Posts Tagged Cornel West
Last Friday, President Obama, apparently responding to pressure, made an unexpected statement about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. He expressed understanding that Black people feel “a lot of pain around what happened here.” He promised no systemic remedies, saying that such decisions are left up to the states, and putting the responsibility of “each of us to do some soul-searching.”
Cornel West, on Democracy Now! Monday, went right after Obama’s statement:
“President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminal—George Zimmerman is a criminal—but President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there’s actually parallels here.”
It’s well worth watching, or reading the whole exchange. Immediately Dr. West caught all kinds of criticism, for criticizing the President — a situation I personally identify with. I heartily support and agree with Dr. West’s comments. I would like to hear what you think.
Food for Thought & Action:
Expanded U.S. Targeted Killing, Drone War & Secret Operations.
See the leaked Pakistani document detailing many more civilian deaths in US drone strikes in Pakistan, released Monday by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
“Drawn from field reports by local officials in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the document lists over 70 drone strikes between 2006 and late 2009, alongside a small number of other incidents such as alleged Nato attacks and strikes by unspecified forces.
“Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated by the leaked report to be civilian victims. Some 94 of these are said to be children.”
A Promise Two Months Ago to Release Prisoners & Close Guantanamo.
No prisoners released since the President said he would relax restrictions on cleared Yemeni prisoners. Federal court decisions in favor of the prisoners’ rights against the government practice of force-feeding and genital searches have brought no relief. Joe Nocera, noticeably anguished, wrote Tuesday morning in The New York Times:
“There is one person who could get them out tomorrow — if he chose. That same person could stop the military from force-feeding the detainees. I am referring, of course, to President Obama. Yet despite decrying the Guantánamo prison, the president has refused to do anything but stand by and watch the military inflict needless pain and suffering, much of it on men who simply shouldn’t be there. Indeed, in many of the legal briefs filed on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners, the defendant is Barack Obama.”
An Expanding System of Mass Incarceration in the U.S.
In the Democracy Now! interview, Dr. West said,
“we’re talking about legacy of the white supremacy. We’re talking about a criminal justice system that is criminal when it comes to mistreating poor people across the board, black and brown especially…I just never forget Brother Carl Dix and others…we protested [stop-and-frisk by NYPD] and went to jail and then went to court and was—had a guilty verdict, right? That week, the president came to New York and said, “Edward Koch was one of the great mayors in the last 50 years,” and then said, “Michael Bloomberg was a terrific mayor.” Now, this is the same person saying we’ve got to care for black boys, and black boys are being intimidated, harassed, humiliated, 1,800 a day. It’s just not a matter of pretty words, Mr. President. You’ve got to follow through in action. You see, you can’t use the words to hide and conceal your mendacity, hypocrisy and the support of criminality—or enactment of criminality when it comes to drones, you see.”
Prosecution and Persecution of Whistle-Blowers
“Will you press for the justice of Trayvon Martin in the same way you press for the prosecution of Brother Bradley Manning and Brother Edward Snowden?” So you begin to see the hypocrisy.”
Glenn Greenwald writes,
“The Obama White House yesterday told Russia that it must not persecute “individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption” – as Bradley Manning faces life in prison for alerting the world to the war abuses and other profound acts of wrongdoing he discovered and as the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers rolls on. That lecture to Russia came in the context of White House threats to cancel a long-planned meeting over the Russian government’s refusal to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US to face espionage charges.”
Vast Government Surveillance on Whole Populations
Remember when Obama said that he doesn’t want people to feel like “Big Brother” is watching us? “in the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential, you know — you know, program run amok. But when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.” And we find out, as this scandal unfolds, that all date is being vacuumed up and held, forever, in a global “Stand Your Ground” justiication, because “it keeps us safe.”
All of the above, and more, are why we drafted indictments against the US government for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Read and share with others.
The mass civil disobedience led by Carl Dix and Cornel West on Friday tapped into a deep well of rage and anger at the racial profiling by the NYPD which is concentrated in “stop and frisk.” Carl and Cornel were joined by 34 locking arms in front of the 28th Precinct, and hundreds more in support, including a contingent from Occupy Wall Street, based on a unanimous decision at Thursday’s General Assembly to endorse the action.
We marched through the streets of Harlem, greeted by fists pumping and smiles. This mass resistance could potentially change how people respond to systematic racial profiling, an issue which is going to be fundamentally decided in the streets, with a diversity of people putting something on the line.
Dix and West see Friday’s action as the first of a new stage of mass resistance to “stop and frisk,” as a door to exposing and fighting the New Jim Crow. There will be no stopping mass racial profiling without mass resistance. It has begun.
