Tag: solidarity

For Dedon

Dedon

 

 

 

 

 

 

For twenty-three years I listened to Dedon keep revolutionary Pan-Africanism on the air and in the conversation. I listened to Dedon survive the Wednesday Night Massacre in the mid Nineties, when the bloc of African hosts were removed from KPFK’s airwaves. I listened to Freedom Now survive moving air times. Because I listened to Dedon, I was able to attend numerous cultural and political events around Los Angeles, able to meet like-minded fellow travelers, comrades and allies. Dedon remained steadfast, a rock against the muting and erasure of radical African political thought and practice, unapologetically Pan-Africanist and revolutionary when reformist solutions monopolize the discourse on the progressive left, and KPFK had begun to sound more like the voice of the unchurched left wing of the U.S. Democratic Party. Dedon kept the African world, the colonized and neo-colonized world, the anti-imperialist international, informed about revolutionary processes locally and globally, with transnational content committed to principled solidarity: Cuba, Ireland, Libya, New York, Palestine, Venezuela, South Los Angeles. But more than that, the chance to know Dedon, to be in his company and talk politics and culture with him, hear his stories of solidarity work and emancipatory journalism in the countries so regularly under attack from the U.S.’s military, economic, and media apparatus, and hear him talk about surfing was to be enriched, educated and uplifted. The first time I met Dedon, I had just started teaching at Santa Monica College. Dedon had brought a sister from the U.K. to speak to the Pan African Student Union. I was so excited to meet the man whose radio show I had been listening to throughout the 90s. He was gracious, gregarious, and just a good brother. He was just an incredible brother, and an elder of depth and integrity. When we had Dedon, we had a treasure, our brother dedicated to our freedom and to a free and just world, and now that we no longer have him with us in this flesh, we are left with a hole that we all must fill because we owe it to him. Mojuba, Baba Dedon!

 

Modern Revolutions and the African- Our Agency, Our Centrality, Our Outcomes: A Survey of Modern Revolutions and Reform

LucyParsons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FredHampton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a link to a PowerPoint presentation (Joko Teach-In: Modern Revolutions) and the bullet points that expand on some of the slides.  I gave the presentation a member of the JOKO Collective, a grassroots, community based  brain trust/think tank/study circle/discussion group.

“In the Yoruba language the word JOKO means “sit”. To “have a JOKO” is to have a “sit down”, or gathering for the purpose of resolving conflict — by uncovering the truth of the matter…JOKO is not a space where all information is created equal. It’s a space where information is scrutinized through universal rules of logic and inquiry, source quality and corroborative data, and sound, replicable methods of analysis…Thus, our agenda statement currently reads: ‘JOKO At The AFIBA is a panel/group discussion series that provides a space for the exercise of critical thinking. For practice in the art of sustained, critical dialogue, we treat selected topics for several sessions and in this way, we construct in-depth understandings of the topics, and their relationship to African People’s bid for empowerment.'” (from “Welcome to JOKO, a Grassroots Braintrust” by Tasha Thomas, posted at http://www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com, August 5, 2014)

Joko Teach-In Modern Revolutions

A July Joko Two Day Teach-in:

“Modern Revolutions and the African World”

 

Saturday, July 11, 2015, 4-6 PM “A Survey of Modern Revolutions”

