Time for an Awakening Media host the The 90 minute Black Power Roundtableon Friday, October 30th. The Friday evening discussion was moderated by Eric Keith Grimes/Brother
- Sekou Odinga
- Dr. Tyrene Wright
- Dr. Kmt G. Shockley
- Prof. Carl Tone Jones
- Empress Phile Chionesu
- Baba Imhotep
- Sister Natacha
- Brother Tommy
- Sister Lavinia
- Tory Russell
- Brother Oba
- Sister Afia**
You Might also like
By Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
By Obi Egbuna Jr Simunye
During an interview with Playboy magazine in January of 1965 conducted by the author of the book later adapted to a television mini-series “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, Mr Alex Haley posed the following question to the internationally renowned civil and human rights champion Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Do you feel that the African Nations, in turn, should involve themselves more actively in American Negro affairs? The epic answer by Dr King was as follows “I do indeed. The world is now so small in terms of geographic proximity and mutual problems that no nation should idly stand by and watch another’s plight.
“I think that at every possible instance Africans should use the influence of their governments to make it clear that the struggle of their brothers in the US is part of a worldwide struggle. In short, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, for we are tied together in a garment of mutuality. What happens in Johannesburg affects Birmingham, however indirectly. We are descendants of the Africans. Our heritage is Africa. We should never break the ties, nor should the Africans.”
Because this compelling answer by Dr King has both theoretical and practical implications, we are historically obligated to address the following questions, the first would naturally be, is there an African head of state bold enough to agree to raise the issues of so-called African Americans?, the second would be, would so-called African Americans come to their defence when they incur the wrath of US-EU Imperialism for taking such a bold and visionary stand?
The last and perhaps most formidable question would be, are so-called African-Americans courageous enough to even approach and engage an African head of state whose character and policies have been completely maligned by US-EU Imperialism?
As this year marks the 40th anniversary of what could be labeled Mother Africa’s most devastating political tragedy, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah’s government being overthrown by the CIA-orchestrated coup alongside British intelligence; It must be stated that Mr Haley’s question to Dr King is indeed two-fold.
The other part must address how so-called African-Americans deal with US policy on Africa. This shameful atrocity was committed while Dr King and his wife Coretta Scott King were dinner guests of the most Honourable Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, at his private residence in Chicago.
Another historical irony was that Osagyefo was on the way to Hanoi to present a proposal to end the Vietnam War, which as we know voicing his displeasure concerning this issue ultimately cost Dr King his life.
Since Dr King ended Mr Haley’s question by stressing the importance of never breaking the ties between African born in Mother Africa and so-called African Americans born inside US borders, it is only fair to begin by analysing how Dr King’s closest confidants, in particular and the Civil Rights movement in general, along with organised formations who consider the distinguished fighters and groups from this era their inspiration for being involved, have dealt with US-EU Policy on Zimbabwe.
Shortly before the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2003, former US Congressman Reverend Walter Fauntroy had visited Harare and was granted the opportunity to have a private audience with President Mugabe. During this discussion, Reverend Fauntroy made a verbal commitment to use the platform of the march to raise the issue of US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, the reason President Mugabe was pleased to explore this strategy was, not one member of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against the sanctions.
The end result was, at no point during the march did Reverend Fauntroy mention a need to make Zimbabwe an issue of importance.
In a private capacity, Reverend Fauntroy stated he felt that it was rather odd that African countries with a revolutionary pedigree like Zimbabwe, hired Caucasian-owned and run law firms to do their public relations and consulting without even considering people like him for the job. In April of 2014 and January 2015, two so-called African Americans, Prince Asiel Ben Israel and C Gregory Turner, were sent to prison for failure to register as agents for a foreign government.
Mr Ben Israel pled guilty and was sentenced to seven months in prison, while Mr Turner pleaded not guilty received 15 months in prison under the guise of illegally lobbying to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
According to the prosecutors, Mr Ben Israel and Mr Turner were to receive $3,4 million to lobby for the lifting of the sanctions. Without debating the accuracy of this point, the fundamental question still has to be raised with Reverend Fauntroy, Mr Ben Israel and Mr Turner, should President Mugabe and zanu-pf have to pay a king’s ransom to so-called African Americans to get them to fight to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe?
Zimbabweans still are trying to put behind them the shameful and unacceptable manner that former US Congressman Mel Reynolds came to Zimbabwe and attempted to con government officials into believing he could had the influence to help build a Hilton Hotel in Zimbabwe.
It must not be forgotten that Mr Reynolds was introduced to President Mugabe by Reverend Jesse Jackson in New York City at the UN General Assembly.
