Friday, April 25, 2008

Rally for Justice for Sean Bell

Please come out to the RALLY at the Queens District Attorney's office TODAY at 5:30pm @ 125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.) E or F train to Union Turnpike.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: of deadprez
Date: Apr 25, 2008 10:55 AM

50 shots​!​!​!​ how is that NOT murde​r?​ fuck this syste​m.​.​.

NEW YORK - Three​ detec​tives​ were acqui​tted of all charg​es Frida​y in the 50-​shot killi​ng of an unarm​ed groom​-​to-​be on his weddi​ng day, a case that put the NYPD at the cente​r of anoth​er dispu​te invol​ving alleg​ation​s of exces​sive firep​ower.

Justi​ce Arthu​r Coope​rman deliv​ered the verdi​ct in a Queen​s court​room packe​d with spect​ators​,​ inclu​ding victi​m Sean Bell'​s fianc​ee and paren​ts,​ and at least​ 200 peopl​e gathe​red outsi​de the build​ing.

The verdi​ct provo​ked an outpo​uring​ of emoti​ons:​ Bell'​s fianc​ee immed​iatel​y walke​d out of the room.​ His mothe​r cried​.

Outsi​de the court​house​,​ which​ was surro​unded​ by score​s of polic​e offic​ers,​ many in the crowd​ began​ weepi​ng as news of the verdi​ct said.

Other​s were enrag​ed,​ swear​ing and screa​ming "​Murde​rers!​ Murde​rers!​"​ or "​KKK!​"​

Bell,​ a 23-​year-​old black​ man, was kille​d in a hail of gunfi​re outsi​de a seedy​ strip​ club in Queen​s on Nov. 25, 2006 — his weddi​ng day — as he was leavi​ng his bache​lor party​ with two frien​ds.

Offic​ers Micha​el Olive​r,​ 36, and Gesca​rd Isnor​a,​ 29, stood​ trial​ for mansl​aught​er while​ Offic​er Marc Coope​r,​ 40, was charg​ed only with reckl​ess endan​germe​nt.​ Two other​ shoot​ers weren​'​t charg​ed.​ Olive​r squee​zed off 31 shots​;​ Isnor​a fired​ 11 round​s;​ and Coope​r shot four times​.

The offic​ers,​ compl​ainin​g that pretr​ial publi​city had unfai​rly paint​ed them as cold-​blood​ed kille​rs,​ opted​ to have the judge​ decid​e the case rathe​r than a jury.

The judge​ indic​ated that the polic​e offic​ers'​ versi​on of event​s was more credi​ble than the victi​ms'​ versi​on.​ "The peopl​e have not prove​d beyon​d a reaso​nable​ doubt​ that each defen​dant was not justi​fied"​ in firin​g,​ he said.

A convi​ction​ on mansl​aught​er could​ have broug​ht up to 25 years​ in priso​n;​ the penal​ty for reckl​ess endan​germe​nt,​ a misde​meano​r,​ is a year behin​d bars.

The case broug​ht back painf​ul memor​ies of other​ NYPD shoot​ings,​ such as the 1999 shoot​ing of Amado​u Diall​o — an Afric​an immig​rant who was gunne​d down in a hail of 41 bulle​ts by polic​e offic​ers who misto​ok his walle​t for a gun. The acqui​ttal of the offic​ers in that case creat​ed a storm​ of prote​st,​ with hundr​eds arres​ted after​ takin​g to the stree​ts in demon​strat​ion.

The mood surro​undin​g this case has been muted​ by compa​rison​,​ altho​ugh Bell'​s fianc​ee,​ paren​ts and their​ suppo​rters​,​ inclu​ding the Rev. Al Sharp​ton,​ have held ralli​es deman​ding that the offic​ers — two of whom are black​ — be held accou​ntabl​e.

Still​,​ a phala​nx of polic​e offic​ers,​ some unifo​rmed and some in the depar​tment​'​s commu​nity affai​rs polo shirt​s,​ was stati​oned outsi​de the court​house​ Frida​y.​ The build​ing was ringe​d by metal​ barri​cades​.​ Some in the crowd​ wore butto​ns with Bell'​s pictu​re or held signs​ sayin​g "​Justi​ce for Sean Bell.​"​ After​ the verdi​ct was read,​ some in the crowd​ appro​ached​ offic​ers but were held back;​ the jostl​ing quick​ly died down.

After​ the verdi​ct,​ Polic​e Commi​ssion​er Raymo​nd Kelly​ ackno​wledg​ed that some peopl​e were disap​point​ed with the acqui​ttals​.

"We don'​t antic​ipate​ viole​nce,​ but we are prepa​red for any conti​ngenc​y,​"​ he said.

The nearl​y two-​month​ trial​ was marke​d by deepl​y diver​gent accou​nts of the night​.

The defen​se paint​ed the victi​ms as drunk​en thugs​ who the offic​ers belie​ved were armed​ and dange​rous.​ Prose​cutor​s sough​t to convi​nce the judge​ that the victi​ms had been mindi​ng their​ own busin​ess,​ and that the offic​ers were inept​,​ trigg​er-​happy​ aggre​ssors​.

