Million Woman March Mission Statement October, 1997

1997-mwm

The Million Woman March was a protest march organized on October 25, 1997, on the Benjamin Franklin Park Way in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The march was founded and formulated by Phile Chionesu, a grassroots activist, human rights advocate, Black Nationalist/Freedom Fighter, and owner of an African crafts shop.

The below statement was issued as the basis for the national call to all Black women to come together in Philadelphia, PA

For more information about the MWM of 1997

NYT Coverage of the MWM 1997

Million Woman March Mission Statement  1997

The Million Woman March is being implemented by Black Women who interact on grassroots and global levels. Black Women who understand the necessity of rebuilding our foundation and destiny as a people, and that we must in many respects begin at the origin (the root) upward.

Women of African Descent who reside, struggle and interact in grassroots communities have analysed and assessed unlimited issues and problems. Many of which have resulted in the deterioration of African-American and African people overall. The Million Woman March is capable and ready to create and implement strategic methods of resolving such matters.

The Million Woman March provides us the opportunity to prioritize the human and environmental issues. It will collectively enable us to develop an assertive and aggressive movement to insure the participation and impact of people of African Descent.

It is our belief that it will require collective and comprehensive efforts to develop for determination the process and systems that will be utilized to regain the proper direction of our family structure. By acknowledging and applying the strength and resources that exist within the United States and throughout the world, we will rebuild to strengthen our foundation. It will take the procurement of mechanisms that will bring about the appropriate solutions.
However, there has been various forms of disconnection.

As a result, we no longer bond as a family unit, we no longer teach and prepare our children in the way we wish for them to go. How do girls learn to become women? Who is responsible for teaching morals and values of womanhood? Have we not been the moral sustainers of life? As teachers of life have we failed or are we just existing?

The Million Woman March will revive life as we once exemplified it:

< Great Grandmother taught Grandmother
< Grandmother taught Mother
< Mother taught Me
< I will teach YOU

We will no longer tolerate disrespect, lack of communication, negative interaction, anti-social and dysfunctional behavior and the denial that problems such s these affect our ability to progressively and productively move forwarD. Our focus is centered around the reasons why and what it will require to eliminate this DESTRUCTION.

“Uprising: Resistance and Rebellion” ll OUR COMMON GROUND with Ajamu Baraka and Efia Nwangaza

OUR COMMON GROUND   with Janice Graham

       “Uprising: Resistance and Rebellion”

05-02-15 Resistance and Rebellion

               Depraved INDIFFERENCE – Beyond Baltimore
  Learn More
Saturday, May 2, 2015 LIVE 10 pm ET
Guests: Ajamu Baraka and Efia Nwangaza
Call In – Listen Line: 347-838-9852
Join us LIVE http://bit.ly/1KCu4aR

Tonight we look back at this week’s uprising in Baltimore MD and explore where we go from here. How do we prepare a generation of people for a new, more militarized war on Black people? How do we get our people to see, “we are the Gaza?” Looking at the Freddie Gray murder charges and the overall fracture and failure of the Amerikkan judicial and government systems.

ABOUT OUR GUESTS

Ajamu Baraka,Human Rights Leader and Contributor, Black Agenda Report

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.
Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. As such, he has provided human rights trainings for grassroots activists across the country, briefings on human rights to the U.S. Congress, and appeared before and provided statements to various United Nations agencies, including the UN Human Rights Commission (precursor to the current UN Human Rights Council).

As a co-convener with Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Worker Center for Human Rights, Baraka played an instrumental role in developing the series of bi-annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ conferences (SHROC) that began in 1996. These gatherings represented some of the first post-Cold War human rights training opportunities for grassroots activists in the country.