  • We must define Revolution and Reform.
  • 1649 The Commonwealth of England
  • Cromwell and Rump Parliament execute King Charles I and attempt to create an English republic.
  • Republicanism becomes the primary form of the modern, bourgeois, liberal state.
  • The class controlling the state controls the economy, the colonies, and the trade routes, to all of which Africans were central.
  • 1775-1783 The American War of Independence
  • The North American settlers wage an anti-royalist war for reform. They assume management of the system, and retain property and social relations. Independence insures that the U.S. can maintain slavery as the foundation of the national wealth.
  • 1789-1815 The French Revolution
  • Radical break with the Old Regime: Royalty, Aristocracy, and the Church.
  • Under pressure from men of color in the French National Assembly, slavery is abolished and then reinstated by Napoleon.
  • 1791 -1804 The Haitian Revolution
  • History of African resistance
  • From Caribbean front of French Revolution to Haitian Revolution.
  • Haiti shakes the security of all other slaveholding states and colonies in the Americas.
  • Spanish American Wars of Independence
  • Africans & Afro-Mestizos central to conflicts
  • 1808-1821 Bolivar and Gran Colombia
  • 1810-1821 The Mexican War of Independence
  • 1862-1898 Cuban Wars of Independence
  • 1848 Revolution in Europe
  • Primarily middles classes and organized workers seeking reform and/or asserting nationalist claims
  • Within a year, royalists and reactionaries reassert control.
  • Socialist ideas and principles spread and grow in popularity.
  • 1910-1920 The Mexican Revolution
  • Land reform was a key issue.
  • 1917-1918 The Russian Revolution
  • Bolsheviks come to power, execute royal family, and dismantle the Czarist state.
  • 1949 The Chinese Revolution
  • China goes from a nationalist liberation struggle to communist revolution with a primarily peasant army.
  • 1959 The Cuban Revolution
  • Under U.S. control since 1898 and the U.S. intervention in the Cuban struggle, Cubans make several attempts to overthrow foreign rule and the local collaborators.
  • July 26 Movement finally achieves victory.
  • Cuba embodies the propaganda problem of a successful revolutionary example.
  • 1945-1992 “Third World” Revolution
  • Africa
  • Americas
  • East and South Asia
  • The Pacific
  • Western Asia

 

 

 

Free Libya Is Green Libya: Supporting the Real Libyan Revolution

For eight months now, NATO has executed an open crime against a sovereign African state and called it a democratic revolution.  Libya was a stable, prosperous, debt-free country in Africa until it came under attack in February.  The United States and the European Union cynically seized the opportunity provided by the genuine people’s movements in Tunisia and Egypt where the Western backed administrations were forced to remove their heads of state in attempts to manage the popular democratic movements in the streets.  The U.S. and E.U. rapidly exploited the monarchist and “Islamist” resentment long present in Benghazi.  The democratic aspirations of this opposition in Libya was dubious from the beginning, and within days of the actual opposition demonstrations that were not unusual in Benghazi, the “peaceful demonstrators” attacked a police station and suddenly emerged as a full-fledged armed faction.  That U.S. and E.U. country Special Forces and intelligence forces had been on the ground from the very beginning arming and guiding what has become the National Transitional Council has become clear, and who denies the fact?

Even now, as this coalition claims to be the true and legal representatives of the wishes of the Libyan people, they represent maybe 5 percent of Libyans.  They are an illegitimate entity thrust upon Libya by the force of NATO military power, and still they have not defeated the Jamahiriyah, the People’s Government of Libya.  Through their actions, NATO has declared once again that no country can impart upon an independent path of development and an indigenous, culturally specific experiment with democracy.  The West claims a monopoly on the meaning, form and practice of democracy, and the intellectuals, journalists and pundits in the West have shown themselves unable to remove the prejudices that convince them that democracy must look like and smell like the elite bourgeois democracy of the imperial countries.  These are the same liberal bourgeois republics and constitutional monarchies that have perpetrated more than two hundred years of slavery, colonialism, and genocide attendant to capitalist production over the centuries.  That doesn’t smell very good!

Through mainstream media, these professional talkers and writers made and continue to make the ground and air war palatable.  Mainstream capitalist media rarely break with the official story offered by government.  However on Libya, they have aggressively disseminated misinformation about Libyan society and the character of the uprising.  Not every rebellion is a revolution. The media’s uncritical representation of the factions that would become the NTC cast them as democratic freedom fighters rather than investigate their reactionary monarchism and fundamentalism.  Moreover, the media all but ignore the aggressive genocide taking place against the native Black population and migrant worker population.  Early in the conflict, media spread the lie of “African mercenaries,” thus facilitating attacks against dark skinned Libyans and other Africans.  Again, mainstream media reproduce the official story as a matter of course.

