Latonja S. Richardson’s effort to educate African-American girls about Black women’s achievements; a grassroots movement of mostly women to stop the jailing and killing of mentally ill people in police custody; and the ongoing struggle of refugee women jailed in Berks Country Residential Center to free themselves and their children.
Htun Lin’s Workshop Talks column takes up his experience as a refugee from Burma to the U.S. and today’s plight of the Rohingya, who are experiencing ethnic cleansing at the hands of the state and Buddhist nationalists in Burma today.
Readers’ Views on: Racism and Revolt Put U.S. on Trial; Life and Death Under the Class Divide; Environmental Struggles; War and Atrocities; and Women’s Lives at Stake.
The long-simmering outrage of Black masses has broken out into a movement against this racist society, particularly its pattern of racist killings by the police. It has not only reverberated internationally, but also made itself felt in the battle of ideas and the sphere of theory.
Los Angeles—On Oct. 28, several thousand Los Angeles City workers (mostly Latina/o and Blacks) and community supporters marched through downtown to City Hall to protest the city’s proposed 30% cut in workers’ wages and benefits. The cuts included medical coverage, bonuses and retirement benefits, as more and more of the city’s infrastructure deteriorates….
The U.S. government took an ominous, reactionary political turn in the 2014 midterm elections, with Republicans taking control of the Senate. Extreme pro-war Senators like Joni Ernst in Iowa and Tom Cotton in Arkansas join veterans like Senator “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” John McCain, who will now control the Armed Services Committee and is hell-bent for new “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. The whole Republican campaign—including these pro-war, pro-fossil-fuel, pro-“fetus is a person” candidates—ran on a cynically deceptive anti-Obama mantra….
From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters
Chicago–Altgeld Gardens residents picketed the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) on June 26. They told News & Letters that the CHA contracts with Walsh Construction to work on housing projects like Altgeld Gardens, which is 97% Black. But Walsh refuses to follow Section 3, which requires 30% [=>]
Review of the book “Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers” by Anne Balay.
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
by Robert Taliaferro
Race has always been at the forefront of this nation since its founding. It seems ironic that the generation that produced the country’s first Black president is also the generation that is seeing the advances made in civil rights during [=>]
Remembering Albert Murray, who set out a vision of the African American as the representative “American,” of Black freedom as the soul of this nation’s culture.
Nationwide protests erupted immediately after the outrageous July 13 acquittal of George Zimmerman for murdering 17-year-old African-American high school student Trayvon Martin last year. Within three days, thousands of protesters came out in dozens of cities, and a new group called the Dream Defenders began a 31-day occupation of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
AMERICAN CIVILIZATION REMAINS ON TRIAL
American Civilization on Trial (ACOT) is not “Black history.” Rather, Blacks play such an enormous role in the U.S. that their history that is in ACOT is a history of America.
The movie Django Unchained could have been an ad for the NRA’s position on the current [=>]
Raya Dunayevskaya’s sublimely researched American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard (ACOT) deserves a place among the U.S.’s most honest historical treatises.
[Update: If in Chicago, please support Marissa Brown at her court date, Monday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 PM, at 2452 W. Belmont, Chicago. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/206707866130402/]
Chicago—On Nov. 9 we held a “Budget Showdown” protest at the Federal Building. We were protesting the threatened budget cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, rallying around the Robin Hood tax [=>]
by Franklin Dmitryev
The two worlds of the rulers and the ruled shone through the suffocating blanket of propaganda surrounding the election in which Barack Obama won a second term. A pronounced gender gap and long lines at the polls in African-American and Latino areas reflected the determination to defeat the reactionary Republicans and retain the [=>]
by Ron Kelch
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan [=>]
I want people to know that we didn’t fail. As long as we keep hammering away at this thing, as long as we refuse to give up, we haven’t failed. We’ll be doing what Troy Davis wanted us to do. Our efforts made an impact and will continue to make an impact. —Martina Correia
A woman [=>]
Chicago—Twenty-four Black men are still in jail almost 40 years after the first allegations of torture were brought against the Chicago Police Department.