He writes for the Black Agenda Report and is Editor of “A Voice from the Margins” http://www.ajamubaraka.com/

Efia Nwanga, Human Rights Attorney and Liberation Broadcaster, WMXP Greenville South Carolina

Sister Nwangaza, current director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, is a former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizer. The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination (http://wmxp955.webs.com/aboutus.htm ), is a volunteer grassroots, community based, volunteer staffed, owned and operated human rights action center, since 1991. It serves as a non-profit, public space for developing, testing, training and implementation of approaches to popular education, strategic planning, problem solving, and communications skill enhancement, with wide ranging performing and organizing skill development, using human rights frameworks and mechanisms for self-determination, community and self-advocacy. WMXP-LP 95.5 FM – The Voice of the People, http://wmxp955.webs.com/, is a community based, volunteer programmed, listener and local business supported non-commercial educational radio station. It’s mission is to give voice to the voiceless with local music, local talk, local news, local people doing local programming.

She clerked in the SNCC national office, worked the Julian Bond Special Election Campaign, and was a member of the Atlanta Project which drafted the Black Power, Anti-Vietnam War, and Pro-Palestinian Human Rights position papers popularized by SNCC,http://www.crmvet.org/vet/nwangaza.htm . At the behest of Malcolm X, SNCC worked and moved the 1960s U.S. Civil Rights movement to founding today’s U.S. Human Rights Movement. SNCC’s modern day call for Black Power/Self Determination united, elevated and invigorated resistance movements here and around the world. For fifty years of work as a human rights activist, her early career as a staff attorney for the Greenville Legal Services Program, and her contributions to numerous civic and human rights organizations . Nwangaza is an affiliate member of the Pacifica Radio Board of Directors as a representative of WMXP.

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Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum | Politic365

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum 

Dr. Wilmer Leon, Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio radio program “Inside the Issues”

Can a Negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed into existence by the constitution of the United States…they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for…” Chief Justice Roger Taney – Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

The verdict is in.  Michael Dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most significant charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.

Instead of celebrating what would have been his 19th birthday, Jordan Davis’ parents continue to mourn the legally unrecognized murder of their son. I can only imagine that this verdict is analogous to killing him again.  Jordan Davis has become another victim of a murderous historical American continuum.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, the killings of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, Sean Bell on November 26, 2006, Police Sgt. Cornel Young, Jr. on January 28, 2000, Police Officer Willie Wilkins on January 11, 2001, Amadou Diallo on February 4, 1999 and so many others we find ourselves coming to the same conclusion, by focusing on their color; people failed to see theirhumanity.

The subtext to all of these untimely deaths remains race.  The subtext to the inability of juries to convict the George Zimmerman’s and Michael Dunn’s of the world of murder is tied to race as well. They are the most recent victims of a murderous historical American continuum.  Tolnay and Beck in their book A Festival ofViolence, “identified 2,805 victims of lynch mobs killed between 1882 and 1930 in ten southern states.  Although mobs murdered almost 300 white men and women, the vast majority-almost 2,500-of lynch victims were African-American.  The scale of this carnage means that, on average, a black man, woman, or child was murdered nearly once a week, every week, between 1882 and 1930 by a hate driven white mob.”  Today, lynch mobs have been replaced by Zimmerman’s and Dunn’s and sanctioned by “Stand Your Ground” and “juries of their peers”.

As Africans in America and later African Americans, we have been engaged in a struggle for a very long time. Too many of us have forgotten what’s at the crux of the issue.  Many believe it’s economic, others believe its civil rights.  Both of those are important and play a significant role in improving our circumstance but what we’ve been  fighting to have recognized since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 (395 years ago)is to be considered human.

According to the Virginia Statutes on Slavery, Act 1, October 1669; what should be done about the casual killing of slaves?  “If any slave resist his master and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not considered a felony, and the master should be acquitted from the molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepense malice should induce any man to destroy his own estate.”  We were property, not human – part of the estate.

In Dred Scott Chief Justice Taney wrote, “…they (Negro’s) were at that time an considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them.”  Unfortunately, Taney’s perspective remains prevalent in the minds of too many Americans.

For decades, the law recognized the value of life over property.  In many jurisdictions, before a person could use deadly force they had a duty to retreat.  They had to prove that the use of deadly force wasjustified. This is often taken to mean that if the defendant had first avoided conflict and secondly, had taken reasonable steps to retreat and so demonstrated an intention not to fight before eventuallyusing force, then the taking of a life could be considered justified.

