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Archive for the ‘The Americas’ Category

AIM_poster background, additional graphics by Jenny Grossbard based on the speech by Moonanum Jamesspeech by Moonanum James, Co-Leader of UNAINE, at the 29th National Day of Mourning, November 26, 1998:[4]  Some ask us: Will you ever stop protesting? Some day we will stop protesting: We will stop protesting when the merchants of Plymouth are no longer making millions of dollars off the blood of our slaughtered ancestors. We will stop protesting when we can act as sovereign nations on our own land without the interference of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and what Sitting Bull called the "favorite ration chiefs." When corporations stop polluting our mother, the earth. When racism has been eradicated. When the oppression of Two-Spirited people is a thing of the past. We will stop protesting when homeless people have homes and no child goes to bed hungry. When police brutality no longer exists in communities of color. We will stop protesting when Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal and the Puerto Rican independentistas and all the political prisoners are free. Until then, the struggle will continue.

AIM_poster background, additional graphics by Jenny Grossbard based on the speech by Moonanum James

This page is being updated with new links, throughout the day, with the newest posts at the top of the page.

it is impossible to separate this gluttony with the symbolism, its origins, the narrative taught in classrooms throughout the country, and what this holiday means to native american people. it’s sort of like leonard cohen saying he can play… tel aviv as long as he donates the money to an israeli “human rights” organization and mentions the palestinians. nice of HIM to decide for palestinian civil society what’s the “right” way to support justice! this holiday is rooted in the amerikan settler colonial narrative (i watched from my porch, mexican and central american kids, walking home from school with “indian” headresses on, made of paper;) when we confront empire, power, racism and genocide we can’t do it separate from that history and its impositions and the impact its “celebration” has on the people on whose bones we chew. -emma rosenthal- cafe intifada
A few Links on Thanksgiving: The Amerikan Settler Colonial Narrative

After a colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise—in other words, every autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast.”

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It is easier to teach a fairy tale than to teach that the first thanksgiving was a celebration of the massacre of defenseless Indian people.” – Leonard Peltier.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT THANKSGiViNG By Yo’Nas Da Lonewolf-McCall Muhammad

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“So let us be very careful when we think we know our ancestors and our history.  Let us not be captivated by romanticism or  the movie-making of Hollywood or particularly the patriarchal conquerors who would re-write history for the sake of their legacies as they white-wash their misdeeds, greed and exploitation.”

www.examiner.com

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www.youtube.com

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Russell Means Speaks…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J_XhkhkCnM

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‪Mumia Abu-Jamal “Some Who Feel No Reason For Thanksgiving”

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Custer Died For Your Sins – Thank you for the world so sweet

www.youtube.com

A beautiful old Floyd Westerman song, sung here by Daniel Patrick Welch. Look him up–his album for which this is the title track is still available somewhere. Incredibly moving lyrics, very apropos for thanksgiving, modern US history, and any hope for a just world. ..

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Native American history mocked by ignorant culture

www.youtube.com

From Mumia Abu Jamal: Most Americans do not know and do not care to know anything about Native history or culture. What is passed off as Native comes from cartoons, a few racist as hell movies, and totally fictional public school education myths.

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Jensen: How I stopped hating Thanksgiving

www.statesman.com

I have stopped hating Thanksgiving and learned to be afraid of the holiday. Over the past few years a growing number of white people have joined the longstanding indigenous people’s critique of the holocaust denial that is at the heart of the Thanksgiving

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The celebration of land grabs and settler colonialism. Pass the dead bird!http://www.oyate.org/resources/shortthanks.html

www.oyate.org

“Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”by Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly SlapinRevised 06/12/06 What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is s…

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Kids Reenact The First Thanksgiving With Smallpox Blankets And Whiskey (VIDEO)

www.huffingtonpost.com

How did the Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving? According to these adorable young history buffs, with blankets covered in smallpox.

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‎”George Washington orders, 1779: “lay waste all the Iroquois settlements…not be merely overrun but destroyed…You will not listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements…Our FUTURE SECURITY will be in THEIR INABILITY TO INJURE US…& in the TERROR with which the severity of the chastise…ment they receive will inspire them.” “Preventive” war using terror!!”

Terror and Preventive War are “American” Values | S. Brian Willson

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Happy Indigenous Solidarity Day!