None of the offic​ers took the witne​ss stand​ in his own defen​se.​ Inste​ad,​ Coope​rman heard​ trans​cript​s of the offic​ers testi​fying​ befor​e a grand​ jury,​ sayin​g they belie​ved they had good reaso​n to use deadl​y force​.​ The judge​ also heard​ testi​mony from Bell'​s two injur​ed compa​nions​,​ who insis​ted the maels​trom erupt​ed witho​ut warni​ng.

Both sides​ were consi​stent​ on one point​:​ The utter​ chaos​ surro​undin​g the last momen​ts of Bell'​s life.

"It happe​ned so quick​,​"​ Isnor​a said in his grand​ jury testi​mony.​ "It was like the last thing​ I ever wante​d to do.


Bell'​s compa​nions​ — Trent​ Benef​ield and Josep​h Guzma​n — also offer​ed drama​tic testi​mony about​ the episo​de.​ Benef​ield and Guzma​n were both wound​ed;​ Guzma​n still​ has four bulle​ts lodge​d in his body.

Refer​ring to Isnor​a,​ Guzma​n said,​ "​This dude is shoot​ing like he's crazy​,​ like he's out of his mind.


The victi​ms and shoot​ers were set on a fatef​ul colli​sion cours​e by a pair of innoc​uous decis​ions:​ Bell'​s to have a last-​minut​e bache​lor party​ at Kalua​ Cabar​et,​ and the under​cover​ detec​tives​'​ to inves​tigat​e repor​ts of prost​ituti​on at the club.

As the club close​d aroun​d 4 a.​m.​,​ Sanch​ez and Isnor​a claim​ed they overh​eard Bell and his frien​ds first​ flirt​ with women​,​ then taunt​ a stran​ger who respo​nded by putti​ng his right​ hand in his pocke​t as if he had a gun. Guzma​n,​ they testi​fied,​ said,​ "Yo, go get my gun" — somet​hing Bell'​s frien​ds denie​d.

Isnor​a said he decid​ed to arm himse​lf,​ call for backu​p — "​It'​s getti​ng hot,​"​ he told his super​visor​ — and tail Bell,​ Guzma​n and Benef​ield as they went aroun​d the corne​r and got into Bell'​s car. He claim​ed that after​ warni​ng the men to halt,​ Bell pulle​d away,​ bumpe​d him and ramme​d an unmar​ked polic​e van that conve​rged on the scene​ with Olive​r at the wheel​.

The detec​tive also alleg​ed that Guzma​n made a sudde​n move as if he were reach​ing for a gun.

"I yelle​d '​Gun!​'​ and fired​,​"​ he said.​ "In my mind,​ I knew (​Guzma​n)​ had a gun.


Benef​ield and Guzma​n testi​fied that there​ were no order​s.​ Inste​ad,​ Guzma​n said,​ Isnor​a "​appea​red out of nowhe​re"​ with a gun drawn​ and shot him in the shoul​der — the first​ of 16 shots​ to enter​ his body.

"​That'​s all there​ was — gunfi​re,​"​ he said.​ "​There​ wasn'​t nothi​ng else.


With tires​ scree​ching​,​ glass​ break​ing and bulle​ts flyin​g,​ the offic​ers claim​ed that they belie​ved they were the ones under​ fire.​ Olive​r respo​nded by empty​ing his semia​utoma​tic pisto​l,​ reloa​ding,​ and empty​ing it again​,​ as the super​visor​ sough​t cover​.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front

We welcome and support the decision by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union for their workers neither to unload nor transport the shipment of Chinese-made armaments destined for Zimbabwe. This is a very encouraging sign of working class solidarity and internationalism, and we hope that such actions will indeed prevent this weapons consignment from reaching its destination - the Zimbabwean Defence Force.

At the same time, if the transport workers should fail, if President Robert Mugabe's friends should find a way to bypass their resistance, all who stand with the Zimbabwean people should be ready to take a stand. Should the action taken by Satawu fail to prevent the armaments from being transported across South African territory to Zimbabwe, we call on all progressive elements across the country to intervene.

On 29 March 2008, parliamentary, presidential and local elections were held in Zimbabwe. This represented the last-gasp attempt of the Movement for Democratic Change to oust the 28-year-old regime of incumbent President Robert Mugabe, after a series of contestations since 2000 had resulted in an impasse.

The results of the parliamentary election show that the MDC has a narrow majority, but the results of the presidential election have been unaccountably delayed – presumably to allow Mugabe's regime to reassert its authority over the masses of the people who have been brutalised and impoverished.

These facts are well known to the world's progressive forces and to those who struggle for economic, social and political justice and equality. Now, in the hour of Mugabe's ultimate betrayal, a new threat has arisen in the form of a shipment of Chinese armaments – including rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 assault rifle rounds and mortars – which, we fear with justification, will be used to forcibly suppress the democratic forces in Zimbabwe, and could lead directly to the murder of thousands of Zimbabwean people.