Today, Stand Your Ground has turned this long held principal on its head.  Today it provides individuals (seemingly mostly European American’s) the right to use deadly force (seemingly against African American’s) to “defend” themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a circumstance of their own creation.

One cannot stress enough, in both the Treyvon Martin murder and the murder of Jordan Davis, both victims were in public space, engaged in legal activity, and at the time they were confronted were not a threat to anyone. George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn initiated the confrontations, put themselves in harm’s way, and thentook matters into their own hands, choosing to use deadly force against unarmed and non-threatening innocent victims.  Neither Martin nor Davis was given the opportunity to stand their ground.

What ties the death of all of the individuals listed above together is the culturally accepted stereotype of the threatening Black male. Defense counsels in the murder of Treyvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Amadou Diallo and so many others rationalized these irrationalshootings by tapping into the oftentimes unspoken but clearly recognized and understood fear of the Black male.

Even though no weapon and nothing resembling a weapon was found in the vehicle Jordan Davis was riding in, at least one member of the Dunn jury understood his claim that he was in fear of his life.  Even though Treyvon Martin was unarmed, members of the Zimmerman jury understood on a gut level his claim that he was in fear of his life.  Amadou Diallo was armed with only his wallet when NYPD unleashed a barrage of 41 bullets striking him 19 times.

Since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 African’s in America and now African Americans have been victimized by a murderous American historical continuum.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to http://www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.com. http://www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com  © 2014 InfoWave Communications, LLC

 

 

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum | Politic365.

Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The UN International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

By  Michael Evans – 25 Mar 2013
The UN International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

 Monument to Slaves; Credit: © Shutterstock

On 25th March each year the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade honours the lives of those who died as a result of slavery, or who experienced the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade.

The day also presents an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice.

During the period of around 400 years from the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries between 15 million and 17 million African men, women and children were transported against their will across the Atlantic to North, Central and South America. Millions more died during the course of the journey.

The captives were brought from the coasts of Africa in cramped and unhygienic slave ships and 96 % of them were landed at ports in South America and the Caribbean Islands.

Between 1501 and 1830, four Africans crossed the Atlantic for every one European. The legacy of this is plainly evident today, with many millions of people throughout the Americas who are all of African descent.

This inhumane trade is now universally regarded as being one of the worst ever violations of human rights, with some experts believing that the effects of this trade are still being felt in the economies of some African countries.

The first anti-slavery statement was signed in Germantown, Pennsylvania by a group of Dutch and German Quarters in 1688 and this was followed by similar disapproval by English Quakers who began to promote reforms. From the 1750s a number of Quakers in Britain’s America colonies began to express their opposition and called on Quaker slave owners to improve the conditions of their slaves, to educate them in reading and writing and Christianity and to gradually emancipate them.

The British abolitionist movement came into being in 1783 after an informal group of six Quakers presented a petition to Parliament, signed by over 300 Quakers. Individuals and organisations began to correspond and books, pamphlets and newspaper articles were part of the effort to raise awareness of the cause. This was the beginning of perhaps the first and certainly the largest humanitarian movement that had ever been seen.

It was becoming clear to the international community that this sort of trade was no longer to be tolerated. Although the trade had previously been accepted without question, the Anglo-American abolitionist movement began to gain more support. In 1791 the British campaigner William Wilberforce introduced his first Parliamentary Bill to abolish slavery. This was easily defeated, but he tried again the following year, and the next, and the next, until in 1807 the British Parliament finally voted to abolish the slave trade throughout its maritime power.

Abolition itself followed slowly as agreements had to be established with the various semi-autonomous colonial governments. Further British Parliamentary legislation followed and in Britain the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1833, ending slavery in Canada, the British West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope.

By now the abolitionist movement was gaining momentum. Within ten years slavery had also been abolished in India and in 1848 it was abolished in French territories.

1st January 1863 was the day of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. This stated that: “all persons held as slaves within any state, or designated part of the state, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and forever free”

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States on 1st February 1865 as a result of the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. President Lincoln was anxious that the Emancipation Proclamation should not be seen as a temporary measure made during the Civil War. Yet in spite of all the good intentions, racial segregation continued throughout most of the following century and racism continues to remain an important issue.