The day before this meeting, Reverend Jackson had audience with the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai, who attempted to come to the US and upstage President Mugabe’s delegation at the UN, even though he was part of the inclusive government at that particular time.
When highlighting his conversation with the Press that were part of President Mugabe’s delegation, Reverend Jackson admitted that it was an error on his part not to use his historic campaigns for the US Presidency not to call on the President Carter as a private citizen and President Reagan to honour the Lancaster House Agreement. Reverend Jackson also admitted that at no point did his organisation, the Rainbow Coalition, actively lobby to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
History will judge what was worse, not fighting to lift sanctions or exposing Zimbabwe to a two bit hustler like Mel Reynolds.
In 2003, the head of the New York office of the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Attorney Michael Hardy had told the former Zimbabwean Ambassador to the US Dr Simbi Mubako, that NAN would like to explore the possibility of creating a humanitarian centre in Zimbabwe. When asked to be part of a delegation to observe the 2005 Parliamentary elections, he stated that NAN would want to meet Mr. Tsvangirai as a precondition for making the trip.
One of Dr King’s closest aides, Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker and a founding member of CORE, Reverend George Houser, who was a recipient of the Oliver Tambo Award from South African President Jacob Zuma in 2010 and founded the American Committee on Africa in 1953, have never called for the lifting of US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Reverend Houser transitioned last August and Reverend Walker also started the Religious Action Network of Africa Action, which is one of the organisations that is guilty of funneling National Endowment for Democracy blood money to 14 civil society groups in Zimbabwe.
Those who have heard President Mugabe reflect on the Lancaster House negotiations know he is extremely fond of Ambassador Andrew Young, who represented the Carter Administration during that engagement process.
As a special envoy for US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador Young met with President Mugabe before the 2013 elections. This was Ambassador Young’s first visit to Zimbabwe since 2003, where he agreed to lobby for the lifting of US-EU sanctions behind closed doors.
After being in power for 36 years, President Mugabe and zanu-pf have come to the realisation that while Dr King’s disciples are very visible and well respected, health, old age and being hostage to the agenda of the Democratic Party prevent them from leading the fight to lift US-EU sanctions to the very end.
The beauty of this is President Mugabe and Zanu-PF may not even be familiar with the comrades leading this fight, which means they are not seeking compensation or recognition
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US correspondent to The Herald and the external relations officer of Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association (ZICUFA).
By Elliot Booker — 12 months ago
“…to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
~ Assata Shakur
For the past 65 years, the United States of America has avoided answering for its continued crimes against humanity, through the strategic use of “window-dressing” reforms, and handpicked “Negro” ambassadors. The use of Black entertainers to protect America’s image against foreign accusations of human rights violations, was a strategy devised by the Eisenhower administration during the Cold War.
When we examine the modern day Criminal Justice Reform movement, it readily exposes itself as another attempt by America, to cover its long trail of human rights abuses. The movement, as currently constructed, was birthed in the early 2000’s by the Brookings Institute, and was meant to serve as a Democratic Party, policy carrot, during the 2004 election. As fate would have it, this initial push for criminal justice reform was drowned out by the sound of the nations war drums, and wouldn’t be picked up again for more than a decade.
During Barack Obama’s 2nd term in office, the issue of Criminal Justice Reform was put back on the table as a strategic policy baton (i.e. hand-off to Hillary Clinton), for succession planning. Rapper Jay Z, having replaced Reverend Al Sharpton, as Black America’s #1 surrogate for the Democratic Party, was at the forefront of the newly revived, Brookings Institute, reform discussions. Serving as Barack Obama’s Chief Hip Hop Ambassador, Jay Z was given unprecedented access to the Democratic Party’s media outlets, to lead the public discussion on the need for reform.
Jay Z, like Eisenhower’s “Jazz Ambassadors” before him, has very little awareness of how his hard-won political capital, within the Black Community, is being mined for the political gold needed to finance the Democratic Party’s domestic and foreign agenda. On the local level, neoliberal criminal justice reform was needed as the policy center-piece for the 2016 presidential platform of Hillary — My Prisoners at the Governor’s Mansion — Clinton.
It was strategic enough, as a policy, to ingratiate Hillary Clinton with the Black community — by presenting it as something she was “doing for us” — while at the same time it could be pitched as non-race-specific policy, to avoid alienating the Democratic Party’s, racist, white voter base.
To add even more weight behind this political gambit, Obama summoned his version of Eisenhower’s “Jazz Ambassadors” to the white house, in the middle of a hotly contested Democratic Primary between HRC and Bernie Sanders, for a so-called “Criminal Justice Reform” summit (4/15/16), which was nothing more than a thinly veiled Hip Hop recruitment gathering for Hillary ’16.