We are fully aware of the heroic resistance of the Zimbabwean people to racist domination and their successful defeat of the regime of Ian Smith in 1980. This resistance was both pluralistic via the guerrillas of both Zanla and Zipra, and multiracial – even if the majority of white "Rhodesians" chose to abandon their country after independence.

But we are equally aware of the grievous injury done to the cause of the people by Mugabe's paranoia over the years – even if this paranoia was well-founded on apartheid attempts on his own life – and the dead of Matabeleland [1] and the displaced of Operation Murambatsvina [2] cry out for social justice.

Now, with the whole world watching – and the Southern African Development Community vacillating as predicted in its usual ineffective "engagements" – Mugabe has again stolen not only a march on the opposition, but the future of his people.

Journalists are being expelled and election observers have already fled the roost, allowing blood to flow in the streets unseen and unchecked: scanty reports now emerge of torture, murder, evictions, dispossessions and beating.

And now we have caught, red-handed, a Chinese shipment of arms to this regime, a regime that by all accounts is in terminal decline, with the highest inflation rate in the world and an elite that is already displaying the most grotesque elements of social decay imaginable.

We call on all progressive groups, organisations and individuals to physically prevent, whether peacefully or with necessary force, the shipment of arms to one of the world's most despised pariah dictatorships. This call extends to the progressive world community to do whatever they can to bring this to public attention and to prevent possible massacre.

This could include:

Targeting and putting pressure on South African Port Authorities not to allow the consignment to come onto land.

Targeting South African, Chinese and Zimbabwean embassies and diplomatic missions with pickets, protests and other non-violent direct actions - against representatives of these governments - and not the ordinary citizens of these states. (We will not tolerate any actions against Chinese, Zimbabwean or South African people on the basis of their ethnicity and/ or nationality).

Gathering intelligence about the whereabouts, planned route and mode of transport for the armaments, and publicising these.

Blockading these routes in a non-violent manner with an eye to preventing the armaments from reaching their destination.

Blockading the South African border with Zimbabwe should the armaments reach it.

Supporting and sustaining the transport workers in their refusal to unload and transport the weapons
Defending the transport workers and anyone else who faces repression as a result of their efforts to stop the weapons reaching their destination.

Link this struggle directly to global opposition to China's campaign to suppress the Tibetan people and turn the 2008 Olympics into a replica of the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany – where nationalist sporting events were used as a cover for gross human rights abuses.

What we know:

A Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang - owned by the parastatal Chinese Ocean Shipping Company - carrying armaments destined for Zimbabwe has anchored at Durban harbour.

The shipment contains almost three million rounds of ammunitions for small arms and AK-47s, about 3 500 mortars and mortar launchers, as well as 1 500 rockets for rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and is valued at R9,88million.

The ship's cargo documentation was allegedly finalised just 3 days after the Zimbabwean elections.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union has refused to unload or transport the arms consignment, although this does not mean someone else won't.

About 10 Chinese soldiers armed with pistols have been seen with Zimbabwean military officials in Harare.


For further information contact Michael Schmidt, ZACF International Secretary on 082 334-6665 or Jonathan Payn, ZACF Regional Secretary on 084 946-4240


[1] The Matabeleland Massacre, between 1982 - 1983 was an attempt by ZANU-PF on the ethnic cleansing of people of the Ndebele ethno-political group living in the Matabeleland region. An estimated 20 000 people were murdered.

[2] Known in English as Operation Drive Out Trash, Operation Murambastvina was a large scale government campaign to forcibly clear out slum areas, effectively displacing an estimated 2.4 million people.
See http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Operation_Murambatsvina

Postet Suite 47, Private Bag X1, Fordsburg, 2033, South Africa
www. zabalaza. net

Friday, April 11, 2008

Anti-Authoritarianism and the Black Experience: Draft

African Americana study group draft of Anti-Authoritarianism in the Black Experience.

Introduction / What is Anti-Authoritarianism

The Black Experience is one which has found African Americans on the opposite side of America's rapid accumulation of capital. If the process of capital accumulation is a principal motor of modern history, then the brutal exploitation of Blacks, particularly slavery, is what set the wheels in motion. The high rate of exploitation, combined with the expropriation of surplus value from Black labor is not only the cause of America's vast amount of wealth, but also the reason why that wealth is disproportionately allocated.

"America's democratic government and free enterprise system are structured deliberately and specifically to maximize Black Oppression", notes activist and scholar Marable Manning. Capitalist development not only created and maintained institutional racism through it's state apparatus, but inherently depends on it. Consequently, structural inequality did not end after the abolition of slavery, but continued into present times. The Urban League's The State of Black America 2008 executive summary points out that Black unemployment is over 2 times of that as whites, widening an economic divide where three times as many Blacks as whites live below 125% of the poverty line.

This paper however is not a comprehensive reference to the economic, social and political history of Black America; nor is it explanation for the current status and underdevelopment of Black America. It is, instead, a discussion of what we come to understand as key features that have sporadically appeared throughout the Black Liberation Struggle.