The United Nations International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is an occasion to consider the causes, consequences and lessons to be gained from the transatlantic slave trade. The theme for 2013 is Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation when tribute will be paid to all those who worked tirelessly to overturn the acceptance of the slave trade as an institution that was legitimate and moral.

Earthtimes 

 

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims
of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
25 March

Theme for 2013: “Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation”

Poster created for the 2012 observanceClick on the poster to download it [PDF 9.1MB]

For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.

The annual observance of 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade serves as an opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

This year’s theme, “Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation,” pays tribute to the emancipation of slaves in nations across the world. This year is particularly important with many key anniversaries, including 220 years since France’s General Emancipation decree liberated all slaves in present-day Haiti; 180 years since the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 ended slavery in Canada, the British West Indies and the Cape of Good Hope; and 170 years ago, the Indian Slavery Act of 1843 was signed. Slavery was also abolished 165 years ago in France; 160 years ago in Argentina; 150 years ago in the Dutch colonies; and 125 years ago in Brazil.

2013 is also the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States, which declared that, on 1 January 1863, all persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.

 

OCG Witness

“Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul” . . . The Question of Reparations” l This Week on Our Common Ground

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul”
. . . The Question of Reparations”

February 23, 2013 10 pm ET

02-23 Blevins

OUR Guest: Michael BlevinsAuthor, Professor, Change and Justice Leader/Activist

 Founding Executive Director, NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center

ABOUT Michael Blevins

Mike Blevins fall.2012.Michael Blevins, JD, M.Div, LL.M (Intercultural Human Rights) works from Decorah, IA. He was a defense attorney for ten years in the state of Kansas and is an ordained pastor. He currently is a human rights advocate and activist who teaches Ethics and Philosophy at the college level and was recently the founding Executive Director of the NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center in Decorah, Iowa.

Mike is a Diversified Social Change and Non-Profit Professional with over twenty years experience in law, ministry, classroom teaching, community organizing, non-profit leadership, conflict resolution services, strategic planning, human rights advocacy and non-profit community development–including non-profit leadership, human rights education and advocacy.

He authored “Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul, A Policy-Oriented Approach to the Question of Reparations”, which was awarded the 2005 Institute of Policy Sciences Best Graduate Student Paper prize; the paper was presented by the author at the Annual Symposium of the Institute of Policy Sciences at Yale University Law School in October, 2005; Published by the Thurgood Marshall Law School Journal (Volume 31, No.2, pp. 253-322, Spring 2006.

Our discussion with Mike with focus on the following topics:

  • What is Restorative Justice and how might it apply to the evil of White Supremacy
  • Mass Incarceration and other aspects of the New Jim Crow
  • The Question of Reparations 
  • Reparations Initiatives including HR 40 (Conyers) and other proposals for approaching reparations 

HIS WORK
Blevins, Michael F. (2005). Restorative Justice, Slavery, and the American Soul, A Policy-Oriented Intercultural Human Rights Approach to the Question of Reparations. Thurgood Marshall Law Review. 31:253-322. Summary by Restorative Justice.Org:
“Blevins provides an overview of how past slavery has an effect on present society; reparations have not been paid to the African American community and injustice remains. Reparations, Blevins states, should come in the form of aid, not charity, and that the United States owes reparations to both Africa and African-Americans. The current theories and laws addressing slavery reparations are centered on a litigation approach. This approach is ineffective and inhibits justice from being served. Blevins then discusses the Restorative Justice approach, briefly mentioning the Truth and Reconciliation processes in Africa, the Truth Commission established in Peru, and other Restorative Justice initiatives around the world. The article states that if nothing is done in the United States to address the past and present problems with slavery and racism, these problems will continue. To be successful, the reparations movement must occur within the academic, professional, civic, and religious sectors. Blevins suggests that an African American Redress Commission should be established by the House and Senate. Additionally, a commission would then be established in each district, with the purpose of conducting investigations and research, holding hearings, and holding community forums. The most important aspect of these commissions being the forums because the community would have a chance to be heard and to come up with solutions for the present problem. Each district would then submit a plan to the executive Commission, complete with legislative recommendations, entitled “America’s 21st Century Contract with African Americans.” Blevins ties this whole process to the commencement of slavery in Jamestown Virginia, comes up with an outline of a possible payment plan from the United States government to both African Americans and Africans, and challenges individual States to take action.”OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Speaking Truth to Power and Ourselves”
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Profiting From Human Misery l Chris Hedges l TruthDig

Profiting From Human Misery

AP/Mel Evans
A row of beds inside the Elizabeth Detention Center.