On an international level, it was the strategic cover America needed to drown out the continued claims of human rights violations, as evidenced by the disproportionate number of Black men, and growing number of Black women, being held in America’s political concentration camps.
Enters Meek Mill
The November 2017 sentencing of rapper Robert “Meek Mill” Williams, was the catalyst needed to galvanize Jay Z, the State, and the Democratic Party’s billionaire donor-base, around a single issue: PROBATION REFORM.
The lunacy of Meek Mills arrest and imprisonment, was so outlandish that it made international headlines, positioning Meek as America’s new, most iconic “Political Prisoner,” overnight — The former being, Mumia Abu Jamal.
Meek’s arrest was political gold for the Democratic Party’s reform agenda, because it provided a grassroots movement, that appeared organic enough, to move full steam ahead with neoliberal criminal justice reform. Meek’s release also symbolized just how this new “reform” movement, would be used to drown out advocacy efforts on behalf of Political prisoners.
Just as Obama’s rise to the presidency, forever deafened the cries for justice by African Americans, Meek Mills ascendancy as America’s most iconic political prisoner, has aided in silencing the cry for justice by the Afrikans that have been held captive, since before Meek was born.
Meek’s Cinderella debut, and helicopter ride to the Sixers game, completely overshadowed, Mumia Abu Jamal, who on that same day, was finally back in court for his long awaited hearing to have his case reopened.
Articles you may find interesting: How “Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform” Institutionalizes a Right-Wing, Neoliberal Agenda
But even beyond Mumia, the great tragedy, and injustice of this corporate-owned reform movement, is that it has allowed American policy makers to spin a narrative that U.S. Mass Incarceration is somehow the result of a “broken system,” and not the direct result of neoliberal policies intended to deal with the threat of Black radicalism.
The sad irony here, is that two Black men who are the products of America’s fear of creating a new generation of George Jacksons and Fred Hamptons — Meek Mill & Jay Z — are both having their ignorance weaponized against the same group of political prisoners, who were the impetus for the neoliberal era of Mass Incarceration in America.
That any Black man in America would be willing to entertain a discussion on Prison reform, that doesn’t involve the release of these political prisoners, and the pardon of those still in exile (e.g. Mama Assata Shakur) is the deepest of tragedies.
But even with my deep feelings of betrayal, I still continue to hope that our Brothers Meek Mill & Jay Z, will experience a legitimate awakening, as they had no control over the manufacturing of their consciousness, which has ultimately shaped their character.
In the wake of the generation of George Jacksons and Fred Hamptons, America sort to provide itself with an army of Jay Zs and Meek Mills, from which they could handpick the winners and losers. The consciousness of this new generation of black male youth has been manufactured to embrace hyper capitalism, and rugged individualism. Thoughts of collective struggle, don’t have a chance of entering such a mind, without the light of a proper political education.
“As a slave, the social phenomenon that engages my whole consciousness is, of course, revolution.”
~ George Jackson
This lack of proper analysis, is one of the reasons why Jay Z can name drop scholars like Ruthie Gilmore, to score criminal justice points, but wouldn’t be caught whispering the names of any of our political prisoners, in earshot of his corporate sponsors.
This inability for Jay Z to wrestle with his own contradictions, makes him the perfect running back on behalf of the State, and corporate America’s private interests. Sometimes I ask myself, “does he realize how he’s being used to run interference, or is he blinded by the prestige and corporate deals that come with being useful?”
In no case was this more evident than his “Obama approved” trip to Cuba in 2014. Six-months ahead of Obama publicly announcing that he was easing restrictions on travel to Cuba, Obama skillfully uses his Hip Hop diplomacy to signal a change is US policy with Cuba, the same way Nixon used Ping-pong diplomacy, to signal a change in foreign policy with China.
What was despicable about Jay Z allowing himself to be maneuvered in the interest of US foreign policy, was the Obama Administration also added Assata Shakur to the FBI’s most wanted list, and placed an additional one-million dollar bounty on her head, within one-month of Jay Z’s return from his Hiplomatic excursion to Cuba.
To date, Jay Z has never come out an condemned the Obama Administration, or America, who he assisted with changing their Cold War policy towards Cuba, even as they doubled-down on their Cold War policy towards Assata.
To be fair, I genuinely believe, that both Meek Mill and Jay Z feel they are doing the right thing. The challenge I have with them, is they’ve both shown just how willing they are, to abandon the struggle of their people, when it aligns with their economic interests.