Tomorrow 12:30am at Everywhere

The injustices that Native Americans face today are varied. Some, including poverty, health care, education, and violence against women, affect many others in United States, but are exacerbated in Native Americans’ case because of jurisdictional issues and historic marginalization. Other justice issues, including tribal sovereignty, and certain immigration issues and violations of religious liberty, are unique to the Native American experience. Source: http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/issues/economicracial/nativeamerican/index.shtml

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=146529988728130 Happy  Indigenous Solidarity Day

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National Day of Mourning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Mourning_(United_States_protest)

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Thanksgiving and Forgotten Genocide: Brainwashing in American Textbooks by Jehanzeb Dar

http://muslimreverie.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/thanksgiving-and-forgotten-genocide-brainwashing-of-american-textbooks/

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By Elise Hendrick

Opportunism makes strange bedfellows. How else can Jeff Blankfort’s prominence in what is supposedly a Palestinian solidarity movement be explained?

The Lobby Hypothesis

Blankfort’s basic claim is that a Jewish Lobby has absolute control over US policy in the Middle East. This is hardly a novel claim – it’s been advanced by various congressional Republicans and mainstream hawks like Walt and Mearsheimer, who claim that The Lobby is the reason that the US deviate from their general foreign policy of support for “democracy” when it comes to the Middle East, and that the Lobby is harming “national interests”.

There are, however, some obvious problems with this theory, which I will outline only briefly, as they have been discussed in great detail elsewhere. If we are to assume that The Lobby is the driving force behind US Mid-East policy, in particular of US support for the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine, it is useful to ask a few basic questions:

  1. Does US policy in the Middle East differ in any fundamental, qualitative way from US policy anywhere else in the world (i.e., is US policy towards Israel, Palestine, and the rest of the region unique in the annals of US foreign policy)?
  2. Are there any other interests within the US that might benefit from US support for Israeli militarism?
  3. What happens when Israeli policies conflict with US strategic interests?
  4. Based on the overall US record, could we reasonably expect the US to pursue a policy of supporting the human rights of Palestinians if it were not for The Lobby?

One might further ask how one defines “national interests”, and whether a discourse of “national interests” is necessarily a good thing for Palestinian rights.

The answer to the first question is a resounding NO. The essentials of US Middle East policy – supporting murderous dictators, racist regimes, illegal military occupations, rampant violations of human rights and international law, and acts of aggression and genocide – characterise not only US policy in the Middle East, but US policy virtually everywhere else. The US installed and decisively supported the genocidal Suharto regime in Indonesia, which celebrated its inauguration by slaughtering between half a million and a million Indonesian peasants (often based on US-supplied hit lists), and went on to invade and occupy East Timor, carrying out a decades-long bloodbath (politely ignored in the US corporate media) that killed as much as one fifth of the population of that small, defenceless country. US support for genocidal regimes includes decisive support for Saddam Hussein’s slaughter of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s, Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s, the mass slaughter of the indigenous people of Guatemala (lasting almost half a century), and its own genocidal warfare against Indochina, from which that region has yet to recover. Clearly, then, US policy towards Israel and Palestine is best characterised as highly consistent with US policy elsewhere. It is hard to sustain the idea that the dark machinations of an all-powerful lobby are the driving force behind a policy of doing basically the same thing everywhere in the world.

The answer to the second question is an obvious YES. Certainly, the US has an interest – going beyond the obvious commercial benefits – in controlling the Middle East’s oil reserves, which have been deemed by US planners to be the key to world domination going back to the end of the Second World War. Obviously, US oil corporations aren’t exactly hurting from this arrangement, either. Additionally, US military aid to Israel – 75% of which ends up in the pockets of US arms manufacturers – helps spur on a regional arms race, ensuring constant demand, and thus constant profits. Moreover, Israel is virtually the only state in the region that has little to no danger of being “infected” by “radical [i.e., independent] Arab nationalism”. Mubbarak & Co. might be overthrown tomorrow, but there’s no chance of Israel being a base for resurgent Nasserism.