African resistance occurred at every stage in American history. Slave rebellions exploded in all corners of the "New World"; from North America to the West Indies to South America. The Civil Rights movement rebelled against Segregation and Jim Crow laws that denied Blacks the most basic of rights. The Black Power Movement further challenged structural inequality and state oppression. At present times the African American community continually finds itself at odds with the State in the form of police brutality and gentrification.

In all cases Liberty, the right to act according to one's own will, were denied from African Americans. The conditions African Americans suffered from the State during these periods developed anti-statist and/or anti-authoritarian tendencies within the community. As CLR James said,"What Negro, particularly below the Mason-Dixon line, believes that the bourgeois state is a state above all classes, serving the needs of all the people? They may not formulate their belief in Marxist terms, but their experience drives them to reject this shibboleth of bourgeois democracy." Ultimately, the Black Experience is one which constitutes an ongoing struggle by African Americans to free themselves from oppression, tyranny, exploitation and control.

We argue that both historically and in the future, anarchistic principles and values play an integral part in the struggle for Black Liberation in the United States. The framework from which we constructed our analysis is twofold: (1)An empirical observation of anarchistic values and practices in the struggle; and (2)to try to explain these occurrences in their proper historical context. Our argument centres on the analysis of the ways in which anarchistic values, such as anti-authoritarianism, have developed within the Black Liberation struggle both by the circumstances of the Black Experience and by certain ideologies and political currents of the times. And although there are obviously vast differences between the main ideologies in the struggle for Black Liberation, we argue that these struggles shared a generalized value of anti-authoritarianism and an acute sense of anti-establishment.

We have to come to realize that anti-authoritarianism is not conditional - it doesn't exist to an "extent", doesn't stop at a point where convenience becomes a factor. Anti-authoritarianism is not an element of a movement - it IS the movement. As such, even though the target of African Americans were anti-authoritarian in nature, there were not always organized along the same values. If the next stage of Black Liberation is to be successful it must fully adopt anti-authoritarianism and other anarchistic values(self-management, solidarity, etc) in practice. We support the development of mass anti-authoritarian organizations controlled by its membership. We advocate this method of self-management in order to counteract bureaucratic or authoritarian tendencies from developing within the organization and movement. In order to fully grasp the reasoning behind this call, Africana people must connect past with present.


Mary Prince in her narrative declared, “All slaves want to be free” and states, “I can tell by myself what other slaves feel, and by what they have told me. The man that says slaves be quite happy in slavery – that they don’t want to be free – that man is either ignorant or a lying person. I never heard a slave say so.”

Mary Prince’s The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself is the earliest know slave narrative by a woman, which highlights the treatment of slaves. It was published in 1831, almost 300 years after the first African slave was transported from the African coast. It is a saga of overwork, abuse and sexual violence that well over 15 million unnamed slaves had experienced during Colonial Slavery.

The practice of slavery existed in many societies, however American chattel slavery developed a more brutal and racial character. Tens of millions of Africans were enslaved and transported to perform unfree labor in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The population of Africa soon became the source of cheap labor needed by Europeans to accumulate capital. It is estimated Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans, not counting the many millions who perished inroute to the Americas. As black historian W.E.B DeBois noted, "It was the rape of a continent seldom if ever paralleled in ancient or modern history".

Legally owned throughout their lives, black labor created the wealth that made economic growth possible in the US and further developed capitalist production. The slaves went unrewarded for the work they were forced to regularly perform. The product of their labor was not owned by them but by their slaveowners. This surplus labor - unpaid labor - was both the source of wealth for the slave owning class and the industrializing North. South Carolina delegate Rawlin Lowndes said, "Without Negroes, this state would degenerate into one of the most contempible in the union..Negroes are our wealth, our only natural resource".

The exploitation of black slave labor was the backbone for US economic activity and prosperity. It was essential then for the US state apparatus to "facilitate the expansion and entrenchment of institutional racism in both slave and non-slave holding states". The Barbados Slave Code of 1661 served as the basis for the slave codes that would be developed in British North America. South Carolina in 1696 passed a law reducing the status of enslaved Africans to that of chattel property and other colonies soon followed. In 1705 Virginia passed a law stating that only people of African descent can be slaves. Similar to the Virginia laws, Kentucky defined enslaved Blacks as real estate legally speaking, with no civil or human rights. The evolution of slave codes further stripped away any protection enslaved and free blacks would have under the law.

The Constitutional Convetion of 1787 was essentially a compromise between the slaveholding class of the South and the monied North. The delegates "chief concern was the the creation of a strong national government that would gurantee property rights - slavery being among them. The convention First, for purposes of electoral represention and taxation slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being. Second, federal authorities were prohibited from interfering with the slave trade before the year 1808. Lastly, states were obliged to return all fugitive slaves to their rightful owners.The ratification of the US Constitution protected the institution of slavery and wove institutional racism into the fabric of American society. White supremacy trumped Black liberty, as various states established laws prohibited blacks from voting, leaving the plantation without certification, owning weapons, and gathering with other blacks for more than four hours. Though these laws were installed essentially to protect the institutions for economic and political prosperity, the underlying cause for their creation in most cases were in fact due to African resistance.