By Chris Hedges

Marela, an undocumented immigrant in her 40s, stood outside the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, N.J., on a chilly afternoon last week. She was there with a group of protesters who appear at the facility’s gates every year on Ash Wednesday to decry the nation’s immigration policy and conditions inside the center. She was there, she said, because of her friend Evelyn Obey.

Obey, 40, a Guatemalan and the single mother of a 12-year-old and a 6-year-old, was picked up in an immigration raid as she and nine other undocumented workers walked out of an office building they cleaned in Newark, N.J. Her two children instantly lost their only parent. She languished in detention. Another family took in the children, who never saw their mother again. Obey died in jail in 2010 from, according to the sign Villar had hung on her neck, “pulmonary thromboembolism, chronic bronchiolitis and emphysema and remote cardiac Ischemic Damage.’ ”

“She called me two days after she was seized,” Marela told me in Spanish. “She was hysterical. She was crying. She was worried about her children. We could not visit her because we do not have legal documents. We helped her get a lawyer. Then we heard she was sick. Then we heard she died. She was buried in an unmarked grave. We did not go to her burial. We were too scared of being seized and detained.”

The rally—about four dozen people, most from immigrant rights groups and local churches—was a flicker of consciousness in a nation that has yet to fully confront the totalitarian corporate forces arrayed against it. Several protesters in orange jumpsuits like those worn by inmates held signs reading: “I Want My Family Together,” “No Human Being is Illegal,” and “Education not Deportation.”

“The people who run that prison make money off of human misery,” said Diana Mejia, 47, an immigrant from Colombia who now has legal status, gesturing toward the old warehouse that now serves as the detention facility. As she spoke, a Catholic Worker band called the Filthy Rotten System belted out a protest song. A low-flying passenger jet, its red, green and white underbelly lights blinking in the night sky, rumbled overhead. Clergy walking amid the crowd marked the foreheads of participants with ashes to commemorate Ash Wednesday.

“Repentance is more than merely being sorry,” the Rev. Joyce Antila Phipps, the executive director of Casa de Esperanza, a community organization working with immigrants, told the gathering. “It is an act of turning around and then moving forward to make change.”
The majority of those we incarcerate in this country—and we incarcerate a quarter of the world’s prison population—have never committed a violent crime. Eleven million undocumented immigrants face the possibility of imprisonment and deportation. President Barack Obama, outpacing George W. Bush, has deported more than 400,000 people since he took office. Families, once someone is seized, detained and deported, are thrown into crisis. Children come home from school and find they have lost their mothers or fathers. The small incomes that once sustained them are snuffed out. Those who remain behind often become destitute.

But human beings matter little in the corporate state. We myopically serve the rapacious appetites of those dedicated to exploitation and maximizing profit. And our corporate masters view prisons—as they do education, health care and war—as a business. The 320-bed Elizabeth Detention Center, which houses only men, is run by one of the largest operators and owners of for-profit prisons in the country, Corrections Corporation of America. CCA, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, has annual revenues in excess of $1.7 billion. An average of 81,384 inmates are in its facilities on any one day. This is a greater number, the American Civil Liberties Union points out in a 2011 report, “Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration,” than that held by the states of New York and New Jersey combined.

The for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in Washington and state capitals have successfully blocked immigration reform, have prevented a challenge to our draconian drug laws and are pushing through tougher detention policies. Locking up more and more human beings is the bedrock of the industry’s profits. These corporations are the engines behind the explosion of our prison system. They are the reason we have spent $300 billion on new prisons since 1980. They are also the reason serious reform is impossible.