As for the third question, when US interests conflict with Israeli policies, US interests consistently prevail. It is first important to remember that US interests do not include “ideological slogans about human rights”, as George Kennan put it half a century ago. From a strategic standpoint, the US couldn’t really care less what happens to the Palestinians. However, the US does care – to name just one example – about whether the Chinese government get their hands on classified US technology, and when Israel tried to make a deal to do just that, the US put a stop to it with a few phone calls and a well-timed snubbing. A deal like this is not a small matter for Israel. Israeli strategists have long been ambivalent about the exclusivity of the US-Israeli “special relationship”, and Israel certainly has a long-term interest in reducing its dependency on US armaments in order to ensure maximum manoeuvring room on policy. Losing the China deal, thus, was a real blow. One might have expected The Lobby to attack the US government for doing such harm to Israeli interests. One would have been wrong.

If The Lobby is truly the driving force behind US support for the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians, the answer to the fourth question – whether the US would truly support Palestinian human rights if it weren’t for The Lobby – would have to be YES. This does not rise to the level of a bad joke, as even a cursory glance at US policy elsewhere demonstrates. The US has enthusiastically supported and engaged in genocide and ethnic cleansing all over the world, from the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, to the Timorese, to the Mayas of Guatemala, to the indigenous peoples of Paraguay, to the people of Indochina, and, last but not least, the genocide by which ‘The West [not to mention the East, South, North, and Midwest] Was Won’. Proponents of the Lobby Hypothesis do not even attempt to explain why the US would care more about Palestinians than about the millions of others whose slaughter they have supported.

As for “national interests”, the first problem is conceptual. Can we really claim, with any validity, that all people within “the nation” have the same interests, that unemployed auto workers have the same interests as the owners of auto companies, that the working class base of the US military has the same interests as the CEO of Halliburton? Of course not. “National interests” is a meaningless, obfuscatory concept. However, even if it were not, a discourse of “national interests” would be of little help to the Palestinians. What benefit do they confer on “the nation”? Moreover, if we accept “national interests” as the basis of the Palestinian solidarity movement, the movement would, by definition, have to end if it were ever conclusively proven that “national interests” are harmed by enforcing the human rights of Palestinians. Clearly, the Palestinians cannot hope to find reliable friends amongst those who base their advocacy on imagined “national interests”.

In other words, in order to sustain the Lobby Hypothesis, we must essentially forget all we know about US history and foreign policy. This sort of willful ignorance, while not particularly helpful to the Palestinians, is quite useful for those who simply want to improve the effectiveness of US imperialism. By placing all of the blame on an all-powerful lobby, they give US planners a ready-made alibi for their crimes against the Palestinian people: “The lobby made me do it!” Moreover, this hypothesis ensures that activism will miss one of the most important targets: the US government, and focus instead narrowly on Israel. This would be a serious tactical error – if activism is aimed solely at increasing the cost of the occupation for Israel, the US can easily find ways of counteracting those costs through extensive aid. Only by targeting not only Israel, but also the US government – without which none of these crimes would be possible – and US institutions that profit directly from the oppression of Palestinians can we hope to be effective in our work for Palestinian rights.

Blankfort’s Dishonesty

Blankfort’s contribution to this rather dubious theory – though even it is hardly original – is to respond to those who take issue with his claims by suggesting that they are of Jewish ancestry.

And yet, Blankfort is given a forum by blogs that otherwise seem to have some degree of quality control. MondoWeiss, for example, which often publishes quality material on the Israel-Palestine conflict (apart from Weiss’ obsession with “dual loyalty” and the Lobby Hypothesis) even went so far as to suggest that an interview between Ali Abunimah and Blankfort signified “a sense of a torch being passed here, or of the older left not being suited for the new conversation about Israel/Palestine.”

It is perhaps worthwhile to ask to whom this metaphorical torch is being passed.

Blankfort has made attacking Chomsky his life’s work. By this, I do not mean criticising Chomsky’s views, but actively, consistently, and knowingly misrepresenting them. In the torch-passing interview, for example, Blankfort claimed that Chomsky had never written about the role of US trade unions in calling for US support for Israeli militarism. This claim, as anyone who has read up to page 30 of The Fateful Triangle will know, is patently false. In that 1983 book, Chomsky discusses the role of trade unions at some length, and points out the flaws in the Lobby Hypothesis, which Blankfort also claimed Chomsky hasn’t written about. In other words, there are only two possibilities: Either Blankfort makes claims despite being ignorant of the facts, or he makes claims knowing full well that they contradict the facts.

