“The prison, therefore, functions ideologically as an abstract site into which undesirables are deposited, relieving us of the responsibility of thinking about the real issues afflicting those communities from which prisoners are drawn in such disproportionate numbers. This is the ideological work that the prison performs—it relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism.” Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the American criminal justice system currently holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories. The disproportionate numbers of Black and brown people in prisons are evidence that the innately racist system is . . .
My earliest recollection of Elizabeth Warren, politically, was in 2012 when she ran in Massachusetts against the incumbent, Scott Brown. I recall the headlines alongside the Brown campaign alleging Warren was using identity politics as a tool to sway voters. Years later questions of her ‘heritage’ resurfaced, but at the time it was obvious the attacks on her were racially-based attacks on her assumed racial makeup. Not too long after I was made aware of who Warren was, her infamous “you didn’t build that” speech that went viral. It was truly my first recollection of a (white) politician acknowledging what we now understand as “privilege”, making economic disparities clear. That speech went on to become more famous because then-President Obama lifted (and butchered) it for his 2012 Presidential campaign. In her speech, Warren exclaims, “You built a factory out there? Good for you, but I want to be clear: You . . .
There was no war bloodier or more destructive in the history of mankind than World World One. So, on June 4th, 1926, following many nations agreeing that such devastation can never happen again, the United States Congress passed a resolution establishing November 11th as Armistice Day. The intent of Armistice Day was to highlight the “day the fighting stopped” (in 1918) and, as President Calvin Coolridge stated in his Proclamation, to “commemorate with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations”. However, following World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a Proclamation that changed the designation of November 11th from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Eisenhower said: “I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly . . .
“I have never really understood exactly what a ‘liberal’ is, since I have heard ‘liberals’ express every conceivable opinion on every conceivable subject. As far as I can tell, you have the extreme right, who are fascist racist capitalist dogs like Ronald Reagan, who come right out and let you know where they’re coming from. And on the opposite end, you have the left, who are supposed to be committed to justice, equality, and human rights. And somewhere between those two points is the liberal. As far as I’m concerned, ‘liberal’ is the most meaningless word in the dictionary. History has shown me that as long as some white middle-class people can live high on the hog, take vacations to Europe, send their children to private schools, and reap the benefits of their white skin privilege, then they are ‘liberal’. But when times get hard and money gets tight, they . . .
“Although we are in essential agreement with Marx’s theory as it applied to the very specific economic relationships he analyzed, we know that his analysis must be extended further in order for us to understand our specific economic situation as Black women.” —the Combahee River Collective Statement, 1977 “The concept of the simultaneity of oppression is still the crux of a Black feminist understanding of political reality and, I believe, one of the most significant ideological contributions of Black feminist thought.” —Black feminist and scholar Barbara Smith, 1983 The situational systematic position of Black women, particularly in the US, has long been explained throughout the decades whether it has been called “triple oppression”, “double jeopardy”, or more notably, “intersectionality”. While the mode of thought that has progressed Black feminism varies in political tendency, they all acknowledge the axis of oppressions that exist when Black and a woman. As this acknowledgement . . .
By: Erica Caines and Christopher Winston Last Thursday, US Rep Fredricka Wilson (D- Miami) organized a roundtable discussion between US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and some of South Florida’s most prominent Haitian Americans. In the meeting, Haitain Americans reps minced no words when addressing Pelosi over the current situation in Haiti— The US needs to stop meddling in Haiti’s internal affairs. “The people of Haiti are saying, ‘My goodness, let us govern ourselves. Let us find our own path… just support us,’” said Gepsie Metellus, the executive director of the social services program, Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center. “What do people want to see? They want to see the United States ask, ‘What do you want and how can we help you get it?’ We don’t want the United States or Canada or France or the rest of our friends dictating. We don’t want to be dictated to.” While . . .
So much of who I am is blended into the rich colors of red, Black and white, is moved through a calypso tune and horns, steel drums and chipping on the road, is a reflection of spices and pepper sauce. As the US born daughter of two Trinis, one who loved politics and one who loves bacchanal, my identity has always been twofold, like many Black people who reside within the US. Trinidad and Tobago’s “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve” motto means “the hope of a people for a better life to be achieved through cooperation and working together to build a better nation”. The twin isles also happen to be the birthplace of Black Radicals such as Claudia Jones, Kwame Ture, and Darcus Howe, all of whom embraced African centered internationalist politics. Because these aforementioned Black Radicals left Trinidad and became symbolic figures in movements towards Black liberation . . .
Organize! Organize! Organize! The state of colonized African people in the United States is a dire one. Despite class contradictions within the Black community, the overwhelming majority of colonized Africans on the US are marginalized poor working class or a rising class of the unemployable. Our communities are under resourced. Our communities are plagued with wage inequality, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, being under educated and mass incarceration. This is the result of intentional negligence and broken bonds by both government and private entities run mostly by white settler Americans. How do we combat these dire conditions? As Fredrick Douglass once noted, “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.” What Douglass was referring to is a belief that progress starts with the desire for change coupled with a willingness to endure the work, suffering, and/ or sacrifices to get it. This requires the masses to not only mobilize in . . .
“The ultimate expression of law is not order — it’s prison… The law and everything that interlocks with it was constructed for poor desperate people.” –George Jackson If Vladimir Lenin believed that prisons are universities for revolutionaries then George Jackson is the physical embodiment of that belief. While certainly an oppressive state can breed creativity, literary activism is its own form of resistance. In Jackson’s case, he forged a liberation movement from a space of captivity. Arrested on presumably false charges based on dubious evidence for a $70 robbery at a gas station at age 18, Jackson pled guilty in exchange for a light sentence in the county jail. Due to his past run-ins with the law and his poor working class status, Jackson received a court-appointed attorney who advised him to take the guilty plea. Jackson was given an intermediate sentence of one year to life. Jackson was sentenced . . .