Numerous black slave rebellions and insurrections took place in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. There is documentary evidence of more than 313 uprisings or attempted uprisings of ten or more slaves. Virginia had 84 documented cases of slave insurrections, twice as many Louisiana and South Carolina. As early as 1663 black slaves in Gloucester County, Virginia conspired with white indentured servents to revolt but were betrayed by the servents. The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 was the result of enslaved Africans communicating and conspiring with other enslaved Africans and free blacks. On the night of April, 1712 the men set fire to a building and attacked the white colonists as they tried to put out the flame. Their actions left 9 whites dead and new slave codes to be created prohibiting blacks from carrying firearms andgathering in groups of more than three. The Stono Rebellion was a slave rebellion begun on Sunday, September 9, 1739, in the colony of South Carolina. The rebellion started with a group of 20 before recruiting 60 other slaves. Chanting the word "liberty" as they marched, the group burned seven plantations and killed around 20 whites before being suppressed by a South Carolina militia. The rebellion inspired future slave uprisings in South Carolina and prompted officials to enforce stricter slave codes; prohibiting assembly, movement and education of enslaved blacks. Yet, at each corner slaves defied laws denying them their liberty and continued to learn to read and assemble to plot their freedom. Inspired by the Haitian Revolution, former slave Denmark Vessey in (year) plotted with other slaves and free blacks to lead an insurrection to slay plantation owners and seize the city of Charleston before fleeing to Haiti. Arguably though the most famous revolt was Nat Turner's slave rebellion of 1831. Slaves in the rebellion killed approximately 60 whites, the highest number of fatalities caused by slave uprisings in the South. Again the natural response of the state apparatus was to further limit the liberty of blacks, both slave and free, by denying the rights to assemble or for education. However, it seems the moreso black liberty was stifled the resistance and struggle for freedom increased.

It must be also noted that rebellion often took place even before slaves took foot on foreign soil. Captured Africans often mutinied on board slave trading vessels. In 1765 Africans launched an unsuccessful revolt onboard the Connecticut vessel Hope, killing one crew member and injuring several others before being suppressed. In November of 1841 the 135 Africans onboard Creole overpowered it's crew members and changed the course of destination from New Orleans to the Bahamas where they were declared free. In 1839, Africans, led by Cinque, rebelled and killed the captain and three crewmen. They ordered the cew to sail to Africa but instead the ship was steered the ship along the coast of the US where it was seized by US authorities. In January 1841, the Supreme Court rendered its decision relating to the Amistad affair. The court ruled in favor of the slaves and the Africans were returned to Africa.

Throughout the America resistance to slavery and the plantation system took the form of runaway slave communities called maroons, quilombos or mocambos.The most famous runaway slave community of the Americas was Quilombo dos Palmares, a series of Brazilian mocambos founded in the end of the 16th century which survived up until 1694 before being crushed by Portuguese, Indian and white forces. Palmares was formed when a small group of slaves escaped from their home plantation after a rebellion . They violentetly turned on their masters before taking to the forrests with supplies and all of their worldly possessions. They ventured over the harsh terrain and settled in a valley that came to be the quilombo at Palmares. What began as a small fugitive camp quickly grew in size and complexity. Estimates place the population of Palmares in the 1690's at around 10,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. The autonomous region succesfully defended the territory while simultaneously performing raids on nearby plantaitions, freeing slaves, destroying crops and stealing supplies. When the territory was finally captured 200 Palmarista soldiers committed suicide rather than return to bondage. In an effort to demoralize and intimidate Africans, the Palmarista general Zambi was decapitated in a public execution and head put on display. But instead, quilombos continued to exist in Brazil and lore of Zambi spread, as more fugitive slaves formed settlements in Brazil. In the United States, at least 50 maroons existed between 1672 and 1864. In the late 1600s large amounts of African slaves fled the British American colonies to Spanish Florida to establish maroons. Establishing an alliance with Seminole Indians, by 1822 it was estimated the maroons of Florida had a population over 800. However, the existence of free and armed black communities was a major concern to American slaveholders. A effort to relocated the Seminole Indians(and possible re-enslavement of Blacks) led to the rebellion. The Black Seminole rebellion in Florida evolved into a maroon war that inspired the country's largest slave rebellion. Eugene Genovese claims the "most impressive slave revolts in the hemisphere proceeded in alliance with maroons or took place in periods in which maroon activity was directly undermining the slave regime or inspiring the slaves by example." Over 400 slaves rebelled on plantations and fled to join the Seminoles in their pursuit of freedom from US opression.