Since this was my first encounter with Blankfort, I became curious, and discovered that his misrepresentations in the Abunimah interview were not isolated. Jeremy Hammond – whose masochism in delving into the Blankfort Bog greatly outstrips my own – has documented extensive distortions of Chomsky’s actual record that Blankfort demonstrably knows to be false. For example, that Blankfort has distorted Chomsky’s statements about Salam Fayyad’s pursuit of “sound and sensible policies” that seek to lay the groundwork for a de facto Palestinian state (something Chomsky describes, using a popular Zionist expression, as “creating facts on the ground”) to claim that Fayyad is “a favorite of both Washington and Israel and, it would appear, Chomsky”.

What is the proof that Blankfort knew that he was misrepresenting Chomsky’s statement in the interview? ‘Blankfort himself participated [in the interview in question] as well, having called in to the live program.’

In order to support his claims that Chomsky is involved in ‘damage control’ for Israel, Blankfort has quoted that statement by Chomsky in an interview on Israeli TV that ‘I don’t regard myself as a critic of Israel. I regard myself as a supporter of Israel.’ When Hammond noted in comments to a piece defending Blankfort on Dissident Voice that “Chomsky means he is opposed to Israeli crimes against Palestinians when he says he is “a supporter of Israel”, Blankfort’s terse response, in its entirety, was:

“DON’T AGREE. HE DID NOT QUALIFY HIS STATEMENT TO THE ISRAELI INTERVIWER [sic] BY SAYING THAT WHEN HE COULD HAVE.”

The problem is that Chomsky did qualify it, in the very next sentence:

“The people who are harming Israel, in my opinion, it’s what I’ve said many times, are those who claim to be supporting it. They are helping [to] drive Israel towards moral degeneration and possible ultimate destruction. I think support for Israel should be support for policies which are for its benefit.”

This distinction, of which Blankfort must certainly be aware if he is as familiar with Chomsky’s work as he claims to be, dates back at least to a passage in the first chapter of The Fateful Triangle (p. 4 of the 1999 updated edition), which merits quoting in full:

These remarks will be critical of Israel’s policies: its consistent rejection of any political settlement that accommodates the national rights of the indigenous population; its repression and state terrorism over many years; its propaganda efforts, which have been remarkably successful – much to Israel’s detriment in my view – in the United States. But this presentation may be misleading, in two respects. In the first place, this is not an attempt at a general history; the focus is on what I think is and has been wrong and what should be changed, not on what I think has been right. Secondly, the focus on Israeli actions and initiatives may obscure the fact that my real concern is the policies that have been pursued by the U.S. government and our responsibility in shaping or tolerating these policies. To a remarkable extent, articulate opinion and attitudes in the U.S. have been dominated by people who describe themselves as “supporters of Israel,” a term that I will also adopt, though with much reluctance, since I think they should more properly be called “supporters of the moral degeneration and ultimate destruction of Israel,” and not Israel alone. Given this ideological climate and the concrete U.S. actions that it has helped to engender, it is natural enough that Israeli policies have evolved in their predictable way. Perpetuation of these tendencies within the U.S. and in U.S.-Israel relations portends a rather gloomy future, in my view, for reasons that I hope will become clearer as we proceed. If so, a large measure of responsibility lies right here, as in the recent past.

(emphasis supplied, footnote omitted).

In other words, Chomsky’s distinction between what he considers real supporters of Israel (i.e., critics of criminal Israeli policies) and those who “should more properly be called ‘supporters of the moral degeneration and ultimate destruction of Israel’ is not a new point. Just to hammer this home, Chomsky puts the phrases ‘support for/supporters of Israel’ in inverted commas throughout the book.

Now, it is certainly possible that Blankfort is simply not as familiar with Chomsky’s writings as he holds himself out to be, and that he was just unaware of Chomsky’s deconstruction of the notion of ‘support for Israel’ at the very beginning of his best-known book on the subject, but the fact remains that Chomsky made the very same point, albeit more briefly, in the very next sentence in the very interview that Blankfort quotes. Thus, Blankfort’s claim that Chomsky “DID NOT QUALIFY HIS STATEMENT” can only be characterised as a lie.

