in prison, and he never backed down in his opposition to apartheid. The struggle against apartheid became a cause that inspired people around the world. Many people gave their lives in this struggle. And Nelson Mandela became the most prominent symbol of that struggle.
- But the powers-that-be are not praising Mandela because of his role as an opponent of apartheid, but because he conciliated with the forces of the old order, and played a key role in dismantling apartheid in a way that didn’t excavate, but in the main reinforced the historic and horrific oppression of the black and other non-white peoples of South Africa. Whatever Mandela’s intent, his outlook of “embrace the enemy” which is being so extolled by the powers-that-be in their eulogies, went directly against the need to uproot all the political, structural, economic, social and cultural relations that formed the foundation for that system.
- We have to have the honesty to confront the reality of the path Nelson Mandela charted. It did not lead to freedom for the oppressed people of South Africa. The vast majority of people in South Africa continue to suffer in the grip of global capitalism-imperialism. Today, two decades after Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, the situation for the masses of black people in South Africa remains horrendous. South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal societies. Over half the population of South Africa lives in extreme poverty. The only source of water for 1.4 million children is dirty, disease-ridden streams. Immigrant workers from poorer countries in Africa are subjected to violent attacks. Conditions for women, who played such a heroic role in the battle against apartheid, are abysmal—South Africa has the highest rate of rape in the world. And, perhaps the most heartbreaking consequence of all, people have been left demoralized—seeing all this as more proof that fundamental change in society is not possible. That is not the case.
- But it is the case that nothing short of uprooting exploitation and oppression can free the people of South Africa or anywhere else. The “wretched of the earth” have made revolution and started on the road to communism—a society free of all oppression—first in Russia and then in China. They achieved great things before these revolutions were turned back. And not only has this been done before, it can be done again, and even better this time. We urge everyone reading this to get their hands on the special issue of revcom / Revolution “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future,” and get into the work of Bob Avakian at revcom.us.
Friday, November 9, 2012
US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly
Nile Bowie, Contributor
After months of rhetoric and political campaigning, the smoke has finally cleared on the media frenzy that is the US Presidential Election. Once the winner of the race was announced, supporters at the Obama Campaign headquarters in Chicago jubilantly celebrated.
The haze of American flags, pop music, and confetti worked wonders to mask the absence of any real political substance throughout the election process.
Cheering supporters shouted “four more years” as President Obama took to the stage to deliver his victory speech – complete with highly emotional grandiloquence, two mentions of the US military being the strongest in the world, and of course – a joke about the family dog.
After an exorbitant $6 billion spent by campaigns and outside groups in the primary, congressional and presidential races, Americans have reelected a president better suited for Hollywood than Washington. A 2010 ruling by the US Supreme Court that swept away limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns has paved the way for the most expensive election in American history, in the midst of an economic crisis nonetheless. 
After eight years under the Bush administration, America desperately needed change. Instead of any meaningful structural reform, America ushered in a global superstar whose charm and charisma not only resuscitated American prestige, but also masked the continued dominance of deregulators, financiers, and war-profiteers.
Obama’s most valuable asset is his brand, and his ability to channel the nostalgia of transformative social movements of the past, while serving as a tabula rasa of sorts to his supporters – an icon of hope who is capable of inspiring the masses and coaxing them into action – despite the Obama administration expanding the disturbing militaristic and domestic surveillance policies so characteristic of the Bush years, and channeling never before seen authority to the executive branch.
The American public at large is captivated by Barack’s contrived media personality and the grandeur of his political poetry and performance, and is therefore reluctant to acknowledge his enthusiastic continuation of the deeply unethical policies of his predecessor. Obama is indeed a leader suited for a new age, one of post-intellectualism and televised spectacle – a time when huge demographics of voters are more influenced by Jay-Z and Katy Perry’s endorsement of Obama over anything of political substance he preaches. 
While the US has historically exported “democracy promotion” through institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (trends that have accelerated under the Obama administration), so few see the American electoral process for what it is – unacceptably expensive, filled with contrived debates, and subject to the kind of meticulous controls that America’s foreign adversaries are accused of presiding over.
A leaked ‘Memorandum of Understanding,’ signed by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, provides unique insight into the nature of the three televised debates, and the extent to which organizers went to prevent the occurrence of any form of unplanned spontaneity.  The document outlines how no members of the audience would be allowed to ask follow-up questions to the candidates, how microphones will be cut off right after questions were asked, and how any opportunities for follow-up questions from the crowd would be disregarded. In what was billed as a series of town-hall style debates where members of the community can come together and ask questions that reflect their concerns – in actuality, the two candidates dished out pre-planned responses to pre-approved questions, asked by pre-selected individuals.
The political domination of the Republican and Democratic parties over the debates is nowhere more apparent than in the arrest of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, as the two attempted to enter the site of the second presidential debate. 