The Black Experience is different from other ethnic groups in America due to the fact they did not immigrate "in search of Liberty" but were transplanted by force and subsequently denied Liberty. As such, resistance towards domination occured at the very beginning of the history of Africans in America. As noted, resistance took the form of running away, the establishment of slave communities, sabotage, and "slow downs". These actions of rebellion , particularly mass flight to the North drained the Southern economy of its human property - the creator of its wealth. DuBois,argued that the massive flight of slaves from the Southern plantations during the Civil War constituted a "general strike" of workers: "This was not merely the desire to stop work," but "a strike on a wide basis against the conditions of work," which "directly involved in the end perhaps a half million people." The struggle for emancipation displayed by Blacks both enslaved and free was a leading cause to the destruction of the institution of slavery.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ZACF Statement on the Murder of Pudemo Deputy President Dr. Gabriel Thandokuhle Mkhumane

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front was saddened and concerned to learn of the murder of Pudemo Deputy President Dr. Gabriel Thandokuhle Mkhumane.

Although the truth behind his murder seems unclear, with some mainstream newspapers in Swaziland reporting that C'de Mkhumane was victim of a violent robbery, and although township life is by definition far from safe from random criminality; the murder took place close to Swaziland, in an area where many Swazis live and in which their intelligence and undercover cops operate, so we feel the likelihood is great that this was a politically-motivated assassination.

It appears to indicate the murderous nature of the Mswati regime, and the degree to which the regime will go to protect its interests, and though it creates a martyr for Pudemo, the hit (if it is such) must be seen as a blow against the very idea of popular democracy in Swaziland, a blow directed at the people as a whole by targeting a figure representative (in the state's mind at least) of that people.

Our sympathies go out to all those who have lost a friend, comrade or family member. We urge Swazi revolutionaries and freedom fighters not to be disheartened or deterred from their revolutionary duties, and we hope that anyone who is in a position to delve deeper and get to the truth behind C'de Mkhumane's murder does so.

It is true that many a freedom fighter, both in Swaziland and exiled around the world, have lost a friend and a comrade, but the struggle continues. Let us all be inspired by the life of a comrade dedicated to the overthrow of the Tinkhundla system, as well as being incensed by his murder; resolving to do all that we can, in our own way, to strengthen, advance and support the Swazi people in their struggle for freedom.

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
April, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Egyptian Forces Face Tough Internet Activists

Interesting article on how technology in Egypt has been fanning the flames for democracy and better working conditions. Blogging, Facebook and SMS text messages have become powerful tools in the Egyptian activists arsenal, informing Egyptians of planned actions and providing up to date reports of ongoing situations such as strikes, protests, rallies,etc .

In the old days when you wanted to suppress a general strike you just sent in the troops to crack some heads. Nowadays, Egypt's security forces are facing an army of Internet-savvy activists using Twitter, Facebook, text messaging and blogging as their weapons.

In order to better squelch street protests Egyptian authorities have taken to preemptive arrests of activist bloggers. © Jano Charbel

BEIRUT/CAIRO, April 7, 2008 (MENASSAT) – It's Monday morning, the day after a general strike in Egypt was partly thwarted by a preemptive crackdown by the country's security forces. In his Cairo apartment, award-winning blogger Wael Abbas is frantically typing away on his blog, Egyptian Awareness, and uploading photos from the street rallies. The Egyptian news is blaring in the background and Abbas' mobile phone is constantly beeping from incoming text messages.

Abbas has been at it for hours; providing fellow activists, the media, and random Internet users with the latest updates on the uprisings that are currently sweeping through his country. Photos on his blog show protesters shouting slogans in Cairo's main square, Midan Tahrir, before a field of security troops and plainclothes officers. On Abbas' blog is a link to his Twitter account where one can find out precisely who has been arrested, released, and re-arrested over the past two days.

It is a picture of Egypt that the authorities do not want the outside world to see. And while the state-run mainstream media routinely oblige the government by ignoring the protests, Egypt's bloggers are not so easily shut up.

Which goes a long way to explain why among yesterday's detainees were not only demonstrators and political activists but also a number of bloggers.

"Malik, Sharkawy and several independent bloggers as well as some web activists from the labor party were detained," Abbas told MENASSAT over the phone.

The strike in Cairo and in the industrial city of Mahalla el-Kubra was directed against rising prices, stagnating wages and the increasing gap between rich and poor in Egypt.


To be sure, last weekend's protest was not quite the national uprising against the regime of president Hosni Mubarak it was billed to be – thousands of riot police made sure of that.

Nearly 300 demonstrators were reportedly arrested. At least two schools were burned to the ground and security troops were met by stone-throwing crowds around the factories of Mahalla el-Kubra, the nucleus of the nation's textile industry.

In downtown Cairo, the streets were mostly empty as demonstrators were confronted by hundreds of trucks filled with anti-riot troops. One security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told MENASSAT that the security forces had been given the green light to use "tough methods" in order to retain control of the streets.

Egypt’s outspoken bloggers constitute one of the most active blogging communities in the Arab world and their online activism has become a constant pain for the authorities. Waging war on the regime from their bedrooms, they sometimes proudly refer to themselves as the "pyjamahedeen."

In a country where rights groups cite a deteriorating press environment and severe crackdowns on free speech, the web activists are often the first to break stories on sensitive issues, such as police abuse and torture. Moreover, their activities often play a key role in the organizing of demonstrations and anti-governmental rallies.