Why, then, to return to the initial question, do people who otherwise show some discernment in their editorial decisions, associate themselves with the likes of Blankfort? Blankfort’s writings contain nothing novel, original, unique, or even intellectually honest. He has an irrational vendetta against Chomsky for reasons unknown, and is willing to lie outright in order to discredit him. One of Blankfort’s most common responses to criticism is to make insinuations about his critics’ ancestry, deflecting, for example, from Jeremy Hammond’s questions about obvious contradictions in Blankfort’s claims with the following remarks:

You know how it is with names. Hammond could be Protestant, Quaker, Methodist, Catholic, or, in this case, I suspect Jewish. And why? It seems that only Jews, thus far, have become hysterical over my critique of Chomsky which will come back to haunt them when they wish people to take them seriously.

Blankfort is, to be blunt, an asshole, and arguably a racist one at that. The only explanation why an unoriginal, dishonest, racist asshole like Blankfort is allowed to bring discredit on the Palestinian solidarity movement is that the movement (or at least some segments of it) has developed something of a habit of embracing assholes. When you’re already embracing imperialists like Walt and Mearsheimer, as well as racists like Pat Buchanan (who regularly excoriated opponents of original-flavour apartheid), Gilad Atzmon, and Paul Craig Roberts, what’s one more addition to the list? The response one invariably gets when this issue is raised is that “We may not agree on everything, but [whoever it is] opposes the occupation, and that’s all that matters”.

No, it bloody well isn’t. It’s one thing to encourage a healthy pluralism within a movement; it’s quite another to align oneself with people whose goals and ideologies (one hopes, anyway!) are diametrically opposed to one’s own, just because of an agreement-in-principle on one part of an overall issue. While this is quite beneficial to people like Blankfort and Buchanan, who would much prefer to be thought of as supporters of human rights than as proto-fascist reactionaries, it is toxic to a movement that is based on human rights and opposition to racism. While Buchanan, Roberts, Blankfort et al. get a reputation upgrade by association with the movement for Palestinian human rights, the movement itself can only be harmed by association with people like Buchanan, Blankfort, and Roberts. Assholes get legitimised, the movement gets delegitimised, everybody – especially the Palestinians – loses. That is the danger of opportunism.

http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2010/08/06/jeff-blankfort-and-the-tender-embrace-of-opportunism

Élise Hendrick is a translator, writer, and editor based in Cincinnati, OH, US.

http://www.elisehendrick.com/?page_id=2

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and one demo, against racist Aryanzona!!!

Busy day L.A.!!!!

Come join BDS LA for Justice in Palestine and others today, Monday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Israel Consulate at 6380 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90048-5071 to protest Israel’s unlawful attack on unarmed civilians and to call for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. There will also be a second rally at 4:30 p.m. at the same location (organized by Al Awda).

also,

Date:Monday, May 31, 2010Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pmLocation: Dodgers Stadium. Sunset and Elysian Park (Under the “This Is My Town” Billboards)Street: Sunset Blvd. and Elysian Park AveCity/Town: Los Angeles, CA

same struggle same fight!

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Fiesta Shalom, in celebration of Israel’s 61 years of colonialism, will take place on Sunday at the restored Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles. It promises to be a celebration of Jewish and Latino culture.

This event includes students from LAUSD, involved in LAUSD programs, such as the Roosevelt HS mariachis!!! (With all the insistence that UTLA members exercise “balance” when discussing the issue of Palestinian human rights, one has to ask: what balance is there when school children are encouraged to participate in a propagandistic event as part of a school sanctioned activity!!!!) 

What follows are links for more information.

So far Quetzal has pulled out of the program, citing misinformation when it was first invited. 

here is their letter:

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

But…..

Richard Montoya from Culture Clash (isn’t THAT ironic!) is master of ceremonies.

Self Help Graphics, Arte Calidad and Plaza de la Raza will be providing a workshop!!!!

Danza Floricanto will be performing

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=51208&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=66057788721&aid=-1&id=1686616023&oid=66057788721

Contact info to encourage them to boycott:

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Arte Calidad Cultural Institute
519 S. Hewett St.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90013
(213) 617-0696
t.dominguez@artecalidad.org

To Contact Danza Floricanto/USA:

Please send email to: 
floricanto@earthlink.net

Plaza de la Raza:
information@plazadelaraza.org

Self Help Graphics:
info@selfhelpgraphics.com

I could not find contact info for Culture Clash. 