The United States, from 1970 to 2005, increased its prison population by about 700 percent, according to statistics gathered by the ACLU. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, the ACLU report notes, says that for-profit companies presently control about 18 percent of federal prisoners and 6.7 percent of all state prisoners. Private prisons account for nearly all of the new prisons built between 2000 and 2005. And nearly half of all immigrants detained by the federal government are shipped to for-profit prisons, according to Detention Watch Network.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which imprisons about 400,000 undocumented people a year, has an annual budget of more than $5 billion. ICE is planning to expand its operations by establishing several mega-detention centers, most run by private corporations, in states such as New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California and Illinois. Many of these private contractors are, not surprisingly, large campaign donors to “law and order” politicians including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In CCA’s annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission for 2011, cited by the ACLU, the prison company bluntly states its opposition to prison reform. “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws,” it declares. CCA goes on to warn that “any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration” could “potentially [reduce] demand for correctional facilities,” as would “mak[ing] more inmates eligible for early release based on good behavior,” the adoption of “sentencing alternatives [that] … could put some offenders on probation” and “reductions in crime rates.”

1 2 NEXT PAGE >>>

 

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011. The LAPC also granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists.”

Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He currently teaches inmates at a correctional facility in New Jersey.

Hedges began his career reporting the war in El Salvador. Following six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief there for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he joined the Times’ investigative team and was based in Paris to cover al-Qaida. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

He has written twelve books, including “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012),  “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. In 2011, Nation Books published a collection of Hedges’ Truthdig columns called “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and knows ancient Greek and Latin. In addition to writing a weekly original column for Truthdig, he has written for Harper’s Magazine, The New Statesman, The New York Review of Books, Adbusters, Granta, Foreign Affairs and other publications.

I Bear Witness l Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

I Bear Witness

.

I sit, I watch,
and I grow ever more obsolete
as I bear witness.
.
I bear witness

to a once vibrant people greedily gulping down society’s hemlock. Even as they claim to be “keeping it real,“ they continue to maim, kill, and despise their own in hot pursuit of the prime directive with the passion of a sheetless klan.
.
I bear witness
to Black fists in the air in false solidarity promoted by self-serving poverty pimps as the world looks on and giggle at crooked fingers pointed elsewhere.
.
I bear witness
to the superficial attempt to ban the “N-word” while the new “un-niggas” stand around watching children killing children and fathers drugging sons, as they celebrate, lionize, and enrich those who denigrate the very womb of their culture with impunity.
.
I bear witness
to a generation of lost knowledge, cut off from its roots by Ronnie’s “Just say no” generation of crack, greed, death, and political corruption; A generation where the new N-word is pronounced “Responsibility” and the keepers of the flame completely ignore the destructive power of bitch, slut, whore, and tramp.
.
I bear witness
to the reckless disregard of the words uneducated, irresponsible, and classless. Should we not ban these words as well, or should we ban banning words altogether as we celebrate their meaning?
.
Yes, I do bear witness.
I bear witness to a new world –
a world where gross ignorance comes disguised as enlightenment, and funky sneakers look down with disdain upon the sweet smell of Florsheim; a world where saggin’ pants and gaudy glitter enable country bumpkins to masquerade as elegant, and the exquisite surrender of eloquence is the very essence of what it means to be hip.
.
Where’s Langston? Where’s Baldwin? Where’s Oscar Brown, Jr?
We need you stormin’ this beach, because . . .
.
I now bear witness
to a world where motherhood stands alone, to be “dope” renders a smile, and posterity is forced to embrace the wind for paternal sustenance; A world where the walking dead strut about rapping the wisdom of idiocy, and we praise the illiteracy of vulgar nursery rhymes as profound; a world where the mother of salvation’s final gasp is compared to the pigmentation of brown paper bags.
.
Malcolm, Martin, where are you?
I once stood with a crowd. Now seemingly alone, I’m forced to bear witness –
horrific witness . . .
to the imminent demise of our people,
.

And my heart bleeds.
.
.

Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

Religious bigotry: It’s not that I hate everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like me – it’s just that God does