"The role of the bloggers in Egypt is really important. People depend on us to receive news and to know what’s happening in the country," blogger Wa7damasrya (Egyptian girl) told MENASSAT.

A journalist in Cairo said, "One must read the blogs these days in order to find out what’s really happening in Egypt."

But the authorities are catching on, and web activism in Egypt comes with a price tag these days. Many bloggers claim to have been subjected to arrest, harassment, detainment, and even imprisonment - an indication to that the regime is becoming increasingly aware of the power of web activism.

Last weekend's protests were no exception. Egyptian activists started campaigning online a few weeks ago, urging their fellow citizens to participate in a nation-wide protest.

Preemptive arrests of bloggers

The crowds soon mobilized in large numbers on the blogs and through the popular social networking site Facebook and mobile phone text messaging. The Facebook group that was created for the event has almost 2,000 members.

"I first heard about the strike through an email and then I joined the Facebook group," said Dahlia, a public relations employee at a private firm in Cairo.

Emails and text messages urged people to not leave their homes on Sunday. "Don't go to work, don't go to school," became the adopted slogan.

On Sunday afternoon, the virtual protest moved into the real world when a thousand protestors gathered in downtown Cairo shouting anti-government slogans such as "Down down with Mubarak" - and were met by a huge force of very real members of the security forces.

Wa7damasreya, who attended the rally, referred to the event as a clear illustration of the "terrorism of the state," saying she came close to being arrested herself.

"State security tried to confiscate my camera. Several students from the American University were taken away. It was completely chaotic," she told MENASSAT.

Wa7damasreya shortly thereafter gave an eyewitness account of the Cairo tumult to the sattelite TV channel Al-Hurra.

Further proof of the importance of web activism is that the authorities have taken to preemptive arrests of bloggers ahead of street protests. On Saturday night, Egyptian police reportedly paid an unannounced visit to the apartment of blogger Mohammed el-Sharkawy in Cairo and arrested him. Another prominent web activist known as ‘Malik’ was also arrested before Sunday’s big showdown.

Mohamed Abdel Kuddous, a journalist and a member of the opposition movement Kefaya (‘enough’ in Arabic), says he was detained by plainclothes police when leaving his house in the early morning hours to attend the protest.

"They blindfolded me and took me to a police camp on the outskirts of Cairo. This is evidence that this is a weak dictatorship, a military regime which is based on repression," Kuddous told MENASSAT.

Meanwhile, in the state-run media...

The bloggers were quick to respond, setting up several 'web hotlines,' among them, where activists could find up-to-date information and useful phone numbers. Abbas' own hotline served as "one of the most important outlets for activists," said Wa7damasreya.

Predictably, the government-controlled mass media provided a somewhat different picture of Sunday than that of the blogs and the independent media.

State-owned TV stations and newspapers broadcast a statement from the Ministry of Interior warning people against participating in the "illegitimate strikes." During Sunday's protests, the same TV stations showed students on their way to school in an aim to prove ‘the failure of the strike’.

Egypt's most prominent state-run daily, Al-Ahram, ran a first page article entitled "Work went on as usual across Egypt," while the Rosalusef newspaper featured titles such as "The failure of the chaos campaigners."

The country's opposition press did not quite agree with the official reports and instead described the strikes as ‘successful’.

El Dostour featured photos showing the main squares throughout Egypt jam-packed with security police while the independent daily al-Masry el-Youm emphasized the mass detentions of demonstrators. "Security aborts demonstrations - Citizens stay home in fear of violence," read one of the headlines.

"The state media want to convey that everything is OK and that nothing took place while in reality the strikes illustrated a deep political and economic crisis," commented journalist Yehia Kallash.


More here:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chicago 10 Animated Feature Film

Chicago 10 is a 2007 partly animated film written and directed by Brett Morgen and tells the story of the Chicago Seven. The film features the voices of Hank Azaria, Dylan Baker, Nick Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, Roy Scheider, Liev Schreiber, and Jeffrey Wright in an animated reenactment of the trial based on transcripts and rediscovered audio recordings. It also contains archive footage of David Dellinger, Abbie Hoffman, William Kunstler, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and Leonard Weinglass, and of the protest and riot itself. The title is drawn from a quote by Rubin, who said, "Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you're discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we're the Chicago Ten, because our two lawyers went down with us." [1]

It premiered January 18, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It later premiered at Silverdocs, the AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival in Downtown Silver Spring. The film opened in limited release in the United States on February 29, 2008.

This film is a must see and i have been following it's development for a while now. You can find more clips on youtube by typing in Chicago 10. I encourage all to see this film and support this filmmaker!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Remembering Africa's Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997), or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

He was ranked at number 46 in a list of the top 100 most influential musicians compiled by HMV.

The man who ex-Beatle Paule McCartney referred to as "the best band i've ever seen live...When Fela and his band eventually began to play, after a long crazy buildup, I just couldn't stop weeping for joy". McCartney wanted to use African musicians for the album he was working on but was denounced by Fela as "stealing Black Man's music".