My letter:

I am very disappointed that you will be participating in the upcoming event “Fiesta Shalom” which celebrates Israeli “Independence” and is sponsored by the Israeli Consulate. 

Israel is a colonial settler state, with an apartheid system of segregation, with specific privileges granted on the basis of religious/ethnic identity. Israeli brutality against the indigenous Palestinian population has been well documented. 

Currently Palestinian cultural, community, educational and labor groups have called for a cultural boycott of Israel. 

Joining in this celebration gives legitimacy to Israeli brutality and supremacy. 

Already, Quetzal, who was originally scheduled to perform at this event, has pulled out.

http://www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?tag=fiesta-shalom

As they state in the letter, improved relations between Jewish and Latino communities is a wonderful idea, but co-opting the Latino community in complicity with Israeli war crimes has little to do with improved community relations.

As a Jewish human rights activist, I encourage you to follow Quetzal’s example and withdraw from this event.

In solidarity, 
Emma Rosenthal

the event leaflet:

image001

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Please forward this to ALL Students and Teachers, Youth Organizers


Student and Youth meeting! STOP the ICE RAIDS!!  

Wednesday April 29, 2009 4:00PM


Centro Cultural Francisco Villa
2100 Maple Ave. LA, CA 90011
(corner of 21st and Maple in front of Santee Education Complex)


Students from the Southern California Immigration Coalition are calling for a STUDENT/YOUTH ORGANIZING MEETING for the May Day march! ALL STUDENTS/YOUTH ARE WELCOMED!!

Students will be organizing a student contingent for the May 1st March being organized by the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) and will then continue meeting after May 1st to build the student component of the SCIC! This student movement will work to mobilize students (High School, college…etc) and youth to integrate themselves into the mass based movement being advanced by the SCIC that now has nearly 70 organizations that support the work.

Please make the effort to attend this meeting or send a representative from your school or organization. Please come and pick up free T-shirts for the students/youth in your organizations to get them ready for the march this Friday (May 1st) at 1:00PM at Olympic and Broadway!!  


For more info please contact the SCIC at 323-602-3480
http://www.immigrationcoalition.org

Ron Gochez
Social Justice Educator/Community Organizer

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Emma’s Notes (Joaquin’s message to follow)

One of the most important lessons of my early activism: when i was 16, working in the dc boycott house, which attracted a number of activists from a variety of tendencies, came from a veteran black panther, named paul (i forget his last name.) he left the house one night when people started passing around a joint. — naive enough (and lucky enough) not to consider the consequences to the entire movement, had we been caught in the boycott house with that material. later he told me he left because it was his policy never to provide a pretext for the police. his advice really stayed with me and i am sure, in my years of activism has kept me out of a lot of trouble, including a recently served search warrant on our home, where no drugs, weapons or other evidence of illegality were found. (these intrusion have the chilling effect on one’s activism that they are intended to have, and at least in our case found a period of private reflection and isolation was necessary. we too have had to hold back from issuing a statement, but expect to very soon, necessitated even more by the gossip and opportunism of alleged progressives, who having found out about this very private experience, took it upon themselves to use our situation to their own small political advantage.) serious activists must practice revolutionary discipline, which i think is what joaquin means when he says he would not have a loaded gun, that that is what he would do differently. these are the small errors that can have huge consequences. not that he did anything ethically wrong, just that as activist, we are under such scrutiny that we have to maintain a level of legality (to the extent possible without compromising real struggle) that other citizens might not. (any difference of opinion i may have with him about the decision to use guns in his battle with the state, are tactical, not ethical. to consider it an ethical decision, is to ignore the immense power of the apparatus we are up against, and its incredible fire power.) we also experienced the betrayal of members of the movement: (an extension of the sell out to zionist pressure within the teachers’ union, several years ago.) to attempt to keep andy from speaking up for human rights, even when it raises issues (such as palestinian human rights) that make people uncomfortable or expose divisions and at the very lease, demand dialogue. it is truly the difference between liberal, feel good, guilt based politics, and movements for real and profound revolutionary change. it is a sad reflection on members of the “left” that they would determine their support of joaquin based on his decision to carry a gun, even more hypocritical since such a decision is also a constitutional right, a legal right. in a city where the police notoriously violate human rights, in a country, the belly of the beast, the most powerful military in the world, a left that repeatedly “honors the troops” finds fault with an activist for possession of one weapon, one legal weapon. it is the romanticization of activism, and an extreme double standard: the romanticization of armed struggle when it is far away, or in the past, or focuses on a cult hero. one wonders, do they forget that nelson mandela, che guevara, fidel castro, malcolm x all used and carried weapons? are malcolm and che more than t-shirt logos? it is a double standard to call for supporting the troops or celebrating and approving obama as commander in chief of the largest imperial military force the world has known, and simultaneously not support our own comrades in the streets of los angeles when targeted by the police state apparatus? if it was wrong for joaquin to carry a gun in his trunk, what about the weapons carried by the agents of repression that searched and seized his car and arrested him? what about the huge arsenals of the u.s. military, or the military power and brutality of israel, the largest client state of the u.s. empire? do these liberals underestimate, fail to understand the attack on our own communities, as well as indigenous communities around the world (including the palestinians, who not the cause du jour, were expendable when personal prestige and power would have been the only casualty to liberal activists?) the daily violence committed by the state against the people, on so many levels: health care, education, social services, incarceration, housing or that these deficiencies kill more than guns? is activism any more than a game of prestige, awards ceremonies and board of directors positions? do they understand that their petty gossip can cost lives, can also kill, their lack of discipline, of personalization becomes a powerful weapon too? -=in service to the state, the apparatus they claim they want to deconstruct? in solidarity,