The action resonated because it hit on a profoundly sharp and deeply entrenched, politically explosive contradiction of the all around criminalization and mass incarceration of Black & Latino people, one that touches to the very core of what this country is about and what holds it together, or could tear it apart (and which has historically done so). The police lashed out, and held two young organizers who had spoken in many schools, both of whom were not released until Saturday night on charges of resisting arrest.
Carl Dix was the featured speaker at the October 22nd march to stop police brutality from Union Square to the LES with close to 1,000 marchers, bolstered by Wall Street occupiers. Carl, joined by Cornel, has been speaking to thousands around the country, calling for a movement of resistance to stop these policies.
From Carl, in the Huffington Post Black Voices, Why I Am Getting Arrested Today
This policy is wrong. It is illegal, racist, unconstitutional and intolerable! It is just one of the many pipelines into the wholesale mass incarceration of a generation of Black and Latino youth. Today there are more than two million people held in prison in the U.S. That is the largest prison population in the world! And its not just men; more than one third of all women imprisoned in the entire world are in prison in the U.S.
Along with Carl and Cornel, the core group of those arrested were Rev. Stephen Phelps of Riverside Church; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem; Jim Vrettos, a professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and myself and Elaine Brower of World Can’t Wait. We were joined by students from CCNY, Columbia & Barnard; Wall Street Occupiers and, very importantly, people who have been victimized by “Stop & Frisk.” 8 of us planned to be arrested; the fact that 26 more joined on the spot shows the potential of this as a beginning of mass action.
75 people met in Harlem on Sunday to plan the next phase of the campaign. More on that soon! Join in at firstname.lastname@example.org. See http://stopmassincarceration.tumblr.com/ And here it is:
Tuesday November 1: Stop ‘Stop & Frisk’ Direct Action
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 – 4:00pm – 7:00pm
NYPD 73rd Precinct, 1470 East New York Ave, Ocean Hill – Brownsville, Brooklyn
On Friday, October 21st, I plan to join in a non-violent civil disobedience action as part of a new and very important, courageous, campaign to stop “Stop and Frisk.”
I am answering a call issued by Cornel West and Carl Dix to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to stop this illegal policy of the New York Police Department. Carl and Cornel say:
The NYPD is on pace to stop and frisk over 700,000 people in 2011! That’s more than 1,900 people each and every day. More than 85% of them are Black or Latino, and more than 90% of them were doing nothing wrong when the pigs stepped to them…WE ARE STOPPING ALL THIS. YOU MUST JOIN US IN DOING THAT.
To be clear, I have never been stopped or frisked by the New York police solely because of my appearance, as 1,900 men are, every day, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, who is also fighting “stop and frisk.” I haven’t been thrown up against a wall, detained, questioned or jacked up solely because I fit a vague description. But, I don’t want to live in a city where people have to go through this.
I have been arrested over the years, but so far, solely in the process of protesting injustices ranging from U.S. wars of occupation to murders by police, or the targeting of abortion providers by people who wanted to kill them. I believe people have to take action to stop injustice.
That’s exactly why I’m joining Carl, Cornel, Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Rev. Stephen Phelps, Rev. Omar Wilks, and others in an action to stop the NYPD from what they say is a practice which is “illegal, racist, unconstitutional and intolerable.”
Carl Dix, interviewed today in Revolution, described why he, Cornel and others decided that mass resistance to “stop and frisk” is necessary
The intensifying brutality being enforced in the inner cities is like a slow genocide that could be accelerated. This must be met by unleashing resistance that is broader, fiercer and more determined. And unleashing this kind of resistance around Stop and Frisk in NYC on October 21 and nationwide on October 22 would have a powerful positive impact on the situation. It could speak to very real questions people have. It can bring to the people occupying Wall Street a sense of how the police brutally enforce inequality and oppression 24-7 in the ghettos and barrios across the country. And it can address the question many oppressed people have of whether there are any forces that would stand together with them in fighting the hell the system brings down on them or are they alone in this fight. This resistance could contribute to creating a sense that things really don’t have to be this way among a diverse and growing section of the people.
So, all of you who want to do some good, who feel beaten down, or who feel unstoppable, join this action in some way.
Follow @StopMassIncNet on Twitter.
Send a support statement to email@example.com.
Join us in taking the action, or come along to cheer us. As the call says
If you are sick and tired of being harassed and jacked up by the cops, JOIN US. If you have had enough of seeing your brothers and sisters, your cousins, your aunts and uncles and fathers stepped to and disrespected by the cops, JOIN US. If you don’t want to live in a world where people’s humanity is routinely violated because of the color of their skin, JOIN US. And if you are shocked to hear that this kind of thing happens in this so-called homeland of freedom and democracy—it does happen, all the damned time—you need to JOIN US too—you can’t stand aside and let this injustice be done in your name.