Unfortunately, the mainstream, corporate, pentagon friendly media were joined in the demonization of Gaddafi and the misrepresentation of the Jamahiriyah by the standard of progressive and liberal media in the United States, Democracy Now! and the Pacifica Network.  Progressive/liberal media characterized the rebellion that began in Benghazi as a revolution rather than the counter revolution that it is.  They provided airtime for opposition spokespersons and their supportive progressive and liberal analysts and pundits, which betrayed an antipathy to African and Arab revolutionary nationalism.  They offered little to no air to voices in support of the Jamahiriyah; neither did they report on its democratic processes, again reproducing the government narrative.  Those voices that make it onto Pacifica stations are brought on by independent producers like Dedon Kimathi at KPFK in Los Angeles and J.R. Valrey of Block Reportin’ at KPFK in Berkeley.  Progressive/liberal media has been consistent in its unity with the mainstream on the question of Libya, revolutionary nationalist governments like Zimbabwe, and war in Africa, assuming their place in the continuum of the hegemonic narrative of empire.  Much of the establishment Black press was only slightly better, refusing to criticize Obama directly, or doing so only obtusely, even when covering the anti-black violence of the NTC brigades.  Tied to the two-party system, and especially the Democratic Party, the imperative to re-elect the undeserving Obama supersedes the duty to defend what was the most advanced country in Africa in regard to the human development of the population and a government that reached out to African Americans as members of the Pan-African nation.  The Nation of Islam’s The Final Call’s coverage has been, on the other hand, exemplary.

Libya is the northern front in the re-assault on Africa.  NATO countries engage in proxy war in Somalia while French troops continue muscularly to prop up the imposed government of Alassane Ouattara in Cote Ivoire, and now with troops on the ground in Central Africa, the U.S and Europe through AFRICOM has increasingly militarized their activities on the continent.  These powers cannot abide African independence, nor will they allow China to continue to pursue its agenda in Africa unchallenged.  As during the Cold War of the Twentieth Century, the US and EU again show their willingness to use African and Asian bodies in hot war to frustrate the interests of their competitors, this time capitalist-communist China.  Where ever the U.S. and Europe are present in Africa, the countries are destabilized and in debt, and the people suffer.  Despite their democratic rhetoric, their humanitarian rationalizations, and promises of economic growth, the Western presence in Africa, whether through diplomacy, covert and overt military intervention, economic investment, or settler channels, remains toxic.  Now the poison flows through Libya, literally, as NATO has bombed both land and water with depleted uranium.

During the 1960s and 1970s, socialist and progressive sectors around the world recognized the heroism and the correctness of the Vietnamese people in their struggle against the U.S. inheritors of the French colonial project in Southeast Asia.  The Vietnamese fought the most powerful military in the world and won the victory.  Their struggle inspired revolutionaries across the Global South and among internal colonies in the Global North.  Today Vietnam is a sovereign country.  Despite a number of independent journalists’ (e.g. Lizzie Phelan, Webster Tarpley, Stephen Lendmen, Gerald Perreira, and Thierry Meyssan) challenges to the dominant narrative on Libya, easily accessible on the internet and sometimes on cable news outlets like RT News, Libya still suffers from gross misrepresentations of the experiment in direct democracy and socialism embodied in the People’s Committees of the Jamahiriyah.  Western professional progressives rarely take the vision expressed in the Green Book seriously, routinely falling into the “eccentric, flamboyant” Gaddafi” lazy reporting trap.   The failure of what passes for leftist analysis in much of the U.S. and Europe to recognize the progressive and genuinely popular character of the Jamahiriyah makes them complicit in the disaster called the NTC that has befallen Libya.  Nonetheless, the Libyan people continue to fight against the most powerful military alliance in the world, NATO.  The NTC is nothing without NATO.  The Green Resistance continues to fight.  Libya is Vietnam.  Can the Green Resistance rely on international support?