Emma Rosenthal Cafe Intifada!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Reflection on “the Left” and my Arrest

by Joaquin Cienfuegos

I wanted to write this piece to update people on my arrest for the felony “Unlawful Possession of an Assault Riffle” case and to share with people my position on the entire matter. I wanted to send this out sooner but people would like to use this position paper against me, but I feel like the reflection is necessary regardless. I also want to take some time to reflect on other things that I’ve been thinking about regarding the movement as a whole.

 I am currently completing 200 hours of community service and one year summary probation (if I complete my community service within one year, otherwise I will do two years summary probation). Part of the deal they gave me was that they kept my legally purchased semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle, and destroy it. They also dropped my felony charge to a misdemeanor: possession of a loaded weapon. I took this deal due to the fact that there was a chance if I lost this case I would do 19 months to 3 years in a state penitentiary. Even though my position has always been that we need to organize where we are at, from the street block to the cell block, I have too many responsibilities in my community, including my priority at this point which is my family responsibilities. Therefore I rather not risk being captured by the state and go behind enemy lines in their prisons. I took this deal and I am continuing to organize with the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and Cop Watch Los Angeles – Guerrilla Chapter.

I should also start by thanking everyone who supported me in this legal battle, those who helped bail me out, and those who helped raise the money to pay the folks back that lent us money to bail me out. We were able to raise 2,000 dollars, thanks to individual donations from people, events at universities (like Cal State Northridge and Cal State Humboldt). We also thought that we would have to raise most of the money a the 1st Annual Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, but thankfully the funds were raised before then. The money raised at the bookfair went to the Southern California Library, the Bookfair Collective (for next year’s bookfair), Anarchist People Of Color in L.A., and to start a defense fund. Currently I’m still paying off my lawyer, and hoping we can continue to build on a defense strategy and fund, because we understand this is the nature of the state, and until we get rid of it, those with institutional power will continue to repress the movement. The majority of the support I received came from anarchists internationally, and that I am grateful for. Thank you for the world of support comrades. People of color in the U.S. as well gave a great deal of love, during the time of my arrest and legal battle.

 I think that my arrest raised a lot of important questions, and it seemed like the dividing line for some activists was the fact that I had a gun. The question was why did I have a loaded semi-automatic weapon on me. A lot of liberals did not support me because of this reason, but personally my life is more precious than the support of liberals and gun-control leftists. The facts were that the police stopped me because they profiled me, it is legal to carry a weapon in the trunk of your vehicle, I just happened to have it loaded. This is probably the only thing I would have changed, I would have kept the ammunition separate from the rifle. The police searched my car illegally, and try to put a felony charge on me (by saying that this rifle is illegal in California, even though it was legally purchased at a Outdoors’ store). They couldn’t pin this on me so they dropped it to a misdemeanor, “possession of a loaded weapon.” During the investigation they brought a weapons expert who had only looked at pictures and claimed it was an assault rifle and they tried to find out if I had links to any gangs in Los Angeles.