In every case, their confessions were obtained illegally through torture.
On Nov. 5, 30 people, including the mother of Javan Deloney and family members of four or five other torture victims, met at the [=>]
Chicago—Editor’s note: News and Letters Committees hosted a forum in our Chicago office on Aug. 8 on the response within the Gay community to the Facebook page Take Back Boystown posting videos of Blacks fighting as a way to demonize “outsiders” coming to Gay institutions and bars. Below is part of the discussion among panelists [=>]
Oakland, Calif.–On June 12 over 150 demonstrators marched to downtown Oakland from Fruitvale BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, dubbed “Oscar Grant Station” by community activists. We were protesting the mild charge and minimal sentence handed down to Grant’s killer, former BART cop Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was released from a Los Angeles County jail the [=>]
Warner Brothers presents Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser directed by Charlotte Zwerin. Produced by Charlotte Zwerin and Bruce Ricker. Executive Producer Clint Eastwood.
Art is the eternal particular, the unmediated, mediating term in which the human face is recognized. A familiar tune, like a familiar face, catches us unawares and we smile in recognition. We find ourselves whistling.
When Gil Scott-Heron passed on May 27, we lost one of the great artists of our time. As the “Winter In America” of which he sang stretches on, cold and brutal, his voice remains as relevant as his presence is missed.
Coming out of the Black Power movement, he had a keen understanding of where Black [=>]
The continuing problem of racist, unaccountable police violence is highlighted by a recent pair of outrageous shootings in Arizona and Florida. Both illustrate the militarized, “search and destroy” mentality so prevalent among police officers, supported by the racist political climate in the U.S. today.
A Pima County Regional SWAT team killed Jose Guerena in his Tucson [=>]
by Robert Taliaferro
John’s writings are strikingly poignant and timeless, with a prosody that is uniquely old-school. The body of his work is eloquently instructive and historically prescient.
In reading his columns we are challenged to look upon his words as more than philosophical constructs; there is a timelessness that reminds us that history–if left to its [=>]
From the new issue of NEWS & LETTERS, May-June 2011
Part II of
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2012
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
- I. The Arab Spring
- II. The wars at home
- III. Japan: earthquake, tsunami and meltdown
- IV. Revolution, organization and philosophy
- V. Marxist-Humanist Tasks
(Part I was posted yesterday. Parts III through V to come in the next few days)
II. The [=>]
Allen Willis/John Alan–who would have been 95 on June 10 this year–died quietly on Feb. 23 in Oakland, California. The near-century of his life was filled with thoughts and experiences of Black life in America. One of his earliest recollections was as a three-year-old witnessing the 1919 race riots, seeing Black men being attacked and [=>]
Editor’s note: We commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with excerpts from John Alan on Harriet Tubman from the April 2004 News & Letters.
Since the 1960s there has been a growing interest in Harriet Tubman. Catherine Clinton in Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (Little, Brown, 2004), lets her reader know immediately that the [=>]
Part of the classic American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard, written by Raya Dunayevskaya, has been posted on the web at the Marxists Internet Archive. The entire book can be obtained from News and Letters Committees.
This was excerpted from Part V, “From Depression Through World War II.”
Source: American Civilization on Trial, Part V “From Depression Through [=>]
by John Alan
Editor’s note: To highlight what is missing from current debates on education reform, we reprint John Alan’s column from the June 1993 N&L.
* * *
This June  the New Jersey Educational Commissioner, Mary Fitzgerald, will take control of the Malcolm X Shabazz High School and the rest of the Newark, N.J., school system. [=>]
From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:
Mayor Bloomberg’s schools get an F
New York–In June 2009, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, together with the president of the Council of School Administrators and United Federation of Teachers President Mike Mulgrew, announced an increase in the four-year high school graduation rate for New York [=>]