During his visit to the Breakfast Club to discuss “standing up for reform,” Meek Mill was asked by one of the hosts (at the 18:18 mark), if he’s concerned with his activism around prison reform “f*cking with those peoples money?”
All y’all gotta do is give me a warning, I’ll get out y’all way. I aint here to sacrifice my life for everybody… I’m here to sacrifice my life for my family and my son…
This one statement by the famed freedom fighter, sums up the consciousness of an entire generation — where the movement builders of yesterday, have been replaced by the brand builders of today. This notion that I will fight for my people, as long as it comes with corporate endorsements, speaking fees, a one-way ticket to the island of Black excellence — and no resistance from my oppressor, is the prevailing consciousness of our generation.
This cancerous mindset, as well as the aforementioned reasons, is what led me to write this open letter to you (Dr. Shakur). Marcus Garvey once said, “What you do today that is worthwhile, inspires others to act at some future time.” It is my hope that by writing this open letter, it will inspire others to examine and confront their own fears, as I have done my own.
Only time will tell if the island of Black excellence, can be transformed into an edifice of maroon resistance, or if it’ll remain America’s decadent colonization scheme, for it’s newly manumitted slaves — who falsely believe that the chains of mental enslavement can be broken with dollars.
“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”
~ Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey
Post Views: 1,094
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
By: Antone White
The U.S Constitution body of rules and principles endows protections and enforcements of private rights( as to life, liberty and property). The constitution body of rules reposes ultimate power in the people, by the people and for the people of the United States to preserve and maintain a liberty thesis of “Freedom, Justice and Equality”.
The genius of the “Constitution Protection” was established to safeguard its democracy against the will and tyrannical effect of a government to imprison and exercise complete control over its citizens; stemming from the oppression of England’s Star Chamber. The protection ordains that an individual’s life, liberty or property can only be stripped away by due process of law; from results in either a plea of guilt (by the individual) or by a jury of its peers upon proof of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The foundational role of due process is that all citizens have entitlement to a presumption of innocence! Otherwise, a person may not be convicted of a crime unless the government proves them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; without any burden placed on the accused to prove its innocence. Due process grounds citizens’ the right to a trail by jury. Thereby, according to an underlying provision in the “Due Process Clause” of the U.S Constitution, “ no courts, nor any officer of law may presume a person guilty of a crime enough to demand sanctions ( as to life liberty, or property).
However, congress legislated a policy imputed by the United States Sentencing Commission in 1984; the Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines. Spanning three decades, almost four, these guidelines have eroded the foundational tenants of America’s Democracy bringing forth a Jim Crow climate that systematically demoralizes criminal defendants “Constitutional Protection”, at sentencing.
At sentencing, the courts are authorized to consider “relevant conduct” for the purpose of calculating the sentencing guidelines, which may include uncharted crimes that otherwise are inadmissible at trial.Even more, the courts are permitted to extract offenses from acquitted and dismissed charges which consequently nullify principles of the 5th Amendment of the constitution that decrees ..” no person shall be held to answer for an infamous crime, unless on the presentment of an indictment of a Grand Jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.
In a constitutional system that relies upon the jury to stand as a great bulwark and neutral arbiter between criminal defendants and government bent on depriving them of their civic duty; hereof, an axiom adhered by Judge Millet of DC Circuit Court of Appeal:
“Allowing courts at sentencing to materially increase the length of imprisonment based on conduct for which the jury acquitted the defendant guts the role of the jury in preserving individual liberty, and preventing oppression by the government”.
The unfairness perpetuated by the use of uncharged, dismissed, and acquitted conduct to heighten criminal defendants sentences in federal court are uniquely malevolent. As well as a dubious infringement of individuals rights to due process and trial by jury.
Imagine the abhorrent act of a man or woman’s sentence being double, triple or virtually scaled to a lifetime of imprisonment for crimes or otherwise conducts for which they were neither charged nor convicted. One wonders what the reaction of the jury would be if the jurors were told at outset:
“If you convict the defendant on one charge, but deadlock or acquit them on the other count, that the court may utilize a different standard of proof and consequently sentence the defendant as though he was convicted of both “
Would this resonate with the jury as being fair and worthwhile of their time and effort while still respecting the admiration for our system of justice? I sincerely doubt it!
For the constitution to have meaning it must not be pure words we recite but also the words we live by as Dr. Martin Luther King Junior emphasize from Birmingham jail or April 16, 1963.
“An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law”
*For more information on the Star Chamber, read article “Star Chamber: How Secret Courts Fuels Mass Incarceration”Post Views: 1,507