This really made me reflect on many things. I don’t think it matters if you say you’re a leftist, progressive, or whatever, if you intend to side with the state and do the job of the police. When there are people who are coming under attack, not just me, but all the other political prisoners who have done years and decades, and you have these activists siding with the state on whether they might have done something wrong. First of all, this is a settler-colonialist system, and doesn’t have the authority to try us because this system is not legitimate in my opinion. When in Los Angeles last year the law enforcement agencies killed over 40 people, we have to begin to realize that they have waged war on indigenous, people of color/colonized people, and this genocidal war has been going on for 500 years really. So when the police have the right to murder any of us and get away with it, how is it wrong for anyone to carry a registered weapon? So it doesn’t matter if anyone is from the left or from the right, what matters is who gets in the way of the oppressed when fighting for a better world, and in the way of the people taking their lives and communities back. There are many people who are doing the work of the police, snitching, informing, and straight just being busters by siding with the enemies of the people, who rather commit acts of violence against the people than defend them. That is what is now called horizontal violence, and this is something we have to deal with as well.

 People should arm themselves legally, politically, and with an understanding that we are trying not to create a culture of the gun, but this is only one tactic in self-defense of our people and our community. Unfortunately, it is a necessary element in the survival of our communities and peoples at this point. I have to agree with Franz Fanon, “Violence, is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.” Again, to me it self-defense is a necessary tactic in safe guarding our communities and our people from the state. When a community is building anything that poses a real threat to the state and the system, they will try to destroy it. So the communes will need to set up people’s militias and other mechanisms to protect itself from the fascists (learning from the Spanish Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and even just from our own experiences with the Counter Intelligence Program and the Patriot Act).

 Also to speak to the fact that maybe we do pose a threat, not only to the state but to some organizations who are in bed with the state. This has become clear to me, on several occassions, which includes May Day 2007. Where some of those organizations came out and blamed Cop Watch L.A., the youth and anarchists, for the police repression, similar to the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886 (the first May Day, where eight anarchist organizers were blamed for police murder and repression). These organizations (mainstream non-profits and non-governmental organizations), play the role of house-slaves in the movement today. Their organizing is done in a way that is suitable for the state and poses no threat to the oppressive system as a whole. To keep their position and be in good with their masters, these organizations side with the state in isolating the more radical youth, anarchists, and “problem activists.” To keep their status as a large non-profits with good funding, they work with the state in keeping tabs on thes radical youth organizations. They speak of immigration reform that leaves out these same youth who are being targeted by the police, and work with the state as well as developers to further gentrify communities of color.

 I personally saw how the system works from inside the Los Angeles County Jail, and it was enough time to realize that we have a lot of work to do internally. This is a bigger challenge to me, than convincing people on why I had a rifle inside the trunk of my car. As a revolutionary I do think I have to be more careful, but to paraphrase Ricardo Flores Magon, “We Revolutionary Anarchists have to be Outlaws,” we have fight these injustices at all cause even and that means breaking the laws that are put in place to keep us in control and in check. Their oppressive institutions which have no place in our communities are also legitimate targets in my opinion. > This is a challenge on anyone who wants to create a better world.

Always in Struggle.

Autonomy, Land and Liberty.

All Power Through the People.

*Recently I was stopped by the North East Division of the Los Angeles Police Department for not having a light on the plates of my car, they pulled me out and handcuffed me and asked me if I had any M-16’s in the car. They then searched my car, and did not find any “drugs or weapons,” but told me they could arrest me. They released me then but impounded my car, even though I had an abstract from court saying I can drive. It seems like they ran my plates and saw my previous arrest, so they profiled me based on that. They did search my back pack, and saw fliers for the organizations I am part of. This happened on Wednesday, April 08, 2009

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In reference to my letter to the Jewish Journal:
To: emmarosenthal@earthlink.net
Subject: Thanks from the writer of the Jewish Journal article
Date: Mar 28, 2009 1:57 AM
Emma:
 
Thank you for your astute comments about my article. As you can imagine, I received a lot of mail about it (as did the Jewish Journal), but no one got it quite as clearly as you did.
 
Roberto Loiederman

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