Despite the obscurity and almost non-existent media presence of third party candidates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party received 1% of the popular vote in the general election, amounting to over 1.1 million votes, the best in the history of the Libertarian Party. 
In contrast to the choreographed exchanges offered by the televised debates between Obama and Romney, Moscow’s state-funded Russia Today news service offered third-party candidates an opportunity to voice their political programs in two debates aired on the channel.  Throughout these debates, third-party candidates spoke of repealing Obama’s authorization of indefinite detention through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the need for coherent environmental legislation, the gross misdirection of American foreign policy, the necessity of deep economic restructuring, and the illogicality of marijuana prohibition. In her closing statement at the debate, Green Party candidate Jill Stein brought up a significant point:
They’re 90 million voters who are not coming out to vote in this election, that’s one out of every two voters – that’s twice as many as those who will come out for Barack Obama, and twice the number that will come out for Mitt Romney. Those are voters who are saying ‘No’ to politics as usual, and ‘No’ to the Democratic and Republican parties. Imagine if we got out word to those 90 millions voters, that they actually have a variety of choices and voices in this election.
American presidential politics are not devoid of progressive voices; but, in reality, America doesn’t need a third-party – it needs a second party. The overwhelming lack of choice offered by this election can only be attributable to the political duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties.
As President Obama begins his second and final term, some feel that this could be a chance for the White House to pursue more progressive ends – an opportunity for Obama to act on his own campaign rhetoric and roll back militarism and the influence of Wall St. financiers.
Barack Obama now prepares for his second term as the President of the United States. Though the race was tight, especially in states like Florida and Virginia, Obama won by more than 2 million popular votes at last count, and had at least 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206. (Florida was still too close to call as of midday Wednesday.)
While such optimism may prevail in the minds of many, the fact that President Obama issued a drone strike that killed three people in Yemen just hours after being reelected is a telling sign of things to come from the Obama administration. 
As the United States continues to project itself around the world as the definitive model of “freedom and democracy,” it is apparent that the central bankers, corporate financiers, and crony capitalists who control America’s electoral system did indeed learn and thing or two from Communism:
Nile Bowie is a Kuala Lumpur-based American writer and photographer for the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada. He explores issues of terrorism, economics and geopolitics.
It is a very sad day. the handwriting on the wall is obscured by ludicrousity, insanity and blatant denial. The masses travail in the muck and mire of an ill-fated illusion. Their deluded hope and belief in a denigrated system, sold out to the power elite. Nothing has changed save a momentary dream awakening to nightmarish proportions. I don’t care who thinks I am a vile voice in the wilderness.
I am a truth warrior, and the truth is the truth. The first time around, no one would listen, so with silent knowing, it came to pass, what could not be spoken aloud. The second time around, courage must speak its truth and open itself to frontal attack from those who cry “naysayer, kill joy, party buster, etc.”
Wake up, people, before it is too late! We live on a prison planet and have just witnessed, the changing of the guards. Same system, different guards. Same system, different keys to the cells. Same system and it will not be changed by the guards or their handlers. NB
President Obama’s second term in the White House was largely secured by record numbers of votes from ethnic minorities, while his popularity among whites plummeted, exit polls have revealed.
Hispanics, the fa
Of these, 7
1 per cent voted for Obama, up from 67 per cent in 2008. In a sign Republicans are failing to win over this increasingly influential group, Romney won just 27 per cent.
A record number of Asian voters – three per cent of the electorate – also turned out, with nearly three-quarters backing Obama. He also won a staggering 93 per cent of African-American votes.
Yet while his popularity among ethnic minorities swelled, he received just 39 per cent of the white votes, down by four per cent on the last election, a drop his campaign had anticipated.
Considering the 1.5 million deportations, and the incarceration of so many others, it begs to question, why the Hispanics came out so strongly for him. Not to mention the fact that his address to African Americans was stop complaining, take your slippers off and get to work on change. And the closest he came to digging in with the Black masses was hanging out with Jay-Z (a one per center) and Beyonce’,(I won’t get into what I think about her as a role model for young girls). And writing in on the Census report that he was African American. Not to mention the removal of a towering figure for Black unity and African unity, Muamar Qaddaffi. Hmm, me thinks I sense a hint of cognitive dissonance. NB
“we cling to voting like its our greatest & only chance for change; our one and only lifeboat. we misrepresent ancestors & claim we must participate in the process becuz of their past suffering, while ignoring the fact that their analysis was rooted in their times. since then, we’ve been brutally uprooted & though we can identify the hour, we never seem to kno what time it is. we swear voting is the answer, and when it doesn’t work, we still think it’s the answer, and when it’s proven to us that it doesn’t work, we still think it’s the answer, with a birth defect.”
excerpt from “there’s paralysis in our analysis”, from THE PRINCE OF KOKOMO by laini (don’t tread on me) mataka