Libya is also Spain in the 1930s.  During that struggle, the capitalist governments of the West stood by and watched the fascists bleed Republican Spain, despite material support from the Soviet Union, because in fact, they cared more about capitalist social relations and profits than they cared about democracy and the will of the Spanish people who elected the popular government.  Today, they have destroyed the infrastructure of the most stable African country outside of Southern Africa, bombing them incessantly in support of racist, fascist and monarchist forces in the NTC who would have been defeated months ago if not for NATO air war.  This time Russia failed to veto the key vote in the UN Security Council and can’t offer the same kind of material support, despite their distrust and defensive position vis-à-vis NATO.  Their criticism of NATO since then, even as it helps challenge NATO’s narrative, still rings somewhat hollow.  During the Spanish Civil War, progressive forces around the world organized themselves into international brigades to support the Spanish Republican and Loyalists forces materially and as brothers and sisters in arms.  Can the international brigades today fly to Libya’s aid?  Can African revolutionaries fight in Libya, knowing that the fight for Libya is the fight for Africa, and not care if they are called mercenaries?  What national African military will join the Green Resistance in its battle against a virulently anti-black, racist force in the NATO/NTC and the mercenaries they are now flying into Libya, like Xe (formerly Blackwater)?

Of course, now it is not so easy to offer material support or even ideological support to revolutionary movements.  In the world of the Patriot Act, heightened security measures and full spectrum surveillance, one can quite quickly be arrested and disappeared for aiding and abetting “terrorism” if the group or movement one supports has been classified as a terrorist organization.  Power has been very careful to police the degree to which groups and movements engaged in anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggle can be helped by exile and solidarity formations.  The kind of fund raising and support that the ANC, the PAC, the PAIGC, the PLO, the IRA, the FMLN and similar movements enjoyed in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s into the ‘90s is mostly illegal now.  The governments of the NATO countries will not likely look easily on activists among their own citizens and residents dedicated to restoring the people’s government they have spent so much money and time bombing.  The formation of a group like C.I.S.P.E.S. (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) or Witnesses for Peace who worked to support citizens and revolutionary parties in El Salvador and Nicaragua during the 1980s grows increasingly difficult in the current surveillance climate.  Even so, those of us committed to African sovereignty, African continental and diasporic integration, to socialism and people’s democracy, and to a brighter future for humanity need to find ways to support the Green Resistance in Libya.  We need to find ways to be international brigades for Libya.  Free Libya is Green Libya.

More than two hundred years of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is long enough.  Liberation struggles and revolutionary governments must be supported despite differences on some ideological points.  The fate of an individual is not what is at stake.  Despite his defamation in the mainstream Western press, Gaddafi is being mourned by millions in Africa and around the world.  This attack has short circuited the move toward African continental integration that Gaddafi championed.  He acted independently in the interests of Libya and Africa, and offered real material support for the integration of Africa under one, gold standard currency, one army, and continental governing institutions.  He supported revolutionary and national liberation struggles around the world.  He was a genuine anti-imperialist.  For many of us, the opinions of Minister Louis Farrakhan, Ms. Cynthia KcKinney and Warrior Woman of the Dine Nation matter more than the opinions expressed by the U.S. State Department and 10 Downing Street and disseminated by the New York Times, Le Figaro, CNN, AL Jazeera, et al. The Jamahiriyah is a genuinely popular government that has come under attack by the most powerful and advanced militaries in the world, yet they continue to hold out despite the loss of the revolutionary leader.  Who speaks out?  Who can help restore Libya and a united Africa?  NATO, the UN and the NTC trivialized the African Union during this debacle, rendering the body all but ceremonial.  Will they now stand up and assume the real leadership necessary to make themselves relevant, or is overcoming their class allegiance to the Western bourgeoisie just too much to fathom? That’s probably too much to expect from a class trained to protect the interests of its benefactors in order to protect its own narrow interests.  I guess this great task is up to the world’s African workers and peasants.