We must leave our dreams and abandon our old beliefs and friendships of the time before life began. Let us waste no time in sterile litanies and nauseating mimicry. Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, in all the corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration. -- Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Or Soweto, or Bolton, or Brixton, or Petrograd? In 1976, the young people of Soweto had finally had enough, people can only take so much before they revolt no matter what the cost.
And the experts in their droves, come out of the woodwork like cockroaches and produce their 'learned' analyses of what ails our broke down capitalisms, even, as the Independent the other day advanced the theory that the youths of France used their cellphones and the Internet to co-ordinate their uprising in order to explain the sheer scale of it (I kid you not), it seems a fundamental truth escapes them.
Spontaneous uprisings are as old as class societies as any reading of history teaches us from Watt Tyler's Peasants' Revolt in the 13th century through to the dispossessed of the 'barrios' of Paris or Caracas.
What distinguishes the revolt currently taking place in France is not only the scale of it, sweeping across France from one ghetto to the next but that it reflects the fact that the legacy of colonialism and its benighted descendent, the 'neo-liberal' agenda of the IMF and the World Bank has finally come back to haunt the Western world.
The importation of cheap, colonial labour whether from Puerto Rico to New York in the 1940s, from the Caribbean to London in the 1950s or those from Bangla Desh and Pakistan in the 1960s, all reflect the stark reality of a divided world, that sooner or later, given the fundamentally racist nature of capitalist society was bound to blow up in our faces.
The above is from William Bowles' "Is Paris Burning or Watt?" (Cleveland IMC) and was e-mailed for highlighting by Barry. It's Thursday, we're doing the indymedia roundup.
Protests at The School of Americas begin tomorrow and last through the 20th. Why are they protesting? I'll assume most community members know the answer to that question. For members who do not, Cindy's highlighted Miguel's "Torture Victim: Shut Down School of the Americas" (San Diego Indymedia):
At the time of her kidnapping, in July of 1976, architect Patricia Indiana Isasa was 16 years old. She was her class delegate to the High School Students Union in the province of Santa Fe in Argentina. She was taken by a commando group of the state police and was "disappeared" (held clandestinely) for three months. She was then taken to a military barracks, where she was held prisoner without trial or due process for two years and two months. After her release in 1979, she was kidnapped again by the authorities when she was compiling complaints to be presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, which was about to visit Argentina. She was released after a few days. After her ordeal, she graduated from the school of architecture and moved to London. In 1997 Patricia went back to Santa Fe to care for her sick mother. She realized then that it had been 20 years and justice had not been done. She decided to do it herself, initiating an investigation into her kidnappers' identities, still unknown to her. Thanks to her relentless research, today 8 people are in jail and awaiting trial. Among them there are an ex-federal judge, an ex-assistant secretary for security of Santa Fe, and several ex-policemen (one of them a graduate of the School of the Americas). All of them had been previously detained when the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon requested their extradition to Spain. Then-President Fernando De La Rua denied the extradition request; now they are awaiting trial in Argentina.
Ian e-mails to note Judith Scherr's "Aristide Backer Will Appear at Haiti Emergency Benefit" (The Berkeley Daily Planet):
When President Jean Bertrand Aristide was forced out of Haiti Feb. 29, 2004, every township in the nation was touched.
Cote de Fer in southeast Haiti was no exception. Bolivar Ramilus had represented the region in Parliament, but because of his affiliation with Aristide, Ramilus had to flee Haiti for his life. The development work he had been doing for 20 years, first as a community organizer and then as a government official, came to an abrupt halt.
One of the limited number of Haitians to have obtained political asylum since Aristide’s ouster, Ramilus will be in Berkeley Nov. 19 to speak about the turmoil in his home country and to raise money for the Vanguard Public Foundation’s Haiti Relief Fund.
On Feb. 29, 2004, U.S. officials plucked Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide from his home, put him on a plane and sent him into exile, claiming they were saving him from the some two hundred former military men who had taken control of several towns and were planning to march on the Haitian capital. Democratically elected in 2000, Aristide called his removal a "kidnapping" and a "coup d'état." U.S. officials said Aristide wanted to leave.
For those interested in participating:
The fundraiser for the Vanguard Public Foundation's Haiti Emergency Relief Fund will be 2 p.m.--5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way. The fund offers humanitarian relief to Haitian grassroots organizations and individuals impacted by the violence of the coup d'état.
Billie e-mails to note Molly Ivins' "Afterword" (Texas Observer):
Watching the new film Good Night and Good Luck about Edward R. Murrow reminded me of John Henry Faulk and his own heroic struggle against McCarthyism. Well, okay, Johnny did actually wage a gallant and valiant fight, but since it was John Henry, it was also weird and funny and full of improbable characters--what is it about Texans that we can’t even be heroic without being comical?
In 1955, Johnny Faulk was a successful popular entertainer with a network radio program featuring his impersonations of the down-home Texas characters he invented (actually, a horrifying number of them were based on real people--in fact, he was related to several of the prototypes). He appeared on television quiz panels and hosted CBS’s morning program, being funny and folksy with pipe in hand.
In the insanity of the times, blacklisting had become an institutionalized protection racket. An outfit of professional commie-hunters called AWARE, Inc., run by a guy named Vincent Hartnett, was kept on retainer by the networks, major ad agencies, and big sponsors to vet performers for commie sympathies. The more "commies" they found doing anything from soap operas to soup commercials, the more money they made. This gave them quite a financial incentive to find "communist sympathizers." Should a network or agency refuse to play along, Hartnett's friend Laurence Johnson, a grocery magnate from upstate New York, would pull the sponsor's products from his grocery shelves until they caved in. The American Legion would chip in with a boycott of the product, accusing Proctor and Gamble or whoever of being part of the plot to undermine America.
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