A typical early swipe at the ruling elite was contained in the 1973 album GENTLEMAN, in which Kuti lampooned the black middle-class fetish for wearing western clothing in a tropical climate: ‘him put him socks him put him shoes, him put him pants him put him singlet, him put him trouser him put him shirt, him put him tie him put him coat, him come cover all with him hat; him be gentleman; him go sweat all over, him go faint right down, him go smell like shit’. Not surprisingly, the Nigerian establishment did not enjoy hearing songs like these—nor did they approve of Kuti's high-profile propaganda on behalf of igbo (Nigerian marijuana).

Listen to the man who shook up Nigeria during it's most brutal years. We miss you Fela Kuti.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mugabe Plot to Steal Zimbabwe Election

What follows below is a very interesting article about a plot by current Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to steal the rig the elections. The article claims that ZANU-PF were shocked to find MDC overwhelmingly being supported by the Zimbabwe populace. Instead of backing out and beginning a government transition, they either opted to enforce military rule or assert martial law. It was then decided to trickle down votes to show MDC in lead, but as time wore on have ZANU-PF and Mugabe suddenly win the election.

This is an issue that is not peculiar to Zimbabwe, but as we seen earlier, to Kenya and Congo and other African nations. It comes from a lack of an institutionalized state and civil society. In industrialized states such as America and UK, win officials lose Presidential elections, there is not civil wars. The losing candidate continues to be Senator, Congressmen, etc or will run again following term. In Africa, it is not the case. Due to patronism or clientism, positions are granted due to loyalty to factions. This is very dangerous when certain factions instrumentalize violence or have a monopoly of it. Things can get quickly out of hand as we seen in Kenya and Congo. A more indepth analysis of African nation-states will be posted this weekend.


A crisis meeting of Robert Mugabe's security cabinet decided to block the opposition
from taking power after what appears to have been a comprehensive victory in Zimbabwe's elections but was divided between using a military takeover to annul the vote and falsifying the results.

Diplomatic and Zimbabwean sources who heard first-hand accounts of the Joint Operations Command meeting of senior military and intelligence officers and top party officials on Sunday night said Mugabe favoured immediately declaring himself president again but was persuaded to use the country's electoral commission to keep the opposition from power.

The commission began releasing a trickle of results yesterday, more than 36 hours after the polls closed, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it believed the count was being manipulated.

Nonetheless, the first results, for 52 seats in the lower house of parliament, cost Mugabe one of his closest allies with the defeat of the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, whom the MDC has accused of abusing the law to persecute the ruling Zanu-PF party's opponents. Other cabinet ministers are also believed to have lost their seats.

However, the few parliamentary results offered no guide to the outcome of the presidential race. Independent monitors collating the count from polling booth returns say the MDC presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won about 55% of the vote and Mugabe 38%. The MDC also gained control of both houses of parliament, according to the monitors.

The MDC said the slow pace of releasing vote tallies - likely to take days at the present rate - was further reason to suspect they were being tampered with.

Sources with knowledge of the JOC meeting said the Zanu-PF leadership was "in shock" after it was informed of the scale of the victory of the MDC's presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.

A senior diplomatic source who received accounts from two people privy to the JOC meeting said it discussed shutting down the count and Mugabe declaring himself re-elected or the army stepping in to declare martial law on the pretext of defending the country from instability caused by the opposition claiming victory.

"In the JOC meeting there were two options for Mugabe: to declare victory on Sunday or declare martial law," said the diplomat. "They did not consider conceding. We understand Mugabe nearly decided to declare victory. Cooler heads prevailed. It was decided to use the [election commission] process of drip, drip where you release results over a long period, giving the opposition gains at first but as time wears on Zanu-PF pulls ahead."

Another source said that some JOC members favoured a less hardline approach by reaching out to the opposition but were overruled.

If the government does attempt to fix the result it will not go unchallenged. The election commission will have to substantially alter a large number of polling booth returns in order to overturn Tsvangirai's significant lead. But the MDC has photographed results declarations pinned to the doors of more than 8,000 polling stations. If the numbers announced by the election commission are different, the party says it will have indisputable evidence of fraud.

"Unlike previous elections no one can privatise the result as it is posted outside the stations," said the MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti. "This country stands on a precipice. We still express our great misgivings about [the election commission's] failure to announce the results. It raises tension among the people that is fertilising an atmosphere of suspicion."

The opposition is attempting to reach out to the military. A senior MDC source said Tsvangirai has approached the former army chief, Solomon Mujuru, to reassure the military that it has nothing to fear from a transition of power and to ask what its concerns are so they can be addressed.

Mujuru is widely respected in the military but is treated with suspicion by Mugabe and other Zanu-PF hardliners after being tied to the presidential campaign of Simba Makoni, the Zanu-PF dissident who has done poorly in the election. Mujuru has yet to respond to Tsvangirai.

International pressure on Mugabe to respect the result is growing. Britain has little influence over Zimbabwe but the foreign secretary, David Miliband, said he and Gordon Brown will be speaking to other African leaders about the situation. They can be expected to urge South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, in particular to pressure Mugabe to recognise defeat.